I have another BRAND NEW Story of Hope for you! In this video, I talk through a case and share how we got to the root of my patient’s fertility struggles and overcame them.
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Hello? How are you, guys? Ola. How is everyone? My camera seems so close to me on Facebook. Let me just go like this. There we go. How is everyone? Hi. All right. Everybody's rolling on. So today is another story of hope, which I know you guys love. Yeah, let's get right into it. Because I have my first group coaching session later today, we launched group coaching again, huge success during COVID and then we took a break and now we have a new group of eight women. We limit it to eight people and the first group starts at 1:00. So I'm going to get into this story so then I can mentally and emotionally prepare for leading a group of eight women which I'm super psyched out.
Okay. So story of hope. This woman came to me at the age of 34 and she was having to do IVF because she was born with a genetic condition that they did not want to or was it healthy to pass on to their child. So as such, we had done extensive testing to confirm that with the use of a probe, IVF would be an option through PGD testing. They would be able to test which embryos had the mutation. We've done two egg retrievals. After the second retrieval, a polyp was found. It was removed through a hysteroscopy and she did her first transfer, this is before she meets me in July of 2020, it did not take.
The second transfer, September, 2020, resulted in a miscarriage. Tissue removed during the DNC did not reveal any chromosomal abnormalities, nor should it have, right, because the PGS tested normal embryos. Through additional testing, saline sono, endo biopsy, thrombophilia workup, nothing has come up to indicate any potential cause for the miscarriage. So she came to me, right? She didn't necessarily have fertility challenges. She was doing IVF to try to treat for this genetic mutation, her and her husband, and then turns out that she's having challenges actually holding a pregnancy.
As all of you who are on this journey, you know how freaking stressful that is. So again, she came to me. She was taking a probiotic for her transfer. She was on progesterone, Estrace, progesterone injections. She was only on a prenatal and a probiotic. She had done egg retrievals in 2019. She had a hysteroscopy and then she did transfers. She's gained about 10 pounds in 2020 and about 10 in 2019 leading up to the retrievals. She'd been on and off Weight Watchers most of her adult life. Her weight fluctuates. She's the heaviest she's ever been by about 10 pounds. She's really looking to take control and be more focused on nutrition instead of just losing weight.
Let's see. She was running three times a week prior to her transfer, but the exercise limitations, you guys all can relate to that with IVF, really messed her up. Now she's going for long walks. Her sleep is good. She was off coffee. She has one to two cups of tea per day. She just switched to organic. So when we met, it was, I'm sorry, December of 2020, right? So we're a year into COVID right at that point, I guess. I can't even remember. So I ask my new patient intake, “Do you eat regular meals?” “I've never been good about eating breakfast.” She always eats lunch and dinner. She usually has tea for breakfast with Truvia and half-and-half and she would have a sandwich for lunch. Then for dinner, some kind of protein, not a lot of vegetable.
She, let's see, had some trauma in her family. Let's see. kind of sort of seen a therapist. She has dry skin, cold hands and feet, overweight, frequent urination, low libido, too cold. So all the clinicians out there, what's the first thing you're thinking? Fertility challenges, excessive menstrual bleeding. I've always had heavy and seemingly long periods. I wear super plus tampons and can bleed through overnight. Then now at this point, she's had one pregnancy and one miscarriage, right?
So this is her initial paperwork. So during our initial intake, she says to me, “In the beginning of IVF, I felt super lucky and super positive.” Because she was doing IVF because of genetic issues. Then felt like every step of the way there were hiccups. This happened while they were making the probe. Then they thought there was a pancreatic cancer genetic trait that they had to dig deeper there. So she's like, “It's been a real long process.” Then with the probe, they didn't know if they could test for her genetic issues. It's been expensive, emotional. She finally got two retrievals. You guys can all relate to that.
She did two retrievals back to back. The first one, she got five healthy embryos with no mutation. The second one, only one healthy embryo, but it had a mutation. So at that point she has five embryos on ice. They did the saline sono, they found a polyp. Then COVID hit. Then she did a transfer in the summer when everything opened back up and that one didn't take, right? So then the second transfer, she gets pregnant. She has a little bit of bleeding early on. They heard the heartbeat at five weeks, not super strong, but at six weeks it was better.
Then she spotted between weeks five and six. At the seventh week appointment, there's no heartbeat and it was a chromosomally normal embryo. So for all of you, for me, already red flags, I'm wondering about her thyroid. I'm wondering about why is her uterus not holding a genetically normal embryo. So I immediately think immune system challenges or clotting factor disorders. It could also just be low thyroid. It could also be an endometrial infection, but she did have the hysteroscopy. So they took the polyp out. So they didn't necessarily look for endometritis.
So she says, “I was shocked after the first transfer didn't work, then with the miscarriage felt guilt because of frustration versus loss of life and total defeat and fear.” You guys can relate to that. But now, no fertility treatments of late. She feels good. She's less negative, less feelings of defeat. She was also off the deep end with the diet. After the miscarriage, so much was out of control. So she's feeling more in control the week we talked.
Then now her doctor's saying that she doesn't really have three embryos left. She only has one because two were inconclusive. So she was super frustrated because that had never been conveyed to her before. I told her not to discard any of them because I was like, “The testing can be inconclusive.” So we were going to prep for another cycle. That's what she wanted to do with me. She wanted my help in prepping for another cycle, because if you remember, her first cycle, she had really good results. She got five embryos. None of them had the mutation. The second, one normal and it had the mutation.
So she was really concerned that she technically only had these three left because one transfer didn't take, one miscarriage, three left. But now the doctors are saying really only one is that they would feel comfortable transferring. So she's like, “I want to come to you. I want to change up the diet. I want to go back in, do another retrieval, get more embryos on ice.” Because she just wants to do her retrievals right and grow her family from there. So I was clear. I said, “Don't discard any of the three you have left even if they said two of them are inconclusive.” That is a big message to all of you guys, really be careful about when you're discarding embryos.
I asked her about a thyroid panel, hadn't been done. I asked her about vitamin D, hadn't been checked. I asked her about MTHFR, no one had checked it. She then proceeded to ask me what I thought of her doctor, because it's a New York city doctor and the reputation of that doctor. I had some thoughts. She was taking a crappy prenatal that had you get had Ugedis, folic acid, no choline. It was like a sugary chewy one. I talked to her about MTHFR. I talked to her about she was seeing some foul smelling discharge for a while out of her uterus after after the miscarriage.
I talked to her about vitamin D, fish oil, liver pills, probiotics. I was going to send her some food menus and food diary. She's trying her best to be gluten and dairy and soy free. Again, the red flags, dry skin, cold hands and feet, overweight, frequent urination, low libido, too cold. Her period feels heavier than it should be. Definitely cramping the day before. Needs a super plus, will bleed through, cramps, some diarrhea, some vomiting, has clots. So now I'm thinking a lot of stagnation in the uterus, potentially endometriosis. Castor oil packs, I recommended.
Food wise, so she's not eating enough vegetables at all. She's just not eating enough in general, not enough protein, not enough vegetables. She was skipping breakfast, like I said. She was constipated. Did I say that? Where did I just do that? Sorry, I had it somewhere. Bowel movement's not great. Has hemorrhoids. Turned out she has psoriasis that was on her butt. Her bowel movements can be formed, but she's constipated. So that was December 21st, 2020. So I sent her my follow up email.
I discussed the idea of a baby aspirin and maybe a Benadryl with the next transfer. So CCRM, the Colorado Clinic of Reproductive Medicine has an antihistamine protocol that a lot of girls will follow. You guys can Google it and find it. With her history of the lossof the genetically normal, I said she should talk to her doctor. Of course, you guys should always talk to your doctor, but consider at least the baby aspirin with the next transfer to thin the blood and help with implantation.
I then recommended as well because it's a discharge, and she had just had the miscarriage and her period was super heavy that month, I recommended another either hysteroscopy or saline sono. So she asked her doctor for one. They found retained tissue, which is what I suspected. I gave her herbs to help with that. I sent her food information. I recommended bone broth. She was having oatmeal in the morning. I didn't want to make too many dramatic changes because remind you, nutrition and eating has always been a challenge for her. So we're always super cautious if there's any history of orthorexia, eating disorder type of thing. Having had an eating disorder for my myself, I really come at it with compassion. So slow and steady.
Okay. You're having oatmeal. Let's add some collagen peptides. Let's add some nut butter. Let's try to get more protein and fat. I recommended more bone broth. My general recommendation is four to six ounces of bone broth a day. I recommended adding in liver pills. You guys can see all of my recommended supplements on my website under recommended supplements. You do have to enter your email to get the list, FYI. Liver pills, prenatal of one of ones I recommend, a good quality fish oil that I recommend on my site, adding in collagen peptides, getting in the bone broth, vitamin D, and then that we also have to get the vitamin D tested and a complete thyroid panel.
I also recommended the castor oil packs knowing about the retained tissue. I told her about her TSH, that she needs to get a complete thyroid panel. All of you guys, all my testing, if you have the Egg Quality Diet Book, I have lists of my recommended tests and they're definitely, and yes, you can get pregnant too, vegetarian recommendations are on my egg quality diet resources page. There are some fish based broths that I think could be good, but this is not a Q&A so I'm not going to get into it.
I also said I want a complete clotting factor panel as well to get tested for the MTHFR genetic mutation. I've done a ton of videos on that. You guys can go and find those videos. Then she sent me her food diary. So she had tea, rolled oats, almond butter. berries, small banana. Then she had Ezekiel wrap with hummus, quinoa, cucumber, avo, onion, green apple, roasted eggplant, tahini, chickpeas, pomegranate salad, tomato, crackers. It's all she ate in one day. That is so little food.
So then the next day, she has some eggs, berries, small banana, side salad, grilled chicken. broccoli. But again, all she eats in one day. So that's basically she had like 40 grams of protein in a day and maybe two servings of vegetables. I want to see 80 plus servings of vegetables in a day and six to eight servings of vegetables. So we had work to do. We had work to do for certain. So she sends me her food diary. I made some tweaks. Add a scoop of collagen peptides. I told her to add in the liver support soup or some kind of extra greens kind of smoothie, something like that. My overall recommendations was she was super low on protein and vegetables.
She sent me some blood work. Her TSH looked good. They did not check her thyroid antibodies. They did not check her vitamin D even though she asked. Mind you, she's had a really reputable New York city clinic for fertility, very reputable. Then they did a miscarriage panel, but they left off five different clotting factor issues. So I wrote back, you have to make sure you're checking for X, Y, and Z.
So she sends me an email, Jan. 28. “All good. I'm being fairly compliant with the diet. On all the supplements. I'll get my period at the end of next week. My skin has been very dry and itchy. This is always the case in the winter, but I think it's worse for my new products. I've also been using a body soap by a Beauty Counter. Do you have any recommendations?” So I sent her my Aimee's recommendation list, which we also have on my recommended supplements and products page where I have all recommendations for different bath and beauty products.
Let's see. So she had some blood work done. Her eosinophils looked good. Her basophils were high. Monocytes were high. So I sensed a little bit of an immune reaction going on. This was in advance of her hysteroscopy. So she was having a second hysteroscopy. I just said, “We have to keep the immune system situation in mind, especially considering.”
So I see her in the clinic for acupuncture, February. Food wise, she said she's 90% on the diet. She feels great. She's using the supplements. Seeing such a difference. The magnesium made a major difference in her bowel movements, so did the diet. She did the retrieval. So we basically spent about six to eight weeks on the diet and the supplements. She did a microdosing Lupron. She got 13 embryos. ICSI was done on 11 of them, but by day two, she only had two embryos grown. She was super bummed, but she turned it around. So far they tested six and only one has a single mutation. So the odds are good. She's going to have a hysteroscopy next Friday because of the retained tissue that still didn't budge.
So I reminded her for transfer. I want baby aspirin. I want Benadryl. I want fish oil. I want her to do the castor oil packs. She also has lost some weight. She feels great. She's back at the same weight she was the year prior when she did her first retrieval. So then she emails me, “Just got a call that both embryos that were sent off.” She's 34. Yeah. Go back to the beginning and watch from the beginning, because there's a reason why she's doing IVF at 34. Both embryos tested normal and they didn't have the mutation. So right, they retrieved 13, 11 were ICSI, but only two were growing beyond day two, but both two got sent off. Both two came back normal and both two were without the mutation that she was doing the IVF for.
So much better results. Well, she got twice as many embryos, I'll say that, as the previous one. So she's thrilled. This is exciting. Let's see. She comes in. I have two things going on here, sorry guys, in April for acupuncture. She has two healthy embryos. She's thrilled about it. They did a hysteroscopy like I recommended before the next transfer. Turns out not only did she have retained tissue from the miscarriage, she also tested positive for endometritis which I strongly urged her to get checked for. I urged the hysteroscopy. Her doctor didn't think she needed it. Now we found two issues. Retained tissue end endometritis. She would've never gotten pregnant had she done another transfer, guys.
So now she's on antibiotics, which I support for endometritis. Endometritis, not endometriosis, right? Different things. One of these symptoms is trouble passing bowels. As soon as she started antibiotics, she's even better. She's feeling okay. She felt the wagon a little bit food wise. She's getting back into it. The endometritis was a setback. Excited and ready. Nervous trying to envision good news. I reminded her of the baby aspirin with the transfer. She's still on all the supplements.
So transfer was in early May. She did a pre and post acupuncture session with my team with Sarah. I reminded her again of the baby aspirin. Let's see. Okay. So June 1st, a week ago, “I went in for blood work, which confirmed I was pregnant after this most recent transfer. But I just got a call that based on today's blood work, my numbers have gone down and I'm no longer pregnant. I'm speaking with my doctor tomorrow and hoping to schedule a session with you to also talk through what I should talk to him about.” So this is early June.
I speak to her how to transfer. Like I said, got chemically pregnant. She had a call with her doctor. He was very blase about it. He said, “Let's just do another saline sono and transfer again.” He was simple, but then she pushed and she said, “Could we do an ERA? Should we do the Receptiva? Should we look into immunology stuff? You still haven't done a full thyroid panel on me.” Then she spoke to another person on his team. It was a PA. So she's a physician's assistant. She talked through all the things with this PA. The PA was much more into the idea of testing for the immunology stuff, right?
So they said maybe do the Receptiva. Not sure, but let's think about this immune stuff, right? So I of course really pushed the immune testing at this point, because… So she could go, she was looking into who she could get it in with right away. Because now at this point, and you guys all understand this, she just wants to be pregnant and have her family like two years ago at this point, right? So the one doctor could get her in, but it was a $5,000 investment. It was a lot. It's a lot to process. You guys have all been there.
So I sent her what I was talking about with you guys, the CCRM protocol. Because the PA now sounds very supportive of doing something different. Maybe not testing, just throwing in additional meds. There are a lot of doctors that do this without additional testing. I tend to prefer additional testing, but there's a lot of ways to skin a cat. So I told her the protocol that she could discuss with the physician's assistant includes a steroid, a low dose aspirin, baby aspirin, and some antihistamines. Talk to the PA, see if they're up for doing this with the transfer. She said, “Awesome.”
So later that month, “I spoke with one of the other younger doctors at the clinic today and nearly instantly decided to switch to her. We're going to move forward and do the Receptiva. She's also proposing we do a transfer with the protocol you mentioned. Baby aspirin, plus an antihistamine plus a steroid. She was honest in saying that she doesn't know it will be the magic bullet, but she's seen it work and let's do it. Let's try. She also felt ultimately that trying to get pregnant naturally could be a real option for us, which felt good to hear, versus my other doctor who said that that would never be the situation.”
“She's much more hands on, much more supportive. I feel really good about the plan. Thank you for helping me think through the options and helping me move forward to get a plan I feel so good about.” That is a huge part of my job, guys. I don't just give advice and neither does my team on just diet and supplements. We really help you break down the best plan for you moving forward. Are you working with the right doctors? Are they doing the right tests? Have we looked under every single rock, right?
This girl's young. She's doing IVF for a genetic condition. Now she's had two losses, three failed transfers. What the fuck, right? They're all just like, “Oh, oh.” She's worked really hard for these embryos as all of you do and no one wants to dig deeper. She comes to me and I encourage her to then look and dig deeper. No one checked her thyroid. I mean, it's insane. It was insane. I was very disappointed in the care that she received at this clinic. I no longer nor have I in years recommend seeing people at this clinic, because I think they're not looking at the patient in the whole.
So I know she's prepping for a transfer in July. Now, mid August, I don't hear from her, which is also common for a lot of my clients that they get skittish. A lot of times, no news is good news, which is a funny thing. So I send her an email mid August. I said, “I'm thinking about you.” Then she says, “Thank you so much. Things are going really well. So much so, I don't even want to type it. More to come. Thank you for reaching out.” I'm not able to say the clinic name. No.
I'm just saying to you, if you are asking your doctors to do additional testing and if you ask your doctors to look deeper into a situation and they don't do it, they're not the right clinic for you. So then I don't hear from her again for a few months. Thinking about you. October, she messages me, “You're the best. Thank you. I'm going in for my 16 week anatomy scan on Monday. I'm feeling good. I'm still really nervous at every turn, but beyond grateful.”
Then April 22nd. So what's that three weeks ago? “Hope you are well. I wanted to let you know that on 4/8, we welcomed our little miracle. The range of emotions I've experienced over the past two weeks is hard to put into words, but she is absolutely precious and we are over the moon. Thank you ever so much for all your help and support in getting us here. I know I couldn't have done it without you. I'm forever grateful,” and then a picture of this beautiful little bambino. I said, “I'm so happy for you. She is perfect. I send you so much love.”
So there you have it. I mean, any woman on a fertility journey is too long, right? It became, in my opinion, a fairly straightforward case. I mean, even from the beginning, the first things I thought about were thyroid and immune stuff. So she was really fortunate that she found this other doctor at the clinic who was willing to support her and do an autoimmune style protocol. It is what worked for her so now we know for future pregnancies. She also had to push for hysteroscopy. She had endometritis. She had retained tissue. No one was going to look for that. These are things that we need to be our own advocate, but we also need to know what tests to ask for.
That's where I really feel like I'm invaluable to my patients. So it's not just diet. It's not just lifestyle. It's not just supplements. It's not just acupuncture or herbs. All of which I did with her, but it's the emotional support and then also helping them tee through, are they at the right clinic, are they seeing the right doctors, are they getting everything looked at. Had we not worked together, I suspect she would've gone through one or two more losses and then probably moved clinics, got better care, and then eventually taken this baby home, but she probably would've had to do another retrieval or two, right?
So now after this transfer, we actually still have, I think we have two or three embryos on ice. So hopefully now that we've figured out her protocol, next time she transfers, she takes that baby home. But now she's at home with a newborn and enjoying it. So I'm going to go. Love you guys. I'll see you next week. I hope you enjoyed this story of hope. Ciao for now.
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Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I am not a medical doctor. I have been a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 17 years and I will be speaking from my clinical experience helping thousands of women conceive. The office of Aimee E. Raupp, M.S., L.Ac and Aimee Raupp Wellness & Fertility Centers and all personnel associated with the practice do not use social media to convey medical advice. This video will be posted to Aimee’s channels to educate and inspire others on the fertility journey.