arts vs. herbs
*None of this is medical advice. It is a recap of my personal experience with supplements, herbs and eventually IVF. I also want to emphasize that this is written to help any of those who felt the way I did when leaving the more natural route and entering the more aggressive medicated route. Each person has their own path, below was mine.
Photos - first and second photos include the following supplements (click on name of product below for direct links to shop).
The third photo shows me taking drops of chaste tree oil.
Organic. Grass-fed. Wild fish. Hot food only.
Ok i can do that.
Pineapple, kiwi, goji berries, brazil nuts, walnuts, berries, molasses, beans, kale, flaxseed, chia seeds, bone broth, eggs, avocado, chaste tree oil, floradix.
Xiang Fu, He Huan Pi, Xiao Yao San, Gui Pi Tang, Nu Zhen Zi.
K, the last set are the Chinese herbs I was given at my acupuncturist, but you get the gist. When you make the decision, pretty late in the game compared to your peers, to start trying to have a baby, and you’re told your diet can help, you’re willing to eat anything. At least I was. That’s what I did in combination with some acupuncture and it did make me feel “productive” towards my pregnancy mission. Each time I ate or each time an acupuncture needle was put in me, I thought “ok this could be helping my blood flow, warm my uterus, spur ovulation, give me a better chance of getting knocked up.” Until months went by and it didn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely obsessed with my acupuncturist and truly believe in the powers of it. But when I walked into my then acupuncture clinic, after having only tried to conceive for a month, and was told I was a specific “type” and that I should potentially restrict my diet while making sure to eat XYZ at a specific temperature while also making a certain tea in combination with herbs each day, it became crazy consuming, real quick. Oh and also, of course my mom and I HAD to buy the book “Making Babies: A Proven 3 Month Program for Maximum Fertility” that we saw in the lobby of the acupuncture clinic, which became my bible. It really taught me SO much but also made me nuts. (All in all, I STILL recommend getting it if you’re like me and want/trust a reputable source for this process and need a “one stop shop” to guide you and inform you about absolutely everything in the baby making process). You can buy it here.
I took an organic acids test at the request of my therapist, which indicated some deficiencies; I won’t even get into the amount of supplements and pills I was on. The photo above is me looking at actual bottles of supplements I was taking daily, those weren't purchased for the photo. I stopped drinking alcohol for 2 weeks per month post ovulation until I could take a pregnancy test. People probably thought I was pregnant for months. I took my temperature religiously every morning. I had caffeine withdrawal headaches and was exhausted. My clothes and armpits probably smelled terrible from all the organic products I started using (detergent, deodorant, lotion, everything). My skin was already not great from going off birth control so I tried an all organic mask only to wake up to the worst break out of my life on top of being so swollen. I looked like Quasimodo with bad acne for a week IN THE SUMMER. Not to mention my husband was going insane over the organic products I replaced our regular ones with. The soap bar I made him use was a goopy mess that clogged the drain and the shaving cream made him legitimately gag in the shower.
I felt like a slave to my fertility and had no idea if it was even helping. After doing this for a few months, I made the decision to take the less natural route of ARTS (Assisted Reproductive Tecnology). I have to say, even coming from someone who once prided herself on being “natural” and “organic," I still immediately felt a sense of relief that I didn’t need to be a slave anymore to each herb, temperature and morsel of food. I certainly became a slave to the science, blood tests and shots, that were inevitably in my ARTS future, but started to trust more in the more concrete science side of things. An injection of X will cause Y to happen. It was weird to me, because I could never feel that confident before ARTS, like “ok eating this yam will 100% help with ovulation and cause conception to happen.”
All I can say, is that we so easily can become obsessed with every herb, seed, crumb we consume. For me, I had to make the decision on how much was too much before I became so anxiety ridden every time I had to decide what to eat. When a few days would go by, I'd think, “shoot i didn't have enough grass fed meat, even though I hate red meat, but am told I have low iron and that I really need to have it.” I look back on photos of those months and wish I could have them back.
Finding out that I was going to start the ARTS process gave me the sense that I could relax a little bit with the HERBS. It was the start of what I felt was a more direct, sure fire path (until it wasn’t, which I'll save for another post).
Fast forward to a year and a half later, I’m 9.5 months pregnant, I've still done acupuncture here and there throughout the pregnancy and am on a few different supplements, but certainly not to the extent I was. That being said, I still have a glass spray bottle of vinegar and lemon juice in my fridge (which I was told was the ONLY way to clean fruits and vegetables and kitchen counters), BUT I can’t tell you the last time I used it.