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
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
- After two more cycles go to an herbal fertility
- After approximately three more cycles head to the
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: http://www.naturallygettingpregnant.com/fertility-blog.