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 book is well told and solidly researched tale of the journey.