It’s been a few months since we lost our second baby. I still feel like it was just yesterday but so much has happened as we continue to advocate to try and find answers for our multiple losses. To be honest, I remember the day after getting the news that we had lost another baby and laying in bed reliving the exact same nightmare I had already lived through just a year ago. I started to really think about how crazy it was to have the exact same thing happen not once but twice and then it hit me, “something must be wrong.” Followed by the scary question, “Will I ever be able to carry a baby to term?” and a lot of feeling like a failure.
Both times I held my pregnancy until 10 weeks, the baby passed away around 6.5 weeks, and I had to have D+C procedures (though I miscarried at home the night before my second procedure.) With our second loss, we collected what we could to bring in for testing only to find out that the medical field won’t do testing until you’ve had 3 documented miscarriages on your medical record. At this point, we knew we were going to have to advocate for ourselves and seek help outside of our traditional resources using money out of our pockets.
I met Dr. Noel in January and truth be told, she had written me a note saying: “I will help you with your fertility” with her phone number below it. Little did I know that after our second loss, I would be taking her up on that offer. Lauren is a naturopathic fertility doctor based in San Diego but since I have a personal connection with her and was able to talk through things with her, I knew she would be the perfect fit for us. Working remotely with her meant consults over the phone but since I know her and have gotten to see her a few times this year in our mastermind, she knew me and my body and it wasn’t awkward at all.
When we miscarried again I was bombarded with messages/suggestions/stories and it was SO encouraging hearing from so many women who have walked in my shoes and then went on to have healthy pregnancies but it was also truly overwhelming and I found myself googling too many things trying to figure out what COULD be going on inside of me. On my first call with Dr. Lo she said, “You are going to know your body so much better after all of this,” and for the first time I felt relief that I was at least looking at things from every angle and not just “guessing” what was happening and hoping for the best.
MTFHR Gene Mutation: Negative
Researchers have looked at MTHFR gene mutations as being a possible factor in recurrent miscarriages with quite mixed results. Some studies find that MTHFR gene variations increase the risk of miscarriages while others find no link.
Right now, some doctors test for MTHFR in patients with a history of miscarriage and offer aggressive treatment to everyone with MTHFR gene mutations. Others do not ever test for MTHFR variants. (Source)
Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Antibody Tests: Positive
Blood tests for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibodies are used to help diagnose EBV infection, the cause of infectious mononucleosis (mono), if a person is symptomatic but has a negative mono test. (I came back positive on this in that I have had undiagnosed mono at some point in my life but not currently.) (Source)
Regular Blood Work: Normal
Most everything came back in the green on these tests but there was a lot of below the functional ranges that could easily be tweaked with natural supplements or nutrition. One of the biggest takeaways here was that Dr. Noel told me that traditional medicine compares results to that of an average American (which is a pretty unhealthy person) but naturopathic doctors compare you to optimal results so while nothing here was too alarming, there were a few places I could improve. This also discounted our initial thoughts of thyroid issues.
Adrenal Testing: Issues Found
I was ready for this one to come back wonky and boy was I right. Dr. Noel almost called the testing center to make sure the results were accurate because I was off the charts. The hormones produced by your adrenal glands, particularly the stress hormone cortisol, play an important role in regulating your immune system. If your cortisol levels go too low or too high, this can lead to regular infections, chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases or allergies. One of cortisol’s many functions is to reduce inflammation. When your body encounters a pathogen, the immune system responds by quickly attacking it. This causes inflammation, which is often a good thing (it means the immune system is working). (Source)
We found my cortisol levels were SUPER high and that I need to really focus on regulating stress in my life which also looks at the stress I am putting on my body internally (more on that in a sec!) This test also revealed that I am estrogen dominant and progesterone insufficient which can contribute to miscarriage. Many women take supplement progesterone in their first trimester. My goal is to get my body back into equilibrium so it can product progesterone without the need to supplement.
Wheat Zoomer Panel: Gluten Intolerance Found
I’m not going to lie, I called my sister before I went in for this test almost knowing what the results were going to yield… as Dr. Noel would say, “You have raging gluten intolerances.” When I got the results from this test which showed a whole lot of red, I knew that I’d be cutting gluten from my diet before Dr. Noel even told me to. I’ve shown signs of gluten intolerance in the past but you know me, I love my pasta and bread. This simple blood test showed me what I was thinking was something I needed to change.
When you partner this with a newly discovered leaky gut and the adrenal fatigue, it all makes sense. The gluten intolerance creates stress on my body where my adrenals release more cortisol to try and counteract it, my body is tired (so tired) and stressed out inside which is leading to both leaky gut and a hormone imbalance. I had NO clue gluten could play such a big role in overall health and fertility.
My plan right now
I am partnering with Dr. Noel to adjust to the new diet, to start to cut back on caffeine and get my body producing energy at a normal level. We are also looking at ways to reduce stress and get more relaxation into my life like daily long walks, massages, meditation and more. We want things to level out, my adrenal to reset, and the stress and inflammation inside of my body to go down. I am also taking many vitamins and supplements to help neutralize the blood screen results and we will be retesting in the future. The goal is to wait six months and stick to this plan for the next six months before “trying again” and we will be checking in, doing a few more tests, and then hopefully carrying a healthy little babe in the next year.