Friday, February 20, 2009

Making miscarriage a crime

I present for your horrified review, legislation actually being proposed here in Tennessee:

SB 1065 by Marrero B (HB 0890 by Hackworth)

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 68, relative to testing for certain substances in pregnant women.

SECTION 1.Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 68, Chapter 5, is amended by adding Section 2 of this act as a new part thereto.

(a) The general assembly declares that, as a matter of public policy of this state and in
the interest of public health, pregnant women who abuse alcohol and drugs pose a risk to their unborn children. Pregnant women who meet certain criteria, as determined by the department, through rules and regulations duly promulgated in accordance with the provisions of the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5, shall be tested for alcohol and drugs in order to encourage them to seek immediate treatment for an alcohol-related or drug-related problem.

(b) If the department levies a fee or charge for the cost of testing, it shall use the same billing and collection methods normally used by independent private laboratories. Any fee shall be waived for patients who are unable to pay.

(c) The department, in promulgating rules to implement this act, shall consider the following as indications of the necessity for alcohol or drug testing:
(1) No prenatal care;
(2) Late prenatal care after twenty-four (24) weeks gestation;
(3) Incomplete prenatal care;
(4) Abruptio placentae;
(5) Intrauterine fetal death;
(6) Preterm labor of no obvious cause;
(7) Intrauterine growth retardation of no obvious cause;
(8) Previously known alcohol or drug abuse; or
(9) Unexplained congenital anomalies.

(d) The commissioner of health is authorized to adopt rules, using criteria established by the United States department of health and human services as guidelines for modeling the drug and alcohol testing program pursuant to this act, concerning, but not limited to:
(1) Standards for licensing drug and alcohol testing laboratories and suspension and revocation of the licenses;
(2) Body specimens and minimum specimen amounts that are appropriate for drug or alcohol testing;
(3) Methods of analysis and procedures to ensure reliable drug or alcohol testing results, including the use of breathalyzers and standards for initial tests and confirmation tests;
(4) Minimum cut-off detection levels for alcohol, each drug or metabolites of the drug for the purposes of determining a positive test result;
(5) Chain-of-custody procedures to ensure proper identification, labeling and handling of specimens tested; and
(6) Retention, storage and transportation procedures to ensure reliable results on confirmation tests and retests.

(e) Prior to acting on the proposed rules to implement this chapter, the commissioner shall submit the proposed rules to the house health and human resources and the senate general welfare committees of the general assembly for their review and comment. The committees shall have forty-five (45) days to review the proposed rules and transmit any comment it may have to the commissioner.

(f) Any woman who tests positive for alcohol or drugs on a test administered pursuant to this chapter shall be referred to treatment for an alcohol-related or drug-related problem. Every physician, surgeon or other person permitted by law to attend a pregnant woman during gestation shall report each woman who refuses to seek treatment for an alcohol-related or drug-related problem or who misses two (2) or more appointments to the department of children's services. Such reports shall be in a manner specified by the department, either by contacting a local representative of the department or by utilizing the department's centralized intake procedure, where applicable.

(g) A health care provider who makes a report of alcohol or drug abuse, as required by subsection (f), shall not be liable in any civil or criminal action that is based solely upon such report.

(h) Nothing in this section shall be construed to confer any immunity upon a health care provider for a criminal or civil action arising out of the treatment of a woman about whom the report of alcohol or drug abuse was made.

(i) All information, interviews, reports, statements, memoranda and drug or alcohol test results, written or otherwise, received by the covered employer through a drug or alcohol testing program are confidential communications and may not be used or received in evidence, obtained in discovery or disclosed in any public or private proceedings, except in accordance with this section.

(j) Laboratories, medical review officers, employee assistance programs, drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs and their agents who receive or have access to information concerning drug or alcohol test results shall keep all information confidential. Release of the information under any other circumstance is authorized solely pursuant to a written consent form signed voluntarily by the person tested, unless the release is compelled by a hearing officer or a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to an appeal taken under this section, relevant to a legal claim asserted by the employee or is deemed appropriate by a professional or occupational licensing board in a related disciplinary proceeding. The consent form must contain, at a minimum:
(1) The name of the person who is authorized to obtain the information;
(2) The purpose of the disclosure;
(3) The precise information to be disclosed;
(4) The duration of the consent; and
(5) The signature of the person authorizing release of the information.

(k) Information on drug or alcohol test results for tests administered pursuant to this act shall not be released or used in any criminal proceeding against the woman who was subject to the test. Information released contrary to this section is inadmissible as evidence in the criminal proceeding.

SECTION 3. For the purpose of promulgating rules and regulations, this act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it. For all other purposes this act shall take effect January 1, 2010, the public welfare requiring it.

I read this with my mouth hanging open in shock. Unbelievable.

So if this law is enacted, it means that any woman who suffers a miscarriage, stillbirth, or other serious pregnancy complications, or who gives birth to a disabled child, will face state-mandated drug testing.

I really can't frame my own response to this vile legislation any better than fellow Tennessee blogger Aunt B already did, so I'll just quote her here:

But here's the best part. If your pregnancy just isn't going right-the placenta comes open or the fetus dies or you go into labor early for no discernible reason, or the fetus isn't growing fast enough, or the fetus has congenital anomalies-and let me remind you these are all things that just happen during pregnancies; things go wrong, for no reason, all the time-the State wants to drug test you.

And let's say that they do. Let's say that you start to miscarry. You have spotting and cramping and it's pretty obvious and inevitable what's going on. Maybe you have a bottle of wine to help you through. You've just done into labor early for no discernible reason and your fetus is dead for no discernible reason and when they drug test you, they're going to find that you've been drinking.

What do you think is going to come of that?

This is what I mean when I say that the reproductive rights fight is going to be had on the bodies of women who miscarry. And these legislators, Hackworth and Marrero are Democrats. These are the folks who are supposed to be on the side of women and they want to give the State the right to start sniffing around if your pregnancy doesn't go right?

This bill opens the door to the State blaming women who miscarry for those miscarriages. Shoot, it doesn't just open the door. It opens the door and escorts the State right in.

They cannot make it illegal, still, thank god, for you to be pregnant in your own way. They cannot legally require you to go to the doctor. They cannot hold you legally responsible for the death of your fetus.

But they want to. And so this is an end run around that. If you won't do what they want you to do, they will drug test you and force you into treatment if they don't like what they've found. In other words, you will be punished for, in the case of imbibing alcohol, something that is perfectly legal. Something most doctors will tell you is fine on occassion when you are pregnant.

In other words, the precident they're setting is that, once you are pregnant, your body is not your own. You no longer know what's best for you. Your doctor no longer knows what's best for you. You are not allowed to not realize you're pregnant. You're not allowed to be afraid. You're not allowed to be too poor to go to the doctor. You have to do what the State tells you to do while you're pregant, because, while you're pregnant, your body is not your own.

And here's the other thing. Can we just not beat around the bush about the subtext here? It's no coincidence that Memphis has an infant mortality rate so depressingly high that it might as well be a hundred years ago over there and that Marrero is bringing the bill. You cannot be a human being with a soul and look at what's going on in Memphis, or shoot, in neighborhoods here in Nashville, and not have your heart come right out sobbing into your hands.

But treating women like, once they're pregnant, the State needs to control them is vile. It just is. There's no way around it and wanting to protect babies doesn't make it okay to assume that the problem lies solely with the mothers.

If Marrero makes a medical decision I don't like, should I have the right to force her to take a drug test, make sure she hasn't been drinking too much?

The sad truth is that pregnancies end for all kinds of reasons. Some women can go their whole pregancies not even knowing they're pregnant, drinking and drugging it up, and their kids come out with no ill-effects. Many, many women in this State try their hardest to do the right thing every step of the way-doctor visits, vitamins, no alcohol use, etc.-and they still lose their pregnancies. They still have babies who are too sick to make it through the year. It's not anyone's fault. It just happens. And I know my fair share of women in that situation and they all blame themselves at some level. Adding to their suffering by having the state step in and act like they're to blame is cruel.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yes, it's okay to talk about your miscarriage

I love this perspective:

I don't think women have always known the other women in their life who've had miscarriages. In fact, when I told a friend at the beginning of the last pregnancy that I was pregnant she replied "Well, I guess I'm old fashioned; I didn't tell people until week 13." And I responded "Why? If I had a miscarriage, I'd tell you to!"

Am I supposed to be ashamed if I have a miscarriage? It it because we're discussing something that is vaguely associated with my nether regions that I'm not supposed to tell a soul that I'm pregnant until I'm showing? Helloo!!! WORLD!!!! Get past Queen Victoria and stop blaming the mother for everything that happens!!!

I do understand the awkwardness of having to explain to someone after the fact that you are no longer pregnant. I was thinking of inventing a button that says "I'm not pregnant anymore, but I'm OK!" But if I had kept my pie hole shut, I'd never been able to talk to my friends this weekend who needed a shoulder, some information, and a "sister's" about what they were going through.

So there. I'm not going to shut up. Not that I ever could.

But then, one of the commenters below that post makes an equally valid point, and one I can very much relate to:

well, after five miscarriages (and no babies) i feel like i have a much different perspective on when to tell. I always told, at least my close family and friends, but with this last pregnancy, i just found i couldn't anymore. You're getting a bit high-handed, i think, in dismissing the reasons not to tell. that decision often has nothing to do with any victorian mores, or even shame, often it's pure terror of even putting voice to something you know is so completely fragile. it's so very private. plus, after five of them, i just couldn't handle all the pity. and honestly, i think most people just don't know what to say anymore. false positivity never did it for me. so, yes, having support is essential, but sometimes you need to come to terms with what's happening (or might happen) before shouting it to the world.

Secondary infertility: one of the weirdest experiences of my life

How I am feeling lately:

I also realized this week that my current evening medication regimen, designed to potentially get and keep me pregnant, looks rather like the pill intake of a very elderly woman suffering from numerous and serious chronic diseases. It’s THAT many pills and supplements. And then there is all the drawing of blood and ultrasounding of innards and karyotyping of chromosomes that comes with this experience. It’s something, let me tell you.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A great resource for educating yourself on miscarriage

In my opinion, the best information currently available online regarding miscarriage is the Healthline "Fruit of the Womb" blog authored by Dr. Kenneth Trofatter. Dr. Trofatter has blogged very extensively over the past several years on the topics of miscarriage and recurrent pregnancy loss. His blog is searchable, so you can easily find any specific topics you are looking for, and be sure to read all the comments below each post, because they are filled with patient comments, and very specific and informative responses from Dr. Trofatter. He must commit a tremendous amount of time to this blogging, and I'll tell you, I am a fan. I wish he were located in my neck of the woods (he used to be), because I'd definitely be calling for a new patient appointment.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thrombophilias, miscarriage and bloodthinners - a research review

If you have suffered one or more miscarriages, and are trying to figure out whether or not you may need blood thinners (heparin or lovenox) next time you get pregnant, here is some data to ponder (and share with your doctor):

[Treatment with enoxaparin (“Lovenox”) adapted to the fertility programs in women with recurrent abortion and
Sarto A, Rocha M, Geller M, Capmany C, Martinez M, Quintans C, Donaldson M, Pasqualini RS.

Acquired and inherited thrombophilia are associated with recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL). Antithrombotic therapy could restore hemostatic balance and improve early placentation and gestational outcome. We evaluated the efficacy of enoxaparin adapted to the fertility program for prevention of pregnancy loss in 35 women (W) with early RPL and thrombophilia. Previous to the diagnosis of thrombophilia, they had had a total of 105 gestations of which 89 (85%) ended in early pregnancy loss. After diagnosis of thrombophilia, 35 subsequent pregnancies were treated with enoxaparin. In 5 cases assisted reproductive techniques were necessary to achieve pregnancy due to couple infertility. In 17 W who had had at least one preclinical pregnancy loss, enoxaparin (20 mg/d/s.c.) was started previous to conception and adapted to the fertility program. All the women continued with the gestational regime. Eighteen W with only clinical pregnancy loss started enoxaparin (20 mg twice per day s.c.) after biochemical pregnancy diagnosis. During gestations heparin dose was adjusted with anti Xa test, maintaining a range between 0.3 at 0.6 u/ml. With antithrombotic therapy, 30/35 (85%) of the pregnancies ended in live birth versus 16/105 (15%) of the pregnancies without treatment (p < 0.001).


American Journal Of Reproductive Immunology
Volume 49 Issue 2 Page 90 - February 2003

Successful Pregnancy with Low Molecular Weight Heparin in Two Women with Recurrent Miscarriage of Unknown Etiology

Yoshihiro Miyashita, Masako Waguri, Isao Nakanishi, Noriyuki Suehara, and Tomio Fujita

We report here two cases of recurrent miscarriages that were successfully treated with continuous intravenous administration of low molecular weight heparin (LMWH). One patient experienced 11 spontaneous abortions, and the other eight abortions. Previous treatments including prednisone, aspirin and mononuclear-cell immunization were all unsuccessful. They were negative for anticardiolipin antibodies and lupus anticoagulant, and had no inherited thrombophilic disorder. Intravenous administration of LMWH, 4800 units of dalteparin, was started as soon as the conception was confirmed, and was continued until 34 weeks of gestation. They were delivered of live born infants.


Clin Appl Thromb Hemost. 2005 Jan;11(1):1-13.
Recurrent miscarriage syndrome and infertility due to blood coagulation protein/platelet defects: a review and update.

Bick RL, Hoppensteadt D.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75231, USA.

Three-hundred fifty-one women were referred for thrombosis and hemostasis evaluation after suffering recurrent miscarriages. All patients were referred by a high-risk obstetrician or reproductive medicine specialist after anatomic, hormonal or chromosomal defects had been ruled out. These patients were assessed over a three year period. The mean patient age at referral was 34 years and the mean number of miscarriages was 2.9 (2-9). All patients underwent a thorough evaluation for thrombophilia and, when indicated, a hemorrhagic disorder. Of the 351 patients, 29 (8%) had no defect. Of the remaining 322 patients, 7 (2%) had a bleeding disorder: 3 with platelet dysfunction, 1 with Factor XIII deficiency, 3 with von Willebrand's and 3 with Osler-Weber-Rendu. The remainder of the patients had a thrombophilia as follows: 195 (60%) had antiphospholipid syndrome, 64 (20%) had Sticky Platelet Syndrome, 38 (12%) had MTHFR mutation, 23 (7.1%) had PAI-1 polymorphism, 12 (3.7%) had Protein S deficiency, 12 (3.7%) had Factor V Leiden, 3 (1%), had AT deficiency, 3 (1%) had Heparin-Cofactor II deficiency, 3 (1%) had TPA deficiency, and 6 (2%) had Protein C deficiency. There were a total of 364 defects found in the 312 patients harboring thrombophilia; thus, several harbored two and a few harbored three separate defects. All patients with thrombophilia were treated with preconception ASA at 81 mg/day with the immediate post-conception addition of heparin or LMW heparin (Dalteparin). Both ASA and heparin/LMW heparin were used to term. The first 120 patients were treated with unfractionated heparin at 5,000 U every 24 hours, subcutaneously and the last 192 have been treated with Dalteparin at 5,000 U/day subcutaneously. The patients with MTHFR were also treated with folate at 5 mg/day + pyridoxine at 50 mg/day. All patients were carefully monitored with CBC and platelet counts, anti-Xa levels, frequent ultrasounds and physical exams. Only 2 of the thrombophilia patients suffered another miscarriage; all others had a normal term delivery. There were no pregnancy-related thromboses, no delivery complications and no episodes of post-partum thrombosis. The only bleeding consisted of 1-4 cm bruises at injection sites. No episodes of thrombocytopenia (HIT) were noted. In our experience, thrombophilia is a common cause of recurrent miscarriage and all patients with no anatomical, hormonal or chromosomal defect should be evaluated for thrombophilia or a bleeding disorder. The success rate of normal term delivery in these 312 patients was 94% using ASA + heparin or Dalteparin. In addition, side effects of therapy were minimal.


Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2000 Aug;79(8):655-9.
Birth outcomes in pregnant women treated with low-molecular-weight heparin.

Sorensen HT, Johnson SP, Larsen H, Pederson L, Nielsen GL, Moller M

The Danish Epidemiology Science Center at the Department of Medicine V, Aarhus University Hospital.

BACKGROUND: Pregnancy and puerperium are associated with an increased risk of venous thromboembolism. Low-molecular-weight heparin is the anticoagulant of choice in pregnant women because, unlike warfarin, it does not cross the placenta. However, there are limited data on the risk of adverse birth outcomes following use of low-molecular-weight heparin in pregnancy. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We performed a population-based cohort study to examine the safety of low-molecular-weight heparin use in pregnancy using data from the Pharmacoepidemiological Prescription Database, The Danish Medical Birth Registry and the Regional Hospital Discharge Registry in North Jutland County, Denmark. The birth outcomes in a cohort of 66 pregnant women treated with low-molecular-weight heparin between 1991-98 were compared with the birth outcomes of 17,259 pregnant women who did not receive any prescriptive drugs during pregnancy. RESULTS: No increased risk of malformations, low birth weight or stillbirth was found. However, an increased risk of pre-term delivery was found (odds ratio: 2.11, 95%, confidence interval: 0.96-4.65), which could reflect inherited thrombophilia as an indication of low-molecular-weight heparin. CONCLUSION: We have provided additional evidence of the safety of low-molecular-weight heparin use in pregnancy.


Fertil Steril. 2005 Sep;84(3):770-3.
Effects of enoxaparin on late pregnancy complications and neonatal outcome in women with recurrent pregnancy loss and thrombophilia: results from the Live-Enox study.
Brenner B, Ellis M, Yarom I, Yohai D, Samueloff A, Live-Enox Investigators

Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.

Women with thrombophilia and a history of recurrent pregnancy loss have poor pregnancy outcomes. Prophylaxis with enoxaparin 40 mg/day or 80 mg/day resulted in favorable gestational and neonatal outcomes.

PMID: 16169422 [PubMed - in process]

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The other type of "two week wait"

For those of us who have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss, the "two week wait" doesn't end when we get the positive pregnancy test. In fact, that's just the beginning of the very worst kind of wait - waiting to miscarry ...or to make it through the first trimester.

It's an agonizing experience. You can't allow yourself to become too invested or hopeful, but it's hard to remain completely detached. You don't get to really enjoy being a pregnant woman, but you have to observe all of the restrictive rules of pregnancy (no caffeine, alcohol, etc).

It's hard.

Entering the foreign territory of miscarriage

A columnist opens up about her miscarriage experience:

I didn’t know that this could happen to me. I thought I was too young, too healthy. I didn’t realize that up to 25 percent of confirmed pregnancies end in loss. I had never heard of a “missed miscarriage,” which is characterized by a lack of symptoms of a baby’s death. I didn’t have any clue how painful the question, “Do you have any children?” could be to hear and how hard it could be to answer.

“God needed another angel in heaven”; “At least you won’t have to care for a handicapped child”; “You still have time, and at least you know you can get pregnant”; “It happens all the time”; “This baby just wasn’t meant to be.” I’ve heard these phrases dozens of times from well-meaning friends and family, but it’s hard to take comfort in any of them. Nothing can diminish my love for my child, and my heartbreak over what is a unique loss, not a statistic.

I was shocked after we lost our baby that so many women I know shared that they, too, had had a miscarriage—or more than one. Even women who had lost their babies 20 years ago cried with me. Even women across oceans and continents shared my pain through e-mails and online forums.

But why doesn’t anyone talk about it before it happens? Why is there a veil of secrecy behind which we can only share our grief with others who have experienced the same grief? When I found out that our baby was no longer alive, I felt alone in the world. Indeed, there were people who seemed frightened of me, as if I had a contagious disease. And there were others who just never said anything about our baby at all. How was I to realize that a large percentage of women I know had suffered a similar loss? This wouldn’t have made my loss any less devastating, but I think it would have made a difference. It would have helped me to realize that I should not blame myself.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A few HCG questions

There is a whole lot of info on HCG in early pregnancy out there on the Web, but there are a few specific questions for which I cannot find answers. Perhaps some of y'all know the answers, and can reply in the comments below:

-Should HCG double every 48 hours in early pregnancy? Or is 48-72 hours considered the normal range? Online info seems to vary on this point.

-Are there any studies quantifying miscarriage risk based on HCG levels in early pregnancy?

-Does the day on which the embryo actually implants - which can vary by several days in a cycle - account for the wide variance in starting HCG #s in early pregnancy?

-Does a higher progesterone level offset a lower HCG level in quantifying miscarriage risk? Or vice versa?

Monday, February 2, 2009

All about Hughes Syndrome

An interesting article from the UK:

Hughes is a relatively new condition that is just beginning to become recognised by the wider medical community outside the specialised area of auto-immune diseases (in which the body's immune systems attacks itself). The professor first began to note the condition in the mid-Seventies when he was working in a rheumatology clinic in Jamaica. "I noticed there were a whole group of women, paralysed, and forced to use wheelchairs, with the same antibodies in their blood."

When he returned to the UK a few years later, he set up a working party to study the antibodies he had found. Very quickly, his unit had collected up hundreds of patients whose blood carried the antibodies and whose symptoms all resulted from clotting around major organs. "They weren't just suffering clots in their veins but also in their arteries which led to strokes and heart attacks."

Significantly, the clots were also found to have serious effects when they occurred at two particular organs: the placenta and the brain. In the former cases, this led to multiple and unexplained miscarriages. In the latter, they starved the brain of oxygen, leading to migraines, memory loss and what many patients simply described as 'fogginess'.

By 1983, Prof Hughes' team had gathered enough evidence for two papers to be published: one in the British Medical Journal and the other in the Lancet. For the team, this felt like a 'eureka' moment. "We were finally getting our message across. We all celebrated with a long lunch at the local Italian restaurant," says Hughes.

Gynecologists picked up the news fast; the respected royal gynaecologist Dr Anthony Kenny called it the major discovery in obstetrics in the 20th century, and it has revolutionised treatment of women with recurrent miscarriage. Where the antibodies are present, and blood thinners are given, to prevent clotting at the placenta, the rate of successful pregnancy soars from about 20 per cent to 80 per cent.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The miscarriage mantra: "just try again"

This blogger nails it:
When you can't conceive, there is treatment, but for recurrent unexplained pregnancy loss, there is just keep trying. I'm not entirely convinced infertility treatment will help overcome pregnancy loss. I think it might help you get pregnant quicker and more often and give you a better chance that a pregnancy will take sooner rather then later.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Okay, I am now already officially sick of the two week wait

I'm over this already.

(And embarrassingly, I must admit that I already took a HPT. It was - not surprsingly - quite negative.)

For those of us who have miscarried repeatedly, waiting for the positive test is exciting, but also kind of scary. If we get one this month, I will then have to steel myself for the "Three Month Wait," after which I will no longer live in mortal fear each day that I will lose the baby.

But still, I'd like a positive. My due date would be October 14, which is when my eldest child was due. A good day.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A product recommendation -

After reading Toni Weschler's amazing book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility, I knew I wanted to start following my own body's cycles via Basal Body Temperature charting. But being an online kinda gal, I wanted to find a way to enter my temperatures online, and have them charted via software. Enter Fertility Friend. Somewhat silly name. Great product.

Every morning, I take my temperature, make note of any other fertility signs, and just enter them at the FF site. The software does the rest. It tells me when I ovulated, whether I ovulated, and allows me to follow my cycle through the month with an easy-to-read visual chart. It also allows me to compare my chart to other people's - so I could filter for charts that belong to 41 year old women on clomid, after miscarriage. Then I can see how my chart this month matches up to other people's - particularly folks who actually managed to get pregnant.

If you are trying to get pregnant, I HIGHLY recommend this online tool. It's well worth the $25 or whatever it costs for two or three months of using it.


Friday, January 23, 2009

The MTHFR-Miscarriage debate

Does MTHFR in and of itself lead to a higher miscarriage risk? Or is it only when MTHFR actually manifests as higher homocysteine levels that it presents a risk? Here's a clear overview of the current debate on this topic in the medical community.

The infamous two week wait....

I am now in it.

Oh joy.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Catholic perspective on miscarriage

Catholic columnist Leslie Sholly wrote a lovely piece about her own sad loss:

I’ve written so many times about the dangers of assuming we can plan and control our lives. We’ve never planned any pregnancy as deliberately as we did this one. I failed myself this time to remember that life is a gift and none of us is promised another day after today. Just yesterday we received the tragic news of an 18-year-old family member in Maryland who was killed by a drunken driver on his way home from senior week at the beach. He had just graduated from high school. His fate was certainly never part of his parents’ plans for him when they decided to conceive a second child.

For the moment we have no plan. As I heal physically and our family heals emotionally, we are praying to discern God’s plan regarding another member for our family. We both still want another one, but we’re scared. No one needs to tell us we should be grateful for our five healthy children. I was reminded of that just today, talking to a pharmacy tech at the drugstore who is afraid to have a baby because she doesn’t want to pass on the kidney disease she inherited. But it’s because of our five healthy children that we wanted another. Every child is different and adds something special and irreplaceable.

Sometimes I think I’d like the comfort of the belief some people have—that this baby’s soul is lurking somewhere and if we have another, that soul will still be born. But I know that isn’t true. That particular immortal soul will never come down to earth, and that makes me sad. I didn’t want an “angel” in heaven just yet but a baby on earth. Still, both John and I have been comforted by the thought that my grandmother, who died in January, is rocking our baby in heaven as she did the others when they were little, singing her special lullaby.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Miscarriage - an "invisible phenomenon"


Expectant women are often advised that they should not publicly reveal their pregnancy until they are past the 12-week mark. One reason given is the high chance of miscarriage in the first trimester. The assumption is that if you were to have a miscarriage, the last thing you’d want is for anyone to know about it. It is a misfortune which we are expected to keep to ourselves.

Dux goes on to recount her own recent experience of miscarriage. It is not actually such an uncommon event amongst adult women. Indeed, for every three women who have given birth by their early 30s, one has had a miscarriage. Yet, Dux argues, despite its frequency, miscarriage is an “almost invisible” phenomenon.

It seems our society is not geared towards grieving, or even acknowledging, the loss of an early pregnancy. As the American author Peggy Orenstein has observed, the English language doesn’t even have a word for a lost foetus.

It makes you wonder: would grieving women find more support if the subject wasn’t hidden away as an shameful “women’s issue”? Or do many women actually prefer not to talk about? I assume there are 10,000 different answers to the question. A little acknowledgment might go a long way though.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A MTHFR discussion forum

Lots of women discussing MTHFR and pregnancy issues right here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lisa Marie Presley opens up about miscarriages before twins

It sounds like she has some type of genetic thrombophilia. Presley says:

I really wanted these babies," says Presley, 40, who tried for two years to get pregnant before conceiving the twins.

"My blood was too thick and would clot, which caused several miscarriages," she tells PEOPLE. "The moment I took blood thinners, I got pregnant."

Monday, January 12, 2009

What it's like to be pregnant after multiple miscarriages

What she says:

Pregnancy, for those of us who’ve had the misfortune of experiencing recurrent pregnancy losses (RPL) is not actually a happy time. In fact, the number one emotion I recall experiencing with my last pregnancy was anxiety. Constant, never ending anxiety. Anxiety when you open your eyes first thing in the morning, anxiety throughout the day, anxiety when you try to sleep at night. Anxiety that builds and builds and builds and in my case has even resulted in panic attacks. I think I speak for all women who’ve suffered the misfortune of RPL, that the level of anxiety increases with the number of pregnancies lost.

As sick as it may sound, the only relief I’ve had from the terrible anxiety has come in the form of a miscarriage. Miscarriage I know, miscarriages I know what to expect and what to do, I know how it happens, I know the signs of it happening and as soon as its been confirmed I feel…….. resigned relief….. sick I know, but I feel a sense of resigned relief at not having to live with the constant anxiety that eats away at my mind every second of every day that I carry a pregnancy. My anxiety was so out of control with my last pregnancy that I’ve already arranged with my RE that the second I get my positive result I’ll be going on some safe anxiety medication for the remainder of my pregnancy.

Now I know what the non-RPL’ers will say, just relax. Stay calm, don’t get yourself so worked up. But everyone who’s suffered RPL will tell you, relaxing is impossible. EVERYTHING is terrifying. Every mile stone in the pregnancy achieved is frightening. My first reaction on seeing the two lines on a pee stick is crying. I immediately get this overwhelming sense of foreboding and anxiety and I can’t stop crying. Then we face the next hurdle, the blood test, once you’ve passed the first blood test its the agonizing wait for the second and third blood tests, analysing the HCG counts with each and everyone. Squeezing your boobs constantly, wondering why they’re so sore? Is it because of the pregnancy or because of your constant poking and prodding. Convincing yourself that they’re not as sore as they were the day before and hence a miscarriage is imminant. Going for the first scan………. God scans terrify me, I’ve never had a good one. They’ve always been bad and so for me scans will always be terrifying.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Folic acid for the guys, too

Your man should be taking folic acid:

Men with relatively low levels of folate had increased risks for sperm containing either too few or too many chromosomes, according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. These types of deficiencies can cause birth defects and miscarriages, the experts noted.

More women taking unprescribed clomid to try to get pregnant with multiples

That's the controversial topic I tackle over at my Babble blog today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

clomid - day #2

Still absolutely no side effects. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can make it through the whole five days without any of the nasty possibilities rearing their ugly heads...

RESEARCH: Miscarriage makes next pregnancy riskier

From the study:

"Our work, based on the analysis of pregnancy records of more than 32,000 women, shows that a single initial miscarriage increases the risks of pregnancy complications in the next continuing pregnancy," Dr. Sohinee Bhattacharya of the Aberdeen Maternity Hospital told Reuters Health.

For their study, in the medical journal BJOG, Bhattacharya and colleagues analyzed the pregnancy outcomes of 1561 women who had previously had a first miscarriage, 10,549 women who had had a previous live birth, and 21,118 women who were pregnant for the first time.

Compared with the women with a previous live birth and the women with a first pregnancy, the miscarriage group was at greater risk of a variety of adverse outcomes. These included threatened miscarriage, the need to induce labor, instrumental delivery, postpartum hemorrhage, and preterm delivery.

"While for most women these risks are small," Bhattacharya commented, extra vigilance "should not be restricted only to women with multiple miscarriages."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Clomid - Day One

Took my first dose of the clomid last night. I was REALLY worried about side effects, but so far I feel 100% normal.

This is good.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The miscarriage in "Marley & Me"

People are debating whether the miscarriage (along with some other topics) of one of the main characters in the new movie "Marley & Me" should have garnered a stronger rating:

We made the mistake of taking our 7-year-old daughter to see Marley and Me, a PG-rated movie we thought would be an innocent story about a family's connection to its dog. Unfortunately, what we saw was a movie that contained a stabbing, a miscarriage, skinny dipping and other sexual connotations, vulgar language and a scene that shows a dog being put to sleep by a veterinarian.
This is a very good movie for adults. Shouldn't this type of subject matter be limited to PG-13 movies?

What do you think? Should miscarriage be lumped in with vulgar language and violence as a topic when deciding movie ratings?

Friday, January 2, 2009

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

I heard an interview with this author on NPR this morning, and now I want to read her memoir about her stillbirth, which she beautifully describes as her lost child's biography.