After over 4 years of intense medical treatments–in Japan, a country where I barely speak the language–and multiple pregnancy losses, I turned 45, and my Japanese doctors turned down the corners of their mouths when I asked about continuing to try to get pregnant.
I’d been diagnosed with high FSH, a luteal phase defect, a blood-clotting disorder which required 2 shots a day in my stomach of heparin, low progesterone, and inconsistent ovulation. I tried natural approaches to fertility enhancement, cutting out coffee, wine, milk, soy milk, meat from non-organic farms, even water without ice-cubes and exercise at certain times of the month (to, I was urged, “nourish my blood”–whatever that means). I tried acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. I subscribed to podcasts about “positive thinking.” I felt guilty that nothing I did was working because I must not have been doing any of it well or strict enough.
On my 45th birthday, my changes of getting pregnant, according to the popular statistics, reached zero. I cried, and my husband assured me we could keep trying naturally. I said “ok,” but I thought he was being foolishly optimistic. I stopped all medical treatments and alternative approaches to trying to boost my fertility.
Six months later, just after mother’s day and just after I wrote this post, we learned I was almost seven weeks pregnant.
“How did you do it?” people want to know. My answer: I got lucky.
I’d conceived during one of the most stressful times in my life, when my beloved father-in-law was dying and I was spending 4-6 hours a day in the hospital trying to comfort him. So there goes the theory that we just have to relax or not be stressed and we’ll get pregnant.
My husband and I were still trying naturally every month, although sometimes we were so tired from his father’s illness that we could barely make it past 9pm. But still, we were still trying, so there goes the theory that we just have to stop trying to get pregnant.
In February of 2014, I was 4 months past my 46th birthday when I gave birth to a healthy, perfect little girl.
I post this now in the hope it gives some comfort and encouragement to anyone who reads this is struggling to get pregnant or feels guilt about whether they are too stressed or doing the wrong thing to conceive. And I’m wishing them the same incredibly good luck I had, too.