I started to try for a baby when I was 40. After nearly two years without success, I had a series of tests and blood tests and finally a painful hysterosalpingography test before I was told I would not be able to conceive naturally due to endometriosis and damaged fallopian tubes. Being told that was heart-breaking but, still, I was determined to have a baby.
Trusting the doctors, I decided to start IVF treatment immediately but the two cycles we completed were unsuccessful and emotionally draining. IVF is very difficult when you have to ask your partner to give you injections every night, get checked internally by doctors every couple of days, pin all your hopes on one little embryo – and then it doesn’t happen.
How I became pregnant: Treatment focussing on me
During my second cycle I came across an article about Dr Zhai, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner, who specialises in helping women to become pregnant. It was clear that Dr Zhai had been helping women going through the same hell as me. But the one thing that stood out to me was that Dr Zhai wanted to know about the whole person, something my doctors had failed to focus on. I took the article as a sign that I had to act on.
Throughout my previous IVF treatment, no one ever asked if I was eating properly, if I was stressed or if I was getting over the recent loss of my mother. They ignored the fact that my periods were taking place every 23 days and paid little attention to other medical complications from my past.
Dr Zhai and her team were the first people to consider all these things. They helped to improve the function of my ovaries, quality of my eggs and improve the blood circulation in my uterus to prepare my body for pregnancy as well as another round of IVF. They asked about me, everything from lifestyle to menstrual cycle, to learn about my ovarian function. They encouraged me to become physically and mentally stronger, less tired and less stressed. I changed my diet, took up pilates, underwent acupuncture and took specially tailored teas and vitamins.
Finally someone was also taking on board my frequent periods, which after just a short period of time taking Chinese treatment, adjusted to a full 28 day cycle, giving my body enough time to rest between periods and prepare for an eventual pregnancy.
Then, after just a couple of months into my TCM treatment, I fell pregnant naturally. This was, simply, a miracle. No one could have been more surprised than me, so much so, that I took three pregnancy tests. My partner and I didn’t dare believe it.
Dr Zhai on the other hand simply gave me a big smile and said congratulations. She had obviously seen these things happen before.
My pregnancy and my baby
I was incredibly lucky to become pregnant but as I was already in my 40s my baby was so special and important that I had to do everything to ensure I kept it. So, for the first three months of my pregnancy Dr Zhai’s team continued to support me with treatment including specialist teas and acupuncture.
I now have a little baby, Isabella, who is healthy and at home. I am sure 100 per cent that this has got something to do with Dr Zhai and hope that my story can give hope to other women.