One 35-year-old Woman’s Narrative On Seeking Motherhood by Using a Surrogate
By: Carolyn Dooley Apr 29, 2015
The first time I became pregnant at 31 years old, after four months of trying, we were over-the-top excited. We immediately invited our parents over for dinner and uncovered the last side dish on the table—a casserole dish filled with “I love Grandma” and “I love Grandpa” bibs. One short week after that, I started bleeding, and I had my first miscarriage. My husband cried in the hospital, but I remember thinking, “Well at least we got pregnant. That’s half the battle, right? It will be fine the next time.”
After several months of trying, my OB/GYN reluctantly ran tests to put my mind at ease since it was more than six months since the last pregnancy. Shortly after, I found out that I was pregnant again, but some of the test results had shown that I had a positive ANA. “What does that mean?” I asked the doctor. “Could that have been the cause of my last miscarriage?” “Possibly,” he said, “but you should have it checked out.”
What Does a Positive ANA Mean?
I started scouring the Internet, reading every article, post and blog that I could find regarding positive ANA and its correlation to miscarriage. I learned that it could lead to problems and that there were doctors, called reproductive immunologists, who specialized in immune-related miscarriages. By chance, one of the most well-known reproductive immunologists in the United States had an office 15 minutes from my home. I quickly called the office and was told that it would be a couple of months before I could get an appointment. When I told them I was pregnant and concerned about waiting that long, they told me to come in the next day.
Over twenty vials of blood were drawn to run a battery of tests. Early ultrasounds were positive. A couple of weeks later, we received the results of the testing. The doctor told us that there could be some difficulties sustaining this pregnancy, especially without the medical interventions of prednisone and blood thinners, which I had already begun.
The doctor’s theory was that my husband’s and my genetics were so similar that our embryo’s genetics would be almost identical to my own, with only a slight variation. That meant that my body was attacking my embryo as if it were a cancer cell, and because my body did not recognize the pregnancy, it was not making the necessary changes needed to support the pregn