Wil's birth story, part two

We had just returned from vacation. A trip to SC to drop Luke with my parents so we could have a few kid-free days in the NC mountains. We determined it would be our last opportunity to get away for a while, before the shift in family dynamic a new baby would create. We had no idea how true that would be.

As we were getting settled in back at home I made my way to the sun room to check phone messages. There were seven. The first was a hang-up and the second was a friend. The third was my ob/gyn. Strange, I thought when I heard his voice. It was Sunday and his call had come the previous Wednesday. His message was to call him as soon as possible to discuss my recent bloodwork. His message sounded urgent which made for a very difficult and sleepless Sunday night. When I reached him Monday morning he explained that at some point between my first trimester bloodwork and the latest round at 26 weeks I had developed the 'D' antibody in my blood. This antibody develops when mom's blood (those that are rh-) crosses the placenta and mixes with baby's blood (if positive). At 28 weeks it is routine for women that are rh- to receive a shot called rhogam to prevent such a thing (in the event you are carrying a baby with positive blood type) but I evidently had an internal bleed earlier in my pregnancy without knowledge because not only were the antibodies present but the titer (the concentration of the antibody) was very high. It was the high titer that alarmed my doctor and prompted him to immediately refer me to a perinatologist.

The appointment had been scheduled for me, James and I just had to show up. We had absolutely no idea what to expect. My pregnancy with Luke was pretty uneventful - at least until delivery - so my new label as "high risk" was a little unnerving. James and I met with Dr. Richards briefly before beginning the tests where he explained how rare rh sensitization has become, since the advent of the rhogam shot. Great! The first test was a level III ultrasound which included watching Wil's cerebral blood velocity (the blood flow in his brain, also unnerving) and taking many, many measurements, then a non-stress test and biophysical profile. After all of that was done we were ushered into a conference room where Dr. Richards wasted very little time telling us that Wil was very sick due to the antibodies. The big test for rh sensitization is the cerebral blood flow of the baby. And Wil's was not good. This told Dr. R that Wil had severe anemia which could be very dangerous for him. He also had an enlarged liver and enlarged umbilical cord that he attributed to anemia. He felt, at that point, Wil was at more risk inside the womb than outside. He then instructed me to go downstairs and take the shuttle to labor and delivery. He had already let them know I was coming. Wil was going to be delivered that night. At 27 weeks.

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