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.

Big Changes Part 1: Cross country move, miscarriage and answers

Whew. We did it!

We successfully moved across the country with a 15 month old, dog, and household of stuff. It’s been an incredibly hard, exhausting, exciting, and challenging spring so far and I don’t even know where to begin. So, I’ll just jump on in. This could get long, so I’m going to break it up into a 3 part series. You can read Part 2 and 3 Here and Here.

Pregnancy and Miscarriage

Positive Test_ReadySetSarahBlog

We found out in early March that we were expecting baby #2! We were THRILLED! I always wanted my kids close together and I wanted to start working on #2 just in case we experienced any trouble (like the first pregnancy which ended in a miscarriage at 12 weeks). The timing was a bit insane, since we were prepping for a cross-country move May 7th, but we couldn’t wait to show up in California with a little stowaway! Well, things didn’t go as planned… do they ever?

First, at what we calculated to be our 8 week appointment (based on my last period), the baby was only measuring 5 weeks. Strange… but our dates could very well have been off since my cycle was nowhere near regular yet. Then, a week later we went back to find a 6 week baby with a little steady heartbeat! A bit slow, but the Doc figured it was just getting going.

Heartbeat_ReadySetSarahBlog

Baby’s heartbeat.

Whew, it felt like we were in the clear and everything from there on out would be the (relatively) uneventful, smooth, and healthy pregnancy I’d always dreamed of… then I saw the tiniest bit of blood the Friday before what would be our  8 week appointment (based on the new dates adjusted at the first appointment). Okay, I’ve spotted with both my previous pregnancies…. those went 50/50, miscarriage/live birth. I trusted my gut and got in that day to have the baby checked.

The baby’s heartbeat was gone. It had stopped developing sometime in the 6th week after we saw it last.

This couldn’t be happening.

I was in shock, disbelief, numb.

Another miscarriage.

Why?

All our plans for another little November baby (like the first we miscarried which was due Nov 2nd, this baby’s adjusted due date was November 15th) were crushed. It took 3 weeks of bleeding before I finally miscarried fully. I had worked from home for a week waiting to pass the baby, but ended up miscarrying in the office on my last day before leaving for our big move to California. April 23rd. Almost exactly 2 years after I miscarried my first baby.

I Love You Forever_ReadySetSarahBlog

I packed away our Sister Bear and Baby bear shirts along with my hopes and dreams for these little siblings who would grow up so close in age. I pushed down the excitement for seeing Ziva as a big sister. I forced myself to see the silver linings this time around. At least I wouldn’t be having morning sickness and fatigue as I packed for the big move, at least I’d be able to lift things, at least, at least, at least…

I promise you, there was and is no silver lining that makes pregnancy loss of a wanted baby feel okay. There’s no silver lining good enough to replace the weight of a newborn in your arms, the kicks of a little growing baby, the joy of their first smiles, the love, the person they become. There just isn’t.

At least this time I had Ziva. At least this time I could hold her and find joy in her as she grows and changes… at least this time I know that I can survive, and life will go on, and eventually the sharpness of the pain dulls.

At least I was preparing to move back home where I could be close with my family and have a wide network of support for whatever the future holds. Our little family of 3 (4 with doggy Brinkley) would continue and move forward and move on, missing one more little angel.