Conceived Naturally After 6 IUI's and 1 IVF

by Theresa Palasciano
(Warwick, RI)

So, here I was - 31, on the verge of a divorce, recently diagnosed with Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO) and sitting across from a fertility specialist. My reason for going to the fertility clinic in the first place was for someone to say, “Everything is just fine. Just be patient.”

Unfortunately, I got the worst news of my life. I was told I had a very low ovarian reserve for women my age and I had to act quickly if I was going to do something about it. I left in tears. I had no idea what I was going to do. I knew in my heart that I was meant to be a mother.

My other reason for seeing a specialist was that I had a terrible feeling that something was wrong. During my separation and divorce, I was “dating” (online and otherwise) and there wasn't any sign of an oops moment. What was wrong with me? Well, I got my answer after I found out the results from the fertility clinic.

I had very little time to make a decision if I wanted to start fertility cycles or just let nature take it’s course. I couldn't imagine not trying. Luckily, I gave dating one last shot and fell in love with a wonderful man who wanted to have a family and was willing to try as hard as I wanted to. It takes a certain kind of person and relationship to go through all of this. This isn't easy for either person. The sacrifice, dedication, reliability, vulnerability, support, love and commitment to each other is essential.

So, we started trying. Our first 3 IUI cycles were with Letrozole (I was allergic to Clomid). During the last cycle, after one of the many times they had to draw blood, I contracted blood poisoning. The crazy thing? I was able to achieve a pregnancy while all this was going on. But on week 6, it was confirmed that there was no heartbeat and had to schedule a D&C.

So, we tried again. Our next 3 IUI cycles were with injections. This was the absolute worst. I hate needles. Having to get injected was borderline depressing. I cried every time. It was so overwhelming to think that I had to go as far as injecting myself with medication to get pregnant - something that happens every 5 seconds. Why me? Why am I being denied my one human right as a woman?

I have wonderful family support and my cousin had gone through something similar. She suggested acupuncture but like I said, I hate needles. I was at my wits end. So I went for it. I thought this might give me my best chance before I decide to try the next step - IVF. I looked up, specifically, fertility acupuncture because I wanted a specialist. I called Phoenix Fertility Center and spoke to Dr. Hwasook Lee directly. She told me, right off the bat, that my body needs a rest from all of the medication.

Hwasook was extremely patient with me. Before she even put the first needle in, I cried for about 45 minutes. And she didn't kick me out! She let me cry. It was important that I let out all of my emotions. Part of her regimen was to follow a strict diet, take lots and lots of herbal supplements, meditate, track my basal body temperature, weekly acupuncture sessions and sauna!! All of these played an intricate part in getting my body strong and healthy.

6 months after my sessions with Hwasook and following her regimen as closely as I could, I went for the IVF cycle. It was the most invasive but I felt like it was my last hope. We completed one IVF cycle, which meant more injections, an egg retrieval and the implantation. Everything went surprisingly smoothly. Then I started the estrogen patch… I had some heavy breathing and called the nurse as this was a severe side effect. I ended up in the emergency room in case it was a blood clot in my lungs. Thank goodness it wasn't. A couple of weeks later the pregnancy test came back negative. You can imagine how devastated I was. They practically got pregnant for me and it still didn't work. What was wrong with me? I’m too young for this to happen…

Hwasook insisted I try to meditate on a daily basis. I took a few months off of fertility treatments and even slowed down my acupuncture sessions since we were nearing the holidays. I did my best to meditate every morning after I woke up.

In January, 2015 I started my weekly acupuncture sessions again. I began the whole regimen again, too. Mind you, we didn’t catch my ovulation temperature spike that month because I traveled for work and I was sick with a slight fever when I returned home. As I was tracking my temperature when things were back to normal, I noticed that it wasn't going back down to my normal BBT. Hwasook told me to be patient and wait another week because she wasn't quite sure since I skipped a few days. At this point I was still late and my luteal phase was nearing on 16, 17, 18 days. I waited 1 more week. Then I just couldn't wait any more. I took a home pregnancy test and it was positive. I went another step further and took a blood test at my OB’s office. It was positive, too. I thought, Holy Jesus, this is really happening. I’m now 13 weeks pregnant and I’m right on target to be due Sep 27, 2015. All of my ultrasounds have been healthy and the baby is growing wonderfully.

I’m no expert on any of this but I can tell you what I feel was my magic formula.
Acupuncture - Hwasook helped considerably in getting my body back in check and very strong.
Supplements - this was crucial in my health and strength. It gets expensive but you can’t put a price on your health especially when it’s holistic healing.
Diet - since I was diagnosed with SIBO, I was already on a strict diet. No grains, no sugar, no yeast, no dairy. Hwasook added no raw veggies and no high sugar fruits. I can’t stress enough that everything starts in the gut. Your gut health is a vital part of your overall health and especially your immune system.
Meditation - this was the final piece to my magic formula. I practiced meditation about 10 days in a row a month or so before we conceived. I still strive to meditate daily even though it can be very difficult at times. I feel that exercising my brain has more benefits than exercising my body.

I already know that after this baby, I would want to try again. And my first stop is Hwasook at Phoenix Fertility Center. I would recommend Hwasook to anyone for any ailment. She is amazing! I’m so thankful that my journey lead me to her. After reading this, I hope yours does, too.

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