I had 4 miscarriages in the past 18 months. Pregnancy loss is an all too common thing but I had no idea just how common it would become for me. As time continues on I wanted to do all I can to improve chances of a successful pregnancy so I scheduled a consultation with a reproductive specialist.
Disappointment with OB-GYN
My last pregnancy/miscarriage I tried a new OB-GYN private practice in my area. It is one that is held in high regard by several close friends. I only saw them twice but feel my situation was not thoroughly assessed nor taken seriously for the following reasons:
- They knew my history of recurrent pregnancy loss, 3 in a row and 4 overall yet still brushed it off saying that I’m young and healthy and have had 2 successful pregnancies
- I specifically inquired about use of progesterone to supplement natural levels of the hormone in early pregnancy and again they brushed it off saying that’s not proven beneficial in cases like yours.
- I reported symptoms that have worsened in recent years including irregular heart rhythms and elevated fasting glucose levels during early pregnancy
What I did before seeing the specialist
- Sought an updated physical with general practitioner
- Updated blood work to include:
- Lipid panel
- Comprehensive metabolic panel
- Self monitoring blood glucose levels
Consultation with Fertility Specialist discussion included:
- Review of fertility history
- Review of current health and symptoms
- Possible early pregnancy support options
- natural progesterone supplement
- Test for anemia
- Blood draw for A1C levels
- Blood draw for natural progesterone level after ovulation occurs
- Holter monitor for abnormal heart rhythms
- Future pelvic sonogram if indicated
Things I’m doing moving forward
There are a number of things I am doing moving forward to improve overall health and wellness which in turn will support a healthy pregnancy should we conceive again.
- Eating cleaner, more plant based, less sugar, less processed food
- Exercise consistently (minimum of 4x/week)
- Cardio (elliptical, treadmill, cycling)
- Tracking cycle
- ovulation kit
- basal temperature monitoring
- Sleep!!!! I am awful at getting enough sleep. I am naturally a night owl. I do my best thinking and am most creative at night it seems.
If anyone can learn anything from my experience these are my takeaways:
- Less is more in the beginning. And what I mean by this is I wish I hadn’t gone to the OB so early for this past pregnancy. I saw them twice during the first trimester even moving up the last appointment to “give me peace of mind” that everything was okay. It was at that appointment that I found out that the baby had stopped growing and had already passed away. I saw it on the ultrasound and was measuring over much smaller than it should have so I had been walking around unknowing that my baby had died inside of me…not to mention approximately $1000 cost of those two ultrasounds and office visits.
- With my miscarriage history I should have been leaving nothing up to chance for my own guilt prevention. What I mean by this is all of the little decisions I was making here and there, out of comfort or craving or convenience play a role in my mama guilt now. I’m talking things like poor eating choices, not exercising regularly, poor sleep habits, etc. I’m not saying I’m the worst out there and by general standards my habits are probably healthier than a lot but maybe I don’t have the same luxury of doing whatever and eating whatever I want during pregnancy. I know miscarriage happens often and may very well have happened regardless of what I was doing but it doesn’t stop the guilt from creeping in. So my takeaway here is if there is a next time for me then I’m going to do it right…for myself and for my baby. That way if another miscarriage occurs then I will know I did everything within my power and really that’s all any of us can do.
- Don’t make plans. I learned this the hard way. I was about 9 weeks when we ordered our Christmas cards. The timing was such that by early December when they would be going out I would be ready to tell close friends and family. Already I was feeling more secure in the pregnancy since historically if I had made it this far along then the pregnancy had been successful for me. I thought what a perfect opportunity to announce to our friends and extended family that we were expecting! Of course it crossed my mind that there was a chance I would miscarry… I even considered ordering 2 sets of identical cards, with the only difference being the picture of our kids would or would not be holding the sonogram picture in the announcement. My mind interpreted this option as me “betting against the pregnancy”. So I didn’t order both sets which resulted in me having to order a second set later and now I have a whole set of unopened cards as a reminder of this loss. The takeaway: DON’T MAKE PLANS LIKE THIS. Take the cautious road to protect yourself and your heart.
The specialist recommended a few things moving forward.
- I start tracking my cycle closely with ovulation indicator kits and basal temperature readings.
- Call their office when I get a positive ovulation test so they can put in the order for a blood draw
- Pending natural progesterone levels, supplementing the hormone progesterone may be warranted
- Be fitted with holter monitor to further investigate the irregular heart rhythms
- If conception does not occur or it results in another miscarriage then she recommends a pelvic sonogram to check for anatomic abnormalities if we still wish to try in the future.
This all might very well be for none. She explained that though I had 3 miscarriages in a row there is a good possibility that still nothing is wrong with me and that it was just an unlucky streak. This I already knew but knowing myself and my personality type I need to ensure I am doing everything in my power. And if the worst thing from all of this is that I am eating healthier, exercising more and focusing on wellness habits then all the better.
At the very least I am glad I got an updated physical and blood panels completed because it had been a while since my last general, non pregnancy related visit. I am also glad it nudged me to get my heart palpitations checked out more closely.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!