I’ve just recently started opening up about my miscarriage and infertility. I think it’s extremely important to to talk about these things and shine a light on a topic that can sometimes seemingly seem “taboo”.
Not all of us are built to conceive or carry a child. Infertility does NOT discriminate. Personally, I have no trouble “getting pregnant”- staying pregnant that has been a problem for me.
My issues tend to start early on when the baby is still a teeny tiny tadpole alien. Most people have heard of the pregnancy hormone HCG. Well if you’ve ever had a baby before, then you know that in early pregnancy your HCG levels double every 24-48 hours in a healthy pregnancy. It’s also the hormone that causes your home pregnancy test to turn positive. But the other less talked about hormone needed to have a successful pregnancy is Progesterone.
If you’re like me, then you had probably never heard of it before becoming pregnant. Progesterone is a female sex hormone. It’s produced mainly in the ovaries following ovulation each month. It’s a crucial part of the menstrual cycle and for the maintenance of a healthy pregnancy. So in other words- it’s super important, and like the HCG hormone it’s number needs to be going up and doubling as well.
Remember when I said I don’t have a problem getting pregnant? Well once a fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall, progesterone helps maintain the uterine lining throughout pregnancy. Basically it keeps the lining thick enough for the baby implant and grow…or as my doctor so delicately put it “favorable conditions.”
For whatever reason, my body just doesn’t make enough progesterone on it’s own to maintain a pregnancy. My number stopped going up which resulted in miscarriage at 6 weeks and an almost miscarriage this pregnancy at 6 weeks as well. Fortunately, my doctor monitored my levels weekly starting at 4 weeks pregnant. She caught the progesterone early on and put me on suppositories twice a day until I reached 10 weeks, which was supposed to be the safe zone.
That’s when it got super fun..
When I went into my 12 week check up, I was feeling pretty good. Any mom who has suffered a miscarriage knows that the 12 week mark is a biggie! Chances of miscarriage drop tremendously at this point…in a normal pregnancy. She did a couple routine tests and broke the news to me that I still wasn’t making enough progesterone to maintain the pregnancy.
As frustrated as I was, she dove right into an action plan. She prescribed me a progesterone injection once a week in my hip to keep my levels high enough to carry the baby to term.
With my first pregnancy I had the hardest time not delivering early. I had a different doctor back then, who never thought to check my progesterone levels- so I was constantly in the labor and delivery room having my labor stopped. At 28 weeks I started dilating. By 33 weeks I was at 4cm. By 35 weeks I was at a 6. I was placed on bed rest and a contraction stalling medication for the last month of my pregnancy, ultimately delivering her at 36 weeks. She was healthy- but the whole ordeal was a bit stressful for me and Brett.
This time around is proving no different. My doctor has been super proactive and covered everything preparing for a premature baby..it doesn’t take my fear away..but it helps a ton. This week I had a serious of steroid shots that are designed to mature the babies lungs and get her ready to breathe on the outside. As painful as they were to actually get- I’m so relieved to not have to worry about my baby having breathing troubles if she decides to come early. Along with those shots, they gave me a shot to boost the baby’s immune system- since premies tend to be more susceptible to infections.
So now we are in a waiting game. Hoping she cooks for another 7 weeks at least, but prepared if she decides to come sooner. This whole experience has been so humbling. I’ve had a great support system, and a ton of support from family and friends.
Before I went through this, I never realized how common issues like mine are. Why isn’t it talked about more? I’ve spent countless hours online trying to find information and testimonials from other women who’ve gone through this, only to discover it’s fairly common…yet unheard of at the same time!? This needs to change. Early miscarriages, and premature births could go down tremendously if more women knew to ask their doctors to check for low progesterone. Remember, 1 in 4 women will suffer from a miscarriage. That number is way to high. Especially when its something like I have that is treatable if caught early enough.
Start talking. If you’re planning on trying for a baby, have your progesterone level checked, most women go their whole adult life not even knowing where they stand. Low progesterone levels cause irregular or heavy periods. I suffered for years, thinking it was normal. So if you’re suffering from either of those- get checked out! It’s a simple blood test, and like I’ve stated before, it’s treatable.
If this helps even one baby or mamma, I’ll be satisfied. Everything starts with a a conversation.