Guest blog by Samantha, a preconception & prenatal health coach.
I always knew I wanted to be a mom, but I didn’t feel ready until I was 31, 2 years into our marriage. After completing my 7th marathon, I went off the Pill to discover I’d lost my period. After failing the Provera Challenge twice, my OB sent me to a Reproductive Endocrinologist to check that my tubes were clear, and do blood work to analyze all of my hormone levels and egg reserves.
While my doctor kept “unexplained infertility” on my files, I did research on my own to discover I fell into the “too fit to get pregnant” camp, and Hypothalamic Amenorrhea was more accurate. Basically, through my year of endurance exercise, I had messed with my hypothalamus, the epicenter of reproductive activity resting in the center of the brain.
Three months after my first appointment, we did a complete IUI (the first attempt was canceled due to low follicle growth) and when that failed I adopted more holistic changes to my life. I began getting acupuncture from a woman specializing in fertility, and changed the way I worked out even more than when I first started seeing my RE.
I ditched all intervals runs, cutting back from 30 miles a week to around 8-10. I added in more yoga and used various fertility yoga videos from YouTube that I could do at home. Physically, I gained about 10 healthy pounds from eating more good-for-you fats and adding in extra calories throughout the day.
We attempted 3 more IUI’s, but they were all canceled, although my uterine lining that was non-existent before, was responding to my changes along with fertility medications. By February 2017, a full year after going off the Pill, I started stims for IVF. Once we were talking IVF, we decided with the doctor to do a FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer). We ended up with two beautiful 5 day blastocysts, ready to transfer!
In April of 2017 we did our first FET, and my first hCG reading told me I was pregnant, however it ended up being a chemical pregnancy. I felt at each stage I was met with an option I didn’t anticipate would happen. Like, I would either be pregnant or not, instead I was at an inbetween for a few days.
The good news was that my body could get pregnant. I regrouped and focused on the positive things in my life. I continued with acupuncture, yoga, and even cut out running completely when it was time for our next FET with our last embryo.
On May 18th, I went to the hospital once again with my hopes high. I felt different this cycle, and was in a better place mentally.
My husband and I were thrilled, but cautious, when my numbers came back much higher than before (an hCG of over 700 versus 36). It was after graduating from the fertility clinic at 8 weeks pregnant, and waiting for my first OB appointment 4 weeks later that I found Circle + Bloom. It was incredibly hard for me to find a balance between remaining positive, and staying grounded in the reality that I was still very early in my pregnancy.
In looking up pregnancy mantras, I came across this website and knew I found what I needed. Too bad I hadn’t found these programs while going through IVF! I was searching for reassurance that I’d have a healthy baby, but since no one can guarantee that, I needed to find a healthy way to manage the strong emotions – from doubt to excitement – that flooded my head.
After sitting quietly at my computer and enjoying the free fertility meditation, I immediately bought the Program for Healthy Pregnancy and Delivery and started that day. The meditations helped in the moment, but also stayed with me when I felt my doubts creeping in. I would think of positive imagery from the recordings and feel a sense of calm.
I had a very normal, and healthy pregnancy, delivering our son, Owen, on February 1st. He is happy and healthy and brings us more happiness than I thought possible to our lives!
I now work with new moms and moms-to-be to help them build their Village, and Circle+Bloom programs are on the top of my list of recommendations!
Samantha is a preconception & prenatal health coach living in Asheville with her husband, toddler, and dog. She loves helping new moms and moms-to-be build their Village! Her goal is to support women with information and compassion so they feel confident and excited throughout their motherhood journey.