Becoming My Own Patient- Our Fertility Journey
Ever since I was a little girl, my dream was to become a Mother. And not just in the way that you know that you want to have a family of your own one day, but in the way that I knew that it was my calling.
Growing up, it was literally my aspiration in every sense of the word. I took care of my dolls, feeding them, putting them to bed at night and waking up with them in the morning to do it all over again. I wrote "Mother" next to my career goals in my grade five yearbook. I was lovingly referred to "The Mama" in my close friend group. It has completely shaped who I am and what my business has become.
Over the last 8 years, I have had the incredible opportunity to "mother" hundreds of clients and their families in their fertility, pregnancy, birth and parenting journeys. Helping families and woman find their way to becoming a Mother is one of my greatest passions. That said, Lauren Mary Holistics was and is very much my first baby, and I had waited for her to grow and walk on her own before bringing in a human baby.
It wasn't until Solstice (June) of 2017 where I felt the deep ache in my womb, that it was my time now. I was attending a sisterhood retreat, when I got a call from my birth doula client that she was in labor. After spending the day with her at her birth, I returned to the retreat just in time for the closing salt bowl ceremony, where everyone had to state their intentions aloud of what they wanted to come to fruition. My head was cloudy and swimming from the birth I had just attended- I closed my eyes and thought deeply about what I wanted to call in. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a vial of Mugwort oil (an essential oil used to help strengthen labor contractions) that I used at the birth earlier. My womb ached and glowed- and I knew what was wanting to come through me.
To be fair, my husband and I knew that we would start trying eventually, so I did alot of physical and emotional work to prepare my body for a pregnancy. **(hear more about this below).** When I got home from the retreat, we tried that very same night, and I hoped that this baby would come very, very soon.
But, it didnt. Months passed and my menstrual cycle come, breaking my heart a little each time. After 4 cycles, I decided to make an appointment with my colleague, Cynthia Hnatko, Naturopath, for a check up. I felt intuitively something was up with my body, specifically my thyroid. I asked her to run a blood panel. It was at this time that we discovered that indeed, something was wrong. My TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was incredibly high, as were my antibodies. My progesterone and iron were tanked. My menstrual cycles suddenly were all over the place. I can honestly say my physical, mental and spiritual health was the lowest it had ever been. She referred me to Susan Prendergast where I received the diagnosis of Hashimoto's disease. The care provided by these two women was incredible. I am SO glad that I knew to work with them from the beginning, as I was presented with so many options. Having worked with women in the past with Hashimotos, I understood the allopathic and natural treatment protocols, how this disease affected so many parts of their life, especially their fertility.
The qoute "If you desire healing, allow yourself to become ill" perfectly sums up my experience with Hashimotos. I had been serving from an empty cup for quite some time, and burning the candle at both ends, grinding it out and taking on way too much workload. I am a huge believer that we are a byproduct of our environment, and with that, the stresses and pressures I had put on myself with my company, with the shame of not being able to get pregnant...I was buckling. I didnt share with friends or family what I had been going through, which in hindsight, made my experience more difficult because I felt so misunderstood. Finally, I decided that in December 2017, the best thing for my health was to focus on my healing, and so I took a sabbatical from December- March. All of that nourishing energy that I pour into my clients and into my potions, I poured into myself. During these 3 months, I implemented healing protocols that put my Hashimotos into near non existence and I was feeling amazing. Every blood panel was proof that a combination of diet, supplements, herbs- especially CBD- and dessicated natural thyroid (ERFA) could cure the "incurable" and I could truly heal myself. Throughout this time, we continued to try for our baby, and I dedicated myself to the Fertility Awareness Method, temping, checking cervical positioning and fluids to make sure everything was optimal. Everyday, I drew a fertility ritual bath,where I would listen to this conscious conception meditation. I read the reviews and purchased this meditation that all these women claimed helped them in their journey. This meditation was always the same. You are led down a street,into a park with a playground. You sit on the park bench and watch the children play. Then, there is supposed to be this part where a child, or multiple children will approach you - and supposedly, these are your children. I did this meditation daily for 3 months, and every time, no children.
Even though I was making so much progress with my hashimotos healing, this was hard. Really hard. I worked in the fertility feild for years! Why is this happening to me? Even though I knew from my experience that things can take time, sometimes years. I knew that the option of using medical assistance was there if I choose. I tried being patient. Acupuncture and talking things through really helped- this is where Danielle Peters from Ripple Effect Wellness comes in. This woman listened to me with an open heart and I always left her treatments feeling lighter and hopeful. It was this feeling that I had support and community and I wasnt alone on this journey. Working with acupuncture also led me to a woman named Tacie Kyle, a RMT who specializes in Mayan Abdominal Massage/Arvigo Therapy. I cant say enough amazing things about her- she spent nearly 2 hours with me reassuring me that everything was going to be fine, and made a few adjustments on my uterus to get it into optimal position (apparently my uterus was lazy! lol) When I was paying for my appointment I asked her when I should rebook and she said, I kid you not, "Ill never see you again because youll be pregnant soon!". I took it with a grain of salt, but that little comment gave me alot of hope.
Around Easter, I was hoping that this was going to be the month. All of my hormones great, my diet was perfect, I was feeling amazing. It had to be it! How perfect would that timing be to share with friends and family? Of course, it was also the time of Ostara, a time to gather your eggs, figuratively and literally. I had perfomed some fertility rituals around this powerful time. It was going to happen! And then, on Easter Sunday, my menstrual cycle came. And something inside of me snapped. I was doing ALL the things. What is wrong with me? Why wasnt this working? I balled my eyes out, getting out my diva cup for another cycle. My husband suggested that maybe we just let it go, for a while. For my mental health, and a busier work schedule in April- letting it go was probably for the best.
So, I stopped tracking and worrying about it. I went about my life, knowing I would come back to it again in a few months where we could even talk about over other fertility options.
I started drinking my nightly glass of vino. I even enjoyed a few puffs of a high CBD strain called Charlottes Web, on top of my CBD oil regime, to help me relax. I continued with my diet (autoimmune paleo- if you were wondering!), supplements, and bi weekly acupuncture dates with Danielle.
And then one day, as I am laying on the acupuncture table relaxing into the needles, I'm there- sitting at the park, watching children play in the playground. The same place I've been many many times before in my meditations, but this time, no walking through the street, through the park to get there. Two children, a boy and a girl, walk up to me and I hold them in my arms. The only thing I can think to say is..."please dont come at once. please let me savour each of you one at a time" and then there is a knock at the door, Danielle comes to take the needles out. I mentioned it to my husband when I got home and I kept that vision in my heart.
Two weeks later, my period is 2 days late. I text one of my best girlfriends, Katie, telling her that Im feeling crampy and periody but she suggests to go get a pregnancy test anyway. Im heart sick at the thought of it, what if its just another negative? And then I was back in the headspace I was at last month? I was in denial. I thought I should take some Evening Primrose capsules to help ease my cramps, but then as I put them into my mouth, my gut feeling is telling me to spit it out...and get your ass to the store to get the test.
That day, I learned that I was with a child. It was the most surreal feeling. I didnt cry, I didnt jump for joy, I was just....floating. It has literally taken me, well, just about 20 weeks to believe this is all for real. I can honestly say that I have never felt so...on purpose in my entire life. What do you do when your dreams come true? Its a feeling of contement and wonder.
Note: As much as you are probably thinking...yes! Sometimes you just need to let the stress of infertility go in order to conceive! As much as that may or not be true, hearing someone tell you to let go of your dream, is actually the last thing a woman trying for a child wants to hear. Let her get to that point, if it needs to, but please, dont ever encourage her to give up on her dream of becoming a mother.
I am sitting in my baby's future nursery writing this. We just set up some of the furniture yesterday and each little kick, each small gift, each appointment with my midwife feels unreal. I have had the smoothest, calm pregnancy so far and I am truly blessed.
I am truly lit up now when I get to tell my story. Our story confirms my beliefs in the roles of natural medicine in fertility, pregnancy and beyond. It confirms my belief in sisterhood, and that it really, REALLY does take a village, even during conception and fertility. It is a feeling of pride not only in myself but also in this baby, for allowing me to take that journey of healing before making a place here in my womb. Without that journey, I would not have been able to sit in what so many of my clients experiencing infertility have experienced- and for that, and all the lessons to come from this little eggplant, I am truly grateful.
**Sharing the knowledge that I have around natural conception, pregnancy, and postpartum is something I am incredibly passionate about. If you are struggling with hormonal issues, are thinking about starting to try for a pregnancy, are currently TTC, or are struggling with fertility, I would love for you to you to join me at my upcoming workshop, Empowered Fertility + Pregnancy, Saturday Sept. 23 at Navina Yoga. Here are the details and ticketing information. **