Tuesday I drove about an hour away to a chiropractor who had been referred to me as someone who also does nutritional advising and homeopathic supplement consultation, etc. Apparently he's helped people with fertility issues for whom drugs weren't fully solving the problem. At least, enough people that I heard of him by word of mouth, a state away.
At this point I'm figuring anything's worth a shot. However, I'm also beginning to feel that the stress of worrying about doctors' visits, timing of drugs, injections, blood draws etc. is possibly counteracting any good it's doing. Stress in the area of fertility is definitely a cyclic thing, in my opinion. The more things don't work, the more stressed you get, and the less likely treatments are to help you because your body is not in a receptive state.
This opinion may sound kind of in opposition to the fact that I am pursuing yet another doctor, but I guess I rationalize it by saying that this doctor is DIFFERENT and that his treatment suggestions are very DIFFERENT than those the OB's and reproductive specialists have proposed. He thinks, based on a LOOONG discussion and medical history review, that the problem may be a dysfunctional adrenal gland. This gland processes progesterone and if it's not working, tends to turn progesterone into cortisol (stress hormone) instead. This could explain why even when my body was being seriously pumped FULL of progesterone, my blood levels were still shockingly low.
Some of the symptoms of this dysfunction are sugar cravings (huge for me- can't go a day without it,) chronic tiredness (iffy here- yes, I get draggy in the afternoon, yes I have a hard time getting up in the morning, yes I drink coffee at both of these times in order to wake up, but who doesn't?,) depression (again, iffy- yes, I haven't been at my highest, mood wise, in the last year or so, but we've been dealing with a lot of stress so I think that's kind of normal,) and very low alcohol and medication tolerance (definitely true. SO TRUE.) Also severe PMS is a big indicator, and I have always, always battled that.
But the main indicator is definitely the recurrent miscarriages, which APPEAR to be happening because of low progesterone levels beginning at conception. So what he wants me to do is a cycle-long saliva test, which measures your levels of estrogen and progesterone throughout your entire cycle so that you can get a really good picture of when your levels are rising and falling, and if they're doing so appropriately. Before we've only tested post-ovulation and then once I'm pregnant. No one's ever attempted to measure my levels all cycle long to see if my progesterone is even going up at all post ovulation.
He said once that's done, we'll have a clearer picture of how to proceed, and whether or not I need more specific adrenal function testing (probably so.) In the mean time, he gave me an adrenal... kick starter? Or something. It's for short term use after athletic events or stressful physical experiences, such as surgery, miscarriage, illness, etc. I'm supposed to take it for a month to try to help my body get back to normal after this, the World's Longest Miscarriage. Then next month I'm going to make sure my cycle is normal (this current one is not exactly acting normal.) And then the cycle after THAT, probably in December, is when we'll do the saliva testing.
I'm happy that he seemed normal and nice and not a quack. Nor was he quick to offer me some magical supplement that would cure all ills. The fact that he seemed a little unsure and doesn't yet have a set idea of how to treat me is reassuring, I guess, because I don't like it when doctors are quick to jump to conclusions and aren't really listening to all the specifics.
On the other hand, it was a little depressing HOW unsure he seemed. He was very surprised, looking through my stack of records, at how poorly my body has responded even to such high doses of progesterone, EVEN in conjunction with Clomid which supposedly jacks up your hormone production. He said there definitely seems to be a big problem in how I process and produce that hormone. I didn't get the impression that there's one specific supplement that I can take to magically fix that. It seems that this treatment route may take a while and be quite a process. But at least I won't be worrying about GETTING pregnant until the process is done (usually with supplements they want you to wait three to six months after beginning them, to make sure they're fully integrated into your system.)
So, hopefully it won't be all that stressful. I have accepted and am (mostly) ok with the fact that it's going to be awhile before I get pregnant again, and I'm trying to look at this as a period of rest for my mind and body. A time to get well, and to take good care of myself and my family. A time to appreciate what I have, to enjoy the holidays, and to enjoy good health.
I'm trying to be ok with the fact that maybe there is no solution, too. Maybe I won't get pregnant again, or maybe I will but I'll miscarry. There are no guarantees. There is only the fact that I do have two kids, that I have managed to maintain two pregnancies to a safe point, and that I have gotten to give birth and nurse and cuddle on two babies. This is not SO unfortunate, as misfortunes go. I do think we would eventually pursue other options for adding to our family, if I really can't have another baby, but we're certainly not there yet. There is still reason to hope.