Monday, April 28, 2008


On Thursday, I went to my first acupuncture appointment. A little hole-in-the-wall office near Shaw and Fresno, the waiting room looked more like a living room in the 60s than a health practitioner's lobby. An older woman with long grey hair greeted me and let me know Tim would be out in a minute. I took a seat on the worn, oriental-patterned couch and waited.

Soon, a middle-aged Caucasian man emerged and led me to a room. We sat on two folding chairs near a doctor's-type table, high and soft, covered in worn, plaid sheets.

Tim spent a good forty-five minutes just talking to me, asking me my symptoms, writing notes, feeling my pulse, etc. He stated from my symptoms he felt I had a deficiency in progesterone (THANK YOU!) and this could be a reason I'm not getting pregnant. He also said some of my symptoms were reminiscent of a thyroid problem (a suggestion Kathryn had made a few months earlier). He suggested I get a complete panel blood test on my thyroid, not just the simple test they usually do. He also said he would like to see the results, as TCM tends to interpret them a bit differently than western doctors, who mostly just check that your numbers are in the "normal" range. Problems with your thyroid can also lead to infertility.

After our chat, I laid down on the table and he did some unusual tests involving holding a vial of different hormones and substances to see how my body reacted. These tests confirmed his theory that I was low in progesterone. Then he pulled out the needles...

It actually wasn't bad at all. First he would push around an area with his fingertips and tell me to let him know when he hit a point that was tender. Once he did, that is where he would put the needle in. A few times I felt a sharpness, but mostly, I couldn't feel the needle go in at all. After it was in I would feel a dull, aching feeling around the acupuncture point. Interestingly, after he placed one in my foot, the pressure around that point was especially achy. When I commented on how dramatic that one felt, he replied that region was connected to my sinus area. Curiously enough, I have been having major sinus problems for the last couple months. Hmmm...

After all the needles were in, he turned off the light, put a warmer on my feet, and left me to relax. It's amazing how relaxing it is to lay in quiet without falling asleep. Very peaceful.

After my time was up (about 20-30 minutes I think). He came back in and took out the needles. Then he gave me some herbs which will help to balance my body and prod it to make more progesterone on its own. He also gave me a natural progesterone cream to use.

And that was it! I felt really good for the rest of the day. I am looking forward to my next appointment on May 5th.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Calling All Babies!

I used to consider myself good with babies. I was babysitting when most of my friends were still being babysat. I started watching my nephews on a limited basis at 10 years old and started watching other people's kids at 11. I was really comfortable holding, rocking, feeding, burping, you name it!

Then I got older, wrapped up in my own life, and I babysat less and less. Once I was married and started trying to conceive, I was in Long Beach and the friends I had that were starting families lived back at home.

By the time I was back in Fresno, I had been trying unsuccessfully for a year, and I was already becoming pretty heartbroken about not having a child of my own. I avoided babies, they just made me sad. They were little, cuddly reminders of what I didn't and couldn't have.

Time went on and I slowly became less and less bitter about my own struggle. Still sad, mind you, but less bitter. It began to be easier to be around babies. Unfortunately, by this time, I had become awkwardly uncomfortable when taking care of them. I began to feel completely out of my element while holding them. It's hard to describe and even harder to believe, since I grew up "baby crazy", wanting to hold and take care of every baby around. But, that's what I had become.

Okay, so on to the purpose of my story. When I talked with the acupuncturist's office yesterday, she told me to spend more time around babies, watching them, taking care of them, etc. At first, I braced myself. Typically, when someone is talking to me about my infertility and they tell me to spend more time around kids, they are preparing to make some kind of joke about how I could have their kids or how spending time with kids may make me not want one so bad. In fact, my anesthesiologist told me this while I was preparing to go under for surgery. Kind of unbelievable, huh? Here I am, undergoing elective surgery to try to find out why I can't conceive, and he makes a joke like that. He was lucky my arm was tied down and I was too disoriented to set him straight!

Anyway, I digress. The reason the nice lady at the acupuncturist's office was telling me to spend time around babies was because they have found that "getting in touch with your mothering instincts" by spending time nurturing a child can actually help you to conceive a child. Being in the nurturing frame of mind is good for the soul and, consequently, good for the body. There seems to be some truth behind the theory and, since I am willing to try just about anything that is safe, cheap, and effective, I'll try it!

So, I am going to try to be better about participating in all things baby. I know sometimes it may make me sad, as I truly want a child of my own. Nevertheless, when I am hanging out with friends or at church, and there are babies around, I am going to try to get in touch with the mother inside me. I may look awkward or insecure, but I think it will be good for me. If for no other reason than it would be good practice.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Late last night, I wrote what felt like a prayer. I was asking God which direction I should go and what I should do next. This morning, I picked up the phone and called a local acupuncturist I had called previously. I had a long talk with his assistant and the things she was telling me just rang true. The entire conversation felt right. I made an appointment for the earliest date they had available, May 5th. She then suggested I call my insurance company to see if they'd pay for it. I dismissed that right away. I've had 4 years of paying for my own treatments. She urged me to try anyway.

Twenty minutes later, a "prescription" from my OBGYN had been sent to the acupuncturist and a pre-approval from my insurance company of all treatments my doctor "deems necessary" had been processed. It was unreal, too easy. I could not believe it!

Then, two hours later, the acupuncturist's office called. There was a cancellation and they can see me on Thursday! I am excited and a bit nervous, but anxious to start this next chapter of treatment.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Only Hope

In the posting Lost , I explained my motivation to document the music that has comforted me over the past five years as I've dealt with infertility. This is another song in my collection.


When I think about my journey with infertility, there is often much confusion. Sometimes, I feel intense frustration, like God is trying to teach me something, that I am supposed to gain something from this trail, and He is waiting for me to learn and grow before I receive this blessing. Too many questions follow...Which direction does He want me go? What should I do next? After five years, I sometimes feel clueless about what exactly He wants from me! I'll do what it takes, but what is it I am supposed to do? I can look back and see how much I've grown over the years and know that there is so much more growing I can do...but I am tired and just want it to be over.

Then, at other times, I feel a warm feeling inside telling me to just turn it over to Him. Don't worry what it is I am supposed to learn, just get through the trial day by day. Survive the hard ones and relish the good ones. He has a plan for me, and I may not know it yet, but I will someday.

Today was one of the hard days. Then, this afternoon, I happened on a song. For some reason, this song spoke to me today. Listening to the words was very emotional for me. I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort.

I want to be what God wants me to be, to be worthy of the blessings I know He has in store for me. He has not forgotten me. And, during those tough days, if hope and faith in Him is all I have to hang on to, then that should be enough.

Only Hope

There's a song that's inside of my soul.
It's the one that I've tried to write over and over again
I'm awake in the infinite cold.
But You sing to me over and over and over again.

So I lay my head back down.
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only Yours, I pray, to be only Yours
I know now You're my only hope.

Sing to me the song of the stars.
Of Your galaxy dancing and laughing and laughing again.
When it feels like my dreams are so far
Sing to me of the plans that You have for me over again.

So I lay my head back down.
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only Yours, I pray, to be only Yours
I know now, You're my only hope.

I give You my destiny.
I'm giving You all of me.
I want Your symphony, singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs, I'm giving it back.

So I lay my head back down.
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only Yours, I pray, to be only Yours
I pray, to be only Yours
I know now You're my only hope.

For all the music postings click here .

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

TCM - What to do, what to do?

Recently, I made the decision to forgo western medicine for a while and look to Traditional Chinese Medicine for a treatment plan. This was not a decision I came to lightly. There was months of research and prayers involved in making this decision and I feel really comfortable about it now.

My question is, since I have decided on a different direction in my journey, which path should I take? There are three options I am considering:

1. Using the TCM information I have, create my own treatment plan. This would include creating a diet from the foods recommended, researching and ordering my own herbal mixtures online, and providing acupressure to myself using the specialized points diagramed in my book.

2. I found a local acupuncturist that treats infertility. Notice I didn't say specializes in infertility. It's basically on his list of things he'll address. He also provides the herbs he feels will work with your treatment program.

3. I have been receiving a weekly newsletter from Hethir Rodriguez, a Holistic Healthcare Practitioner. She has recently released several programs which help a woman to boost her fertility naturally. After speaking with her, she suggested a specific program that will cleanse the body and balance hormones naturally. There is a specific diet, herbal treatment, and fertility massage instructions with the program. She has spent years practicing in her field and seems pretty knowledgeable.

I'm really unsure of which one to choose, although I do feel I need guidance through all this, which causes me to lean toward #2 or #3. I want to get started right away but I am forcing myself to take it slow and make the right decision.

Stay tuned...

Monday, April 14, 2008

East meets West

I have a new treatment plan...that's right, I said it. I am kissing western medicine goodbye for the foreseeable future. I have given western doctors 4 years to figure out my problem to no avail. So, I am giving the Chinese a chance.

A little background: I first went to a fertility specialist in July 2004. They ran all sorts of tests and in the end diagnosed me with "unexplained infertility", basically code words for "everything about you looks perfect and we don't know what's wrong so we are stamping this label on you". Then, they sent me down the same treatment path they send everybody: Clomid with injectible trigger shots to promote ovulation (even though by all accounts it appeared I ovulated fine), IUI (even though Ryan's sperm count was great and there was no evidence of a problem with intercourse or fertilization).

When these treatments didn't work, it was time to move to the next level, injectable hormones. Luckily, we did not have the money to jump into that, which gave me time to think.

As I thought about the next stage of treatment, I started to get a little angry. If everything about me looks so great, why are they giving me the same treatments as people with diagnosable fertility issues? Why are they concentrating on treatment, rather than finding or trying to fix the problem? And why, when I told them I felt I had luetal phase defect (the third phase of my cycle is too short, interfering with implantation) did they pump me full of progesterone, rather than figure out if that is indeed the problem and (if so) teach my body to produce these hormones on its own?

Most of all, why did I concentrate on the 17% success rate, and fail to recognize that this means 83% of the procedures fail. 83%.

So, I started to do a little research. I figured, hey, I can't afford the western treatments anyway, maybe I'll see what's out there. I bought a book on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and answered pages of questions as to my symptoms and characteristics. I won't lie to you, some of them seemed odd (fuzz on my tongue? huh?), but afterwards I found out that I have symptoms of Kidney yang deficiency, Spleen deficiency, and Blood deficiency. I noticed there was a chapter on Luetal Phase Defect. I flipped there and read that the most common deficiencies leading to this defect are the three I just listed. Bingo! Finally, validation that western doctors could not give me.

So, what's next? Well, I can tell you what I'm not doing. I'm not forking over $1200 and injecting my body with synthetic hormones. Maybe I will in the future, but not now. I owe it to myself to try a natural approach first. If nothing else, I will be a lot healthier and balanced when/if I decide to pursue the next step in western fertility treatment. And, who knows? Maybe I'll end up pregnant in the process!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

God is there.

"Mortality is a period of testing, a time to prove ourselves worthy to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. In order to be tested, we must sometimes face challenges and difficulties. At times there appears to be no light at the tunnel’s end—no dawn to break the night’s darkness. We feel surrounded by the pain of broken hearts, the disappointment of shattered dreams, and the despair of vanished hopes. We join in uttering the biblical plea “Is there no balm in Gilead?” We are inclined to view our own personal misfortunes through the distorted prism of pessimism. We feel abandoned, heartbroken, alone. If you find yourself in such a situation, I plead with you to turn to our Heavenly Father in faith. He will lift you and guide you. He will not always take your afflictions from you, but He will comfort and lead you with love through whatever storm you face. "

-Thomas S. Monson (April 2008)

Friday, April 11, 2008


Shared in church conference last Sunday:

Matthew 11:28-30

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you,
and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy,
and my burden is light.

Why is it so difficult to give our burdens to Christ? Perhaps it is the tendancy to want to solve it on our own? Perhaps it's pride? Whatever the reason, I hope to keep this scripture close to my heart. What a comfort it is during difficult times.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Glimpse at What Might Have Been

Last week, I went to take the CFP® test. This test was the pinnacle of what I have been working towards for the last year and a half, and the beginning of a career I never expected to have.

But, as I have learned, life doesn’t always turn out how you think it will.

On the morning of the test, I headed out the garage door, bag on my shoulder, preparing to leave for San Jose. Have you ever had one of those moments that feel like a scene in a movie? Like an out of body experience or some kind of slow-motion sequence?

This is what happened to me that morning. Sweatshirt over my arm, keys in my hand, butterflies in my stomach, I walked into the garage and towards my car. The garage door was open and the street was quiet, except for the rattling of four wheels and what can only be described as babbling. I paused in mid-step and looked up only to see myself. Well not me, actually, but what I might have been.

In front of me was a girl my age wearing a sweatsuit, hair tossed up in a messy ponytail. She was pushing a stroller down the sidewalk in front of my house. Inside was a baby of about one year. For a minute, it felt like time stood still. I stared at her, and she looked at me.

I don’t know what she was thinking (probably: why is this lady staring at me?), but I was thinking that she was who I was going to be. Ten, even twenty, years ago if you had asked me to describe who I’d be at 28, I would have described this woman pushing her child in a stroller. I would not have described the woman, bag over her shoulder, career in the making, staring at her.

It felt like an eternity, but soon she was gone. I opened the trunk and put my bag inside. I got in the car and put the key in the ignition. I waited for the tears, but they never came. Perhaps I’m not completely hollow after all. Perhaps there’s a part of my heart that is empty, but another part that is okay with who I am and where I am at.

And perhaps, someday, I’ll be pushing my baby down the street and realize I actually recognize myself after all.