Thursday, November 15, 2012

MTHFR - issues with placenta and miscarriages

FWIW - I have no recommendations at this point to help achieve a successful delivery if you have MTHFR and are pregnant. This is just a 'what-happened-to-me' post.

I am still learning a LOT about MTHFR. For the record, I am homozygous MTHFR A1298C and also have Protein C Deficiency. Both of these can contribute to multiple miscarriages and issues with placentas.

My first pregnancy ended before 12 weeks. I was 18 and single and had been doing a lot of partying (alcohol and drugs), tried smoking, and ate very little nutritious food. I was dealing with a lot of brain fog and fatigue and my mother had recommended getting tested for diabetes. I wanted birth control pills. Doctors wanted to screen for the diabetes before prescribing the birth control pills. I tested positive for diabetes before we realized I was pregnant. It ended up being gestational diabetes as I no longer had it after the pregnancy ended.

My second pregnancy resulted in a live birth of my eldest son. I was 22 and married (though not for long as I divorced him shortly after the baby was born). I did my best to eat healthy although we were exceptionally poor. During labor, my placenta abrupted (separated from the uterine wall). They rushed me into the operating room to do an emergency c/section... but during the move I finished dilating and delivered about two minutes later. Thankfully, the placenta presented on top of my son (and delivered with him) so he didn't lose much blood in the process and he was exceptionally healthy. Looking back, lack of early medical care during pregnancy meant that I had never gotten tested for gestational diabetes during this pregnancy. My son was a BIG baby - at 9 lbs 9 1/2 oz and 24" long (well it was big for our family, at that point he was 2 lbs bigger and 3" longer than any baby born in three generations). But it's possible this is just genetics from his father's side of the family as opposed to being related to gestational diabetes as he was the smallest baby born on their side of the family (like ever, they averaged 11 to 12 pound babies in their family).

My third pregnancy also resulted in a live birth for my youngest son. I was 37 and single (again). This time around I ate a LOT better and was very good about getting great prenatal care. Due to my age, I was carefully screened and had early and frequent ultrasounds. It was during my first ultrasound that they identified that there was an abnormal placenta. It was shaped like a figure 8. Fortunately, the umbilical cord was attached to the larger of the two sections of the placenta and my son was born very healthy. The biggest risk factor was that of abruption or only delivering one section of the placenta. However, since I had a c/section with this son, they were able to remove the placenta during the procedure with very little risk.

During my c/section I had the doctors proceed with tubal ligation as this was my third unplanned pregnancy. Unfortunately one of the clips that were used didn't stay clamped and I had a fourth pregnancy about two years later. This pregnancy ended before 8 weeks. I'd had all the symptoms but wasn't supposed to be able to get pregnant after the tubal. It took some doing to convince the doctor to test me as he was convinced I hadn't had a miscarriage because I shouldn't have been pregnant in the first place. But hormone tests proved that I had been recently pregnant which proved my point.

During the third pregnancy I also had to get treated for endometriosis (severe level 4) which wasn't identified until the c/section. As well as the removal of a grapefruit-sized tumor. They also found additionally about 200 other small tumors that lined the inside of my uterus. All-told they told me that my pregnancy was a complete miracle. Of course it was... how could it be anything else?

I did break down and have a hysterectomy in 2011 after being diagnosed with adenomyosis and am thankful to have eliminated the debilitating cramping that was associated with that.

As I continue to learn more about the symptoms and risk factors (as well as treatment protocols) for MTHFR - I'm going to continue to share my story.  I've known for a while that Protein C Deficiency had risk factors for miscarriage and placenta issues - but now knowing that MTHFR A1298C also has those risks? It explains a lot. No wonder I was four-for-four. Thankfully I did luck out in having two amazing sons as I know others who have struggled with infertility and recurrent miscarriage who dream of having success.

I can't even imagine how difficult it is to have the strong desire to be a parent and struggle with loss. I hope that if you've struggled with recurrent loss you get tested for MTHFR and find a high-risk ob/gyn to help with appropriate protocols to help you.

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