Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Certified Bonkers - I am going to TTC again!

Amidst all the excitement of our busy July, I experienced my first fertile moments since the last miscarriage. I really thought I was over it. That I had accepted that it was all over. I have sold things on ebay - big things like the high chair for example. I was happy to clear stuff out, make space in our house  and get ready for the move overseas.

But hormones are powerful things.

Though it didn't happen in the first month after the miscarriage, leading me into a false sense of security, this time the sudden urge to get pregnant again was huge! DD was actually here that weekend - and had it not been BB's Birthday, or if PP hadn't been here too, I would have suggested another attempt there and then. But, I didn't. I thought it would pass - but instead I was left with huge pangs of regret. Another egg missed, another chance gone. That would have been the best time too, capitalising on the heightened fertility after the miscarriage...

I ended up ringing DD on the following Monday and asking him if he would consider it. He agrees I am bonkers, but said yes. We had a long conversation and both agreed that it does still feel like someone is missing. I always thought there should be two. BB has been saying over and over that he wants me to have another baby. He even pretends to pull one out of my tummy. He says he wants a baby and a sister. I think what he has in mind is an older sister, plus a baby, but still.

During our conversation DD said that he thought the fact that I am still breastfeeding BB was the cause of my miscarriages. I think he's probably wrong. There is no evidence anywhere that I can find that breastfeeding causes miscarriage. I do have a regular cycle, so it is not impacting on my fertility in that way. I told him all of this and he says that perhaps I am an anomaly. I decided to investigate further. If that is the reason then I should seriously consider stopping breastfeeding.

Once more my research turned up again and again that breastfeeding does not cause miscarriage. The most likely cause of my miscarriages is my age. I am fully aware of this. My eggs just aint what they used to be. What I did find though, was that breastfeeding can decrease progesterone levels, and that low progesterone is a common cause of miscarriage. It seems generally accepted that the reduction in progesterone caused by breastfeeding is not enough to cause miscarriage, but, having read of all the signs and symptoms,  I do think I have low progesterone. I think I should try and correct that.

So I set to work on Dr Google, researching all sorts of things about progesterone, how to increase it, balance out oestrogen, a few more studies digested, a bit more self diagnosis. I found a really great website, Miscarriage Research which has pulled together the findings of lots of different studies on miscarriage in a brilliantly accessible way. Thank you to whoever put all that together, its a fantastic resource.

From here I also started to investigate some micronutrients. Some supplements are recommended in some studies to increase progesterone, others in general. I decided that I could possibly have some deficiencies. Biotin for example - apparently only 2 % of pregnant or breastfeeding or pre menopausal women were found to have adequate biotin levels in one study. Biotin is also found in grains and legumes. So as a a premenopausal, breastfeeding, recently pregnant woman who doesn't eat many grains or legumes you can pretty much bet I am low on that. Look at the symptoms of low biotin and insulin resistance is one of the main ones. I have that. So I am now taking biotin supplements (and a few others!).

I have been taking a pregnancy and breastfeeding multi vitamin for ages too. I thought this meant I was covered. I am not sure why I was so naive - I am biological scientist, I constantly research nutrition and read scientific studies on all sorts of things related to human development, physical and psychological health and wellbeing- but for some reason I missed this. Looking at the recommended dose and the levels that are supplied in the multi vitamins, they are a fairly pointless waste of money. Only folate levels meet the nutritional requirements as evidenced by the studies I have read.

So, I have shelled out heaps on vitamins. I have been taking them all for a couple of weeks. I figured I would give myself a good dose of all the things that research and my own knowledge of my health and diet suggest I might be needing, to boost my supplies. I have been doing this for just over two weeks and I can tell you feel sooooo much better for it. My skin is clearer, I have more energy, I am sleeping better, I am 100 times happier. I will continue with the current regime until I get pregnant, then I will review it again.

I also invested in some progesterone cream. There are mixed opinions as to whether supplemental progesterone can help prevent miscarriage. Most of it says it can, but some says that low progesterone is an early symptom of miscarriage rather than a cause. In the UK it is very hard to get a progesterone test. I know in the US and Australia, where many of you reading this are located, it is routine, but in the UK there is no maternal care under 12 weeks, you are totally on your own, even in miscarriage. There are forums full of women who have had repeated miscarriage who have asked for an investigation into their progesterone levels and been denied this by their GP. It's simply not a part of our health service. Although we can't access progesterone supplements (unless we buy them on lie from China) we can get a progesterone cream which is created for menopausal women. A lot of research suggests that progesterone is better taken this way rather than orally anyway, and the dose is lower and the side effects much less. Lots of people in the forums seem to go on to have full term healthy pregnancies after a series of losses when using this particular bio identical brand. Research indicates that use for a short period of time will be of no harm to me, or to BB, so it seems like its worth a go. I have some to use for the second half of this current cycle.

And so... here we go again.

I feel healthy, happy and like its definitely worth another go. I feel good. I feel strong enough to miscarry again. Obviously I hope that I don't, but I think getting to the point where I feel I can cope with it if I do is the essential milestone here. There is someone missing in our family. I need to give them a chance, and I hope she or he finds us soon.