Years ago, I began having a series of sweet dreams about my little girl. They played out as common daily scenarios…splashing playfully in the pool, exchanging funny conversations, trying on shoes at the shoe store. Each dream featured the same cherubish face with big blue eyes. The commonality between these dreams was the feeling I had upon waking. The amount of love I had for this little being was overwhelming and all-consuming. I felt like God was treating me to special glimpses into the life that was meant to be mine—introducing me to this precious soul he had waiting to come into the world. I was destined to be a mother, no doubt about it.
This is what made events over the next few years so confusing and disheartening to me.
A few months into newlywed life, my husband and I were pleasantly surprised with an unexpected pregnancy. It was sooner than planned and we were living away from family at the time, but we embraced this happy news. A few weeks later, I miscarried. The conception was what is referred to in medical terminology as a “blighted ovum,” which the doctor explained tends to happen when either the egg or sperm contains no genetic material. He assured us that there was no reason to fear trouble in future pregnancies and that roughly 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Though I appreciated the thorough explanation and comforting words, I just couldn’t wrap my head around what went wrong. Why would I have ovulated an empty egg? Was something wrong with my reproductive health? These questions nagged at the back of my mind.
When we decided to try for a baby a couple of years later, it just didn’t happen. Months and months went by. I kept going back to the same question. Was something wrong with my reproductive health? I went to three different gynecologists who didn’t seem too concerned. “It just takes some people a while,” one said with a shrug. When I brought up the possibility of polycystic ovarian syndrome, another replied, “You don’t really have ‘the look.’ I don’t think it’s worth doing an ultrasound.”
My hormonal tests came back normal. “Just don’t stress” was the sentiment I heard repeatedly. Never one to suffer in silence, I complained a lot to family and friends and really whoever would listen. I kept hoping someone would have some wisdom or clarity that would ease my concerns. I received a lot of well-meaning advice, but unfortunately very little useful information. I heard a lot of, “Just stop trying. It will happen when ya least expect it!” Although I’m not discounting the role that stress plays in fertility, relinquishing control isn’t easy for anyone who wants something desperately, and for a problem solver like me, sweeping a problem under the rug just isn’t my go-to strategy.
Another conversation I had several times went something like this:
“Oh honey, don’t even worry about it. I couldn’t conceive for 10 years, and now I have five kids!”
“Really?! What made the difference?”
“I have no idea.”
Inspiring, yes. Helpful, not so much.
People have asked me why I always assumed the reproductive problem was mine and not my husband’s. I think you just know deep down in your bones when something is off. I never once thought it was him. I knew something was wrong with me. I just didn’t know what it was.
It wasn’t a tough decision to embrace alternative medicine. I was infertile with plenty of questions and few answers. I had always been a proponent of natural solutions. I once healed five cavities by taking cod liver oil and ghee for a few months. I figured I had to be able to find a solution to my reproductive issues. But I wasn’t sure how to tackle this problem when I didn’t know what the problem was.
Each day, I felt that dream of my baby slipping away, and doctors hadn’t been able to shed light on my confusion. I knew I wasn’t interested in hormone-altering fertility drugs or invasive conception procedures. I would never pass judgment on those who embrace those options. Everyone should be entitled do what’s right for them, and I personally know people who have had luck with these choices, but I decided that if I couldn’t conceive after getting my body as healthy and balanced as possible, I would accept that it wasn’t meant to be. I knew that my body could not nurture life at the time, and I entertained the possibility that I wasn’t meant to pass on my genes. But, given my deep desire to have a child, I figured I simply had a health problem I needed to take care of. But where to begin?
In my early days of research, I did a lot of self-diagnosing and experimentation with different fertility remedies and cleanses that I read about online and in books. Unable to pinpoint what was wrong, I had poor follow-through because I kept second guessing myself. For instance, it’s pretty tough to give up coffee if you’re not fully convinced coffee is the enemy. I got impatient with acupuncture and stopped going after a month.
My husband tried to be as supportive as he knew how to be during this time, but he was flat out angry at the amount of money I was spending on herbs, supplements, and health food. He was somewhat in denial that anything was wrong and assumed a baby would come when the time was right. My family and friends continued to try and be encouraging, but the advice to relax fell on deaf ears. The “just give up” strategy wasn’t for me. Looking back, I can say this was the most isolating time of my life. I felt utterly miserable and alone.
Like before with the miscarriage, troubling questions echoed relentlessly in my brain. What if I never figure out what’s wrong? What if I never have kids? What if God doesn’t want me to be a mom? What if nature is preventing my genes from being passed on to the next generation because I’m not genetically fit enough? Worst of all, will Trae regret marrying me if I can’t have children?
My husband is a good man. One of the best. He would never leave me over something beyond my control, but in the darkest hours, these thoughts only compounded feelings of “not good enough.”
“Not good enough” and I go way back. Ironically, this is line of thinking associated with the formation of ovarian cysts, according to the internationally bestselling book, You Can Heal Your Life by metaphysical lecturer Louise Hay. Hay says all illnesses are manifested by specific thoughts and feelings.
I remember telling my mom, “I feel like every single day when my feet hit the floor in the morning, I am going through strife from dawn until dusk. I can never get ahead. I’m just treading water.” These fertility frustrations spilled over into every area of my life and made me feel like every effort was futile. I’m sure my negative thoughts made the problem worse and created a vicious cycle. But what could I do? I was in over my head.
I prayed daily that God would lead me to a competent healer who could help. It was July of 2014, while doing fertility research online, that I found a video on YouTube posted by Healing Tree. Only at the time, I didn’t know anything about Healing Tree. In the video, Dr. Lynise Anderson, a naturopath, discussed symptoms of candida yeast overgrowth. I thought this sounded a lot like what I had been experiencing—low energy, mood swings, sugar cravings, and scatterbrained thinking. I looked more into Healing Tree and discovered it was in located in Floyd, VA, close to home. A subsequent video showed a man whose wife had overcome infertility after going to Healing Tree. I’ll be forever grateful for the online algorithm that identified me as someone to target with this video. I made an appointment immediately!
When I met Lynise, I was struck by her warm bedside manner and compassion. She listened carefully as I explained my concerns. She didn’t tell me to just relax. She didn’t tell me to stop trying and it would happen. She told me what I already knew, that when systems of the body are out of balance, the body doesn’t function as it should. She assured me that we would get to the bottom of it and that she had been successful in the past at helping women conceive when doctors either couldn’t figure out what was wrong or told them it wouldn’t be possible. Music to my ears!
Lynise performed several non-invasive tests that intrigued me. Through iridology and muscle testing, she identified candida yeast overgrowth, an underactive thyroid, a kidney imbalance, and more. The first order of business was to get rid of candida. As Lynise explained, this is often times the root of all problems since candida can chew on other organs. I went on a restrictive diet that eliminated sugar, refined carbs, dairy, and coffee—all my vices and took an antifungal herb. After about six weeks, I followed that up with a round of probiotics to restore my gut bacteria. Next I took a metabolic type test, which is an online assessment of eating habits, personality, and moods. The results revealed that I should be eating a diet high in protein and healthy fats and low in carbs and sugar. I expected this after noting how much better I felt a few weeks into the candida diet. Lynise asked if I wanted her husband, Ivan Anderson—shiatsu therapist and energy medicine practitioner—to perform a vibrational hair analysis, which she explained was another test that could reveal deep imbalances. I didn’t want to leave any stone unturned, so I went for it.
When Ivan told me I had an imbalance in my left ovary, I was admittedly skeptical and a bit spooked. Could someone really know something so specific by analyzing my hair? Regardless, I took the proprietary formula he made to address my imbalances—five drops under the tongue three times daily. Meanwhile, my gynecologist referred me to a friend who ran a fertility clinic in North Carolina. Trae was on board with the testing since this was more mainstream and within his comfort zone. On this day, the doctor performed an ultrasound which revealed massive cysts…wouldn’t you know it…all over my left ovary! The doctor felt my best odds of conception would be to go on a diabetic medication, Metformin, since cysts can form due to insulin resistance. I declined the drug, still wanting to stick with natural healing methods and avoid the negative side-effects I read about. The doctor said it would be unlikely I would conceive without an intervention.
I promised my husband and myself that if we hadn’t conceived by the following fall, I would move on and turn my attention away from this pursuit. I reasoned that two years was plenty of time to focus on fertility, and I didn’t want to devote anymore of my life to pursuing this if it just wasn’t in the cards. I prayed about it and asked God to remove this desire from my heart if motherhood was not in my future. I began to envision a life for us without kids. We could travel. We could pursue our ambitions. We could have more money and less responsibility. I tried to convince myself of these benefits. But what about the blue eyed baby from my dreams?
I didn’t have to envision this alternative reality for too long. Low and behold, the month that we discovered the cysts was the month we conceived! It takes a healthy egg roughly 90 days to mature in the ovaries. We conceived exactly four months after I finished the Healing Tree remedies. My theory is that my body was still in the healing process when we conceived, but the healing was complete enough to give me a healthy egg. How were these different health problems interconnected? I still don’t know for sure, but my best guess was that the candida chewed on the thyroid, which altered pituitary function, which caused hormonal miscommunication, which interfered with ovulation, causing the formation of cysts when eggs repeatedly matured without ovulating. The body sometimes goes haywire when one root problem causes a domino effect. Stress and poor diet exacerbate these problems. From what I understand, addressing the root cause can bring many different systems of the body back into balance.
I went in for a follow-up at Healing Tree shortly after finding out I was pregnant. I wanted to make sure I was balanced and able to nurture this new life. Sure enough, every system of my body was in complete balance. Prenatal appointments confirmed I no longer had ovarian cysts.
Nine months later, tears overflowing, I looked into the big beautiful blue eyes of the baby who was always meant to be mine. I thank God for leading me down this path. Beyond conception, I’m thankful for my overall health, which I feel empowered to sustain throughout a long lifetime. I have my life back and feel the way I’m supposed to feel when I wake up in the morning.
I want to leave you with this.
Always follow your intuition. Every problem is worth solving, and every dilemma has a solution. If something is important to you, it’s important. End of story. It’s worth pursuing. There’s something to be said for being carefree, but never prematurely “stop trying” or “give up” on your dreams. Only give up when you’ve tried everything and put forth the best effort you know how. Only give up when you no longer feel the desire for that thing you once yearned for. If you have a deep desire that comes from above, that is your personal calling. Pursue it relentlessly.
When it comes to health, there are many solutions. You just have to know where to look and stay true to your values when deciding the best path. For me, that was holistic healing. What will it be for you?
View Kendall’s video testimonial below and meet her cherub faced daughter!