21 August 2014

Why I Miscarry (most likely), and Broken Down and Busted: The Tale of a Retroverted Uterus

Broken Down and Busted
In the last few months we've learned I'm even more infertile than we thought! Really at this point it's kind of funny, amusing at least, and really weird. At this point I think I have 5? Five different parts that don't work properly? (Going through the reproductive system in my mind)...yeah, five diagnosed issues working against the possibility of ever creating a child. Here is all the latest.

I had a pelvic ultrasound back in the beginning of July to check out how things were going in that area. Ya know, say a quick little hello to my baby-making area. There has been a bit going on in the last 6 months so I don't remember exactly what this particular ultrasound was for. 

I've had a ridiculous number of ultrasounds in the last 7 years. A really ridiculous number. And I'm one that is always asking questions and trying to understand what is going on so I'm pretty sure at this point I could do my own pelvic ultrasound. Anyway, I knew something wasn't right as soon as my insides popped up on the screen.

Ultrasound tech: "Whoooa..." 
Me: "What the...."

Something was missing. She pushed a little harder with the ultrasound...nub? What is that thing called? The thing she pushes on my stomach with. Anyway, she pushed harder, moved it around, kind of dug around.

Me: "Wheeerrre is my uterus?" It was conspicuously absent from where I knew it should've been.

After a little more digging...

Me: "Is THAT it?"

Ultrasound tech: "Yes it is. Have you ever been told you have a tilted uterus?"

Me: "What?! Never. I just had an ultrasound a few months ago and it was right in it's normal place!"

Ultrasound tech: "This is EXTREEEEMELY extremely retroverted. My goodness..."

Looking at the screen it didn't even look like my uterus. It looked like a deflated balloon who had given up on life, then been beaten up and thrown into a crumpled heap in the corner of my pelvis, oh AND bent in half. What in the world?? It was literally bent at a 90* angle just after my cervix, then curled all the way backward, pressing, wedged tightly into it's current position. Well, that explained the pain. I hadn't felt lower back pain like this since I was about 35-37 weeks pregnant. 

Ultrasound tech: "Yeah this is going to make it a lot more difficult for you to get pregnant, but not impossible." 

I laughed :) I let her know there were several other things making pregnancy impossible, a crumpled uterus being among the least of them. I wasn't too bothered by one more broken part of a system I wasn't using. She then gave me some pretty detailed instructions on positions that would give us the best chance of "getting his little guys up there".  

I couldn't stop giggling. :) Partially because this was weird of course. Partially because I get this kind of advice ALL THE TIME and it still amuses me. When people find out you're infertile it's like suddenly all social boundaries evaporate and nothing is inappropriate or off limits. I have gotten some of the weirdest baby-making advice from some of the most unexpected sources :) I don't find it offensive or anything, people are just trying to help, but oh man, it's still funny. Some of the more basic stuff I want to reply "Really, you think we didn't try that?" and some of the weirder stuff I can only laugh awkwardly and back away slowly...

Anyway, coming from her it was weird :) She is this incredibly sweet, much older woman. I felt like she should be giving me a sticker and sucker after the ultrasound, not SEX advice! :) 

Having my uterus in it's current "I've completely given up" state not only makes pregnancy even less likely (is that possible?) but it also increases the chances of miscarriage. It can probably go back, but might not. It's alright, we're considering just getting rid of the whole thing anyway. :-)

So there it is. This was hurdle, blockade, "biological babies won't be happening" reason #4. THIS is #5...

Why I miscarry (most likely)
After our second miscarriage we were told by the fertility center that because of the nature of our miscarriages there was likely something genetically between Daniel and I that was creating babies incapable of surviving. We had accepted that and happily moved on to adoption.

A while ago I met with our family practice doctor about something unrelated and mentioned that biological children (even if the odds were different) were out for good. I absolutely could not risk another miracle pregnancy with the risk of another miscarriage, saying "if I have another miscarriage, I will quit, I will literally give up on life. I cannot handle losing another child." I'm actually very afraid of ever having another miracle pregnancy for that reason. Even though I know the chances of pregnancy are essentially zero, I've still been afraid that somehow it would happen again and yet another of our babies would die. So to put me at ease and try to hopefully provide an explanation for why I miscarry she ordered a blood panel.

The results were something I hadn't heard of before. I immediately let Daniel know and got to work researching the latest studies and medical journals. It turns out I have a genetic mutation that increases our odds of miscarriage by about 600%. 

The main issue is this mutation makes it so my body doesn't effectively produce the enzyme that converts folic acid (synthetic folate) into readily usable folate. Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects (in those who can process it), issues that usually lead to miscarriage, and my body is barely able to do more than zilch with it. All that folic acid in all the FDA required enriched foods? Most of it just floats around my body in its unusable, synthetic form. So now we (hopefully) at least understand why our babies didn't survive.

I can take a more broken down, ready for my body to use, form of folate as well as add some more foods to my diet that are high in folate. I still don't fully understand all the implications (the diagnosis wasn't very long ago) but I know it means I also have issues breaking down and using other B-vitamins (I think B-5 and B-12). So, I did some research, found out what the usable forms were and picked those up as well. 

What's nice is for the most part I don't need to make any major changes to my diet. The only thing I need to cut out is Folic Acid. I eat almost entirely veggies, fruit and lean meats and all of those are best for this mutation. I'll just need to add some other veggies I don't often eat. The hardest (probably the only hard) change I'm going to make is cutting out enriched pasta (I LOVE making pasta dishes). Daniel is completely on board with helping me and said we're going to learn to make our own pasta :)

So yes, we've found a likely explanation for our miscarriages which is really really fantastic :) I feel incredibly lucky to have an explanation. Pregnancy is still out because of all the other reasons, but at least now I don't have the fear of losing another child hanging so heavily over my head, making me so afraid of another miracle.

And that's the latest :)


  1. I'm sorry, these things can be bittersweet to hear (bitter: just another reason why... sweet:you found some kind of answer). The road down infertility is always long and windy, never a short jog like people might...hope. What a miracle Miss Aurelia is. Truly, a special little girl, given to a special family, for a special purpose. Thank you for writing this. This has strengthened my testimony in God's hand in everything--not science as my creator.

    1. It really is bittersweet. I feel a lot of relief in having this answer even though it's not absolute that this was the cause. Isn't it incredible that we got Aurelia? Not only that she was even conceived, but that she survived AND is healthy. It's pretty miraculous :) She was absolutely meant to be here and come in the way she did.

  2. MTHFR? Is that the disorder you were talking about?

    1. Yes! I'm homozygous for MTHFR. Do you have it??