April 21st-27th, 2013 is National Infertility Awareness Week and according to the CDC, 6.7 million women under age 44 have impaired fertility. Who knew??? I certainly didn’t! At least not until it happened to me. Looking at me from the outside, having 4 children ranging in from age 5-20, you wouldn’t realize I had any fertility issues unless I told you. After having 3 uneventful pregnancies resulting in 2 sons and a daughter, we thought we were done with having children. Then, when our youngest was 4, we decided that something was missing. We assumed that getting pregnant would be easy- after all, I had already had 3 successful pregnancies. Not-so-much. Of course, I was older now, but even then, I was only 30 at the time which, I think we would all agree, isn’t that old! We tried from almost a year and nothing. Charts, temperatures, healthy lifestyle and still nothing. I couldn’t tell you how many ovulation predictor stick and pregnancy tests I’ve peed on! I could tell you the best brands and how much HCG (the pregnancy hormone) they detected. Then, we decided to see a fertility specialist. I then was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). At that time, we tried Clomid, IUI and still nothing. Our last effort was to turn to IVF. Of course, I had been doing yoga this whole time and meditating on it and “trying to relax”- yeah right! Tell anyone who says, “just relax and you’ll get pregnant” to take a flying leap! The more you tell yourself to relax, the more anxious you get! Even as a yoga instructor! Oh, and throw in ovaries that are normally the size of grapes that have ballooned to the size of lemons! That makes twisting postures all but impossible! And the hormones- oy vey! The daily shots that I would give myself would make my moods swing like Tarzan in the Amazon and cause me to break out into sweats as if I was doing Sun Salutations in a Bikram Yoga class!
Our first attempt at IVF was only partially successful. One of my ovaries (containing 11 eggs) was so large that it “flipped” behind one of my main abdominal blood vessels. This meant that the Dr. would have to go through the vessel in order to retrieve the eggs. Clearly, this would not be prudent, so he didn’t- this meant that I had to release all of those eggs on my own- talk about uncomfortable! The other ovary was cooperative, and it too, yielded 11 eggs. As the eggs were harvested they were graded and fertilized with my husbands swimmers. The eggs were observed for 3 days to see how healthy they were. At that point and time, we only had 9 of the 11 make it. Our quality or grade of embryo was some A’s some B’s. I had 3 embryos implanted and we waited. I’d go back for bloodwork in 10 days only to find that I had had a chemical pregnancy- something started to take, but then didn’t. We were devastated. How could I have gone from having no problem getting pregnant to requiring fertility drugs???
We had to take a month off before we could try again. At this point, we had 6 embryos left that we had frozen. If this didn’t work, I don’t know what we would’ve done. I don’t know that I was up to putting my body through the Hell of IVF again and pretty sure that my husband would need to be declared a saint for putting up with my chemically induced mood swings! At this point, I viewed this transfer as our last-ditch effort so I wanted to do everything I could to make it work. I was still practicing yoga and teaching on a daily basis. It was then that I decided to add acupuncture. I had never done it before and was a bit nervous as I am not a huge fan of needles, but at this point, a few acupuncture needles was nothing in comparison of the poking and prodding I’ve undergone thus far. I went for acupuncture twice a week and truly feel that it was a strong factor in the outcome of our story…
When it was time to implant our remaining embryos, the process was a bit easier since I didn’t have to have the egg retrieval again. At this point, we had 6 embryos frozen. Of course, then, I grapple with the moral side of the fertility issue and what happens if they all take??? I certainly wasn’t wanting 6, but I had faith that whatever was meant to be would be. On transfer day, only 4 of our 6 had survived the thawing procedure. Their grades were 3 B’s and one C; not great, but not awful. We transferred all 4 embryos and waited to see what hand fate would deal us. Blood tests followed with no signs of HCG. I had about lost my hope. Then, just when they were about to declare the transfer unsuccessful, my numbers started to rise. I was pregnant! But, I was cautioned by the Dr. not to get too ahead of myself because the numbers were rising slowly. My glimmer of hope began to brighten. My rear end felt like a pin cushion as I continued to give myself IM progesterone shots for the next 16 weeks to help support the pregnancy. In November of 2007, we welcomed out beautiful daughter, Elly, completing our family of 2 boys and 2 girls (no, we did not choose gender or anything extreme, we were just glad to have our final child). Since her arrival, she has been a joyful light in our lives on a daily basis. We lovingly refer to her as our “totsicle.” She is beautiful, smart and has an uncanny sense of humor. I look at her each and every day and realize what a true miracle she is.
For those women out there who struggle with infertility, my heart goes out to you because I’ve been on both sides of that fence. I know not everyone who tries to get pregnant or even resorts to fertility treatments will get pregnant and I can’t begin to imagine how that person must feel. And obviously, I can’t make any guarantees, but what I can say is that, speaking from my own personal experience, yoga and acupuncture helped me and it’s worth a shot for you, too. We welcome you to inquire more about the yoga and acupuncture services at ZGY. We are committed to supporting you body, mind and spirit.
Much love and Namaste’
Click here http://www.squidoo.com/national-infertility-awareness-week to learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week.