Friday, May 11, 2012

A New Diagnosis

"Habitual Spontaneous Abortion."

These disgusting words are the official new diagnosis from our doctor. Ugh, I'd rather call it "recurrent miscarriage," but either way, it's enough to make any woman despise her body. Basically, it means I'm not able to sustain a pregnancy - I'm prone to spontaneously abort (miscarry) a growing embryo or fetus. The reason could be anatomical, hormonal, genetic, auto-immune, even a blood-clotting factor, or a combination of chromosomal factors involving the mother and father. In short, there's an exponential number of reasons a woman's body may reject her offspring, and it's difficult to tell the difference between a "natural" miscarriage (quite the oxymoron) and one caused by treatable factors. Typically, a woman will lose three or more babies before she's diagnosed with "habitual spontaneous abortion." 
But in our case, the evidence from our two miscarriages indicated they were both caused by treatable factors. In other words, there wasn't something wrong with our babies, there was something wrong with me. I really think our doctor was inspired - If he hadn't made this diagnosis, as heartbreaking as it, we probably would've tried for another year or more like we did after our first miscarriage, not knowing we were doomed to lose our third.
So, we were given a list of about a dozen different tests - all very expensive, of course - and we finally decided to start with the least expensive but most inconvenient procedure, where the uterus is blown up with saline like a water balloon and searched with a probe. If it sounds uncomfortable, please let me assure you, it was. In fact, I think it might have been the worst physical pain I can remember, but it's hard to say because it only lasted a few minutes, and the procedure ended up being more than worth the pain and expense. 

Our doctor discovered a large, abnormal growth protruding into my uterus. It's called a polyp, and it's kind of like a tumor. But, it's not...Allow me to quote from Kindergarten Cop in my best Schwarzenegger impression, "It's not a tu-mah." Ben was with me when we saw it on the ultrasound screen, and it's quite evil-looking. Ben said that it reminded him of these creatures from The Little Mermaid:

It makes you shutter, doesn't it?...Just remembering how freaked out you were by these things when you were a kid? Well, I'd much rather have been smiling and looking at a cute button nose and round little rump on the screen, instead of grunting in pain and looking at the hideous thing that took those moments away from me...a great Mother's Day present, huh? It makes me feel like a freak of nature, like there's an alien that's been gestating inside of me for who knows how many years. I hate it...I can't wait to get it out of me.

So, I'm having surgery next week. I wish I could say that this will fix everything. Our doctor said there could be other unknown factors, and like I've mentioned before, I've got a hormone imbalance that makes my ovaries look like swiss cheese (diagnosis: polycystic ovarian disease), and an x-ray recently revealed that the base of my spine sags like the Leaning Tower of Pisa (diagnosis: "spinal degeneration"), which is contributing to my infertility. I feel like a train wreck sometimes, not to mention an emotional basket case, although Ben assures me that I'm neither (I'm "perfect"...pffft).
a poly-cystic ovary (mine don't look quite this bad, but they're close)

 the approximate angle of my spine
Still, overcoming "habitual spontaneous abortion" is half the battle, and I hope this surgery gives us an easy victory (well, if you call going under the knife "easy"). In any case, it's a miracle that we found this now - on the very first test, and only a few months after losing Baby #2 - instead of after another year of trying and losing another baby and dozens of test later, because that's how it probably would've worked out without divine intervention. I'm so glad our doctor didn't wait...Next time you pray, please thank God for good doctors!


  1. my s.i.l. has poly cysytic ovary syndrome and was told she would never have a baby. she has suffered through two miscarriages and three other difficult pregnancies, but she is currently 25 Weeks along with baby number four. i hope that they can help you out!

  2. I'm sorry you've had so much heartbreak but hope that all goes well with this surgery and that you're able to get your much desired children and find "joy in the journey." I still wish you guys were our next door neighbors. Hugs.