Thursday, July 08, 2010

Moving Forward

I've been a negligent blogger. Ever since I put the last miscarriage behind me, I've been moving – biking, running, swimming. J~ is training for the Hartford Marathon in October, his first ever, and his excitement is contagious. I've never run more than six miles in a row myself, but now I'm considering it. I'm maybe just maybe going to do the half marathon. That's enough for me, I think. Thirteen miles? We'll see how it goes.

I've been reading three books on miscarriage, and I want to recommend all three, particularly the idea of reading all o them at the same time. They cover some of the same scientific bases but from different points of view, which makes it possible to get a nuanced understanding of the state of this mysterious medical field. I recommend these books especially if you, like me, have had multiple miscarriages and don't have a lock on why. So without further ado, here are the books. Click on them for more info:


Since I last wrote. J~ and I visited a new fertility clinic. This was not an easy thing for me to do. In fact, I told J~ I wanted to cancel because I hadn't secured all my medical records in time. He asked for the real reason, and I had to admit my fear of being judged, my discouragement, my desire not to give over any more of my life to what seems to be a losing battle. All of this made me cry to admit, and the tears cleared the air. I didn't cancel the appointment.

The doctor was friendly, respectful, and patient as I recounted my history and ran him through the gauntlet of my ten million questions (I came with a list). He recommended a battery of blood tests (for hormone levels, clotting and immunology issues, thyroid function, insulin, and of course genetics testing for both of us.) He also recommended a Sonohystogram (SHG), a procedure in which saline solution is injected through the cervix in order to better view the uterus via ultrasound.

I've said many times that I'm not up for anything invasive. Loyal readers, you've heard me say it. My rule of thumb: Nothing ever again goes in through my cervix except sperm. The doctor did not pressure me, or at least it didn't seem like he was pressuring. But many of my questions led back to this test. For instance, though I know it's a long shot, I've always been haunted by the question, What if I have scarring from the abortion? Could that cause an early miscarriage? The doctor said, "The SHG would show if there is scarring."

I reconsidered. Could J~ be there with me? I asked. "Of course!" boomed the doc. And suddenly I was in tears. I had not been even close to crying recounting my history, or hearing that even if they find a problem and fix it, at my age, I may very well miscarry again. None of this was new information. The new thing was the realization, on some deep primal level, that the abortion is over. That I am not a frightened teenager all alone. That no one is judging me for what I'm going through, there is no shame in it. There will be no gruff, anonymous doctor treating me like just another vagina on a gruesome assembly line. I won't have to pretend, later in the day, that nothing happened.

(For the record, by the way, while working in an abortion clinic, I have seen with my own eyes that not all abortion docs are like that. I wouldn't go so far as to say they are usually personable and compassionate, but once in a while they are very much so.)

As things stand today, the blood tests are behind me. (I've never seen so many little glass vials lined up for my blood!)

As instructed, I will call to schedule my SHG when my next period arrives. (That is, if it arrives. J~ and I have been supremely uncareful this month. Then again, I'd be shocked if I'm pregnant again already. It's the first cycle after a miscarriage. I'm forty years old. And if you don't count #6, which, let's face it, maybe never really happened, this last pregnancy took almost two and a half years to achieve.)

I'm not optimistic that I'll ever get pregnant again, less optimistic that I'll find any answers. But right now, I feel good about going forward with these tests. Even if I never have a child to show for it, at least I'll eliminate some of the unknowns.


Lee said...

Hi there, I noticed you have a link to Julia Indichova's great book on this whole topic. I have read it too and just wanted to clarify that she was diagnosed at 42 and gave birth at almost 45. I included links below to different parts of her site, one area where there are discussions on the miscarriage topic.

Emily said...

would it be correct to say that this is the first series of recurrent miscarriage testing that you have had? well done on making it in to see the RE, even if you didnt feel quite up to the task. 50% of the time, they wont find a single reason for the miscarriages. that was the case with me. I was almost wishing they could find something they could treat. I actually cried when the results came back normal. be prepared to feel an emotional reaction to the results, no matter what they are.

lee, I read indichova's book and saw next to nothing mentioned about miscarriage or recurrent pregnancy loss. maybe I missed something.

Emily said...

@ lee, never mind I see that you were talking about her website.

Just me said...

I've had almost every possible test you can have, invasive and not, and the SHG was really not a big deal. It's basically an ultrasound, but they shoot saline into your uterus first. It did not hurt when I had it done. The most uncomfortable part was the saline dripping back out. LOL

It really was very easy and allowed them to see what they needed to see. As far as IF tests go, it's definitely on the low end of invasiveness.


Anonymous said...

the SHG is minimally invasive. i also have a rule - nothing in, only out. ;-) anyway, i had the SHG done, and at the clinic i went to, they had a monitor where i could see in and around inside my uterus, the entries to the tubes. it was interesting at least, and reassuring. good luck with all the testing.

Anonymous said...

I, too, had all the test and only my thyroid came back as "abnormal." My RE still put me on his "RPL Prevention" routine (Lovenox, baby aspirin, progesterone, HCG shots, etc...). When I did, I carried my babies to term. Of course, I will never know if I was just lucky, but, in the end, it doesn't matter.

I am proud of you, Amy. I know this first step was not easy for you and took a lot of courage.

Paula said...

You were brave! After horrible experiences with a doctor, it's hard to put yourself in those hands again. I've been known to suffer from "white-coat syndrome." Yes, they actually call it that.

I hope you get answers, or at least rule out certain issues, although there are never any guarantees.

My faith in the medical establishment was at least partially restored by two successful pregnancies--more than I could have hoped for.

I wish you the best!

Anonymous said...

i liked "Coming to Term: Uncovering the Truth About Miscarriage" since it was factual and written by a male journalist. definitely a good read, investigative. i'm on my own failed 9th pregnancy, and i wish you luck. i'll check out some of your suggested reads.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what your results have shown so far? Are you getting any answers, or just more questions?

I congratulate you for overcoming your white coat fear when it comes to OB exams and manipulations.

Elizabeth :: Bébé Suisse said...

Thank you for these suggestions. I will take a look at these books as I, too, am "moving forward."

Hugs to you.