Now I know I want to have children

To be honest, I have a hard time talking about my miscarriage for a different reason than you might think. While it was not a happy experience, the two overwhelming emotions I had both during and after my miscarriage are positive. Even during my miscarriage I did not talk to people who I knew who I knew had experienced one. I felt like my emotions were not negative or strong enough to effectively sympathize. I still feel this way at times when the subject comes up and I am questioned on it.

My first thought when I began to lose my child was: At least I got pregnant. The strong concern about infertility that enters into any couple’s mind when they decide they want to have children had now vanished. I have several friends who have dealt with infertility and still do. They have never even had a positive pregnancy test. So, while it was quickly not viable (I had a miscarriage very early on), at least we were capable of getting pregnant which was in doubt from the moment we started trying to have children. Though there was a delay, the hope that we could have a child outshined the loss.

My second strong emotion was: Now I know I want to have children. I was extremely hesitant to become a mom. My husband and I had been married for six years and he had promised me before marriage that it would be OK if I never wanted children. My heart had begun to change and he had started to feel ready, but still the idea of being a mom to someone, and adding all the responsibilities of parenthood to my life, really scared me. I had a hard time connecting with moms in conversation and could care less if I ever held a baby in my arms. Even though I was incredibly scared when I got a positive pregnancy test, more scared than I was excited, I was really sad to lose the baby. Then I realized why. I really wanted to be a mom and watch my husband enjoy being a dad.

These positive emotions from my miscarriage remain, but I know it is in large part due to the fact that I was able to get pregnant again and successfully deliver my little girl. If that was the only time I had been able to get pregnant successfully, those feelings would now have been replaced by some pain and despair. It is hard to understand what you would feel if any aspect of your life was different. Perhaps, because of the doubts I had about being a mom and not knowing what it is like to be a parent, I would have felt a bit of relief. There is no way to know.

–Anonymous

Science Friday: Good news everyone!

Stress and tension do not stop fertility treatment from working, study finds

Women undergoing IVF or other assisted reproduction therapy can be reassured that emotional distress caused by their infertility or other life events will not prevent the treatment from working, according to new research.

Infertility affects up to 15% of the childbearing population and over half of these individuals will seek medical advice in the hope of becoming a parent.

Many infertile women believe that emotional distress (for example stress and tension) is a factor in not getting pregnant naturally or lack of success with fertility treatment. This view is largely based on anecdotal evidence and fertility myths such as ‘don’t think about it and you’ll get pregnant’.

However, doctors are skeptical that stress affects fertility due to the lack of evidence on this issue.

The authors, led by Professor Jacky Boivin from the Cardiff Fertility Studies Research Group, investigated links between the success of fertility treatment and stress by undertaking a large scale review (meta-analysis) of related research.

Fourteen studies with 3,583 infertile women undergoing a cycle of fertility treatment were included in the review. The women were assessed before fertility treatment for anxiety and stress. The authors then compared data for women who achieved pregnancy and those who did not.

The results show that emotional distress was not associated with whether or not a woman became pregnant.

Professor Boivin therefore argues that “these findings should reassure women that emotional distress caused by fertility problems or other life events co-occurring with treatment will not compromise their chance of becoming pregnant.”

Editor’s note: Just to clarify, the Science Friday article from two weeks ago outlined how stress can adversely affect a person’s “natural” fertility. This article outlines how that stress does not lessen the effectiveness of IVF or other assisted reproduction therapy. So yes! Good news!

Good news everyone!
Journal Reference:
  1. J. Boivin, E. Griffiths, C. A. Venetis. Emotional distress in infertile women and failure of assisted reproductive technologies: meta-analysis of prospective psychosocial studies. BMJ, 2011; 342 (feb23 1): d223 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.d223
  2. BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2011, February 28). Stress and tension do not stop fertility treatment from working, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110224201901.htm

Miscarriage Memoirs: Science Friday

NSAIDs do not increase risk of miscarriages, study finds

Story Source:
This story is based on materials provided by Canadian Medical Association Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
Editor’s note: It is important to ALWAYS consult your doctor before taking a new medication during pregnancy. GO SEE YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC.

Women who take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) during pregnancy are not at increased risk of miscarriages, confirms a new study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

NSAIDs, which include ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac and others, are increasingly used by pregnant women in the first trimester to combat pain, fever and inflammation. However, it is unclear whether they increase the risk of pregnancy loss because previous studies have shown inconsistent results.

To determine whether there is an association between the use of NSAIDs in pregnancy and miscarriage (spontaneous abortion), researchers looked at data on 65 457 women aged 15 to 45 years who were admitted to Soroka Medical Center in Beer-Sheva, Israel, between January 2003 and December 2009 to give birth (90% of women) or for a miscarriage (10%). Of the total group, 4495 (6.9%) of women took NSAIDs during the first trimester of pregnancy. Women who took NSAIDs were older, were more likely to smoke and had more inflammatory diseases. As well, more pregnant women in the exposed group had undergone in-vitro fertilization (IVF) than in those who did not take NSAIDs.

About 8.2% of women in the group exposed to NSAIDs — general anti-inflammatories — had miscarriages compared with 10% of women in the group that did not take NSAIDs. In the group of women who took COX-2 selective inhibitors, which target specific inflammation, 17% had a miscarriage, although this group was small and the question needs further research.

“We found no important associations between exposure to NSAIDs, either by group or for most specific NSAID drugs, and risk of spontaneous abortion,” write Dr. Sharon Daniel and Prof. Amalia Levy, Department of Public Health, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka Medical Center, with coauthors. “However, we found an increased risk of spontaneous abortion following exposure to indomethacin.”

The authors believe that this may be due to “reverse causation bias” because indomethacin was dispensed at the end of pregnancy, likely to treat preterm labour, an indication different than that for other NSAIDS.

“The fact that the study was based on large proportion of the district population, was adjusted to nearly all known risk factors for miscarriages (tobacco use, obesity, IVF, uterine malformations, hypercoagulable conditions, intrauterine contraceptive device etc.) and used advanced statistical methods strengthens the validity of the results,” states the principal investigator, epidemiologist Prof. Levy.

Canadian Medical Association Journal. (2014, February 3). NSAIDs do not increase risk of miscarriages, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140203122731.htm
Journal Reference:
Sharon Daniel, Gideon Koren, Eitan Lunenfeld, Natalya Bilenko, Ronit Ratzon, Amalia Levy. Fetal exposure to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and spontaneous abortions. CMAJ, February 2014 DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.130605

“Miscarriage just is.”

I had a miscarriage, resulting in a D & C. My doctor was great, my husband was supportive, and my mom came in town to be with me for the D & C. My brother, a pilot, even happened to be in town out of random luck the day before I had my scheduled D & C. (This has happened only 3 times in nearly 10 years of living here, so I do wonder whether someone upstairs was sending me some extra support/ a distraction.)

I remember wondering whether I’d ever have a baby, whether I would ever get to be a mother. My husband and I mourned the loss of our baby that never was. The timing was horrendous, with my miscarriage occurring three months before I had to take my preliminary exams for my Ph.D. I talked to my dad (a counselor) each day as I struggled to focus on the two books per day I needed to be reading and writing about. It all sucked. And it was worse because it seemed like my period would never start again–that I would forever remain childless.

And then I got pregnant 6 months later, before I even had my first period after having the D & C. And now I’m the mother of two beautiful girls, the first of whom could not have been placed on this earth if that first baby was born. The timing would have been impossible.

Was I devastated when I had a miscarriage? Yes. Did I cry in the bathroom after family members asked when I’d get pregnant like my cousin, who was only two weeks further along in her pregnancy than I should have been? Of course. Did I recover from it all? I did. My miscarriage taught me that some things just are. The miscarriage just is. I get nowhere by overthinking it. It just is. It is part of my life, my experiences, and it has greatly contributed to both the fear I had in my other pregnancies (which both had similar spotting as occurred in my first) and the complete and utter gratitude I have toward God for having two healthy, thriving children.

I still wonder what the first baby would have been like, and I know rationally that he or she would have probably been born with serious birth defects. (My doctor eloquently and succinctly stated that nature is efficient with quality control, so to speak.) I would have loved him or her just the same. I hated when people said, “Well, you can have another one,” because I wanted this one.

The miscarriage just is. Strangely, I’m richer for that experience, although I certainly don’t ever want to repeat it or wish it upon anyone.

So there you have it. I have no enlightening words. All I offer is the perspective of someone who’s been in your shoes, who’s cried the same tears, but who now has some distance and an ability to say that I can’t imagine it any other way.

–Anonymous