The biggest decision I’ve made with lupus

Hi, my name is Kristie Bauer. I was diagnosed with lupus at the age of 17. I am now 26 and have been through so much. Sometimes I like to look at lupus as an adventure. It keeps life interesting. Usually when you least expect it.  Lupus has affected me in many ways including my heart, lungs, kidneys, joints, muscles and more.

Since being diagnosed with lupus, I have graduated high school, moved away to college, graduated college, got my first job, bought a house and got married. A lot of big life changes that didn’t come without lupus flare ups along the way. Our next big milestone? Baby!

I grew up always wanting kids. It never crossed my mind that I would consider NOT having kids someday. Shortly after getting married my husband, Pete, and I had that exact conversation. If there are times where I can’t take care of myself, how am I supposed to take care of a child? The thought was beyond scary for me. I am a very independent and don’t like asking for help much. I couldn’t imagine not being able to change my baby’s diaper or not being able to get up with him/her in the middle of the night. I’m the type of person who would feel like I was failing my baby if that were to happen.

Well, things change and after many discussions and almost two years of marriage, I am currently 19 weeks pregnant! I haven’t found much online about pregnancy stories with lupus, so I am going to be sharing my story throughout the rest of my pregnancy. I believe it’s important for people to know that if you take care of yourself and keep up with your doctors, you are able to do things that you at one point weren’t sure you could. Life with lupus sucks, but you can still live a somewhat normal life.

So, what changed my mind? Several things. First off, I have always had an issue with people helping me, even not being pregnant or having a baby. I really just need to get over that and realize that people want to help and that they don’t see me as a burden. I have the best support of my family and friends. Pete is amazing and has always been so helpful. I have gotten a lot better with letting him help.

I also changed my doctor to a rheumatologist that specializes in lupus and pregnancies. I sat down and talked to her about what would have to happen if we did want kids in another year or so. I was planning ahead because I know how hard it can be to get off certain medicines, and it can take a while to get things under control once you do. She told me that my labs looked good and I was doing well, (I have been really lucky the last couple of years to be doing fairly well) and that she would recommend having a baby now. That completely caught us off guard. She continued and said she would give me the ok to now, but she couldn’t promise me that she’d be able to say the same in another year. Anyone who has lupus knows how quickly things can change.

This is not the first time I have had my doctor tell me that it would be a good time to have a baby. The first time, I was 21 or 22 and was still in college. I basically laughed in her face when she told me that. If I would have been told that I couldn’t have kids a couple years after that, we would have been ok with it (I say we because Pete and I have been together nine years this February). But, if we were to be told in a year that I shouldn’t have kids, we would regret it.

So far everything is going well. I have several doctors looking after me and have lots of doctor’s appointments but I know I am in good hands. I have never worried or been so nervous in my life. People say that comes with being a parent and never goes away! And so it starts …

Disclaimer: In researching the topic, I haven’t found much information. This is what I’ve gathered and my blogs are based on my personal experiences.

Kristie Bauer

About the Author:

Kristie Bauer is a long-time Lupus Foundation of Minnesota supporter, Walk/5K attendee and volunteer and founder of the Leaf for Lupus event fundraiser. Diagnosed with lupus at the age of 17 and now 26, she and her husband Pete were exploring the possibilities of starting a family, but Kristie was frustrated with the lack of information available regarding pregnancy and lupus. As she LIVES this big milestone, she’s graciously agreed to share her personal story.
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  1. jsprice28  November 5, 2013

    Hi Kristie – I’m so glad you are doing this blog! I was diagnosed with Lupus when I was 21 (pretty sure I had it for years before I was diagnosed) and am currently 20 weeks pregnant with our 4th baby boy! I’m 33 years old and had my first at 25 – you can absolutely have a healthy pregnancy and healthy babies. I’m considered high risk when I’m pregnant (not only because of my lupus but that in addition to my first son being born premature at 28 weeks (due to an issue not related to my Lupus)). I will have a few more u/s, tests than a ‘normal’ pregnant women and they will keep a very close eye on the development of the heart and later in pregnancy the baby’s growth, both of which can be affected by Lupus. I just wanted to give you a positive experience/outcome with Lupus and pregnancy – take care of yourself and get plenty of rest – sleep is my best friend (which is hard with a 4 1/2 and 7 year old at home!).
    Will look forward to future posts from you – so glad you are bringing this very important issue and time in one’s life to light.

    • kristiebauer  November 7, 2013

      Hi Sarah! I’m so happy you commented. Congrats on your pregnancy! It’s always nice to hear that others have had healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. It’s important that people know although lupus can complicate pregnancy, it is definitely an option and you CAN have a family (with a few exceptions). If there are any topics with lupus and pregnancy that you think could be discussed/blogged about, let me know.

      Thanks for sharing your story! I know there are plenty of us out there but it’s always nice to hear from one. Reminds us that we are not alone! 🙂

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