Infertility and Miscarriage, Uncategorized

Getting and Staying Pregnant: What We Did Differently

October 2, 2014

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I realize that I’ve posted quite a bit about pregnancy-related topics lately. Hang with me if pregnancy posts drive you crazy, because I have some great recipes coming to the site later this month! Since opening up about our difficult journey to baby, my inbox has been flooded with questions about doctors and medicines and acupuncture. I’m always happy to answer each question individually via e-mail, but I wanted to put it all into a single post as another resource for women traveling the same journey.

Before I launch into what we did differently this time around, I want to say that I was a bit torn about sharing this post. First, despite the fact that we’re now past 16 weeks, I have no idea what the ultimate outcome will be of this pregnancy. Second, I strongly believe that the baby I’m carrying is a miracle and a result of so many heartfelt and sincere prayers. I don’t ever want to steal away from the miraculous nature of this pregnancy in favor of condensing it down to a science. We truly have no idea what “did the trick” but believe that God worked through some of the many medical resources available to us.

1. A Daily Baby Aspirin
After our second miscarriage, one of the first things our doctor suggested was for me to start a daily baby aspirin regimen. Aspirin isn’t typically recommended for pregnant women, but in some cases it has shown to have benefits for women who have difficulty conceiving or staying pregnant. Although my blood tests came back negative for any clotting disorders (a common cause of recurrent miscarriage) my doctor said sometimes a small dose of aspirin can prevent small clotting issues that may go under the radar undetected.

2. Acupuncture (a lot of it!)
The week after our second miscarriage, I started going to weekly acupuncture treatments at a practice specializing in pregnancy and fertility at the recommendation of a family friend. Thankfully the treatments were 80% covered by insurance (!!) so it was affordable and extremely enjoyable. I went every week for two months leading up to getting pregnant and every week through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Now I’m going once every month until the end of my pregnancy, when I will resume weekly treatments.

I can honestly say that the acupuncture helped tremendously with recovery after miscarriage compared to my previous experience and helped my body get back on track right away. It also helped my stress levels and most of the time I found myself falling asleep during the treatments. Additionally, my acupuncturist prescribed me several herbal supplements that I took throughout my cycle and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

3. Lifestyle Modifications
My acupuncturist also suggested several lifestyle modifications that I followed during the first trimester, which included eating organic, grass-fed red meat to help build my blood supply and focusing on exercises that were “nourishing” rather than depleting to my body. That means lots of walking, swimming, yoga and Pilates and avoiding running, high impact cardio and other intense workouts that would deplete my body.

4. Changing My Vitamins 
Almost everything in my blood panel came back normal except for the fact that my doctor informed me I tested positive for MTHFR, a common (but rarely tested for) genetic mutation that inhibits my body from properly processing folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) and B-vitamins, which are key nutrients in pregnancy. My doctor didn’t think it was a big deal or cause for concern, but after doing more research on my own, I talked with her about prescribing me Metanx, a prescription-grade form of natural, active B-vitamins. She agreed there would be no harm to me taking them and wrote me a script. I also switched to a MTHFR-friendly prenatal that would work well for people with and without MTHFR.

If you’ve been diagnosed with MTHFR, I would highly recommend you doing a little research of your own. I started with this website, and this one, too. Or, you can always e-mail me. I’m happy to chat!

5. Added Progesterone
Although I never tested low for progesterone in my second pregnancy (we didn’t test with the first) my doctor and I decided to err on the safe side and supplement the pregnancy with progesterone during the first trimester. She prescribed twice daily progesterone suppositories that were a total pain to take, but worth the peace of mind knowing I was doing everything I could to help this baby grow strong and healthy. I stopped taking the progesterone at 12 weeks, which made me nervous, but my doctor assured me that it was perfectly safe.

I have had this post written in my “drafts” folder for a long time, but I got another e-mail this morning from a friend with questions about getting pregnant, and it gave me the push I needed to hit “publish.” If you have any questions or I can be of any other help, I’m happy to chat!

Madison

*I am not a doctor or medical professional. This is simply what worked for us, but as always, please consult your medical professionals about any lifestyle modifications and medications when trying to get pregnant. 

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18 Comments

  • Reply jesscuellar October 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    so glad you found a regime that gave you peace of mind, madison. we did a lot of the same things after our miscarriage as well. http://semiweeklyeats.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-hard-days.html

    • Reply MadisonMayberry October 3, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      Well aren’t you just the cutest pregnant woman ever?! Thanks for sending along the link to your blog! xo

  • Reply Emily Jensen October 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I did progesterone suppositories from week 16 to the end of my twins pregnancy (after having my water break at 36 weeks with Lewis). They did this to help strengthen my cervix, which might have been a little weak if my water busted through a little early the first time. I am convinced (after having cervical ultrasounds every 2 weeks), that the progesterone was a HUGE help in keeping those babies in the womb! I started having regular contractions at 32 weeks, and I think that having an extra strong cervix was what held labor at bay until I was past 35 weeks with the twins. I will take suppositories in every subsequent pregnancy as a preventative measure! Also, as ‘gross’ as they are, I have some friends who have done the shots and have had negative side effects. So I think they are the least painful and stressful option if you can do it!

    I love that you give all the glory to Creator God!

    • Reply MadisonMayberry October 3, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      I was so thankful that we didn’t need shots! I would have gladly done that, but it wasn’t my first choice.The suppositories aren’t any fun, either, as you well know. I was so happy to be done taking them! So interesting that the progesterone can be used to help with strengthening the cervix! I’ve only heard of using it to support early pregnancy before the placenta takes over. Such good information for other women.

      And yes, even though we are blessed to have the resources of modern medicine, it’s only because of God and all the glory goes to Him!

  • Reply Nichole October 2, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    That baby is going to be SO loved. Look at y’alls smiles.

  • Reply cgisler October 2, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Very great stuff here! Thank you for sharing. Would you mind sharing which acupuncturist you see?

  • Reply Melissa October 2, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Question- is your “baby aspirin” just 81 mg aspirin. I have been told to take this daily too (I am going through IVF) and I cannot find anything that just says baby aspirin on it.
    Congratulations by the way! I am absolutely thrilled for you.

    • Reply MadisonMayberry October 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Hi Melissa –

      Best of luck with your IVF! Prayers this instant that you’re successful with this round. I just take the low dose 81 mg aspirin. 🙂

      Madison

  • Reply Nikki Boden October 2, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing. As someone who has been through this too, it’s always nice to hear what other people are doing or have done to try and get pregnant. My husband and I are currently trying again after a miscarriage this past summer, and looking forward to what’s next, while trusting in God’s plan and timing. Thank you for being so open and honest about something that so few people talk about, I think the more we share, the more women that can be helped and feel like they are not alone in this, because it can be such a lonely place to be.

    • Reply MadisonMayberry October 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Thank you so much, Nikki! I’m so sorry you have had to experience the pain and loss that comes with miscarriage. I’ll be thinking of you in the weeks and months to come. God’s timing really is the best, even when it’s hard to see or understand. You absolutely aren’t alone!

  • Reply Sarah October 2, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    My friend has MTHFR and has had 5 miscarriages but also 4 healthy children. She didn’t find out about it until after all the miscarriages and pregnancies. She has been frustrated with not a lot of doctors understanding it. It definitely needs more awareness.

    • Reply MadisonMayberry October 3, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      It’s amazing how little research there is in regards to MTHFR. When I was first diagnosed and my doctor said it was “nothing” it just didn’t sit right with me, and I’m glad that i decided to do more research on my own.

  • Reply Lmjcoffman October 3, 2014 at 1:04 am

    Like the other ladies have said, thank you for sharing your journey. It is such a miracle story:) do you mind sharing what supplements your acupuncturist recommended?

    • Reply MadisonMayberry October 3, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      Absolutely! I don’t remember the actual brand name, but the supplements she put me on while trying to conceive were a 4-phase program where I took something different throughout different times in my cycle. I’m guessing most acupuncturists would be familiar with the brand if you mentioned the 4-phase aspect. I also took a custom-blended herbal supplement for the first trimester pregnancy that was a loose powder specifically blended for me 2x per day. It tasted HORRIBLE but I suffered through. 😉

  • Reply Urban Wife October 3, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    This is such a great post, definitely full of helpful info. I had no idea about MTHFR! Like you say, all the glory goes to God but thankfully He also provides help through modern medicine.

  • Reply Katie October 5, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I find it interesting how I’m hearing more about the MTHFR gene- my sister has it and had three healthy normal pregnancies before she was diagnosed. I got tested and am a carrier or the gene. Happy you’re doing well with your pregnancy! I’m 16 weeks with my second 🙂 Babies are such a blessing.

  • Reply Laura @ Real Home Living October 8, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    This is so interesting! My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for 9ish months now, with no luck. I am waiting until the year mark before we start getting tested for any problems. I’m so glad that something worked for you guys! Whether the changes and diet supplements helped or not, either way your baby is a gift from God and I am so, so happy for you and Joe 🙂

  • Reply Suzy_Homemaker November 22, 2014 at 12:04 am

    I came across your story while looking at your Thanksgiving salad recipe and I’m very glad I did. I have a very similar story of two unexplained losses, although I was further along (17 and 16 weeks), and it has been the most difficult thing for me to work through. My doctor’s advice of what we’ll try next time is also very similar to yours. Reading of your success has been an inspiration to me and gives me much hope. The fear has often gotten the better of me when thinking of going again for the third time but reading of your success and how you’ve coped has eased some of that. Thank you so much for sharing your story, it has touched me deeply.

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