Archive for Recurrent Miscarriage

Letters to Readers: On suicide thoughts

I never share private notes written to me, but sometimes I like to post my responses, as often what I say applies to many situations, and a keyword search might lead you here.

This response was for a woman considering suicide after her third miscarriage that she felt was her fault due to an infection she had.


Dear Mama,

Of course it makes sense to feel like the only good place is to be with your babies. I remember feeling exactly that same way. There is a lot of pain here, and sometimes dying feels like the only way to make it better.

I want to tell you that I don’t think the infection killed your babies. When an infection is to blame, you go into labor too early and the baby generally dies during the birthing process or shortly after. The infection makes your water break and preterm labor begin.

Otherwise, infection is actually pretty common in pregnancy, because we have a lot of yeast and our body temperature is warmer, helping it grow.

So the guilt—let that go. If anything, now that you have had two losses at about the same time, I would say you need to see a specialist, as I would be willing to bet that the shape of uterus might be the culprit here—something corrective surgery could fix. A test where they shoot dye into your uterus and xray it will tell us.

So here is my suggestion to you. Separate out the emotion of what has happened, which is super sad and feels like punishment, from the medical issue—from the FIGHT. Be ready to fight to be a mom. Figure out where you have strength, and work that strength like a muscle. Get angry that you have to do this fight, but know that this is what will make you strong. And learn what you need to know to get that baby you want so much.

Because let me tell you this—right now your body seems against you. Not only have the babies died. But in this period after a loss, your brain is literally robbed of chemicals—important ones that help balance out your moods. So this feeling like you want to die—it comes from those stupid chemicals. And the good news is, these chemicals WILL straighten out very soon. One day you are going to feel as though a cloud as lifted, and you can smile again. Then you will be upset—your babies have died and you just smiled! But it will be a sign that your babies are a part of your life, but not the focus of it. And you will get better. And you will be ready to fight. And you will get to the bottom of these losses.

And you will beat it and win.

And the babies in your future—how sweet that will be. How much more joy you will feel. You will never take it for granted.

Feel sad for those moms who complain about motherhood, who ignore their children. You will never be that mom. It ‘s the gift your babies are giving to you.

So hang on, mama. Fight this feeling until your body recovers and helps you cope. Then be ready for the battle of your life—getting answers and moving toward that family you so want.



Book Review: To Full Term

To Full Term: A Mother’s Triumph over Miscarriage by Darci Klein and Mary Stephenson, MD (Berkeley Trade, 2007), is book I recommend primarily for women in the determined phase after their miscarriages, who want to hear a strong, steady voice describing one mother’s search for answers to her recurring losses.

Klein endured multiple heartbreaks. While her first pregnancy ended in a healthy child, she went into labor twelve weeks early and watched her baby’s first weeks from inside the walls of a NICU. Her second and third pregnancies ended in miscarriage, and her fourth pregnancy, twins this time, ended in a heartbreaking preterm labor at 20 weeks.

Her book begins as she finds out she is pregnant for the fifth time, just moving into a new house in a new city, and realizing she rapidly has to find a doctor to prescribe Heparin for Factor V Leiden, a clotting disorder that may have played a role in her losses. She has also been diagnosed with incompetent cervix, which leads to preterm labor.

Interweaved in the story are background facts, statistics about loss, the National Institutes of Health’s woeful funding on miscarriage, and what she feels is the incriminating lack of chromosomal testing on early miscarriages to separate women into those who had “bad luck,” and those who have a problem that can be treated to save pregnancies.

One point Klein and I whole-heartedly agree upon—women should be tested more often to ensure they don’t have one of the easily treatable causes of recurring loss. But even though her book cites the ACOG, the guidelines obstetricians follow in testing for miscarriage, which recommends waiting for two or more miscarriages, I have personally found from the stories of thousands of women who visit this site, that it doesn’t take much to convince the doctor to do some testing even after one loss. I have long advocated that if your doctor is unresponsive or dismissive, it’s time to find a new one.

Klein’s story is passionate and clearly told. She was adamant that she not lose any more babies and demanded medical intervention to save them.

I do think, however, that her mixture of stats and story is not very helpful in the early days following your first loss. It’s hard to feel emotionally involved in her journey when you are constantly being fed facts in an order that might not be what you want to know, when you want to know it. Her writing is very edgy and strong, a voice that might be difficult to relate to during your saddest days.

But for those of you who have had two losses or more, those of you who are determined, frustrated, and maybe still a bit angry at your lack of answers or your care, then this books is well told and solidly researched tale of the journey.

Learn more about the book.

Daily Doses

Most every day I will receive two to five emails from women who have lost a baby. I try to always respond.

Many just want to share their story–to tell anyone and let it pour out. I always imagine it is like poison, or snake venom, and you simply have to purge it from your body in order to survive. I’ve heard most every situation that can be told after eight years, and I can handle anything laid in my inbox.

The beta readers who are going over Baby Dust right now also email me, mentioning moments in various characters that they feel reflect me. Stella, certainly, in her unabashed devotion to the group for a decade, often will say things I write in my emails to women–encouragement or concern or a reminder that the future will look very different that the landscape currently in view. I too once thought I would never have children, only loss after loss. I probably hit my lowest low when I was pregnant for the second time and my doctor called me to say my screenings with this new baby were abnormal.

“It will happen again,” I thought, my belly already fat enough that I had to lean forward to rest my head on the work desk. “It will happen over and over again until I can’t take it anymore.”

And that was when I formed a resolution I still repeat to women who feel their losses will recur and they can’t face it. “Can you make it through one more?” I ask them. “Not two more or five more or an endless stream of them. But just one more?”

When you say yes, you know you can make it through one more loss, you are ready to try again. Because your last loss may indeed have been your last loss.