Natural Infertility Treatments: Part 1 of 2
As I started blogging nearly 6 years ago, one of my first topics talked about my struggle for over 5 years with infertility, in my 20’s. In fact, my oldest son arrived after five courses of artificial insemination, and I was taking hyper-ovulation drugs too. (Bad idea—it made hormonal issues worse.)
So technically, my son was an immaculate conception. My husband was there at the hospital several hours before I showed up by myself, to deposit a “sample” for “spinning.” I then had an encounter with a turkey baster.
(They don’t really use a turkey baster. Kinda like that, though.)
It was a hellish five years, with a lot of roller-coaster ride (I was pregnant once during that time and miscarried, and thought I was pregnant, other times). Hopes dashed, hormones manipulated, expensive and invasive tests administered. I cried almost every month I learned I would not be a mother. I withdrew from normal social activities because I didn’t want to be around the pregnant women and young mothers, who just reminded me of what I didn’t have.
Those five years did make me deeply grateful to be a mother, when it finally happened. Those five years gave me an advanced degree, a chance to travel in Europe, and a jump start on a career that would have never happened if things had happened the way I planned them. (And that education and career start would prove helpful later, when I became a single mother.)
As with many things in life, I’m glad that things didn’t go according to MY plan. I would have been a VERY young mother and would have, I believe, been chomping at the bit, later, to experience the life I didn’t have a chance to when I was young. This whole experience taught me to float in the stream a bit, rather than try TOO hard to force agendas.
I’m always glad when I remember that, and stop pushing sometimes when things just aren’t working. Maybe something better is just around the corner? Maybe the time isn’t right?
I miscarried my son’s twin. And endured a very difficult pregnancy. The delivery was terrible, 27 hours, and 2.5 hours of pushing, as the early morning of my second night of no sleep dawned. I was falling asleep between contractions. When I talk about being 206 lbs., that was the day I delivered Kincade. (I’d gained 62 lbs. during the pregnancy! And I started the pregnancy at a higher weight than I have been, the past 10 years.) I had massive edema, major blood sugar problems, and looked and felt awful.
When Kincade was a year old, I learned about the way our diet was impacting our health. Both of us were in terrible health, my baby and me, and my husband was overweight, too. After I radically changed our lifestyle, especially our diet, I got pregnant three more times, without intervention, and had easy, normal pregnancies where I gained much less weight.
I also had an ectopic pregnancy nine months after Kincade’s birth, before the lifestyle changes. It was discovered only when it ruptured and required emergency surgery to cut off an ovary. I had bled out half my blood supply at the time that this occurred, while I was in another state and did not have a blood donor. I spent weeks recovering enough to even stand up. I flew home to Utah after two weeks, pushed in a wheelchair onto the plane.
The removal of my right ovary likely reduced my fertility by half, in some ways. But I had three more healthy children AFTER that, without incident. I believe that providing my body appropriate fuel, consistently, allowed my body to heal and solve problems.
I did read a great book towards the end that I believe helped solved my problems. (None of the testing revealed what our fertility problem was.) It is called Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, MPH. I learned in her book to tune into the female body’s signals, mid-month, that fertility is highest. I learned that what the OB/GYN’s I had been working with were telling me was probably WHY I didn’t get pregnant for five years! They were having me take my temperature every morning. We were told to abstain until right when my temperature went up. At that time, though, I learned from this book, the window to get pregnant had just barely passed.
Ignoring what the drug-specialized OB/GYN’s had told me to do, for five years, and doing what Toni Wechsler taught me in that book, plus improving my health with diet, gave me three more beautiful healthy babies.
I spoke at Sanoviv, in Mexico just across the border from San Diego, at an infertility retreat there. Dr. Iva Keene was there as the specialist, and I interviewed her for this blog series. She’s a naturopathic physician and a specialist in natural treatments for infertility. My next post is my written interview with Dr. Keene that I hope will help others struggling to conceive, with ideas of interventions that don’t involve drugs and surgery, that help the body correct itself. I wish I had known more, when I was 22 years old and began infertility treatments for a problem that wasn’t likely a problem. I was just impatient (sought treatment after 6 months of “trying”), and suffering from years of eating a processed, chemical diet soaked with salt, sugar, MSG, and aspartame.
Link to the flier about the infertility retreat in September HERE.