|Our Miracle Boy|
A while back, I briefly shared my struggles with infertility on this blog. What I should have called it was subfertility because clearly I am not infertile, and technically a doctor will diagnose a person as infertile only after the couple has been trying to conceive for a year (if under 35), but even the WHO defines it as two years. We conceived after nine months (four months without treatments and then five months with), and since I know many couples who tried for much longer to conceive, I feel so blessed that it only took nine months.
The fact is, though, that for those nine months, the idea of a baby seemed so far away. Light years away. Our baby lived in the stars, and we just had to find a way to get him. Isaiah dreamed of his baby, and I hoped and prayed for my baby. And now he is here, but it wasn't easy.
First, I had to find out what exactly was going on down there. Six months after going off birth control, I had maybe three cycles with no hard evidence that I had actually ovulated. I knew something was wrong, so I got checked out and found out about PCOS (which is actually linked to insulin resistance, so diet is very important in combating this condition). My ovaries were making eggs, but they were not maturing properly -- I was experiencing anovulation.
After the examination, the doctor sat me down in her office and explained what it all meant. But, lady, you talk to couples about fertility issues and you don't have a box of tissues in your office??? Anyway, I was devastated. Came home armed with pamphlets. And instructions to have my tubes flushed out and start on Clomid. I knew there had to be another way. But what?
Next, I confided in a friend. She told me everything would be OK. She told me not to give up hope. She told me I would become a mother. And she told me about acupuncture. I scheduled my free consultation, and after that initial appointment, I felt confident this was the path we should take.
Then, I learned more about ovulation, like what the heck happens in the luteal phase. I also started charting my basal body temperature to track my cycle.
During the second month of treatment, my acupuncturist encouraged me to do a 30-day cleanse. (From Thanksgiving to Christmas -- boy was that fun! ha!) To get my body in tip-top shape for ovulating, I had to rid it of all the toxins getting in the way of my organs doing their job correctly.
Immediately after the cleanse was over, to keep the momentum going, I went on a special diet to keep insulin levels at bay: no sugar (except for two servings of fruit/day), no soy, no caffeine, no alcohol, no gluten, and no dairy. I had to more or less keep track of calories (to make sure I was eating enough) and eat a certain number of servings of vegetables (one serving max of starchy veggies and at least 3 servings/day of all other veggies), for example.
In addition to twice weekly (then later once/week) acupuncture treatments, Chinese medicine, and herbal supplements, I also read a book about real food for mothers and babies that includes a section on the fertility diet, so I tried to include more of those foods.
Finally, and this is the hardest part, I identified what was the biggest stressor in my life that I could do something about, and then I did something about it. I gave my notice at work that I would not be returning for the next school year, and BAM, I got pregnant! ;)
When I found out I was pregnant, it was so hard to believe. Of course I wanted to believe it with all my heart, but it was like believing that I could touch the stars. It was something that seemed so impossible but was actually happening. And since I know what it's like to doubt and then to finally believe, I am extra sensitive about stories of fertility struggles. Did you ever see The Odd Life of Timothy Green? Yeah. Hunter was just a couple of weeks old, and I had crazy hormones running through my body, so I was a mess two minutes into the film.
One last thing, I ignored the ignorance. Here's a short list of quotes based on things people said to me/wrote me that you should never say to people who are struggling with fertility, so you too can be sensitive about the subject:
1. "Oh my, my husband would just look at me and I would get pregnant." Well good for you, lady.
2. "You could just adopt." Don't you think we know that is an option?
3. "You shouldn't have waited so long to start a family." That's none-yo. As in none of your business.
4. "I'm so fertile, I wish I had a little bit of what you have going on." For reals?
5. "When you least expect it/stop thinking about it, it will happen." (OK, this one is probably kind of true, but I only ever accepted it from someone else who struggled with fertility.)
Thanks to all our friends and family who supported us through all this stuff!