“Pregnancy is a process that invites you to surrender to the unseen force behind all life.”
On Mother’s Day last year, the ending of my first pregnancy began.
I can’t explain how I know that it began that day, since the actual miscarriage didn’t start until the next day; all I know is that sometime on that Sunday afternoon, a deep sadness settled over me, and that night, unable to think about anything else, I went to bed early. I lay there sobbing, uncontrollably, for three hours.
The miscarriage wasn’t a surprise. A few days before Mother’s Day, the doctor told me that although I was 8 weeks pregnant, the embryo had stopped growing around 6 weeks. He said my body would most likely miscarry within a week, and that we’d simply have to wait and see.
I tried to stay positive–spending hours visualizing a miracle healing and reassuring the Universe that I wanted to keep that baby—to no avail. I believe that Sunday night, Mother’s Day, was when the baby’s spirit decided that it wasn’t the body for him and the sadness I felt was a result of him leaving.
The next day, the physical part of the miscarriage began. It lasted a few days, and while the physical pain was great, the emotional pain was the worst pain I have ever experienced. The grief was so visceral and all-consuming that I couldn’t fathom how so many other women have moved through this—going to work, continuing to interact with friends and family, raising children they already have.
The devastation was so pronounced that my husband and I even questioned whether or not we should try again; whether we could survive another loss, if we were lucky enough to get pregnant a second time. On top of all that was the fear that we might not be that lucky.
You see, when we’d decided 10 months prior that we wanted to have children, I had immediately gone to my gynecologist to find out if my 40-year-old body was fertile, only to be told that my ovarian reserve (approximately how many eggs I had left) was miniscule.
My doctor recommended we go straight to IVF, saying it was my only real chance.
I didn’t like that answer.
I believe in the power of my body to heal itself, and I really didn’t want to jump straight to medical interventions without first trying to conceive naturally. In fact, I wanted to avoid medical interventions altogether if at all possible. Despite the doctor’s recommendation, my husband agreed with me, and we set our intention to get pregnant naturally.
Of course, I couldn’t ignore what the data was telling me. I knew that to purposefully feed our intention I would have to do something… potentially lots of somethings to heal my body.
Last month, I gave you my top 4 ways to feed your intention for bodily health. Now, I want to tell you how I used those steps to feed my intention to conceive naturally three times, and to get where I am today: naturally 32 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby boy.
How I used my own suggestions on purposefully feeding intention to conceive naturally (three times) after being told by my doctor that I’d need to go straight to IVF:
- Get Advice from Trustworthy People: Seek out sources of information that will inspire you and give you relevant, applicable guidance.
As soon as I was told my ovarian reserve was low (as measured by AMH, the anti-mullerian hormone), I began seeking research online about how to increase this number. I poked around MedLine Plus and other databases for medical journals, and in the process, I kept an eye out for info on other causes of infertility that could also be playing a role.
I discovered that, in addition to a low AMH level, there were a lot of other things that could be impacting my chances of getting pregnant: other hormonal imbalances, thyroid issues (I have low levels of thyroid antibodies), uncontrolled autoimmune disease (I have psoriasis and low levels of antibodies for Celiac disease), dysbiosis (i.e., an imbalance in my gut bugs), uncontrolled inflammation and nutrient deficiencies, just to name a few.
Based on this new information, I sought out resources about how to identify where my specific imbalances could be and how to fix them. Among others, these resources included books like Dr. Sara Gottfried’s The Hormone Cure, my Integrative & Functional Nutrition practitioner training, a naturopath who specializes in herbs to heal the body, various tests for identifying specific hormone imbalances, and friends who had used natural methods to get themselves pregnant after struggling to become so.
All of these resources helped me understand the steps that might be necessary to improve my fertility and help me get pregnant naturally.
- Set Manageable Goals: Identify actions that will move you toward your end goal and DO them.
Unsurprising to anyone who knows me, after doing the research, I put together a spreadsheet of all the things I could try to improve my fertility. At first the list was big and overwhelming, because there are a ton of different things that might help a person’s fertility depending on what is preventing a woman’s body from being a welcoming and healthy place for a new human to grow. So, I prioritized the list based on what I knew to be true about my body and how much time and effort I was willing to give each day, and I started working my way down it.
I started including foods in my diet that traditional cultures believe boost fertility, like orange colored fruits and vegetables, liver, and maca root. I took supplements to correct nutritional deficiencies identified in my blood tests. I began meditating as a form of stress management, and, as recommended in Aimee Raupp’s Yes, You Can Get Pregnant, I used affirmations and visualizations to reinforce the vision of me pregnant with a healthy baby. I tracked my cycle—testing my ovulation pattern and checking for cervical changes. I received acupuncture treatments every week or two, and I completed whatever protocol was assigned by my naturopath to fix a particular imbalance. (If you want to read a particularly funny story about how I ended up with a head to toe rash in the process, check out my newsletter from March of last year! Fair warning that it might be TMI.)
In short, I did as much as I felt comfortable doing. I set manageable goals balanced between being obsessive and realistic, alleviating my concern that I wasn’t doing enough to help me achieve my dream. And I did them.
- Commit to a Practice: Continue moving toward what you want to achieve, even when it doesn’t feel quite “right.”
Once I had my routine down, I stuck to it… for months. In fact, it took seven months for me to get the “all clear” from my acupuncturist and my naturopath that they thought the imbalances we had identified were taken care of and my body was ready to get pregnant.
Even though there were days that I did not want to swallow another capsule or put my feet up while praising the fertile, welcoming nature of my uterus, I kept at it. Sure, there were days that I missed a meditation or didn’t dry brush my body to help my lymphatic system move efficiently because I was too busy with work or had a social engagement that kept me away from the house or was fed up with all the effort. But most days, I took pleasure in checking each item off my to do list, believing that it was making a difference to my health and that each action was feeding my intention to become pregnant.
Without it being written out like a sticker chart for a six year old, I’m not sure I would have stayed on track. If ever I ever started to doubt the “why” of what I was doing, I simply reminded myself of my intention and kept moving forward. I wouldn’t say it was easy, but it was easier than the alternative of using an intervention I didn’t want or living with the question “what if I had just done X, Y or Z for one more day?”
- Adjust as You Go: Evaluate your progress and be willing to make adjustments when you realize your actions aren’t feeding your intention.
When my other healthcare practitioners said everything looked good, I couldn’t think of anything else to do and still wasn’t pregnant, I went to a fertility specialist to evaluate my progress, hoping he could tell me whether or not I was wasting my time or if, in fact, my efforts were paying off.
Over a few appointments, he confirmed that my hormones were now balanced, saying my AMH levels looked like that of a 20 year old! He also determined that I had plenty of eggs and that my fallopian tubes were open to allow passage of sperm to the egg, so it was just a matter of time (and the right sperm finding the right egg). It was nice to have his objective evaluation, and my husband and I agreed that we were willing to continue putting in the effort for at least a few more months.
Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long—I became pregnant within a few weeks of receiving the doctor’s feedback!
Of course, you already know how that pregnancy ended. After the miscarriage, the doctor (who I must say was incredibly compassionate) said we could simply wait a few more months and see if we could get pregnant again before trying any medical interventions.
After we had moved through our grief, my husband and I evaluated our intention to ensure we were willing to go through the pain again, if it still wasn’t the right sperm with the right egg at the right time. We decided our intention hadn’t changed, and we celebrated the fact that I had gotten pregnant naturally, because that meant it could happen again.
I started back at step #1 to ensure there weren’t more helpful resources or more appropriate actions given the “post-miscarriage, but clearly fertile” reality.
We went through this cycle a second time. Unfortunately, in addition to many months of not becoming pregnant and sometimes not even ovulating, we also had a second miscarriage. With each passing month, we checked in, evaluating whether or not we still had the same intention to become parents or if we wanted to change our focus. And with each decision to stay the course, I looked for new ways to boost my fertility, eventually adding more obscure items, like listening to binaural beats for the reproductive system. If ever we decided our intention had changed, at least I would be confident that I had done everything I could reasonably do to become pregnant naturally.
All told, it took 19 months from the time we set our intention to become pregnant naturally with a healthy baby for that to become a reality the third time.
We used food, supplements, homeopathic remedies, herbs, visualizations, meditation, affirmations, binaural sounds, castor oil packs, dry brushing, bouncing, blood tests, home hormone tests, functional medicine tests, acupuncture, therapy, a gratitude practice, timed intercourse (which we still made fun!), exercise and a lot of dedication to bring this dream to life.
The best part about this journey is that, in addition to achieving our intention of becoming pregnant naturally, my husband and I also fed other intentions that we share. Now, we are closer than ever, because we’ve improved our ability to communicate and supported each other so powerfully during this journey. My body is healthier than when I started, which makes it a perfect place for me to live and for our son to grow. And, as a result of having gone through this, I am even clearer now about what I want to accomplish in my professional life and how to go about doing it.
Of course, the steps I took on my personal pregnancy journey are just one example of what it might look like to actively feed one’s intentions. I’ve used this process of feeding intention to become a dietitian, to complete two Ironman triathlons, and to start my own business.
The process works! And I hope you’ll use it too. You can and will turn your dreams into reality when you purposefully feed your intentions.
I believe in you.
Image via Unsplash | This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click and then purchase we will receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for reading & supporting Happy Living!