With all the advances in modern medicine one would imagine that there was some magic pill or simple procedure, from meditating in the nude to standing on your head, to ensure that every time you fell pregnant you could be guaranteed success.
My hunt for answers as to why I have not, as yet, been able to stay pregnant presented a dizzying array of possible factors. So many, in fact, that in my mission to tick these reasons off the list I also gradually turned myself into a literal lab-rat.
Spin classes, bikram yoga, boot camps and all other forms of healthy self-torture were the first to go, replaced by activities of the low-key kind. From leisurely walking and working part-time to chatting about begonias over the neighbour’s fence, all this domesticity aimed at luring the body into falling pregnant. And tick, eventually I did.
Next was to check my vitamin levels, most specifically folate, iron and Vitamin D. I was low in all, particularly D, which was no suprise to my doctor who claimed over 80% of his patients, ranging from the meek office mouse to the sunscreen abuser, were also deficient. So onto the multivitamins I went, popping pills every day to keep the body in its perfect pregnant state.
Then there were the hormones. Key ingredients; the mortar and bricks to sustain pregnancy and yet strangely a component that GP’s commonly overlook. In my determination to cover all bases, I consulted an ‘anti-aging’ hormone doctor, who looked suspiciously younger at each appointment I took. This was cause for hope! After showing me a graph of the normal hormone life-cycle (which from the age of 30 is down-hill all the way) and reviewing the results of his recent tests, I was told that my estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels were all abnormally low, in fact almost obsolete. Since all are key to general well-being, ovulation and implantation this could possibly explain, not only why over a normal period-cycle I could become a one-eyed green ogre, but also my inability in the past to ‘stay’ pregnant.
So onto a daily dose of bio-identical hormones (derived from yam) I went, and taking them felt like adding bi-carb soda to a flattened cake. I took DHEA to aid in estrogen production (before I fell pregnant) and Progesterone (in the first three months) to assist in embryo implantation. And honestly after only a few weeks of being on the Yam, I felt absolutely great! My mood changed, energy increased and whether by coincidence or not I stayed pregnant beyond the 12th week.
But what would this journey be without also checking my bloods. However, once you go down this path ‘beware’ as all manner of things can appear. From the complication of having a negative blood-type to finding blood clotting markers linked to recurrent miscarriage. Luckily for me I had none; however, despite this my Obstetrician indicated that not all clotting markers are necessarily picked up, and thus as a precautionary measure put me on daily anti-clotting injections (Clexane) for the first three months. And did it help? In my mind it is impossible to say. It was certainly an intrusive and unpleasant thing to do, but on the other hand helped me feel I had ticked off another possible contributing factor.
So after this I cruised along pregnant, happy and feeling almost safe. Thinking I had done all that could be done. Until the 24th week came along and due to a rebellious cervix I was put on bedrest. After all the effort and investigation I felt positively miffed. Despite the number of specialists I could call by their first name and the medical information I carried in my mind’s little black book, there was something else I had completely missed.
My uterus was ‘subseptate’, which I had already known, but not to the extent that it was now to be shown. Instead of one chamber, I had the bonus two, which could increase the chance of miscarriage and pre-term labour by up to 50%. Well what do you know, now I truly felt like a medical freak-show.
So what could I do? Simple, my new hospital-surgeon friend said. Have an operation that can easily remove the division and correct the shape. That was great news! But not while you’re pregnant apparently, so for now, do nothing, lie still, take it easy and wait! Nearing week 29 and feeling healthy and stable, I can now say that lounging around and eating hospital food also seems to have helped.
And how’s that for a bucket list, the type you wouldn’t wish on anyone else and one that conversely seems to keep growing. Yet despite the weight of all this useful and useless information, I actually don’t mind at all. The more I know the more I can do and this ability to take ‘action’ (any action) even if it brings no results, has definitely helped me move forward the most.