Friday, March 30, 2012

Lupus pregnancies - the concerns spelled out in black and white

While this article doesn't reveal anything groundbreaking, it does touch on a subject that is worthy of reflection. The article, published on Medical News Today,com, talks about the effects that diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis have on a woman's plans for a family. It seems that new research has found that more than half of woman with RA or SLE have fewer children than desired. While factors that influence the smaller family size include infertility and miscarriage, I was most intrigued by the mention of patient choice as a factor...because there's so much to weigh when considering a lupus pregnancy.


While you can read about my two fabulous high-risk pregnancies in blog posts past, and the ease with which Deirdre and Bernadette came into this world, the ideas of getting pregnant, staying pregnant, and caring for my kids post-partum weren't quite so easy. There was a ton of planning involved, precautions were taken, risks were mitigated, and many prayers were said. My two little ladies are the biggest blessings in my life (with Johnny being a very, very close 1.5), but the jury is still out on whether I'm going to "go for it" a third time. I have a lot to consider, and a lot at stake, as those gals need a mom who is as healthy and happy as possible. So I need to make decisions that will give me the best chance of making that happen. 


What do I consider? Things that are touched on in the article...which remind me that I'm not crazy to carefully weigh the pros and cons. As quoted in the article: 


 "Our study highlights important reproductive-health concerns for women with RA and lupus," said Dr. Clowse. Study findings reported that concerns about inability to care for their children, adverse effects from medications taken during pregnancy, and genetic transmission of their disease to offspring lead to fewer pregnancies in women with RA and SLE.


These are things I consider daily - and while I always pictured myself with three little kiddos - sometimes you have to stop while you're ahead, and you have to follow where life leads you. 


Of course, I don't want to act out of fear, either. I wouldn't have these two gals in the first place if I had let fear of an unsuccessful lupus pregnancy paralyze my decisions to get pregnant before. 




Decisions, decisions. Whichever way I go, with Johnny's 100% declared support, and those two adorable faces staring at me each day, I think I've already come out on top. 

6 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Thank you Sara! It is hard for me some days facing the fact that I might never be able to have my own children - my Lupus is so out of control, I also have APS, and other auto-immune disorders, OH and I haven't met the man of my dreams yet! LOL I am 32, and I used to say I wanted to be married and have my first child by 30, now I am living with my parents and unable to work because of my illness. But I HAVE learned to enjoy the good days - which includes my 5 (going on 6) nieces and nephews...and that helps!

Jen Sharp Gorman said...

sg - love you with all of my heart. xoxo

Sara Gorman said...

Elizabeth - Hello! I found that being an aunt was a great tide-me-over until I got my life with lupus situated. And while it definitely hasn't followed the path I THOUGHT it would take...things really have worked out.

And kudos to you for doing what you needed to while your lupus is preventing you from working. You could have held out -stubbornly - and attempted to deal with lupus all on your own. But instead, you took the high road and reached out. Way to go! You need all the support you can get right now - glad you're surrounded by family.
Best wishes - SG

Sara Gorman said...

And thank you, Aunt Jen!!!

Linda said...

Thanks for the post. I am 34 now and had my son a year ago. The pregnancy was gong well until I had preeclampsia and he was born 7 weeks early. Since his birth, the flares have been brewing and culminated into a life threatening situation for the last ninth months. The frustration of not being able to raise him (I'm so jealous of moms who can pick their baby up and carry them with ease) and. Ring bedridden has really made me afraid of having another baby. So I agree with the article that most women with lupus will have less than they planned. I would love two children but it doesn't look like a possibility.

Sara Gorman said...

Linda - First - congrats on your little one, but sorry to hear that you're in such an awful post-partum flare. I'm sure it's the most frustrating thing in the world not to be able to hold that little guy with ease. I experienced that for all of a weekend with Deirdre, and it was very disheartening. My hope is that your rheumatologist is on the job of getting those flares under control - and that you find relief soon. I personally found that my life-threatening situation (pancreatitis with severe anemia, etc, etc, etc.) prompted drastic, yet productive changes in the way my doctor and I viewed and treated my case of lupus. I hope it starts a positive chain of events in your case, too.