Our daughter was two and was longing to have a sibling. Certainly that was our plan too but Mama Nature seemed to be hitting a stumbling block. Month after month we became more aware of our increasing ages; the warnings of dangerously easy pregnancy that we are all told at 16 no longer applied now that we were both 38.
Our first visit to the fertility clinic was not encouraging, and introduced us to the apparently unyielding world of FSH. Jane’s was “high” at 11, but not quite out of the range for trying in vitro. We were told that Jane’s FSH level could always have been a bit high, or-less encouraging for ever getting pregnant again - it could be starting to rise towards menopause. We were recommended to try a few months of Clomid while making up our minds whether we would want to try in vitro. Suddenly we were regular visitors to fertility websites, trying to make sense of the swirling mass of fertility information and technology. We decided to try in vitro in three months time.
A week later, Jane spotted a pamphlet for Acubalance, mentioning the value of acupuncture and TCM for the treatment of infertility. At first, our appointment Dr. Lorne Brown discussed their role in preparing the body for natural conception and in assisting those embarking on the in vitro process. We had three months before we were booked to start in-vitro. We would give Acubalance a try.
Over the months of treatment, Dr. Lorne Brown and Raeghan Siemens proved to be everything that exceptional physicians should be – profoundly skilled, genuinely concerned and consistently optimistic. Still we had no proof that this treatment was actually of any value to our particular situation. Then the week before we were going to start the in vitro process, and while still attending Acubalance, we got the crushing news from the fertility clinic. Jane’s crucial FSH had jumped to 17.8. Even before we heard the rest of the devastating message, we knew from our research that many North American fertility clinics would not even take a patient with an FSH over 15, as the odds of success were so low. The message from the clinic went on to say that our prognosis for successful in-vitro was “exceptionally poor,” although we were welcome to try “if only to provide a sense of closure.”
We were crushed, and I kicked myself for our lost opportunities earlier in our relationship. We tried to console ourselves that we were so lucky to have one delightful daughter, who would likely have to get used to being an “only child.” But it was a very tough time for us both.
Although neither of us could discuss it without crying, we decided we go ahead with the in vitro. We had been given the needles and drugs, and had practiced injecting rubber balls. The in vitro process begins on day five of the woman’s period, with a one-month course of birth control pills, so we got prepared and waited for Jane’s period to come. And waited.
When her period was a week late, J woke me up one morning with a bright pink paper strip from a pregnancy test.
Jane left a message for the fertility clinic that “it seems like we won’t start in vitro after all, as I am pregnant.” Their call back was very surprised.
After a few months, our daughter was hugging and kissing Mummy’s tummy in anticipation of becoming a big sister.
Her little sister was born at a healthy 8 1/2 pounds, and for her big sister it was love at first sight. Our new babe is now six weeks old, starting to smile, and well-used to the enthusiastic hugs and kisses given to her daily by her big sis. My guess is that they will be great friends. We are a very lucky family of four now.
We beat the odds that Western medicine laid out for us, and owe a family-sized thank you to Dr. Lorne Brown and Dr. Raeghan Siemens.