My Natural Pregnancy Story

ectopic pregnancy

I hope by sharing my natural pregnancy story I can provide support and inspiration for women who have had infertility challenges like me.

Overcoming Infertility

I’ve spent many nights reading about people’s experiences with infertility, and it gave me strength and reminded me that I’m not alone. For that I am grateful, and I hope I can do the same for others.

My story has a beginning and a middle – but no end. I’m living it everyday, and I’m writing about it. Along with millions of other women, I find myself in the midst of a struggle to conceive a child. I’ve cried, I’ve laughed, I’ve sobbed uncontrollably, I’ve miscarried, I’ve had surgery, I’ve been to mystic healers, I’ve taken herbs, and I’ve swallowed little white pills better known as Clomid.

It’s been about three years since my husband and I got on the family building rollercoaster – which we didn’t even realize we were on until after about two years of sitting in the front row.

What I came to realize is that there are so many factors that affect fertility that can – if given the chance – be addressed with natural remedies.

How do I know this? I have experienced it first hand.


Natural Pregnancy Alternate Fertility Therapies

After a few rounds of taking progesterone suppositories prescribed by my gynecologist to treat my short luteal phase, 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. This is when I experienced first hand the power of alternative therapies.

Acupuncture and Some Not So Tasty Tea

Traditional Chinese Medicine turned my irregular menstrual cycles, with an average length of 33 days, into regular menstrual cycles with an average length of 28 days.

Impressive results, but the complete astonishment came when the pain that accompanied my menstrual cycle vanished – completely! And this pain was not your average premenstrual cramping; it was an excruciating pain which I used to counter with the pill and various painkillers.

This amazing transformation, after seven months of acupuncture and Chinese herbal tea, seemed to bring me closer to what would be considered more fertile.

But, I did not get pregnant and the effects weren’t all heading in the right direction. My acne worsened, my premenstrual spotting continued and my bleeding with each cycle dwindled down dramatically – to the point where I felt as if the acupuncture were suppressing my cycle altogether.

My husband and I realized that this getting pregnant thing may be a little more involved than we originally thought. So, to eliminate any male factors, he went in for a semen analysis.

When his values all came back normal we headed back to the female factor drawing board.


Back to Conventional Medicine and the Little White Pill

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, otherwise known as integrative medicine.

This search turned out to be futile. The closest I came was a gynecologist that listed acupuncture as one of her treatment methods.

Sitting across from her in her office, though, there was no talk of alternative treatment options. I walked out that day with a prescription for Clomid and progesterone.

I took the little white Clomid pill on each of my cycle days, five through nine, and then went in several times for monitoring. This involved getting my blood drawn and a few ultrasounds.

Three follicles developed and my husband and I enjoyed this time – in what we hoped would be to conceive our first child. But after obediently taking progesterone suppositories during the second half of my cycle, I was greeted with only one stripe on the pregnancy test.

Kleenex. Ice Cream. Movie Marathon. Need I say more?

Natural Pregnancy With Acupuncture: Take Two

The toggling trend between alternative and conventional medicine continued as I scoured the internet now for a new acupuncturist: one with experience treating infertility.

I found no such specialist nearby, but I did found a medical doctor who was now a certified full-time acupuncturist. On the phone, she oozed with confidence stating that she could treat my infertility having successfully treated a man with a low sperm count.

One patient does not exactly constitute infertility expertise, but it was the best I could find. So, for three and a half months I drove 45 minutes each way for my, initially, weekly and later every other week appointments.

It seemed as though my system could be heading in the right direction. 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. When I pointed out the persistence of these symptoms to my acupuncturist she tensed and said, “I have never had such a situation. There’s no reason you can’t get pregnant – it’s emotional.”

I was confused and taken aback by her response, but she was clearly distraught and it was utterly apparent – there was nothing else she could do.

Time for a Fertility Specialist

After two years of trying to conceive a child I was – to say the least – frustrated.

My reproductive system was struggling to align itself with what’s considered fertile and my efforts had not produced a single positive pregnancy test. So, I felt it was time. Time to turn back to conventional medicine. Time to go deeper into the evaluation process. And time to consider more in-depth testing procedures.

This may mean submitting my body to more invasive tests, but, I reasoned: what’s the point of attempting more alternative treatments if I have, for example, blocked fallopian tubes?

Our Fertility Clinic Experience

My husband and I sat in the fertility clinic like two mice. Not at all typical for us, but we sat there and heard the recommendations, nodding our heads.

I mentioned my interest in combining alternative treatments like acupuncture with conventional medicine, but without hesitation the doctor shot down alternative treatments as a waste of time.

Not giving up, I presented the results I had had with acupuncture so far. He then admitted to trying acupuncture on his patients himself and said that it had had no effect. Stating then boldly, “Of course your menstrual pain was gone but acupuncture doesn’t help infertility.”

I didn’t follow his reasoning here, but before I could ask him to elaborate he continued on with his protocol.

The Important Test

This was not the right doctor for me. That much was clear. But he did recommend one test before beginning conventional infertility treatments: a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG).

I nodded my head in complete agreement for the first time since I entered his office. This procedure would determine if there were any blockages in my fallopian tubes.

With no intentions to become his patient, I scheduled an appointment. After all I wasn’t looking for a new doctor; I only wanted to eliminate any medical conditions that couldn’t be addressed with alternative treatments.

Nervous, I lay on the table in the operating room. A fluid was injected into my uterus that, if all went well, would flow freely through my fallopian tubes.

And indeed – it did! Back to alternative medicine.

A Lesson Learnt: Stop, Look and Listen

 “Before you cross the street you should stop, look and listen” – a good bit of advice for those facing infertility. I was so wrapped up in getting pregnant now, I didn’t have a plan: I just kept running toward the first thing that sounded like a solution to my problem. But it was time: Time to stop running in random directions; time to look at the facts; and time to listen to my feelings.

So, my husband and I made a fertility plan.

natural pregnancyThis was one of the best things we did for our sanity. Facts become clearer in black on white and so many decisions crystallized on how we wanted to proceed.

In our plan we cover what our current situation is, what treatments we are willing to try, how long we are willing to try each one, what resources and fertility centers are available to us, a financial summary, and a timeline of how we want to precede.

Perhaps the most important outcome of making this plan is that we discovered how we feel. We took the time to really listen to our own thoughts and feelings and to discuss them with each other.

We spared nothing; we talked about each individual topic and treatment – no matter how uncomfortable it got.

So what was our Natural Pregnancy plan?

We decided there were several alternative treatments we wanted to try for the next several months and then, if not pregnant, to go to a clinic for conventional infertility treatment. And since the lead time to get into a clinic is long, we began that process in parallel with the alternative treatments.

Everything Alternative

Over the next four months I tried a slew of 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, it turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy (which you can read about in detail in my fertility blog). Certainly a crushing outcome. 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.


Our Revised Natural Pregnancy Fertility Plan

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 so that I could recover.

As it turns out, eight months after the surgery, my body has not yet returned to equilibrium: with cycle lengths of about 38 days.

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.


Ps: We did it, we had a son by method that we accidently found. It is naturally therapy!



Tips for Women with Psychiatric Disorders During Pregnancy

psychiatric disorders during pregnancy

Suffering from any type of psychiatric problem such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder (ptsd), panic attacks, even bipolar disorder, can be more difficult to handle during pregnancy. This is because all women, when they are pregnant, endure a range of hormonal emotions. In this article we look at what expectant mothers can do if they have Psychiatric Disorders During Pregnancy.

If you already suffer from a psychiatric disorder or even the “mild depression blues”, your hormonal changes could become more severe than the average pregnant woman who is not afflicted with mental illness.

You may experience intense depression that leads to suicidal feelings, waves of extreme anxiety and panic attacks; you may even feel that you do not even want to carry the baby in the middle of the pregnancy because of the extreme stress. These emotions are normal while pregnant.

Women can get through this emotional rollercoaster by taking care of themselves and the baby developing inside their womb.

Take note of these vital steps, to get you through a safe delivery, and bring a healthy baby into this world with as much ease as possible.

Taking Medication for Psychiatric Disorders During Pregnancy

Psychiatric Disorders During Pregnancy The issue of taking any type of psychiatric drug during pregnancy is controversial one. You will have to make a personal decision regarding this matter.

In my first pregnancy, before I knew about alternative medicine, I was extremely depressed and had suicidal thoughts.

I was advised by my midwife and doctor to continue taking the prescribed anti-depressant Prozac that I was on at the time. My Doctor told me that there was no evidence that the medication would cause any birth defects or harm to the infant.

I took the medication prescribed to try and help with my depression that I experienced during my entire pregnancy.

My Doctor advised me not to breast feed. The medication goes directly into the breast milk and is not recommended for the baby to ingest into its small, growing body.

The baby came out just fine. I will admit that the medication did ease my depression slightly.

Years later, having more knowledge regarding conventional psychiatric drugs and the effect on the liver, and organs and knowing that it won’t truly cure the psychiatric ailment; I opted for natural approaches to easing my depression, suicidal thoughts, and panic attacks.


My Tips to Psychiatric Disorders During Pregnancy

Tip #1- Research the side effects to any psychiatric drug

Research the drugs you take into your body and the possible side effects it can have on your unborn fetus. Consider the risks and benefits of anti-depressant medication.

Tip #2- Take herbs that are safe to take during pregnancy

Take herbs to soothe your nervous system, regulate your hormones, and herbs to promote rest if you suffer from insomnia. All will help to minimize with your psychiatric ailment, so that you can cope and not cause (unintentional) harm to the life growing inside your womb.

Herbal Suggestions

I took these herbs whilst I was pregnant, with four of my children. I now have five healthy, beautiful children.

Relax Chi-

A natural herbal anti-depressant that boosts the brain chemical levels of serotonin. It treats mild to moderate cases of depression with no side effects. Relax Chi acts as a mild sedative, relaxes muscles and helps calm you down during extreme stressful situations. Relax Chi is safe to take during pregnancy.

Sleep Aid Chi-

Sleep Aid Chi is like a stronger version of the Relax Chi. Your muscles will relax even more so. It is a mild natural sedative that soothes the central nervous system. If you suffer from insomnia you will achieve pure relaxation, calmness, and relief of anxiety to the entire body. Sleep Aid Chi is safe to take during pregnancy.

Blood Chi-

A blood tonic that will help decrease stress. It soothes the nervous system, helps ease depression symptoms and insomnia. Blood Chi is multi-functional, it will increase blood supply from the growing baby tapping into your blood supply. It is a natural herbal iron supplement (increases iron for the baby), and the herb is a natural headache reliever. Blood Chi is safe to take during pregnancy.

Chinese Yam-

Chinese Yam will help balance out hormonal issues and is effective in establishing a peace of mind. Chinese Yam is safe to take during pregnancy.

Tip#3- Check out the book “Pregnancy Blues” by Shaila Kulkarni Misri, M.D.

Pregnancy Blues is a guide to questions about “What every woman needs to know about depression during Pregnancy.”

Tip #4- Talk to people about how you are feeling

reduce stress during pregnancyIf you cannot control suicidal thoughts, or you are having suicidal ideations, contact your therapist, your doctor delivering the baby, your partner, and family and friends, and talk to them about your feelings.

If you feel like hurting the baby, you must tell someone no matter how it may sound, so that you can get help and the baby is unharmed.

Do Not Carry This Pain Alone.

Tip #5- Keep scheduled appointments with a psychiatrist or therapist.

If you are opting to take medication, you must continue to see your psychiatrist so that he or she can adjust the dosage amount that you are taking while pregnant.

Your therapist is your sounding board to let off all your steam, pain and aggravations. You will need his or her support.

Tip#6- In an emergency consider Psychiatric Hospitalization

If the symptoms are too unbearable and you feel you may cause yourself, the baby, or someone else harm this is an option for you.

Being hospitalized isn’t the worst solution. I voluntarily checked myself in a good mental facility during three of my pregnancies. You will get proper care, rest, healthy round the clock meals and someone making sure you do no harm to yourself or the baby.

If other psychiatric patients are rowdy, ask to be placed in a quiet unit, and try to get private room.

The most important thing is keeping you and the life inside you healthy and alive.

Tip#7- Minimize junk food and fast food.

Eating a proper diet will help with proper brain function as well as help with the growth of your baby. Check out our articles on what to eat when pregnant.

Tip#8- Light exercise

Exercise done in moderation will boost morale. The exercises will help increase serotonin and other brain chemicals to keep stress down. Check out our articles on exercise to do during pregnancy.

Tip#9- Less work hours/get more rest

If you can work half days to relieve stress do so. If you work at home, take it easy. Working too much increases stress and pressure, making symptoms of Psychiatric Disorders During Pregnancy increase. Resting is key, to psychiatric disorder aid and support.

Tip#10- Treat Yourself

Positive activity specifically for yourself will help decrease depression. Take extravagant bubble baths, get pedicures, go for a walk in nature, go on a date night, and watch a good movie.

Take care of yourself and little life inside your womb.

Check out our other article giving 10 tips for pregnant women with a history of mental illness.


Psychiatric Disorders During Pregnancy Help

National Institute of Mental Health

National Child and Maternal Health Education Program and Help Line

US Department of Health and Human Services- Women’s Health


Depression and Pregnancy

depression in pregnancy

I share my experience with depression and pregnancy. I was a few weeks into my first pregnancy. I’d recovered from the shock and surrealness of learning I had actually conceived and was carrying a baby. Waiting for the expected sensations of joy and electrifying excitement to erupt, that never came. I began to be frustrated that I wasn’t feeling giddy about it, having a feeling of guilt for my unnatural lack of exuberance. It was all there in my head, the thoughts of wonder and gladness, but I wasn’t feeling it. Read more

My First Pregnancy: Having a Miscarriage

how do i know if I have had a miscarriage

My experience having a miscarriage… How better to spend the holidays than trying to make a family? We’ve been trying for two and a half years now, but we really wanted to dedicate ourselves to it. No, not by locking ourselves in the bedroom with whip cream, but by going to foothills of the Bavarian Alps.

The princesses of Bavaria used to come here and sit in mud baths when they were having trouble “producing” the next heir to the throne. Recently, the mud from the marshes here have been scientifically proven to aid in fertility.

So, we jumped in the car with our cross country skis, downhill skis and ice skates and headed to the town of Bad Kohlgrub for sixteen days of pampering – all in the name of starting a family.


Bavarian Mud Bath for Fertility

having a miscarriageEvery other day after breakfast we headed to the hotel’s spa in our robe for the mud bath. The spa assistant helped me get in and it was up to me to wedge my way into the thick porridge.

Once I was submerged up to my neck, she placed a cold copper spiral on my heart to help alleviate the stress on my circulatory system. The warmth was soothing and the mud was great for playing swamp monster with – Richard gave me the idea.

After only ten minutes, someone came in to help me back out. And I could tell that my body had had enough, the sweat was pouring down my face.


Pregnancy Symptoms

Before going on with my ‘Having a Miscarriage’ blog, let’s consider the symptoms women get when in early pregnancy.

  • Swollen breasts
  • Darker and larger areolas
  • Morning sickness
  • Abdominal enlargement
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Increased urination
  • Excessive salivation
  • Bloating and gas
  • Dizziness


I Must Be Fertile!

How could mud possibly help us where modern medicine failed?

I’m not sure but when we got home my period was late. When I took the pregnancy test, that I was all too used to taking, it no longer had the infamous empty white space, but had a solid “pregnant” line.

I took the test into my shaking hand and walked to our bedroom where Richard was still sleeping. I said his name once and due to the tears pouring out of my eyes and my shaky voice he sat straight up in bed thinking I was upset. I said the words I had wanted to say for the last two and a half years, “We’re pregnant!” I was in a dream.

We talked about how far the baby was, we calculated the due date and we hugged countless times. Telling my family and his filled our evening. They were so happy for us knowing we wanted this so much.


Zing Zing

My body was clearly changing. My abdomen was swollen; I was exhausted and happy beyond words: all telltale signs of pregnancy.

The day went by with a feeling of delighted shock. The next was about the same.

I lay in bed that night, however, wide awake. I felt like someone had secretly given me two pots of coffee.

“Maybe this is what happens when you are pregnant,” I thought to myself.


Something Didn’t Feel Right- Was I Having a Miscarriage?

The next morning I woke up and to my complete shock I did not feel pregnant. The symptoms were gone. I felt empty.

I denied it. Then I dressed and we headed off to our scheduled doctor appointment to confirm our pregnancy.

We both had a strange feeling. Should we have waited to tell our families until the doctor confirmed the pregnancy? Did we doubt the results?

We didn’t talk about any of this. I merely mentioned it and Richard confirmed that the thought crossed his mind. We changed to topic.


Most Common Symptoms of Having a Miscarriage

Let’s quickly look at the most common symptoms women experience when having a miscarriage:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Cramping and pain in your lower abdomen
  • Discharge of fluid from your vagina
  • Discharge of tissue from your vagina
  • Symptoms of pregnancy disappear, such as feeling sick and breast tenderness


The Examination to See If I Was Having a Miscarriage

The doctor was surprised that we had gotten pregnant naturally. While heading into the ultrasound room he told me to get undressed behind the curtain. He then asked me the question. Do you feel pregnant?

I froze. What should I answer? I haven’t told Richard yet that my pregnancy symptoms were gone as of this morning. I had nothing to say.

Richard filled the silence with yes she has been so hot the past two days. I quickly finished getting undressed and sat onto the exam table without saying a word.

The ultrasound wand was inserted in my vagina, but the doctor couldn’t see anything yet. He seemed a little bothered by this. My blood was drawn and we were sent home to wait for the results.


The Pregnancy Wait

While eating lunch we flinched at every sound. Then Richard’s phone rang. I have heard his phone ring no less than a hundred times, but for some reason I jumped up and ran up the stairs thinking it was my phone.

The stress hormones were flowing through my body when I heard Richard shouting that it was his phone. I picked up his phone for him and it was one of his customers. Ugh!!!

An eternity passed as I worked on my computer waiting for that ring on my cell phone. It came. I grabbed the phone and before long the person from the clinic said, “You’re pregnant!”

I was so happy. I was actually pregnant. The voice in my head said that I now have to ignore that I am not feeling pregnant anymore because this is proof that I was wrong.


Still Something Wasn’t Right

Intuition isn’t keen on been ignored, however, and as the days went by my feeling was heavy and empty. I became crabby and realized I was denying my feelings.

On the way home from lunch I slipped into the drug store and picked up another pregnancy test. The line should be darker if I truly am pregnant, I theorized. I peed on the stick and the line wasn’t there. I stared in disbelief. Slowly, very slowly a line began to appear. I had to concentrate to see if it was there at all.

I showed Richard. He was upset. “This doesn’t mean anything,” he said. “You took the first test in the morning, so you can’t compare it to this one.”

I had to agree with him. I confronted my feelings though and realized I needed to get another blood test. Something was not right. Was I miscarrying? I was not waiting 6 days to find out.


How Can You Have a Miscarriage and Not Know?

The words that came out of my mouth were hesitant and awkward. How can I convince them to give me another blood test? Will they do it because I have a feeling? I needed to know if I was still pregnant. The lady on the phone wasn’t convinced so she asked the supervisor. When she came back on she said I could come in tomorrow at 8:00.

The next morning I stood at the counter to check in. The lady behind the counter asked me how I was. I didn’t know what to say.

Like a robot I had my blood taken. She asked me if I wanted to call for the results or if they should call me.

“Which way will I get the results faster?”  I asked.

She looked confused and said, “We’ll call you.”


The Results- Was I Now Having a Miscarriage?

They had called last time at 1:00. So at around 1:30 I was getting impatient. Apparently, I was not the only one because Richard blurted out at 1:50, “Oh, just call them!”

I realized he was right. Why wait. I’m calling. I picked up our cordless phone and dialed the number. She picked up and put me on hold while she was looking for the results. What could be taking so long? The seconds turned into minutes. She jumped back on and said she was still looking for my file and that I shouldn’t hang up.

Five minutes, six minutes, it was killing me. A loud beep interrupted the elevator music on the line. But she didn’t get back on. Huh? I waited. The beep came again. Then the line fell silent. What the hell?

Richard asked to see the phone. The screen was blank. The battery had died. “You can’t be serious!” I said.

I grabbed the number to call back. It was 2:05. I got a recording that they close at 2:00 on Friday. Oh my God, this can’t be happening!

We should drive there. But the doors will be locked. I can’t wait until Monday to find out the results. There is an emergency number, but this isn’t really an emergency.


The Dreaded Phone Call

experiencing loss after miscarriageThen my cell phone rang. Thank god it was the fertility clinic. She said we had been disconnected. I know, get to the point, I thought. Then she said it. My values had dropped.

My eyes welled with tears. “Is there any hope?” I pleaded.

She said, “Not really”.

I managed to ask her if I should still take the progesterone, and she said yes. I began to cry. I couldn’t hold it back.

“We need to make an appointment for next week. How about Wednesday?” she said. I cried. “This is bad for you isn’t it?” she asked surprised.

How could it not be, I asked myself. “No, let’s get you in sooner. How about Monday morning?” she said. I let out a squeaky yes and hung up the phone.

I lost it. There are no other words. I curled up on top of the comforter on my bed and cried so hard. Every part of me was aching. I had suspected this since Wednesday, but now it was reality. Richard crawled into bed with me and held my hand as I gasped for air. This couldn’t be true. My baby is gone I cried!


Miscarriage Feelings

Hours passed as I oscillated between crying uncontrollably and sobbing with the hopes that the bed would swallow me whole. Then I felt it, Richard was crying too. I looked at him for the first time since we received the news and saw that his eyes were filled with tears and his eyelashes were matted to his face. I rubbed his hand and he lay down next to me. We held each other tight and we continued to cry.

My thoughts shifted as the daylight began to fade into evening. I need to tell my family. I sent out an email with the bad news crying as I wrote each line:

“On Tuesday night I couldn’t sleep. On Wednesday I had the blood test to confirm I was pregnant, but I knew something wasn’t right. All my pregnancy symptoms were gone and I felt totally different. I decided to stop denying it and I made an appointment. I went in today and they said I will miscarry. Richard and I are struggling, but we are going to be OK. We will be staying home this weekend to watch movies. We probably won’t answer the phone.”

My sobbing turned into crying and I tore my glasses off and dropped them onto the keyboard. Richard came over toward me. In a surge of anger I slammed my laptop shut crushing my glasses with the screen, “This is so unfair!”


The Reality of Having a Miscarriage Set In

Richard placed his hand on my back knowing I didn’t want a hug. After my breathing began to get deeper and more regular Richard asked me to get up. He gave me another hug and suggested we go get those movies and pick up some dinner.

With puffy eyes, I climbed into the car. In the stores, I kept my head down and tried not to think about the reason I was spending my weekend this way.

Armed with nacho ingredients for ten, ice cream for a week and seven movies Richard and I returned home. There are no rules this weekend: this was our unspoken rule.

The weekend passed by in a blur with movies and walks. The shades were drawn as we settled in for our movie marathon. After each movie we’d go for a walk under the grey sky. This is where we found ourselves dealing with the reality of having a miscarriage.

We talked about our sadness and disappointment of miscarrying. At the end of each walk we were one step closer to getting through this, but also emotionally exhausted. It was like we handled our grief in portions, padding it between the reality escape that great movies provide.


Healing After My Miscarriage

Sunday night came much quicker than I expected. It was hard to imagine going back to life as usual, but I feel like that weekend really helped me heal. I knew there may be a few more crying spells in me, but I felt like I was now looking forward.

Richard and I were already even talking about the positive side to all this: We can get pregnant naturally.

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Taking a Break After My Ectopic Pregnancy

ectopic pregnancy

In my blog I share why I’m taking a break after my miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.

Sometimes you just need a break. Now is one of those times for me.


Following My Ectopic Pregnancy

My hormone values fell last week, meaning that my miscarriage is probably not another ectopic pregnancy. Saying that I’m relieved doesn’t seem to cover it. I mean, to think that I’m sitting here typing away on my computer instead of lying in a hospital bed in pain from a surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy absolutely overwhelms me with feelings of gratitude.

Except for a few more visits to the doctor – to make sure my HCG values return to zero – I consider this miscarriage to be behind me.


Why Take a Break From Trying to Conceive?

ectopic pregnancySo why take a break from the whole infertility topic and trying to conceive?

Well, first of all, we aren’t allowed to try and conceive this cycle. Yes, after three and a half years of infertility we are supposed to use a condom. The irony. But OK, my doctor said that it’s important because a fertilized egg wouldn’t find the right kind of environment in my uterus right now. Makes sense!

So, we have to wait until my next cycle (whenever that is) to try and conceive.


My Plan Whilst Recuperating from My Ectopic Pregnancy

But I also have to say that I don’t feel like diving into the infertility books right now to read or do research. I do need a break. I plan to read and write about digestive health (enzymes and probiotics) – not how they directly relate to fertility but how they relate to overall health.

This isn’t just a decision that my body and soul wants, but my life needs some serious organization at the moment since we just moved last Saturday (it would have been two weeks ago, but the miscarriage delayed it).

I love the new place, but the whole which-box-is-it-in phase is not one I want to be in permanently.


Gynecologist Visit

Today, I have a check-up appointment with my gynecologist for an ultrasound and to surrender my arm again to the prick of a needle. She said she wanted to discuss some infertility issues and procedures like checking again to see if my tubes are clear.

This doesn’t really fit into my taking a break from the topic plan, but I have to be there for the check-up anyway so what’s an extra ten to twenty minutes?

Grieving After Miscarriage

experiencing loss after miscarriage

I get to go home today. It sounds so good: a soft bed, a beautiful garden, and my cats to curl up next to me. But I notice that I feel empty. Very empty. Images are going through my head of what it would be like to leave the hospital with my newborn child. I shake my head to get out of this dream. Grieving after miscarriage is not a nice feeling.


Grieving After Miscarriage- That Feeling of Loss

Richard will be by in a few hours to take me home. I just need to entertain myself until then. I’ve done enough reading; I’ve listened to all my podcasts and watched all the movies on my friend’s iPod. So, on goes the TV. I’m flipping through the channels until I settle on a program about a father and son hiking through Alaska together. I immediately picture Richard with our son one day doing the same thing. This time I don’t shake off the daydream.

As I’m munching away at my breakfast, staring at the TV, the doctor comes in.

I’m totally surprised by his visit since we said goodbye last night.

grieving after miscarriageWith my mouth half full, I nod and smile. He asks me how I’m feeling. After swallowing my breakfast I say, “Pretty good.” But I don’t leave it at that. I tell him the truth about how I’m feeling after my miscarriage, “It all kind of hit me last night: the emotional side of things.”

He looked as if he knew how I was feeling and said, “I know you’re probably thinking about how things could have been.”

In that very instant my stomach sank into an abyss and a lump took over my throat. Before it was too late to reverse my feelings he said, “But you made it through this and right now the best thing to do is to look forward.”

My stomach returned to its normal location and the lump disintegrated. He’s right. Focusing on the future instead of dwelling on what could have been is going to be the best way to get through all this. Not that this sounds easy, but it sounds like the only way.


A Doctor That Understands Grieving After Miscarriage

I take a moment to digest the whirlwind of emotions I just went through and to listen to the words ringing in my head, “look forward.”

As I look up at him again, a question pops into my head that I thought of last night. A tentative look appears on my face and I ask, “How long until I can start being active again? Like, oh say, skiing?”

“Everyone is different but it could be as soon as ten days,” he replies.

“Ten days?” I repeat with utter surprise. It sounds so soon since getting out of bed is still has an effort for me.

We talk some more and he reminds me that I need to give myself time to heal both emotionally and physically. I nod in complete agreement.

He leaves my room for the last time. As I watch him go through the door I think about how grateful I am to have had a doctor that truly cares and understands grieving after miscarriage.


The Support of My Partner

I lay my head back on the pillow and wait in silence. Richard should be here soon.

Before long, I’m relieved to hear the door knob turning. Richard pops in with my comfy clothes for the ride home. It feels so good to get out of the pajamas I’ve been in for the last four days.

We leave my room and we both take a deep breath as we walk out.

I feel good as I leave the hospital on my own two feet. Getting in the car is tricky, but given my progress over the past two days I know it won’t be long before my body is back to normal.

At home, the living room has been converted into a recovery area. Our bed is sitting where our couch once was and there’s a table next to the bed with books and magazines on it.

I start to cry and I give Richard a hug. He’s afraid to squeeze me, so he puts one arm softly around my shoulders.

I crawl into bed and look out at the beautiful day. I’ll join the rest of the world again soon. I just need some time to recover.


Miscarriage information and support.


Vacation Fertility Food Plan Tested

Fertility Diet

The fertility diet was taking hold. The holidays came and went with an outpouring of support from family and friends. They adjusted menus, cancelled chocolate gifts, and offered me support instead of cookies. It wasn’t until I went on vacation that my fertility food plan was tested.


Having a Fertility Food Plan Whilst On Vacation

It was going great!

That is until I left for a one week ski trip.

Here I am hiking up in search of great snow – found it.

Eating right while on vacation is of course hard. I know that. But I planned ahead. I packed the car with two huge boxes of food for lunches and a hot plate. Each lunch was planned out and I contacted the hotel in advance to make sure the cook knew how to prepare gluten free meals for dinner.

I was all set.

Fertility Food PlanBut that was theory and then there was reality.

The hotel breakfast didn’t offer anything gluten free or balanced in terms of carbs/protein/and fat – not that I expected it. It was, after all, France and keeping with tradition the breakfast consisted of nothing but white bread and to die for pastries of every kind.

But I had plenty of extra food with me so every morning along with making a hot lunch for my thermos; I made two hard boiled eggs to go with the gluten free bread, fruit and nuts I brought. Breakfast and lunch: balanced, healthy and right on target.

Dinner, however, was made by the hotel cook.

I had emailed ahead and talked to the owner the night we arrived. He said they have cooked gluten free before and it was no problem.

Sounded promising, but he was so relaxed about it, I had to probe him some more to make sure he really knew what gluten free was.

“We’ve done this before,” he reassured me.

So, I trusted him and sat down to dinner.

The food was great. They served me a different soup and my main meal was missing the obvious gluten items like pasta and bread.

“I think they just might know what they are doing,” I thought cautiously.


My Fertility Food Plan Goes Out the Window!

Then came dessert.

I hadn’t planned on having dessert. But they set a large pear in front of me covered in some tasty looking sauce and said it was gluten free.

“One little pear. It’s not that bad,” the rebel inside me said. The rest is history.

Each night they placed what they always called a gluten free dessert in front of me. And I’m talking desserts that even people with super hero willpower can’t resist, like chocolate mouse – how in the hell do you turn down chocolate mouse placed under your nose? Not me. I caved.

And then came the price tag. My digestive system began to revolt first – not the greatest thing for a backcountry ski trip. And then I woke up in the middle of the night with a terribly itchy chin and when I looked in the mirror in the morning my reflection resembled that of an acne plagued teenager (except for the crow’s feet).


Feeling Guilty and Letting it Go

It was too late. I couldn’t take it back. I’m home now with acne, an unhappy digestive system and I bleed when I go to the bathroom. The damage is done.

I should have drilled the cook harder and made sure they really knew what gluten free was. I should have resisted dessert. But I didn’t. I’m human and, I screw up.

So, now all I can do is forgive myself. Mentally beating myself up is not going to help me – or my fertility for that matter. There is no undo button so I’m going to hereby stop dwelling and start healing (At least I am going to try my best).

I know I’m not alone in this guilt and blame game. A lot of us suffering from infertility are busy beating ourselves up.

“I shouldn’t have waited so long to try and get pregnant.”

“I should eat better.” “I should lose weight.”

“I should have taken better care of myself,” etc, etc.

It’s time to let go. It’s time to forgive ourselves. Only then can we heal.


Diet and fertility

Experiencing a Miscarriage

miscarriage feeling of loss

Last week was a week like no other. Monday started off with mid-cycle mystery cramps and bleeding that sent me straight to the gynecologist. Turns out I was pregnant and I was experiencing a miscarriage.

Strangely enough this was all OK with me. A miscarriage stinks, yes, but emotionally, I was relieved to know what was wrong (since I didn’t even know I was pregnant) and happy that my body was showing it could get pregnant again.

That was Monday.


Experiencing Miscarriage Cramps

Being completely naïve about how a miscarriage can be, I planned my week with all the work and fun I usually plan. I mean, I’ve heard about women who hardly even noticed that they miscarried. And except for the sporadic cramping phases, I was feeling OK. I mean why would it be any different for me?

Ha ha. Because my body is special that’s why.

On Tuesday night I woke up with terrible cramps that left me in tears and rendered my husband feeling helpless.

He brought me a heating pad and sat down on the bedroom floor while I moaned in pain and sprawled catty-corner across the bed in the most contorted maybe-this-will-help position.


A Visit to My Gynecologist

The next morning I was ready to listen to the Doc- maybe this isn’t going to be easy process. So, I called my gynecologist and headed in to see her.

She prepared the ultrasound. But before I crawled up onto the chair, she asked me why I seemed so stressed?

She’s a very competent doctor and I like her, but what the hell kind of question is that?

I was too tired to reiterate all the pain that I had last night and to explain that the idea of having an ectopic pregnancy scares me. Being in her office for a miscarriage instead of a pregnancy sucks.

I’m such a chicken. I just want her to do her job. I don’t need her for emotional support; I need her to solve my physical problem. OK a few supportive words would be nice but, you can’t have everything.

She’s a totally career orientated woman – which I used to be – so I wasn’t about to explain my desire for children or my feelings, instead I tried to relax and gave her the short version, “I had a lot of pain last night, which concerns me.”

experiencing a miscarriage

The Ultrasound

On the ultrasound there was an empty uterus and something in the right tube.

“Nothing to be alarmed about at this point,” she said with certainty.

But something she said she’ll be watching. I headed home with a prescription for some pain medication and was told that I should rest.


Experiencing a Miscarriage- Rest, Cramps and Bleeding

I really didn’t have another option at this point. My body was tired. Each little task I tried to do became more and more exhausting. So, I found my place on the couch and wasn’t able to keep my eyes open for more than ten pages at a time of my good book.

The cramps were on some kind of schedule because each night around 9:30 they kicked in. They were muffled by the painkillers but the longer I stayed awake the more obnoxious they got.

So, my husband forced me to go from the couch to the bed and placed a hot water bottle under the covers with me, which was amazingly therapeutic.

By Friday, though, the bleeding had become bright red. Where is the blood coming from anyway, my uterus is empty?

My gynecologist had given me her cell phone number for the weekend in case, “The blood is red or the pain is constant.” Crap! I called her office to report the red blood.

She decided to have the lab go back and check my progesterone values from the two blood tests she had done earlier in the week. Turns out they fell, which is good for a miscarriage, meaning the ectopic pregnancy scenario is less likely. She told me to call her over the weekend if the bleeding exceeds how much I would bleed during a normal period or if the pain is constant.


My Miscarriage Climaxed

On Saturday the climax came. Not the good kind of climax, but the bad kind.

After breakfast, I was totally and utterly exhausted! I could do nothing more than lie on the couch. Before long I started bleeding heavily. I turned to my husband and asked, “Should I call her?” But before he could answer I thought aloud, “What’s she going to do about it?”

The only thing I could think of is that she’d decide to go ahead with a D&C (Dilation and Curettage). But I felt for some reason like my body wasn’t failing me, but doing what it needed to do. The cramps in my abdomen had disappeared and instead I had a pain near the lymph nodes of my groin – the same pain that I had after the surgery for my ectopic pregnancy and endometriosis.

I decided to ride it out.

I have almost no recollection of Saturday. I slept almost the whole day waking up occasionally in tears from the throbbing pain in my groin. I was bleeding a lot. But as the evening turned into night the bleeding began to slow and the painful abdominal cramps that came every night during the week never arrived. All I kept thinking is: Is this the end of the miscarriage?


Experiencing a Miscarriage- A Slow Recovery

On Sunday, I was back on my feet. My husband and I even went on a long winter walk – not to give the impression that it was an enjoyable Sunday though.

My emotions were completely out of whack.

I didn’t ponder the miscarriage, I was just irritated by everything: the fact that the snow was melting, the brown leaves on my house plants, the grey sky. You name it, it was irritating.

Perhaps these were just my hormones settling back down, maybe it was my way of being frustrated about experiencing a miscarriage and a lost week of my life, or maybe brown leaves and grey skies merit complete irritation. I’m going with hormones on this one.

My emotions are a bit better today – even though the skies haven’t turned blue.

Tomorrow I’ll be getting my HCG values tested again to make sure they are going down so we can turn off the ectopic pregnancy alarm. But I think it’s over. My body thinks it’s over. And I am ready to go back to my life. What is that again exactly?

How Diet Affects Fertility

my fertility diet

Over the past several months I’ve been researching how diet affects fertility and continuously modifying what I put into my mouth in an effort to kick-start my reproductive system.

It’s been interesting.

Some of the changes have been welcomed by my body and others have been, well, to say it lightly, rejected.


My Fertility Diet

While there are still several books and numerous studies I plan on reviewing; I have developed this initial set of diet principles.

My fertility diet  must:

  • promote a healthy digestive system (with regular, healthy bowel movements)
  • promote healthy blood sugar levels
  • exclude all toxins
  • provide all the nutrients my body needs

Achieving each principle individually required me to make some changes to my diet, but turned out to b

how diet affects fertility


e relatively straightforward. Changing my diet to incorporate all of these principles simultaneously, however, has led my body to some moments of protest (most notably constipation and weight loss).

Now, I do have to admit that my diet is more complicated than most since I used to be a vegetarian and now include fish, but still do not eat meat or poultry (which is likely to change soon).


Changes I Had to Make to My Diet to Maximize


So what went wrong?

Well, I found out what nutrients needed to be in my diet and how to avoid toxins. Then I promoted a healthy digestive system which, for me, was a bit of a challenge, but doable.

A few of the changes I made for this, for example, were to eliminate all cheeses and to increase my vegetable intake, especially including regular servings of parsley and the green leafy vegetable called rocket or arugula.

These changes were helpful in making me regular, but not quite enough.

So on days when my system was slow or non-responsive, I made myself a big bowel of vegetable soup in the morning – yes, I ate vegetable soup for breakfast (without a side of orange juice). This inevitably kick-started my system and sent me to the bathroom for a healthy bowel movement in the morning hours.

Discovering How Diet Affects Fertility and Problems I Encountered

So what’s the problem?

Well, after increasing my intake of vegetables and having vegetable soup for breakfast a couple times a week, I lost weight.

For me, this is totally counter productive. The simple answer to counter weight loss would be to increase calories. This proved difficult, however, since adding calories as a non-meat eater lead to conflicts with the other diet principles.

Here are a few of the problems I faced:

  • adding too many carbohydrates (even quality carbohydrates like beans and brown rice) is counterproductive to maintaining a healthy blood sugar level
  • eating more fish sent my digestive system into a full stop mode (and potentially adds too many toxins due to mercury – fish twice a week is the recommended dosage)
  • adding nuts wasn’t enough calories and also not easy on my digestive system
  • adding more healthy fats from their natural source was tough since I have excluded dairy (majority of my research points to dairy as harmful to fertility)


The Solution

The only solution that I currently see to this conundrum is to add poultry and/or meat to my diet for fertility. (It’s been about 5 years since I last ate poultry and about 15 years since I ate meat.) As long as this big move away from the vegetarian diet agrees with my digestive system, it will make meeting the principles of my fertility diet easier.


What I Discovered: How Diet Affects Fertility Main Principles

  1. Choose ‘good’ carbohydrates, including whole grains and vegetables- all essential for energy, vitamins and minerals and bowel movement
  2. Eliminate trans-fats and include high quality ones such as Omega -3 Fatty Acids
  3. Add more plant protein to the mix
  4. Take a premium multivitamin with pro fertility ingredients
  5. Swap out sugar sweetened beverages for water

Discovering how diet affects fertility has been an iterative process. Let’s see where this next step takes me.

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Celiac and Infertility

infertility and celiac

It’s time to say it… Infertility Sucks! Today I want to share the challenges I have with managing my celiac and infertility- especially at Christmas time!

The holidays don’t make this any easier as pregnant women seem to be out in droves and you wish you were hanging ornaments on your tree that said ‘My First Christmas.’

No ornaments, no big belly – just a fertility diet that clashes with Christmas buffets like Crocs with an evening gown.


‘Celiac and Infertility’ Family Recruitment Plan

But instead of going any further down the ‘infertility sucks’ road than I already have, I want find a way to get through this holiday enjoying each and every gathering with family and friends. This, I believe, is only going to happen with their support.

Celiac and InfertilitySo, since my body is thriving on my new fertility diet, I feel like I need to let my family know what I’m doing and why. This way, I don’t have to stumble over my words as I decline half the dishes on the table or pretend like I’m excited about the mounds of chocolate in my stocking (my mouth is watering as I just write the word).

Essentially, I want to recruit them to my team – which is a heck of a lot easier than always wondering how I can politely decline that appetizer again and wondering if I can resist the chocolate when it comes with,

“Oh, come on, a little sugar is good for you.”

My solution: Let them know exactly where I stand. The result is an email that I wrote yesterday. It came pouring out of me. There is no asking or explaining with apologies. Instead, I wrote about what I’ve been going through, how I feel, and how they can help.

When I hit the send button, a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

Letter to My Family:

Hi Fam,

I wanted to send you guys this email to let you know what has been going on. It’s a bit long – but bear with me.

Over the past year I have been really struggling with my health.

I know I have talked about it a lot to the point where I seemed obsessed. The truth is: I was really scared.

I lost over ten pounds (dropped a pants and bra size), was losing my hair (noted by me and my hair dresser), was bleeding during bowel movements, had constipation, was extremely fatigued, had acne that the dermatologists couldn’t cure, woke up nightly with muscle cramps, had abdominal pain that kept me in bed some days for the whole day, had hip pain so strong that I could not sleep on my side, had tailbone pain that made sitting for longer periods painful.

This is a lot – and it’s not even everything!

I’ve tried really hard to gain the weight back over the last three months consuming around 2500 calories a day (many days eating more than Richard). But each morning I could still see my all my ribs in the mirror and hadn’t gained an ounce.

I finally went to the doctor several weeks ago. He found nothing except for low iron and an underactive thyroid.

He tested me for celiac disease (a disease in which gluten damages the intestine so you can’t absorb nutrients from food – which came back negative), but since I was already on a virtually gluten free diet, it wasn’t valid.

The only way to do a valid test is to eat a considerable amount of gluten for at least several weeks (a.k.a. – damage you intestine) and run the test which may take from months to years to show a positive reading. I did not want to do this.

Instead I increased my diet to 100% gluten free – after reading that only a ¼ gram can cause damage to your intestine without creating symptoms. This was three weeks ago.

Over the past three weeks I’ve watched my skin clear up entirely, my energy has returned, I have no tailbone pain, no bleeding during bowel movements, regular bowel movements, and I have no muscle cramps. And best of all: I gained 2 pounds!!!

I can’t express how happy I am.

So why am I telling you all this? I wanted to let you guys know for several reasons.

  • I can not eat gluten. Which means I am not eating out at all and when/if you cook for me I will either make my own or read all the ingredients you use. Gluten hides in everything (spices, sauces, etc).
  • When I am complicated because I make different food or don’t eat something, know that it is not because I want to do it: I have to do it. You don’t need to do anything extra for me, I just ask that you respect the situation and understand that this is not all in my head.
  • Celiac disease is hereditary. I do not have a diagnosis, but it could not be any more obvious (not to mention that both mom and grandma have discovered over the years that they have trouble with wheat/gluten). When I heard that our new arrivals in the family are having digestive problems I wanted to share this information with you. Undetected celiac disease can lead to a myriad of health problems because the body is not getting the nutrients it needs. And it would be important to diagnose because if you have it, you have to follow a 100% gluten free diet. A partially gluten free diet may reduce symptoms but does not prevent damage and, it complicates diagnosis.

And by the way, celiac disease has been linked to infertility. So, let’s hope that this solves my other problem.



Interesting Findings from A Celiac and Infertility Study

  • When women with undiagnosed celiac disease, had 11 more miscarriages per 1,000 pregnancies and 1.62 more stillbirths per 1,000 pregnancies.
  • In the two years leading up to a celiac disease diagnosis, women become pregnant less often, with 25 less pregnancies per 1,000.
  • Pregnancy problems in women undiagnosed was 15 more per 1,000 pregnancies compared to women who did not have celiac disease.
  • Women with infertility were 3.5 times more likely to have celiac than the ‘controls.’

Ref: 2018 Danish study published in the journal Human Reproduction.

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