By: Sarah Trask, Wolfville, Nova Scotia
My journey into parenthood was not an easy one to say the least. I am just now (my little guy is 10 months old) feeling at peace about telling my story from start to finish. It was a long and painful process, both emotionally and physically. Over the last five years I have heard so many stories from friends, patients, and others, about their own struggles with becoming pregnant. This was just one of my many struggles which I was able to overcome with the miracle of homeopathy.
To share a little of my relevant health history, I was on birth control for 10 years from age 16-26, but at 32 (the time we began trying) I had been having normal periods, knew when I was ovulating, and was seemingly very healthy. At the age of 21, I had been diagnosed with cervical dysplasia and at the time the doctor used cryotherapy every 6 months as treatment. I had about 4 treatments of cryotherapy before I moved to Toronto where I was treated using the LEAP procedure and had two biopsies, both of which came back benign. At the second LEAP procedure, I was observed by a student doctor, to whom the doctor spoke directly to, with me in the room. The doctor told the student, without addressing me, that the cryotherapy (which he considered an "ancient" technique in the treatment of cervical dysplasia), had closed the lining of the cervix and scarred the area, which would make it extremely difficult for me to get pregnant naturally. I was devastated. Not only had I heard this news second-hand, but there was no warning, no compassion, and no understanding of how this news might affect me. I left that day feeling the first of the grief that I would feel again,years down the road. I was treated in 2005 by a homeopath/teacher at the CCHM where I was attending school. After the first year of homeopathic treatment, I was free of any cervical dysplasia and given a clean bill of health by my doctor.
Fast forward 7 years...
My husband and I, now living in NS, decided after 2 years of trying, that we would get checked out to make sure having a baby was a viable option for us. We were referred by our GP to an OB-GYN who started with a round of tests to ensure we were both healthy, my hormones, his sperm count, etc.. We were both very healthy, and hadn't considered that this would be an issue we would face. I remembered what the doctor had said so many years prior in Toronto, and shared this information with my new doctor. Both of our tests came back completely normal so the doctor said to keep trying. Even after viewing the cervix, he said that there wasn't any scar tissue that he saw. I asked him if it was possible to get the hysterosalpingogram or HSG, because some people I had spoken to had gotten pregnant after this procedure. He agreed that would be our next step but we'd have to wait 6 months to see if we got pregnant naturally first.
During the following six months, I got acupuncture, and continued with my constitutional homeopathic treatment as needed, but nothing changed. If anything, I felt more and more disappointed with my body. It seemed as though everyone around me was getting pregnant, and although it was the happiest of news for them, I felt torn up inside for myself. I felt as though my body was failing me. I had taken so much pride in my health since becoming a homeopath. I treated everything homeopathically, was rarely sick, and was gluten-free with a very healthy diet. It just didn't make sense. We wanted more than anything to start a family, and my thoughts were consumed by it daily.
Finally it was time for my HSG test. My husband had to wait outside while I went in for this seemingly routine procedure. The doctor came in and had what looked like a giant needle/rod. The nurse was very calm and reassured me that it would be over soon. He shoved the rod up and jabbed my cervix and it felt like someone was stabbing me from the inside out. Then again, he jabbed. Three more times and at this point I asked him what he was doing. He said "I can't seem to get through your cervix, so I'm just going to make a small incision, you'll feel a pinch, so I can get through with the dye". After that, things went from bad to worse. I felt as though someone was ripping my insides out, and I went into shock. Although my mind was fully aware, my body shut down. I felt all the warmth drain from my body, and everything went numb, including my lips, and I was shaking uncontrollably. I couldn't speak, but was screaming like an animal. The dye went through and the doctor said he would be back in a few minutes.
The nurse looked horrified, and was scrambling to find me some pain relief. She pulled a Tylenol out of her purse, and gave it to me apologetically. She said she'd never seen this happen before...the doctor having to make an incision for this procedure. She was wiping the sweat off me and holding my hand. I was still screaming, and then I vomited. I also experienced involuntary stool around the same time. I asked her to get my husband and when he came in he was so confused. He asked what was happening, "is this normal", "what happened" etc, and the nurse seemed just as confused as him. The doctor abruptly came back into the room, said the dye went through normally, and to drink some rum for the pain! He left as quickly as he came in. The nurse and my husband tried to help me to the bathroom which was only 10 feet away, but with every step I screamed in pain. I've never felt pain like this in my life, and couldn't feel my legs well enough to walk. I was vomiting and passing stool for a few minutes, and couldn't get up from the toilet.
I asked my husband to get the Arnica I always carry in my purse. I took two pellets, which I immediately vomited back up. The nurse called the doctor, who was somewhere else in the hospital and he said that if I was still in the same state in 10 minutes to take me to emergency. He didn't come back to check in. I took the Arnica every few minutes and after 10 minutes was able to muster the strength to get dressed. I told the nurse I was leaving and despite her saying I should stay, with the help of my husband, I was able to get to the car. The ride home felt like forever. I continued to take the Arnica every 15 minutes after that, and by the time we got home from the hospital, I was completely fine, with absolutely no pain. I was bleeding but that is normal after this procedure. I had to be in Halifax the next day for a wedding rehearsal. When we arrived, I went from bleeding in the last 24 hours to a full hemorrhage by 4pm that day. I ended up in the emergency room in Halifax and the attending doctor wasn't able to answer my questions about what had happened. He did say he hadn't heard of this happening in an HSG test, but he wouldn't say much more.
Over the following weeks, when I shared what had happened with family and friends, some of whom were doctors, most people shared in my opinion that what this doctor did was unorthodox. Not only did he not use any local freezing, but worse, he left me there with the nurse, who also had no idea what had just happened. I went back for my follow-up appointment after 2 weeks, and he apologized for doing the incision but he said he had no choice, and had to open up the cervix. "You're open now, you should have no problem getting pregnant". When I asked him to refer me to a fertility specialist, he said I would have to wait 1 year more of trying before he would do the referral, but upon me pressing, agreed to wait 6 months.
I thought to myself, wouldn't this incision create more scar tissue, but didn't address this with him at the time because, to be honest, I didn't trust him, and didn't feel comfortable asking. I spoke to a number of doctors after this, and when I got a copy of my chart from the HSG test, it said in the chart that he had inserted a balloon catheter, which is not what he did. I decided to go into the hospital and find the nurse, as I knew she would remember me. She did, and said that she didn't remember a balloon catheter being used because she would have been the one to prepare it. After speaking to a doctor friend whom I trust, he suggested not taking my complaint to the Board of Surgeons because it would be more stress for me and he would probably only get a warning. I shared my experience on “rate my doctor”, and found this doctor had similar complaints from other women.
After 6 months I had to go back to this same doctor but this time, I brought my husband with me. I still was not pregnant, and felt more and more as though I was blocked (I will describe this later). He was curt, and to the point. "I did not make an incision, I inserted a balloon catheter" to which I responded "you told me in the room you were making an incision, you apologized two weeks later for making that incision and there was no balloon catheter prepared in that room". He denied it all and I was left simply asking for the referral I had waited 6 months for.
After having to wait only another month, we got in to the fertility clinic in Halifax - AART. It was a snowstorm that day. I called the clinic ahead of time to let them know we would be 15 minutes late because of the highway conditions. They said "no problem" and we arrived,looking forward to getting some answers. The first thing the doctor said to me was "you're late, and because of that I only have 20 minutes for you, so make it quick". I told her my back-story about the scar tissue and the HSG test and the fact that we were still having problems. She didn't examine me, she asked us no questions, other than what I had provided in the intake form, and then simply stated "based on how long you've been trying, you have a 3% chance of getting pregnant naturally, so here are your options"… and then she went into talking about IUI, IVF, fertility drugs, etc, and the costs for each. We were left after 20 minutes with a folder on the treatments, and an overwhelming sense of frustration.
My husband and I were devastated and angry. I cried for weeks after that. I felt as though I had done everything asked of me, trying so many avenues, and nothing had worked. I wasn't willing to go the artificial route. I didn't trust anything I had experienced up to this point with modern medicine, and I would/could never go back to that clinic, as I felt they weren't there for me, they were there to sell a product.
Over the next four months my husband and I grieved and accepted the fact that we might never have children. By late spring I was ready to revisit trying with homeopathy. I called my homeopath, Dr Joe Kellerstein, and explained to him what I had been through with everything. As usual, he had all the time in the world for me, and pressed with thorough questions. Although I was embarrassed to share this information, I told him about feeling blocked. I trust him enough that I was able to share that post coitus, it was as if the semen would hit a wall, and would come right out. He felt this was a very important symptom and treated me with Natrum Carbonicum 200ch. I took the first dose that day and noticed a change in that symptom instantly. After a few more doses that month, it was as if the semen wasn't hitting a wall at all and would remain for a few minutes. To highlight the characterizing symptom for Nat Carb (and Sepia), it is 'ejecting semen post coitus'. I was pregnant two months after that first dose of Nat Carb and my life from that point on has been forever changed. I want to thank Dr Kellerstein for his wisdom and patience, my husband for his support through it all, and perhaps most importantly, my body for healing itself and giving me the most precious gift of life, my son.