‘Minutes after the pregnancy photos were taken, I found blood in the bathroom and felt a gush of water. In an instant, I knew I needed to get to the hospital.’: Couple diagnosed with rare blood clot disorder, ‘Jack is not only our guardian angel, but my hero’

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“When Mike and I first got together it was undeniable we were meant to be. We did what normal couples do: moved in together, got engaged, got married, and then spent $20K on fertility treatment.

No? Not normal?

I grew up with an irregular cycle and things got progressively worse when I turned 24 so I went to my gynecologist. After some bloodwork and an ultrasound, I was diagnosed with ‘lean PCOS.’ It seemed pretty common these days and most people go on to have families sometimes with the help of medical intervention. A few years later, we also learned Mike was a contributing factor as well. Just call us Monica and Chandler.

Courtesy of Lauren Napurano

Eight years and MANY MANY tests later, we embarked on our biggest adventure. IVF. We live in a world where being diagnosed infertile, it is a CHOICE to do fertility treatment to have a family. Therefore, we had no coverage… insert giant check to the clinic.

Courtesy of Lauren Napurano

As someone who was truly terrified of needles, I knew the end goal would most likely be a baby. I just had to get through this part to get what I want. I’m happy to say I’m a master now.

Our experience with IVF was textbook perfect. Honestly, it could not have gone better and we ended up with 11 viable embryos! We were riding high. It’s been years and years to get to this point.

The day of our transfer was a day I’ll remember forever. We crossed our fingers for the entire 10 days to see what the results would be. Lo and behold, I WAS PREGNANT!

Courtesy of Lauren Napurano

After nine weeks, we graduated from the fertility clinic and were now under the care of our new OBGYN. She seemed great, blunt just like I like them. When it was time to express my concerns, I let her know about the two procedures I had on my cervix. I was afraid we would have some trouble carrying the whole way through without some help. Her response to me was, ‘It could happen to anyone, you’ll be fine.’

My pregnancy was EASY. No morning sickness, no nausea, no pain. I wanted all the mac and cheese I could get. I felt SO lucky, considering the path I just had to take to get here.

At 12 weeks, we had a gender reveal with family and friends and also let everyone in on his name, Jack.

Courtesy of Lauren Napurano

On December 2nd at 11:15 p.m., Mike has just taken my 18-week photo. About 15 minutes later, I felt like I needed to use the bathroom and when I went, there was a bit of blood and then a gush of water. In an instant, I knew we needed to get to the hospital.

The ride in the ambulance was long. My body was involuntarily pushing more and more fluid out, only when we got to the hospital, I realized it was blood. It was that moment, I knew it was over.

I sat on that ER bed in a pool of my own blood. Coincidently, my OB was there and when she saw me, she also knew. I looked at her and said, ‘I told you so.’ She had the audacity to tell me I was right.

I had his heartbeat checked twice. It was still there, but the odds were not in his favor. I had lost ALL amniotic fluid. He was not going to make it. A couple of hours later, they checked again and confirmed he was no longer with us. Jack was gone, and a part of me was gone too.

The real kicker is, when you are this far along, they bring you to labor and delivery to be induced… because now he has to come out. I laid there watching Home Alone, knowing it would be my last moments with him. Nine hours of labor concluded THE worst day of our lives and I physically barely felt a thing because the shock was so strong.

Courtesy of Lauren Napurano

The next day, we spent some time with Jack. He was baptized, we got his footprints and some pictures. He was perfectly formed for 18 weeks and we were already able to tell he was going to take after his dad. It was extremely hard to say hello and goodbye all at the same moment. I replay it in my head every day. He is so loved and so so wanted.

Courtesy of Lauren Napurano

We had Jack cremated a few days after and he’s in his own dedicated space in our living room.

There were no words to describe how livid I was that this had happened after I had expressed my concerns to the doctor time and time again. If there was someone I wanted to scream at and lash out on, it was her.

We ended up getting a pathology report on the placenta. It came back reading there were small clots throughout and that there was an abruption. Luckily, I had a follow-up with the OB that week so I figured I would just ask her about it then. Her response was ‘clots are normal.’

My fertility doctor called when he found out, expressed his condolences, and said before moving forward again (when we’re ready), we would need to see a maternal-fetal specialist. I managed to get us an appointment two months later.

The MFM looked at all my labs. We walked through that dreadful December day minute by minute. She was able to determine I indeed lost the baby due to incompetent cervix but she was concerned about the pathology report of the placenta. She sent me up for major bloodwork that same day.

Courtesy of Lauren Napurano

By the end of the week, I had all the results back. I tested positive for a rare blood clot disorder called Anti-phospholipid syndrome. Honestly, my mind was blown. If you are familiar with IVF, there’s a lot of testing that needs to be done beforehand so how was this missed?

Apparently they only test for this if you’ve had multiple miscarriages, a second-trimester loss, a stroke, or a blood clot. And even if it comes back positive, you have to test again in 12 weeks for an actual diagnosis. So when I did it again, I was not surprised when it came back positive. When inquiring with the MFM, she had said if my pregnancy with Jack continued, myself and Jack would be 100% in danger. Talk about eye-opening. Blood clots during pregnancy are the leading cause of maternal death in the US.

Another pregnancy is not impossible. We will have to add blood thinner injections to our IVF regimen and have a cervical cerclage put in between 12-14 weeks to prevent pre-term labor. We know there is no guarantee we will bring a baby home safely but we can do everything in our power to make it happen. The first order of business was a new OB.

Jack is not only our guardian angel but he is my hero. He saved my life. He has taught me patience and to never take a moment for granted. I will never stop talking about him and I will make sure his siblings know the impact he has on our lives.”

Courtesy of Lauren Napurano

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Lauren Napurano.  You can follow their journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories like this:

‘Dr. Cocky boldly said, ‘Give me 6 months and I’ll make you pregnant.’ Every negative broke me a little more.’: Woman beats infertility twice, ‘I am so proud to no longer be a statistic’

‘Unexplained infertility was our ‘diagnosis.’ Weeks later, we received a phone call from an expectant mom. ‘I’d like you to adopt my daughter.’: Couple battling infertility ‘shocked’ by pregnancy during adoption process

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