A Personal Story

(NAME) "Trumary"
(success) yes
(pregnancy_test) Yes, positive.

Submitted: January 20, 1998

Sister Zeus,

I must thank you for your willingness to put information out on the web and make it available to all women. As an educator, moreover advocate for womenís health and choice, your information was of great interest. If you have any mailing lists or groups, please pass them on to me. I would love to keep abreast of this topic.

I ran across your information months ago when I was doing a search for emmenagogues and menstrual regulation. You see, women of child-bearing years in my family (particularly on the maternal side) are amennhoric, they cycle quite irregularly, perhaps only a few times a year. Traditionally, they have children early (as a direct result, I believe, of not knowing their fertility cycle.) I believe this is linked to poor nutrition, being over weight (and the diseases such as Diabetes which come with that) and lack of education about their bodies.

In an effort to ease the severe symptoms of PMS and not having a cycle, I found your information to be a wonderful godsend. I read your section on emmenagogues and purchased a tincture of Blue Cohosh to help stimulate menstruation, I ended up not needing it for a couple of months. However, during this time I did have sex (protected). To my surprise, normal symptoms of PMS (i.e. breast tenderness, moodiness, sleepiness) took on different and prolonged forms. I began feeling sick in the mornings and just *knew* I was pregnant.

A home pregnancy test a week after my cycle was due confirmed this and I was suddenly faced with choices. According to my calculations I was approximately two weeks past my usual cycle. There was no way I would want to bring a child into the world with where my life was - I was working and finishing my masterís thesis. Having heard other womenís stories of clinically botched abortions, I was compelled to avoid this intervention at all costs. I made a conscious choice to make my decision as an informed woman, allowing my body to grieve and embrace the natural process.

I started with Vitamin C and parsley inserts, in the dosages you recommend. I stopped the Vitamin C after 5 days, for it didnít bring on my cycle, it only succeeded in irritating my stomach. You might want to put a warning to those who have high stomach acid levels, acid reflux, or sensitive stomaches that the ascorbic acid approach might not be the best alternative, particularly in pill form, since the stomach must digest the hard pill. (Even if one used ascorbic acid crystals, it would still irritate the stomach.) My next option was to choose a menstrual promoting herb. I recalled my organic chemistry and human anatomy days (I was a science major in college) and did some research on muscle mass to body fat ratio for maintaining certain amounts of drugs in the body.

My research showed (as do most drug books) that in some cases, individuals with high muscle mass need less of a stimulating drug than those with a higher percentage of body fat. e.g. A 165 lb man can usually take a 500mg dosage of Vicoden (a opiate-based receptor drug) and be knocked out cold, whereas a 165 lb woman needs about 750-800 mg for the same effect, over a longer period of time. This is also true with antibiotics, vitamins, and other dietary supplements. Realizing this and my history with drugs, I knew that I would probably require more of the tincture over a longer period of time, with careful attention to my bodyís responses to watch for toxicity.

I began with Black Cohosh every 4 hrs, in tincture form, 12-18 drops. The first few doses I diluted in water or juice because the medicinal taste was pretty awful. After getting used to it, I put it on a small tea spoon and chased it down with water or milk. I even set my alarm during the night to dose myself. After 24 hrs I noticed my abdomen beginning to feel tight and my body begin to respond to the herb. After another 6 hours, these symptoms subsided. I talked with a friend of mine, who is an amateur herbalist (like yourself), in addition to picking the brains of the herbalist at the health food store, and they both advised me I should take a drug that would enhance Black Cohosh such as Dong Quai. The second evening I began supplementing doses of Black Cohosh with 10-16 drops of Dong Quai tincture every few hours. Perhaps it was because my body was used to herbs at a constant level, or perhaps the agonistic work of uterine stimulators and progesterone blockers is so great, but within 12 hours I began to bleed.

The flow was very light and thin at first, but I didnít stop taking the herbs. The third day I began to have severe cramping and fatigue. Part of the fatigue was due to having my sleep schedule interrupted for herbal dosing, and part was due to embarking on the unknown. During my restless hours, I meditatively prayed and released the life growing within me. On day 3, I noticed that my blood was very dark and that I was passing fibrous tissue. Using a menstrual cup (Instead) I observed that these pieces of tissue were fibrous and about 1/2Ē long. Midway through the 4th day, I passed a grape-like sac with fibrous tissue surrounding it. Once I passed the sac, I tapered the doses of herbs to end with my bleeding, finishing on day 6.

My physiological responses were that my blood pressure was a bit lower than normal, but nothing I was worried about. The most unsettling for me was having the general feeling of soreness associated with menstrual cramping but more severe than ever before. I was able to take some time off work on the first few days and be kind to myself as I embarked on the process. I wish I could have stayed home the entire experience but was unable to. I returned to work on day 3, being generally cranky and out of sorts. I did drive to work, for I usually take mass transit, for I knew my body couldnít stand the jolts and jarring of a bus.

This experience took place the beginning of November, 1998. I was 24. I celebrated my 25th birthday a few days after I stopped bleeding with the knowledge that I was successful in performing an herbal abortion. I had emerged from a positive, personally empowering learning experience. I felt at tremendous peace within, knowing that I had made a good choice.

If I were to pass on any words of wisdom, I would encourage being kind to yourself through this process, for it is difficult on your body and spirit. I cannot emphasize enough to eat well (even if itís small snacks) through this process. Even though herbs can cause nausea, small bits of protein and carbohydrates (cheese, soy, crackers, etc.) help to calm the stomach and chamomile tea is always a lovely soother. When the bleeding stops, have herbs on hand to restore your body. It took me about 7-10 days to get my energy back and color into my cheeks.

It took me about 8 weeks before I cycled again, I think this was in part the stress surrounding the Christmas Holidays and that I was under tremendous stress. I have concluded a normal cycle and am tracking ovulation to better understand my body and cope with amenorrhea.

Sincerely Submitted,


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