Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hope For The Best, Expect The Worst

OCTOBER 22, 2010 - Part 2

Our joy over the nice looking sac didn't last very long. The doctor called a few hours after we left the office and told me my progesterone levels were low. VERY low. Progesterone is the hormone that thickens the lining of the uterus when a woman is pregnant and sheds the lining of the uterus when she's not pregnant. A low progesterone level means your body is getting ready to shed! She called me in a prescription for supplements. She warned me that this kind of treatment was controversial and had never been proven to work but that it didn't hurt to try it.

I did some research on the internet and came across some news articles and research studies. Apparently the progesterone/miscarriage relationship is similar to the chicken/egg debate. There could be a communication error going on and my body doesn't produce progesterone because it doesn't realize it's pregnant. This would mean that low progesterone levels could be the cause of a miscarriage (and could have caused the last one!). But on the other hand, this could mean that the body does realize that it's pregnant but also realizes that the embryo is not well and the hormones drop in preparation for the miscarriage. This would mean that the pending miscarriage is the cause of the low progesterone. Which is the cause and which is the effect? I guess they haven't figured that out yet but we went ahead and got those supplements anyway. We were hoping for the best but I thought it was safest to expect the worst.

So I went to work everyday and smiled in people's faces because that was my job. I came home from work and smiled at Brian because whenever I expressed my worries to him he would get mad at me for being pessimistic. (Seriously, though, if he wanted a cheerleader he should have married one) When I talked to my parents I told them things were ok. I even talked a little about baby names and nursery furniture. But I still had that feeling of impending doom. I was also a nervous wreck. I was afraid to sneeze, afraid to laugh, cough, do any kind of exercise. I was afraid to stand for too long, sit for too long, bend over to tie my shoes or wear pants that weren't stretchy. I was in such a panic that I didn't get out of bed at all on my days off. Brian was pretty good, though. He did all of the cooking and chores and didn't even complain about it.

I did some more research on the internet to find out if other women who were PGAL (that means pregnant after a loss) ever got as excited about subsequent pregnancies as they had been about their first. I felt like I was cheating my baby out of the happy mom he or she deserved and I wanted to know how and when I was going to snap out of it. This is the article I found if you are interested. It explains all of this way better than I can and even uses my "One Foot In, One Foot Out" metaphor.

It made me feel a lot better to know that these feelings were normal and felt by so many others. They said there was a chance that I would feel better once I surpassed the time of the previous loss but I thought the only thing that was going to make me feel better was seeing a heartbeat. The doctor told me that once a heartbeat is seen on an ultrasound my chances of miscarriage went from 20% to more like 5%. So this was the milestone we were now waiting for. Our first official prenatal appointment was scheduled for November 2nd and there should be a heartbeat by then. That was in two weeks. I have to say, it might have been the longest two weeks of my life.

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