Big Changes Part 3: Getting Some Answers

Before we moved, before we miscarried, I had done my research and found a GREAT OB to provide my prenatal care once we were to arrive in California. I was super excited to work with my new doctor after receiving countless recommendations from women who had delivered with him. My 12 week appointment was scheduled for our first week in town and after I miscarried I decided to keep the appointment for follow-up and planning for future pregnancies. I’m so glad I did.

My new doctor listened to my pregnancy history– my first miscarriage, the challenges we faced with Ziva’s pregnancy, and this most recent miscarriage. Generally the medical establishment look at early miscarriages as bad luck until there are 3 or more in a row without live births in between. But this new doctor really listened, and he decided that despite my not having had 3 successive miscarriages without a live birth in between, he felt there was reason enough to do some blood tests to take a look at why I may be experiencing recurrent miscarriages. I’m so glad he did.

I went in and had my blood drawn right away and waited till after my next cycle to go back to meet with the doc for my results. I fully expected and was bracing myself to hear that there was no explanation, nothing unusual with my results, and no potential explanation for why my babies keep miscarrying. I’ve never been so relieve to find out there was a problem. I mean, usually a positive test for a medical test isn’t a good thing… but in this case it meant answers. It means I may be able to do something about my recurrent miscarriages and POSSIBLY avoid losing another baby when we decide we’re ready to try again. I can’t imagine a more hopeful result.

Of the handful of tests they ran on my blood I received 2 positive results.

I received an ANA result (Antinuclear-Antibodies) that was positive. I don’t know a ton about this test and I wonder if it could be caused by my Psoriasis, which is an inflammatory autoimmune condition. The doctor wants to retest me for this in a month because it has a high false-positive rate. He did not make any treatment recommendations based on this test. You can read more about ANA here- http://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Antinuclear-Antibodies-ANA

The second thing that came back positive was MTHFR. I won’t even attempt at explaining it myself, I’ll let my doctor do that:

What Is MTHFR?

MTHFR (5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase – what a mouthful…) is a specific gene found on a specific chromosome within every cell in every person The MTHFR gene produces an enzyme responsible for a multi-step process that converts the amino acid homocysteine to another amino acid, methionine. Specifically, MTHFR irreversibly reduces 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to 5-methyltetrahydrofolate.  5-methyltetrahydrofolate is ultimately converted to methionine to make proteins and other important compounds. When the MTHFR enzyme “malfunctions” the process gets backed up, so that homocysteine (considered to be somewhat of a toxic amino acid) levels increase.  Elevated homocysteine can cause inflammation in blood vessels and increases the risk of microscopic clot formation.”

(From http://www.stephenwellsmd.com/mthfr.htm)

This is the test that gives me hope. There are treatment options available that may reduce the likelihood of miscarrying due to this condition.

There’s something I can do.

There’s something I can do.

No words are sweeter to a mom who’s lost multiple babies (or even just one). No hope greater than learning there may be something you can do to keep it from happening again.

My doctor recommended that whenever we decide we’re open to becoming pregnant again, or if there is a possibility I will become pregnant, I should start taking a low-dose aspirin daily.

Just one little pill.

Hopefully this is the first step towards our next baby sticking around for the long haul. I cannot tell you what a relief it is to know that there is hope, if even just a small glimmer, there is a little bit of hope that maybe we won’t have to go through an early pregnancy loss again.

May it be so.

 

* This is not meant to be medical advice to anyone. I am just sharing my own experience and what I believe my doctor told me to do for my health. Please consult your own physician before taking anything.

Rainbow on its way- The first trimester

PregnancyAnnouncementReadySetSarahBlog

We’re pregnant!

It was somewhat shocking to find that just one cycle after my miscarriage we are already expecting again. Along with the joy that came with the news, our initial reaction was also weighted by our still fresh pain, and fear of what could happen. But we had to believe the best, and we haven’t stopped believing. We’ll see this little one through, hopefully all the way till they’re in our arms safe and healthy! I took the first test before work and Brian and I both looked at the faint positive line in disbelief… so on my lunch hour I walked up to the drug store to get one more. No denying it this time!

Didn't believe it until the second test!

Didn’t believe it until the second test!

A rough start

Things quickly became more complicated when, once again, I began to spot at about 7 weeks. At 9 1/2 weeks, due to a heavy, heavy, bright red bleed over our Anniversary weekend in Traverse City, we spent our first anniversary in the ER expecting the worst. We were overjoyed and shocked when the ultrasound showed a healthy developing baby with a strong heart beat. It was determined by our OB at follow-up that we had experienced a subchorionic hematoma that had bled out. I continued to bleed lightly through the week, as the doctor warned us would happen. But it slowed to a stop by the end of the week.

The following weekend at 10 1/2 weeks I woke in the middle of the night to another rush of fresh bleeding… again, to the ER. We were again happy to find an even bigger growing baby and strong heart beat… But this time my cervix had begun to dilate. Crossing our fingers and praying to G*d we left the ER on rest until our follow-up appointment.

Baby Betsky at 9 1/2 and 11 weeks

Baby Betsky at 9 1/2 and 11 weeks

A long, worried wait

At our follow-up appointment we learned that the Subchorionic Hematoma (SCH) was still there (despite the 2 big bleeds), and that we would just need to wait it out and see if it would heal and reabsorb or bleed out on it’s own. From what I understand, there’s not much that can be done to treat a SCH. Some doctors believe that bed rest is the only treatment to help keep it from getting worse, others don’t buy it.

Our doctor put us somewhere on the spectrum at taking it easy, with no running, jogging, or general exertion. Brian and I weren’t going to take any chances. We read as many studies as possible and made our own decision. I spent the next month mostly seated or laying down. I’m telling you, MAD PROPS TO BED REST MOMS. It was seriously hard to stay inactive… especially not knowing if it would really help. The big fear with the SCH is that it can lead to serious complications later in the pregnancy if it doesn’t go away (miscarriage, premature labor…etc). Brian dutifully drove me to work everyday (to avoid the uphill walk from my parking lot), and I did everything I could to keep rested. The bleeding kept up for weeks (sorry for the gross factor of this post, if you’re grossed out by this stuff). But from what we can tell, the rest and time got us through.

Good to go- 20 weeks and counting

Now that we are on the other side of the first trimester (and midway through our second), I feel grateful that we didn’t have something worse to contend with. It felt like the world could come crashing down at any minute. The emotional stress was probably the worst part of it all. I’m amazed now how many small little things have to go right to get a person here. It makes me grateful that we have made it this far. I’m in awe of the seemingly “easy” pregnancies some people have (I know, I know, no such thing as easy), but grateful for every minute of this one.

We were fully cleared last week. The hematoma is gone and our little one is growing and kicking and making their way to the world. I started prental yoga and it feels like a little of the weight has been lifted. There may still be clouds lingering, but we can see this little rainbow shining through. I can’t wait to get to February to meet the little one!

First Trimester Cravings: not much… string cheese, cucumbers, carbs. Lots and lots of carbs. Really goes well with inactivity (hello miraculous multiplying booty).