In October 2016 I was told by my rheumatologist that I was in remission from my DM. I worked so hard to get to this point and was so dang proud to be pain free. With this remission came the possibility of trying to conceive another baby. This thought was almost confusing to my husband and I because we had come to terms that our son Ross would likely be an only child. I say this because getting pregnant on the medications is a HUGE no-no and for different health and personal reasons, I did not want to have a baby in my late 30’s. When I started my medication we were told that the time I would need to be on them would vary. It could have been 2 years, 4 years, 5 years etc. It really would just depend on how my body reacted and my particular case of DM. Now that the meds are no longer an issue and I am only 34 the baby game has changed.
The path to our decision.
If you know me at all, I like to know details and know what I am getting myself (and in this case a possible new baby) into. I spoke with three different doctors before making any sort of decision.
1. The first clearance came from my rheumatologist. He thought that it would be the perfect time to try and in fact he said that he hoped to see me at my year follow-up appointment with a little baby in my arms.
2. The second clearance was from my OB-GYN. She was thrilled to see me meet this point. I have visited her more often these last few years due to being tested yearly for “womanly” cancers. With DM comes a higher risk of cancers, another lovely side affect of the disease. From here my OB directed me to a perinatologist.
3. This is where my third clearance came in, the perinatologist. A perinatologist is an OB/GYN who specializes in high risk pregnancies. My discussion with him really helped ease our minds with his reassurance. We then knew that if something were to come up, DM related or another medical issue, he would be there to care for both myself and the baby.
The answers and deciding factors
- I knew that I would have to taper slowly off my medications and I so I did, without even thinking of conceiving. I really just needed to be off the meds for my own sanity.
- Once tapered off Methotrexate the body needs 3 month for it to completely rid of any signs of it. At the point of conception I was over 3 months free of the drug.
- During pregnancy your immune system slows down so that your body does not attack the foreign being, the fetus, as an intruder. For someone with an autoimmune disease with an overactive immune system this is great news. This means that even if I wasn’t in remission already, most of my symptoms likely would cease during the pregnancy.
- I had a full round of blood work done before conception to check levels of basically everything in my body. I think they just wanted to drain me of blood that day and save a little so I could walk out! Everything came back as wonderful!
Just one more question
While this pregnancy has been going wonderfully for me medically there is still the fear of flaring up postpartum. Once the baby is born your body goes haywire and your immune system clicks back on. This is where the risk of flaring up again comes into play. While this worries me, as I think it would anyone, I am choosing to fight against that proactively. I will fight with the power of healing foods and caring for my body the way it should be cared for.
I have a road ahead of me but I am hoping for way less bumps, well besides this one growing in my belly. This is one bump I will gladly endure!