- Associated Press - Monday, May 29, 2017

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) - Anne and Tyler Weig welcomed their first-born child, Camden, Aug. 24, 2016.

Even the medical professionals who helped them along the way aren’t apt to forget that day.

That’s in large part because Anne Weig miscarried her first five pregnancies, always at the five-week mark. Five babies lost within a year and a half.

“It’s probably the hardest thing we’ve gone through as a married couple. The testing that we went through, the procedures, all the lab work, the bills, they just kept coming in. It was very stressful,” Anne told the Aberdeen American News (https://bit.ly/2qHNKIX ).

But just one glance at Camden makes it all worth it.

“He’s definitely a miracle,” she said.

Babies born after the mother has miscarried or had a stillborn child are sometimes called “rainbow babies.”

Because each of the miscarriages was at the same point in pregnancy, the Weigs knew something was wrong.

“It wasn’t just coincidental. I was getting pregnant. I was having that positive pregnancy test, positive lab work,” Anne said.

But labs, scopes and ultrasounds wouldn’t back up the thought that there was an underlying cause.

“Everything looked OK,” Anne said. “But then I lost another.”

A friend and co-worker suggested she visit Dr. David and Marilyn Wachs, a married couple and Avera staffers trained in the Creighton Model FertilityCare System.

Essentially, the couple-based system uses charting to document a woman’s external body observations and determine fertility on a day-to-day basis. It uses what’s called Natural Procreative Technology.

“The NaPro Technology has allowed us to, in a sense, look at couples in a different light than traditional medicine,” David Wachs said. “The frustration part (in the Weigs’ case) was that she had so many miscarriages.”

Anne began following the system in April 2015.

“There’s multiple reasons for infertility that we’re helping people get pregnant with, but that wasn’t their problem. They had no problem getting pregnant. They kept losing them,” David explained.

It’s a different workup for someone who has repetitive miscarriages, he said.

“That’s where the chart gave us some clues of where to look,” David said.

Creighton model charts alone did not reveal the cause of Weig’s miscarriages. A more thorough dilation and curettage - a procedure that removes tissue from the uterus - showed that she has endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome.

It wasn’t until the Wachs attended a conference in July that he made the connection. He mentioned Anne Weig’s case to another medical professional, who suggested he test her for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, a rare genetic blood clotting disorder often referred to as MTHFR.

Wachs now believes that the blood clots would stop flow to the placenta site, causing the miscarriages.

The treatment was aspirin and daily shots of Lovenox. Both serve as blood thinners.

Even with three diagnoses and her treatment, there was still hesitation to get excited when Anne again tested positive for pregnancy in December 2015.

“We were very cautious,” she said.

The first time her labs were drawn, the hormones that indicate pregnancy were so low that Anne felt discouraged.

“But Dr. Wachs said, ‘No, just stay the course,’” she said.

That meant more hormone shots and weekly visits to the doctor.

The five-week mark brought ample anxiety - so much so that she didn’t expect to hit the sixth week. Instead of expecting to carry to full term, miscarrying had become something she just waited for.

“Sometimes she could just sense it,” Tyler Weig said.

That’s why reaching the six-week mark was a milestone, though a tenuous one.

“I was nervous still. But I was kind of excited. I had never gotten to that point,” Anne Weig said. “I never really stopped stressing until he was here.”

Because of her history, she was given an early ultrasound at nine weeks.

“And that’s when we heard the heartbeat and he looked like a little tiny tadpole,” Anne said, her face lighting up. “That helped alleviate some of our fears.”

Finally, some excitement.

“At each doctor’s appointment, I became more and more confident that this was becoming a reality instead of just a dream that I’ve always had,” she said.

Of course, Anne is not alone.

The Wachs have had more than 500 clients use NaPro since 1993.

“There’s definitely more a of need for it now, especially concerning infertility,” Marilyn Wachs said.

The Weigs were not as publicly open during their miscarriages, keeping the knowledge of each loss to close friends and family. Now, however, Anne Weig sees sharing her story as a way to help others.

Those who knew about her miscarriages sometimes struggled to know what to say.

“Half the time, they didn’t say anything,” Anne Weig said. “And I felt lost. I felt like a failure as a woman and I felt like no one could relate to me, although there’s many people out there that have lived through the same thing.”

March of Dimes statistics indicate that 15 to 25 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriages. In other words, according to the data, 10 to 15 of every 100 women who know they are pregnant miscarry.

“I would break down, cry to my mom,” Anne said. “We thought if my mom was able to have children, why can’t I?”

Although MRHFT is hereditary, Anne said her mom has a different form of the gene mutation that does not cause the same problems.

The Wachses continue to help other couples - with infertility, repetitive miscarriages, postpartum depression and more - through the Creighton system.

“It’s always exciting with infertility and repetitive miscarriages to see success right here in front of you,” David Wachs said.

The Weigs continue to follow the model as it can be used to avoid pregnancy naturally.

“It’s been discussed,” Tyler said of the prospect of having another child. “We kind of want them around two years apart.”

And, his wife pointed out, nearly one year has already passed.


Information from: Aberdeen American News, https://www.aberdeennews.com

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