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The Infertility Cure
The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies
By Randine Lewis, PhD
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- ebook $11.99 $15.99 CAD
- Audiobook Download (Unabridged)
- Trade Paperback $22.99 $28.99 CAD
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around December 14, 2008. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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Dr. Randine Lewis offers you a natural way to support your efforts to get pregnant.
The Infertility Cure addresses: Advanced maternal age Recurrent miscarriage Immunological fertility problems Male-factor infertility Hormonal imbalances and associated conditions Anovulation, lethal phase defect, amenorrhea, unexplained infertility Endometriosis, polycystic ovaries, tubal obstruction, uterine fibroids Improving the outcome of assisted reproductive techniques
The Infertility Cure opens the door to new ideas about treating infertility that will dramatically increase your odds of getting pregnant — the natural way.
Dr. Randine Lewis's patients
and readers of The Infertility Cure
express their gratitude and joy
"It's a healthy BOY! We are thrilled! And relieved, as everything looked good on the ultrasound. I feel like I can relax a little now and enjoy the rest of this pregnancy. It amazes me every day that I was able to conceive this baby, especially after what I was told by doctors. I thank you so much for your guidance and wisdom because if I hadn't picked up your book seven months ago, I know I probably wouldn't be carrying this life inside me now."
— L. K., Washington, DC
"Dr. Lewis was a true gift from God during my journey with infertility. I believe that the traditional Chinese medicine she administered during my IVF cycle contributed to my success of giving birth to a precious little boy. It provided the support my body needed and allowed me to relax during the procedure. I don't fully understand the magic of the medicine, but I would not consider another IVF cycle without supplementing it with acupuncture."
— Kim C., Houston, Texas
"Starting out as the biggest skeptic on TCM, I have been having treatments for nine months and am currently eleven weeks pregnant with my second IVF cycle. Dr. Lewis's knowledge of Eastern and Western medicine and her ability to understand and leverage both, as appropriate, obviously helps her success rates with her patients."
— Renee B., Seattle, Washington
"My body, mind, and soul have been greatly enhanced as a result of experiencing Dr. Lewis's program. Through her truly caring spirit she not only provided me hope (I now know that there's no such thing as 'old eggs'!), she also gave me the greatest blessing of all — the tools to attain outstanding health on every level. For this, and so much more, I am forever grateful."
— Denise N., Jupiter, Florida
"I combined Western and Eastern treatments for infertility. I know the traditional Chinese medicine treatment made the difference in the success of my IVF cycle.— We now have a beautiful two-week-old boy!!"
— Lisa S., Houston, Texas
"Dr. Lewis, I am not sure if you will remember me but I am an acupuncturist near Charlotte, North Carolina, and we spoke on the phone in the spring of last year. Well, long story short… I continued with your nutritional supplementation advice and with my TCM doc over the summer of '03 and then we decided to start the adoption process.… Four days later I found out that I was pregnant. Currently we are eighteen weeks and everything looks good. THANK YOU SO MUCH!"
— Marcia H., Charlotte, North Carolina
"Although my husband had low sperm count and motility, we both went to see Dr. Lewis. We were about to begin the process of our second IVF cycle with ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). We were becoming more desperate and less hopeful. The treatments were to prepare me to respond better to the medications and the entire stressful medical procedure. I felt better immediately; the most miraculous result, however, was that when my husband had his next sperm analysis, his sperm count was normal! We decided to try naturally, and realized we didn't even know when the timing was right. Dr. Lewis became our fertility counselor. I am so proud and elated to report that we are now pregnant with our first child. We have so much hope now that we will be able to have the family we had always dreamed of."
— Kei H., Houston, Texas
"I went through IVF last month and just found out that I am pregnant! We had two embryos implanted; I've had two blood tests to date — the first beta was 125 and the second was 334, so everything looks good so far. I wanted to thank you, Dr. Lewis, for giving me your treatments and recommendations, which led to my miracle. On a more personal note, you were the one who gave me the hope and belief to try one last time. We still can't believe it is true and probably won't believe it until I'm delivering. I had continued my acupuncture throughout the rest of the year and up until my transfer. I also went through the pre- and post-transfer acupuncture and I believe all of it made my pregnancy come true. I will always be grateful."
— Maria H., Houston, Texas
"After many months of medical intervention (injections and IUI's) for unexplained infertility, I began treatments with Randine Lewis. The weekly sessions were very relaxing, and within a month I had more energy and generally felt better. My reproductive endocrinologist began noticing physical and physiological changes after just two months of acupuncture and herbal treatments. Four months after I met Dr. Lewis, I became pregnant. My precious daughter will go through life hearing the story of how she would not be here if it were not for the caring hands of Dr. Lewis. It saddens me to think that there are women who are not informed, or who hesitate to seek Dr. Lewis's help, and continue to struggle needlessly with infertility."
— Sharon L., Houston, Texas
"I read this book cover to cover, then went back to page one and read it again. The wisdom, information, and hope it provided gave me the power to help myself and, ultimately, find my fertile soul."
— Suzanne R., Los Angeles, California
"My reproductive endocrinologist is very excited about my FSH level and gave me instructions to begin Fallistim injections. I am taking two vials per day. I just wanted to tell you how grateful I am for Dr. Lewis's help and how amazed I am at how quickly these changes have taken place in my cycle! I can't thank you enough!"
— D.C., Wilmington, Delaware
"When I first came to see Dr. Lewis, I had many medical problems other than infertility. I had severe depression, and an autoimmune condition, which I believed was part of my inability to get pregnant. Dr. Lewis assured me that as we worked on my mood disorder and autoimmunity, my reproductive system would become healthier in the process. With her help, I was able to wean myself off my anti-depressants (with my psychiatrist's consent). We were successful in having a baby, and my autoimmune condition is now in remission. I trust Dr. Lewis completely and always knew that my overall well-being was more important to her than anything else. She steered me in the right direction at every step of the way."
— Michelle H., Houston, Texas
"I am sitting here nursing our two-day-old son.… I am eternally grateful for your guidance and expertise."
— Diana K., Houston, Texas
"I was very skeptical about going to an acupuncturist. I was from a traditional medical family, but during my first appointment I was so relaxed that I fell asleep! After going to Dr. Lewis for a couple of weeks, I had much more energy and felt a lot more relaxed in general. She predicted that I would get pregnant within six weeks to six months of seeing her, and at the six-week mark I was pregnant! We are expecting our baby at the end of October."
— Laura W., Houston, Texas
"I am now almost nineteen weeks. My morning sickness is gone and I'm well into the second trimester. The amnio results came back Wednesday with the great news of us growing a normal boy. I hope/think we are finally now at a point where we can truly enjoy every kick and doctor's visit. I credit you and your herbs and needles for giving us this normal little bean to grow. Saying thank you doesn't seem to be enough. But thank you for the miracle you have performed."
— Shaye H., Galveston, Texas
Dedicated to all women whose yearning to express life
will bring forth the children of tomorrow.
To the children born of these dedicated women:
may you always know how much you were cherished—
even before you were born.
Thank you for expressing yourselves in my life.
Copyright © 2004 by Dr. Randine Lewis
Illustrations © 2004 by Brian Carli
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
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Little, Brown and Company is a division of Hachette Book Group USA, Inc.
The Little, Brown logo is a trademark of Hachette Book Group USA, Inc.
Acknowledgment of permission to reprint previously copyright material appear on page 302.
First eBook Edition: December 2008
How to Use This Book
If you have been diagnosed with specific conditions that affect your fertility, your natural inclination may be to turn directly to the chapters in part 3 that deal with your particular problem. But to benefit most from this book, you need to know the basics of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) so you may correctly apply the suggestions contained in the book's later chapters. With a little background in the principles of TCM, you will be able to understand of the causes of your own particular fertility challenges and then discover how to treat them using this ancient form of healing.
At a minimum I suggest that you do the following:
Read chapter 3. It will give you a foundation in the principles of TCM.
Read chapter 4 and take the diagnostic test. This is essential if you wish to discover and understand the causes of your infertility according to TCM. In chapter 4 you'll also learn a series of abbreviations that are used throughout the book to refer to specific imbalances in the different Organ systems of the body. Once you know which imbalances are affecting you, you can look for the symbol for your particular imbalances in the chapters on diet, lifestyle, acupuncture, and herbs, as well as in any chapters dealing with Western-diagnosed conditions.
I also recommend that you read all of part 2, "The Ancient Chinese Program for Reproductive Wellness." This section describes the various treatments of TCM, that you can apply to your diagnosis later in the book.
While I have done my best to make the material in this book easy to read and comprehend, keep in mind that there may be new and unfamiliar material in these pages. However, as a Chinese proverb tells us, "With time and patience the mulberry becomes a silk gown." With a little persistence you will understand how TCM can help enhance or restore your fertility.
NOTE: This book is intended as complementary in nature. It is not designed to take the place of medical care, Eastern or Western. It is an attempt to put into plain English how natural forms of treatment, based upon an Eastern paradigm, can assist in improving your fecundity. You should consult a physician before embarking on any treatment plan.
Contained within this book are exercises you can perform to help your body put maximum emphasis on your reproductive capacity. These exercises, based upon individual patterns, will give you the benefit of traditional Chinese medicine. More sophisticated treatments will require consultation with a licensed acupuncturist or doctor of Oriental medicine.
Many of the articles referenced in this book come from European or Asian medical sources. The international medical community has been supporting natural alternatives for many years. The American medical community is just beginning to support scientific studies to investigate natural, complementary care. Gratefully, this trend is improving, thanks to public demand.
Also, please note that all patients' names used in this book have been changed to protect their privacy.
FROM INFERTILITY TO MOTHERHOOD
I was born to Scandinavian parents and grew up in northern Minnesota. My family included two older twin sisters and a younger brother. For as long as I can remember, I wanted a family of my own. Having children just seemed a part of my destiny. Although I was a tomboy and didn't play house or typical girls' games, I knew I would be a mom someday.
My parents couldn't afford to pay for my education, so at eighteen I joined the air force. I moved to Italy and married at age twenty; six months later, through no effort or concentrated planning, I was with child. My pregnancy transformed me. My life had never had such meaning. The miracle of this child growing in me was beyond words. I gave birth to a beautiful daughter, Theresa. My marriage, however, was another story. My husband and I had lost our passion for each other, and the partnership ended.
With my marriage over, I turned my sights toward a professional goal. The zeal I felt for the miracle of pregnancy never left me, and I decided on a career in medicine — maybe obstetrics gynecology (OB-GYN). Theresa was in third grade when I was accepted into medical school. My studies were intense and required maternal sacrifice, but I had found my life's work.
Upon completion of the academic portion of medical school, I met Ed, a physician from Texas, and we got married. I began work in Houston as a medical consultant. We decided that before I went into a fast-paced medical practice, we were going to start a family of our own. Okay, I wanted to increase the size of our family; Ed was content with our life as it was. Yet my yearning to bear another child grew into an obsession.
At the same time, I was experiencing hormonal problems. My joints ached, I had lower back and knee pain, I had to urinate frequently, I had night sweats, I was experiencing hair loss, and my periods were extremely irregular and sometimes nonexistent. A medical work-up revealed my estrogen and progesterone levels were alarmingly low, resulting in an inability to conceive. The doctor recommended Clomid, a drug designed to hyperstimulate a woman's ovaries to produce more eggs, thus increasing the chances of pregnancy. This advice seemed wrong to me; why hyperstimulate my ovaries when the problem obviously resided in my whole hormonal system? Ed was also against this prospect. During his medical training he had seen firsthand the unfortunate outcomes of multiple births: fetal distress and death; two-pound babies barely kept alive on life support, only to be irreparably harmed for life.
But in my desperation I would have subjected myself to any medical procedure to get pregnant. I eventually became convinced that I had to solve my own hormonal problem. But I could recall very little practical information from my medical training — for the very good reason that it was never provided! We learned about gynecological diseases but not about gynecological health, and even less about reproductive well-being. So I started reading everything I could find in the library, at bookstores, and on medical search engines. I began to eat healthfully and exercise, while devouring every book ever written on how to conceive naturally. Gradually, I stopped drinking alcohol, gave up smoking, quit drinking coffee and diet soda, and stopped eating sugar, milk, and meat. I shopped only at an upscale health-food supermarket specializing in organic foods. I ate a strictly vegan diet; I drank a shot of wheatgrass every day and took a plethora of nutritional supplements. In one book, I read that acupuncture could treat infertility. While this seemed a little far-fetched, I was intrigued. I found one acupuncture general practitioner, another who practiced acupuncture and prescribed Chinese herbs, and one who specialized in herbal medicine for gynecology. And I went to all three! I also began to research herbal fertility remedies. I began taking herbs like wild yam, Vitex, and other reproductive herbal tonics. I made teas, tinctures, and other concoctions, each one smelling and tasting worse than the other. I brewed mixtures of raw Chinese herbs on the stove, plug my nose, and choke down my special herbal potions every day.
But still I couldn't get pregnant. Desperately, I started reaching for anything. I stood on my head, put pillows under my hips during sex, waited and prayed a lot. Each month was a cycle of anticipation and despair. I almost developed an addiction to home pregnancy tests. At the first notion of a potential symptom of pregnancy (a twinge in the uterus, tender breasts, nausea), I would buy just one early pregnancy test and promise myself if it was negative I wouldn't buy another one. But each time I was let down. I began to detest the appearance of the single pink line, only to try again the next morning.
When you're trying to get pregnant, it seems as if every woman around you gets pregnant by accident. I began to resent the drivers of the minivans that occupied the "Stork Club" parking spaces at the supermarket. It felt as if I was the only one who wasn't allowed to join this club. I noticed homeless women living under the bridge with swollen bellies, a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other. Couldn't I provide a better home for a child? Every aspect of my being was challenged: my self-worth, my femininity, my profession, my marriage, my faith.
In the meantime, however, I noticed changes occurring within my body. My hair no longer fell out. My joints stopped hurting. I had more energy and generally just felt better. Three months later, I became pregnant with Kyra. I was beyond delighted. My fascination with Oriental medicine intensified. I felt that I needed to understand this noninvasive, healthy way of thinking. I matriculated at Chinese medical school at night and finished the four-year program in two and a half years. My friends and family stood by, amazed. Give up a career in "real" medicine to pursue this gibberish? But I had experienced the efficacy of this novel form of medicine firsthand, and I wanted to know how and why it worked. More important, I wanted to help other women who were challenged with infertility.
When I finished my training, however, I still didn't feel as though I knew enough about Chinese medicine to apply it effectively to others. So I took my family to a city on the eastern coast of China, where I worked in a hospital of traditional Chinese medicine. This particular hospital had departments much like any American hospital — neurology, cardiology, dermatology, emergency medicine. The diagnostic equipment was similar; the difference was that every patient was treated only with acupuncture or herbs. Although I'd like to paint a picture of this experience as being beautiful and exotic, in truth the hospital lacked central heating and wasn't as clean as I would have wished. But all the doctors, including me, worked exceptionally hard, and the system was extremely efficient and friendly.
My internship focused on patients with gynecological problems, especially infertility. (Chinese women are usually alerted to any conception difficulties by their thirties at the latest. This health impairment is taken very seriously and addressed straightaway.) I saw up to forty patients a day; I assessed their patterns, evaluated their pulse, and viewed the appearance of their tongue. As different as this routine was from the American hospital system, it worked. I treated patients until Chinese medical philosophy became second nature.
Most patients came for diagnosis and herbal prescriptions; others came for acupuncture. Some treatment rooms held eight to ten beds to accommodate the mass of patients, yet each individual received complete attention from her physician. The patients would converse among themselves and with the doctors during their treatments, and it seemed they truly enjoyed their weekly outings to the hospital. I learned a very different approach to health care: here, the doctors and patients were a team.
Upon returning from China, I opened up a clinic in Houston specializing in gynecology. I did my own research and earned a Ph.D., completing my dissertation on addressing and treating fertility issues with traditional Chinese medicine. Helping women conceive continued to be my real passion.
After Kyra's birth, I never used any type of birth control, although I did resume my normal unhealthy American lifestyle. A couple years later, the idea of having another baby emerged. I began eating healthfully, changing my exercise routine, taking my basal body temperature, and consuming vitamins and herbs. This time I became pregnant rather quickly. Nine weeks later, however, I woke up one morning and knew that I had lost the baby. My breasts were no longer tender, and I just didn't feel pregnant anymore. I called my obstetrician, who reassured me that everything was fine. My subjective signs were not clinically significant, he said, but I could come in for reassurance. My instincts had been right: the blood test showed my hCG dropping, and the ultrasound revealed no heartbeat. I miscarried at ten weeks.
I was devastated. My whole life had become focused on fertility, but I couldn't handle the loss of my own child. I went through four of the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, and depression — but never made it to acceptance. Nobody, not even my husband, understood. My friends and family urged me to "get on with my life." But this was more than a material loss — a part of my soul had died. I couldn't deal with the all-encompassing despair. I went in for a D & C (dilation and curettage) on Christmas Eve. My doctor gave me pain pills for the recovery period. Although the physical pain was nominal, the emotional pain was intolerable. I took enough pills to make me completely numb. For the next month, I continued to take herbs and had a few acupuncture treatments, but in truth I felt shut down physically and emotionally. Thankfully, I got pregnant again in February.
But when my hCG tests started dropping again, I feared the worst. On the way to my scheduled ultrasound I was petrified that my baby would be gone. I couldn't comprehend why I was being put through these trials. My greatest fear was that perhaps I wasn't meant to have another child. I changed my prayers and pleaded for the strength to get through this, rather than to make it turn out the way I wanted it. The thought that maybe my losses could help someone else gave me some peace. All of a sudden I knew that everything would be all right no matter what the outcome. A stoic composure overtook me, and I went to my appointment with a new sense of strength. My eyes were glued to the ultrasound screen as my doctor repositioned the wand to look for the fetus, and there it was — a heartbeat! Life was worth living again. Six weeks later my amniocentesis was normal. And I was going to have a boy!
However, five months into my pregnancy I started bleeding heavily. I was diagnosed with placenta and vasa previa, meaning that the placement of the placenta was too low, over the cervical opening. When the uterus expanded to accommodate the growing baby, a large vessel had started to hemorrhage. I was ordered on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy. I lay flat on my back for almost three months, doing nothing but watching TV.
At thirty-two weeks, the bleeding wouldn't stop. Lars was born via emergency cesarean section eight weeks prematurely; his cord was knotted and wrapped around his neck three times. The little guy overcame some big obstacles to get here! He spent two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. Today Lars and my other children are perfectly healthy. But my combined experiences taught me that I had to take charge of my own reproductive health.
Western medicine had once misled me into thinking I was infertile or somehow "broken." But I wasn't infertile: I was imbalanced. To heal myself, I had to open my mind to other ways of thinking based on a concept of wellness rather than disease. I had to look at my body as an ally rather than an enemy, as something that needed nurturing and healing in order to support the growth of a child inside it.
From my own fertility struggles arose a compassion and determination to do everything I could to make sure other women would not have to go through such events without the availability of everything that medicine — Western or Eastern — has to offer.
- On Sale
- Dec 14, 2008
- Page Count
- 320 pages
- Little Brown Spark