Back in the Spring of 2018, my period had grown increasingly painful, irregular and I was experiencing mittleschmerz around ovulation. I was getting hot flashes as well so I thought I should probably get my hormones and my thyroid levels checked. For most of my adult life, I have been dealing with subclinical hyperthyroidy, where my thyroid works too much and one of the symptoms is having hot flashes among other things. I thought maybe my progesterone was off as well.
Around the same time a client mentioned that she had done tests to check her fertility. We were talking about wanting children, being older and she said the tests really reassured her. I thought why not check at the same time…
So I called my Ob friend and did some blood work on day 3 of my cycle. The thyroid results were within range, my progesterone levels were fine as well as the LH (luteinizing hormone) levels. The other numbers I did not know much about so I did some research and I was in for a surprise.
FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) helps you determine how well your ovaries are working and egg quality. The normal range for day 3 of a cycle is up to 9. My levels were 21.4!!! The AMH (Anti-mullerian hormone) which indicates ovarian reserve was 0.39 ng/ml… when a normal level is considered between 1 and 4.
My Ob/Gyn was great. She did not go into alarmist mode. I spoke with her on the phone as I logged onto the portal to see my results. I was reading the results with her on the line and my optimism gradually disappeared once I realized that I was looking at a very different picture than “my hormones are off”.
When I asked: “It’s not good, is it?”. She simply answered: “No but I have seen things fluctuate. If you want though I can put you in touch with a fertility specialist…”. I was stunned.
I was healthy and young (although considered “geriatric” in the fertility/pregnancy world at the ripe age of 37) about to get married and focusing on preparing our wedding.
I had a scan to check for my antral follicle count. I had 1 in my left ovary and 2 in the right one. A very low number. At least not enough to be considered a good candidate for IVF, especially with my high FSH level. I browsed through a few websites and the info was mostly the same. Most clinics would refuse me. You can read more on that here.
It obviously takes a while to grasp the reality of what you are looking at. If anything I thought I would be reassured by the tests – that I could wait a few more years before having a baby. Maybe I would freeze my eggs.
I of course looked into how you can lower your FSH naturally: change in diet, exercise, lowering stress. The thing is I have always had a pretty good diet, I have been doing yoga for almost 17 years and meditated pretty much daily so these recommendations were not going to help.
Weirdly enough I found out about my results around Easter, the season of Spring, renewal and fertility. At the time I thought what a twist of life… That same week two of my clients lost their babies… How could I dwell in self-pity…
So I focused on being as pro-active as I could be. We thought about maybe using an egg donor but decided against it. We realized that our wanting a child was selfish in a sense, at the end of it all we wanted to be biologically related to our baby. I understand that the path is different for everyone but this is where we were at.
I did a ton of research and decided to focus on all the stories of women who were able to conceive naturally. I decided to use my tools: meditation, hypnosis, staying positive. We decided to focus on our wedding.
At the same time I was trying to picture a little one coming into our lives. I started HypnoBirthing classes with Gabrielle Bernstein and she sent me a link to a very special talk. Watching this I was crying and laughing at the same time…Here I was doing the same thing. Putting so much pressure on making a baby. She recommended a book called Spirit Babies which comforted me in what I was already doing by seeing a little one in our lives.
So I worked on my mind. I did a session with Kristina Harmanjot Siapkara. She is an amazing intuitive healer. A session with my healer in Paris, Jean Luc Penet. I visualized my ovaries filled with eggs, talked to my ovaries and uterus every day, visualized my womb getting ready to welcome a child. I kept on inviting a little one into our lives.
I surrounded myself with images that represented fertility and warmth. A few years back I met with Ellynne Skove from Birth Start Babies. She is a great educator, therapist and artist and one of her paintings stayed with me. One with an egg. It kept on popping in my mind so I called her up and purchased it to put right by my side of the bed.
On a physical level, I worked on getting my body ready. I found this book It starts with the egg and followed the protocol for egg quality 3 months before we started to try to conceive.
I had been doing Nutrition Response with Dr Alicia Armitstead for a while to address gut issues and one day she mentioned that my ovaries were now functioning at 80 percent energetically compared to not functioning when we started a year prior. That was a great sign!!!
I started weekly acupuncture in Oct of 2018 with Klara Brown. My period completely changed: no more pain and a heavier flow. I remember asking her how long it usually takes to see if things would change; to which she replied a few sessions.
By the next appointment I was pregnant with Peanut.