Angela Le has been a gift and a blessing during the years of my quest to have a second child, which has been one of the most emotionally and physically challenging periods of my life. She is a remarkable presence, and a superlative practitioner, and her wisdom and perspective helped me transform the way in which I was approaching the treatment process.
When I met Angela, who had been highly recommended by the doctors at Columbia University’s Center for Women’s Reproductive Care, I was in the midst of what would become my third failed IVF cycle. Like so many women, and couples, who are confronted with the unexpected loss of their fertility, I felt overwhelmed, disbelieving, and desperate. Physically, I was in the worst shape of my life—eating poorly, barely sleeping, and chronically overworking. In her gentle but perceptive and direct manner, Angela helped me to see that a state of stressful exhaustion would not be—could not be—conducive to the creation of a new life, and that if I wished to have another child, I would need to welcome this child on every level. She made abundantly clear what now seems fundamental, but at the time was obscured: that fertility is both a creative and a receptive process, which is much more encompassing and enduring than the simple union of sperm and egg.
From this perspective, no matter how powerful and successful hormonal treatments might be, they will not work if we separate our body’s needs from the longings of our hearts, minds, and souls. With Angela’s help, I learned a new way of taking care of myself, which has been as wonderfully pragmatic as it has been holistic and spiritual. At every step of the way, Angela has been engaged with and supportive of the various and often difficult aspects of my journey, including painful choices that my husband and I faced when it seemed that conventional treatments had failed us. Knowing Angela is a bit like knowing a wise and wonderful advocate, who is as skilled at turning a breech baby (I am due to deliver my formerly breech baby any day now) as she is at divining one’s resistance to understanding fertility treatments as more than just a physical process.
Much has been written about the sometimes dehumanizing aspects of enduring fertility treatments, and the tremendous emotional and financial expense of doing so. What Angela Le does is return “heartfulness”—a loving orientation to oneself and to the world—to the whole complicated business of using reproductive technologies. For me, this has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I will be forever grateful.
I came to Angela one year ago at 43 after my first failed IVF cycle. It was a challenging introduction to the fertility world, which left me confused and overwhelmed.
Bombarded by conflicting information I wasn’t sure what to do next. Angela listened with kindness and empathy. After a trip to a fertility clinic in Colorado revealed a 5% chance of conceiving through IVF, my husband and I made a difficult decision to use an egg donor. This was something we had never seriously considered but for many reasons was right for us. Throughout this process Angela listened without judgment, followed my lead, provided guidance and nurtured my confidence in our decision. At her suggestion we used a clinic unknown to us, which proved to be a seamless process. I am now six months pregnant and humbled by the experience.
The truth is my work with Angela far exceeded acupuncture and fertility goals. Preparing to be a mother provided a unique opportunity to work on myself in a different way and to play a more active role in my life. Knowing that my health and happiness will ultimately be a model for my child was motivating and the benefits have been far reaching.
My initial work with Angela led me to dietary changes, which overtime had a surprising impact on my energy level and overall mood. Although already a healthy eater and runner, on the elimination diet I gained a mental clarity which was not present before. I felt stronger and empowered by these changes. With Angela’s encouragement I also slowly began examining my thinking and started to explore authors in the mindfulness world, an area that held limited interest previously. Angela was patient and encouraged me to dabble and see what resonated. I found someone who spoke my language and helped me through some very difficult struggles at work. Overtime with Angela’s guidance I started to view life’s challenges differently, realizing my capacity for happiness and peace, which continues to grow daily.
I am not the same person I was a year ago and that is largely due to Angela. She partnered with me through a very challenging process of becoming a parent but there is so much more. Infertility invited me to look deeper at the quality of my life and what I want to create for my new family, a chance to do things differently. Words cannot express how grateful I am.
I was at my wits end when I first met Angela. I was introduced by a mutual friend and I cancelled three times before I finally went to see her. I am a single woman who had been trying to get pregnant on my own for nine months with two unsuccessful pregnancies under my belt. It seemed I could get pregnant but I couldn’t stay pregnant and I was at a loss for what to do. I had heard that acupuncture helped with fertility but I had no idea what it was and was skeptical of the needles and how its eastern philosophy could help me in my desire to have a family. But I was willing to try anything.
Anything turned out to be everything. I didn’t fully realize how much I was in need of help and support on my journey until I met Angela. Not only did her needles bring a sense of calm that I had never experienced before; she provided support, understanding and guidance that continues to be invaluable to me. She helped me navigate the fertility world and learn what questions to ask, tests to request and factors to consider. Together we gently questioned my motives and my beliefs. And when she felt I was ready, she guided me to books, meditation and new ways of thinking that truly changed my life.
Angela not only became my acupuncturist, she became my therapist, my dietician, my cheerleader and my friend. She had told me she needed to work with me for at least three months. And almost three months later I become pregnant for the third time – a third and successful time. And I am now the proud mother of a beautiful 6 month old baby girl. I will be forever grateful to Angela for her help in making Olivia possible. But I am more grateful for the new outlook on life that I discovered with Angela’s help that will undoubtedly make me a much healthier, happier and well-rounded person and parent.
4. Jo Anna
I was about to start my third round of IVF. This time my husband and I were relying on the assistance of an anonymous egg donor. To no surprise, I was an emotional wreck. Would it work this time now that we had the eggs from someone who actually helped couples get pregnant in the past? What if she changed her mind? What if something came up and she missed a lab appointment? What if everything worked out with the donor, but I wasn’t able to carry a pregnancy to full term?
To make sure this cycle worked, I gave up my career, cut back my intense daily 90 minute exercise routines, ate as healthy as possible, and took prenatal vitamins religiously each day. Still, I was desperate to make sure I did everything possible to get pregnant. I called my doctor at CWRC and begged him to tell me what else I could do. There had to be something more. He recommended I make an appointment with Angela.
I had serious doubts that acupuncture would work. I felt like it was more of a scam that would only raise my hopes. I was proven wrong. Angela was warm and listened to my story and understood my concerns. During the first appointment, she started me on a path to preparing my mind, body, and spirit for a pregnancy. Through her diet recommendations and meditation, I focused on getting a sort of balance that would prepare me for a healthy pregnancy.
Once I did get pregnant, Angela continued to be my support system. She listened to my concerns, shared in my excitement, and provided me with a wealth of knowledge regarding the testing as well as the physical and mental changes that accompany pregnancy. When I received some scary test results, I truly felt like she was just as concerned as I was. She too felt like the event was unfair, but helped me stay mentally strong to handle additional testing. When everything turned out fine, I honestly felt like she shared in my joy.
My son is now almost 6 months old. He’s healthy, happy, and everything I dreamed about. I honestly feel there is no way I could have survived IVF without Angela. She was the missing piece during those first few failed IVF Attempts.
Angela Le and I met sometime in late 2008/early 2009. I was eagerly in search of any help and support that I could find. My husband and I had been trying to conceive for about three years, at the time. One IVF, an IUI and several natural attempts later, we had been unsuccessful. At the age of 45 with irregular menstrual cycles and menopausal symptoms, I was regularly starting to hear the dreaded “donor egg speech”. Every time it came up, I simply would shut down, refusing to entertain the thought that my healthy body was incapable of conceiving a child on its own. I simply needed someone who was willing to help me to overcome these obstacles and get my cycle back on track.
Throughout my failed attempts at conceiving, I had amassed much experience with acupuncturists. I recall going into my first consultation with Angela with no expectations. This would simply be an opportunity to explore my options from another practitioner’s perspective. In hind site, I can say unquestionably, that Angela turned out to be far more than I could have ever imagined, not only as a practitioner, but moreover as a healer and human being. While she could make no guarantees, she was committed and open to working with my symptoms to evaluate and adjust my diet and limit my stress and anxiety, as necessary. But on a personal level, she worked with me to promote emotional healing, open my heart and mind to the possibilities, and to embrace the value and release the burden of attachment to form.
It became apparent that my body was not responding. My cycles were few and far between and ultimately a blood test would confirm that my ovarian reserve was very low. Equipped with this information, Angela helped me to become fully anchored in where I was and to embrace each moment for what it was with joy and gratitude. With her gentle, non-judgmental approach and compassion, she was able to help me to realize that what I wanted was not necessarily rooted within my own body and that if I sought motherhood, it truly was available to me when I was ready. She instilled in me that as humans we set out to achieve a goal and are determined to do it our way, but that we can have our way if we choose to focus on what we want rather than how we are going to achieve it. In essence, we have to trust, release the “how” and simply focus and remain open to the possibilities of the “what”. It remains one of the greatest lessons of my life.
She referred me to a RE who headed up a donor program for a leading NYC hospital. He turned out to be a God send. Mustering up the courage, with Angela’s support, to have the consultation became the gateway to my goal. While I remained resistant to the idea of a donor, it was something that I found myself considering, for the first time in my journey—questioning both the pros and cons of submitting to this route. After countless conversations with my husband and our personal circumstances, we were finally ready to commit to a donor and once we did the process moved along swiftly. I can confidently say that I have never looked back with any doubt.
In November 2010, we had a donor IVF transfer. Because we had chosen to keep the transfer to ourselves and I had not been in Angela’s care since her move to the Manhattan, I completely overlooked informing her to schedule a post transfer treatment. I called her, literally, moments after leaving the clinic and explained the situation. I knew that the chances of her fitting me in under such short notice were slim to none, but I could hear the determination in her voice to make it happen. She genuinely wanted to be a part of our miracle and I could feel it at the core of my being. Ultimately, she was able to accommodate me and it was a very special appointment for us, filled with laughter, tears and hope.
Two weeks later, we received the news of our successful pregnancy. Needless to say, we were elated—particularly when we learned that I was carrying twins. I have no doubt that the Angela’s work was a significant component to our success. I am eternally grateful to her and how she has helped me to grow, as a person.
Angela Le is a unique practitioner, in every sense of the word. What she offers goes far far beyond the technical practice of acupuncture. The true gift of healing, learning, growth and love is at the core of her practice. At each and every appointment, you will feel so special, as if you are the only person in her world that matters at that moment and during this challenging journey that means so much.
We are expecting our bundles in mid-summer.