Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fighting For Fertility: How to get Pregnant When Doctors say "You Can't..."

The Headlines:

Sometimes Doctors are wrong.

You can do the impossible.  

Be your own best advocate.

And never take NO for an answer.

When you find out, from a Fertility Doctor, there's no way - in his professional opinion - you can get pregnant.  What happens?

You want to prove him wrong.

To read the FIRST full story - click HERE ... this is the 2nd one in the "series."

Yes, that doctor scared me and scarred me.  He took lots of money from me yet he made me feel like less of a woman.  The one thing he did positively was introduce me to a skilled fertility Acupuncturist.

His name is Robert Koagedal.   He has a practice in Scottsdale, Arizona called ACUHEALTH ... click that business name to go directly to his website.  I recommend him up and down, around the corner and through the woods.  He's good.  He gets the credit for leading me on this journey.  I started seeing him when I began IVF.  But it was too late.  Turns out, a woman should go to the acupuncturist months before attempting the procedure to increase your chances of getting pregnant.

What Koagedal does is bring you back to basics.  He took a look at my life and helped me begin the path to fix it.  My FSH (that's Follicle Stimulating Hormone - also explained HERE) was high.  Why?  Since I wasn't pre-menopausal... it was a number of other reasons.  I wasn't sleeping enough (morning television reporter), eating enough (or the right things),  probably exercising too much in the extreme heat that is Arizona.

The question became: how is your body supposed to take care of someone else when it can barely even take care of itself?  Bingo.  I needed to heal me first before I could support any other living thing.  Particularly a baby.  It made total sense. The yin has to meet the yang.  So my mission was crystal clear.  Make myself into the perfect model home.  It was renovation time and I was cleaning house.

Acupuncture was a solid, no stress hour of getting pricked by pins.  I'm not an eastern medical expert so I can't tell you exactly how it works but I do know this: it does work.  Acupuncture is not a crock.  It's part of a process that brings an ailing body into balance.  It can help multiple issues including pain management, allergies, medical ailments and in my case... fertility.  And so I began to see another man every week.  My husband supported it.  I loved going.  Yet ironically, every time I walked in the door I got mad.  I was there because I had failed.  And it hurt.  But, in my mind, there were no other options.

Change began.  I not only went to Acupuncture every week but everything differed from life as I knew it.  Call it an about face.  There wasn't much I could do about my night sleep, other than quit my job but my stubborn attitude won that battle. However,  I did start taking a nap almost everyday.  I no longer exercised in the extreme heat.  Heat's not good for conception.  And rather than eating less I began to eat more.  There are what they call "fertility foods."  Local, fresh, whole and balanced.  Real food.

I did not consume breads, pastas, caffeine (coffee), soy, corn, lots of sugar, fast foods or highly processed foods.

Let me start by saying this is not a "diet."  These foods won't necessarily make you skinny, to the contrary, the suggestions here may put more weight on you.  Depending upon body type.  Heavier women could lose, my goal was to put a little extra meat on my bones.

Eggs.  Eat them almost everyday. Extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Yum.  Rich tasting and good for you.  In some cultures, women eat near a dozen everyday!  I stuck with 3.

Meats.  You need plenty of organic/grass fed meat.  Not the lean meats.  Fat, some of it, can be good for fertility purposes.  And boy does it make a steak tasty!   Like I said, grass fed.  Not corn fed.  Quite simply, cows and lambs are supposed to eat grass.  Not corn.  Corn is everywhere in the diet of today's animals and that's not necessarily a good thing.  Just a way to fatten the little guys up into big guys.  They're not meant to eat corn and in turn... you're not meant to eat them that way.  Grass fed/organic may be hard to find, sometimes expensive, but worth it.  In my case, my friend and I found a grass fed cow in Utah (this is no joke) and we bought him.  We knew the farmer, he knew the butcher and my friend's husband drove it across a couple states.  If you can't buy a cow, try your local grocer, butcher or farm.  Just search for it.

Other foods including organic chicken, eat lots of wild Alaskan Salmon.  You want to use real, organic butter and drink organic, whole milk.  Remember, it's not a "diet!"  Eat organic fruits and vegetables but AVOID SOY.  Experts say it messes with a woman's estrogen.  Even in small amounts. Which is why many vegans have trouble getting pregnant.  You want a baby?  Put the vegan lifestyle aside... if just for a year or two.  Why risk it?

Drinks.   Enjoy liquid chlorophyll.  I started to drink it when I read it could help clear up your skin.  Found in most health food stores, I was delighted to hear it also aided fertility.  It's bright green and about a tablespoon in a large water bottle will do.  There's hardly any taste.  It's a rich source of natural minerals vitamins, proteins and anti-oxidants.  Plus, it gets extra credit for helping clear the skin.  Looking beautiful while going through a hard time in your life never hurt.

Drink wheat grass if you can stomach it.  I hated it.  It was like drinking my lawn.  Like I took scizzors and cut some grass and mixed it in a blender with water.  If you can, go for it.  It will only help.

The last important liquid is Fertil-i-Tea.  Get it?  Cute.  It's a blend of herbs that aids in the quest.  I bought the tea through my Acupuncturist.  Drink it every morning instead of coffee.  I almost completely gave coffee up.  But I still went through the warm-liquid-morning-motions.    

Personally, I did not give up wine.  A few times a week I'd enjoy it with my steak or salmon!  If I needed a treat I usually turned to ice cream.  I figured the dairy fat was better than Red Vines!
Vitamins. Take pre-natals and fish oil.  Also, look into herbs throughout the month.  There's a series eastern medicine thinks you should be taking to aid in the fertility fight.  One type for one week, another the next, it follows your monthly cycle.  The Herbs also came from my Acupuncturist.

You may put on a little weight but not too much.  Perhaps like 5 pounds.  I never weigh myself so I don't really know but that's what it felt like.  No one else will notice.  You may hear compliments though.  People said I looked better, my skin was fresher, my hair was thicker.  One odd thing: my fingers got smaller.  After my first child was about a year old my fingers swelled and I could no longer get my engagement ring on.  I'd have to be really cold to slide it into position.  It was also about that time my cheeks looked constantly flushed.  It was like my body was running hot.  Perhaps it was running on empty.  There was no gas in the tank.  Remember, how was I going to support another human being if I couldn't even support myself?  The question was out there and I felt the real answer was within my reach.  

It doesn't happen overnight.  In fact, the new year came and went and still no baby.  I had been under this regime for 10 months now and I was growing weary.  The sadness inside of me was sometimes overwhelming.  Once, I burst out crying at a little girls birthday party when someone asked me a pointed parenting question: "since your daughter is 4 (and if I wasn't going to have another child) should I quit working and stay home with her?  At this point, secretly, between BP (the husband) and I... it was decided I would soon be a full time mom.  I would quit my job when my contract at the TV station ran out.  The 1 year count down was on.

So, I was excited for change but devastated I hadn't added another person to our crew.  Overall, however, I was feeling very good.  My fingers had gotten skinnier, though I had put on a tiny weight.  I was a little less tired and I felt better.  My Acupuncturist agreed something should happen now if it was going to happen at all.

I re-took that FSH test.  I made an appointment with my OB-GYN.  I took the test and the results came back fairly quick.  But I dodged them.  Until I finally talked to my doctor who gave me the news...

MY FSH LEVELS WERE THAT OF A 20 YEAR OLD (like around a 6)!  

It was go time.  Turns out,  I was feeling good for good reason... my model home was ready for a nursery!

My OB gave me a very small amount of Clomid that I could only use for 3 ovulation periods.  I had 3 cycles to get this job done.  Clomid, for the record, in very non-pharmaceutical terms, is a drug that basically pushes all your eggs out in one swoop so you have a better chance of getting pregnant.  I took it once and nothing.  I took it a second time and it worked.

I could NOT believe it.  I was pregnant.  But the term we used over and over was "cautiously optimistic." We were hopeful the pregnancy would last but afraid it wouldn't.

We told (almost) no one.  We prayed a lot.  I was excited to be nauseous.  Ecstatic to be tired.  A craving made me jump for joy.  All good signs that it was working.

We finally exhaled when I was 5 months along.  We began telling people I was pregnant.  The baby bump was more evident.  We had done it.  I had a baby shower.  Something I didn't do with my first pregnancy.  The attention was something I didn't crave.  But this time... was different.  I wanted to share in a joy that was hard to find with a baby who was difficult to meet.

January, 2011, I gave birth to my first and only little boy.

He's no better than any other child but he's perfectly mine.  I told my husband after I had him... I was in love with another man.  I still am.

After a few months, I emailed the fertility doctor who told me I would never have a child on my own.   Now isn't that just the justice we all crave?  You bet I was proud.  He emailed me back and asked for details about how I did it.  How's that for irony?

Here are my children today:

Finally tonight, the lesson here is clear and goes far beyond conception.  When it seems all hope is lost, maybe it's not. Anyone can do something they thought not possible, something outrageous... even a little miraculous.  I did.  You can too.  Just carve your own path.  Listen to medical professionals but be your own best advocate.  The rules don't always apply to everyone.  Sometimes... you have to make your own.

Above all... anything worth having is certainly worth fighting for.  My Fight for Fertility was a long, hard battle but it was worth every second.  It will be for you too!

Any questions, email me at

In my next post on "Fighting for Fertility" I'm talking about the Misconception with Conception.  I've found so many young women struggle to have children because they think they have all the time in the world.  This, due, in part to so many visible and working women (celebrities) having babies well into their 40's and 50's.  But the reality is different.  To read it click HERE

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  1. I feel like we need to talk for hours about this. I'm crying reading your journey because mine was so similar. Except you left TV bravely, something I haven't been able to do. You are awesome and this post is GOLD.

    1. it's hard. i know! i miss telling others story so much but mine became more important - at least for the moment!

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