I have a 'non-working' tube on my right side that for 2.5 years after my ectopic, retained an VERRRRRYYY slow shrinking 5 cm "unidentified" mass in it after they performed the surgery to remove the pregnancy from it. This mass shrunk slowly over those 2 years- I like to think of it as an hourglass reflecting my healing, the more I let go of-the more I healed, the smaller the mass became.
It was December 2017, that after steadily receiving acupuncture for fertility that this mass actually DISAPPEARED- as in the ultrasound wand crammed up my vagina could no longer identify or find the mass on my right side. Yes, I do think it's a little bit of magic and a lot of CHINESE MEDICINE (more on that another time). Infertility looks like a lot of things and for me, it looked like severely unbalanced hormones and a big mass in a non-working tube.
I have linked items, studies and additional info throughout this post- just look for the underlined sentences or words!
There are 4 major things that I attribute my natural conception to:
1. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for obstructed tube and hormone balance
One of my favorite things about living in both Los Angeles and Austin is that these treatments are easily accessible because of the eastern medicine schools and programs. I really liked Yo-San in La and I go to AOMA in Austin- these schools have clinics where you can get treatments for around $30- don’t sleep on these opportunities if you live in a city that offers this- it is such a gift! If you don’t live in a city with these credentialed schools, it’s also worth it to plan an appointment if you end up taking a trip to a city with these budget friendly clinics. I have been going since my ectopic and even went religiously (Starting just 2 weeks) after I had Willa to assist with hormone recovery and nourishment after childbirth. Truly one of my favorite self-care practices.
2. Meditation + Therapy - addressing emotions and beliefs and working through them
I think thoughts create our reality and working with my thoughts helped me to create the reality I wanted. That’s not to say reality always has gone my way, but I have been able to manage my response when it doesn’t and this has helped me understand myself and where I hold myself back a lot more. Therapists are pretty personal selections- But I appreciate a therapist who has a background in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and I have also found Jungian Therapy helpful. Bottomline for me is someone who can help me work through my chatter and teach me tools to work with tough feelings/situations. I’ve had “counselors” who bring religion into our sessions and share opinions and I am not into that at all. If you haven’t found yourself a good therapist, keep looking. I think the entire world should be going to therapy at some point in their lives. It’s been a very valuable tool for me. I will touch on meditation just for a sec, as I think I talk about this a lot. But in general, awareness of my thoughts through a mindfulness practice has helped me to understand what is arising and when it arises.
3. REMOVING HORMONE DISRUPTERS- I took a critical look at the things I was consuming, putting on my body and exposing myself to in my environment that were disrupting my hormonal balance- yes, we are talking your shampoo, your candles, air fresheners- you’d be shocked. More on this below.
Whoa- for me this one is huge. and, I think it is likely the one that can send you down such a deep wormhole-
Look if you think you’re just drinking water when you fill up a cup from the tap- think again. There’s copper, lead, chlorine, atrazine (widely used as a herbicide on almost all corn crops in the US and used to kill weeds- and found, you guessed it, in our drinking water.) Atrazine has been found in studies to turn male frogs into female frogs. (cool! but wait, not cool.) It has been linked to breast tumors and in some studies, prostate cancer in humans among other things. High amounts of fluoride is commonly found in tap water (check out this study on fluoride and pregnancy here) and even arsenic- you’d be shocked at what is allowed in tap water. And by the way, your brita isn’t getting that stuff out. I use a Berkey Filter with add on filters that remove arsenic, fluoride and a host of other heavy metal ions. The Berkey can also make swamp water drinkable- so I feel like it’s a good investment for the end of the world (jk, kind of). You can find the Berkey we use, here.
Not to sound alarmist, but did you know that the products you are using on your body and in your home are likely filled with known endocrine disruptors? Anytime you see the word fragrance on a label, you can bet it is filled with Phthalates- studies have linked these to hormone changes, low sperm count, birth defects, thyroid irregularities (I could go on and on), Parabens and sulfates that mimic hormones in your makeup and shampoo, extra hormones in your meats! AHHHH! Ya’ll I can go on and on about this- Bottom line- I went nuts and threw away all makeup, skin care, house cleaning, fake scented anything and everything in our home. and trust, me, we are all doing just fine using natural products. We now use Oils for moisturizers, paraben, sulfate free etc, shampoo and conditioner - I am happy to give suggestions on product swaps, just DM me on instagram. We also purchase organic food products (because pesticides) and for meat, grass fed or raised organic fed animals. We have made the swap over to organic linens and a low chemical mattress as well as the years have gone on. I know all of this can be overwhelming and even seem intense, but once you realize what the government allows in products that you assume must be safe, you realize you don’t want to put your money into the hands of people making products that are making us sick. So the extra money it takes to buy something actually clean, feels good to me and is worth it. We def aren’t perfect and make compromises here and there, but I try really hard to be aware of what is out there. There’s a fantastic app called Detox Me that walks you through small changes you can make every day to lessen your toxic load. This podcast is also a great listen- How to Avoid the Chemicals That Are Making Us Sick
4. Dr. Nutt at The Wellness Institute of Dallas- Dr. Nutt ordered blood work to understand what was really going on inside my body and based on this blood work, he prescribed life changing vitamin supplements that supported my hormones in a integrative way- this 100% changed the way I felt in the most amazing way. I was pregnant in 2 months after starting his regimen- I CANNOT recommend him enough.
This certainly isn’t as in-depth as I could possibly go, but all in all, I would say my journey TTC ended up being a lot more of a self-discovery journey instead. I learned more about my body, my hormones and the things that influence them. I thought deeper about the things I consumed and this for me was healing. We are all different and all of our journeys do not look the same. I am grateful to have been able to conceive and my heart is with those of you who are trying.