This Mother’s Day, I’m thinking about my own journey to motherhood. Do you have friends who can basically get a wink from their lover and then – Bam! – they’re pregnant? Yah, that was so not me.
In my twenties, I used every type of birth control I could find because becoming a mother felt at least five (or maybe even ten) chapters ahead in my life. It wasn’t until the age of 30 that a young doctor asked me if I wanted to consider freezing my eggs. I was actually shocked by the question because in my most basic understanding of biology, I had calculated at least 10 more good fertile years ahead of me. I was sure that when I met the right guy, got married, and hit my career goals, I could drop the birth control and get pregnant right away. Wow, was I wrong.
Five years later, I had found and married the love of my life and was ready to start trying. Within three months, I found out I was pregnant and thought to myself, “See, that wasn’t so hard!” I loved being pregnant and knowing I was growing a tiny human. A few weeks later, I woke up in excruciating pain and had a miscarriage. I was devastated. I was a mom with nothing to show for it. The following Mother’s Day was heartbreaking.
After a few months, we started trying again, this time with a renewed fervor. I charted my basal body temperature at the exact same time every morning and produced impressive graphs that showed I was ovulating every cycle. But, my cycles were short and after meeting with a reproductive endocrinologist, I learned my cycles lacked enough progesterone to sustain a pregnancy. Upon hearing that news, I brought home the infamous Clomid, the gateway drug to assisted fertility. Then I read every book I could find about getting pregnant, received acupuncture treatments and Chinese herbs almost daily, and created a vision board of what motherhood meant to me. It was intense and exhausting trying to sustain hope and keep up with the daily rigors of all of it.
Fast forward through nearly two years of assisted fertility treatments and shattered dreams. Our grand finale was investing in the grandmother of all fertility treatments, IVF with ICSI. After harvesting only a handful of viable eggs, the fertility clinic prepared us for the worst. Of the eggs collected, only two matured into embryos. We transferred them both and kept our fingers and toes crossed during the two-week wait for a pregnancy test. The stakes were high… it was our last chance to become biological parents and my last chance in this lifetime to get pregnant. Since our immediate family and friends had never been down the same path, I found support and solace in an online tribe of women experiencing the same journey. We were all in it together, exchanging baby dust (wishes for a successful pregnancy) like it was a real currency.
It’s now been four years and I am a mother to a beautiful girl who defied the odds and stuck with me to arrive earthside exactly 39 weeks after conception. She is a perfect mix of my husband and I, with his sense of adventure and my love of learning. When I look back at all we went through, I can’t imagine my life without her in it. I do wonder what it would have been like if I had conceived her naturally, without the years of prayers and tears. But, with her arrival, she gave me the ultimate gift. She made me a mom.
Reality: IVF is brutal. The bruises are real. The fear of failure can be overwhelming. The financial burden is heavy.
The antidote to this challenging reality is faith.
Faith in the Universe to unite a mother with the soul of her unborn child.
Faith in doctors to expertly prescribe the exact dose of Follistim or Gonal-F, Lupron, hCG, Prednisolone, Estradiol, and/or Progesterone needed to hijack a menstrual cycle and optimize the body's conditions for conception & pregnancy.
Faith in holistic medicine to support & protect the body, mind, and spirit from such an invasive process.
Faith in traditional Chinese herbs to harmonize the body, mind, and spirit and nourish the Uterus.
Faith in yourself to answer the sacred calling of a Mother.
Visit the Fertility page here.
Getting pregnant doesn't have to break your budget! If you have $10 per week, here's how you can use it to increase your odds of a healthy pregnancy within three months.
Here are 8 fertility tools that cost less than $10 a week over the course of three months:
1. Basal Body Temperature Thermometer: The first step to accurately tracking your fertility cycle is to record your waking body temperature under your tongue at the same time every morning before getting out of bed. This special type of thermometer records temperature to the 10th of a degree, which is extremely important when trying to conceive.
2. High-Quality Prenatal Vitamins: Prenatal vitamins are important because so much happens magic occurs inside an embryo before a positive pregnancy test (typically around 4-5 weeks pregnant). Within the first 3 weeks of pregnancy, the embryo is busy building a spinal cord, brain, eyes, heart, digestive tract, liver and face! Your little baby will draw upon mama's stores of vitamins and minerals, but needs more! When selecting a prenatal vitamin, talk to a health care professional (doctor or acupuncturist) to make sure you're buying the best available for your specific needs. My favorite professional-quality brands are Thorne and Innate Response. Contact Michelle to order online.
3. Fertility-Friendly Lubricant: If you use a lubricant, make sure it's fertility-friendly and sperm-safe. I usually recommend BabyDance because it's available at most major retailers including Amazon.
4. Fertile Living Library: Follow this link to access free fertility resources from fertility acupuncturist Heidi Brockmyre:
6. BBT Chart: A Google search will reveal lots of free printable BBT Chart templates or there are several fertility apps that can capture temps to produce a chart. Choose what works for you! Here's a printable PDF from BabyCenter to get you started.
7. Warm Socks: Simply put, Warm Feet = Warm Uterus. Wear socks in every season!
8. Reference Books: Learn all about fertility with these two tomes of knowledge:
At only $10 a week, these tools can help you achieve a healthy pregnancy! Sending you lots of baby dust!
As a Licensed Acupuncturist, one of my favorite skills is reading a patient’s pulse to find out what’s going on in their body-mind-spirit. In Oriental Medicine, this is called pulse diagnosis. Within seconds, I can find out whether a patient…
… is having nightmares
… is digesting a greasy hamburger
… is constipated
… has a headache
… has back pain
… is about to catch a cold
And, my favorite pulse revelations:
… is pregnant
… is pregnant with a boy or girl
… is pregnant with multiples
Patients often ask me, “How in the world can you know that from my pulse?”
The short answer is, the pulse reveals everything.
Pulse diagnosis has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. There are over 25 distinct pulses and each has its own unique characteristics. Licensed Acupuncturists spend at least 4 years in graduate school learning & practicing traditional pulse diagnosis. It’s a skill that develops with practice and study over time.
Now, let’s circle back to my favorite pulse revelations, pregnancy and fetal gender...
I can generally detect pregnancy in a pulse shortly after implantation between cycle weeks 3-4. The pulse reveals pregnancy about a week before any modern medical pregnancy test or bloodwork will register enough hCG to deliver a positive result. Discovering a pregnancy pulse is always the highlight of my work day!
The gender of the fetus appears in the pulse as early as cycle week 5. To minimize error, I monitor the pulse carefully between weeks 5-7 before I share the news. Sometimes, parents don’t want to know, so I record the gender and deliver it to them in a sealed envelope for later use. Anatomical ultrasounds typically occur around cycle week 20, so learning a baby’s gender by cycle week 7 gives parents plenty of extra prep time to shop for pink or blue!
Are you ready to get a pulse diagnosis?
Request an appointment here!
A special guest post from my friend and Fertility Acupuncturist, Heidi Brockmyre, L.Ac.
When preparing for your upcoming embryo transfer, the thickness and quality of your uterine lining often determines whether your doctor can move forward this cycle or cancel.
Hearing the words, “We may need to cancel this cycle” can be quite devastating.
So what do you do when the estrogen patches aren’t getting the job done and you need to thicken your lining FAST?
How to increase your lining in 48 hours or less:
1.) Eat lining-building foods
In Chinese medicine, a thin uterine lining is a sign of what we call “Blood Deficiency”. Blood deficiency is different than any conventional medical diagnosis. You may or may not be anemic, but anemia alone does not determine blood deficiency.
We consider blood deficiency to be a type of dryness where the body just is lacking enough blood to nourish and lubricate the organs and tissues.
Blood deficiency also refers to the quality of the blood. It may be your blood lacks the nutrients necessary for nourishing the tissue and organs.
In either case, I prescribe the following blood nourishing foods:
2.) Castor oil packs over the uterus
Castor oil packs not only help to increase blood flow to the uterus, but also help to improve the quality of the lining by encouraging the softening of blood stasis and detoxification. Castor oil is a softens the tissue and helps to draw toxins out of the tissue and flushed out of the system. Drink plenty of water afterwards.
3.) Rest and restore
DO NOT skimp on sleep. Sleep is essential to build new blood cells and nourish your uterine lining. Be in bed by 11pm at the latest. No less than 7 hours. Preferably 8.
Rest throughout the day when you feel tired.
DO NOT over exercise. Especially avoid excessively sweating. Gentle yoga and walking are best.
Practice stress management tools. Stress exhausts the body, and drains the digestive system making it more difficult to assimilate nutrients from the foods you eat. It also causes muscle tension, further preventing adequate blood flow to the uterus.
4.) Use Self-Acupressure and Acupuncture
If you have access to a fertility acupuncturist (like Michelle), then book a treatment or two.
If you don’t, or if you want to do everything you can in addition to the acupuncture treatments, you can do self-acupressure at home. 15 minutes a day makes a huge difference! You can begin with the free introductory self-acupressure video in my resource library. I've had women write me to tell me that doing this protocol alone made the difference!
Heidi Brockmyre, L.Ac is Fertility Expert and Experienced Acupuncturist. She practices out of her San Diego clinic using acupuncture, shamanic healing and other holistic medicines to improve the well-being of her clients, including those struggling with specific health complaints, and women who are trying to conceive, are pregnant, or are in postpartum recovery. Heidi has continued to develop more programs to help women all over the world take control of their fertility health through online courses and products. Heidi also runs a mentorship program to help other acupuncturists achieve the same global reach, so that together we can create a worldwide health paradigm shift.
Get Heidi’s Free Library of Resources here.
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM practices Oriental & Chinese Medicine in Hawaii and Texas.