After three years, multiple IVF cycles, two devastating miscarriages, and countless setbacks … Aela’s road to motherhood has been anything but easy. Follow her story on Babble and don’t miss the latest chapter in her journey below.
When I started down this road to motherhood, I was tested for all the standard genetic tests and screened for all sexually transmitted diseases at my fertility center. I was a healthy 34-year-old woman, and I was lucky enough to get pregnant on my 2nd IVF cycle — which unfortunately ended at 17-weeks when my water broke. It then took another 2 and 1/2 years to get pregnant again, and this time with the label of “advanced maternal age,” because I was now over 35. But that pregnancy ended at 10 weeks after the heartbeat stopped.
The remains (I hate that word) of both of those pregnancies were tested, and neither were caused by chromosomal or genetic abnormalities.
The only thing I hear more often than, “sometimes these things just happen,” is that my age is likely the biggest contributing factor to my multiple miscarriages. Even though tests indicate that my egg reserve is still a-plenty, and even though the eggs most recently retrieved at age 37 were all star quality, advanced maternal age can make getting and staying pregnant difficult.
But my age isn’t necessarily the reason.
To rule out other common reasons for multiple miscarriages, my fertility doctor has prescribed seven tests for me to undergo — all of which I took last week and will soon learn the results of. It’s a strange place to be because, naturally, I don’t wish for anything to be wrong. But at the same time, it would come as a relief to discover an answer and to be able to address the problem before starting a frozen embryo cycle next month.
1. APS (Anti-Phospholipid Syndrome)
APS is an autoimmune disorder linked to fetal growth restriction and fetal loss, and which can cause increased clotting of the blood. Often, healthy placentas can’t form when this condition is present.
2. TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)
This test will indicate whether there are issues with my thyroid contributing to my recurrent losses. Thyroid hormone in properly regulated levels is crucial in the development of a healthy pregnancy.
3. T4 (Thyroxine)
This is the main hormone produced by the thyroid, and low levels can impair fetal development.
4. TPO Enzyme (Thyroid Peroxidase)
More thyroid testing!
5. Glucose Test
Many women who experience recurrent miscarriages have high fasting glucose, even with normal glucose levels. I had to abstain from eating for 10 hours before the blood test so that it could get an accurate result.
6. Celiac Disease
When I was told that I’d be tested for this, I said, “But I don’t have any issues with wheat.” Turns out, celiac disease can be asymptomatic for some people. I always assumed it meant awful gastrointestinal issues, but that’s just one possible symptom. I can’t tell you how badly I want this to NOT be the issue. How could I ever give up bread entirely?
7. Vitamin D
Deficiency of Vitamin D is linked to all sorts of pregnancy issues, and I wouldn’t be one bit surprised to learn this is my issue. I am markedly happier in the sunny months than I am in winter — but that’s certainly not a diagnosis.
Fingers crossed that all tests come back clear. If they don’t, then fingers crossed that it’s an easily fixable concern!More On