About 2 years ago we were living at my mom's and switched to cloth diapers. Due to this, we all stopped using fabric softener. I had previously been using a free and clear type since various fragrances give me hives/itchiness. Within one week my chronic fatigue of 11 years was fully gone. At first I didn't make the connection because I had started some really great, organic all plant based vitamins two months prior. Due to my long history of chronic illness and repeated use of antibiotics and steroids we just figured that I had a humongous nutritional gap that was finally filled up.
Last year I became pregnant for the third time. We were still at my mom's desperately trying to sell our condo. Since that was continuing to be unsuccessful and we had to kick out a renter, we moved back into the condo when I was about 9 weeks pregnant, shortly after the viability ultrasound where a perfect little baby's heart was beating. I continued to use my detergent and no fabric softener but we shared laundry machines with four other families. Within a week, my nausea started to improve and I developed awful headaches and then a sinus infection right around the time that I found out the baby's heart had stopped. I miscarried and went on steroids and antibiotics for the infection (my first sinus infection in about 18 months despite a chronic history of sinus issues. So, not having an infection for a long time was quite new. I usually had at least 6 a year but was on a new therapy that immediately helped with the chronic inflammation about a month after my fourth sinus surgery). This was at the end of February. I miscarried again in April due to low progesterone, HCG was fine. I had never had a beta or progesterone testing prior to this pregnancy since there was no cause to do so.
Meanwhile I started in with hives and itchiness all over my body. I went on benadryl and claritin to help, but things just escalated. By June, I was so miserable with the itching that we did another round of steroids. At the same time I miscarried again due to low progesterone. When the steroids didn't really help I went to see my allergist. She diagnosed me with chronic hives and had me take claritin twice a day. Once the itchiness became less severe, I started having asthma attacks after not having any for about 5 years. So, I started a bunch of additional medication for that. By October, my asthma was still escalating so I went back on oral steroids but was still having four asthma attacks each day. Since my health was so poor and I was looking at hospitalization we moved back in with my mom. She was unemployed and could help with the kids.
At this point, something clicked with us. I realized that the entire time I had chronic fatigue I was using shared laundry facilities (my fatigue started in college when I lived in a dorm and from that point on I didn't have my own laundry machines). The fatigue went away very quickly after I ditched fabric softener/started using cloth diapers. I had awful headaches followed by an awful sinus infection right after going back to shared laundry facilities. This progressed into hives and uncontrollable asthma attacks. So, I washed all of the clothes that I had brought back to my mom's (everyones) using my detergent and no fabric softener and the next day the rash was gone and I haven't had an asthma attack or sinus infection since.
We did start seeing an RE who was curious about the hives and such but he never said anything about if that would cause fertility problems. All of the testing we had done came back 100% normal so it was also unusual to have two successful pregnancies followed by three miscarriages (anything around the 50% success rate is consistent with a genetic cause).
Since high levels of inflammation in the body cause low progesterone we are quite certain that at least the two early miscarriages were caused by my body's freak out over fabric softener. We don't really know about the first loss but since it coincided so quickly with our move we are personally confident that was the cause.