I've been reluctant to write about a series of events that lead up to me finally getting pregnant after five years of infertility. I hate people who claim that if you only eat a certain way or (insert gimmick here) you will be on the road to motherhood in no time flat. It's so condescending. That's why in the three and a half years since I had my first child - I've never told any of these stories. But I talk about so many other aspects of my life - my pregnancies, my infertility struggles, my parenting pitfalls - it seems a little strange to leave this part out.
These things I'm about to discuss could be completely coincidental, but I'm telling you about them anyway.
I had been trying to get pregnant with no luck for about five years. Well, I shouldn't say "no luck" - there were some pregnancies in that time. They all ended in miscarriages. My early thirties was a pretty emotional, tumultuous time. After some back-to-back miscarriages followed by the death of my father - I was really feeling more drained than I ever had before. I was not myself. I started searching for something to make me feel better.
This is the most ridiculous admission in the world, but one morning I got a GOOP newsletter and there was a story about a doctor who had completely changed his practice to begin helping people get healthy. He had been a heart surgeon, and when he found himself sluggish and ill he changed his diet and a lot of other things about his life changed, too. You may or may not have heard of "The Clean Program" - but that was his brainchild. It's basically a really expensive cleanse - but there is also an option to do juice stuff yourself and avoid the pricey supplements. I decided to give it a whirl.
It's hard to explain how I was feeling at the time. It was like all of that sadness from the repeated miscarriages and the death of my father was actually trapped in my body; I felt it. I felt like I was carrying it around in my bones and my tissues. I wanted to exorcize it somehow. So I gave up all sorts of things that some people think allow your body to "detox" - wheat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, eggs. I juiced twice a day and ate a mostly raw diet. At the end of the month I felt like a million bucks. I wish I kept the before and after pictures of my face; my eyes were brighter, my skin was amazing and everything was less puffy.
I was feeling great again so I decided we should resume trying to get pregnant. I started looking online for tips, as I had done for years. There was something I had seen surface in several trying to conceive forums, it was called the "Sperm Meets Egg" plan. It's a little confusing, but the gist of it is you have sex every other day starting on the eighth day of your cycle. Then once you get a positive ovulation predictor test, you have sex three days in a row or something. I don't know - it was a little much to follow. My husband and I just decided to make our own plan. It was called the "have sex every day for a month" plan. We're both terrible at math.
At about the time I finished the cleanse and started having sex constantly, I decided to start acupuncture. I had heard that some acupuncturists treat fertility - and I decided to give it a whirl. I had never tried it before, so my initial visit involved a long, emotional talk. I told her I had a pain in my heel that I had been suffering with for about two years. I also told her about my struggle with infertility.
Now, I'm sure most people don't respond to acupuncture the way I did that day - but to say that I had an out-of-body experience would be an understatement. Apparently, these types of reactions can happen if you get a good release the first time you have acupuncture done. I've never felt that kind of energy flowing through my body - it was almost like an electrical current. The pain in my foot was gone immediately. I was floored by that. I booked my next appointment.
I came back two weeks later, at which point she put her fingers on my wrist and swore she felt a "pregnancy pulse." I was thinking, "shut up lady." I had the second treatment. It wasn't as mind blowing as the first, but I had decided I was going to see her twice a month for a while, so I booked my next appointment. About a week and a half later I took a pregnancy test. It was positive.
So, this could all be a coincidence. The constant sex, the acupuncture and the healthy eating could have had absolutely zero to do with my infertility coming to an end. Honestly, had we not gotten pregnant that first month, our ridiculous plan to just have sex every day certainly would have come to an end. Who knows. It could have been a giant trifecta of placebos. Maybe it was just our time.
But after five years of pregnancy tests, miscarriages, ovulations predictor tests and strange sexual positions - I did a cleanse, had sex constantly and got some acupuncture. Then I had a baby. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
(photo: marekuliasz/ Shutterstock)