My Experience With Crohns Disease and Miscarriage (Part 2)
I shared in the first part of this article about how my hormones have impacted my Crohn’s disease. From my monthly cycles, through trying to conceive, and after the birth of my daughter, my GI symptoms have consistently spiked in the days leading up to and through my period.
Recently, I experienced two back-to-back miscarriages after failed attempts at IVF. While the processes happened "naturally" for me, or without the need for further medical intervention, both experiences caused me physical and emotional agony and wreaked havoc on my bowels in the process.
My first miscarriage with Crohn's
The first time, I was completely unprepared.
When the cramping started, it was intense, and the bleeding was heavier than anything I’d experienced before. With it, came the onslaught of GI distress – abdominal pain and discomfort, frequent and urgent diarrhea, nausea, and even vomiting. I was devastated, navigating a significant amount of grief and loss, and suddenly forced into patient advocacy mode again.
I sent a message to my GI doctor, explaining the situation and asking if there was anything I could do to mitigate a longer-term flare-up. I called the pharmacy, and re-filled my PRN (as needed) prescriptions for antidiarrheal and anti-spasmodic medication, along with pain and nausea medication. I sat down with my partner and my childcare provider, and let them know I’d need some reprieve in the days ahead.
And then... I got mad. I got frustrated. How unfair was this, that I was losing our son AND struggling with my otherwise managed Crohn’s disease?
After a pretty terrible week, and a hormonal migraine that sent me to the emergency room, I recovered. I thought that the worst was behind me and that I’d managed the chaos fairly well. My mental health took longer to recover, but I knew that would be part of the process.
The trauma of a second miscarriage
I had two “normal” cycles before we launched into another round of IVF, and while I still felt disdain for the ebb and flow of my GI symptoms in correlation to my period, I was grateful for the predictability I’d come to understand.
This past month, we did another embryo transfer, and again, I ended up miscarrying another baby boy.
Emotionally, I blew right past the familiar feelings of devastation and landed in a place of actual anger. Before I even started bleeding, I felt so hurt and full of rage that this was our story. That this was our family’s story. That I was losing another baby.
It wasn’t just stress I was experiencing, but honestly a form of trauma, and with it, my IBD decided to join the revolt.
The Crohn's flaring and symptoms that followed
My Crohn’s symptoms began flaring much as they had a few months prior, but with them was a very real reminder of my Rheumatoid Arthritis and the crippling fatigue that comes along with almost any autoimmune disease.
This time, I was professionally in the middle of two contracts requiring me to spend my days in clients' homes, and I was completely knocked off guard by how awful I felt each hour of the day.
Every morning I’d drag myself out of bed, shower, take a handful of pills, and head out the door. When I could take a quick shift break to take off my N-95 mask and shove water and a protein bar into my mouth, I chased my snack with another handful of pills.
And finally, I’d come home at the end of the day, too tired to think or speak or move, curling up with a heating pad and all of the as-needed medications I could, willing myself to fall asleep and pass the difficult days as fast as possible.
Ongoing GI symptoms
When my miscarriage ended, it took some time for my GI symptoms to even out. To be honest, they’re still not back at baseline. I’m hopeful with my next biologic infusion, I’ll get some additional relief, and that I can find some stability before starting over with IVF.
If you have experienced a miscarriage, has it impacted your IBD? I’m here to support you.
How open are you about being diagnosed with IBD?