If you haven’t already heard- I’m pregnant! Just about 39 weeks pregnant, actually! With another miracle! For some reason I haven’t been able to write the story until now. But every week I have a blog reader email me and ask me for the details. Many of them have one child and are hoping that I didn’t have to do all 79 Things again to get pregnant, and that it was easier having the first.
Well, I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is, I did do less mind-body work, out of lack of time. The bad news is, I did MORE non-toxic overhaul and a MORE intense diet!
Of course, I was also older (35), and I was still dealing with the same diagnoses- High FSH, Low AMH, Low Antral Follicle Count (taken together these mean Diminished Ovarian Reserve), Endometriosis, MTHFR mutation (Single), and recurrent early loss. In addition to my losses while trying for our first, I had three chemical pregnancies and one very early miscarriage (5.5 weeks) while trying for our second miracle.
So, here is my unadulterated story of trying for a second miracle. It includes the story, the timeline, and what I did differently. ENJOY!!
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My Second Miracle Story
I had my first miracle in May 2015 at 33 years old. When I went for my 6-week post birth checkup, my midwife asked what kind of birth control we planned on using. I laughed- yeah right. Nursing around the clock and a gajillion infertility diagnoses and infertility specialists who said I’d never get pregnant with my own eggs? No birth control for us, thank you.
She laughed at ME and said, “Oh sure, I see people like you all the time, and you wind up pregnant three months later!” And so, my hopes began to rise.
See, people seem to think once you have one baby after infertility you are “cured.” But, you aren’t. You just received an amazing miracle.
But, every time I’d hear a comment like this, I’d think, “well, maybe!” And so I went home from that appointment and my husband and I started baby dancing.
At three months postpartum (when I went back to work and switched to pumping part time instead of nursing), I got my period back. “Yes!!!” I thought. “I’m fertile!!!!” Haha. Joke was on me!
Fast forward one year. My periods had started to get very heavy and painful again- I took this to mean that my endometriosis was getting worse after a brief reprieve from the pregnancy. There is a myth that pregnancy “cures” endometriosis, but it doesn’t. However, not ovulating slows it down and can make it a bit better for awhile.
Then, in the spring/summer of 2016, I got pregnant. Four times. Three chemical pregnancies, immediately followed by an early miscarriage. I called my fertility doctor (reproductive endocrinologist at Shady Grove), who ran day 3 tests which were not great. FSH wasn’t terrible for me at a 15, but still very high for normal people. I visited my acupuncturist but she refused to give me herbs while nursing. Both doctor and acupuncturist said to call when I finished breastfeeding.
When my son was about 15 months I decided it was time to get serious about trying again despite what the doctor and acupuncturist said. BUT I was still nursing and I wasn’t willing to quit. What if I never got pregnant again? What if this was my one shot at breastfeeding? I wasn’t going to quit early and then regret it for the rest of my life.
Even though my periods were still wacky in length (changing every month) I decided I would go ALL IN on the diet and mind-body work. We already had done the full non-toxic overhaul and had stuck with it. Well, after about 2 months, I was suffering from fatigue, low blood-pressure, and depressed mood.
I went to my doctor who ran a ton of tests- thyroid, iron, mono, etc. The nurse pulled me aside. She said, “Did I hear you were nursing a toddler and on a crazy diet?” I confirmed this. She said, “Go home and eat a piece of bread with peanut butter and a banana. I bet you feel better.” Well, I did, and she was right. I gave up on “all the things” and went back to eating whatever I felt like and trying not to concentrate on getting pregnant.
Around February 2017 my husband started getting nervous. I was still breastfeeding, my periods were still wacky, and we were getting older. He wanted me to stop breastfeeding so we could do ALL THE THINGS again. I wanted to make it to two years or nursing my miracle. We agreed I would start the weaning process, and I would start whatever diet, herbs, smoothies, supplements, etc., I could while breastfeeding, and that as soon as I stopped nursing I would go ALL IN.
The next few months are detailed in the timeline below. The long and short of it is that I completely weaned at the end of May, did ALL THE THINGS (mostly), and got pregnant in July. Here are the gory details of everything I did! At the bottom of the post is the comparison of what I did differently from the first time!
February 2017– I started gently weaning my son. I also started praying like crazy. We had an amazing trip to Paris where I prayed a lot to St. Anne (a fantastic fertility saint) and St. Therese of Lisieux (my confirmation saint). I also brought a flower to the grave of Victor Noir in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery- he is a fertility symbol there. I ordered the AVA bracelet to track my wacky cycles and try to figure out when I was ovulating and what was going on with my luteal phase.
March 2017– Started the fertility diet except allow whole wheat and all fruits including bananas. Start CoQ10 (my favorite is the BioQuinone Active Gold), and daily fertility smoothie and herbal infusion. Continued prenatals, probiotics, Calcium, and DHA/Omega 3s. In late March I got the stomach flu and had to do ginger ale, white rice, and saltines for a week. Couldn’t stomach smoothie or infusion for two weeks. Diet busted. Ava bracelet shows my luteal phase is too short, suggesting a progesterone issue (probably from nursing).
April 2017– Restarted fertility diet, smoothie, and infusion. Also started Lemon-ginger drink around ovulation, which had Vitamin E in it (I tried to do it every day, but it was just too many beverages!). Started daily bone broth. Added a food-based Vitamin C on days I didn’t do the lemon drink, and added a good methylated folate. Started seed cycling (I promise to write a blog post on this at some point!!). Started hubby on daily male smoothie, and some supplements tailored to his needs- a multivitamin, folate, zinc, cod liver oil, and R-Lipoic Acid. Of course we were both taking our daily 2 brazil nuts! Hubby also severely limited booze and caffeine, and started watching all his lifestyle activities. Read here for general tips on Male Fertility, and here for everything my dear husband did! Ava bracelet continued to show my luteal phase is too short, suggesting a progesterone issue (probably from nursing).
May 2017– Started adding in the mind-body work. I participated in the FabFertile Mindfulness Fertility Group program which helped me jump start my self-care work, and helped me to restart my gratitude and mindfulness practices. I did A TON of prayer, especially to St. Gianna Boretta Molla and St. Rita of Cascia. I visited both of their shrines in Pennsylvania that month to pray to them. I got to hold the relics at the shrine of St. Gianna! When I prayed at St. Rita’s shrine she told me that I am already healed and that my baby girl is on her way. Started trying to do the Circle & Bloom Natural Cycle Program every day. Started trying to do visualization and yoga, but it was hit or miss on any given day. At the end of May 2017 I stopped nursing completely. Ava bracelet continues to show my luteal phase is too short, suggesting a progesterone issue (probably from nursing).
June 2017– First day not breastfeeding I called acupuncturist and started seeing her one to two times a week and started taking Chinese herbs tailored to the time of my cycle. Upped my game with the diet by eliminating wheat completely and started focusing on meeting the perfect daily macronutrient ratios according to the latest research. This was a big tweak for my diet, as it meant I needed to eat more meat than I did when I conceived my son. So, instead of having organic chicken or turkey 1-3 times a week, plus organic free-range beef 1-2 a month, I was having chicken or turkey once a day, and beef once or twice a week. It was the only way to hit the right protein ratios (read more about this research and how to figure out your “macros” here!)! I also eliminated bananas, and other high-sugar fruits and veggies, just like I had the first time. I continued to struggle with the mind-body work, doing Circle & Bloom sometimes, but not every day like with my son. Started taking vitex for the first time in my life to try and help my short luteal phase, which was continuing. Hubby and I tried to have sex every day like we did with our first conception, but it was difficult with a toddler running around. Weekend naptime was golden, weekdays were more difficult.
July 2018– Continued with all of the above. Got CD 3 testing, and my FSH is 9!! Woohoo!! First time in my life with a normal FSH reading! Must be the months of wheatgrass in my smoothie! 🙂 But I only have 1 follicle (or maybe 2, the ultrasound technician wasn’t sure if it was a cyst or another follicle). Got a full mayan abdominal massage during my follicular period (read my post about it here!). Got nervous about vitex and stopped taking it around Cycle Day 14 (afraid it would cause an issue during luteal period). Forgot to wear Ava bracelet for two days and totally screwed up its readings. Ava said I ovulated on CD 17, but I had NO cervical mucus or ovulation pain like I usually do. Hubby and I keep trying to baby dance every day, just in case.
August 7, Cycle Day 32. Lots of negative pregnancy tests. It’s a full moon, and I receive a womb blessing from a coworked who is an intuitive spirit worker. I tell her I am waiting for my period as all the tests are negative, but she thinks I am pregnant with a little girl. She says she can see the light of the embryo traveling from my fallopian tube to my uterus.
August 8, Cycle Day 33. I meet with my Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) at Shady Grove (my “infertility” doctor). She is excited about my FSH levels and wants to try me on Clomid or do an IUI. I know both would be terrible ideas for me. I ask for a pregnancy blood test- just to be sure. It comes back completely negative- zero HCG.
August 9, Cycle Day 34. My acupuncturist says if I am not pregnant then we need to switch herbs from luteal support to menstruation support. I START TAKING THE HERBS TO BRING MY PERIOD. (I still can’t believe I did this! Always remember, it ain’t over til Aunt Flo shows up!)
August 10 Cycle Day 35. I dream of positive pregnancy tests and being pregnant. Ava bracelet shows my basal body temperature decreasing as if I am not pregnant, but my resting pulse rate increasing, as if I am pregnant.
August 11, Cycle Day 36 (a Friday). A very faint POSITIVE HOME PREGNANCY TEST. Woohoo! I call my RE and ask to come in for a blood test and for a progesterone prescription since my luteal phases have been so darn wacky. She refuses as it is a Friday and they are fully booked. The nurse says, “We’ll do a blood test on Monday; if you are still pregnant then we will prescribe progesterone.” Ugh. Luckily, I have a leftover progesterone prescription in my medicine cabinet and start using them anyway. I’m too worried about my wacky cycles to not.
Over the weekend the line grows darker!
August 14, Cycle Day 39– positive blood HCG of 120!
August 16-positive blood HCG of 304!
August 18– continued doubling of HCG with 805!
August 24– Ultrasound confirms gestational sac in uterus (phew, no ectopic!), but no fetal pole or heartbeat seen. Lots of praying!
September 7- (63 days after last menstrual period began)- Ultrasound confirms a heartbeat!!! Woohoo!!!!
What I did differently – An Overview
If you follow the blog, you know to get pregnant the first time I did a whopping 79 Things to get Happy, Healthy, and Pregnant. Here is a summary of what I did differently this time:
- I did seed cycling
- I tried vitex (sort of- I chickened out mid-month and stopped)
- I did the lemon-ginger tonic
- I received a full mayan abdominal massage from a practitioner
- I ate more meat after learning about protein macros for fertility
- I was obsessive about eliminating gluten
- I eliminated ALL soy, including the fermented soy products
- We had even more non-toxic switches in our kitchen and lives after years of transitioning (for example, we installed awesome water filter)
- I tracked my cycle (using Ava bracelet)
- I did not do daily meditation/visualization, although I tried
- I did not do daily walking or yoga, although I tried
- I did not do dream journaling
- I only occasionally did Fertile Heart imagery and body work
- I did not have reiki done (although it the Mayan Abdominal massage sure felt like reiki!!)
- I didn’t visit my hypnotherapist, although I was planning on it
- We didn’t have sex every single day– although we tried
As you can see the big difference was a lot less mind-body work. Why do I think I was able to get pregnant without it? I think there are a number of huge reasons:
- I’d already dealt with my emotional fears about pregnancy and childbirth BEFORE getting pregnant with my son via hypnotherapy and the Fertile Heart practice.
- I had a great first pregnancy and first birth, so I didn’t have new fears.
- I’d already become at peace with my infertility diagnoses and wasn’t struggling with anxiety or depression from them. Heck, I was blogging about it!
- I had reason to believe in miracles.
- It was easy to visualize myself pregnant and giving birth since I had done it before- I didn’t need elaborate guides to help me.
- My husband and I agreed that if we weren’t pregnant after six months after I stopped breastfeeding that we would pursue other ways of having our next child. In other words, I was confident that our family would grow in one way or another, so I didn’t have the overwhelming fear of not being a parent that sometimes comes with primary infertility. And, I’ve always had in my heart that I want to adopt, so that would be a blessing in and of itself.
Phew! There is my story!! I hope for those of you as obsessed with fertility details as I am this has been helpful! Please let me know what else you would like to know!
Blessings on all your fertility journeys– baby dust to all my readers!!
All photos by the wonderful Aiste of BeeMePhoto!
How I got Happy, Healthy & Pregnant!
Want to know how I got happy, healthy, and pregnant in less than 3 months after 2 years of infertility and miscarriages?
You need my list of the 79 diet and lifestyle changes I made that transformed my life and brought my miracle baby to me!
I would like to say congratulations on your second miracle, and thank you so much for writing this blog. It helped me a great deal during the last 4 months.
I was “diagnosed” with diminished ovarian reserve (High FSH, Low AMH, Low Antral Follicle Count), in January 2018. I am 32 years old.
I started reading your blog and following your advice. I even printed your “79 Things to get pregnant” and I keep it on my bedside table to check off the things I accomplish.
And I have seen great improvement in my situation! In January, my obgyn could see only 1 follicle between the 2 ovaries. Now in April, I have 6 follicles, 3 in each ovary. My doctor is more and more motivated to put me on a treatment to stimulate the ovaries for possible IVF, but the more follicles I see month after month, the least I want to do the ovary stimulation.
I am very confident that I will soon have a little miracle of my own, naturally. I will let you know when it happens 🙂
Thank you again for your important work. xx
Confident Mama– I’m so glad the blog is helpful!!! You are working so hard!!!!! 🙂 Keep journeying towards your little miracle, and I can’t wait to hear when you reach her or him!!!!! xoxo Anna
I will never have the words to thank you enough for the work you do.
I AM PREGNANT! After only 3 months of following your advice, my condition drastically changed and we were able to conceive a little miracle naturally, even after doctors told me it was going to be difficult, if not impossible. It’s a baby girl due around January 5!
I hope that more women struggling with infertility will come across your blog, because I truly believe that our miracle baby is the result of all the lifestyle changes my husband & I did, inspired by you.
From our little family-to-be, thank you.
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This makes me so happy!!! I love how confident you were back in April, and it happened!!!! Congrats! 🙂 Email me a picture of your baby when you have it!!
Anna, what wonderful, deep and intuitive work you’ve done. Your summary at the end of all your mindsets and overcoming fears is inspiring! I bet all this work has helped you in SO many ways even beyond pregnancy. You are expecting a little girl? She is so lucky to have you as a mother and female role model. Love to you and your family!
Thank you Sabrina!!! Yes, this work has helped me in so many ways, including in dealing with my own natural anxiety. I am hoping that this work will help me raise children who know many creative ways to manage their emotions and be healthy, happy people!!
Great blog post I really enjoyed it. Thanks for all the great info as always. What made you decide to ear fruits this second time? I’m planning to start a fertility diet and was wondering if I should try to exclude the sugary fruits.
Hi Bon!! I actually did eat LOW sugar fruits when TTC for both pregnancies! So, plenty of berries, limited amounts of clementines or half an apple, etc., and NO bananas or dates or anything like that. Its all about total sugar load at a sitting but I couldn’t handle counting carbs all the time, so I just allowed myself unlimited berries and then watched intake on the rest!
Congratulations on your second precious baby! And thank you for sharing the personal details of your story with all those of us out in “infertility land.” You are a blessing!
Thank you Elisabeth!!! 🙂
WOW! I am so inspired by your story. I am so so very happy for you and your family. Your story is very similar to mine, however I am 10 years older and my husband and I have been trying for 5 years. I hope your fair dust, advise and blessings trickle our way as we now embark on starting a routine to happy healthy baby(ies). I to was told I have one chance otherwise consider a donor. However, If I can reset my body/ hormones/ health and conceive natural, we would so forever be grateful. Thank you for sharing your story and creating this blog. I have found it very helpful thus far (AVA bracelet!!! – What who knew?!).
Sending you many blessings and baby dust!!! I’m so glad you like the blog :-)!!! Keep me posted on your story 🙂
I’m very inspired by your story and have been going through a similar body/home/life detox for the last 2yrs. I had questions re: your HCG levels for all of your pregnancies—were all or most of them slow to rise or undetectable until about 5wks? I know in this post for your 2nd child, HCG was detected in wk 5, but am also wondering about the others. I’ve read that some women who have hormonal imbalances, PCOS, endometriosis, or are in perimenopause tend to have slow-rising HCG, which still often leads to a healthy baby. It’s called a Stealth/Cryptic Pregnancy. Have you read much on this and do you think this is what was happening to you? I did IUI 4wks ago, my HCG & urine tests have been negative to date but my progesterone is high. I feel pregnant and have several non-pms pregnancy symptoms. I’m getting an ultrasound & pelvic exam to confirm either way in 12-days. Wish it was sooner but it’s the Thanksgiving holiday delay! BTW – Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! x
I’m so sorry I missed responding to this! What happened??? And NO I have not heard of these Stealth/Cryptic pregnancies but I am absolutely fascinated. My first pregnancy I detected right at CD28 and positive HCG blood test the next day. So I was just assuming with the second it was a late ovulation. I’m totally going to google this!!
Hi Anna, thank you so much for your story and amazing blog. I may have missed your reasons, but why did you stop taking the vitex?
Honestly I just got nervous. Someone messaged me on Instagram and said they thought Vitex was the reason for their miscarriages and although I knew they were probably wrong it got me nervous. And then I read that it can sometimes cause uterine cramping. Now– the internet will tell you almost everything can cause uterine cramping, so you’d wind up not doing anything after ovulation. And I drink red raspberry infusion after ovulation, for goodness sakes! But, I just got nervous about the Vitex and stopped it. Does that make sense? But I think its possible it had already helped.
Hi Anna –
Your story is so insipirational. Do you think you could have gotten pregant without weaning? I ask because I’m in the same boat you were in, and my little girl loves to nurse, she lights up and giggles and I nurse her, but i’ve also experienced two early miscarriages in 2018 both about the 6.5 week mark. I really want to give her a sibling but how do I wean her? She’s 2.5 and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. We co-sleep and she nurses to fall asleep. I feel like we can still do this naturally, I’m 44 and hubby is 48. I’m praying that with some diet changes and clean living we can have another miracle. I see an accupuncturist once a week and got pregnant this last time just three months after I started seeing her. Feel like we’re so close. Is weaning the key?
Thank you for all you do!!
Happy New year!! Unfortunately I really do feel like weaning was the key for me. In addition to my acupuncturist refusing to give me herbs and my RE not being willing to work with me at all while breastfeeding, it was also giving me a short luteal cycle. Also, I believe my body knew, in its wisdom, that it couldn’t sustain both breastfeeding and a healthy pregnancy, AND keep my body nourished. It wouldn’t have let me get pregnant while nursing. And, I have to say, weaning my son was way easier than I thought it would be. I started around 20 months and finished at 24 months. We were down to just the morning/wake-up nursing by the end, and he didn’t miss it when we stopped. No tears, no fuss! Baby dust!
Hi Anna. Happy New Year to you! Thank you so much for responding. If I could bother you with one more question, how did you wean?
Hi Ana/Ever Hopefuls! I weaned very, very slowly, over multiple months. I slowly eliminated feedings – replacing day time feedings with cuddles and organic keifer in a silicone pouch he could suck out of. Night time we started doing shorter and shorter nursing. I would say, “just one nurse okay?” And he would nurse for 30 seconds, and then we’d go to sleep. I would explain that we wouldn’t nurse in the middle of the night anymore- not until the sun came up. He wasn’t happy about that the first night, but only cried for about 30 seconds, and I snuggled him back to sleep. The morning wake-up was last, and I did it during vacation when he was too excited to wake up and see grandpa and play than to nurse. Good luck!
Hi Anna, I am so glad I found your blog! Have already made several changes to my diet (to be fair I am Paleo for about a year now, so it was not that bad) and household. I was wondering what’s your opinion on Ava bracelet? Would you say it made a big difference with your second pregnancy? Thank you in advance
Hi Anna, you said your RE wanted to start you on Clomid or do an IUI but you knew that would be a terrible idea. Why did you not want to try either (was it because you felt you were already pregnant or some other reason)?
I think they both would have been bad ideas for several reasons, including:
1- With my history of High FSH and Low AMH there is a good chance I wouldn’t react successfully to meds, even though my numbers were a bit better then. Why spend the time and money and effort when it probably wouldn’t work? Natural conception is almost always easier for High FSH/Low AMH.
2- I was working so hard to get my body in balance, if I started doing Clomid or meds for an IUI my body would get totally out of balance. My lining would thin from the meds, my body would stop producing the balanced amounts of estrogen and progesterone, thus making it harder and harder for me to conceive naturally, and putting me on the medicated train towards IVF or donor eggs/embryos, somewhere we were not willing to go at all the second time around.
3- There are long-term risks associated with ovulation-stimulating drugs that just didn’t seem worth the low probability of success.
4- I had to keep my head in the game. I know that natural conception is possible for me if I buckle down and DO EVERYTHING. If I start playing with meds, its like I’m throwing all that out the window.
Does that make sense?
Why did you stop having wheat?
Hello! Thanks for sharing all this helpful info! I was wondering if when you make your daily smoothies, do you put both of the seeds in one smoothie? Or do you two smoothies, one type of seed in one, and the other seed in the second smoothie?
Hi! I am local to the DMV, do you mind sharing your local mayan abdominal massage practitioner’s info?
Hi Mallory! Unfortunately the woman I saw practices in Maine! I saw her while I was on vacation up there. She is amazing- Hannah Neuman if you ever travel up there. Otherwise, use this tool to search: https://arvigotherapy.com/arvigo-practitioners/
This is so inspiring.
It really gives us hope. I never been pregnant and so far all look alright, but there are so many things beyond “normal” period and normal exams.
This is the proof miracles exist, and a lot of times they are made by ourselves so God can help.
You and I share many of the same health issues, though a few vary a bit… But after 5 years and 5 losses, we had our miracle baby (a TRUE miracle as I had stopped taking and doing all the things and by the time I even got on progesterone, I should have miscarried but I didn’t)! That was in 2016… Since then I’ve had another 5 losses… My miracle didn’t “fix” my issues. God simply had mercy on my husband and I and gave us a wonderful blessing! But that precious little boy wants a baby sister and I keep praying for a daughter and though my husband is at the point where he no longer hopes or prays for another miracle, I keep asking God to give us just one more or take away this longing. I have a relic from St. Gerard… I’ve prayed to our Blessed Mother and the Saints and our Lord… I’ve tried to do some of these things but intend to try more and see what happens. Hoping that I feel healthier overall and get a better grip on my wacky cycles. Thanks for sharing your story. God bless you and your family!