The Risks and Joys of Pregnancy with Multiple Sclerosis

A recent article in People magazine tells the story of a young newlywed struggling with fertility problems. After finally becoming pregnant the woman carried the baby to 20 weeks, went into premature labor and miscarried.

It was heartbreaking and tragic

Doctors warned the woman that a premature birth could happen again. While struggling to decide what to do, the woman’s 51-year-old mother stepped in and offered to be her surrogate.

Her mother has relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis

After 2 rounds of in-vitro fertilization, the woman’s mother became pregnant, and last November a healthy baby was born.

Scrolling through the comments, I found that most people felt joy about this happy event, some calling the grandmother's act selfless. One reader shared her own story of being a surrogate for a good friend.

Of course, there were a few who said it was disgusting and weird. Those comments I simply don’t understand.

The story made me reflect on my own fertility issues. Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted marriage and children, but for me having a baby wasn’t as easy as I thought.

Our joy was short-lived

After becoming pregnant, my husband and I told our parents about our happy news. We were filled with joy, but only for a short time because it was not meant to be. Two weeks into my pregnancy I began to bleed and lost the baby.

A year later I was pregnant again. During the second month of pregnancy, I went for a brief vacation with my mother to the Berkshires where my parents rented a house. We love that area of New England and looked forward to spending a few quiet days alone before my husband and father joined us.

Walking, knitting and touring the area by day, we also took full advantage of the cultural offerings of Tanglewood at night.

One night we went to see a play in Stockbridge. As the curtains rose, I began to feel ill. My stomach was cramping and I was in great pain. We returned home and that's when I noticed I was bleeding.

That was my second miscarriage. I’ll never forget the look of great sadness on my mother’s face.

I was inconsolable

I don’t think I’ll ever fully get over my two miscarriages. After returning home, I had a consult with my doctor who told me I was healthy enough to try pregnancy one more time. He also told me that if I miscarried again, we’d have to explore other fertility options. I was admittedly frightened at this prospect.

Long story short – and as many of you know – I became pregnant a third time and today we are the proud parents of a wonderful, healthy 22-year-old son who brings us joy every day.

As I’ve written before, being pregnant for me was a breeze and a godsend. Before I was pregnant, I used a cane to walk and hand controls to drive. During pregnancy, I tossed the cane and hand controls. I felt my pre-MS self. I could have done a cartwheel.

Aren't hormones (sometimes) wonderful?

Having a baby is a personal decision. Having MS and a baby takes a certain amount of planning. Do your research first, and discuss any concerns with your doctor.

NOTE: Please remember this is my story of pregnancy and MS. It doesn't not mean anyone else's story will be the same one as mine.

I did have an exacerbation after giving birth that lasted a few weeks. There weren't any approved MS medications at that time. I never needed to use a cane or hand-controls again.

“A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” ~Carl Sandburg

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