ITP and Pregnancy

I am 31 years old and I live in Salinas, CA.  I found out I had ITP when I was two months pregnant.  I had never had blood work done prior to my pregnancy.  I had to have routine blood work.  My doctor called me immediately after she received my results because my platelets were under 30,000, and they needed to find the cause.  I was sent to have blood work to test me for lupus, hepatitis C, etc., and the results were always negative.  

The doctors finally realized that I must have had ITP prior to being pregnant.  They sent me to see a hematologist right away at Stanford.  I was scared and nervous because they wanted to perform a bone marrow biopsy on me if the platelets were still under 30,000.  Luckily they were at 30,000, and I didn’t need to have a bone marrow biopsy.  They put me on a low dose of prednisone throughout my pregnancy, my platelets kept going up and then down.  I felt so tired, stressed, and at times scared because the doctors would warn me that there was a chance of me bleeding excessively during labor.  When I started on prednisone it was hard to get used to the side effects.  I would get nausea, severe headaches, and I would have moments of confusion.

I felt like I was on a roller coaster during my pregnancy because my platelets would go up and down, and the doctors would increase and then decrease my prednisone.  It was hard to get blood work done every week, and at times even two times a week.  By the end of my pregnancy they had a hard time doing blood work because my veins were sore.  The hematologists at Stanford recommended that I get IVIg, and the doctors had to induce my labor before the IVIg treatment wore off.  I sat in the chair for almost five hours.  It was hard because you get tired sitting down for so long when you’re pregnant.  

During my labor the doctors had platelets ready for me just in case I would bleed excessively, but luckily my platelets were at 69,000 during my labor, and I didn’t bleed excessively.  Now that it has been almost a year since giving birth to my beautiful daughter, I am still struggling with ITP.  My platelets seem to keep going low, and the doctors have me at 30mg of prednisone.  The doctors at Stanford have recommended that I get a splenectomy because there’s a 70% chance it will help me with my ITP.  I am nervous and scared to think of surgery, but the long time side effects of being on prednisone all my life are not something the doctors recommend for me.  I have joined ITP support groups, and I am researching more about ITP, and what foods and vitamins help with platelets.

- Brenda

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