Thursday, May 15, 2008

Emotional Roller Coaster Accompanies Miscarriages

Photo by jeinny
Emotional Roller Coaster Accompanies MiscarriagesAmy Drorbaugh woke up one morning and felt something was wrong. As she lay in her bed trying to pinpoint the change, she figured out what was different.

"I didn't feel pregnant anymore," Drorbaugh said.

Drorbaugh was 16 weeks pregnant. She was wearing maternity clothes, everyone was excited for her, and she had regular talks with her 4-year-old to explain a baby was growing inside her.

She was concerned about having a miscarriage, but after she was 12 weeks pregnant, she knew the chances of a miscarrying decreased significantly, so she thought her baby would be fine.

She went in for an ultrasound the same day she felt something was wrong. She and her husband could tell the baby wasn't moving.

"We knew at that moment the baby had died," Drorbaugh said.

After five days of emotional and physical pain, she was induced and delivered her dead baby, a girl they named Daisy.

Drorbaugh's miscarriage was devastating. It took her months to recover from the emotional pain of losing a child and she still thinks about Daisy daily.

Unfortunately, like Drorbaugh, thousands of women every day endure a pregnancy loss. Miscarriages occur in about 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Genecology. Many healthcare providers, such as certified nurse-midwife, Jennifer Wright-Bennion say the actual percentage of miscarriages may be greater than this.

"Many times they don't even know they're pregnant," Wright-Bennion said.

A miscarriage is a pregnancy that ends on its own within the first 20 weeks of gestation. The cause of most miscarriages is unknown. The most common cause that can be identified is a chromosomal abnormality because of a faulty egg or sperm cell.

Diane Koller was only a few weeks pregnant when she went to the doctor. The doctor told her she had already miscarried. She and her husband were sad, but they started trying to get pregnant again. Koller hadn't known she was pregnant for very long, so the loss wasn't as hard as it could have been.

"If it was later on [in the pregnancy], I would have been so devastated," Koller said.

Koller got pregnant again and was concerned about another miscarriage.

"I wanted to wait to tell people until Christmas when I'd be three months along, just because we didn't want to have to go through that if we miscarried again," Koller said.

Luckily, she didn't miscarry and she's expecting a baby boy in June.

Recently, miscarriages have been linked to high caffeine use. In the March issue of American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a study concluded that high doses of caffeine use during pregnancy increase the risk of miscarriage. This study is just one step to discovering what causes miscarriages and what can be done to prevent them.

Drorbaugh spent a lot of time grieving in silence. She said she felt her husband had gotten over the loss a lot faster than she had and people around her were insensitive to her emotional pain. People would tell her that it was good that her baby died because there was probably something wrong with it.

"Having someone imply that it's better that your baby died is incredibly painful," Drorbaugh said.

After searching for religious and emotional comforting, she soon decided that she wanted to create a book on miscarriages for Latter-day Saint women. She is currently seeking women who are willing to share their experiences, including what scriptures and talks helped them get through their pain. She called it a sort of "Chicken Soup for the Miscarriage Soul."

Jodi Swiatkowski and her husband Sean had two miscarriages. They were determined to have children, and they now have four - each required a cerclage, a surgical procedure where the cervix is basically sewn shut because it doesn't remain closed on its own throughout the pregnancy as it should.

The miscarriages still affect their lives, even with four children.

"Even now after seven years and four children later we still cry about our twin boys and our second miscarriage," Swiatkowski said on her Web site.

They created a Web site called where they give couples a place to write about their experiences, find answer to their questions, and know they're not alone.

"We were both really shocked about how many people come on every day and how many people need it," Swiatkowski said.

They started the website six and a half years after their miscarriages. It was something they always wanted to do together to help people and their families through their hard time.

"Everyone grieves and heals so differently; it's such a very personal thing," Swiatkowski said.


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