Monday, November 4, 2013

My Experience with Red Raspberry Leaf Tea after a Miscarriage

Today's post is for all the women who come to this blog to find healing and hope after a pregnancy loss. I'm so sorry you're here--I wish you weren't--but since you are, I hope to offer some empathy and support and peace. 

After my miscarriage in 2011, I did a lot of research on what I could do to nourish my body and care for it. Mainly, I wanted it to come back into balance so that I could feel good and strong and healthy, and so that I could be prepared for another pregnancy, since my husband and I really wanted to try again for a pregnancy that would result in our second healthy baby.

I've talked about this elsewhere on the blog (see this) but the first thing I did was to change my diet and go Primal /paleo. It was October of 2011 that we ditched grains, legumes, refined sugar, processed foods and rancid vegetable fats, and I've been living that way ever since. That has been a huge success, which I'll cover in another post, but today I want to talk about the tea.

One of the reasons I suspected I miscarried was that my hormones were off due to nursing. I don't really know if that's the reason, and I'll never know. But when my son reached two, I decided it was time to wean him so that I could focus on healing and conceiving again.

That was, for us, relatively painless. He was down to two nursings per day anyway, and so over the course of about two months, we just tapered off until we said "bye bye to milkies." It was a very emotional process, but it was the right decision and it was ultimately pretty gentle for both of us.

For years, I've charted my menstrual cycle with the method outlined in Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Even after weaning I noticed that my luteal phase was too short. I also noticed that my menstrual cramps since giving birth to my son were waaay worse than they'd ever been in my life. I knew my cycle was off.

After consulting Dr. Google, I decided to try B6 supplementation to lengthen my luteal phase. After two cycles doing that, I noticed that I was having mid-cycle breakthrough spotting, and I didn't like that. It had never happened to me before, so I knew the B6 was not helping, and was possibly hurting.

I stopped taking that, and that's when I did some research on the balancing and fertility promoting properties of red raspberry leaf tea, which I'd heard about from my doula, but never really looked into.

You can read a lot about what it is supposed to do here. This story even talks about boosting goat fertility!

I used the Traditional Medicinals organic tea bags. I brewed 4 bags in 4 cups water in a big Mason jar, and then stuck it in the fridge so I could drink it iced. (I only drink hot tea in the dead of winter, and the taste of RRL is better iced, IMO.) I drank 3-4 cups a day, every day.

I knew it was helping when I noticed a significant improvement within the first cycle. I had a longer luteal phase, much better EWCM, almost no cramping at all when my period did come, and I just felt more balanced.

In my second cycle of drinking the 3-4 cups of tea daily, I conceived again, and this time the pregnancy stuck. :-) My daughter is now almost 11 months old.

Now, I want to say that I don't want this to come off as a "If you do this, then you will conceive" kind of message. I know intimately the fragile state of a woman who has miscarried, and the even more fragile state of a woman who has miscarried and is desperate to conceive again. It is very easy to want to control everything and try to "do" something. The last thing I want to do is send anyone into a tizzy of "I need to order this and this and this." Because, just as I don't know why I miscarried, I don't know why I conceived again when I did. I have my suspicions. But I don't know.

I have my little anecdote, and if it is helpful to you, or you think my story sounds similar to yours and it might help, I don't think trying RRL tea can hurt you in any way. It will cost you a few bucks. (And, full disclosure, the links on my site are Amazon affiliate links to help support my writing, but I want to just put that out there so that you know I'm not trying to sneakily earn some money off anyone's pain.)

But your body is unique and if it is healthy, you could probably do nothing and still conceive and carry a pregnancy to term. And it is my most fervent wish that you achieve your heart's desire. I guess what I'm trying to say is that only you know what you need.

I listened to my body, watched its signs and realized that I was out of balance. I did a bunch of things (including using Pre-Seed Lube in my fertile window and also undergoing Mayan abdominal massage and regular Swedish massage) to try to help me to conceive, and maybe they helped, maybe they didn't. It's in your heart and hands what you can undertake and what you can handle in the quest to have a baby, especially after a loss.

It's so, so hard to be in that spot, and if you're reading this, I'm so, so sorry that you are. I wish none of us had to go through the pain of a lost pregnancy. It's such an awful grief and sorrow. But, sisters, I offer you a hug and some hope that you will be well again.

With all my love,