When I was in the throes of (secondary) infertility, I would scour the internet looking for success stories to give me any inkling of hope. So now I share my story to give someone else hope.
We started trying for our second in October of 2012. After a year of trying I asked my obgyn what advice he had. After learning I was still breastfeeding, he said “that’s it!!” It’s the breastfeeding. “Once you stop that you’ll get pregnant immediately”. So I stopped. A year after that, I was like, “OK, that didn’t work now what?” He said “I know you’re fine, you’ve already had one. I bet you anything you’ll be pregnant in 6 months”. He was so convincing I actually started planning out my life as if I’d be pregnant in 6 months. Then nothing.
In March of 2015, I said I need help! First he tested my husband. Turns out the guy has super sperm. Literally. His count was off the charts. The problem is all me. He told me the only thing he could give me (without referring me to a reproductive endocrinologist) was clomid. He mentioned this before, but the higher chance of multiples scared me. At this point, the thought of triplets sounded awesome. I said yes.
Not only did I feel awful, I completely stopped ovulating for three months! And I just took one cycle! I decided I needed to go another route. My body reacts terribly to synthetic drugs so I started looking for natural help (before this I had tried acupuncture with no success). So I found Dr. Aumatma in Oakland, California. It was way out of our price range but she gave me hope. She was also vegan (like us!) and I took that as a sign to go for it.
Dr. Aumatma works with you by taking a bunch of blood tests, addressing your issues, then prescribing a diet and herb/supplement plan. Blood tests show I had extremely low egg quality and reserve (AMH 0.138, FSH 12). In the world of western medicine I wouldn’t even qualify for IVF. It’s egg donors or adoption. In the eastern world, you have more options. I started taking the supplements and was put on a VERY strict diet. So strict, it really stressed me out. And I’ve always been a very healthy eater so I was used to restrictions. But this was different. With all the stress I was going through, the added pressure was a bit much.
Dr. Aumatma has a policy where you CANNOT get pregnant in the first three months of treatment. Something about ‘your body needs to get fixed first’ and the herbs she gives you aren’t great for pregnancy. Keep in mind I haven’t ovulated in three months (because of the stupid clomid). After about a week working together I get pregnant. Of course. I had told her there was the slightest chance in hell so I wasn’t taking any of the “scary” herbs. The first ultrasound shows it was measuring behind, like my oldest so I wasn’t too concerned. Well I lost it at 10 weeks.
Back to the drawing board. Still working with Dr. Aumatma. I’m still not “allowed” to try to get pregnant while working with her. And I’m not “allowed” any joy of any kind either. No alcohol or sugar (not even fruit!!). Soon my cycle started to go to hell again (short cycles, not ovulating). And I felt Dr. Aumatma started losing interest. It was getting hard to get a hold of her and she was talking about charging me more money! The situation was getting toxic for me. I’m sure she’s great at what she does and has helped lots of people, but our relationship was beyond repair at this point. I had to move on.
My friend told me about another fertility specialist in Santa Cruz, Dr. Rozenn. She had been very successful in the fertility game. She was even more expensive, but I was desperate and I really liked her demeanor. She took more blood tests to find my egg reserve had gotten worse! FSH of 23 now. That alone is a fertility death sentence. But coupled with my horrific AMH of 0.138, hope is slim to none. But Dr. Rozenn it’s super confident we’ll find success together. I say ok! Her protocol is similar to Dr. Autmatma but with added acupuncture, once a week. Sooo very expensive.
The diet is just as strict. So not a great start but I’m willing to try anything. I tell her I’m vegan, but will be flexible if it’ll help. She suggests daily bowls of bone broth. I reluctantly agree. I hate the bone broth. I feel terrible the whole time I take it, physically and emotionally. I really liked Dr. Rozenn but things were not getting better. Most of the time I didn’t ovulate. My best friend found out she was pregnant and I was a hot mess. I cried more than a few times in her office. I couldn’t have a drink. Couldn’t have an apple! I was drinking bone juice! I wasn’t ovulating. This was costing us an arm and a leg. I was driving an hour and a half each way every week. Something had to give!!
At this point, I’m at my wits end. I start to go to an infertility support group. I’m the asshole that already has a kid in a room where everyone is trying for their first. Luckily I had been trying the longest and I was the only one there that had a miscarriage so I got some sympathy. Everyone was super nice and no one told me to f-off. Thanks guys! When I mentioned my AMH and FSH, there was a communal gasp. They ever so gently told me I had no chance in hell. Well keep reading…
We decide to adopt, and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. I still would like to try for another biological child in the future, but for now I can’t take it anymore. I tell Dr. Rozenn my plans and she advises me to continue treatment throughout the adoption process. Apparently my situation was so dire if I stopped then, I would probably never get pregnant again. So she told me to find something close by and I did. She gave me the website aborm.org where you can find natural fertility specialists in your area. That’s where I find Dr. Judith Tognetti of Nurture Acupuncture in San Ramon, California.
This is when everything changed. She was WAY cheaper. She gave me a diet plan and told me to do my best. In regards to alcohol, she says “just don’t be drunk all the time”. Yes!! I can do that. She told me to eat as much fruit as possible and if I liked being vegan, don’t change. I’m already so much happier. AND they do abdominal massage there. I had heard of it before and I’m super excited to try. So the plan is: vitamins/supplements/specific herbal mixture they make for me/abdominal massage once a month, acupuncture once a month.
Of course things are a little different now because we’re NOT trying to get pregnant. We’re in the adoption process and everything is wonderful in the world. My cycles start to normalize, going from 15-24 days to 26-28. I’m ovulating every month. I feel fantastic. I actually start to worry we will get pregnant on accident and we’ll lose the adoption.
I began working with Dr. Tognetti in January of 2016. I was pregnant by July. All the while trying NOT to. We were so sad to lose the adoption but you cannot stay mad when you have a wonderful baby girl to hold and squeeze and kiss all over. We have updated our adoption paper work and will send out our dossier when baby girl turns two.
After 4 years of trying, someone with abysmal egg quality and reserve (again, AHM 0.138 and FSH 23) got pregnant naturally!! It is possible. There is plenty of hope.
You can learn more or look for a specialist in your area at aborm.org or if you’d like to research where I found success, go to Nurture Accupunture. Please let me know if you have any questions. If I can make anyone feel any better, I’d love to help.