To Love a Rose: An Ethiopian Adoption Journal

Monday, January 10, 2011

Oh, hello again, Low Progesterone!

All of my tests are back - finally!  I think that is the most anxious I've been in a long time to hear back from a doctor's office; I just wanted to know so badly.

My sister, W, had been doing lots and lots of research about the symptoms of low progesterone since discovering that her seizures were due to catamenial epilepsy two days before Christmas.  She sent me a list via e-mail, and I was SHOCKED at how many of the symptoms I had been dealing with nearly since I had started my period at age 11.  So, needless to say, I had a pretty good idea that it was all going to bowl down to progesterone; and I was right.

My T4 Free and TSH which measure thyroid levels and function were both completely normal and healthy.  My prolactin was normal.  I was reactive for rubella (which is good, this means you have the antibodies in your system already).  The only thing left was progesterone.

Dr. S (our new fertility doctor) and Dr. K (his partner and my regular OBGYN) had long thought that progesterone might be causing me to continually miscarry and/or not ovulate at all.  My labs were taken on CD22 (cycle day #22), and my progesterone level was only .9 (yep, not even 1)!  At that point in my cycle, it should have been at least 15 or higher; but could/should have been upwards of 20-30!!!

When my sister W seized over and over again two days before Christmas a few weeks ago, her levels were .6; I was only 3 tenths higher than her!  Dr. S said it's amazing that I haven't been seizing myself, and that I'm very lucky that it hasn't caused more trouble than it already has.

Dr. S is calling me for a more in-depth consultation tomorrow about where to go from here, but essentially my severely low progesterone has probably not even been allowing me to ovulate.  If at some points I have ovulated, Dr. S and Dr. K both are convinced that I have had early miscarriages over and over and over and over again.  Mr. C and I were timing everything perfectly and doing everything right (charting, eating well, exercising, and taking vitamins); it feels so good to know that it wasn't "us", it was the hormones!

Dr. S and Dr. K are now thinking that my fast-growing cervical pre-cancer (which I had surgery to remove back in September) may have been a result of my low progesterone (it can cause cervical displaysia which turns to cancer); because they can find absolutely no other reason for it to have been there (I do not test positive for HPV or any other virus that increases your risk of female cancers).  They're also sure that my extremely painful PMS symptoms and completely irregular cycles (some lasting a mere 24 days, some lasting 46-50 days) are another symptom of my low progesterone; which also makes it difficult to ovulate properly or ever.

I am just so very, very glad to have an answer finally!  It feels to good to know that it's not "my fault"; it's just hormones.  This is fixable!  What an amazing way to start out the new year!

So, what's next?  Well, I'm not entirely sure of everything that Dr. S will want to do; but I do know that I will probably begin some sort of progesterone cream during this cycle.  I'm so excited to see how it changes things; I've heard a lot of women on online chat boards who are on progesterone creams talking about how much it helped them feel better overall.  And, of course, I can't wait to see if this increases our chances of getting pregnant!

Mr. C and I have known that we wanted to have both biological and adopted children in our family; we didn't know which would come first, and we didn't care either way.  I'm hoping that maybe this means we'll be able to get pregnant soon, and then add to our family through adoption for baby #2!  I finally feel as though we're going down a clear path that is leading to an answer and hope instead of wandering alone in a dark forest of despair.

I have been smiling all day...and I don't think it's going to go away any time soon!

Be well, Be blessed,
*mandie*

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