Mia* was on the verge of giving up trying to conceive. With a PCOS and endometriosis diagnosis, coupled with multiple failed IVF attempts, her doctor had told her that her chances of having a baby were less than 1%. Her hope was steadily declining, which is when she decided to try acupuncture. She’d heard it could help and felt she had nothing to lose. She booked her first appointment with me almost 20 years ago.
From a Chinese medicine perspective, she was spleen qi deficient and kidney yang deficient, which, from my book Making Babies, meant she was the waterlogged type. (In fact, I met Mia before I wrote my book, and I actually created this type with her in mind.)
Her PCOS caused her cycles to be irregular, which made it hard to time intercourse. She also suffered from insulin resistance, which made her sensitive to sugar, and she had a sluggish metabolism caused by the PCOS. Additionally, due to her PCOS, her androgen levels were elevated, which caused excessive hair growth on her body and face. From a Chinese medicine perspective, she ran metabolically cold (which meant she didn’t move fluids in her body very well) and gained weight easily. I always refer to this type of weight gain as “unfair weight” because it tends to happen even if the person is eating well and exercising.
The endometriosis she had was relatively moderate: there was a fair amount present. However, she did not feel as much pain as some others experience with endometriosis. Endometriosis is the result of uterine tissue that has developed outside of the uterus. The tissue is in the wrong place, so the body, understandably, identifies it as foreign and mounts a defense. That misplaced immune reaction and the resulting inflammation can make it harder for an embryo to implant.
Along with a treatment plan for regular acupuncture, I created a custom herbal formula for Mia to address her various symptoms. I regularly altered her formula throughout her treatment, as her situation continued to evolve. Over time, I added herbs to help clear inflammation and address the over-reactive immune response that her endometriosis was causing. I also added herbs to help boost her metabolism and diminish her body’s response to insulin.
Together, we devised lifestyle adjustments to help, as well. As she was sensitive to sugar, she completely removed it from her diet, which gave her more energy and helped her hormones to regulate.
After a few months, her menstrual cycle became regular, which, needless to say, was a great sign. After about 6 months, the hair growth associated with PCOS went away, as well. She went to test her hormone levels, and they were within a “normal” range.
As she continued to see me, one thing that really struck me was that these treatments had renewed her sense of hope. They had provided her with actionable tasks and measurable progress. She felt that even if she wasn’t able to conceive, she was healing her body and that at least was worth working on. (Though, she never gave up hope on starting a family, either.)
One year later, an unexpected visitor arrived at Yinova. Mia had sent her husband (who worked in the same neighborhood as our clinic) to visit me. He was holding a huge bouquet and he gave me some wonderful news: Mia was pregnant!
She went on to have a healthy pregnancy and gave birth to the sweetest boy. As she was nursing, she reached out to me, saying that she wanted another baby! We worked together on a new treatment plan, and she surprised both of us by getting pregnant quite easily the second time.
A few years later, when her youngest one was 4-years old, she brought him to visit me when she came into the clinic for an acupuncture treatment. In his hand, he had a picture that he had drawn. On it, with the help of his Mom, he’d written in large letters, “Thank you lady who helped me be in my mummy’s tummy!” I still have this drawing, and I cherish it.
The years have gone by, and Mia’s oldest is in college, and her other son is finishing up high school. Every year, Mia writes to me on her sons’ birthdays to update me on their progress, including updated photos of her beautiful family. I’ve kept all of these photos, and they fill me with joy. I truly love being able to help people create families.
*All names have been changed to protect our patient’s privacy.