Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Miscarriage and Women's Health

I have been thinking of writing a post on some issues close to my heart for a while. Difficult on a blog because although this post will have an enormously positive side, alot of these issues for many women are hard to confront let alone discuss.

You see I am going to London on Friday for the second visit to my consultant Professor Leslie Regan, she is one of the leading miscarriage experts in the world. Leslie Regan will only see women at her clinic who have had 3 or more miscarriages and who are not pregnant. This whole subject for anyone who has had to deal with it is an incredibly lonely and emotional journey. Leslie Regan has helped an enormous amount of women with unexplained miscarriage she has an 80% success rate, which explains why her waiting list is so long!

Having read her book and many others on the subject I now realise what an enormous lack of clear information is about for women dealing with this. There are loads of websites on the subject that tell you absolutely nothing more than you already know! A huge problem for many couples dealing with this problem is that their own doctors or gynaecologists also only have a limited amount of up to date knowledge, which as we all know can be a dangerous thing. Being told to carry on trying and that there was something chromosomally wrong is actually rarely true, once maybe, but the more you carry the worse your probabilities become. Unfortunately many women only find this out through sheer determination and heart ache.

The TRUTH is that many unexplained miscarriages are due to APS or natural killer cells in the body. This whole area tends to get very complicated and without a medical degree it is hard to discuss or comprehend. What i do know is, that the following problems lead to a clotting disorder in the placenta, which stops the placenta attaching or growing properly. This leads to miscarriage, underweight babies, premature babies and pre-eclampsia. What is the treatment i hear you say - well in most cases it is baby aspirin everyday or with low molecular heparin a blood thinner. Some doctors are even prescribing steroids to suppress women's overactive immunity. This has been used with success when a woman has been stringently tested and nothing shows up. The problem regarding the blood tests is two fold, firstly many women are sent by their doctors to be tested, but the majority of labs test wrongly, secondly there is a widely held view that women should be tested several times as their bodies are always going through change. I have not yet read them but apparently Tori Amos has written a few articles on this.

What i really don't understand and is making me really cross and frustrated is; if baby aspirin increases the success of life births in IVF patients by 50% why aren't all IVF patients put on baby aspirin? If anyone out there can explain this too me I would be really grateful. It is really sad to see close friends going through IVF after IVF without any testing or help. Also why when you've had a miscarriage don't doctors put you on baby aspirin?

I phoned a friend three weeks ago the conversation went like this, she said 'I think I'm having another miscarriage', 'quick I'll take you to my doctor', 'no, it's OK it's the third time', 'I'm making an appointment' - so off we went. Low and behold there was still a heart beat, the doctor prescribed progesterone and relaxation. 'Um doctor, maybe she has a clotting problem, would it hurt to put her on baby aspirin' Silence, 'yes OK'. I know this is only early in her pregnancy but at 9 weeks the heart is stronger and it has grown well. The haematoma seen at the first scan has now disappeared.

Moving on, my mother is supporter and fundraiser of WOW - Well being of Women what I love about this charity is that they support all women's health issues, covering areas of all ages. This is a charity for all women. They also have great links for people who are going through different health issues. My mother mainly does lunches and dinners, where people donate at the end of the evening. WOW are a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities, this means they raise money yearly and then support the different research groups. I recently found out that they have been supporting Leslie Regan's ground breaking research into miscarriage. Without this invaluable funding many organisations would not be able to carry out their crucial research. Zamzam Riad will be choosing a local charity to sponsor in Morocco but we may also do a WOW weekend at the Riad.

After finishing her degree in Japanese and living in Japan my sister, Rebecca Hutley, trained and became a Reiki Master (more on her healing later). She has just been given a place in the London Marathon next year, running for WOW.

If any of you have found this interesting or would like to chat about anything further with me I am more than happy to do so. I have written this post to give a voice to women's health issues which are so frequently suffered in silence.
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As-Salaam-Alaikum

Hi, i'm writing this blog page to share information with all you wanderlust souls out there. Living in Morocco comes with lots of bizarre and unexpected events, which i thought you may enjoy reading about and sharing in the laughter.

My family and I moved to Marrakech 11 years ago from London. The beginning of a huge adventure for us. Choosing which country was right for us to live in had been an extremely long and tiring process. Having made a choice to move to MarrakeSh, was in itself a big box ticked. We had two criteria lists, one for our business (opening and running a guesthouse) and one for personal.

Phase two of our journey then began. Setting up home in Morocco, also a non English speaking country with a very different culture to ours. Marrakech is a real melting pot of; languages, tribes, rich, poor, city slickers, country peasants. It sometimes reminds me of that place Luke Skywalker went to, to buy that space ship, with all those different intergalactic aliens. (Any one know what it was called?) After months of beauroctratic paperwork, rendez vous with people who don't turn up and renting from an unpleasant woman for a large amount of money, we bought ourselves a villa. This was not in the plan as we didn't want to tie up our capital in a home. I now realise it is one of the best things we could have done. When you've had a really difficult day here to be able to close the door and relax in your own place really balances you.

Zamzam Riad & Spa was eventually created out of love and we hope you will come and stay and be pampered in our luxury boutique riad.



Creating the Guest House

We had decided to buy land and build a country guesthouse as per our business plan, about 10 double rooms and suites. The dream was to create a holistic retreat and build our house on the same plot. We were going to have an organic vegetable garden and provide a Moroccan Spa.

Land in Marrakech at that time, went mad. Prices going up daily, lots of people fishing but not really wanting to sell. There is also a problem here of title. ie not much land is titled and to buy land without a title is very difficult, unless you have a lot of time on your hands and like a gamble. We looked at more land than you can shake a stick at, drank more mint tea than you can imagine and got totally no where. It can take weeks to even get a price. You may be being shown a piece of land that isn't for sale or has already been sold. After a year of this we said 'that is it!, we are buying a riad!'

I had a total nervous breakdown and couldn't talk to anyone for three days. He then said this doesn't have to be the end....... It wasn't I have now built an Ecological Camp Adounia in the Sahara Desert!