My Health Journey: The Reason Behind My Unexplained Miscarriages
Have you had a miscarriage? Or perhaps more than one? Maybe afterwards the doctor gave you an undeniable reason and explanation. Maybe they gave you a good guess. Or maybe…. They had no idea at all?
I myself have had two miscarriages, and one successful pregnancy. I know from first hand experience that when the doctors, (who are supposed to know this stuff), can’t give you an answer or reason for your terrible loss….. it does not give you any hope moving forward in trying again for another pregnancy. In fact, it gives you a lot of fear!
If you don’t know what caused it, then you can’t do anything differently the next time around, and therefore….how can you know that it won’t end with a terrible result again the next time? Or however many times you try!?
You just go through one grueling pregnancy after another, all the awful pregnancy symptoms, and being in constant fear, dreading your OB appointments- all for it to end in disaster and devastation.
If this is you, if you can relate to what I just said…. I am very very sorry you have had to go through that. You are not alone.
IN THIS BLOG POST, I WANT TO:
– Briefly discuss my experience with two miscarriages, in partial detail
– Tell you what we thought the problem could have been
– Explain how we learned what the problem WAS
– Give you tips on how to move forward if you have had unexplained miscarriages
– Tell you how we had a successful third pregnancy and birth of our baby boy!
Miscarriage #1 & What We Thought the Problem Was
My husband and I had been married for 7 years, and we decided that it was finally time for us to start trying for a baby. We are not huge children people, and had been purposely taking precautions up to this point.
It took us 4 months of trying until we got a positive pregnancy test result. Not very long, really. To me this indicates a good healthy reproductive system that was easily able to conceive.
(I point that out because it is important for my story and point. If you are having infertility issues, that is likely very different from what I have dealt with. Although, I DO believe that SOME of the things I discuss in this post MAY possibly have a very positive impact on your pregnancy journey and ability to get pregnant.)
I had a terrible 1st trimester. Sick, sick, sick. And also just overall weak and fatigued. We went to our first appointment and did our first ultrasound. The doctor saw the gestational sac, but there was nothing inside of it. No “fetal pull” is what they call it. She suggested that maybe it was just a little too early to see, and said for me to come back in one week to do it again.
SO we did. Same result. She said this had happened before where someone had to get an intra-vaginal ultrasound, and then they were able to see the baby for whatever reason- the size or the positioning possibly.
SO we did. The result was that there was no fetus…. Even though there was a sac, and my body was continuing on as if there were a pregnancy happening. She even said that at one point there was a baby, but that it stopped developing so early on that the body likely reabsorbed the tissue.
It’s called a “missed pregnancy”- a type of miscarriage. All weird, I know. I had never heard of it before.
At this point I was about 10 weeks along, feeling every bit as pregnant and the next gal. And 13 weeks until my body naturally dropped the pregnancy. What a terrible experience to say the least.
The doctors’ explanation was that I probably had too low of progesterone levels to keep the pregnancy progressing normally.
SOLUTION #1: CHECK YOUR PROGESTERONE LEVELS!!!
I then went on to learn that progesterone is one of the single most important hormones that makes a pregnancy progress. Yet….. the doctors don’t even check this level when they find out you’re pregnant, or at any of your routine pregnancy labs!
WHAT IN THE WORLD? Seems like common sense to me, and I get VERY frustrated when I talk about it. Because it seems like such a simple way to avoid pregnancy losses, pain and grief!
My advice is to check your progesterone levels ASAP after finding out you’re pregnant. If you ask your doctor and they say no, or don’t think it’s necessary, you can go to a walk-in lab and check it all by yourself and they will give you the results directly. You just usually have to pay cash for these lab draws. A lot of those places don’t take insurance. But I love being able to take my health into my own hands and check what I want, WHEN I want.
You can then see the results, along with the reference range of where you should be. And you can then take these results to your doctor if you want. They can prescribe you a certain amount of progesterone during your entire pregnancy, or maybe just the 1st trimester. Or, you can even go to a health food store- or amazon…. lol – and get some progesterone for yourself. I recommend going through your doctor. But, like I said, if they are not helpful or supportive of you then you can do it yourself. (Unfortunate, but it’s the case sometimes. Just depends on the doctor. Just please do your research on a naturally sourced, good progesterone cream and the correct dosage.
Lastly, I have to add that there is even a correct process for taking progesterone pre-pregnancy if you are actively trying to concieve. Because, like I mentioned above, my body didn’t have enough very early on. And you may not make it to the doctor in time if you have very low progesterone levels. But, that is way too much for me to put in this post, so I may do a future post on it. You can probably find some information online. I did what my doctor explained to me).
So, after about a year of healing….. we started to try again. I think it took about 4 months again, around the same as the first time.
This time we thought we had the solution. I started taking progesterone cream while trying to conceive, and then obviously continued it afterwards.
For this pregnancy, we saw a fetal pull, we heard a heartbeat, and my progesterone levels were checked and cleared by the doctor. And once again… I felt very sick and pregnant.
It was at my 17-week appointment that we were told there was no heartbeat. And I carried until 19 weeks.
At this point we were very discouraged and confused, to say the least. I had been taking progesterone, what gives?!
This 2nd time around, we had a different doctor than the first time. She explained that she could see no obvious reason for the miscarriage. I was healthy. Labs looked good. Hormones looked good. Baby appeared healthy. No family history, blah blah blah.
SO, she said, “When I see a case like yours, because I have many times in my many years of practice…. We believe that it is due to a blood clot getting stuck in the umbilical cord.”
We asked her why this would happen. She said it could have to do with a couple different clotting factors in the body. And then something else….
Something known as MTHFR.
MTHFR is a gene mutation that is not commonly talked about. I believe that God set it up for us to have this doctor particularly. Because she said that some doctors don’t take it seriously. Therefore, they don’t even mention it to their patients. And most other ones wait until you have FOUR miscarriages until they will check for it!!!
SHEESH! How awful! No thank you!
She had me get a new set of labs, and the results came back…. that I did indeed not only have MTHFR, but also low protein C activity. Which apparently means you have a higher clotting factor than normal. AKA- it’d be very hard for me to bleed to death.
She said that with these two things going on, it was very likely there was a blood clot in the umbilical cord. She also said that because MTHFR isn’t largely recognized, there isn’t as much research on it as other things. But that it seems to cause other problems or conditions. They just don’t know what they all are yet, but it just causes problems….
SOLUTION #2: CHECK FOR BLOOD CLOTTING FACTORS AND MTHFR GENE.
I think that MTHFR has been gaining recognition, and you can definitely do some reasearch and find some good information out there now. You will just need to do it on your own. Don’t expect much from your doctor. *sigh*
(I do, however, want to give you a disclaimer at this point. Once you check for MTHFR and find out that you have it….. it will forever be on your health record. And many crooked insurance companies consider it to be a pre-existing condition. It’s a gene mutation, so you have it from birth. Although it is quite common, and a lot of people have it and never know…. Most people don’t check for it…therefore it is not on their record. Just want you to be aware of this beforehand. Because I don’t think that this is something you can check for at a walk-in lab. It may have to be ordered by a doctor. But, I am not 100% sure. Talk to your doctor and the walk-in lab about it. I learned this the hard way by being denied health insurance from some places because of it. Not sure if they’re allowed to do that or not. *shrugging*).
SO…..we had answer number two, where were we supposed to go from there?…….
How We Had A Successful Third Pregnancy
I want to start off by saying that I don’t think that the whole progesterone theory from our first doctor was totally wrong. I did ACTUALY have lower progesterone that 1st pregnancy.
I am thinking there may have actually been TWO reasons for my misscarriages, and that was half the answer. So, the second time around we only had half of the solution we needed. Because, for my 3rd pregnancy we also kept an eye on my progesterone and supplemented it until around 16 weeks gestation. But, we also implemented the other half of the solution, which was Lovenox shots.
Lovenox is a blood-thinning shot. Used for patients who have actual blood clots.
My doctor went on to tell us that I would need to take a shot EVERY DAY of my pregnancy, as soon as I found out that I was pregnant again.
WOW….what a blow to the gut after already having two unsuccessful pregnancies. Not only did they feel like a complete waste of time, pain, and discomfort….. Not only did I have to look forward to another pregnancy filled with fear and dread if I did choose to try again…. But then I had to look forward to giving myself a shot every day for 11 months! (you have to keep taking them 4-6 weeks after pregnancy also).
She said that I would be taking a lower dosage than someone who actually had a blood clot that they were treating. And that I would also need to take an 81 mg baby aspirin every day as well to thin the blood. She told us these were both perfectly safe for me and the baby. With no side effects. And FINALLY she told us that any other patient she had seen with my similar situation…. she would put them on Lovenox shots and they ALWAYS came out with a successful pregnancy.
ALWAYS she said.
We liked hearing those odds. (Not that it took away all of our fear).
And so I did what she said…..
And I now have a 3-month-old healthy baby boy! No health complications whatsoever! Praise the Lord!
Here is the link to another blog post I wrote, about my shot”routine”. It really helped me have a good experience with the shots, and avoid a lot of pain and bruising. How I Gave Myself Lovenox Shots to Avoid Bruising
SOLUTION #3: TAKE LOVENOX SHOTS AND BABY ASPIRIN DAILY.
(Talk to your OB about these things. You would only take the lovenox shots IF you had MTHFR or a blood clotting factor.)
I know, I know…. This isn’t the happiest most exciting news you were hoping to hear at the end of my story. But I can tell you it worked! And depending on how badly you want to have kids, and what you have ALREADY been through trying to do so….. I promise…. It really isn’t that bad. And your baby will be worth it. I can say this myself after having had 2 miscarriages. I would prefer the shots any day.
While the solution is not exciting….the news that there IS a solution…. And that it COULD be YOUR solution is very exciting! And I hope it gives you hope!
Here is a post I wrote with helpful tips about the Lovenox Shots: How I Avoided Bruising With Lovenox Shots
I will eventually be writing more personal posts about miscarriages- coping, healing, and moving forward into trying again.
I hope this post has the potential to change your life. I hope it brings you knowledge and hope and a sense of power in your particluar situation. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to comment or message me.
Until next time, take one day at a time.
Her Life In Season