I've been a bit behind, lately, in updating the blog, because I've been having some health challenges this week.
It started pretty benignly: last Sunday, while visiting with my mom and grandma for Mother's Day, I broke out into a rash on the back of my neck. I was wearing an inexpensive beaded necklace, so I took it off, thinking I was reacting to metal in the necklace. But over the hours that day, the rash began spreading up into my hairline and across my shoulders, and even appeared on my knees. I still thought nothing of it, took a Benadryl and went to bed thinking I'd gotten into something I was allergic to.
When I woke up the next morning, the rash covered my face and arms, abdomen and legs, so I called my doc and made an appointment. After a long serious of questions, in which he learned I had been camping a few weeks ago, my doc decided to test me for Lyme's Disease and start me on antibiotic treatment right away. He also warned me that Lyme's Disease could be pretty serious in pregnancy and advised me to follow up with my obstetrician ASAP. That night I began having painful, swollen joints and fevers, and the rash continued to get worse over the next few days.
Tuesday, I saw my obstetrician, who said Lyme's Disease was possible with my symptoms, but he wanted to refer me to an infectious disease specialist in order to figure out exactly what was going on. (Lyme's Disease is a complex diagnosis that can't be confirmed by a simple test, so the skill and experience of the clinician are very important in making the diagnosis). He also wanted me to see a perinatologist, or high-risk obstetrician, to keep a close eye on The Bean and I.
After battling it out with the insurance companies (thank goodness Brad took on that beast!), I managed to get an appointment with the infectious disease doc on Friday. The good news: she ruled out Lyme's Disease. The bad news: she suspected lupus or parvo B19 (also called Fifth's Disease). Lupus is a chronic auto-immune disorder in which the body attacks its own tissues and organs and can cause rashes, joint pain, and other symptoms. I've actually been tested and had some symptoms of lupus in the past, so this wasn't a huge surprise for me. If it is lupus, I'll probably have to give myself heparin injections for the rest of the pregnancy to prevent blood clots and be carefully monitored, but many women go on to have normal pregnancies. Parvo B19 is a human virus (completely separate from the parvo virus that dogs get--it can't be transmitted between dogs and people) and is a common childhood disease. Most adults are immune to it since they probably contacted it as a kid, perhaps without even knowing it. It just causes fevers, a runny nose and a mild rash in kids, but in adults the rash can be more serious and it can cause joint pain/swelling as well. Healthy adults that get it may not even get a rash and just think they have a cold--but when a woman is pregnant, it can be passed to the baby in utero and cause severe complications. The infectious disease doc even warned me that in severe cases of parvo, pregnancies have been terminated or lost. The doc took a few gallons of blood (ok, not quite, but it felt like it) and ran an entire list of tests and sent me home to wait 2 weeks for the results (lots of complex labs). Brad and I are understandably terrified and just trying to weather the wait without going crazy.
Because both lupus and Parvo could have some pretty serious implications in my pregnancy, I will need to be carefully monitored. Tomorrow I have my first appointment with the perinatologist and I'm praying that all is well with The Bean.
Our family could definitely use your prayers in the coming weeks. I am worried about The Bean, worried about having lupus and how that will affect my ability to just run and play with Aiden and raise him in the future, worried that it is parvo and that I could lose this pregnancy, worried about having to explain a loss or problems with the baby to Aiden, worried about how the stress of all of this is affecting Aiden and my marriage. I am trying so hard to NOT worry, to just be patient and wait and see, but it is impossible. I'm a mom--worrying is what I do best these days! So I could really use your prayers that baby and I will make it through this pregnancy safely, and that God can just give Brad and I the reassurance and comfort we need in the next couple of weeks while we wait.
I'll keep you all posted as we find out more.