For years as an adolescent girl, I was told how easy it is to get pregnant and that birth control was the answer to ensure no “accidents” happened. Over five years ago, my husband and I unlearned what we always thought to be true, and realized just how difficult conceiving can be for some couples.
When I was 33 years old my husband and I had been married for a year, I had started my nurse practitioner career and all of our close friends were calling us with their joyous news, they were welcoming a child (or number two or three) into their lives. Wanting a family of our own, we began our fertility journey.
After a year of no positive results, confusion, stress, and anxiety over why we weren’t conceiving naturally we met with a reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Shomento. She suggested our chances of conceiving on our own without any help were minimal given how unsuccessful we had been thus far. Our reason, like many others, was “Unknown”. We opted to try some minimal, non-invasive fertility treatments and sadly, again, no success. Our next conversation was around the topic of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). At this time, I was feeling very hopeless and very unready to embark on that intimidating journey. It seemed so daunting at the time. Physically and mentally I felt very unprepared for the IVF process. I started to ask questions, is the Universe saying “this is not for us?”. Are we supposed to take a different path? A curious question, but something continued to nag at me, presumably that maternal drive to be a mother. I wasn’t done fighting for us to be parents and to have a family.
At this time, I had begun to venture down the infertility rabbit hole, searching for answers for why my body was not cooperating. I dove into podcasts, books, blogs, YouTube videos, and eventually came across a fertility podcast that focused on the Functional Medicine approach to improving fertility. Their conversations and listener education consumed me. They talked about gut health and infertility, hormone health and stress, inflammation, and autoimmune disease. Everything made so much sense to me as a patient and a practitioner. After signing up for a free phone consultation with them I was convinced I needed this work to get my body back on track. For years, I had lived with uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms and had frequent migraine headaches, brain fog, and fatigue. I was also under increased work stress and found out that I was teetering on the edge of developing full-blown autoimmune thyroid disease. I needed help.
Long story short, after 6 months of working through my own personalized functional medicine protocol, I felt better than I had in years. No more gas, bloating, abnormal bowel movements, brain fog, fatigue, and no irritability. My migraines started to dissipate. During this time, my husband and I took a break from trying to conceive, but once I finished the program we decided we would give ourselves 6 more months of trying on our own before we decided to approach the idea of continued fertility treatments.
Even though I continued to feel better and better, we continued to be unsuccessful in conceiving on our own. In July 2019, we drove to Bozeman, MT to visit with Dr. Shomento again. I was now 36 years old and (after learning just how dramatic egg health declines are between the ages of 37 and 38) we decided IVF was the best route to start the family we continued to desire. I was confident that my body was in a much healthier state to receive and accept an embryo transfer but continued to worry that we might not successfully conceive.
Despite our concerns, we started the IVF process a short time later and upon retrieval, we were blessed with two healthy embryos. Hope for a family started to reappear. In June 2020, we implanted the first of our two embryos and for nine agonizing days we hoped, prayed, let go, and told ourselves that what will be, will be.
On July 1st, 2020, five years from when we first started trying, we got the call that we were finally pregnant. Our tiny embryo decided to attach itself and was holding on strong. With a due date of March 10, 2020, we ventured down the 10 months of pregnancy receiving healthy and happy news along the way that our little one was growing and developing well.
On March 8th, 2021, we welcomed our first little rainbow, a baby boy. Jax Edward Peterson arrived happy and healthy, bringing more joy to our lives than we could have ever imagined. We were finally a family of three.
Knowing we had another healthy embryo waiting in the freezer (technically, Jax’s fraternal twin), we decided to try our IVF luck again. In July 2022, we went back for our second transfer with our final embryo. Once again, we waited the torturous nine long days with wavering hope that we would have another successful transfer. On July 25th, 2022, we received yet another positive pregnancy test and couldn’t believe the incredible news. Two successful implantations…could we really be that blessed, we thought? There are so many IVF stories out there that haven’t offered such positive outcomes. We were feeling over the moon.
On March 27th, 2023, we welcomed our second little rainbow, a baby girl. Leni Paige Peterson joined our family as happy and healthy as can be. We pinch ourselves every day, somedays still feeling overwhelmed by our success, hoping and wishing for equal success for all other couples who have struggled but are hoping to grow their family.
Thanks to functional medicine, western medicine, and perseverance, we are a completed happy and healthy family of four.
“As a nurse practitioner trained in functional medicine and a mother of two beautiful babies, I pledge to help others who are struggling to conceive work towards optimal health. I want women to feel their best and create a space within themselves that encourages conception, whether it be naturally or with the help of science and modern medicine like me. The goal is to improve overall health, nourish the body, decrease inflammation, and address the “why” for each couple individually. We can do more for our infertility couples and I am here to prove that for my patients.”
~ Lindsey Peterson