Getting off the Rollercoaster - Going for Adoption

Monday, February 20, 2006

Hooray, hooray! Hurrah, hurrah!

Blood test results today – FSH/LH at 7.2 and 5.9 respectively.
Even if FSH as little as twice the LH is diagnostic, this is now effectively ruled out.

So now to Thalia’s question.
Why am I so sure that my problem is NK cells?
I guess if I am really really honest,
there is some superstition involved, but then, having had no believeable diagnosis (other than my age, and I don't believe that) so you are actually left either having no reason for why these miscarriages continue to happen or you believe something.

For background, and colouring my judgement you may think, is that I simply do not believe that I am too old to have children, or that fundamentally the eggs I am producing are not good enough. For my age I have already managed to get pregnant far more frequently than would be predicted statistically. At the IVF clinic I was told that each cycle I only have a one in twenty chance of even becoming pregnant at my age. I have been pregnant 5 times since November 2003. My own mother had 6 children, and she was 44 when my younger sister was born. My mother, now 85 is still fit and healthy. All the tests I have had would back up my feeling that I am not 'hormonally old'. My progesterone levels are good, my FSH and LH levels (now retested) are very positive, and not showing signs of my age. I realise I haven't got years and years to hang about, and all this delay is worrying the hell out of me, but I am not too old at the moment.

On the day I was originally discharged from my local hospital by Dr Nice, the consultant, I happened to be listening to Radio 4 and there was a brief news item about new work on recurrent miscarriage. It was the first time I had heard about NK cells, but started looking into it. It was a lightbulb moment.

When I started to realise that the immune system was suspected of rejecting the embryo as a 'foreign' body, - it just made sense to me. I know I have an strong, (even over-active immune system) - I work in an air-conditioned office with up to 15 other people who all get colds which go around and in over 3 years I have NEVER been ill. I don't know if it is because I keep so fit, I know if you get over-fit it can actually have the opposite effect, but even R is very rarely sick though he did have a slight cold a few weeks ago.

Anyway, the fact remains, something in my blood certainly fights off infections. This seemed to me an indication that NK cells could be the issue, and I wanted to get tested. When I got the test done (which I believe is not available on the NHS, so had to be done privately, but anyway I had just been discharged from the NHS hospital and referred to Dr ScaryHair) it was the FIRST TIME I had had any test back which was not described as completely normal. It seemed it was the first time she had seen a result out of the 'normal' range. It seemed to unsettle her.

And now?

Now I am not sure of anything.

I do not believe I have an 85% chance of having a baby under this new treatment. I don't know if that is because I reason that a doctor who charges for his private patients would say that, or whether it is simply to protect myself from a dangerous hope. I think I do believe that in tests prednisolone and / or treatment with blood thinning medication does or has helped many women to overcome the problem of recurrent miscarriage.

Maybe it has nothing to do with NK cells, but that is basically irrelevant. One woman had NINETEEN MISCARRIAGES before undergoing prednisolone treatment. Women on recent trials have had an AVERAGE of 6. This is not just snake oil.

I am not advocating this for use alongside IVF or anything, but really, what have I got to lose? I have lost 5 pregnancies. 5 babies I thought I would have, and I didn't. And it may be that prednisolone will suppress my Natural Killer cells in my over-active immune system and my sixth baby will live. Or maybe not. I am slightly offended that I am described as a vulnerable (and by implication, a bit weak and a little stupid) by some. I think that although I hope that this treatment will work (of course) I am prepared for failure. Sometimes I get a glimpse of that. The realisation that it's not just no baby again this time, it could be no baby, no child, not ever. Of course I am not prepared for that.

One thing Dr X did say, which was so blindingly obvious that I wish he would write it in letters across the sky. The statistics of recurrent miscarriage don't add up. One miscarriage is incredibly common, but two in a row is already unusual enough to point to a problem, so it is already more likely you will have the third. Intervention is required, or the RPL will continue. Time and again I have been told my chances of everything being all right next time is just as good as anyone else. I have known this was not right, that it didn't make sense. Don't believe them when they tell you just to keep on trying. I have to do something and this is what I am doing.

Unless you have any better ideas?


  • Congratulations on those stellar blood results.Good luck with the prednisilone treatment.

    By Blogger PortLairge, at 2:31 am  

  • After 2y of early chemicals, never making it past 4w4d - I started 12.5mg of cortisone at 16 dpo last cycle, and hung onto my pregnancy till 6w4d!!

    I figure it was must have been started too late for a total success, but I am feeling hopeful for my next pregnancy as I continue to take it.

    Another thing to consider (if you haven't already) is Fish Oil - it's supposed to be great for lowering NK cells. You need a mercury-free brand and at least 720 DHA - check Dr. Beer's website for more info...

    By Blogger Catherine, at 4:47 pm  

  • The best fish oil I've had is Carlson's Norwegian Cod Liver Oil, with lemon oil - It just tastes like lemon oil (not like fish)! Here's a link with more info:

    Yay fir the blood work results, and I'm completely with you - don't give up. A friend of mine had several miscarriages before being diagnosed with a disorder that sees the fetus as a foreign body (can't remember the name - I'm so sorry). Her treatment was IVF with heparain, she had 2 or 3 more miscarriages, then they started implementing full body transfusions as well. She just had her twins this past October.

    I am keeping everything crossed for you - I hope you're successful and do have a child. I'll continue to tune in to check on your journey towards motherhood. I wish you all the very best. Hang in there.

    By Blogger Anna, at 7:40 pm  

  • Vivien, thanks for the explanation. I am not convinced about NK cells, but that's because the DIAGNOSTIC approach makes no sense - the fact that they measure circulating NK cells which are not related to the concentration in your peritoneum. What no one has shown, because no one has done the research, is what the link is between NK cell concentration in the peritoneum and miscarriage.

    Having said that, it may very well be that this is the key for some people. I hesitate to say I hope this is it for you because it's an expensive and complex treatment, but I do so hope that something works.

    By Blogger Thalia, at 6:25 pm  

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