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Inconceivable: A Woman's Triumph over Despair and Statistics [Kindle Edition]

Julia Indichova
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A memoir of hope for the thousands of women struggling with infertility, from one who beat the odds by simply tuning in to her body and tapping her well of sheer determination.

At a time when more and more women are trying to get pregnant at increasingly advanced ages, fertility specialists and homeopathic researchers boast endless treatment options. But when Julia Indichova made the rounds of medical doctors and nontraditional healers, she was still unable to conceive a child. It was only when she forsook their financially and emotionally draining advice, turning inward instead, that she finally met with reproductive success. Inconceivable recounts this journey from hopeless diagnoses to elated motherhood.

Anyone who has faced infertility will relate to Julia’s desperate measures: acupuncture, unidentifiable black-and-white pellets, herb soup, foul-smelling fruit, even making love on red sheets. Five reproductive endocrinologists told her that there was no documented case of anyone in her hormonal condition getting pregnant, forcing her to finally embark on her own intuitive regimen. After eight caffeine-free, nutrient-rich, yoga-laden months, complemented by visualization exercises, Julia received amazing news; incredibly, she was pregnant. Nine months later she gave birth to a healthy girl.

Unlike the many infertility books that take a clinical “how to” approach, Inconceivable simply professes the wisdom of giving expert status back to the patient. Julia’s self-discovery, and her ability to see her body as an ally once again, yield a beautiful message about the importance of honoring the body’s innate powers, and the power of life itself.


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

JULIA INDICHOVA is the founder of FertileHeart.com, one of the few independent fertility related advocacy groups with a global community of patients and healthcare providers. The website offers a wide range of support services such as studies, Guest Teacher Teleconferences, and ongoing fertility -support-circles for US residents as well as European and international participants. Indichova’s work and story have been featured on the The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, Oxygen, and NPR’s 51%, as well as in in Natural Health, San Francisco Chornicle, People magazine, Health magazine, USA Weekend,  and other outlets.  Her second book The Fertile Female: How the Power of Longing for a Child Can Save Your Life and Change the World documents her original mind-body program The Fertile Heart™ Ovum Practice developed through a decade of and a half of counseling and research. 

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

Diagnosis

Oh, if there were in me one seed without rust . . .

--Czeslaw Milosz, The Song

I love teaching. After twenty years of working in the theater, I recently got a master's degree and was lucky enough to land a job teaching Russian and musical comedy in the hottest junior high school in Manhattan.

But Kathryn, our daughter's baby-sitter, has quit. Now Ellena wants to have nothing to do with any of the possible replacements. Except one. Me. She is only ten months old, and every time I leave the room her wailing reels me back in. There is only one thing to do: stay home until she becomes more comfortable with new people.

After a couple of weeks at home, I realize Kathryn's sudden departure was a gift. I would never have dared to choose full-time motherhood over work. Never found out how much I enjoyed the preciously unhurried hours with my daughter: cruising with the baby backpack through our morning errands, walking around the Columbia University campus just north of us, or savoring our raisin bagel in the nearby bakery. We live in a fifteen-story prewar building across from Riverside Park, and if I lean far enough out the kitchen window, I can see a patch of green. It's not unusual to meet up with a cluster of park-bound strollers in the lobby. Within a week, Ellena and I are part of a neighborhood play group. As long as we can manage financially, I will teach in the evenings and continue being a full-time mom. Thankfully, my husband, Ed, supports my decision.

There is an added bonus to all this. With no teaching schedule to consider, the second baby could come anytime. Let's see, if it arrived nine months from now, my two children would be only nineteen months apart. Lying in bed at night, I take a deep breath and imagine movement under the slope of my belly. I see myself lean against the weight of a double stroller and wonder whether it will fit through our front door.

Three months later, I'm still a full-time mom, now a part-time teacher of English to speakers of other languages at Hunter College. It seems Ellena's sibling is taking a little longer than we anticipated. I'm not really concerned. After all, the last time I got pregnant on the first try. Three months is not very long. But I'm forty-two. A consultation with my gynecologist might be in order.

"We should take an FSH test," suggests Dr. Y. "It's one of the first things we look at in women over forty." A week later I call for the results.

"Oh, yes," reports the nurse, "your numbers are fine, within normal range." A sigh of relief, a phone call to Ed, all is well. In a few days I call to schedule further testing. I am stunned to find out that, although the numbers are not "abnormal," all is not well.

"The follicle-stimulating hormone helps the follicles inside your ovaries to develop into eggs. If the level is--over 20--" Dr. Y pauses--"your ovaries are not working as well as they should be. With an FSH of 42 there is not much I can do for you. You'll need to see a fertility specialist."

I sleepwalk through the rest of the day. How could I have been so arrogant, ignoring my age? Did I think my biological clock had stopped ticking just because it took me so long to find the right man? We should have started trying sooner. And what is my problem? Why does this hurt so much when I already have the most wonderful daughter in the world? How dare I lament with all those childless couples out there? Yet I can't undo the feeling of despair. I know how much Ed wants to have another child and how much we would love Ellena to have a sibling. Dr. Y refers me to a specialist. That must mean a specialist can help.

Dr. N strikes the first blow.

"I'm sorry," says the receptionist. "Dr. N will not accept you as a patient. Your FSH is too high. He doesn't feel he could help you." A decent man, he is saving me money. Yet all I hear is that it's so bad, he doesn't even want to try.

"What happened? You look sick," says Ed as soon as he opens the door. Of course, he's shocked. Last week there was nothing in our way except a few months of practice until we got it right. My impulse for self-flagellation wins out once again: "If only we had started right after Ellena's birth. They say that's the most fertile time. We should've known!"

A line of fear cuts across his face, but he is enlightened, as always: "We couldn't have moved any faster, we were not ready. Everything will work out. Do you remember when we first held Ellena? How tiny she was? How easy it was to love her? We'll love this baby no matter where it comes from."

Ed is right. I mustn't for a moment forget how lucky I am. Ellena, Ellenka. Her name combines the names of her two grandmothers (Edita, Helen) for double protection. In return she carries sparks of them in her blue eyes, the color and texture of her sun-bathed hair. I must be there for her. I can't give in to the feeling of defeat that sneaks up on me when I least expect it.

My friend Lisa and I went to college together. Our relationship has gone through its ups and downs, but still my hand automatically dials her number in times of crisis. She and her husband, Gary, have been members of the infertility subculture for the past four years, having gone from specialist to specialist to finally adopting their son, Sam, three months ago.

"This is the worst part, when they tell you something's wrong. It gets easier after that," says Lisa.

On Lisa's recommendation I call Resolve, a national organization for people with infertility problems. They might have some new information. I'm hoping for a recent breakthrough in research, someone to discount the FSH alarmists.

I leave a message briefly describing my situation. The woman who returns my call, Shelly, is only thirty-seven. She has an FSH problem as well. Like me, she has one biological child, though she had trouble conceiving the first time. Our hormone levels create an instant bond.

"I know how you feel," Shelly says sympathetically. "Our doctor suggested IVF, but it's not an option for us. We can't go through it again. We're in the midst of the adoption process."

I ask her if she ever tried alternative treatments. "Like herbs? No, not really," she replies. "I guess you never know, do you?"

Across a haze of information, a list of doctors and IVF clinics, I hear a certain resignation, a weariness I fear might be contagious.

The complimentary Resolve newsletter arrives a few days later with an entire page filled with information on support groups. I am not ready to join one, but it's comforting to know they're there.

I'm surprised no one mentioned the effect of a high FSH on your environment. Seemingly overnight the entire Upper West Side of Manhattan swells into a giant, mocking belly. The playgrounds are invaded with mothers expecting their second or third child, or cradling newborns against their breasts. It seems almost daily there is joyous news of yet another one of Ellena's playmates becoming a big brother or sister. Each time the news feels like a humiliating betrayal to me.

Dr. C is at the top of Lisa's list of referrals. Getting an appointment is surprisingly easy. His office is on the street level of a lovely brownstone in Greenwich Village. Ed takes a late lunch hour to meet me for a two-thirty appointment. Finally, my first specialist.

A young woman with two screeching bundles is holding court in his waiting room. That's what I call a good omen. "They're Pergonal babies," she says to no one in particular. "We worked hard for them."

I imagine her gravely injecting her thigh while staring at a Gerber baby taped on her refrigerator door for inspiration. She walks out energized by her new motherhood and proceeds to load her car with the precious cargo.

Dr. C is an elegant, gray-haired man in his late fifties. On his desk sits a photograph of a beautiful woman holding twin girls. His daughters? Maybe his very first Pergonal twins? Nothing's sacred anymore.

Unaware of my silent indiscretion, Dr. C begins to take a brief medical history. He asks me about first menstruation, first pregnancy, Ellena's birth, and the regularity and duration of my ovulation cycles, all of which he finds satisfactory. Prior to this visit, Ed was asked to get a sperm count, and it's comforting to know we're not lacking in that department.

Dr. C looks at the lab report with my FSH. "Forty-two is high. Very high," he says, sounding concerned.

"Doesn't the number fluctuate? Couldn't it just drop on its own?"

"Of course it could, but the fact that it even once went up this high is discouraging. Ordinarily, I would recommend Pergonal. It's a fertility drug that helps you release more mature eggs. You could administer it to yourself by daily injections into your buttocks. Only, I don't think with these numbers it would do much good. I wouldn't want to give you any false hope. The prognosis is poor. In vitro fertilization is an option. Of course, you would have to get an egg donor.

"I still think we should run all the basic tests," he adds. "To make sure everything else is all right. And you'll need to have them if you elect to go the IVF route. One more thing: before we schedule the tests I'd like you to meet with our staff psychologist, Dr. R.

"Hope we can help," he says, shaking hands. Later I hear him repeat the phrase to another desperate, smiling couple.

Three weeks later, as we go through subsequent visits and discuss lab results and additional options over the phone, it becomes quite clear Dr. C has no idea who I am. Literally. I have a feeling he loses track of his patients in the maze of sonograms, biopsies, sperm counts, and referrals. Maybe he doesn't need to know me, as long as he knows his trade. As long as he updates my chart. Knows not to give me too much ...

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspiration! January 14, 2004
By Penny
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Far from adopting the attitude that "all infertility doctors are jerks and out to take their patients' money" as one reviewer asserts, Indichova sought alternatives when her doctors gave her no hope of conceiving with her own eggs. In conjunction with adopting a myriad of lifestyle, dietary and other changes, Indichova continued to periodically assess her medical condition with conventional Western doctors. In fact, if this reviewer had really read the book carefully, he/she would have remembered that Indichova had an appointment with yet another RE to discuss the viability of an ART procedure based her decreasing FSH levels on the day that she learned she had beat the odds and conceived her much-wanted second child!
Some of the reviewers seem to have a negative attitude about anything that doesn't fall within the strictures of conventional Western medicine and thereby assign the corrollary attitude (incorrectly!) to Indichova (that she is into "hocus pocus" and "wacko" stuff and disparages Western medicine (she does not).
I will agree with the reviewers who've noted that this may be a tough book to swallow for those infertility patients who are struggling with primary infertility *and* have never conceived any children. Indichova suffered secondary infertility, and until I emotionally reached the point where I desperately want a 2nd child (my first miracle baby was IVF 3 years ago), I too would have had little sympathy for someone in Indichova's position. My perspective now is definitely different, but women who've never conceived any children should be forewarned of Indichova's situation.
I've been diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve, and though my FSH numbers aren't high, I've been largely written off as a lost cause by Western medicine.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank You, Ms. Indichova!! November 24, 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
As a 37 year old IF woman, with high FSH, I thought all was lost. Then I found this book. With an FSH of 25, and doctors all telling me that I could never have a child of my own without an egg donor, life looked very bleak to me. But upon reading this book, I decided to make some life changes. I gave up going out to lunch (and brown bagged it instead) and going to movies (nothing wrong with renting) to be able to do my acupuncture sessions. I also bought yoga tapes and guided imagery tapes, and started drinking wheatgrass. I did not do the vegetarian diet though. From 25, my FSH is now 9. While I will still go through with my IVF, I am going into it with absolute belief that it is finally going to happen for me.
When I received the results, I was overjoyed. And my doctors were shocked. They continued to test my FSH because they were sure it was an anomaly. They've been disappointed in seeing that my tests remain within a healthy range. I would encourage any and all who believe that in their body lies the key to fertility to at least give it a shot.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Success Story January 28, 2002
By Carol
Format:Paperback
The title of this book hit home and I tried everything else, so I bought the book and followed the recommendations as best as I could. A few months after I started, I did an insemination, went to the doctor (who originally felt my chances of getting pregnant were slim to none) and found out I was already 8 weeks pregnant! (What I thought was my period the month before was apparently blood from the embryo attaching to my uterine lining.) My doctor, who still couldn't believe it, recalled all my bloodwork from the month to retest, called me in for a sonogram the next day and, lo and behold, found and embryo with a beating heart. This doctor (one of the most respected in the business) said he'd never seen anything happen like this. I'm 42, have had 5 miscarriages and, as I've said, had a pathetic prognosis. The doctor said he'd be talking about my situation in his lectures and writings and he'd be sure not to mention my name.
I now have a 7 month old girl who is a joy every second of everyday.
I know how tough trying to have a baby can be when EVERYONE is telling you to pack it in, but believe me, if the advice in this book can work for someone like me, it can work for you too.
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96 of 117 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Deceiving, if somewhat inspiring. March 5, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Although I found parts of Indichova's story inspiring, overall I found this book more annoying than enlightening. Women who are struggling to conceive their first child should be warned before reading this book. Indichova's struggle is about secondary infertility. As someone who is still hoping for one child, I found it difficult to read page after page of Indichova's angst about trying for her second child. It made me feel that she didn't really appreciate the gift and miracle she already had with her first healthy child. I know secondary infertility is a serious problem for many women and I respect that it is, but for women who have not been able to have any children, this book can be an odd and unsettling read.
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118 of 146 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A nice memoir, but advice can be dangerous July 6, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This subject matter of this book appealed to me because, after 5 years of infertility, I finally had a child. Unlike the author, this wasn't years spent taking my wheatgrass shots and doing acupuncture - this was years spent in the hands of Western medicine and finally doing IVF, which worked.

Here's what I liked about the book: it is highly readable, and a nice and inspirational story about a woman suffering secondary infertility who won't take no for an answer when the medical system tells her that her FSH numbers are too high to have a baby on her own. She did her own thing, was determined, followed her instincts, and in her case, it worked. I like the idea that pe
ople need to be proactive about their medical history and path they're on. That people need to listen to their gut instinct and that they know the best thing for themselves.

What I didn't like is her general tone that it's perfectly okay to turn your back on Western medicine and go it alone, and you'll have a baby. At the end of the book, she talks about a friend of hers who has "unexplained infertility" and she can't understand why this friend is still drinking wine, smoking cigarettes, etc. Well, maybe these things contribute to this woman's infertility, but I'd say it's highly unlikely. Ahem, what about all the chain smokers/ alcoholics who get pregnant? All the crack addicts?

Then, there are tales at the back of the book of people who got pregnant following alternative regimes. One woman picked her own herbs and thus felt very "connected" with nature. Another had some kind of cranial massage and let go of all her negative emotions. I'm glad these women got pregnant. But, these women were in their 40s or thereabouts.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
Great book for all those feeling lost and helpless in the infertility world. Definitely gave me the boost I need to keep trying naturally and give myself a chance.
Published 21 days ago by Dawn Berly
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Provides alot of insight into fertility and being positive when trying to concieve.

Provides interesting things I had never thought of when I was trying to get pregnant
Published 1 month ago by MadisonGal
4.0 out of 5 stars Really lifted my spirits
This was the first mind-mody book I read about trying to conceive. I feel like this is really going to help me.!
Published 2 months ago by Maria P
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and interesting
I liked this book. The story-telling element is good. Julia is a good writer and I liked what she had to say. She's clearly passionate about her subject matter. Read more
Published 2 months ago by TravelerK
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Infertility Book!!!
An incredible book - easy to read and very well written. I loved getting a first-hand account of Julia's journey through all the ups and downs. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ninj
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
This book comforted me through my 7 years of infertility. I am blessed to be a mommy of two boys today and pray that this book can give comfort to anyone struggling with... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amy Hubble
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely A Must Read
I loved this book. I bought it on Kindle. My husband and I are trying to conceiving so after reading the blurb I had to give it a try. Read more
Published 3 months ago by DES
4.0 out of 5 stars great book when western medicine fails you
It's great that lots of women get pregnant easily and carry to full term but for those of us who aren't as lucky, this book offers lots of ideas that our traditional medicine... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars swmmngal
Great book to emotionally support your journey through the world of conception. A good couple of tips in this book including herbs and meditation techniques
Published 4 months ago by swmmngal
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerfully moving
I recently suffered a miscarriage after undergoing IVF. This book really met me where I was, refusing to give up hope but not knowing if I was just being delusional in my grief... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Rda
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More About the Author

Julia Indichova is the founder of www.fertileheart.com, one of the few independent fertility advocacy groups with a global community of patients and healthcare providers. The website offers phone-circles for US, and international participants. In the last decade and a half, Indichova's program, the Fertile Heart™ Ovum Practice, documented in The Fertile Female, has helped bring babies into the world, often after years of failed medical treatment. Her work was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, among others. In 2010, Indichova initiated the Turn It Around Project, Inc. applying her mind body program to the peace efforts.




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