For the last week I’ve been obsessively reading IVF and fertility blogs, when I should have been finishing Chapter 9 of my novel, something I courageously (or stupidly) quit my job 3 months ago to work on. In my mind, hours spent reading stories of hope, sorrow, defeat, and victory was mentally preparing me to begin my own IVF journey, our first cycle to start Sunday (with birth control pills, followed by stimulating hormones, followed by more magnificent, but tenuous, steps to baby making). All the while, I was having the WORST PMS, such that I haven’t experienced since before my laparoscopy and quitting soy, which I attributed to stopping Chinese medicine 3 days past ovulation. Chinese medicine included intense herbal tea 3 times per day, plus acupuncture 1 time per week that made me, a stage IV endo sufferer, have the best period of her life last cycle. My fertility doctor, however, asked that I stop taking the herbs in preparation for IVF. Headache, nausea, exhaustion, followed. I felt like poop (but oddly feel great now). I blamed my week of sickness on endo inflammation possibly coming back. I blamed it on my now unherbed (a made up word, I know) hormones.
But yesterday, when my Ballet Physique workout seemed too intense (I kept making excuses to pause the DVD, plus I kept having to pee), and then when I had the overwhelming urge to nap at 2 PM, I decided to take a pregnancy test (like as a joke, to prove to my husband, who kept teasing that I was eating for two, that of course I’d be getting my period ANY minute). The results absolutely BLEW MY MIND, they are STILL blowing my mind. After almost two years of trying, a surgery, acupuncture herbs, going gluten-free, cutting soy, starting to eat meat again, SOMETHING, maybe EVERYTHING, has worked!
At this moment, this beautiful magical moment, I am exactly 4 weeks and 3 days pregnant, confirmed by not 1, but 4 pregnancy tests (pictured here!), and now a blood test from my reproductive doc in Beverly Hills. This means that my egg and husband’s sperm are able to do it! Together! I’m cautiously optimistic, because according to the blood test my HCG levels were at a healthy 229 (good number! according to my brilliant researching infertility sister in obsessiveness who shall remain unnamed). The problem, my progesterone is low. Fertility doc prescribed suppositories (she gave me samples) AND injections that I’m to pick up tomorrow. All the while my acupuncturist has asked me to come in to switch my herb dosage to support pregnancy. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I started the herbs I had left back up, per acupuncturist’s approval, and also because I’ve been craving them. They’re bitter and gross at first, but they grow on you (and quite possibly help something grow IN you, too)!
So here’s the issue: I truly believe that the surgery and the Chinese Medicine are what led to this positive (check out Tao of Wellness, they’re world renowned for treating endometriosis and infertility). Tao of Wellness is so good, in fact, that even God’s of the modern age, celebrities, go there for other stuff (just saw Eva Mendes two weeks ago, but she left without herbs so no I don’t think she and Ryan Gosling are trying to conceive). BUT of course my fertility doctor advised against the herbs because they can conflict with medications. Yet, I managed to get a positive without said medications.
I’ve started with one progesterone suppository, but am a little nervous about the injections that begin tomorrow. Fertility doctor is an expert in her field, but so is the Chinese Medicine man. I can’t do both herbs and progesterone at the same time. What would you do? It’s so early, this is still so risky, and I’ll be happy no matter how things turn out because I’m truly down for whatever it takes to make a HEALTHY baby. If this pregnancy isn’t right, it isn’t right (God forbid). But yet I’m truly confused as to how to proceed. Should I head East? Or West?
Oh wow! Congratulations. That really is a miracle. Go with what feels most right in supporting the pregnancy from here on. Best of luck.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I’m trying trying TRYING not to get too excited, but it’s very very challenging.
Yes!!!! Woman, this is crazy! Huge! So many congratulations. I can’t believe it just happened like that right before you were about to start IVF. Amazing.
Now to the East v West question. This is so tough. I am a big believer in Eastern medicine. I regulated my cycles with herbal supplements back before I started up with the RE. Truthfully, there is probably no right answer. I think that, very likely, the pregnancy will progress as it is going to progress regardless of which direction you go. I had progesterone levels testing after ovulation while on my supplements and while using progesterone, and the numbers were pretty similar (and both higher than they were without either). I tend to use Eastern medicine until things get serious, then I switch, because I know that I can go directly to the primary source and read the research. I know that this does not necessarily make it better, but for some reason, it makes me feel safer (or more informed, perhaps) with my decision. And so. You should do whatever makes YOU feel safer and more at peace. I really don’t think there is a wrong decision here. I really don’t.
And, one more time, because this needs to end in a positive: WAHOOOO! You’re pregnant, Steph!
I am still totally in SHOCK! I’m totally nervous about what’s to come considering that miscarriage is all too common, BUT now I know it’s possible! It’s freaking possible! Kind of weird to be having so few symptoms though.
And thank you so much for your awesome input. I’ve decided that since my progesterone is low I’ll supplement with shots and inserts, but will compliment with acupuncture. I’ll lay off the herbs for now, but may consider starting them again once I’m off drugs. FINGERS CROSSED that my body does everything it’s supposed to do and that my little embryo continues to grow!!!!!!!