I first got pregnant in September. I had been diagnosed with Graves Disease (hyperthyroidism) in November of the previous year, and spent the next six months getting my condition under control with medication. I was 34, and my husband and I were eager to try to get pregnant. We were lucky enough to do so the first month we tried! At our 20-week sonogram we were told that everything was perfect with our baby boy. I hadn’t felt any kicking yet but everyone said I shouldn’t worry because it was my first pregnancy. At 23 weeks my doctor discovered that my baby had died inside the womb. They had to induce labor and I had to deliver my stillborn baby – one of the lowest points in my life.
Although I could not fathom trying again, we began seeing a fertility specialist to address the problems that caused the stillbirth. Just as there were antibodies attacking my thyroid which caused it to overreact, antibodies also caused blood clotting problems in the placenta. The doctors also soon discovered that antibodies were attacking my ovaries, causing them to fail prematurely and leading to menopause symptoms such as night sweats. My FSH, initially 10, fluctuated up and down, reaching as high as 24. I tried some IUI cycles and fertility drugs but it all felt so hopeless. Three of the best fertility doctors in Dallas told me I had little hope of conceiving unless I used donor eggs. One said I had less than a 5% chance of getting pregnant and carrying a healthy baby to term. In October 2005 I started acupuncture regularly with Dr. Zhou, and drank the herb teas twice a day. In January 2006 we decided to stop all conventional infertility treatments but acupuncture and herbs, and I started feeling better physically and emotionally. In March we decided that we needed to try one cycle of IVF in order to be able to move on to donor eggs. I finally found a doctor willing to try IVF, and we were scheduled for August 2006. We also started researching egg donors from a variety of different agencies.
On Mother’s Day, I got a positive pregnancy test. My fertility doctor immediately started me on blood thinners, progesterone, prednisone, and other medications to reduce the effect of antibodies on the pregnancy. I delivered a healthy baby boy by c-section on January 8. He truly is a miracle.
Seeing fertility doctors was such a negative experience that I felt like all the bad news sucked the life out of me. By comparison, seeing Dr. Zhou felt like I was doing something positive for myself, whether or not I got pregnant. She was the only one who was positive about my chances for getting pregnant and really believed it would happen. She showed true caring by following up with me throughout my pregnancy to see how I was doing. I cannot recommend her enough to people dealing with infertility.
After having my first child I waited a little over a year to try to get pregnant again. I stopped breastfeeding and returned to Dr. Zhou before trying anything else. She began the acupuncture once a week and instructed me to drink the herbal teas twice a day. Although my period had been regular while breastfeeding, once I stopped it became much more irregular. I feared what the doctors had told me, that premature ovarian failure was causing symptoms of early menopause. Nevertheless, I followed Dr. Zhou’s advice. About three or four months later I ovulated on Day 25 of my cycle, assuming I had missed the chance to get pregnant. To my surprise, a couple weeks later I found out I was pregnant. I continued going to acupuncture until the baby’s heartbeat was visible. I delivered another healthy baby boy at 37.5 weeks. Needless to say, if I decided to try to have another child, I would return to Dr. Zhou immediately. I cannot thank her enough. Without her, I would not have my two wonderful children.