I have a confession. I have been keeping a secret.
A pretty big secret, in fact.
I’m done keeping it to myself, though. 🙂
Before I reveal the rest of what has been going on the past few months, for those of you who may be new, or didn’t catch it all in “real” time….
Let us review: Why did we halt our adoption?
The simplest answer is because we cannot afford to pursue adoption and surrogacy at once.
*For more on why we before 3 weeks ago we never dreamed surrogacy would be an option, and how we were both finally at peace with moving forward with our adoption plans, please see Part 1.
*For more on the Facebook message I received 3 weeks ago from practically a perfect stranger that would rock anyone’s world, please see Part 2.
*For more on our surprisingly spirited 1st reaction to that message, please see Part 3.
*For more on the questions we both had, and the emotional struggle I went through, once the surrogacy option was presented to us, please see Part 4.
*For more on the initial, God-filled meeting I had with the woman who strongly felt God may very well be calling her to be our surrogate, please see Part 5.
*For more on the extremely disheartening news we received the day after I met with the woman who appeared to be an angel sent by God to carry our biological child, please see Part 6.
*For more on the strange, but strong, intuition I was feeling just a little over a week after our dream of surrogacy seemed to be slipping from our hands, please see Part 7.
*For more on all the signs that just weren’t going away and ultimately pointing to my intuition being most likely true, please see Part 8.
*For more on the dramatic turn of events that took place one early morning, please see Part 9.
*For more on the painful drive, and then wait at the hospital, I endured while waiting to hear if my intuition was true, please see Part 10.
*For more on the internal conflict I felt when I found out my intuition was wrong, please see Part 11.
*For more on the decision I made to go seek a second doctor’s opinion on what had (or hadn’t) happened, please see Part 12.
*For more on how we found out we had actually miscarried our baby, please see Part 13.
*For more of how the miscarriage affected me emotionally, and why I chose to share my grief, please see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of my “Redeeming Miscarriage” series.
*For more on the messiness of life, in particular my life, please see Part 14.
Whew. If you’ve read all of that, major props to you!
Now, imagine living it. 😉
And there’s more…lots more.
It was the Friday after the miscarriage when I learned a new word.
Like usual for a Friday, I was standing in Meijer. We Paynes are rather predictable, what can I say. Unlike most Fridays, however, I wasn’t with John because it was during the afternoon. I was still off work recovering from the miscarriage from which I was physically almost done going through but emotionally just beginning to be affected. That day I was right in the middle of the worst exhaustion I had ever felt and doing my best to just get in the store and get out. I wasn’t in the mood to chat with anyone, but I was on the phone with my transplant team updating them with how I was doing. We were all still in quite a bit of shock about the confirmed miscarriage, them included. After all, they had first told me they were extremely confident I hadn’t ever been pregnant in the first place.
“Your antibody count was up to 17% on Monday.”
My transplant nurse and friend, Ashley, began to explain to me the ends-and-outs of the transplant science surrounding antibodies, a science which is not clearly understood and fairly new. I wish there was an easy way for me to explain it all to you, but just remember that antibodies aren’t something you want, and they can lead to antibody-mediated rejection. If you want, you can read this article about different types of rejection, which talks a bit about this type of rejection. Be forewarned, it’s heady! I’ll abbreviate it for you by saying this: In transplant-speak, “antibody-mediated rejection” is a fancy name for “bad news.”
So, I had antibodies. How did I get them, though?
For 6 years, I didn’t have any (0%). What suddenly changed? Well, if you recall, last Summer I had that crazy virus which left much slower than it came. After laying on the couch for 5 weeks, and then needing a few more weeks to gain my strength back, life returned to normal. My lung function (the #1 thing we watch) was never affected by the mysterious sickness, and though it was extremely inconvenient, it could have been a lot worse. I didn’t even know that a probable bi-product of “it” (whatever “it” was) was “10% antibodies.” So, if I wasn’t affected the last 7 months or so by my elevated antibody count, why did I care now that it was at 17%?
Because of this:
So far the only research-proven ways one can definitely contract antibodies after transplant (i.e. not from your donor) are through blood transfusions and pregnancy.They may not be the only ways (like my virus, which is the only thing that makes sense at that time), but they are certainly the reasons supported by the most evidence.
I hadn’t had any blood transfusions. I had, though, been pregnant and was now losing our baby. While standing there learning about yet another life complication, I was exhausted, a bit short of breath and definitely not feeling myself – not good.
I was told we’d watch the antibodies, but since my lung function had been down a bit that past Monday, too, there was some noted concern. The number certainly wasn’t high, but any rise in antibody levels, and subsequent decrease in pulmonary function, isn’t something to ignore.
I was advised I would have my numbers (antibody and lung function) checked once more in 6 weeks, once my body had a chance to fully recover from the miscarriage. “Hopefully by then,” I was told, “all my numbers would return to normal.”
But would they?
I had already lost our baby. Was I going to lose my health, too?
Part 16 to come!