This is Part 2 of 2 of Motherhood, Miscarriage, & Secondary Infertility. To learn our story that lead us to seek these solutions, read Motherhood, Miscarriage, & Secondary Infertility: Part 1 – Our Story.
Within that same week of being told it could take 5-7 years to become pregnant again on our own, but deciding that we were going to take a step back and give this to God, I believe that God sent three people to point things out, that in my opinion, changed everything and lead to my becoming pregnant after having been diagnosed with Secondary Infertility just two months earlier.
*This post contains affiliate links.
Solution Part 1: Cutting Out Gluten
First, my good friend Paula told me that she had read about gluten intolerance causing hormonal imbalances and leading to infertility in some women. At this point, I was desperate to try anything, and even though bread is my favorite food <3 I decided to give it up. You’d think this would be hard, but when you want something as badly as I wanted another baby, you’re willing to make whatever sacrifices it takes! I ended up buying the Whole 30 Cookbook, and tried a lot of great recipes from there that helped me realize I could eat gluten-free without losing all of the flavor in life. 🙂 I actually feel that I became a much better cook because of that book! I ended up losing almost 20 pounds within 2 months of going gluten-free. Weight loss can play a large role in hormone imbalances, so this started to kick my body into a more regular balance.
Solution Part 2: Raspberry Leaf Tea
Second, my good friend Holly brought up Raspberry Leaf Tea, and how she had read that it can really help with reproductive health. I remembered that I had actually been drinking this when I became pregnant with my daughter 3 years before that, and Holly had some on hand that she gave me, then I ended up ordering a bulk supply on Amazon that next day. I started drinking 2-4 cups per day to improve my reproductive health and help to balance out my hormones and cycles.
Solution Part 3: High-Quality Vitamins
Third, my friend Sarah recommended that I try Shaklee Vitamins since she herself had pretty negative experiences with the normal pre-natals from the drugstore. I started taking the Vita-lea, and the OmegaGuard every day. When I switched to taking these as pre-natals I actually stopped getting so many headaches and stopped experiencing the amount of fatigue that I had experienced before.
Side Note: I ended up loving their all-natural and thoroughly tested products so much over the past two years that I’m now a distributor for them, check out my Shaklee Page on my blog for more info!
Solution Part 4: Metformin
At this point, I was also still on the Metformin that my doctor had suggested, which had started to help my cycles become more regular. They were still between 4-6 weeks apart but were not as heavy or irregular as before when they could be anywhere from 10 days apart to 8 weeks apart. I had taken the Metformin for 6 months already, so I don’t know that this had as much of an immediate impact as the previous three things, but it really was a combination of everything in my mind!
Pregnancy #3: Miracle Baby Boy
So, after only TWO MONTHS of being gluten-free, drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea three times a day, taking Shaklee Vitamins, and taking the metformin, I woke up in the morning 5 weeks after the start of my last period and thought, “I might as well try it, I can’t give up hope yet.” AND IT WAS POSITIVE! Again, this was terrifying to me, but I was also overjoyed, and really could not believe my eyes. I probably took 4 tests to double check. (Again, it was nice to have bulk pregnancy tests!)
I called my doctor right away, went in and took blood tests to confirm, my HCG levels were normal for 5 weeks, and we did an ultrasound to make sure everything looked alright. The other thing that I am thankful my doctor checked were my Progesterone levels. Since my levels had been low several times since the miscarriage, it was possible that my body did miscarry before because of super low progesterone levels, which need to be maintained and need to rise during early pregnancy in order to support the growing baby. (When I miscarried I was also breastfeeding full-time, and breastfeeding can keep your progesterone levels low, so it could have been that my body really was just not ready to carry another baby. Really you never know, these are just my observations based on my experience). I have talked to other women though that experienced multiple miscarriages until they started taking progesterone supplements during the first Trimester to support their low levels.
So again, thankfully, my doctor ordered the tests, found out my level was still low (Mine was at 6, the normal is 9-47) so he put me on progesterone supplements morning and night to maintain those levels and allow my pregnancy to progress. I also continued taking the Metformin because the risks to the baby were not very high, and it would have been riskier to stop taking it and throw my insulin and hormone levels back off.
So praise God, within two months of taking a step back, trusting in Him, and finally being able to figure out a few things that were able to put my hormones back in balance, we were on our way through a second healthy pregnancy. Looking back on it now, with my son turning 14 months old this past week, I am still in awe that everything came together the way it did. There were just so many pieces to the puzzle and everything came into alignment and we now have this miracle blessing of a healthy baby boy.
Side Note: Once my son was born, I discovered that you can actually take Raspberry Leaf Tea in pill form, twice a day, instead of drinking 3-4 cups of tea each day. I’m not a tea person so I started ordering these supplements instead. (I will do another post soon talking about how Raspberry Leaf Tea continued to be a blessing at the end of my pregnancy with delivery & recovery time – it really is a miracle tea in my opinion!)
Here is a link to the Raspberry Leaf Tea Pills I take twice a day since giving birth to my son:
Another Side Note: Since giving birth to my son I did experience some more irregular bleeding which we found to be linked to very low Vitamin D levels. I now take the Shaklee Vitamin D Supplements as well, and it has helped bring my cycles back to normal again, with no more irregular or heavy bleeding.
Pregnancy #4: Another Unexpected Blessing!
So today, with a 4-year-old daughter and a 14-month-old son, I am actually expecting ANOTHER baby! After all that we went through trying to conceive with our son, and since I was breastfeeding full time, we decided to not use any birth control methods after my son was born. I honestly thought that we would need to really plan and try, and eat gluten-free, possibly get on metformin again, etc. in order to have another child.
BUT, literally the week I stopped breastfeeding my son, when he turned 1 year old, we conceived a third child! This honestly seems like another miracle to me, and I am in shock but so grateful that I have not had to go through everything I described in my Part 1 Post another time. (Still obviously praying that I won’t.)
For over a year, I imagined my beautiful and outgoing daughter who loves other kids being an only child forever and just feeling my dreams of having a big family slipping away from me. At this point, I know that God was with me through all of it, but that is SO HARD to see in the midst of it. And now, it has been amazing to watch my daughter love and care for her younger brother, and she is beyond excited to have a “baby sister” coming (she tells us that she already has a brother so this one is obviously a baby sister in her mind).
I really believe that the two main things that have turned my hormone imbalances around have been taking pure and all-natural vitamins (Vita-Lea and OmegaGuard), and consistently taking Raspberry Leaf Tea supplements!
Side Note: Now that I am pregnant, I am not taking the Raspberry Leaf Tea Supplements, as they can cause uterine contractions, I do plan to take them during the last couple of weeks of pregnancy again to help my body prepare for childbirth.
For this pregnancy, they tested my progesterone and it was 11, which is in the normal range (even though I had just stopped breastfeeding!), but they are on the low end of normal, so I’m still taking the progesterone supplements as a precaution. It is possible that the Metformin & the gluten-free diet made a strong positive impact on becoming pregnant with my son, but I wasn’t actually doing those two things when I became pregnant this time. (I do try to limit the amount of gluten I eat compared to before, but I definitely eat it, and I stopped taking Metformin after I gave birth to my son.)
Honestly, I still think about the baby that I lost every day. I still think about the frustration and heartbreak of trying to become pregnant month after month, endless tests, procedures, appointments, depression, anxieties, and just a constant heartache. There are moments when it hurts more, like when I went to get my first ultrasound done for my current pregnancy and the nurse asked us how many pregnancies this is for me, and my husband answered 3 and I answered 4, and we both looked at each other and he realized what she meant.
Those moments make me fearful, honestly, that we will have to go through that again. But at this point my hope and trust are in God, I know that he loves me and takes care of me in the pain, and in the joy. I feel strong now, and more mature. I know that I am more understanding of other women and their own journeys with pregnancy, infertility, motherhood, miscarriage, and child loss. There will always be a part of me that aches a little bit, knowing there should have been one more, but I won’t let that pain and fear overtake my life again. Succumbing to that did nothing for me before, and it won’t do anything for me now. I am so grateful for my children that are with me here and now, and the one growing inside of me.
Now I know that whatever I face, I can survive it and find joy on the other side. And if you are reading this and experiencing any of the things that I did, you can too, girl! I was WEAK mentally, emotionally, physically, and God carried me through it to strength and joy. There is no way for me to know if you will experience the same results I did in the end, because we live in a broken world, and many times life sucks. But I’m going to keep hoping and keep living for those beautiful moments when life brings joy, and I pray that you can find joy and trust God in this difficult journey as well. <3
Just as a resource if you want to try some of the things that I believe helped me in my journey, here are links to the products:
Raspberry Leaf Tea
Raspberry Leaf Tea Pills
Whole 30 Cookbook
Bulk Pregnancy Tests