Surviving the first trimester with lupus

I can imagine that the first trimester for every pregnant woman is nerve-racking. The first trimester with lupus is even more so. It’s nerve-racking, overwhelming, exciting and scary all at once. Not only do you have to worry about taking care of yourself AND a baby, you also have to worry about miscarriages and how your lupus is going to affect your pregnancy (and your baby).

With lupus I was at a higher risk of miscarriage. I have talked to a couple of lupus patients with kids and they both had at least one miscarriage. One of them had three. Knowing this, Pete and I prepared ourselves for a miscarriage. We expected it. I completely disconnected myself with the situation so I wouldn’t get too excited or attached. Every time I didn’t have a doctor’s appointment for a few weeks, the week before I was extremely nervous. The minute it took to find the heartbeat when I wasn’t that far long seemed to last at least a half hour. Miscarriage was constantly on my mind and that came with a lot of anxiety and doubt. I sometimes question if I am being selfish trying to have a baby with all the risks involved.

Once finding out I was pregnant, I talked to my doctor and she scheduled me with a specialty OB in a clinic she has worked with in the past. They also scheduled me to see a maternal fetal medicine doctor who specializes in lupus and pregnancy even more. They are actually doing a study currently with lupus patients in pregnancy that I am participating in.

If you think you have a lot of doctor’s appointments with lupus alone, having lupus and being pregnant gets insane. I went from having a rheumatologist appointment every three months to having monthly rheumatologist, OB appointments and maternal fetal medicine doctor appointments. Not to mention the eye scan I had to get done the other week because of my use of Plaquenil to treat lupus and an upcoming dentist appointment. It’s a lot of appointments on top of your normal doctor appointments.

There is a lot of overwhelming information about what the upcoming months will bring. With that being said, I’m very grateful that I have such a great team watching over the baby and me. I truly believe I am in the best hands and fully trust my doctors. Yes, it’s a ton of doctors’ appointments, but I would be concerned if I didn’t have them. It gives me a little bit of peace knowing they are checking up on us so much.

Thankfully, we didn’t have to go through the tragedy of a miscarriage, but because we prepared ourselves so much for one, I, to this day, am having a hard time getting excited and connecting. With lupus, I have gotten so used to a lot of things happening. Everything has gone smoothly so far, and I’m just waiting for something to come up because it normally does. I know that sounds negative, and, honestly, I’m not a negative person at all. It’s realistic and has past experiences to back it up.

From the beginning, the doctors have always said I have everything going for me. My lupus has been “under control” for over a year. My labs look fairly good (good for lupus at least). I have been feeling good. They have said all the right things to me that should help me to not worry. They tell me they don’t see me having any major complications.

It does help to be able to say that I am now over halfway there. Hopefully as I start to get the baby’s room together, get farther along, and the kicks get stronger, I will be able to worry less.

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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