Ever since I was in my teens, I loved children. I loved being around them, interacting with them, having random conversations with them, and their innocent outlook on life. My love for children definitely motivated me to pursue a career in child development. It was never a question in my mind whether or not I would have children. It was a given.
When my husband and I began dating in 2015, we both expressed that we desired to have children one day. When our relationship became serious and headed towards marriage, we picked out names for our future children. Little did we know that our journey to pregnancy would not be as easy as we hoped.
May 12, 2018, I married my best friend and we agreed to start trying for children immediately. After about a couple months of trying, I became frustrated. I know trying for a couple months isn’t along time, but I was naive and expected to get pregnant quickly. I didn’t understand why it wasn’t happening for us. I decided to start tracking my cycle and learning more about my cycle. I began using OPKs and tracking my basal body temperature. I also began to research what a normal period was supposed to look like. I soon discovered that my period was far from normal. Experiencing excruciating pain to the point that all I could do was crawl into the fetal position and cry was not a normal period. Losing as much blood as I was losing and clotting the way I was was far from normal. I decided to seek medical help. It took me switching primary doctor’s to finally get the answers I thought I needed.
After meeting with my new primary and having some tests done, my doctor told me that she believed I had polyps. Polyps are small growths on the uterus that can cause pain, discomfort, and interfere with conceiving. I was told that this was an easy fix through minor surgery. This gave me hope. I felt like I had a concrete answer as to why I hadn’t gotten pregnant. In the middle of all of this (June 2018), my job switched insurances. Thankfully I was able to get all of my information from my previous provider and submit it to my new doctor. My new doctor had to do some tests (hysteroscopy and HSG). These tests of course confirmed what I already knew.
In October 2018, I was scheduled to have surgery to have the polyps removed. I was nervous because I had to be put under anesthesia, but I was excited to hopefully resolve the issue that I believed was preventing me from getting pregnant. After I had my surgery, my doctor informed me that the growths on my uterus were actually fibroids, not polyps. I ended up having a myomectomy to remove the fibroids. Thankfully where the fibroids were located the doctor was able to shave them off and not compromise the integrity of my uterus.
The recovery from my surgery was somewhat painful, but bearable. When I followed up with my doctor a few weeks later, he assured me that my husband and I would be able to conceive in no time and that I would see an improvement in my period. November 2018 I had my first period following my surgery. There was no change in my pain level. If anything it felt as if it made my period pain was worse. I was tired of experiencing such pain month after month so I decided to research natural remedies for painful periods.
I came across a few different remedies including Red Raspberry Leaf tea, arvigo therapy, and acupuncture. According to Euphoric Herbals, Red Raspberry Leaf tea contains calcium and iron, both of which play important roles in the menstrual cycle. Calcium helps regulate hormones, which in turn can help prevent PMS symptoms including painful cramps. The iron in this tea is helpful in preventing anemia, which can occur in women who tend to have a heavy monthly flow. This tea also contains fragarine. Fragarine can help tone pelvic muscles and relieve period cramps. I started drinking a minimum of 16oz. of Red Raspberry Leaf tea daily and saw a difference in my periods. Although my periods became more bearable, they still weren’t “normal”.
My next step was to give Arvigo Therapy a try. I found a specialist who was about an hour from where I lived. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but I was hopeful. I met with the specialist and we went over my complete menstrual cycle history. As we discussed my cycle history, she recommended that I take magnesium glycinate. She explained that most people do not get enough magnesium in their diet and that magnesium helps prevent muscle cramps. Since the uterus is a muscle, it also helps prevent menstrual cramps by smoothing the uterus. We also discussed my diet. I told her that I had been a vegetarian for the past year, but I was ready to go back to eating meat. She explained that vegetarian diets tend to cause hormonal imbalances because your body isn’t getting enough of the nutrients it normally receives from certain proteins (Disclaimer: For those who are vegetarian/vegan, I’m not here to debate this. Let’s just agree to disagree :)). She recommended a Paleo diet, which was what I had been planning to transition to. After discussing my history and diet, she introduced me to Arvigo Therapy and Castor Oil packs.
Arvigo Therapy is a form of abdominal massage. By massaging the abdominal area, organs and tissues in the abdominal and pelvic areas are relaxed and loosened. Internal organs that may have shifted are massaged and repositioned, which can help relieve painful symptoms. For women, this therapy works great for a prolapsed or tilted uterus. Some of the other benefits include increased blood flow, congestion relief, improved flow of lymph and nerve impulses, and improvement in digestion. After she performed the Arvigo Therapy, she had me do a Castor Oil pack. I was given a cotton cloth soaked in castor oil. The cloth was placed right below my stomach. A heating pad was then placed on top of the cloth. This was done for 30 minutes. The purpose of castor oil packs is to pull out the toxins that can cause hormonal imbalance, improve circulation, and decrease inflammation and pain.
Following this first session, I experienced what I would consider a normal period. I felt minimal pain, I was able to function and engage in my regular activities instead of being curled in a ball crying in my bed, and my period was a lot shorter (it went from it’s standard 7 days to 5 days). I was in shock and I cried tears of joy. I finally felt like I was getting somewhere, like real changes were being made. I continued to work closely with this specialist for the next few months. Even after discontinuing our sessions, I continued to implement the natural remedies she taught me and continued to see great improvements in my menstrual cycle.
May 12, 2019, my husband and I celebrated our one year anniversary. At that point I was no longer thinking about trying to conceive, but enjoying the journey and allowing God’s timing to take place. I was still implementing the natural remedies I had learned and focusing mostly on balancing my hormones and ensuring my period was normal.
The week of May 20, 2019, my body felt extremely off. My period was due soon, but I didn’t experience my normal period symptoms. Everything felt different. I was extremely tired and didn’t have much of an appetite. I could not stay up past 9:00pm, which was out of the norm for me. Everything just felt off. On May 27, 2019, Memorial Day, I decided to take a pregnancy for kicks. I honestly did not think I would see two pink lines. When my timer went off indicating it was time to check the pregnancy test, I was greeted by the sight of two pink lines. I came running out the bathroom and showed the test to my husband. I burst with tears of joy as I shoved the pregnancy test in his face (I’m sure he didn’t appreciate me shoving a stick covered in pee in his face lol). I was in such disbelief that I decided to take a digital test just to see the word “pregnant”. When I saw the word “pregnant”, I then decided that this was really happening. Little did I know that the following week everything would change instantly and I would face one of the most heartbreaking and difficult moments of my life…
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Pregnancy Journey!