Reflections on my Fertility Journey

At this point in the life of our family, our household is a flurry of activity.  Our daughter, Lucy, is almost five, is learning to read, and developing into her own (awesome) person.  Augustine, our sweet baby, is an advanced-crawler and almost-walker, learning to sign and talk and is the sweetest little child ever.  I love this life, and am daily giving thanks for the two precious children entrusted to us.

Amid all this gloriously joyful chaos, it is too easy to forget the deep, dark valleys we walked through to get here.  My husband and I struggled through 15 months of infertility before each of our pregnancies (two-and-a-half years total of emotionally agonizing "trying").  We were blessed to have been able to get pregnant each time without medical help, although I did use herbs and acupuncture to help enhance my fertility along the way.  I am an expert at charting, thermometers, cervical mucous, ovulation, knowing the difference between the luteal phase and the follicular phase of your cycle, and how long each phase should be.  And in spite of the grief I experienced each time I completed a cycle without a pregnancy, I did come out of that time equipped with plenty of knowledge and empowerment when it came to knowing my body. (Fertility is now one of my favorite topics of conversation, coming in only second to pregnancy and birth. :)

So the reason I bring all this up now, when getting pregnant is not on my radar at all, is that I've gone on sort of a journey this past week.

I've been in physical therapy at Creative Therapeutics for low back pain for a good two months now.  I have been dealing with this pain ever since I first got pregnant with Auggie almost two years ago (although, thinking back, there was a tightness in a particular back muscle long before that).  I have been making good progress, although there is an incredibly deep and stubborn tightness that has been refusing to let go.  

At my session last week, my therapist, Lynn (who is awesome), had me lying on my side on a massage table in a dark, quiet room.  She was working her magic with all those muscles, when she asked the student observer to leave the room because she wanted to "go deeper" with me.  She had me close my eyes, go into my body and connect with the problem area in my back.  She asked what it looks like there:  dark, bright, cold, warm, etc.  It was difficult for me to get in touch with that part of my body, but when I finally did, I described it as a yellow, rotting color.  

"That's not good," she said.  

Then she asked how old I was, and counted back in fives from thirty.  "Twenty-five to thirty; twenty to twenty-five, fifteen to twenty," and on through in-utero.  She asked if any of those time frames stood out to me.  I wasn't sure, so she did it again, and I told her twenty to twenty-five stuck out.  She then counted back from twenty-five.  

"Twenty-five, twenty-four, twenty-three, twenty-two, twenty-one, twenty."  

"Twenty-four," I said.  

"Now picture yourself at twenty-four.  What did you look like; what was going on in your world?"

Overwhelmed with emotion, I realized, "...that was when I was wanting to have a baby, when we started our fertility journey, which took 15 months."

"Okay, now looking at your twenty-four-year-old self, what message to you have for her; what would you like to tell her."


"God is sovereign...  He is in control, and will work everything out for your good."

Lynn then asked if there was anything I felt like I should do for my twenty-four-year-old self.  I wasn't sure.  But she told me to do something symbolic for her this week.

Which brings me to today.  This morning during Auggie's nap, I decided to make a drawing of myself, holding my uterus, and letting it go.  Surrendering all worry and fear and pain to my Creator.

Not for a moment did you forsake me

You are constant

You are only good

You are sovereign

All to Jesus, I surrender; All to him I freely give

I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence freely live

I am really so glad I did this.  I never realized that I was still carrying the weight and sadness of that time around with me.  It was so good and healing to express surrender through this drawing. 

{While I was working on it, I was suddenly inspired to start a fertility support group.  I will be planning and working out the details of that soon; if you are interested, please be in touch!}

Peace and Joy to you, my friends, and blessings on your journey, wherever you may be. 

A Natural Approach to Fertility!

My husband and I host an open mic at the Arcedium Coffeehouse in St. Charles once a month, and last month I was perusing the big bulletin board with posters and business cards. I came across one that caught my eye. It read, "Jennifer Mercier-Bone, Doctor of Integrative Holistic Medicine."

I was intrigued.

So I took one, brought it home, and ventured to her website. WOW! As I poked around, I couldn't help but become thrilled about her ideas and her practice! I was so excited, in fact, that I sent an e-mail AND a voicemail to her office right then and there. She got back to me the next day and offered to meet me at Arcedium for coffee!

So we met last Wednesday, and had a lovely time chatting about home decor, homebirth, fertility, medicine, babies, birth politics in our state, and all things chilbirth. Throughout our conversation, I just couldn't get over the fact that there was a fertility specialist like her so close to home! (She lives in S. Elgin).

She told me a little bit of her story, and how she used to work with Reproductive Endocrinologists and Gynecologists, observing all sorts of medical procedures, especially infertility treatments. She said that she noticed two things about each and every women who came for fertility treatment. One was stress & anxiety. The other was a misaligned uterus. The stress was obvious--women trying to get pregnant without success (which is much more emotionally difficult than most realize), and the cold, sterile environment in which they were being treated. And then there was the uterus. Since she has also had training in massage therapy, she began to come up with her own ideas about massage and how it could help women with their infertility, and she created Mercier Massage Therapy, which involves several sessions of massage around the uterus and in the pelvis region. Somehow, this helps to get everything in order down there, and makes conception much more likely. She had actually just finished a book on her techniques the night before! Her website says, "It is gentle and noninvasive and has a success rate of 71% (IVF's success rate is as low as 20%)." Again I say, WOW! Thank you, God, for a practice like this, so close to home!

I was just so thrilled about the fact that there is a doctor like her in our community. Not only is she gentle, caring, and compassionate toward women and their families, but she also knows her stuff. I was so impressed by her knowledge and insight, AND by her trust our bodies' design. How refreshing to find another like-minded soul! And what a blessing it is to have Dr. Jennifer's practice to refer future mommies to.