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Archive for the ‘pregnancy loss’ tag

6 Potential Causes of Miscarriage and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL)

By Satu Kuokkanen, MD, PhD

May 2nd, 2016 at 11:31 am

image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/ freedigitlaphotos.net

Experiencing a pregnancy loss is always devastating for individuals hoping to establish or expand their family. Patients describe a range of grieving emotions related to the loss of a person they never had a chance to meet, love and share the future.  This grieving process may last anywhere from few weeks up to several years.  Not surprisingly, I have heard from many patients that one of the most difficult coping times was around the expected due date of the pregnancy that they miscarried.

 

It may be somewhat comforting for patients to know that they are not alone. In fact, miscarriage is the most common pregnancy complication and it affects 1 in every 6-8 confirmed pregnancies, that’s 12-15%. The risk of miscarriage increases with maternal age. While women younger than 30 years old have a 10-12% risk of pregnancy loss, the risk is four fold higher for women in their 40’s. Identifying a potential cause may help with the emotional impact of the pregnancy loss whether it is isolated or recurrent loss.

 

Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is diagnosed after a woman has had two or more consecutive miscarriages and RPL affects 1 in 20 couples who are attempting to conceive. While isolated miscarriages are commonly due to chromosomal and genetic abnormalities, other factors are responsible for RPL. These factors vary depending on the gestational age of the pregnancy loss. Evaluation of potential RPL causes is important in determining whether therapy is available to the patient.

 

6 Potential causes of RPL:

 

  1. Congenital and acquired structural uterine factors. A uterine septum, a partial or complete division of the uterine cavity, is the most common congenital structural uterine abnormality.  Uterine septum and bicornuate uterus (“heart shaped womb”) have been linked to RPL. Acquired structural uterine pathologies that distort the normal uterine cavity include endometrial polyps that are skin tag-like growths of the uterine lining, fibroids that are affecting the uterine cavity, and intrauterine scarring that can develop after surgical procedures, such as dilatation and curettage (also known as D&C).  Radiology studies of the uterus with saline ultrasound (‘water sonogram”) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are standard methods to evaluate the womb.

 

  1. Chronic endometritis is inflammation of the uterine lining. This condition is diagnosed by sampling of the uterine lining with an endometrial biopsy or D&C.

 

  1. Structural chromosome abnormalities of the parents is a rare but known cause of RPL. A simple blood test of both parents to assess numeric and structural chromosomal component (karyotype) is done.

 

  1. Abnormalities of blood clotting.  The well-known condition in this category is anti-phospholipid antibody syndrome (APAS) which women can acquire during their reproductive years. Anti-phospholipid antibody levels can be measured in blood for diagnostic purposes.

 

  1. Endocrine-related abnormalities include elevation in alterations in thyroid hormone secretion and diabetes with uncontrolled blood sugar levels.  Also, women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) appear to have heightened risk of pregnancy losses.

 

  1. Environmental and lifestyle factors have also been linked to an increased risk of miscarriages. Such factors may include maternal obesity, cigarette smoking, and exposure to environmental toxins. How these factors may impact pregnancy or pregnancy loss differs and is still being studied at the current time.

 

It is important to remember that, although painful, an isolated miscarriage may often be followed by a healthy and successful pregnancy. And that, RPL, while devastating, can be caused by a factor that may be treated with proper, specialized medical care. In either case, your dream of parenthood may still be within reach.

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Have you suffered one or miscarriages, been treated for an underlying cause, and gone on to have a successful pregnancy?

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Long Island IVF-WINNER: Best in Vitro Fertility Practice 2015 AND 2016

It is with humble yet excited hearts that we announce that Long Island IVF was voted the Best In Vitro Fertility Practice in the Best Of Long Island 2015 and 2016 contest…two years in a row!

The doctors, nurses, embryologists, and the rest of the Long Island IVF staff are so proud of this honor and so thankful to every one of you who took the time to vote. From the moms juggling LIIVF babies… to the dads coaching LIIVF teens…to the parents sending LIIVF adults off to college or down the aisles… to the LIIVF patients still on their journeys to parenthood who are confident in the care they’re receiving…we thank you all.

We love what we’ve gotten to do every day more than 28 years…build families. If you are having trouble conceiving, please call us. Many of our nurses and staff were also our patients, so we really do understand what you’re going through. And we’d like to help. 631-752-0606.

 

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National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day

By Tracey Minella

October 15th, 2015 at 7:22 am

 

credit: Carlymarie


Perhaps the only thing harder to imagine living through besides infertility, would be the loss of a child.

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day though October is the month dedicated to raising awareness of this inconceivable pain.

Many women undergoing infertility treatment are understandably so focused on just becoming pregnant, that they don’t even contemplate the possibility of a loss in the event they are successful. I think part of that mindset has to do with self-preservation during the infertility process.

Infertility is such a hard journey to endure that it’s only natural to tell yourself that getting pregnant is all you need to do to return to a happy and typical life. It’s only natural to think there could not possibly be anything else awful in the future. It’s only natural to believe this is the only roadblock and once you get pregnant, it’ll be smooth sailing. After all, how much heartache and pain could the universe lay at your feet?  Surely infertility is more than enough grief for one person to bear. Right?

Well, while the majority of infertility patients who do conceive go on to enjoy uneventful and healthy pregnancies with happy outcomes, there are others who do not. They may suffer a miscarriage at any point during their pregnancy…even more than once… or lose a baby during or just after childbirth. They may also lose a child to illness or accident at any time before adulthood. It’s hard to even let your mind go there.

None of us are immune from the possibility of this unthinkable experience. Many of us push the thought away, believing no more misfortune will come our way…that we’ve paid our dues. Others may hover over their miracle babies, half believing their reality is a dream that could be taken away at any moment. I admit to being a tad overprotective of my IVF babies out of fears many of my friends don’t share. Ok, maybe more than a tad.

For those who have suffered such unspeakable losses and live in the Long Island area, Long Island IVF’s counselor/psychologist, Bina Benisch, can help. Please call the office if you’d like to make  a private or group appointment with her. You don’t have to be a patient to do so.

But I’d also recommend a beautiful and supportive online community for all grieving mothers to check out. The young woman who maintains this site, CarlyMarie, lost her son Christian. Her site needs to be experienced to be believed. It is impossible to describe how powerfully healing her site is unless you see it yourself. Her beautiful photography and words and projects designed to help you heal are inspiring. Her website may be found at http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/. The image in this post is credited to her as well. And another helpful resource would be Still Standing OnLine Magazine at http://stillstandingmag.com/2012/09/parenting-on-earth-and-in-the-clouds/.

At 7pm tonight, all over the world, a Wave of Light movement is happening where bereaved parents are lighting candles in remberance of their lost babies and children. More information is available on CarlyMarie’s site.

If you or someone you know is suffering with the loss of a child, please pass this information along.

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If you’ve suffered the loss of a child and want to share your experience, or want to recommend a site or service that is helping you through the grief, please do so.

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6 Helpful Resources for Pregnancy and Infant Loss

By Tracey Minella

October 16th, 2013 at 12:10 pm

 

image courtesy of small bird studio

Infertility is hell. Everyone on this journey knows that. And we all know that unless you are experiencing infertility yourself, you can’t possibly understand our pain. No matter how much your heart breaks for us. You have to live it to relate to it.

Unfortunately, the journey is longer and harder for some of us. And sometimes, just as you think you can finally glimpse the sun peeking through the darkest forest, you lose your footing and tumble into the blackest hole. To a special section of hell so awful that it forces you to redefine the term.

Ectopic pregnancy. Miscarriage. Stillbirth. SIDS or other infancy loss. Whatever the cause…your baby is gone. How do you go on?

October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and since many infertility patients suffer these unimaginable losses along their journeys, it’s important to acknowledge the pain and provide some resources to help cope. Like infertility itself, unless you’ve lived it, you can’t relate to baby loss.

Here are some places where those who have suffered a loss, and those who love them, can start:

Project Healhttp://carlymarieprojectheal.com/ I cannot say enough about this Baby Loss Community support group, available online and through Facebook. The moderator, Carlymarie, suffered the loss of her son, Christian. She helps people cope (and they help her in return) through photography, writing, beach art, short films, and many other therapeutic ways. She is hosting a month-long “Capture Your Grief” photography event in honor of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Her site, which provides all the details, is a “must visit” for anyone who knows someone or who has themselves suffered a loss.

In addition, please visit Small Bird Studio on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/  where another artist and bereaved mother, Franchesca Cox, offers support and beautiful artwork. She and Carlymarie teamed up to create the “Lost for Words” 2014 calendar from heartbreakingly poignant quotes contributed by grieving moms.

Still Standing Magazine  http://stillstandingmag.com/2013/10/sharing-story/ This online magazine is exclusively related to “Surviving Child Loss and Infertility”. You can navigate your way through subjects like:  Grief, Infertility, Parenting after Loss, Faith, Siblings’ Grief, Pregnancy after Loss, and more. Everything is written by someone who has somehow survived and is “still standing”.

A Heart to Holdhttp://ahearttohold.com/  This website and Facebook community’s mission is to “offer comfort to families who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss by creating and sharing the gift of a weighted handmade heart.” Recipients of these hand-sewn keepsakes may find some measure of comfort in having something soft to hold which are made to order at the weight of the infant that was “born sleeping” or who passed shortly after birth. Loved ones who are looking to do something for a grieving couple to acknowledge their loss and pain can inquire about a hand-sewn heart. This non-profit charitable organization was started by a woman who was given a hand-sewn heart by her midwife after her son was stillborn at full-term. Mamas who receive these hearts often want to pay it forward by volunteering to make one for another mom. For more information on volunteering, donating, or ordering see the site above.

Infertility/Infant Loss Jewelry*: There are several sites that offer  handmade and/or customized jewelry especially for those who are suffering infertility or from pregnancy or infant loss. Some people who have suffered a loss may find comfort in wearing a piece of jewelry that commemorates or acknowledges that lost life. Here is a sampling of such sites:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/bugaboojewelry

http://hopingbelievingwaiting.weebly.com/

http://www.myforeverchild.com/

http://www.rememberingourbabies.net/

 

Professional Counseling   http://www.longislandivf.com/mind_body.cfm Sometimes, a professional therapist is the best option to help you after such an unbearable loss. Long Island IVF offers several professional counselors uniquely-qualified to handle supporting you through infertility and pregnancy and infant loss.

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If you have suffered from pregnancy or infant loss, do you have any advice to share or any resources to recommend to help others?

* Long Island IVF has no affiliation with any of these jewelry or other merchandise sites and offers them for informational purposes only. Use your own discretion when considering making any purchase.

 

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Infertility and the Cruelty of June

By Tracey Minella

June 14th, 2013 at 10:10 pm

 

image courtesy of free digital photos.net

June is such a busy month. And baby showers top most infertile women’s list of annoyances in June. Of course, Father’s Day is really awful, too. But there are other irritating celebrations as well this month.

Weddings can trigger flashbacks to our own “big day’…that happy time of promise, innocence, and planning out how our “happily ever after” would unfold. Before infertility…like a villain in a fairy tale… reared its ugly head and ruined it all.

And depending on how old you are, how long you’ve been on the journey, and how many losses you’ve suffered, there’s the annoyance of graduations.

They’d have been graduating high school this month. My twins.

I was sure that after two failed IVF cycles, the third time was the charm. I’d lost my mom that February and was sure that with her watching over me things would work out this time. It was the day after Christmas in 1994 and I was finally pregnant. Very pregnant, actually. The kind of super pregnant that you know even before your blood is drawn.

An astronomical second beta and crowded sonogram revealed three embryos had implanted from this GIFT/ET cycle in which four eggs and some sperm were placed into my open tube during a laparoscopic retrieval and an additional three embryos were transferred back a couple days later. [Remember protocols and success rates were very different back then!] One baby failed to develop a heartbeat, leaving me with twins.

But complications arose and I needed emergency surgery. I kept telling myself the pregnancy would be okay. Two weeks later, I lost the pregnancy. And all hope for quite some time. It took me three more IVFs before I finally had my daughter in 1998.

But I still remember them. My twins. With the 9-5-95 due date. I would have occasionally thought of their milestones even if I didn’t know a woman whose son was born that week. A boy, now 18, who I’ve watched like some sad, distant stalker as he lived a childhood my own twins never saw.

Perhaps you too have had an actual loss and mourn a kindergarten or middle school graduation. You may even grieve like this over a potential loss due to failed IUI or IVF cycles…since at some point during the two week wait we all calculate what our due date would be if the cycle worked. The negative beta merely starts the clock ticking for us to mark stolen milestones and mourn that potential life.

Can we just skip to July now?

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What do you think is the worst part of June?

Do you mourn an actual loss or a potential loss?

photo credit anekono and http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10073635

 

 

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I’m Still Standing

By Tracey Minella

May 5th, 2013 at 5:07 pm

 

Today is International Bereaved Mother’s Day.

Celebrated on the Sunday before Mother’s Day, it’s dedicated to those who have suffered the pain of miscarriage, stillbirth, losing an infant or child, or are suffering from infertility. To those who are still standing.

This year there is a world-wide project known as #iamstillstanding , through Still Standing Magazine, which encourages women and men who have suffered these unspeakable losses to share their stories, post a picture, or simply to speak their children’s names…to acknowledge the grief and help in some small way to bring a measure of healing. You can participate through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or Pinterest. Go here for more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/552753651414253/

The stories already uploaded are hard to read, yet comforting. They are heart-warming, and heart-breaking. They will take your breath away.

In addition to Still Standing Magazine, two helpful resources for bereaved parents are Carlymarie’s Project Heal https://www.facebook.com/CarlyMarieProjectHeal?fref=ts and A Heart to Hold https://www.facebook.com/AHearttoHold?fref=ts. The first is support from a bereaved mother and artist and the second is a non-profit organization that provides hand-sewn hearts of the exact weight of the lost baby to bereaved moms, so they have something soft of significant weight to hold during their grieving.

For those local women who are looking for professional, one-on-one or group counseling to process your grief over infertility or other related losses, please contact Long Island IVF to speak to our professionals or go here for more information: http://www.longislandivf.com/mind_body.cfm

May those suffering find some measure of comfort in the above resources.

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Are there any additional resources you can recommend for others who may be grieving?

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=238&picture=statue-of-an-angel

 

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National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

By Tracey Minella

October 15th, 2012 at 8:24 am

Perhaps the only thing harder to imagine living through besides infertility, would be the loss of a child.

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

Many women undergoing infertility treatment are understandably so focused on just becoming pregnant, that they don’t even contemplate the possibility of a loss in the event they are successful. I think part of that mindset has to do with self-preservation during the infertility process.

Infertility is such a hard journey to endure that it’s only natural to tell yourself that getting pregnant is all you need to do to return to a happy and typical life. It’s only natural to think there could not possibly be anything else awful in the future. It’s only natural to believe this is the only roadblock and once you get pregnant, it’ll be smooth sailing. After all, how much heartache and pain could the universe lay at your feet?  Surely infertility is more than enough grief for one person to bear. Right?

Well, while the majority of infertility patients who do conceive go on to enjoy uneventful and healthy pregnancies with happy outcomes, there are others who do not. They may suffer a miscarriage at any point during their pregnancy…even more than once… or lose a baby during or just after childbirth. They may also lose a child to illness or accident at any time before adulthood. It’s hard to even let your mind go there.

None of us are immune from the possibility of this unthinkable experience. Many of us push the thought away, believing no more misfortune will come our way…that we’ve paid our dues. Others may hover over their miracle babies, half believing their reality is a dream that could be taken away at any moment. I admit to being a tad overprotective of my IVF babies out of fears many of my friends don’t share. Ok, maybe more than a tad.

For those who have suffered such unspeakable losses and live in the Long Island area, Long Island IVF’s counselor/psychologist, Bina Benisch, can help.

But I’d also recommend a beautiful and supportive online community for all grieving mothers to check out. The young woman who maintains this site, CarlyMarie, lost her son Christian. Her site needs to be experienced to believe. It is impossible to describe how powerfully healing her site is unless you see it yourself. Her beautiful photography and words and projects designed to help you heal are inspiring. Her website may be found at http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/. And another helpful resource would be Still Standing OnLine Magazine at http://stillstandingmag.com/2012/09/parenting-on-earth-and-in-the-clouds/.

If you or someone you know is suffering with the loss of a child, please pass this information along.

* * * * * * ** * * * *

If you’ve suffered the loss of a child and want to share your experience, or want to recommend a site or service that is helping you through the grief, please do so.

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Does Having a Baby After a Loss Heal the Pain?

By Tracey Minella

July 19th, 2012 at 5:44 pm

No one should ever have to experience the loss of a child. Ever. It’s quite simply not the natural order of life.

Whether through a miscarriage, still birth, or after birth, the pain is unspeakable, unbearable. And so personal.

When comforting someone who has suffered this loss, please choose your words wisely…if you even use words at all. Sometimes a look, a squeeze of the hand, or a hug is all that’s in order…or welcome.

Sometimes just doing a task that needs doing speaks volumes more than the well-meaning but awkward chatter. Bring a casserole, do an errand. Offer to listen over a cup of coffee. You don’t understand the loss. Even if you suffered a similar loss yourself, everyone’s experience is different.

Which brings me to the question: Does having a baby after losing a baby heal the pain?

Some people hold their grief close and never let go, even after the blessing of another child… for one cannot replace another. Others manage to let go of the loss, almost completely, in their joy over a new beginning, a new life… for what’s the use of looking back.

For me, a twin loss at 9 weeks, on my third IVF attempt, coming two weeks after an emergency surgery, was a tough loss to process. The surgery left me in a state that would further handicap my chances of conceiving again. I was devastated.

But after three more IVFs, I had my little girl. At that moment, all was made right in my world. I was healed. And part of me feels guilty about that.

But I look back now that I do have two children and find comfort in the idea that it is these two children, not the earlier two, that I was supposed to have. Sure, I think about what age those angels would be and what they’d be doing sometimes, but if I’d had them, then I would not have these exact children that I do have now. And that thought is also unbearable.

Without in any way minimizing a loss by early miscarriage, I wonder if grief is generally harder to bear the longer you’ve loved the child, the longer the attachment. Or whether grief subsides faster for those who do experience a subsequent birth than for those whose arms remain empty. Sure, it sounds logical. Except there’s no place for logic here.

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What do you think?

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=1463&picture=mother-and-baby

 

 

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