Last Wednesday we got a call from our doctor that the results from my blood work had come back and I did in fact test positive for a blood clotting factor called MTHFR. Something I had seen in some of my web searching on miscarriage. Once we got the news I immediately began scouring the library and internet for any and all information I could get a hold of. Unfortunately the internet is difficult and had a wide variety of sources with varying information which can be overwhelming and frustrating. Even more difficult to find was information about what exactly MTHFR means for us and how it would change any future pregnancies.
What is MTHFR?- In plain English MTHFR is a genetic mutation that causes individuals to have an increased blood clotting factor and as it was described to me small blood clots that would not affect adult as they are so small but would cause problems for a growing babies tiny veins/arteries. There is also discussion about blood clots between the placenta and uterine wall. The second component is difficulty producing Folate and absorbing synthetic versions of B vitamins including Folic Acid. As MTHFR is a genetic mutation there is a liklihood for a family history and there has been some correlation between MTHFR and atherosclerosis (interesting considering my family history of heart disease).
What does this mean for us?- So far the doctor has let us know that for now it means taking a baby asprin every day and taking vitamins that contain non-synthetic B vitamins. It also means that when we do get pregnant as soon as we get a positive pregnancy test we will call the doctor and I will be put on daily shots of Lovenox (a blood thinner) immediately. From what I have read online it appears the Lovenox, baby asprin, and non-synthetic B vitamins will continue throughout the pregnancy until later in the pregnancy when I will be switched over to heprin shots (which last a shorter amount of time in the body) and I will most likely be induced early to allow doctors to control the balance between having the blood thinners out of my system and not have the lack of blood thinners cause any harm to a baby.
It is a bittersweet answer to our question as having an answer gives us a "game plan" for the next pregnancy which I hope will make me more at ease that we are doing all we can to prevent another loss. At the same time daily shots, pills, and induction are all a bit more invasive than I had imagined any pregnancy of mine ever being. We have however found some humor in what "MTHFR" first brings to mind when you look at it quickly (hint: a not nice two word curse phrase which we find appropriate as it screwed me out of being a mom.). Also with the invasive pregnancy I have more to hold over the head of any future teenager ("I endured daily shots, x hours of labor, and child birth to bring you into this world!"). *Laugh- it IS funny. And if you don't find it funny fake a chuckle it's easing our nerves and that's enough for now.