Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another Day, Another Doctor

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.


Jess said...

This does sound very hopeful. And I'm glad you're pursuing other opinions and trying to get to the bottom of this. I hope that you do figure it out, and that whatever you find is treatable.

Fran said...

Wishing you the very best of luck with whatever you decide. ((hugs))

Marie Green said...

I think it sounds very wise to check with another type of professional. The medical world is just SO medical-minded. I've found that they only ever focus on the "broken" part of the body, and not the WHOLE body.

It sounds like this dr. is going to look at you as a whole and that must be a huge relief! I really, really have hopes for you and future babies.

Flibberty said...

I think this sounds very positive. I found a chiropractor who specialized in pre-conception and prenatal stuff and who knows whether it worked or not, but who cares, I felt like I was doing something positive for myself and my baby.

By the way, I really appreciate you stopping by my little blog and lending your words of wisdom. Having successful moms like you donate their thoughts is immensely comforting to me. Thanks.

Hillary said...

You have such a good attitude about all of this. You're so hopeful. I'm sure you don't feel like that all the time, but your last entries about this have actually cheered me when I read them. You're so positive it's catching.

Mommy Daisy said...

Wow, this new doctor sounds great. I love when someone is willing to take the time to explore the options and really monitor things. That's great.

And if you keep trying your positive outlook on things, it will be OK no matter what happens. God is in control. Best of luck.

Scottish Twins said...

I'm glad you had a good experience with him.

Although the holistic route always seems like so much work and like it's going to take forever - I think the long-term benefits are well worth the wait! You'll end up having so much more energy and feel much better all-around once you get to the root of the problem.

Sounds like a good plan :)

d e v a n said...

That sounds very, very hopeful and your new doctor sounds FAB! Can't wait to hear what the following months bring!

Katy said...

I think this sounds great. I love it when a theory makes sense to me and I hope this is how you feel about his theory. So often I feel like I'm poking holes in theories and then I don't want to follow the instructions I've been given because it doesn't feel right.

Two of the special needs families that we've met through Charlie's alternative therapy have had additional children through a surrogate. There are so many ways to add to a family these days that it amazes me. I'm sure you'll find something that works for you if you aren't able ot have more children.

Katy said...

Ack! I meant to say "able to have more children the old-fashioned way." Instead, I made literally no sense at all.

Anonymous said...

Good luck.....