Disclaimer: I will be talking about “women issues” openly. Please do not read this post if that bothers you.
I have always loved children. Whether it be babysitting a big family (which I did often when I was young), helping a family with small children stay quiet in Church or a new baby in the family, I was always the one in the middle of it. I felt I could relate to kids in a special way and it always made me happy to be playing. If there was a baby in the room, I was usually the one holding it. So, naturally I have always wanted a big family of my own.
I was married in May of 2003 when I was 24 years old. I started birth control a month or so before getting married because that’s “what you do” when you get engaged – right? But I had a problem with my birth control.
I was on a dance team that toured the state and danced 2-4 shows a day at elementary school assemblies on one of our trips we stayed overnight, and I forgot to bring my birth control with me. How could such a simple and small mistake hurt my body so much? I started bleeding. Heavily. It was on and off for a while, and I figured it was “normal” and my fault since I had missed the one dose.
Fast forward a couple of months to where all of a sudden my periods became unbearable. Before birth control I rarely had bad pain or super heavy bleeding, but that seemed to be all I was experiencing now. Not only that, but my period decided to come much more often making my cycle way shorter. It was horrible.
All of a sudden my life felt like it was revolving around it, and I was losing a lot of blood due to the heavy, HEAVY bleeding. I became anemic and finally went to see a doctor. After trying a couple different birth controls, without success, he ordered some tests and an ultra sound and found that I had 2 uterine fibroids, one of which was quite large.
He said that in his opinion, he didn’t know if I could get pregnant without cutting them out. They were right in the middle of my uterus. He recommended surgery, but that was the last thing I wanted when it was RIGHT there, in the middle of my uterus, where one mistake could cost me motherhood.
Instead he took me off birth control and gave me a shot of Lupron, which inhibits estrogen production in women, to see if that would help. It helped the bleeding a little, but put my body into “menopause” mode. So, at the age of 25, I was having hot flashes, sweating in my sleep, mood swings, and all kinds of miserable side effects.
But this was only a temporary fix. Lupron shrinks the fibroids, but then they usually grow again back after a few months. And I learned later, that it is usually done right before surgery. So why did that doctor give that to me? Hmmmmm.
My Mom went out and bought me 8 books about uterine fibroids. I flipped through them, browsing the treatments and reading parts here and there, but they looked too depressing and didn’t have solutions other than surgery. So, I quit birth control and tried to get on with life.
I got pregnant right away and carried the baby for 10 weeks until one morning I started bleeding. I made 2 trips to the ER, both devastating. I was clueless and didn’t know that when you’re pregnant and you start bleeding, often you are having a miscarriage. I just didn’t think that could happen to me.
It didn’t hurt (yet) and I sat in the ER for 8 hours while they tried to figure out what was going on. They sent me home telling me that there was no fetal heartbeat and that I was threatening a miscarriage. The pain didn’t start until 8 hours later. Pain, vomiting, contractions, it was horrible.
I went back screaming, took the anti-nausea medicine, the pain-killers and had a D&C right there. I met with the OBGYN later who told me once again that I had 2 large uterine fibroids right in the middle of my uterus. She said that she couldn’t legally say that was why I miscarried, but that she thought surgery would be a good idea in my case.
I called my mom instead. She was well into extreme health and alternative medicine by then, so I told her I would try whatever she recommended. It was not pretty. She put me on essaic tea and all kinds of different supplements. I took them faithfully.
My husband was doing PA rotations at the time working to get his certification as a Physician Assistant. He worked with a surgeon on a rotation in Ogden and I had a chance to get another ultra sound at their office. I had been doing Mom’s regime for about 6 weeks and figured it should make a difference. We measured the fibroids and they were smaller, but still quite there.
The surgeon recommended surgery and told me that I wouldn’t be able to carry a baby in there because the fibroid would work like wrecking balls and knock out whatever I had going. But, I’m stubborn and I had decided surgery would not be my solution, so I kept up the tea and the supplements.
Right about October I was pregnant again. By this time we lived in Vernal, UT where I had access to an ultra sound machine and my husband worked in the local Urgent Care. I wanted a baby so bad that I thought I could just pray it there safely. The tea had made a difference and I just hoped it was enough, but I was scared of the thought of having another miscarriage.
For Thanksgiving we drove down to Jenni’s home in Cedar City. She was pregnant and due before we would get there, but when we arrived, the baby still hadn’t come. She had decided to have him in her home with a midwife named Vickie Sorensen. While I hadn’t really considered a midwife for myself, I respected Jenni’s decision and was excited to be there when this baby entered the world.
The process was wonderful and the baby came on Thanksgiving Day, almost a whole week late. I was so impressed with Vickie and the whole experience, that I decided I wanted to have my baby the same way. I hadn’t even announced yet that I was pregnant, because I was afraid of losing it and dealing with that grief again.
I decided to talk to Vickie about it. I told her about my miscarriage and the fibroids. She told me that neither was a big deal and gave me 2 specific supplements to take in addition to her prenatal vitamins. First, was her Pau D Arco tincture, a glycerin extract that she told me to take a dropper full of daily.
I was a little surprised that she didn’t freak out and prepare me for the possibility of losing the baby to the fibroids. I took it consistently and months later was able to see that the fibroids were actually shrinking away. Even the ultra sound tech told me that whatever I was doing was totally working.
Second, she put me on her Fem Ease formula. She said that most miscarriages are due to a lack of progesterone and that many medical supplements aren’t effective enough.
She said to take it until I was 13 weeks and that I wouldn’t have a problem. Now, she is a certified Nurse Midwife, but not a doctor, so I realize that she couldn’t guarantee it, but she told me that when her Mom’s are on this supplement, she rarely has a miscarriage.
Fast forward to July 19, 2005 when I gave birth to my first child, Noah, in Jenni’s home with Vickie attending. I’ll tell you about that experience later, but he was healthy, happy and huge.
I have continued to take the Pau D Arco tincture, when I remember, and my periods are back to normal with regular bleeding and rarely any cramps. I have since had 2 more children, all with midwives, without fibroid complications and without miscarrying.
I am so grateful that I didn’t get the surgery, and that heavy bleeding and pain no longer plague my life.
I know the fibroids are still there, because I’ve seen them at every ultra sound, but they are so small that they don’t bother anything at all.
UPDATE: Emili now has carried four successful pregnancies and has four healthy children! She did end up having a hysterectomy due to excessive bleeding and uterine inflammation 🙁