My first son was conceived when I was 34 and born when my husband and I were both 35. He was conceived in our second month of trying, so we expected our second child might come quickly as well. We waited to start "trying" until our son was 3 1/2, to give us time to save for expenses for a second child. I was 38 1/2 when we started trying again. I charted my temperatures and used ovulation sticks from the beginning. I saw nothing unusual to me, as far as what I had learned from reading books and websites on the subject. My periods were a regular 27-28 days. But after 5 months with no pregnancy, I turned 39. So I checked in with a fertility doctor to see if there was anything obviously going on with my egg supply. And there was. I had only 2 follicles in one ovary, and 3 in the other. My FSH was high and Progesterone was low. I was told that didn't look very good. Everything I read said the same thing. My husband's sperm count and motility was just fine. One day I wondered why, if acupuncture had helped me for so many years with allergy and sinus troubles, why didn't I at least try to see if it could stimulate egg production or prepare my body better to conceive. A simple Google search later, and I found Dr. Zhou, and was excited to see she specialized in fertility! Then a friend from work referred me to her the very next day, because his wife had conceived their second child after help from Dr. Zhou- at my same age!
I consider myself an educated and experienced health-care consumer based on years of health issues- Crohn's Disease, sinus and allergy troubles, and a son with many ear infections and rashes. I have invested much time and money into alternative treatments in the past that have served me well. When I met with Dr. Zhou, I was so impressed with her office (in a medical building, not a strip mall), her demeanor, her vast knowledge of reproductive issues (in western terms and eastern) and the ease with which she explained what acupuncture can offer to many patients. The questionnaire I answered at the first visit was detailed and asked me about signs and symptoms I had no idea could be related to reproduction issues- night waking, diarrhea, constipation, spotting the first day of my period, spotting at the end of my period! I got the idea that there was much more to learn, so I educated myself using "The Infertility Cure" by Randine Lewis. This book explained what those types of questions were telling Dr.Zhou, and I found myself asking her a ton of questions, all of which she could answer and explain. She is incredibly patient and thorough, even to a curious and questioning soul like me. Dr. Zhou taught me how to properly chart my waking temperatures. I hadn't been doing it regularly enough after the first unsuccessful months, to tell anyone much of anything. So I committed to doing it properly, and this helped me to feel like I was "doing something" to help us reach our goal, and giving Dr.Zhou valuable information about my cycle that she needed. This information helped her formulate decisions about what herbs to provide me to stimulate what parts of my energy system that were not functioning properly. I learned that the more information she had from my body, the better she could help me.
Dr. Zhou didn't promise me a miracle, but she told me to be patient and that at least 5 months would need to pass for the eggs that were affected by our treatments to be ready to be used to conceive a baby. So I started weekly acupuncture sessions with her and religiously drank the Chinese teas she provided- twice a day. I added PreSeed lubricant as an added help, and began using a digital fertility monitor daily throughout my cycle to provide added information to Dr. Zhou in my charts, as well as to help us time baby-making attempts. Dr. Zhou encouraged me to take the Progesterone prescribed by my OB for low levels, which showed me she acknowledges my total body treatment is a combination of western and eastern medicine, while many types of practitioners think their way alone is the only way. After 3 months, I realized I wasn't waking up at night and wasn't sweating at night. I stopped spotting with periods. I stopped feeling the "pinch" of ovulation when it occurred. All these things were balanced out through the treatments and I could tell my system was changing for the better, though I hadn't previously been aware that I had problems related to my reproductive system. And then, 6 months after starting with Dr. Zhou- yes, I was pregnant! I think Dr. Zhou was as excited as I was! She even helped me combat my nausea. She was extremely saddened when I had to call her after miscarrying at 10 weeks, just after I turned 40. Her treatments and teas helped me cleanse my body while I grieved, and prime my body to try again. I didn't feel I had a lot of time due to my age, so I told her I wanted to start again right away. We discussed what I had learned about my pregnancy and that my baby had only grown to 8 weeks in size when I lost it. After reading "Avoiding Miscarriage," I had some tests run at my OB's office for genetic mutations that can cause too much blood clotting in pregnancy- thus reducing the blood supply to the placenta. We don't know if that's what had happened, but my test results showed me at some risk, so I started on blood thinner injections daily. Dr.Zhou was familiar with and supportive of this therapy. She consistently showed her vast knowledge in the area of fertility and the methods used to support conception and maintain pregnancies.
After two months, I finally released another egg. I clearly could tell from my chart that I was ovulating. I hoped that we might get one more chance to give our son a little brother or sister. Then 8 days past that ovulation, my temperatures didn't start their normal slow decline. I took the earliest pregnancy test out there, squinted in the light and saw the faintest line there ever was. It got darker every day. We were overjoyed! I am now 27 weeks along with a healthy, kicking all the time little boy. Dr. Zhou was overjoyed, we were overjoyed, and I firmly believe I owe my renewed fertility to her persistent help. I am due the week before I turn 41. Thank you, Dr. Zhou !