I have met so many women in the past 8+ years who have struggled with fertility issues like myself and while some are an open book – like I am – I know many are still very secretive or embarrassed about it, so this post is for you. You are not alone. Far from it.
MY STORY WITH INFERTILITY
Where to begin. When my husband and I married I had just turned 40 and he was almost 45. We lived in different cities (he in NYC and I in Chicago) until pretty much the day we got married. We didn’t have time to waste so making a baby was a priority from day one of our marriage. I saw a specialist soon after our honeymoon who had me use a fertility kit and gave us some (ahem) coaching tips. Yet nothing was happening. Every month I got my period I was crushed.
The OBGYN specialist I saw recommended a doctor at a fertility clinic here in NYC (RMA) and we were off to see him. He suggested we do some of rounds of IUI (basically turkey basting with drugs) and not only did it not work after 6 tries, the fertility drugs (Clomid) made me cray-cray. I’m talking a mean, evil, bitch.
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IVF? HERE WE GO
The next step was IVF and I was scared. Luckily our insurance covered a part of it at that time (2008), but the needles, injections, egg harvesting and stress was beyond anything my husband and I were prepared for. So we did one round, and it didn’t work. We were crushed. The next round, I got pregnant but the numbers were terrible and I miscarried almost immediately. We were doubly crushed.
Around the time I was about to go for my second round of IVF I attended a jewelry press event (I will not name the jeweler) in the city and the jeweler was very pregnant. We started talking and I told her we were trying, but having a very hard time getting pregnant. I learned she was a couple of years older than me and she had gone to this well-known fertility acupuncturist in the city that “everyone” famous (celebs) and in the fashion industry goes to (his name I will share) because his success rate is amazing. She gave me his number which I wrote in my date book, but didn’t really give it a second thought…until the second round of IVF failed.
After the second failed attempt my husband and I went to see my fertility doctor together because we had one last round covered on our insurance and we needed to know if he could get us pregnant or if we should go somewhere else. He told us he wanted to go back to the protocol we used in the first round and that some of his patients had success doing IVF along with acupuncture. Remembering I had this golden number in my date book I told him I was going to Dr. Wu.
So then I was off to meet with Dr. Wu before my third and final round of IVF and he worked with my fertility doctor to make sure everyone was on the same page. I could not take the herbal meds he normally gives his patients, but he could stick me with needles all day long – and he did. I loved Dr. Wu immediately. His wife Hua is his nurse/aid/office manager and the two of them made me feel safe. I had a different feeling in my gut this time.
With the first two rounds of IVF I produced 10-12 eggs (my problem was old eggs), but with Dr. Wu I produced 20! I looked and felt pregnant already. I was teaching spinning at that time and I remember those classes being very uncomfortable with my distended belly. My doctor took the 10 best and placed them in a pertri dish and I was back in 3 or was it 5 days for implantation. They handed me a picture of my 8 fertilized eggs which I proudly showed to Dr. Wu (it wasn’t until much later he told me they were still pretty sad looking). But he looked at me with excitement.
The best looking six fertilized eggs had been placed back inside of me. They knew my chances of having one let alone sextuplets was slim so I signed paperwork saying it was my choice/responsibility. I really had no other choice. (Note: had my fertilized eggs looked great they would have only put 2 back in me. It was a Hail Mary.) So immediately trotted off to see Dr. Wu for more needles.
When the fertility clinic called with my bloodwork results even the nurse was excited. My numbers were amazing. Finally! And they kept doubling daily, which is what we wanted. They were numbers I had never heard before. Dr. Wu was convinced I was having twins (which would have been OK with me) because my numbers were so high as was my heart rate.
I had awful morning sickness the first 3 months. I didn’t vomit much, but I felt nauseous constantly (morning sickness at night? Yep.) and the only thing that helped was orange juice, I mean tons of orange juice. We had gallons in our refrigerator at all times. I never drank orange juice my entire life (I normally don’t believe in drinking my calories unless it’s wine) and after the first trimester I never touched it again. Exactly the first day of my second trimester to the day, I felt a lot better, in fact I felt great. I still craved carbs and could not stand the smell of fish, but I was doing well. I had already gained 10 pounds from the orange juice and I was well on my way to gaining a ton more from carbs which I normally didn’t eat much of either. Since this baby was my gift I was going to feed it whatever it told me it wanted…which was pasta, pizza, cupcakes (Crumbs cupcakes) and cheeseburgers. Either I was having a 30 pound baby or I was getting HUGE.
As it turns out I was not having twins. Well actually I did initially have twins, but one absorbed very early in my pregnancy (which we learned after I had my amniotic test). Dr. Wu and I were convinced I was having a girl because I was carrying as if I was having a girl and my face and neck were breaking out terribly. I was ugly, but I was pregnant!
Of course I had to confirm I was having my girl so when I had a sonogram on the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend (a little over 3 months later) I was so completely shocked when they said it was a boy. I honestly said “my daughter has a penis?” much to my husband’s amusement. I spent the rest of that long weekend repeating “I’m having a boy” just so I could wrap my head around it. It didn’t matter, I was in love with the little peanut growing inside of me, but I had no idea what to do with a boy.
I continued to see Dr. Wu twice a week through the first 6 months of my pregnancy. I could have stopped afterwards, but since he was the only new factor in this successful pregnancy, I kept going to him once a week until I became too big (around month 8) to hike to his office.
Two weeks before my due date I woke on a Sunday with a backache and by dinnertime I was in labor. My baby due November 4 arrived very quickly on October 18, 2009. A beautiful, perfect 7 lb 13 oz baby boy we named Liam.
We were thrilled with one, but when he was six months old, I got that pang. I wanted another one. I went to see Dr. Wu and told him if I were to try again, I couldn’t go through IVF. I just wanted to do acupuncture and his herbal pills (which have worked for the majority of his patients). It wasn’t only because our insurance wouldn’t cover it, I just could not go through the fertility treatments again. So Dr. Wu and I discussed a plan.
When I spoke to my husband about my thoughts on my grand plan for baby two, he said “we are so lucky to have this perfect, happy baby. We are blessed. Let’s not mess with what God has planned for us.” We’d also have to move. We had a 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment in NYC and two kids would mean a move to the burbs. You have to be beyond wealthy to raise more than one child in that city….and we aren’t, yet. Anyway, I didn’t put up much of a fight and agreed not to mess with a great thing.
A few days before New Year’s 2011 I told my husband I was late (to which he replied “late for what?”) and I took a pregnancy test. Well you could have blown me over with a feather, it was positive. Of course we thought it was a mistake so I had a blood test at the OBGYN’s office and it was positive. How the hell did I become pregnant at 44 on my own? Well I did and while I had some problems at the end of my pregnancy that had to do with my age, Owen arrived long and thin, but perfectly normal on August 8, 2011. So we like to say we got a BOGO deal. We bought one and got one free! Oh and we know live in a house in the burbs (my husband commutes daily as do I for press events).
Baby Wanted! My Struggles With Fertility Are Finally Over
If my story makes even one woman in her 30’s or 40’s who is having fertility issues and trouble getting pregnant feel they too can get get pregnant with much assistance and persistence then my job here is done. If not, Dr. Wu’s info is below. If you’re not in NYC find a reputable fertility acupuncturist in your area and book an appointment. I truly believe it made the difference. I have passed Dr. Wu’s number on to many and I know a few women who have since had success with him. I call it paying it forward. Every family that want’s a baby badly, should have one.
Dr. Yan Wu
267 5th Ave (at 29th St)
New York, NY 10016
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1 thought on “Baby Wanted! My Struggles With Fertility”
Been there, done all this Lauren. And you’re so right. It’s a tremendously difficult journey. There was no Dr. Wu in my case, just dumb luck. So happy you were successful.