Food, Fertility, Heartache, and Hope

I’ve waited to feel better about this news, to be through the worst part before I posted it on my blog. And, I’ve finally decided that it’s there isn’t going to be a good time. So, here it is: Real food gave us back our fertility, but it couldn’t keep us from heartache. Because my periods are irregular and the pregnancy was impossible to date (and because I’m considered very high risk for pregnancy) our OB did an ultrasound at our first appointment. It went well. She saw what she expected to see, although we were several weeks off in our dating everything was on track. However, the following week, my blood tests showed that my HSG levels weren’t increasing at a fast enough rate and the ultrasound showed no growth. A week later, a third ultrasound showed that there was still no growth and no heartbeat. Our OB gave us a heartbreaking diagnosis. Our pregnancy had failed.

We are still waiting to have a natural miscarriage. My doctor is encouraging me to have a D&C to avoid what she calls the high risk of infection. This seems to be the standard OB line, but I want to wait—partly because the World Health Organization, after a comprehensive review of the scientific literature, says that the risk of infection is actually significantly LOWER with managed care (natural miscarriage) than surgically induced miscarriage.

As you can imagine, this is a difficult time. We’ve cried. We’ve prayed. We’ve grieved. And, we’re still waiting for natural closure. At the same time, we are hopeful in a way we have never been before. Natural fertility is not something we ever expected to have. And, other than our ages, we have no risk factors that say we are at increased risk of having this happen again.

Before this pregnancy, we had stopped hoping. We had stopped planning. We never even dreamed of trying.

Now we know a larger family is a possibility we can weigh and explore. We can try again. And, that fact alone is a miracle.

In the meantime, we’re working on healing. So, if you wonder where I am and why I’ve stopped writing (again) or posting regularly on Facebook, I’m laying low, cooking great homemade food, and taking a bit of a break from everything but my family.

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11 Responses to Food, Fertility, Heartache, and Hope

  1. karen says:

    i’ve been thru it, and i’m sorry. it’s hard and it sucks. we found out at 11 weeks that our pregnancy hadn’t progressed past 8 weeks. i had a d & c and my body hasn’t been the same since. i’m pretty sure that it didn’t get to do whatever hormonal thing it needed to do in order to have natural miscarriage, so it didn’t know it was over for a while. i applaud you in letting your body do it’s natural thing.

    • Sarah says:

      Karen,
      Thank you for telling me that about your D&C! I need to keep up my mental bank of reasons not to do it! It’s really hard to wait. I keep wondering what my natural limit is. But the thing that is keeping me strong about waiting for the natural miscarriage right now is just how messed up I feel my body has been from so many interferances: birth control pills at 15, progesterone supplements periodically to give me a period throughout my twenties, and an IVF. (Not to mention all the hormones we’re exposed to in the food supply). I feel like I’ve had to fight so hard to reach the natural balance that let us get pregnant. I really don’t want to mess that up. Not to mention that the D&C has other risks, one of which is increased risk of incompetent cervix. I HAD that with my first pregnancy. And because of the complete bicornuate uterus and very at risk for it again. I don’t need an INCREASED risk of it due to D&C related cervical damage!
      Sarah

  2. Carrie says:

    So sorry Sarah. You know I understand. Let me know if you need anything. Hugs, Carrie

  3. Bonny says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I know we’ve never met, but I wanted to share my experience. I just had a similar experience this past month. We found out we were expecting, but then the first sonogram did not match my dates (not surprising, since I’m also very irregular). But subsequent hCG level testing showed levels that were not rising very quickly, then levels that were falling. I was told I was going to miscarry. I tried to remain positive for a week or two just in case the diagnosis was wrong. I was also offered a D&C but decided to wait for natural miscarraige. I started spotting a few days after Christmas, then had a miscarraige on New Year’s Eve.

    This was my first miscarraige, and for me the experience was a lot like labor. Hard cramps that felt just like contractions, the urge to push, then complete relief once it was over. The experience was, interestingly enough, empowering for me. My body knew what to do. All I had to do was relax and cooperate and get through it.

    I started eating traditional foods a year ago, so this was my first pregnancy eating this way. I was so excited to see how the pregnancy would be different from previous ones. And then for it to end in miscarraige, when in my prior pregnancies I was eating such junk! That was hard.

    I’m glad you’re able to step back, take some time, and grieve. That’s so important. Your family will be in my prayers.

  4. CounterCultureMama says:

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. I’m very saddened, reading this post. I’ve been through it twice, and it’s hard to explain how difficult it is… My heart just breaks for you. (((hugs))) I also waited for the miscarriage to occur naturally & don’t regret that decision. I will be praying for you & your family.

  5. Oh no :( I’m so sorry to hear this sad news. I am so happy that your fertility returned but definitely so sorry for this loss. We’ve been through it four times,(pre-real/traditional food days) but never very late into the pregnancy. I had an emergency D & C one time, and naturally the others. The D & C was not great, but more awful was the prescription for an entire month’s of BC pills in less than one week to stop the post-op bleeding. Not knowing better, I took them…caused SO many problems and I continued to bleed for another month until I had an instinct to try natural progesterone cream. That finally did stop the bleeding. Anyway, best of luck to you with everything…don’t hesitate to shoot me an email or call…I’d be happy to answer any questions I can for you. Big hugs!

    • Sarah says:

      Is the entire month of BC pills routine for D&C? That is so awful! I’m glad you figured out a better solution. I had years of BC pills that I am SURE harmed my fertility. I need to add that question to the list of questions I ask my doctor at my next appointment–if we’re still waiting. I do not want to take hormone supplements of any kind, if I can avoid it.

  6. Magda says:

    Hi Sarah,
    I just had to stop and leave a comment because I know exactly what you are going through. I just went through it myself a couple of weeks ago at 12 weeks. It is awful, just awful. My heart goes out to you.

    I was in your shoes holding out for a natural miscarriage while my doctor pushed for a D&C due to “risk of infection.” I wanted to let you know that I stood firm and waited. It took three weeks from our negative ultrasound until I started bleeding, and I think they were the longest three weeks of my life. To make it easier on myself, I just avoided the dr’s office and their phone calls until after the miscarriage had happened. This is your choice, your right, to believe in the wisdom of your body. Don’t let them pressure you into anything.

    Also, this was my second miscarriage. For the first I had a spontaneous miscarriage followed by a D&C because I didn’t know any better. This time I did research and found out more information about the risks of D&C (can compromise future fertility) as well as the very small possibility that the ultrasound was wrong. No way I was going to have a D&C when there was any kind of tiny chance I still had a baby in there. Also, like you, I have struggled to reach my current hormone balance and health level and I didn’t want to compromise it with surgery and general anesthesia. I also didn’t think they would be good for my breastfeeding daughter.

    For these reasons, I chose the natural route. However, I do want to warn you, if you haven’t been through a natural miscarriage before, they are not fun. This time around, I had 3 hrs of painful contractions. As compared to the D&C where you fall asleep, wake up and it is generally all over. My D&C was very easy and I had no side effects. I didn’t have to take any medicine afterwards. This is why most women chose the D&C. I think you have to be strong of heart and convictions to chose a natural miscarriage over a D&C, just as you do to chose a natural childbirth. During the pain of miscarriage contractions, I just kept repeating in my head, “I chose this for the health of myself, my baby and my future children.” It helped me get through it.

    Also, a word of warning – once the actual miscarriage happens, your hormone levels will plunge and you will be subjected to a number of different awful symptoms, and postpartum depression after miscarriage is quite common. This happens for both natural and D&C.

    Sorry that this is so long but I hope that some of this helps you. I feel like I just came off of a three month-long rollercoaster into a train wreck and I hope that some bit of that experience can be helpful to you in this painful time that you are going through. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    • Sarah says:

      Magda,

      Thank you for this comment! It was just what I needed to read at this moment! As it turns out, today is the day and what you described is almost exactly what’s happening to me. I’ve been having cramps and heavier spotting for the past few days and now painful contractions since last night, but very frequently for the past few hours. My doctor had “sort of” told me what to expect, but this was way more than I realized. Contractions and bursts of clots. Does that sound about right? I put a call in to her and am waiting to hear back–just to make sure that what I’m experiencing is normal, which I’m pretty sure it is. Also, thank you for telling me about the potential for postpartum. I didn’t have that after the birth of my daughter–but this is so different. Knowing it can happen will help me be prepared! (I am also nursing still, which I think can be very healing!)

      As a side note, at the appointment following this post, my doc said she “had to reccommend a D&C.” I told her I was not going to do it and she looked relieved!! Then she told me it was the best choice for me, because of my bicornuate uterus, the risk of infection, and potential complications. I’m guessing many docs are pushed to do D&C as the first choice for liability insurance reasons?
      Sarah

      • Magda says:

        Sarah, I am so pleased that this helped you. I am sorry you have to go through this but I know it helps to have information in order to understand what is happening. Contractions and bursts of clots is exactly how it happened for me. It definitely reminded me of early labor, not “just like a heavy period” like my first doctor told me. I found that the strong contractions only lasted 3 hours for me (8-11 pm), then I got in the shower (something that helped during labor) and they calmed down. I went to sleep and then the next day, I had a few sporadic contractions that pushed the rest of the clots out.

        I am also nursing and was surprised at how hard I was affected after my miscarriage. I was floating on cloud nine after the birth of my daughter so my body’s reaction after the miscarriage was a surprise to me. I decided to take maca to help bring my hormones back into balance and that has helped a lot. Also, as you know, you lose a lot of blood in a miscarriage and I ended up being (and am still) anemic because of it. Just remember to give yourself time to heal. I went right back to work due to deadlines I had and that was a mistake. Give yourself time to recover, both emotionally and physically. Rest, rest, rest, especially in the beginning.

        I think they do have to recommend D&C – my doctor’s nurse said something about it being “the standard of care,” and that she would be deficient if she didn’t recommend it, especially once a month had passed. My miscarriage finally came at 3 weeks so thankfully it didn’t end up being a huge issue.

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