Archive for the ‘Treatment’ Category
January 18, 2011 | By: Liz
I’ve said it before and I cannot believe I am saying it again. Why is having a miscarriage something people pretend never happened? Or worse, why are people judged so harshly after having had a miscarriage for not embracing any subsequent pregnancy and being a little bit cautious and tentative about the whole thing?
Yesterday I read an article on some random website announcing that a celebrity had just announced she was pregnant. The article was extremely critical of the fact that she had waited until the 6th month to announce her pregnancy, and commented that it may have been due to the fact that she had suffered a prior miscarriage. It then went on to discuss all sorts of celebrity pregnancy issues. But it was about the third article I have seen recently commenting on a celebrity’s miscarriage. None of the articles were supportive, not even for the one celebrity that was openly going through fertility treatment and then lost a baby. Any miscarriage at any time in pregnancy is awful. As many of you know my final infertility diagnosis was unexplained pregnancy loss (which has since been explained). I had 5 IVF miscarriages (including a pregnancy that started as twins), and I don’t want to tell you how many more I have had on top of that because at some point you just have to stop counting and cope. I have blogged about at least one of them.
I have always been open about my miscarriages and my pregnancies. I am one of those “put it out there” kind of people. But a lot of people choose not to share early pregnancies. They instead choose to wait to make an announcement when they are sure that the pregnancy is viable or the fetus is otherwise healthy. Everyone does it their own way. And as this is a very personal subject, I was offended that this article “accused” this celebrity of failing to disclose her pregnancy earlier. MYOB!
Miscarriage is poorly understood on so many levels. I will blog about the medical aspects later, but for today let’s address the emotional component. I may have blogged about this before but someone recently commented to me that 20 years ago no one even talked about this. My grandmother’s generation suffered in complete silence, often not even sharing the loss of a pregnancy with their spouse!! The fact that we are beginning to talk openly about miscarriage is a huge leap forward.
Did you know that among the fertile population only 20% of all conceptions result in a live birth? That number decreases with age. With so many women choosing to build their families later in life, whether they conceive on their own or with some form of medical assistance, their chances of experiencing a pregnancy loss are much higher. Doctor’s often warn patients who are over 35 not to get excited about a pregnancy until they see a heartbeat on ultrasound because the risk of miscarriage is so high. NOvary™ or not, miscarriage is devastating.
If you ask me, all these women need support, information, and the ability to discuss their grief in whatever manner is most appropriate for them and to do so without criticism! But the fact remains that most people still won’t even admit they had a miscarriage. The entire first trimester of pregnancy is shrouded in secrecy and thus any resulting miscarriage is as well. It is not a personal failure to lose a baby. It is an overwhelming emotional experience whether you are six weeks or six months pregnant. I think people should be able to talk about miscarriage — I think people need to be better educated about pregnancy loss but as noted that is a subject for a different blog post — and not have it be considered something shameful or even worse, “no skin off your nose dear, you were only 7 weeks pregnant, get over it”.
Is it the fear of being shamed that causes us to hide our miscarriages as was true for my grandmother and her generation? Is it the need for privacy and the accompanying silence during the first trimester that causes the secrecy? Or is it the fear of the “just get over it” response that people don’t discuss this topic?
Well, I am going to discuss this topic. I think I have enough experience to have some insight into the emotional aspects of pregnancy loss and I’ve done a ton of research on the topic, both for The Infertility Survival Handbook, my own personal curiosity and now for the revised and updated version of my book.
My final comment of the day is this. Whether we choose to grieve in silence or in public, please don’t attack us for our choice in so doing; you need to understand that it is a tremendous blow to every woman (not to mention her partner) who experiences a pregnancy loss. If you know someone who has shared this information with you, BE SUPPORTIVE.
I was dropping my son off at school recently and there is church nearby where I had parked my car. Alongside the church is a beautiful garden and in that garden there was a headstone that caught my attention. It was a headstone with the picture of a baby in-utero and it was dedicated to all the unborn children in the world. The headstone had the name of a baby who died in utero at about 5 month’s gestation. It wasn’t some pro-life stunt; this was a real headstone for a real fetus who died leaving a family devastated.
If I can do it, I will try and post a picture of the headstone (without the family’s name). I would like to thank that family for putting that headstone there and for the church for allowing it, because I now have a place to go and lay flowers on my “bad” days. Because frankly, my girlfriends don’t get it. This headstone gives me an outlet, a place that recognizes what I and so many others have been through.
And for those of you who have experienced a pregnancy loss you have my empathy and a giant cyber hug. To that celebrity who just announced her pregnancy at 6 months, you have my congratulations. To that cyber author, I can’t post what I think about you, but I do hope that you never have to endure what so many of us have been through.
Filed under: Check This Out, Current Affairs, Faith and Infertility, In the News, Infertility In The Movies etc., Infertility on Television, IVF, Personal Musings, Recurrent Pregnancy Loss, Thinking Out Loud, Treatment
September 23, 2010 | By: Liz
Most people who know me, know that I am in my mid-early 40’s. Turning 40 wasn’t a big deal for me. I have such a baby face that sometimes I have a hard time getting people to take me seriously. Turning 40 for me was a milestone of maturity I had long waited for. You have to take a woman in her 40’s seriously. If for no other reason than you’ve got the mileage to deserve it. And yes, thanks to amazing strides in modern medicine (not to mention Botox® and Viagra®), people are living longer and are taking the time to enjoy their life; people are doing things later in life and enjoying them with the vigor and spirit of someone fifteen to twenties years younger. No longer are we rushing ala “Mad Men” into marriage and childbearing in our 20’s. Women are taking the time to establish themselves and find the right mate. Forty has thus become to the former Twenty-Somethings, what 30 was to our parents’ generation.
There is a lot more fun to be had and work to be accomplished, praise to be garnished and shopping for hot “Jeggings” (well maybe not for me) to be done in one’s 40’s. The “not your mom’s kind of jeans” have given way to a new look for those of us who are fabulous and 40: long hair and tight jeans are acceptable on a 40 year old woman’s body. No longer are these considered unacceptable for a woman of a “certain age”! No longer does turning 40 qualify you as a “woman of a certain age” and for that matter, neither does turning 50!! As a dear friend of mine recently turned 40 and all her friends gave her a shout-out on Facebook (and yes, someone not yet 40 begged my friend to confirm that 40 is the new 30), it was generally considered among her already 40 friends that turning 40 was a cause for celebration. So yes, my friends, your 40’s are a decade to be embraced and not dreaded.
Except for one small, “eensy weensy” factor of which no woman should ignore and most women to my surprise are unaware of . . . have you met
Who or What is the NOvary? Well, let me fill you in! The NOvary is the any-woman’s ovary who has decided not to cooperate with her plans to become a mother. The NOvary does not care if you’re 30, 35 or 40. She can and does reside in all women of all ages. However, she tends to emerge with more Attitude at or around the time you turn 35. And by the time you turn 40, the NOvary has almost universally decided to take over your reproductive system and your Plan. The NOvary defies what medical science and a good cosmetic dermatologist have allowed us to enjoy — another decade of productivity and passion for all things, most especially those career, clothing or relationship related. Because let’s face it, not every woman is ready to, or wants to have a child, in her 30’s. Indeed, we have been taught to wait and enjoy, and to relish life! And we should!! But then as we turn 40 and we’ve lined all our nice little ducks in a row, or decided we don’t need our ducks to be in a row, and we consider parenting, we come face to face with the not-so-new but seemingly unknown nemesis to pregnancy and motherhood:
The NOvary is the Ovary that says NO to all your carefully defined and created plans. In the world of fertility, or rather infertility, 40 is from the reproductive endocrinologist’s standpoint, the death of your childbearing years. The NOvary has not run a slick social media champagne – in fact it’s quite the opposite – she has been enjoying our ride along with us all the while knowing her little secret, and enjoying her secret power. The NOvary is the Ovary that no longer makes healthy eggs and she is so stealthy and sophisticated that you can actually conceive on your own for a few years as she gains her power and comes into her prime. But even though she hasn’t hit her full capabilities to destroy your dreams (or so you think) her influence over the eggs she releases on your behalf will cause you to miscarry, and miscarry again. Lulled into a false sense of security that your eggs are working because you are getting pregnant, she continues to work her evil spell, pushing you farther and farther into her control.
So powerful is the NOvary that she can continue to elude you into believing that you are still fertile even though you’re 40. So powerful is the NOvary that she can fool even the smartest of reproductive endocrinologists who will look at all your Day-3 data, manage to retrieve some very “healthy” looking eggs from your ovaries, only to find that those fertilized eggs and “beautiful” preembryos don’t turn into the baby you are longing for. The NOvary can place the cleverest of masks on eggs that are on the verge of retiring, and making them look as fabulous as you do in your 40 something glory. But the NOvary knows: your eggs have long since passed their expiration date.
How do I know this? How did I meet the dreaded and feared NOvary? Over hundreds (and I unfortunately mean hundreds) of my clients have battled her, failed to defeat her, and then faced the reality that (whether they are Thirty-Somethings or Forty-Somethings, married, career in place, or otherwise just determined to become a mom), if they want to realize their dreams of becoming pregnant and having a baby that they would need to bypass the NOvary altogether.
Yes, we can defeat the NOvary. You still have options and a powerful weapon to defeat the NOvary; one of those options is donor eggs and your success rate using donor eggs is about 50 to 60 times higher (perhaps more than that) than your chances are of defeating the NOvary. Yes, you read that correctly, success rates for using donor eggs are (at some fertility clinics) close to a 60% live birth rate!
Just as medical science has preserved your beauty and created a body that does not look, act or feel anywhere near 40, it has created a technology that can put the NOvary out of business! But be warned, while 40 is truly the new 30 . . . the NOvary has no intention of catching up with the rest of us, and if you want to have a baby and you haven’t yet decided to TTC or the TTCing isn’t going anywhere, consider the fact that she may be up to her devilish deeds.
Celebrate your age and enjoy your life . . . but please don’t forget she’s out there . . . looming in the shadows and finding new ways to avoid detection by physicians and scientists alike . . . and her name is the NOvary!
p.s. up next, another option for defeating the NOvary . . . stay tuned!
June 23, 2010 | By: Liz
Today’s topic is one that I have been meaning to address for some time, but my colleague Mike Berkley did so very well in the following article on sperm DNA fragmentation and miscarriage that I thought I would just post the link to his article. I can tell you that this stuff is really controversial, but also documented at higher rates of fragmentation to play a significant role in pregnancy loss.