Miracles and Needles! (Our First L.I.T Session)

A brief background about my pregnancy condition. It was in 2012 when I had my first pregnancy which turned into a miscarriage. Our baby's heartbeat started deteriorating at 8-9 weeks, and during the 10th week ultrasound, the heartbeat was completely gone. After my D&C, Dra. Valerie Guinto,  my High Risk Pregnancy OB ordered laboratory exams to find out the cause of my miscarriage. The examinations revealed that I have an Auto-Immune Disorder, wherein my own immune system recognizes my husband's blood as foreign, therefore, attacking the growing fetus and killing it. My OB advised that if we ever plan to get pregnant again, we would need to undergo a series of treatment to prevent it from happening again, and for us to be able to carry our baby full term.

Last March, after four years of praying and waiting, we found out that I am pregnant. We couldn't contain our joy when we saw our baby's heart beating strongly during the 8 weeks ultrasound, that alone is already a dream come true for me and Mike. My OB advised that to be on the safe side, we should go ahead and start the treatment called Lymphocyte Immunization Therapy (L.I.T).

L.I.T is a treatment in which Mike's white blood cells will be injected to me in four sessions to help my body produce healthy antibodies to protect our growing baby. In simple Filipino explanation, "Ipapakilala yung blood nya sa Immune System ko, para hindi na nya awayin si baby." This treatment is more advisable to be started before a woman gets pregnant, usually one month interval per session, to help the body prepare for pregnancy. However, since I am already at 9 weeks now, we will need to catch up and have it at 2 weeks interval per session instead.

At St. Luke's BGC, this treatment costs around 35,000 - 40,000php per session. My OB referred me to an Immunologist named Dra. Caroline Gloria (she is very nice by the way!) of Asian Hospital who gave us a more affordable rate of 25,000php per session. She will be taking care of all the concerns regarding my immune system throughout the entire course of my pregnancy.

Last Monday, we started our first L.I.T session. We went to Asian Immunology Institute (a laboratory in Medical Plaza Bldg, Makati) at 7am for Mike's blood extraction. Fourteen tubes of blood were extracted from him, which was later on processed for 2-3 hours to separate the white blood cells.

Good Morning! :)

14 Tubes of blood extracted

After the 2-3hours process, only the White Blood Cells placed in this container was used for my injections.
They delivered the WBC to Dra. Gloria's clinic at Asian Hospital in time for our 12nn appointment with her. She then injected the WBC to me, around .3cc per shot, six shots all in all until all the WBC is consumed. It was done through intradermal route (like skin test), so yes, it was painful. I cried on the 3rd to the 6th shot, holding on and pressing Mike's arm every shot and praying Philippians 4:13:

 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

We were asked to take a rest for a while, then Dra. Gloria came back to assess and bandage the site after twenty minutes. She also gave me take home instructions as we await for our next scheduled session in two weeks.

I am currently under seven medications including Heparin, a blood thinner that I need to inject to my belly twice a day. We are also going through other procedures (such as Intralipid Infusion, which I will blog about next time), and some other laboratory tests in between these L.I.T sessions.

To be honest, Mike and I have prayed for a miracle over this pregnancy. We have hoped that we wouldn't have to go through all these exhausting and expensive procedures, and just have a simple and easy pregnancy just like everyone else. But God's ways are higher than our ways. Instead of questioning Him, we choose to seek Him. We seek His presence in every detail of this process. And just as He promised, we find Him, every time, as we seek Him with all our hearts (Jer.29:13). We find Him as we rejoice every time He surprises us with His financial provisions. We find Him through our Doctors who lovingly care for us and our baby. We find Him as we are sobbing in tears every time we see our baby's heart beating. We find Him through friends and loved ones encouraging us through facebook comments, messages, and prayers... I find Him through the loving embrace and support of my husband, God clearly whispering to me that I'll never face anything in this life alone. He will always be with me, He will not fail or abandon me (Joshua 1:5).

Throughout all of these, Mike and I continue to realize that the ultimate blessing is not God answering our prayers the way we want Him to, or Him making all things easy and comfortable for us. The ultimate miracle is being in His presence, experiencing a deeper intimacy with Him, and experiencing the reality of His perfect love that casts out all worries and fears... the kind of peace in the middle of the storm that the world could never understand. We still have a long way to go, but we are excited to experience more of His revelations throughout this journey.

"Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and mind as you live in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:7 

My Precious Tiny Heart (A Letter to my Baby)

My Precious Tiny Heart,

The last two weeks felt like the longest two weeks of my life. After that first pre-natal check-up, fear and doubt crept into my heart as I've recalled how we lost the heart beat of our first baby at 8 weeks, four years ago. There were mornings when I would wake up wondering if your heart is still beating. I would cry out my worries and fears to God, and He would comfort me with His promises as I soak myself in His Word:

"There will be no miscarriages or infertility in your land, and I will give you long, full lives." - Exodus 23:26

"And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst." - Zechariah 2:5

"Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe", says the LORD of Heaven's Armies." - Malachi 3:11

"Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground." - Deuteronomy 28:4

I'll never forget what your Daddy told me while I was crying that night:

"Lumalakad ka na sa tubig, wag na wag mong aalisin ang focus mo kay Jesus, kundi, lulubog ka. (You are already walking on water, do not loose your focus on Jesus, otherwise, you'll drown). We will fight this battle together in faith, and in the end, God will be glorified."

I am so blessed to have your Daddy. I stood and walked in his faith when mine was shaking. Together, we chose to believe the Goodness of God, His Power, and His Great Love for us. We remembered His faithfulness and the miracles that He has done for us in the past. God used the many years of waiting to prepare us for this day -- when we are brave enough to fight this battle because we know Him deeper now. We know that He is Greater, Stronger, Bigger, and Higher than any fearful situation that we will have to face. Ultimately, we know that He is the One fighting for us. God gave us a peace beyond understanding as we stood upon this Truth.

Today, your Daddy and I were in awe, crying, as we were worshiping God after seeing you healthy at your 8 weeks and 3 days ultrasound. For someone who have lost the heartbeat of her child in the past, your 174 bpm heart beat is already a dream come true for us! It was an answered prayer! Every single beat of your heart is a gift from the Lord.

Anak, one day, when you grow up, you will face frightening situations in life. My prayer, is that you may know Jesus and His Great Love for you! That you become so passionately in love with Him too, it is then that you will understand, that only His perfect love can cast out your fears. This Jesus who takes care of you while you are inside my womb, is the same Jesus who will care for you throughout your lifetime, until your hair is white with age (Isaiah 46:4). He will bring you to the great plan and purpose that He has prepared for you (Jeremiah 29:11) as long as you keep on trusting and obeying Him. Anak, I'm excited to someday see you walk on water too... following Jesus to the great unknown, to wherever He leads you. You can always choose faith over fear, because the LORD your God will always be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9). 


Read the Story of my Past Miscarriage here: