Welcome to Nanaystrip’s new section “My APAS Journey” where I will feature stories of women who experienced (or are currently facing) APAS (Antiphospholipid Antibodies Syndrome) , an autoimmune disease that affects pregnancy. I am hopeful that this space will inspire families who are waging their battles with APAS. May this blog segment encourage all APAS warriors to share their stories, give inspiration and sprinkle happy baby dust to all.
Friends, meet our first APAS warrior, Mommy Ida.
I am Ida Cruz, 33 years and mom to Gavin who is 6 months at present.
I was an infertility patient, a cervical insufficiency patient and an APAS patient. I safely delivered at 35 weeks, but Gavin developed pneumonia which had him stay at the NICU for ten days. He is now a healthy baby boy.
I am also a Merchandise Manager for a few international cosmetic brands here in Manila. I have been working very hard for more than ten years, but it had to take a back seat as I worked harder to conceive and to safely give birth.
How and when did you find out that you had APAS? What were the signs that led you to take the APAS test?
I was 28 weeks along and my OB noticed that the baby’s size did not increase on that check-up as compared to the baby’s regular growth the weeks prior. The baby’s growth has stagnated. She also noticed that my amniotic fluid suddenly dropped to dangerous levels. I also had pre term labor showing that my body was trying to terminate the pregnancy.
How was your pregnancy journey especially your everyday struggle with APAS? Tell us a bit about the most difficult part of your pregnancy and how did you cope with it.
Everyday, I had to take a multitude of shots and medicines to ensure that the baby stays longer inside my body for a safe delivery. It was also hard financially because the medicines were quite expensive. Aside from that, you have to take a lot of it round the clock, some every 3 hours, some every 6 hours, and so on. I had to take heparin injections every twelve hours, proluton injections every three days, a number of tocolytic drugs every 4-6 hours, aspilet, a patch on my tummy to increase the amniotic fluid, a medicine full of protein to help my baby gain weight, etc. I had a schedule at my bedside to remind me the schedule of medicine in take. I also had a big box to contain all of my medicine beside me so I can reach it without having to stand up.
The most difficult part was the actual bed-rest. Due to the preterm labor part, I was on strict bed rest for the most part of my pregnancy. It was hard not to be mobile and to have to be dependent on other people at all times.
Apart from this, I was hospitalized 4 times while pregnant. One time for an overnighter and three times for a week long stay. Each test, each ultrasound and each scan gave me a heart attack, but nevertheless, it was the only way to keep tabs on APAS.
Also, I have a high fear for injections. So just imagine having to have a LOT of shots everyday was seriously troublesome for me. My cousin who was a nurse went to the house to administer the more potent proluton shots and my husband was the one who injected me with Heparin.
What was your greatest fear while you were pregnant? How did you overcome it?
My greatest fear first and foremost is losing my baby. I am an infertility patient and it was so hard for me to even ovulate and produce a single egg cell. The baby was long awaited and I have guarded it with my life. APAS is something you don’t plan on. It chooses you.
I have learned to be more accepting that God is really in control, but you have to do your best (taking meds) to keep the baby healthy too. Also, having an extended family is a blessing. We moved back to my parents house amidst all of the medical troubles during my pregnancy. This way, somebody can take care of me 24/7.
Kindly share to us your most treasured life lessons throughout your APAS journey. What advice can you give to all the APAS warriors out there?
I learned the value of family and positive thinking. My family was greatly instrumental in helping me with my struggles. Everyone helped out, be it administering shots, going to the drugstore to buy the medicine, keeping me company, etc. They were the source of my strength.
Most importantly, my OB, Dra. Eileen Manalo always reminded me that positive thinking will see you through more than any medicine. She always gave me hope that everything will be alright and that in spite of all the struggles, I can do it- deliver safely.
Just like in every awards night, there’s a special moment to thank everyone who has supported and stayed with you in your whole APAS journey. This is it. Take it away.
Much thanks should be given to my husband who gave me my heparin shots everyday, my parents who kept me company and made sure I was fed well at home, my mom who went with me to the hospital every week and pushed my wheelchair, our household team who were patient enough with all my needs and my relatives and friends who visited me at home.
Of course,I am really really thankful to my doctor, Dra. Manalo. She took extra care of me through APAS and my cervical insufficiency. She was always one step ahead of each complication happening. She never once doubted that I will deliver safely in spite of every complication cropping out every month.
Nanays, read more about Ida and her insights as a first time mom in her blog Manila Baby Love, : Notes from a First Time Mom http://manilababylove.blogspot.com