Recurrent Chemical Pregnancies & AutoImmune Diseases (Arthritis, etc) - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-21-2008, 01:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My hubby and I have been TTC for 10 months, and I just had my 2nd Chemical pregnancy last week. We haven't been to a fertility doctor yet as we are trying to just be patient with our bodies, knowing that conceiving isn't as easy as everyone thinks!

However, after some internet research, I just realized that chemical pregnancies & recurrent miscarriages can be caused by AutoImmune Diseases.
Wellllll... I have had Rheumatoid Arthritis & Fibromyalgia since I was 12 years old. (Note: I've already had the Anti-Nuclear Antibodies test, which I was Positive for).
It took reading some medical studies online about recurrent miscarriages to finally make the light bulb go on in my head! Afterwards, I was smacking my forehead like DOH! Why didn’t I think of that?!?!
Every time we finally get “fertilized”, my body is totally rejecting it! And DUH - my F’ed up immune system is obviously going to recognize the little zygote as a foreign object and try to get rid of it… why didn’t I think of this before???

Now that I finally have an answer as to what the heck has been going on (self-diagnosed, of course... But hey - hopefully this is it!), now I need to know where to go from here. The only treatment I seem to come up with online is "Prednisone". I have taken Prednisone many times throughout my life to control my arthritis... but it scares me to think that anyone would prescribe that nasty medication to a pregnant woman!

So, I’m throwing out this question to you lovely, resourceful ladies out there…
Have any of you gone through TTC with an AutoImmune Disease?

Specifically, something like Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus, etc?

What did the doctors recommend for treatment?

Were you able to conceive and carry the pregnancy Full Term?

Did any of the medications produce unwanted affects on your body &/or the baby???


ANY advice or stories of personal experience would be greatly appreciated and tremendously helpful!
Thank You!!!!
Laurie
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Old 09-21-2008, 01:37 AM
 
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I'm sorry to hear about your losses. The only autoimmune disease that I've heard having an effect on pregnancy (i.e. causing losses) is Lupus-- I know that in the battery of blood tests my infertility docs have done on me there was a Lupus antibody test that they had to do twice. I haven't heard of the others, the arthritis and Fibromyalgia, doing that but it does seem reasonable... an overzealous immune system acting out against the embryo.

I would definitely, definitely reccommend seeing a specialist ASAP. They can run all sorts of tests on you, blood tests for antibodies, hormone tests, physical exams. And then tell you what you need to do so that your next pregnancy is . My thing seems to be luteal-phase defect, where you don't make enough progesterone to support a pregnancy... you could have something like that going on and never know it until now. Good luck, and I hope you get the answers you are looking for, here!

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Old 09-21-2008, 01:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sorry to hear about your losses. The only autoimmune disease that I've heard having an effect on pregnancy (i.e. causing losses) is Lupus-- I know that in the battery of blood tests my infertility docs have done on me there was a Lupus antibody test that they had to do twice. I haven't heard of the others, the arthritis and Fibromyalgia, doing that but it does seem reasonable... an overzealous immune system acting out against the embryo.

I would definitely, definitely reccommend seeing a specialist ASAP. They can run all sorts of tests on you, blood tests for antibodies, hormone tests, physical exams. And then tell you what you need to do so that your next pregnancy is . My thing seems to be luteal-phase defect, where you don't make enough progesterone to support a pregnancy... you could have something like that going on and never know it until now. Good luck, and I hope you get the answers you are looking for, here!
Thank You! I definitely will explore seeing the Drs. I just know how little insurance companies like to pay for when it comes to ANYTHING having to do with Fertility. (Don't even get me started on the fact that they'll pay for Birth Control & Viagra... but not infertility issues!!! ARGH!)
So, the more I can narrow it down, the better!

When I originally posted, I didn't mention that I have already tested Positive for Anti-Nuclear Antibodies (all be it when I was 12, but whatever, they were definitely there!) That's actually how I was diagnosed with the Rheumatoid Arthritis at such a young age. I had an awesome Primary Care Physician who was smart enough to run the blood test when I came in complaining of achey knees (And he didn't shoo me off saying they were "growing pains" like so many other Dr's would have!!!) Thanks to him, I've been able to manage my arthritis and live a semi-normal life.

Thank you for the reply ~ I appreciate it!
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Old 09-21-2008, 01:59 AM
 
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Was the last chart a chemical pregnancy?
I ask because I had several chemical preganancies and mine was actually low progesterone. But that would cause a short luteal phase when I didn't miscarry.

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Old 09-21-2008, 02:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Was the last chart a chemical pregnancy?
I ask because I had several chemical preganancies and mine was actually low progesterone. But that would cause a short luteal phase when I didn't miscarry.
I'm about 95% sure that it was. The only reason that I say 95 instead of 100 is because I never went to the DR to verify it. But I figured there really wasn't anything that I (or the DR) could do at that point... so I just chocked it up to a loss, and that I was OK with it. Just need to figure out how to prevent this from happening over and over!

This last cycle, I was 5 days late. But even before that, I was showing serious pregnancy symptoms. IE: TONS of Creamy CF from Post-O until the day I started bleeding, bloated abdomen that constantly felt "Full" and "Crampy", etc. I even had implantation cramping & spotting at 6 DPO and laid down for 2 days "just in case" this was it - I wanted to give my body every chance to make this a sticky baby, so I just laid down on the couch for 2 days and told my hubby I "wasn't feeling well" so he would let me rest. The only people I told about my pg symptoms were you girls on the TTC Forum. I didn't want to say anything to anyone else, because I just knew this was it! And wanted the BFP to a surprise - not an anticipation.

I think that laying down and allowing my body to completely rest actually worked on the implantation since I DID start to get symptoms of pregnancy (indicating that I was producing hcg)... but I think once my immune system recognized the little bugger, it started attacking it and never gave it a chance to grow. Bummer.

The thing that "sealed the deal" in the miscarriage dept, is when I started seeing long, really thick clots come out. They were a very dark color... almost purplish. So that's when I figured out that my pregnancy symptoms (that I had begun to think were just PMS symptoms) were most likely the real deal.

I honestly really am Ok, though. I just need to get some answers and figure out where to go from here. I think my Hubby needs more sympathy than I do... I almost didn't even tell him that it happened again this month. But I finally told him tonight because I finally had some answers! If I had told him 'I believe it was a Chemical pg, not just AF" before I knew all of this - he would have freaked and given up on TTC. (He's very sensitive about this stuff, and is really having a hard time with the fact that everyone around us is pregnant, but we aren't yet). But since I actually had a "reason" and possibly an "answer" to our problem... it made the news a little easier to take, I think.
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:41 AM
 
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I had recurrent early losses or long periods of time that I couldn't get pregnant and it was my thyroid that was the problem. I'm very sorry for your losses and the pain that you are going through trying to conceive.
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:47 AM
 
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Do you have a short luteal phase in some cycles? That can cause early miscarriage and it can be caused by a number of things. I ask because it can be caused by autoimmune thyroiditis, which is something I had and didn't realize until the docs did an antibody test. My TSH was "normal." Have you been tested for that? It is more common in people with other autoimmune disorders.

Good luck. Sorry I don't have better info, but I hope this helps.
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:26 PM
 
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Hey Laurie!!! I, as you know, also have a + ANA and when i went to the Rheumatologist she did a bunch of tests on me that she said would tell her if i would even be able to carry a baby at all. Have you talked to your Rheumy about TTC and what has been happening to you? That might be one way to get the tests paid for by your insurance as well. Forgot to mention that one to you earlier. Good luck!! Keep us informed.

After 5 failed IUI's & 6 failed IVF's we threw in the towel w/ ART and then got a NATURAL miracle BFP! Hoping and praying it is finally our take home baby!  Mother to our twins boys in heaven -lost at 22.5wks on 6/20/09 and 1 other little angel in heaven.

Our Miracle has arrived... Caden James...

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Old 09-22-2008, 11:47 AM
 
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I conceived and carried DD and DS easily with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (autoimmune disease in the thyroid gland). More recently, my docs and I have been investigating RA (blood work is negative but the symptoms are 90% there) and we're having trouble TTC and keeping it.

Mostly I'm lurking but I also wanted to give you big hugs.
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Old 09-24-2008, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for all of the replies! The support means a lot to me. I've been trying not to burden anyone with this stuff, but it's so nice to be able to talk openly here with women who understand. Thank you for that.

I have a little update... nothing too exciting... but I was able to see my Rheumatologist on Monday! (He is in Downtown Seattle, and I am 4 hours away... so I only get to see him once every other month). I told him what was going on, and explained my theory about the auto-immune disease, and he said that it was VERY likely that my instincts were correct. He instructed me to make an appointment with my OB/GYN or a fertility specialist as soon as possible, and to make sure that he is able to speak directly with them. He wants to talk to the OB so they can "join forces" in my treatment. So that was very promising!

I also asked him if he had ever treated patients with this problem, and he said "Yes - a couple. Most of them were dealing with Lupus". So I feel better that he does have experience with this. Not that I didn't think so... he's an amazing Doctor with incredible credentials... but just knowing he has been through this before with another patient makes me feel a little better!

I did bring up the use of prednisone with him, and he said that it is safe to use (apparently it was once thought to cause Cleft Palates, but has since been dis-proven) and that it can be successful in the prevention of miscarriages if it is, in fact, the auto-immune disease that is causing them.

Another thing that made me feel better is the response I got back from someone in another forum. She had some good information about why it is considered "safe".

Here is some info she had found:
"There are a number of studies that review the use of prednisone during pregnancy and effects on the fetus. The fetus appears to be protected by at least three mechanisms: 1) enzymes in the placenta degrade the drug to an inactive form, 2) prednisone in maternal circulation is bound to a large protein making it harder to cross the placenta and 3) fetal liver is not able to activate prednisone until the end of the second trimester."

I'm hoping to make an appointment with my OB/GYN soon to talk about all of this. I guess I'm just afraid that they won't believe me or trust my instincts about this, and will put me through a whole barrage of unnecessary tests. I guess that's my only hold back.... and I guess I'm afraid of that "Infertile" label, ya know?? :

We'll see! I'll keep coming back and updating with any new developments or info as I'm sure there are plenty more women out there going thru the same thing and looking for answers just like I am!
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:52 PM
 
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Laurie D....that is great news!!! It sounds like you are getting the ball rolling in the right direction. Be sure to keep us posted on how things go. I almost think that it would be better to go to a fertility specialist instead of just a general OBGYN b/c I think they have more experience with fertility issues (just my opinion, from my experience with both my OBGYN and the RE i've been seeing - see what others think). The only problem is, it might be an issue with insurance paying so you might want to check it out before you go. I would think though that with a pre-existing condition (RA) that they would pay, but who knows. Good luck to you!!!! I hope you can solve your mystery.

After 5 failed IUI's & 6 failed IVF's we threw in the towel w/ ART and then got a NATURAL miracle BFP! Hoping and praying it is finally our take home baby!  Mother to our twins boys in heaven -lost at 22.5wks on 6/20/09 and 1 other little angel in heaven.

Our Miracle has arrived... Caden James...

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