Pregnancy is an exciting experience, especially for first time mothers!
Going into this, I thought I knew what I was up against, what my body could handle and how it would react. The first trimester was a breeze for me, I barely had any pregnancy symptoms, and my Lupus seemed to be under control from the outside…ish!
Around weeks 5-9 I had developed right sided chest pain, the pain felt extremely similar to when I had pericarditis back in 2015 but I was very reassured as it was on the right side, meaning it could not be pericarditis. I informed my rheumatologist immediately, reminding her that I was due to go to Barcelona the following weekend – she was worried of course! Amazingly, she was able to squeeze me in to see her that week for a D-dimer blood test (a test to show any fibrin abnormalities, in particular the formation of blood clots), and using her magical powers also managed to arrange a chest x-ray the following day (the day before our flight).
The only sign I had was that my butterfly rash had made an appearance right from the beginning of pregnancy which started off quite faint so we thought it might just be a pregnancy rash, however it gradually became more visible as the weeks went on, which by then we knew it was a sign that my lupus was active. The rash was quite strong and dried out my skin causing pieces of hard skin to form on my cheeks, even make up couldn’t conceal it. Apart from this I felt quite normal, nothing a little extra prednisone can’t fix eh! Here’s a few photos of the rash, which has now faded significantly:
The results of the d-dimer test were elevated, however this was expected due to my background of lupus. The chest x-ray showed no abnormalities, which is good, but also did not give us any further insights as to what the issue was. My rheumatologist then magically booked me in for an immediate CTPA scan, which is similar to an x-ray only with a stronger radiation exposure for both me and the baby (I wore a LED skirt to protect the stomach area as much as possible) and a special dye that was injected to gain a better image of the affected area, meaning any blood clots would be more visible. I was sat down by the radiographer, who was very straight forward and made sure I knew the risks of the scan. For me, I wasn’t bothered about the risks to myself, only what he had to say about the baby, and of course he told me straight that there would be an increased risk of a spontaneous miscarraige, also increased radiation exposure which, on top of the chest x-ray I had just had was worrying. Honestly, my heart sank, these kinds of decisions are so important, and as many of my friends and family know, I am very indecisive / easy going person, so to have something like this put in front of me was heartbreaking to have to do. He gave my boyfriend and I some time to talk and think about it, after weighing the risks and benefits, we decided that the safest decision was to have the scan, if there was anything wrong, the consequences could be much much worse.
I’m happy to say that the CTPA also showed no blood clots / abnormalities, so yay for us and we got to enjoy our little holiday in Barcelona. The chest pain we assume was a mild case of pleuritis (inflammation of the lining around the lungs), which was stabilised after an increased dose of prednisone, up until now it is still under control 🙂
Here’s some holiday photos from our last trip abroad before we become a mummy and daddy!
That’s all for now, I’ll try to post again very soon!
Much love to all X