Today, I will be featuring a guest post from Rachel McGrath.
Unfortunately, like many, Rachel has battled recurrent & unexplained pregnancy loss.
Feel free to check out her blog and book available for purchase at http://www.findingtherainbow.net/
Here is her story.
I am now one of those ‘statistics’ when it comes to miscarriage! I am the one in four women who have a miscarriage in the first trimester, and I’m also part of the total 1% of the population who experience ‘recurrent miscarriages’. Recently I also found out I’m one of the 5% of women who following a D&C (dilation and curettage – the surgical removal of a miscarriage) resulted in a condition called ‘Ashermans’ Syndrome’.
With these odds I should really be entering the lotto right? Wrong! Here is my story…
We were so very planned about starting a family, and like many unsuspecting couples, we were oblivious to how difficult getting pregnant and having a baby would actually be. It was exactly a year after I married my husband that we agreed to ‘start trying’. I was thirty-six years at this point and quite impatient to become a mother. When it didn’t happen immediately I made an appointment with my GP to question why? She told me to relax and explained at my age it could easily take several months to conceive. She also advised that if we did not fall pregnant within twelve months that I should investigate. That calmed me.
We were lucky! Almost six months after trying, we got our positive pregnancy test result. I was certain everything had now fallen into place, and I was looking forward to being a mother. I was wrong.
It was at seven weeks when I had a little bit of break through bleeding. I panicked and went to my doctor who sent me for an ultrasound. The ultrasound was my reality check! I was told that the heartbeat was slow and I would need to return in a week for a second scan. The tone of the nurse’s voice told me this wasn’t good. That week ran forever, and I became so stressed about the pending result, fearing and expecting the worst. At that second scan my fears came to life, with the confirmation that there was no heartbeat and I had a missed miscarriage. I was scheduled for a D&C and suddenly all those hopes had crashed.
As a couple we were lucky as we fell pregnant naturally and easy. I was excited at getting my second positive test around six months later. This time however we didn’t even get to six weeks before I started miscarrying naturally. It was over before it began! The doctor’s told us not to worry as getting pregnant seemed to be no concern, and at my age my body was potentially just getting used to ‘being pregnant’. My cycle was a regular twenty-eight days, and so we were encouraged to try again. Within four months I was again pregnant – my third pregnancy in the in the one year! This one had to be the one, and I was confident this time as all the signs were strong.
Again Mother Nature proved me wrong, and we only reached six and a half weeks, and no heartbeat. I tried to miscarry again naturally, but this time my body wouldn’t let go. I hemorrhaged for over two months, being admitted to hospital twice with blood infections. I was physically, emotionally and mentally overwrought, and we were now being asked to start investigating our options.
We did visit a fertility specialist, who ran some initial tests. My husband tested positively, so no concerns there. I had a strong egg reserve and again they could find little to fault me. Well we had to stop before I could undergo blood test because I fell pregnant a few months later. Surely this was the one! This time our doctor’s recommended an early ultrasound at six weeks, and low and behold we had a heartbeat! Our confidence was growing. It was recommended that we have a weekly scan to ensure that everything continued on track.
Our excitement was curbed quickly with the devastating news at our second scan – the heartbeat had stopped. This was our fourth miscarriage and I was devastated, destroyed. Given the problems I had experienced in my last miscarriage I was recommended to undergo a D&C to remove the pregnancy. It seemed the best way to help my body recover from the loss, and to move through a painful experience both emotionally and physically.
Little did I realise that in taking this ‘surgical short cut’ I was actually not helping my own situation, and I was potentially removing all hope of ever conceiving naturally again. There were no warnings prior to the procedure, the doctors gave me the standard script, but there was there mention of potential creation of scar tissue which could in fact lead to infertility.
Months after my D&C my periods still had not returned. Prior to this I was experiencing a regular 28 day cycle and now each month I experienced severe period pains (more painful than my past periods) but nothing, no period. After several months I knew something wasn’t right and I met with my specialist who sent me to an ultrasound and scheduled a hysterscopy. They found some retained tissue (leftovers from the miscarriage) and I was told to wait a little longer. A few months later, still nothing, and again I went back. After seven months and still no period, naturally I became concerned. I still wanted to conceive a baby, and yet I couldn’t even get back to a normal cycle to even consider restarting. It was then suggested that I try some hormone medication for ten days (Provera) which is aimed to induce a period. After another two months, still nothing.
When the ‘due date’ for my lost baby passed, I was finally was referred to an ‘Ashermans’ specialist’. The lining on my uterine is not thickening which means that my body is not menstruating; ergo pregnancy wasn’t even an option and now may never be.
My specialist administered a hysteroscopy where he was able to better examine my uterus. He found extensive scarring from the D&C procedure and also the presence of fibroids. He advised me that he did his best and that I now had a 50% chance of recovery and future pregnancy. A month after my surgery I had a very light period and was given the green light to try again. Six weeks later I didn’t have a period, so I thought maybe I’m pregnant? Wrong! No period, no pregnancy, back to my specialist.
So now I’m scheduled for a second hysteroscopy, to try again, and hopefully remove any remaining scar tissue and rebuild my chances of a future pregnancy. Even now, if I have a successful result, I will need to pursue IVF to help with any chances of getting pregnant and staying pregnant.
I feel I need to warn other women, those who have had D&C’s and are experiencing lighter or more painful period pain, and those who may be experiencing nothing at all like me, please follow through with your investigations quickly. I hope that my condition can be managed, but had I known the risks in the first place I may have taken different options throughout the miscarriage.
I still hope that I will in fact get pregnant again, and with the close guidance of my specialist and assisted fertility treatments, I pray that one day I will get my rainbow baby!