Thank you guys for all of the congratulatory comments and messages on our pregnancy announcement! It was a great surprise, and we’re looking forward to meeting this new little person in February (or January, knowing my history of early babies). I wish I could say that this pregnancy has been super easy and all sunshine and roses, but that has not been the case. This is going to be a long post, so maybe grab a snack before you get started! I had about two days of blissful happiness after we found out before the anxiety began. Crippling, all-consuming anxiety. I’ve blogged before about my own health issues over the past year- autoimmune activity, lots of blood work and doctors, leaving me with no answers and so many questions. Extreme dry eyes and dry mouth remind me daily that something isn’t quite right. It’s like pregnancy re-ignited all of my fears and concerns, but I couldn’t get away from them. I researched and Googled until I made myself sick with worry. Then at five weeks pregnant, the numbness started. I woke up three nights in a row with both feet completely numb and both arms tingling. Pins and needles through my arms and legs during the day and random arm numbness.
I freaked out a little. By little, of course, I mean all the way freaked out. The OB said it was too early for pregnancy-related numbness. The doctor said it was probably pregnancy-related. All that I knew was that it scared me to death, and it needed to stop. My OB did put me on a baby aspirin to see if it helped improve my circulation, but I didn’t see much difference. After another week, I decided to take a methyl B12 (I’d been on it daily before I got pregnant but stopped with the positive test). In a couple days, the numbness stopped.
Then, Knox’s Vitiligo diagnosis happened. Picture me a woman obsessed- I spent hours, HOURS a day looking at my skin, just knowing I was developing white spots at an alarming rate. Brody was looked over constantly, Knox’s existing spots reexamined daily, sometimes more. I cried all the time, paralyzed with fear. I finally called my OB and made an appointment to talk to her. This kind of worry wasn’t normal, and it wasn’t healthy. I had developed a pregnancy-induced obsessive/compulsive form of anxiety, and she immediately put me on Zoloft, which has helped immensely. I am the kind of person that cuts everything in pregnancy: no coffee, no medicine, no anything artificial, but in this case, I knew that really needed to do something to help myself. I literally felt like I was drowning under the weight of everything going on around me. I dealt with postpartum depression after Brody and took it then, as well, so I am a big fan of asking for help when you need it- it makes all the difference for both you and your baby!
Back to the numbness I was having- knowing the B12 helped so much, it made me think about something else. My mom and aunts have a gene mutation called MTHFR- it effects the way your body processes folic acid and b12. I immediately became obsessed with researching this more than I had previously (which was a lot) and requested a blood test. I was convinced that I had it, as well. Not in a panic-stricken worried way, but in an informed, “I have weird symptoms of B12 deficiency” way. Sure enough, after about two weeks I got the call from my doctor- I tested positive and she needed to talk to me about our next steps.
Well, not only did I have the one mutation that my mom has (C677T) but another as well (A1298C) which makes me compound heterozygous for the MTHFR mutation. In the case of gene mutations, more is NOT better. Having this double whammy puts me at much higher risk of blood clots, cardiovascular problems and some other fun things. In particular, it makes clots in pregnancy a very real possibility. The fact that I’ve had two relatively normal pregnancies is an amazing blessing- many women don’t discover this mutation until they have a loss or recurrent losses and get a work up done after the fact.
My OB recommend that I begin on a daily regimen of Lovenox injections into my stomach to prevent clotting. In addition, I’ll still be doing the P17 progesterone shots again that I took with Brody to prevent pre-term labor, beginning at 16 weeks. We’re waiting on authorization from the insurance company, and once that’s done, I’ll begin the shots. The other important piece to this mutation is that I cannot take Folic Acid or regular B12- my body cannot break it down efficiently, so I have to take food-ready forms of the vitamins: methylfolate and methyl b12. I had already started a prenatal with that combo a few weeks prior, thankfully, just anticipating the results. After we found out for sure, I was instructed to double the folate dosage. I am also continuing with my gluten-free diet, as many products made with flour use enriched flour, which has both folic acid and b12 added. These can be harmful and actually block the methylation pathways in my body, so I need to avoid them. I’ve had Knox tested, as well (waiting on those results), and Trevor and Brody are next up. Chances are, the boys have at least one mutation, so they’re already on the appropriate vitamins, just in case.
This stuff has been very scary, and it’s definitely sucked some of the happiness out of the first trimester, for sure. However, I know that God is bigger than all of this, and that He gave me my crazy obsessive brain for a reason- thank goodness I was proactive and requested that test because now this baby will get what he or she needs in utero and have the best chance possible. I would really appreciate your prayers for a healthy baby and mama at the end of this pregnancy- we’re praying that no other complications arise (because seriously, that’s enough!) and we can relax a bit from here on out. Aside from the whole stabbing myself in the stomach part, because I am pretty sure that won’t be relaxing!