My Fertility Story

Fertility_Story

My Fertility Story

I have always wanted a child, but truthfully, deep down I always thought I would have issues conceiving and carrying a baby to full term.

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I remember being in my late teens and early twenties wondering if I would have difficulties conceiving. At the time, I thought it was a bit odd that I would be having these thoughts at a time in my life when pregnancy was not on the table, something for the future.

Besides, I had the checklist memorized – find my dream job, meet my man, get married, THEN have a baby. It was both at the forefront of my mind and an aspiration that should wait until everything’s in it’s proper order.

The whole idea of fertility fascinated me and terrified me at the same time.

It makes complete sense that my dream job led me here.

While studying Acupuncture, I found that gynaecology, fertility and pregnancy were discussed in a way I had never encountered before. My fascination was sparked again as I learned there were ways to correct, help, and heal the body providing a renewed hope and opening for the possibility of a child. And I knew this was the path for me. For me to be a catalyst for women, help them be advocates for their health and encourage an empowered relationship with their bodies.

So as I began to work with couples in my acupuncture practice, I saw beautiful babies entering this world and dreams coming true. Of course that nagging question would once again enter my mind, “Am I going to have trouble?”

And here was where I began to put the pieces together that would eventually lead to my new title, “mom”.

Conventional Medicine and My Risk Factors

I began looking into my own health before we even started thinking to have a baby. And as I put my own health history together, I discovered several risk factors that would in fact confirm all of my suspicions that I carried since I was a teenager with dreams of motherhood.

LengthPregnancyflipMy first trip to the doctor revealed I had high TSH and diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and I was prescribed medicine and sent on my way.

At the next trip and blood test, I asked to have my antibodies checked. I was positive for TPO-ab antibodies and diagnosed with Hashimotos Thyroiditis. I had experience working with patients who had the same diagnosis as I did and had seen their struggles to conceive or remain pregnant. So I began to immerse myself in functional medicine texts and my own medicine so that I could learn more.

Around this same time, my dad was having tests done and we found out he was a carrier for the genetic marker of MTHFR. With this, the body doesn’t methylate folic acid properly and homocystine levels can be elevated (increased inflammation). There is a strong correlation between being a carrier of MTHFR and miscarriage.

However, this test is not routinely done, and wasn’t even available in Canada, so I had a private lab send my sample to the states to see if I inherited this gene. Luck would have it, I do.

So now, I have 2 conditions that both have a high correlation for fertility struggle and miscarriage. Both of these aspects are not routinely checked by doctors, and when they are present they don’t give much attention to them as they don’t view them as treatable in the standard model of care.

I was devastated and fearful.

Without acupuncture, without my research, and without my desire to find another way, this is where my story probably would’ve ended.

Luckily, I knew better.

And the fear I felt, transformed into hope.

I could work with this, I could cultivate a life that supported me and a possible pregnancy.

Finding Another Way – Living a Fertile Life

I began to bring awareness and consciousness to “Live a Fertile Life”.

Because of my training, I was able to piece together a plan that could potentially allow me to skip the heartbreak of struggle.

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In the course of the year, I changed the structure of my acupuncture practice, my exercise, my diet, and more importantly my mindset.

I changed my diet and went gluten free, plus started a supplement regime.

I began the process of changing my acupuncture practice from owning a multi-disciplinary clinic and managing practitioners and staff to downsizing into a space for just myself.

I found time to incorporate habits into my life that I love such as movement, meditation, Pilates, cooking, journaling, and painting.

I settled my mind. In my meditations, I began to open the invitation to a child, and letting them know that when they were ready I would be too.

When I started this journey, I was constantly operating from a place of anxiety and stress. It was so intense that on days I didn’t work, I was unable to get out of bed. I felt like I never had any time for myself or to do the things that I loved.

After incorporating these new habits, I found that I was a woman who felt she had it all, with or without a baby. The relief was enormous.

After six months of bringing this perspective into my daily life I found out I was pregnant.

Bringing Baby E into this World

Once we allowed for the possibility I got pregnant rather quickly and I was immediately fearful that it wouldn’t last. When I went to my doctor, I got a false negative and my doctor didn’t believe the four positive tests that I had taken at home. He ordered a blood test, and I had to wait through the long weekend to see what it said.

When I got the news he said, “well you are pregnant, but it doesn’t look good.” My beta hcg level was low, so he prepared me for not having my pregnancy progress. I had another test done and after that one a little over a week from my first positive home test I got a “Congratulations”.

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Then, when I was six weeks pregnant, I started spotting. I called my doctor, went in and based off our previous encounters, he told me I was most likely miscarrying, I should go on bed rest and have an ultrasound.

My training came to the rescue again because I knew that spotting could be normal, so I chose hope and held on to this fact leaving his office. I trusted in the connection I had with my body and the soul that I had been talking to for months and went to the emergency ultrasound.

The ultrasound was early, so they couldn’t see anything. I knew this would be the case so I prepared myself for it, but I was still upset that a heartbeat wasn’t detected at that point.
Luckily the spotting stopped in time and at 8 weeks I had another ultrasound where a heartbeat was strong and baby was doing well.

We held our breath for the remaining few weeks of my first trimester, and through the ups and downs, I kept following my heart and moving forward with my fertile perspective. I continued to do the practices that kept me in balance and in the flow of my being.

I rested and honoured my body. I moved my body as it required, I ate nourishing food and I connected and talked to my little guy. And I switched my prenatal care to an amazing team of midwives so that my pregnancy could be nurtured and my intuition supported.29Mar2013_0049

Passing into the second trimester was the most amazing feeling and I can honestly say I had one of the best pregnancies. It was smooth, enjoyable, healthy and happy.

I felt amazing, supported and in tune with my body and my baby through to his birth.

The Truth

Now, after becoming a mother and 7.5 years of helping other women do the same, I look back and see how lucky I was to have this information at my fingertips.

29Mar2013_0123I was lucky enough to understand early that I needed to do the research into my own health to better increase my chances of conception. Not everyone has the resources I did and aren’t even aware that this is something they should look into.

My experience from beginning to end and into the new territory of motherhood has brought me to the realization that there is more to it than just doing all the right things.

Bringing another human into this world requires more than I ever realized. More than just Doctors, Acupuncture, Herbs, Supplements, and similar items and actions we’ve all been taught. And this is why I do what I do and why I believe living a fertile life is the true key to seeing that EXTRA PINK LINE and giving birth to a happy, healthy baby.

In the comments below, tell me what you are doing currently of live a fertile life.

XO
Ashley

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Showing 4 comments
  • Elise

    What a beautiful story, Ashley. You will inspire many hopeful mothers to be with your wisdom and experience. I have a few in mind who I will be sharing this with. Thank you!

    • Ashley Abbs

      Thanks so much Elise, please share away 🙂

  • Nicole Ginakos

    HELLO,
    Not sure if you would remember me but I saw you in 2011 with my first pregnancy following my own fertility struggles. I loved reading your story and wanted you to know I truly appreciate the peace of mind you brought me back then. I now have 3 beautiful daughters aged 5, 4 and 1 and my family is complete! Glad you are still helping others!
    Regards,
    Nicole

    • Ashley Abbs

      Nicole!
      Yes I do remember you and I’m so happy to hear that you are well and have the family that you dreamed of having!
      Sending love xx

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