My Fertility Journey

After a long time of trying to get pregnant I was feeling pretty frustrated and hopeless. I was already seeing a fertility specialist at Genesis and doing what I thought was everything I could to better improve my chances. Due to my husband and mines situation we were doing artificial insemination to try and achieve a pregnancy. After about 6 months of unsuccessful artificial inseminations I was trying to remain optimistic but it was getting harder and harder to put on a happy face around my family and friends. I was feeling like a failure and it was really hard emotionally. I felt embarrassed about my situation and was feeling very discouraged. I decided to share my feeling with a girlfriend and it was the best thing I ever did!! She told me that she had two other friends that were going thru similar situations. They were both doing fertility acupuncture to improve their health which in turn improved their fertility. It was successful for one of them so maybe it could help me. This was the ray of sunshine that I needed!

The more I talked with people after this the more I realize that my story was actually a lot more common then I thought and oddly that made me feel better. I wasn’t alone in this. I immediately called Yinstill and set up my first appointment. I use to be skeptical of acupuncture, having had a bad experience with it in the past, but after meeting with the amazing team and having them do such a thorough history on me I felt optimistic. Not only did they want to do anything possible to help me in my fertility struggles but they wanted to improve my overall health physically as well as mentally. I started doing weekly sessions. He shared with me the plan he had envisioned for me to get my cycles back on track. I had very short cycles(24 days) which would have made it difficult for a pregnancy to even have time to embed before my period would come. I was well on my way! I had shared with my fertility doctor at Genesis that I was going for weekly acupuncture to help better my fertility chances and at the time she said she personally didn’t think that it would help. After another three months of continuing with my inseminations unsuccessfully and doing weekly visits for acupuncture, Genesis decided that they would do some blood work on me(FSH levels). The results were not good. It seemed that I had a high level of FSH, on par with someone years older then I was.(I was 35 at that time) A normal level is under 8 and mine read 12.3. It was a concern for them so they decided to watch me and get tests done every few weeks to see what the levels were doing. The levels were slowly going up. They talked to me about fertility enhancing drugs and decided to put me on a clomed challenge to see how I responded. In a good test result your hormones would spike in the middle of the challenge and then would drop back down to where they started once the drugs were done. Unfortunately, my hormone level stayed high at 18 when I was done.(20 is considered menopause) I was called into the specialist who sat me down and told me the devastating news. My test results were that of someone who was premenopausal. They told me that time was of the essence and if I wanted to have any chance of getting pregnant I needed to start doing an IVF cycle right away. First, I was so shocked to hear that I was in this situation to begin with. I thought I was a healthy woman. I always ate right and excersiced and made the right choices and now I sit there and feel like my body has sold me out. I was so angry and frustrated at my body for doing this to me! Then, fear and sadness hit me because I realized that my lifes dream of having children now may be just that, nothing more then a dream. I agreed to do whatever it was they wanted.

I went to my next acupuncture and told them everything that had happened and about the IVF plan that was now in place for me. They tried to reassure me that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. He said that he had seen FSH levels come down with acupuncture treatments and he had seen women have successful pregnancies that had high FSH levels. I just needed to work on my body and my cycles thru acupuncture and herbs to get me as healthy as possible to obtain the best results of IVF. I was so driven by fear at this point that I said I couldn’t spare the time and I went ahead with my IVF. He understood my fears and concerns and said that he would support me thru the IVF, not a problem at all. I did everything I was told and rushed into it and after doing everything Genesis wanted, all the daily injections of drugs etc, I didn’t produce enough follicles to proceed with IVF. (They are very happy if you have above 10 follicles after the drugs. Some lucky women can have as many15 -20 but you needed at least 5 follicles between both ovaries to proceed and I only had 4.) I asked the doctor if I should try one more time, after all I had coverage of the drugs on my medical plan, and at that time the doctor told me she didn’t know why I would bother because I would end up with the same results. I was devastated! I felt like a failure. It was then that I realized that my body just wasn’t where it needed to be health wise, I knew that I should have listened to the suggestions he had given me but I gave into fear and rushed my body to do something that it just wasn’t prepared to do. I could have let the fertility doctors words bring me down but I chose not to. I knew in my heart that I wasn’t willing to close the door on my fertility just yet. I needed to give my body the time it needed to get healthy. I was going to continue on with my acupuncture and give IVF one more try and I did just that. I called him and filled him in on everything that had happened. He told me that his vision for me was to take 5 months to work on me and get my body really healthy and then to attempt a 2nd round of IVF. I was completely on board, but this time it was with a 100% mind, body and soul commitment! I went in for my next appointment and was introduce to Spence, the acupuncturist who was going to take over my sessions. We connected on so many levels and he was fantastic! We talked for a long time and layed out a plan for me. I can honestly say after just one to two months my body/systems had never felt or ran better. My cycles had jumped up to 27-29 days in length and other ailments I had not related to pregnancy were gone. I had such trust in my care at all times!! After 5 months Spence and Lorne felt I was ready and so I called and booked my 2nd IVF cycle. The doctor wasn’t very optimistic but said she would see me thru the process a 2nd time. I again reminded her that I was still doing acupuncture and I was feeling so much better physically and mentally this time round. She had me on the highest level of drugs possible and when it came time to do the ultrasound to see if I had produced any follicles I will never forget the look on her face… not only did I have follicles but I had 13!!! I was soooooo happy. The doctor was so happy as well. At that moment she said that she had other patients that had told her they were doing acupuncture and after seeing my results maybe there really was something to it after all!( a big thing for some western Medicine doctors to admit!) After they fertilized my eggs for three days I ended up with 6 healthy embryos! I had my IVF transfer(they put three embryos in to better my odds) and 1 embryo took! I am now 26 ½ weeks pregnant and due Nov 28,07. My husband andI couldn’t be happier! I honestly believe that if I didn’t listen to my heart and give my body the time it needed with my acupuncture and herbs that I would not be where I am today. I also truly believe that I would NOT be where I am today without the amazing support and care from the whole team (especially Spence). They believed in me when I didn’t and I owe them a huge dept of gratitude.

I understand the emotional rollercoaster that infertility throws at you and the daily struggles you go thru dealing with this. I know that this seems like an uphill battle but do the best you can to stay strong! Please remember that my story is one of many that proves with a little perseverance and faith in your body miracles do happen! Good luck to you on your journey!!

Suzanne Reichenbach

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