Dina's Story
Posted Sept 24, 2008

My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for about three years.

After a few months of charting my cycle, I noticed that things weren’t optimal. My luteal phase was short – at around 11 days – and I had premenstrual spotting. I headed to my gynecologist and he prescribed progesterone suppositories. After trying this for several cycles with no luck, I realized that the suppositories were only treating a symptom. Why do I have a short luteal phase? Can what is causing it be healed? In essence, I wanted a holistic approach, so I turned to acupuncture.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (using acupuncture and herbal tea) turned my irregular cycles with an average length of 33 days into regular cycles with an average length of 28 days. It also completely eliminated my menstrual pain – not your average premenstrual cramping but an excruciating pain which I used to counter with the pill and various painkillers.

After seven months of acupuncture and herbal tea, I seemed to be closer to what would be considered more fertile. But I did not get pregnant and the effects weren’t all going in the right direction. My acne worsened, my premenstrual spotting continued, and my bleeding each cycle dwindled down dramatically.

At this point my husband went in for a semen analysis. His values all came back normal so we focused again on my body.

After experiencing the power of alternative medicine I was determined to find a gynecologist that offered both conventional and alternative treatments with a holistic approach. This search turned up nothing. So I chose a gynecologist that was also a certified acupuncturist. She made no mention of alternative treatment options, though, and I walked out of her office with a prescription for Clomid and progesterone.

I took Clomid on each of my cycle days five through nine and then went in several times for monitoring. Three follicles developed and I obediently took the progesterone suppositories during the second half of my cycle. At the end of my cycle the pregnancy test turned up negative.

Turning back to alternative medicine, I looked now for an acupuncturist with experience treating infertility. The best I could find was an acupuncturist who had successfully treated one male infertility patient. After three and a half months of treatment, my menstrual pain once again vanished and I noticed a marked improvement in my circulation (my hands and feet no longer passed as ice cubes). But this time my cycles did not become regular, my acne flared up again and my premenstrual spotting continued. And most importantly, I did not get pregnant. My acupuncturist expressed that there was nothing else she could do.

At this point my husband and I decided it was time to turn to a fertility specialist. We wanted to rule out any factors that could be inhibiting our getting pregnant which could not be healed with alternative medicine. The specialist recommended we have a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) to see if there were blockages in my fallopian tubes. A fluid was injected into my uterus and indeed it flowed freely through my fallopian tubes. Back to alternative treatment.

Over the next four months I tried nemerous alternative treatments including: Mayan abdominal massages, castor oil packs, vitamin supplements, chiropractic treatment, a liver cleanse and a gallbladder flush. I went for daily long walks and adjusted my diet. And yes, my spare time revolved completely around making my body more fertile. The grand finale to this alternative therapy marathon was a two week ‘fertility vacation’ at a hotel in the foothills of the Alps where we received daily mud baths. Upon our return home from this trip, I took my ritual pregnancy test and it was – to my utter shock and joy – positive.

Unfortunately, the pregnancy turned out to be ectopic. We were devastated. It was, however, the closest we had ever come to having a child. It was progress. We knew it was possible. We were not giving up hope.

Recovering from the laparoscopic surgery for my ectopic pregnancy took a long time emotionally and physically. The surgery was more involved than anticipated because the doctor discovered more than just an ectopic pregnancy. He found and removed a water cyst, a myoma, and stage one endometriosis. These conditions certainly shed some light on why getting pregnant was proving difficult. But their removal surgically doesn’t equate to a solved problem. The doctor made this clear to my husband and me by suggesting we try again on our own but that we “don’t wait too long before returning to the infertility clinic.”

After the laparoscopic surgery we were given a three month waiting period before we were allowed to try and conceive again. As it turns out, eight months after the surgery, my body has not yet returned to equilibrium: with cycle lengths of about 38 days. And emotionally it took me about six months to completely heal from the miscarriage. What the surgery did do, though, is improve my quality of life. I no longer have menstrual pain. Life without this pain is wonderful. But a life without children is not yet complete. And so we revised our fertility plan and began again.

Our revised fertility plan now looks like this:

  • Repeat the liver cleanse and gallbladder flush
  • Research and implement the best fertility diet
  • Begin daily weight lifting
  • After the next cycle return for a two week mud bath treatment
  • After two more cycles go to an herbal fertility treatment clinic
  • After approximately three more cycles head to the infertility clinic

We’ll see where the next round of treatments takes me and my body.

You’ll find me writing about the rest of my journey in my blog: