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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.
Truth: Trying to Conceive (TTC) gets more expensive over time.
It's undeniably tempting to self-educate & research the latest ways to get pregnant. Unfortunately, it often leads to wasting money on supplements, herbs, fertility teas, and technology that don't deliver a big fat positive (BFP).
Wasting money & hope can make the whole process of TTC even more overwhelming and frustrating.
So, here is my advice if you have been trying to get pregnant and don't know what to try/buy next.
Ask for help from a professional fertility expert.
It is a small investment that will save you time, money, and tears.
Here is my 3 step plan to getting pregnant on a budget:
1. Commit to the journey: There is no quick fix to establishing a fertile environment and it's easy to forget there are two sides to fertility story:
2. Commit to a plan: If you thought committing to at least a 3 month journey sounded challenging, this step is even more daunting, but much better for your wallet. Committing to a plan requires saying a firm "no" to that herb/tea/supplement you just read about on a fertility forum. Stop throwing money away by buying every supplement you hear about. Those $20 teas and bottles of herbs purchased by impulse shopping can add up fast!
3. Commit to a budget: Before you start shopping, commit to a budget that works for you. You can always revamp it if your financial situation changes. The most important thing is to stick to your budget, because the added stress of finances can push you over the edge when you're TTC.
Here are some examples of how far your budget goes on a professionally designed fertility plan:
Please leave comments or reach out to Michelle if you need help designing a natural fertility plan that works for you & your wallet. Specific products used in this estimate are listed after the "Read More" jump.
Sending prosperity and baby dust your way!
Have you ever wondered about Chinese Herbs? What they are? What they can do?
Before we dive into it, are you a fan of Harry Potter?
Do you remember how Professor Sprout taught a magical herbology class at Hogwarts?
Harry and his friends studied herbs for 5 years, which is the same amount of time most Oriental Medicine practitioners (a.k.a. an Acupuncturist-Chinese Herbalist) study Chinese herbs in medical school.
There are over 350 herbs in the Chinese herbal medicine Materia Medica, which is our version of an herbal encyclopedia. Herbs can come from plants, minerals, and animals. When they come from plants, they can be the whole plant, or parts of plants like seeds, leaves, flowers or roots.
High-quality Chinese herbs are grown and harvested in accordance with the season and carefully prepared to protect their magical, oops, I mean medicinal properties. Every herb in the Materia Medica is carefully categorized according to its function. For example, some herbs like rou gui (cinnamon) can warm you up, while other herbs like bo he (peppermint) can cool you down. Some herbs are minerals, like mang xiao (Glauber salt, similar to Epsom salt). Have you ever had a drink made with Epsom salt? If you have, you know that it drains downward and serves as a natural laxative. The Chinese figured this out over 2000 years ago!
Trained Chinese herbalists know how to use herbs effectively and safely. Some herbs can't be used together and some are only appropriate for specific conditions. There are over 100 ancient Chinese herbal formulas, each containing anywhere from 2 to 20 individual herbs that work synergistically together. Taking the right herbs at the right time for the right condition can have downright magical results!
Chinese herbs can be taken in several different forms and it's an acupuncturist-herbalist's job to figure out which way is best for you. Herbs can be taken internally as:
Herbs can also be absorbed externally through the skin as a poultice or by soaking the hands or feet.
So, what conditions can be treated with herbs?
For women, herbs can help with:
So, that's a quick overview of Chinese herbs. When used properly, they can accelerate healing in a safe, natural way and keep you on track between acupuncture appointments.
If you want to find out how Chinese herbs can help you feel better, schedule a consultation with Michelle today!
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM
Dr. Michelle Wendt, L.Ac., DACM practices Oriental & Chinese Medicine in Hawaii and Texas.