Welcome to Stories of Hope: True tales of life, love, and perseverance from the Yes, You Can Get Pregnant community. Because we’re on the fertility journey together.
I first heard from Anika in July of 2015. She reached out with the following email:
I am honored and delighted to be writing to you. I recently bought your book and started reading it. Also have started following you on Instagram. I will really appreciate your magical touch in my life so I can experience this most special blessing of life called ‘motherhood'.
I am a 44 year old Asian/Indian American (been in the U.S. 15 years) woman. I got married when I was 26 and have been TTC for ~10 years. There have been no medical reasons except I have been hypothyroid since 28 (well controlled with synthroid) and I am an ‘unexplained infertility' case. Tried western processes (many IUI’s and a few IVF’s) that never yielded a pregnancy but two years ago, I got pregnant naturally only to miscarry at about 10 weeks. I have done acupuncture on and off and do see a chiropractor. I am also taking a few supplements.
I will sincerely appreciate any help/advice you can give me. I can certainly come and see you if only once since the distance might make it difficult but I am open to your thoughts…
I responded to her and offered some basic advice, mainly to be sure her thyroid antibodies have been checked and that she follow the diet I have outlined in Yes, You Can Get Pregnant.
Five months later, I heard from Anika again. Being she had just turned 45, she was now very eager to work one on one with me. We made our first appointment in one of my clinics in November of 2015. Upon the initial intake, Anika revealed to me that she has been mainly vegetarian her whole life and regularly eats gluten, sugar, soy and dairy. She had a history of IBS, eczema, headaches, painful periods, uterine fibroids, dry skin and depression. As I looked over the recent lab tests she brought to our appointment, I noticed that her TSH was out of range (3.5), she had thyroid antibodies (in the hundreds) and low vitamin d (35). Additionally many of her supplements were poor quality ones that contained fillers like gluten, soy and artificial sweeteners. My first steps were to change her supplements to better quality ones, add in liver pills, increase her vitamin d dosage and get her on the right diet to balance her thyroid and manage her autoimmunity and fertility. Anika was on board with shifting away from her mainly vegetarian diet and adding in animal protein and bone broth. Even more, her husband (who joined her for her first appointment), was also on board with the diet and supplements as well as coming in for monthly acupuncture treatments.
By the time I met her in person, Anika and her husband had been trying to conceive for almost 11 years. They tried naturally for the first few years and then began fertility treatments- a total of a dozen assisted reproductive techniques at various clinics in the NYC area. What stood out to me in our initial intake is that none of the fertility treatments had ever worked for Anika and that the only time she had ever fallen pregnant was when she was 42. That pregnancy happened naturally and while she was following an eating plan that was quite similar to the Yes, You Can Get Pregnant diet. Unfortunately, Anika lost that pregnancy at ten weeks for unknown reasons. I pointed out to both her and her husband that we needed to recreate that same environment because even though she miscarried, whatever she was doing then allowed conception to finally happen. I also urged her to seek the assistance of a reproductive endocrinologist that focused on immunology as I strongly suspected autoimmunity at play in Anika’s fertility challenges. She was resistant to going back to fertility treatments as they were so exhaustive on every level- emotionally, physically and financially and she told me for now they wanted to try naturally. Anika had a lot of fear that fertility doctors would only work with her if she used donor eggs and she wanted to avoid that if she could.
Around the same time that Anika began seeing me in my clinic, I launched my first ever online group fertility coaching program (which eventually turned into the Yes, You Can Get Pregnant e-course). Anika decided to join that group to get even more support. It was a great addition to the support she was getting from me in the clinic. She (and her husband) completely dove into the entire Yes, You Can Get Pregnant program– they followed all the lifestyle, diet, supplement and emotional recommendations.
About 6 months into our working together, most all of Anika’s symptoms (IBS, eczema, depression and painful periods) had eased up. She could now see a direct correlation between her diet and her physical state. More importantly, her daily meditation and gentle yoga practice was helping her emotional state. Over time she admitted to me that her fertility journey was causing a lot of strain on all her personal relationships, including the one with her husband. She was finally feeling more alive and cautiously hopeful that she could get pregnant again.
By June of 2016 Anika still wasn’t pregnant so she decided to start working with Dr. Kofinas, a NYC based reproductive endocrinologist who focused on immunology. I was very happy with her decision as I felt like she needed the additional support, especially considering the autoimmune aspect to her fertility challenges.
After two unsuccessful IUI’s with Dr. Kofinas, Anika wrote me this email:
“As you know, I did a femara and 2 back to back IUIs this cycle, I was full of hope that this will be my month and then I would write to you with this great much awaited news of my pregnancy, alas it did not turn out as I thought …
I wanted to share with you that this was a particularly tough emotional last 3 days for me and somehow I had been feeling extremely disappointed and sad. But yesterday evening I decided to watch the replay of your webinar on ‘fear' and although my heart was still confused and sad, I felt strangely uplifted after watching and so I wanted to express my gratitude and appreciation for what you have done for me. I am grateful for you in my life.”
As Anika continued to follow the entire Yes, You Can Get Pregnant protocol, she also decided to try mini IVF with Dr. Kofinas. With minor stimulation, Dr. Kofinas was able to collect 4 embryos from Anika and her husband. Because of Anika’s age at the time of egg collection, 46, the decision was made to not do any genetic testing on the embryos and rather just transfer them one at a time and see what happens.
Anika’s first transfer was October of 2016. And it worked! She got pregnant and even though she was on the autoimmune protocol of Dr. Kofinas and following the entire Yes, You Can Get Pregnant protocol, she miscarried at 5 weeks. Immunology testing revealed that Anika’s inflammation levels jumped considerably once she got pregnant and that was likely the cause of the miscarriage. With that information, Dr. Kofinas’ plan moving forward was to increase Anika’s prednisone dosage from 20 to 30 mg, add in weekly intralipids and to continue with the two lovenox injections daily. This was a similar protocol to what she had been on for the first transfer, just a bit more aggressive.
Anika did another frozen embryo transfer a few months later and it didn't work. She and her husband were devastated. At that point, they still had two frozen embryos and her doctors urged to try again the following month. I also did the same telling her over email, “Please know- you have done all you can… you're not missing a thing. Sometimes these things just don't take. But we will get there. My hope prevails.”
In October of 2017, Anika did her next frozen embryo transfer. On October 26, 2017, Anika messaged me to say:
“I wanted to share with you the news of positive pregnancy test. I am however running around a bit stressed out as the progesterone levels are low at 3.7, granted that I am on vaginal suppositories and so the blood levels are probably lower but my RE has put me on oral progesterone starting this evening, so hoping for the best.
Any thoughts/recommendations are of course welcome please.
Much love always”
Although she had some spotting early in the pregnancy and her progesterone and thyroid were out of range, the pregnancy stuck! Anika and her husband were understandably cautious in their optimism and excitement until about 20 weeks into her pregnancy.
On June 22, 2017 Anika wrote me:
By God’s grace, we have become parents of a beautiful little baby boy. So so so grateful for all your prayers and support along this journey
I am so grateful to God Almighty for this blessing!! We got relieved from the hospital and Both baby and I are doing fine. I can’t even express to you how deeply grateful we are for your guidance and hope. We would not be here with you. From the bottom of our hearts… Thank you.
All my love,
Almost two years to date from when Anika read Yes, You Can Get Pregnant and emailed me for the first time she gave birth to her miracle baby at the age of 47, using her own eggs (that were collected when she was 46). Anika followed every single recommendation I made both in my book and in my Yes, You Can Get Pregnant e-course plus she enlisted an incredible fertility doctor who supported her every step of the way. She and her husband embraced it all, got regular acupuncture, held onto hope and persevered.
During her journey, Anika sought to support her overall health and fertility. She was diligent to follow all the recommended protocols and support her body on every level. Anika also made space for herself, her baby and her mental and spiritual well-being. Finding peace with her journey and removing and releasing negative influences became her top priority. She stepped away from her full time job to allow her to dive in and really focus on bringing this dream to life. She cultivated an atmosphere of peace and hope and kindly asked any naysayers to keep their opinions to themselves. She needed space to hold her hope and maintain her peace during her journey. She even held space for all the practitioners helping her. She set a up a shrine in her home dedicated to calling forth her baby and blessing her doctors and practitioners.
By slowing down, finding peace and tenaciously holding onto to hope, Anika was able to soften, surrender and fully open to any and all possibilities for welcoming her baby. She truly surrendered and gave herself over to trusting the process. On her journey to her baby, she found peace which was the solid foundation to birth her precious baby boy in joy.
Their baby boy is now 4 months old and thriving. And mom and dad are already discussing when they are going to transfer the last embryo. 🙂
I have learned SO much over my 15 years of clinical practice helping thousands of women achieve their dreams of motherhood. If you are ready to take back your power over your health and make the diet & lifestyle changes to transform YOUR fertility, I can help you! In addition to my acupuncture & wellness services in my clinics, I offer private online coaching, so you can work with me from the comfort of your own home
You can also look around my website to learn more about my books, my online workshops and guides, The Ultimate Fertility Membership and my amazing Yes, You Can Get Pregnant E-Course. I look forward to guiding you to reawakened health and thriving fertility!