Overcoming {in}fertility, the Natural Way

I survived {in}fertility. Twice. Today I look at my beautiful children and relish the fact that they are right here, right now before my eyes. I can reach out and beckon them into a hug and kiss their plump kiddo cheeks to my heart’s content. I also get to enjoy the sleepless nights and their occasional tantrums. It’s all part of the package and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But not too long ago, I wondered and daydreamed about the day I would finally be a mother. At the young age of 22, I began my journey down the Trying To Conceive path. I was shocked to discover that I did not become pregnant easily or quickly, like I was led to believe would happen as soon as birth control was thrown out the window. Nearly two years later, we were still not pregnant and the frustration and emotional roller coaster had us at the end of our ropes. I had undergone all the testing deemed necessary by our reproductive endocrinologist (or RE, the long name for a fertility specialist). He was boggled as to why I was unable to conceive, and we were classified in the “Unexplained Infertility” category. This made it even more difficult because we just didn’t know what, and what wouldn’t, help.

After all the testing, 5 cycles of Clomid (a medication that helps ovulation, which incidentally gave me awful side effects) and one laparoscopy (a surgery to ensure my insides were working properly) we were finally pregnant. I will never forget the day I got my first positive pregnancy test. I was overcome by pure bliss. But I also became very anxious. Now that I had finally achieved what I had wanted for so long, I was scared it would all be taken away. But life had other plans, and in May of 2006 my beautiful daughter was born. She was a preemie, but she was happy and healthy and had a short NICU stay (a story for another post!).

The days as a family of 3 were heavenly. I discovered that being a mother truly is my purpose. But around the time Maddie turned 15 months I got baby fever bad. Really bad. Did I really want to go through that again? I did. In fact, I was actually hopeful that somehow my body had sorted itself out and I would become pregnant easily this time. Not so.

After another 18 months of trying, we were still not pregnant. As Maddie got older, I wondered if I would ever be able to give her a little brother or sister. The second time around, the visits to the RE were doubly unpleasant. I was so tired of being told I stumped the medical world with no real, apparent reason to explain my inability to get pregnant. Plus, the medication (Clomid again) made me feel like crap. I knew there had to be another way. My body was ready to stop all the prodding and poking, but did not yet know it would be trading it for a whole other definition of these words!

I had been to a Naturopath in the past, but it was not someone I went to as my first line of treatment. Even though I truly do believe in Holistic Health, I hadn’t really given it a chance. But after my unsuccessful journey with the Western Medicine system, I decided I was ready. My first appointment with my Naturopath was absolutely mind opening. She told me so many things I hadn’t even considered. Even though my diet was very healthy, she said I wasn’t getting enough protein and I was eating too much sugar (which I thought I was doing pretty good with, but it’s hidden in so many things!). She also gave me several supplements, vitamins and herbs. And she recommended acupuncture. I had tried it before and never stuck with it, but I was determined this time to see it through till the end (well, tilI I got my positive pregnancy test!). I was so lucky that the acupuncturist was so great. She made me feel confident that I would become pregnant soon.

I had appointments with her every 3 days for the first 2 weeks and then every week. And I loved it. I absolutely loved it. It made me feel relaxed, rejuvenated and so well balanced. Plus my high protein, low sugar diet made me feel full of energy! I also stopped taking my temperature to track ovulation and I threw out the calendar. During that whole cycle I did not know what cycle day it was, nor did I want to know. We had sex when we felt like it and I tried really hard not to over analyze every little twinge or tug or the consistency of my cervical mucus (sorry, but it’s one of the things we truly do become obsessed with!).

The days went by and near the end of the month I began to think something was different. I remember telling Ken that maybe I should test. My sense of smell was overly sensitive, but that was the only symptom, so Ken encouraged me to wait, so I wouldn’t get my hopes up. But the more days that went by without my period showing up, the more I wondered. Finally, after an acupuncture appointment, I stopped at the pharmacy and bought a test.

As soon as I got home I peed on it. I had vowed to set it up on the counter without looking until the 3 minutes went by. But before I even had time to lift my hand up to the counter, I saw the biggest, darkest, fat, pink line I’d ever seen come up. It was so much darker than the control. I remember feeling totally awestruck. How was this possible!?

My body had actually done it. Naturally. Without gross medicines, without blood work without Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).

Woohoo!

I continued with the weekly acupuncture treatments during my pregnancy, as Traditional Chinese Medicine believes there are points that help prevent miscarriage and preterm labor. And I was willing to try anything for a happy and healthy pregnancy. Ten months later my beautiful boy was born. He was actually 4 days overdue. So not only did I overcome infertility, but also preterm labor.

Now, I know this is just my story. And the research claims the efficacy of acupuncture and other traditional treatments remains to be validated, which basically means there are some studies that support it and others that don’t. But as we know, the world of science is not perfect and there are a multitude of factors to consider when believing scientific claims, for example: population samples, the expertise and experience of the acupuncturist, how long the treatment was, did patients truly follow the protocol, etc.? However, there are many studies supporting the proposition that acupuncture does help overcome infertility,1 particularly when in conjunction with some form of some form of ART. It would be great to see more studies looking at acupuncture only AND following an acupuncture protocol of longer than a few days! In order for it to work, you need to stick with it!

Regardless, for me, and having been through both medical approaches, it was a much more relaxing and natural way to get pregnant than the way where stirrups are involved. And if we ever do want to get pregnant again, I will try the au natural way first.2

Photo credit: Author

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Natural Parents Network is honored to host a guest post today from Kat. Kat is and loves many things. Mostly she loves her husband and being a mommy to her two kiddos. During her “free” time she is studying to be a Life Coach and works at a Natural Parenting baby boutique, helping parents and parents-to-be in whatever way she can. On the side she enjoys writing, photography, reading, yoga and chatting about anything and everything. Kat writes about life with kiddos and all that comes along the parenting journey at her blog, Loving {Almost} Every Moment.

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Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their healthcare provider. If you are pregnant, are nursing, have a medical condition, or are taking any medication, please consult your physician. Nothing you read here should be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis, or courses of treatment.

  1. References:

    Manheimer E, and colleagues. Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2008 Mar: 545-9

    Zhou J, Qu F. Treating gynaecological disorders with traditional Chinese medicine: a review. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2009;6(4):494-517

  2. If you ever want to try acupuncture for fertility or other health issues, please make sure you find an acupuncturist who is trained and certified (if applicable). If seeking acupuncture for fertility, it helps if the acupuncturist has specific experience or additional training in treating infertility. For more info on acupuncture check here. For treatments with a Naturopath, always make sure your practitioner has received their education from an accredited naturopathic medical school. To find out more about Naturopathic Medicine check here.

2 Responses to Overcoming {in}fertility, the Natural Way

  1. Arpita  

    Love this article Kat! The rollercoaster is definitely worth it! You definitely are an inspiration!

  2. kari b.

    It’s good to hear of someone overcome infertility TWICE naturally. I have endometriousis and we tried for nearly six years. After clomid, an IUI, two laparoscopies and many, many pregnancy tests we finaly overcame and had a healthy baby boy a little over a year ago! I really, truly believe it was a change in diet and atitude that did it.
    We’d like to try again but I am hesitant because of the heartache involved with so many years of dissapointment, so it is good to hear a success story. These are all tips I will keep in mind for the next time :) Thanks for sharing and congratulations!

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