APAS Diaries: Baby Adison – The Long Wait Is Over

Romans 8:24-25 – For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

When things do not happen as you planned, how do you deal with it? When God makes you wait, how long will you wait? When you want a baby so bad to complete your family, what will you do if you cannot conceive for three years? For five years? For seven years? Do you give up? Today, I share a story of hope of my APAS sister Kimmy who waited for her beautiful rainbow baby Adi for almost a decade.

Name: Kimmy

RID (repro-immuno disorder) Categories: Cat 1 and 2

OB: Dr. Valerie Guinto

Immuno: Dr. Lara Aleta

Pregnancy? 1

Live births? 1

Background:

Year 2007 (got married); trying since 2007

  1. How did you know that you have RID?

My problem was I was having a difficulty conceiving, never ako nabuntis. We don’t know what’s the REASON. 7 years later, on November 2014, an angel in disguise named Dr. Faith Angat led us to the person who knows the REASON.

One barrier in my pregnancy was my PCOS. Having PCOS is a factor that leads to infertility. I thought that the reason why I am having difficulty conceiving is because of my PCOS issue. So, I did exercise and went on diet to somehow address these hormonal imbalances – that PCOS issue.

And then, when the time that we thought we were “okay”, we tried IUI (intrauterine insemination). That was the year 2009. We had it for the first time in Center for Reproductive Medicine (CRM) in Pasig. Unfortunately, it was not successful. I was so sad and I asked myself, “Anong problema? Bakit di ako mabuntis?”

After that IUI procedure, we didn’t go back, I told my husband “Rest muna tayo sa plano natin magka-baby, enjoy muna siguro natin ang isa’t isa.

On our 7th year, we decided to try again with different OB na naman that time. We went to Doc Faith Angat (hubby’s HS classmate). So after all the chikahan, she recommended to seek help na sa isang specialist OB. And that is Dr. Angela Aguilar. So, we didn’t waste time anymore. We went to see Doc Aguilar agad agad (that was in November 2014).

After talking to Doc Aguilar, she gave us hope. After giving her all my previous lab results, she suspected that I have APAS. But to be sure, I have to do certain procedures and consult with an immunologist (she recommended Dr. Lara Aleta). And so we went to Doc Aleta. She read my results, and yes, it was confirmed I have APAS (Category 1 & 2). She told us what to do and not to lose HOPE 🙂

2. What preconception treatments did you have?

In 2015, I was on medications for 5 months (aspirin and prednisone). And then LIT treatment (4x). After getting a positive percentage in my LAT result, we went back to Doc Aguilar for the next step na sana. But then conflict in schedules and personal reason na din hindi na kami nagkita.

3. What is the greatest challenge of having RID?

Not knowing what to do.  Palaging natetengga ang aming project baby. After several hiccups, I told myself “Hala, ano nang gagawin ko?” So, I searched the internet, anything related sa APAS. And I am so thankful I found the group in FB  – ALL ABOUT APAS AND IMMUNO REPRODUCTIVE CASE.

Ang dami kong natutunan sa group na ito and marami na akong naging kaibigan 😊 (shout out sis Balot!) 😜 Dun ako sa group naghanap mg panibago na naman na OB. I asked their recos and I chose DR. VALERIE GUINTO. Hindi ako nagkamali kay Doc Guinto 🙂

4. How long after the treatments did you get pregnant?

March 2016 was my first consultation with Doc Guinto. Kwinento ko na lahat ng ginawa sa akin ng previous OBs ko and showed her all my results. She said I have to try IUI again, hanggat nasa katawan ko pa daw yung mga gamot, treatments na ginawa sa akin.. Ok push! Oh, by the way, after kay Doc Guinto, I went to Quiapo Church and prayed. Nag try na ako pumila at humipo kay Black Nazarene.

May 2017. My second IUI done in St. Lukes BGC. SUCCESSFUL this time! We we’re so ecstatic and overwhelmed that day! I told them maybe my body was so ready that time kaya nagbuntis na ako. And maybe this is our time na talaga! “(Thank You Lord!)

5. Any advice to those who are diagnosed with RID and are still trying

Having an issue because of APAS and being preggy at the same time is no joke. I took lots of medicines, injected everyday with blood thinner, and bedrest almost the entire pregnancy. This was to make sure baby is safe. But I am very thankful that I have doctors who know how to handle my condition.

6. What/Who helped you through this difficult time?

My husband, family and friends who supported us in our journey. And of course to Him that made this possible.

 

These success stories make me warm and fuzzy inside. God is really an awesome God even if His timing is completely different from ours. We just do what we have to do and undergo the treatments that we need and have faith that these advancements in medicine are God’s intervention. We just have to be patient and trust that He is in control.

I pray for all of you who are waiting that God will work his miraculous wonders in your life.

Babydust to all of you.

Love,

 

Fighting the Baby Blues

Baby blues, baby blues. Why are you so real?

I don’t know about you, new mama (or in my case, second-time mama) but seriously, this post-partum blues is real! I’ve had it with Santi and a few weeks ago, with Lucia, too!

According to WebMD, “baby blues” usually peak around the fourth day and then ease up in less than 2 weeks. Some symptoms would include trouble sleeping, mood swings, tearfulness, anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, irritability and poor concentration.

In my case, my baby clues came with a lot of sadness.

This did not make sense because I have been waiting for my rainbow babies for a long time but you know, these hormonal imbalances after pregnancy just make you go cray-cray!

The funny thing is no one really tells you about the ugly side of being a mother to a newborn. Before I gave birth to Santi, I was soo agitated to be able to hold him in my arms. The nine months of carrying him and having to go through hyperemesis gravidarum and all my treatments for my repro-immune disorder>> were enough to want to get him out of my system fast so that he would finally be safer. Giving birth would also mean no more waddling for me and to be comfortable sleeping again!

I WAS SOOO WRONG! Little did I know that I would not have much sleep when the little booger comes!

But as they always say, it will all come to pass. And they did and my little Santiago is now a thriving toddler who brings so much happiness in our lives. I have completely forgotten how awful I felt during the first few weeks of his life, haha. Sorry, son!

With Lucia, I have learned some tricks to overcome the baby blues so I have coped much faster. Let me share them with you:

  • Know that many mothers go through the baby blues like you do. It is completely normal. During my first pregnancy, no one really told me that it would be sooooo hard to take care of a newborn. Since I have waited for Santi for more than four years, I was more than ecstatic for his arrival. It felt terrible to acknowledge the feeling of depression right after I gave birth. How could I?? Here I was, finally blessed by God with a baby I have prayed for and all I could feel was resentment because he wouldn’t sleep and he would want to latch 24/7. Looking back, that resentment was probably just lack of sleep, or smelling like pastillas all the time (totally hated this) and the raging hormones but I wish someone told me that newborns are crraaazyyyy! With Lucia, my expectations were managed so it was not THAT bad.
  • Stop pressuring yourself with how society wants you to take care of your child. Okay. Let’s talk about breastfeeding. Society puts way too much pressure on new moms – making them feel that it is breastfeeding way or none at all. I have seen in some forums about other mothers telling new moms that formula is poison or that they should stop working so that they can breastfeed their children. THIS IS TOTALLY RIDICULOUS. First off, while breastmilk is the best (I have bottle-fed Santi with my breastmilk for ten months), not all would be lucky to have enough supply. Many of THEM would say that this is not true and that you would always, ALWAYS have supply but I have seen firsthand experiences of mothers who don’t. So if you are having trouble with your milk supply, cut yourself some slack and do what you think is the next best thing for you and your baby. Aaaaand to those who are telling you to stop working because you will only have your child this small once in his/her life and that your only goal in life is to breastfeed your baby — please tell them to send you a check so that they can pay for whatever expenses you may have at home. Geez! (This really ticked me off because as a working mom, there is a reason why we work. No one should make us feel bad for choosing this path.)

Breathing in. Breathing out. 

Going back to you, mama! Do what you think is best for you and your family – your sanity included. I am sure that you would not put your child in harm’s way so talk to your pediatrician instead on the options you have for you and your child’s well-being.

  • Take a breather if you need to and have a little me-time. Nope, this is not being selfish. Having a new baby is hard work so pat yourself on the back and do something nice for yourself. Ask help from your partner or from family members so that you can have at least an hour on your own to do something else. In my case, this was either going out of the house, writing, and/or oiling. Last week, I promised myself to do something other than pumping, sleeping and taking care of the baby to slowly ease some normalcy in my daily grind and to battle the baby blues. So, I fixed my little corner, made some blends for the husband and Santi and fixed my essential oils arsenal. I also updated the blog and those activities actually made me feel great. Having these little accomplishments renew you so that you have a rejuvenated feeling once you go back to taking care of your baby again.

  • Remember that the nights are long but the years are short. I want to share this video with you. This just makes me cry every effin’ time. When I feel frustrated, I just watch this video to remind me that their little quirks will soon pass and that I actually only have very few years of having needy babies.

So, mama to a newborn, if you are having a hard time, do holler! Let us talk and shower each other with positive vibes while taking care of our little ones.

Love,

APAS Diaries: Baby Darcy – We Have A Good God

It has been five years since I knew that I was battling three out of five categories of repro-immune disorders>>. My hyperactive immune system was the reason why I lost my first two pregnancies. During that time, not a lot of people knew about these autoimmune disorders>>. When women miscarry, it is often attributed to reasons like mahina kapit ng bata or worse, di kasi nag-iingatFrustrating times.

However, as more and more blogs and resources talk about repro-immune disorders>>more and more couples who have experienced losses and unexplained infertility are given hope that one day, they will also hold a baby in their arms.

To say that our journey was a challenging one is an understatement. 

It was full of tears, lamentations, physical discomfort, emotional pains. It was accompanied by a thousand pricks and needles, as I often say. However, as cliche as it may sound, it was all worth it because the husband and I were blessed with not only one, but two wonderful rainbow babies, Santi and Lucia.

Over the course of this journey, I have met wonderful women who shared my heart’s greatest desire – the yearning to have my own little bundle of joy. These women have become my stronghold, even if we haven’t personally met. We prayed for each other, rooted for each other, became each other’s emotional support when things got tough. Many of us, RID warriors, have amazing stories of hope to tell.

I started this APAS Diaries series to inspire couples who are going through a difficult time that everything is possible in spite and despite having repro-immune disorder. The stories of Bella, Sean and Kiel are testaments to that.

Today let me share with you the journey of Darcy’s mommy, my beautiful soul sister Anna.

Name: Anna

RID (repro-immuno disorder) Categories: Cat 1

OB: Dr. Christie Gwen Varona

Immuno: Dr. Liza Stefanie Sulay

Age: 29

How many pregnancies? 3

How many miscarriages? 2

Live births? 1

  1. How did you know that you have RID?

After 2 miscarriages, my OB then referred me to an Immunologist who later advised me to undergo several tests. That’s how I was diagnosed to have Cat 1 problem, or HLA incompatibility.

2. What did you feel when you first found out you had RID?

I actually felt a bit relieved. Honestly, I already had a feeling that something was wrong. So at the back of my head, I just knew. So when my Immunologist interpreted my results, I already understood. Finally, I had the answer to the question on why I couldn’t maintain a pregnancy. Finally, I knew what I was dealing with, what I was up against.

3. What preconception treatments did you have?

I underwent Lymphocyte Immunization Therapy (LIT), four sessions spaced four weeks apart. Then when I was advised to try to conceive, I started administering anticoagulants (Tinzaparin and Aspirin), steroids and vitamins to make sure my body was ready for pregnancy.

4. What is the greatest challenge of having RID?

It is tiresome to undergo the treatments. I had to fly to and from Manila as the technology for the diagnostics tests and LIT are not available in Cebu, even though my Immunologist is skilled to do them. For the year 2016, I probably flew seven times just for the tests and LIT, spending only a few hours in Manila. Physically tiresome also because the medications had side effects. But the thing about undergoing treatment for RID is that it is not 100% foolproof, so we went ahead and took the risk anyway. The treatment is not a joke, my savings were close to zero but it didn’t matter anymore.

5. How long after the treatments did you get pregnant?

After my 4th LIT session, my Lymphocyte Antibody Test (LAT) scores went up so my Immunologist told me that we can try to conceive. At my next cycle, I got pregnant. I was beyond that even with PCOS, I was able to conceive. All glory to God!

6. What were your medications during pregnancy?

Tinzaparin (Innohep), once a day

Aspirin, once a day

Prednisone, once a day

Folic acid, once a day

Vitamin B-complex, once a day

Calcium, twice a day

Vitamin C, twice a day

DHA, twice a day

Metformin, three times a day

Prenatal Vitamins with protein, four times a day

Progesterone (duphaston), three times a day

Progesterone (Heragest) suppository, three to four times a day

7. Any advice to those who are diagnosed with RID and are still trying

First, choose the best doctors you are comfortable with. An OB-Perinatologist-Immunologist tandem with plenty of success stories of caring for women with RID is your best bet. I’ve been to several OBs but only a Perinatologist was able to handle my pregnancy well and seemed to REALLY know what RID is.

8. Please share your RID timeline:

June 2015 – 1st miscarriage at 5 weeks or less (chemical pregnancy)

November 2015 – 2nd miscarriage at 6-7 weeks, early fetal demise, referred to Immunologist for workup. Advised to rest for a few months first before workup.

April 2015 – diagnosed Cat 1, advised to undergo LIT with Dr Lara Aleta in Manila. Treated also as APAS + due to my past miscarriages.

May – August 2016 – Flew to Manila every 4 weeks for 4 LIT sessions

Sep 2016 – go signal to TTC given by Immunologist

Oct 2016 – positive PT and hCG test ☺ After a few days went to ER for threatened miscarriage. Advised bed rest. Switched to OB-Perinatologist. No heartbeat/fetal pole seen yet on TVS at 6-7 weeks. Immunologist highly suggested LIT booster or IVIG. We had to make a decision as both treatments are not available in Cebu and it was holiday (Undas) at that time. We opted for the LIT booster and flew to Manila ASAP. After a few days I was bleeding again, this time I thought I was losing the pregnancy. OB immediately ordered ultrasound, and at 7w5d we saw the heartbeat! 💓 Bed rest ensued until the 4th month.

March 2017 – Borderline GDM, controlled through diet and Metformin. Notching at Doppler ultrasound seen until before I gave birth. Innohep dosage increased to 0.45 then to 0.50 ml due to persistent notching.

May 22 2017 – 35w5d at 3AM, my bag of water ruptured so we went straight to the hospital. I was already 4cm dilated then felt labor pains at 5AM. Gave birth at 12:05 PM to a beautiful baby girl. ☺ She was premature but thank God for she is a strong baby!

9. What is your greatest realization?

I realized that we have a good God. He has His reasons why He took back my two angels, who I know are now my family’s guardian angels. I got pregnant in the right time. Money doesn’t matter anymore. We were financially drained (and still making up for it), but having a baby we can finally call our own is just priceless.

10. What/Who helped you through this difficult time?

My husband is my biggest supporter. My family and closest friends were also there to support me financially and emotionally.

11. Anything else you would want to share

Don’t lose hope–I almost did. Surround yourself with positivity. Try  your best, and God will do the rest. Everything will happen in its own perfect time. God is indeed good. 🌈

APAS Diaries Baby Darcy 1

 

Summer Special: Dr. Paolo Bellosillo teaches you how to care for your heart 

Sometimes, you will meet someone and it works. Sometimes, you will meet someone and it will feel like God intervened and made you meet. Most of the time though, you meet someone and they break your heart into a million pieces and you start to wonder, “why me?”

With hugot still being one of the trending topics of all time, we decided to ask Dr. Paolo Bellosillo who is known for advocating living a quality life to share his thoughts on how you can protect your heart from the greatest stressor in life, a heartbreak.

What are the qualities that a woman should look for in a guy?

A woman needs to look for someone who is God fearing because if a man fears God, he will be loyal, faithful, committed, responsible, and honest. These are traits that any woman should want for in a man. A man like this will never make you worry or fear that he will go astray.

What are the qualities that a man should look for in their future partners?

A man needs to look for a woman who is capable of being their partner in life, not just in the bedroom. They need to find someone with a humble heart and someone who prioritizes their relationship over their pride.

How can you have a relationship that is good for both parties?

A relationship that preserves the dignity of the other person is always a good indication. When there is mutual trust and mutual respect, when a relationship is rooted in prayer and kindness then reinforced by communication, you know that it is beneficial to both parties.

What are your 5 tips for a healthy, smooth sailing relationship?

1. Pray together. When God is at the center of everything, everything will fall into place.
2. Communicate. As they said, almost everything can be sorted through an open and honest communication.
3. Be kind. If you can’t be anything, if there is no more love, then at least be kind.
4. Be open. The two of you are not the same person which means that you will not have the same beliefs, the same principles, and the same ideologies. In fact, chances are big that you will have different ones so be open to understanding how the other person works.
5. Let go of fear. Most of the time, we react negatively because of fear.

Any tips to our readers so that they too can have a lasting relationship?

Being in love is primarily focused on the heart, on love but everyday should always take that into account as love is a journey and a decision which both souls builds on. While the whole world celebrates it, do so in a manner where it focuses not on consumerism or material things because they fade.

Be original: play a song, sing a song, cook with love for your shared favorite dish, go to the first place where it all began with your special someone, or go to church and why delay it, say I DO, tie the knot. Just make sure the other is ready and fits in the qualities and attributes of those listed above After All when you Look Through The Eyes Of Love You Should Be Bringing Out The Best Of Me/You, Here There and Everywhere.