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Finding Closure to my Miscarriage (Part II)

04 May 2017

When you last heard from me, I was awaiting test results on a child I miscarried nearly 5 years ago but never got answers to as “why”. Finding out about CombiMatrix and having this opportunity fell in my lap, so to speak. I wasn’t looking for answers at the time, but when the chance presented itself to learn why I suffered such a tragedy, I felt the need to pursue it and was eager to find resolve. I’ve braced myself for the possibility of learning something I may not have wanted to hear, but I was driven by the fact that getting answers would lead me to being in a better state. This process took me back to a vulnerable place, but I had to embrace the results for what they would present – closure.

I received a call from my obstetrician to share the anxiously awaited results. I almost couldn’t believe it; I’d finally get to know this child on a deeper level. My doctor explained that my miscarriage was the result of 69 XXY triploidy pregnancy. This “…is a rare chromosomal abnormality in which fetuses are born with an extra set of chromosomes in their cells (Holland & Jewell, 2016).” She went on to explain that in these types of pregnancies, miscarriage is likely within the first trimester. Further, such pregnancies could create an influx in hormones, which possibly explained why I felt slightly off’, as I put it, during that pregnancy. I remember telling my husband I didn’t feel like myself, and I sensed something wasn’t right a week or so prior to miscarrying. So when my doctor explained this, I was relieved to learn why I had felt that way. Hearing this type of loss occurs randomly, and was not my fault, was reassuring. Like many women, I carried guilt wondering if I did something wrong.

When I found out the details of my results, I got confirmation on an instinct I had throughout that pregnancy. I thought I was carrying a boy and it turns out I was correct. The minute I heard the news, I almost wanted to pat myself on the back. It’s rewarding to feel like you truly understand your body and the signals it can show you. In addition, I learned that my pregnancy was categorized as a partial-molar pregnancy, meaning, “…an abnormal pregnancy [where] an embryo…either develops incompletely, or doesn’t develop at all (Cleveland Clinic, 2014).” If a segment of this partial molar pregnancy stays inside the uterus, there is increased risk of choriocarcinoma, a rare cancer that develops from the tissue left behind (Holland & Jewell, 2016). Thankfully, in my case, the risk of cancer is not a concern because of several unrelated surgeries since then. Even so, the genetic counselor did affirm such a cancer is extremely rare. She further explained a triploidy pregnancy is not hereditary and does not increase the risk of subsequent pregnancies leading to triploidy.

After I hung up the phone, I was left with an overwhelming amount of information to process. I must admit I started my searches on the Internet to discover as much as I could about my 69 XXY triploidy pregnancy. I learned that triploidy pregnancies are thought to occur in approximately 1 to 3 percent of confirmed pregnancies (Unique, 2005). In addition, I learned that infants born with triploidy are not known to survive past a few weeks (Unique, 2005). I felt like a sponge, thirsty for more knowledge.

What I felt most of all though was relief, because despite how significantly sad that time was in my life, there was nothing I could have done to prevent it. That may not bring much comfort to some people, but for me it was freeing to have those answers. After receiving the full picture, I felt a sense of completion to that part of my story. I finally had the closure I had longed for. Now when I explain my miscarriage to people from this point forward, I have a conclusion to share about that little baby I never got to meet.

As I started to tell people what I was doing, not everyone embraced it. Some people wondered what I’d do with the information. It’s valid to question how this information would improve my life going forward. That got me thinking, what would I have done with this information 5 years ago? How has this information impacted me now versus if I knew back then? If I was able to have the miscarriage tested back when it occurred, I may have been spared unnecessary worries. I might have been able to let go of some of the guilt, therefore, changing the experience I had with the pregnancy of my daughter after the miscarriage. For instance, if I knew then that the miscarried pregnancy was rare and not likely to happen again, I could have been able to embrace the next pregnancy with less fear. But then again, would I still be the same person today? Although it’s impossible to know the answer to the latter question, I couldn’t help but ponder how this would have affected my life differently. I’ve grown from this loss. The difficulties I had to face, the sadness it brought me, even the unknowns it caused, have strengthened me into the person I am today. Overcoming such devastation brings about a new strength you don’t quite know you have until there is no other option but to rise up and face each new day. With the help of therapy, I had worked through the pain to find my voice. As a result, I think I am emotionally strong enough at this point in my life to listen to the results, without having fear overrun my thoughts. The results have brought me peace. The knowledge doesn’t erase the pain I felt and continue to hold, but it brings resolution to a part of my life that always felt incomplete. Additionally, it has opened my eyes to the fact these tests are possible, even years later. People suffer emotionally following a miscarriage. We all cope differently with loss. Having this information available sooner may assist the healing process for some.

This is my personal story on how I was able to complete a chapter of my life that previously had blank pages. I needed to fill in the gaps. In general, I try hard not to live in the past. But this particular journey was not my way of going backwards. Instead, it was a way of finding peace moving forward. There was a split second I hesitated when offered the chance to test my lost baby. But then I realized I had an opportunity to share my story and empower others. I wanted to show that there are options available to try to get answers to similar questions you may have asked yourself. Although what occurred in my life years ago was devastating, it was one of the biggest reasons I am stronger today. It helped me to embrace the sadness and cherish the happy moments in my life.

If you are interested in having your miscarriage sample tested, speak to your doctor.
Test order forms can be found online. If your doctor has questions about ordering testing, he or she can contact CombiMatrix directly.

References

Cleveland Clinic (2014). Molar pregnancy. Retrieved from
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/partial-molar-pregnancy.

Holland, K., Jewell, T. (2016). Triploidy. Retrieved from
http://www.healthline.com/health/triploidy#overview1.

Unique (2005). Triploidy. Retrieved from
http://www.rarechromo.org/information/other/triploidy%20ftnw.pdf.

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