Annette describes herself as someone who believed in modern medicine over complementary therapies.
“I’ve always been to see my GP when unwell and taken whatever was prescribed. I wasn’t the type to do my research or even try to understand why I was often sick.
“For the most part I was fit and healthy. I mostly ate healthy food, I wasn’t overweight. And I was running about 40km every week.
“But my partner and I just could not fall pregnant.”
Annette and her partner had been trying to conceive for 18 months when they consulted fertility specialists.
“Both my partner and I underwent tests” Annette explains. “I had AMH tests¹done three months apart. The first one indicated my ovarian reserve was bad, but the second one was 60 per cent worse! There was no logical explanation of why. And scientifically, it made no sense.
“The vibe we got during the fertility testing was very negative. Apart from AMH, I had no other tests – they didn’t check for diabetes, iron, if my tubes were blocked. Nothing. We weren’t advised on diet or anything natural.
“We were simply told that our chances of conceiving were minimal. We felt very pressured to do IVF, like it was the normal route.”
Furthermore, Annette was advised that she needed to go private – that if she waited out the 18-month period through the public system, she may never have a child. The cost for IVF starts at $15,000 and that comes with just a 40% chance of falling pregnant.
Annette was desperate, but she felt sure IVF was not her only option.
In February 2017, she had her first appointment at The Good Health Room.
“I went to Shona with the objective of falling pregnant naturally” says Annette.
“I was open to a different process, but I was worried she’d tell me to give up the things I loved, like sugar and alcohol.
“I’m not very good at being told what to do!” Annette admits. But her health journey and her mindset were about to change.
“During my first visit, Shona was very personable. She has such a gentle approach. I didn’t even realise how much she learned about me, simply by asking the right questions.”
An option to start with was a hair analysis.
A hair analysis identifies your body’s intolerances (not allergies) of food and environmental substances. For Annette it was a positive step.
“For the first time, I had a health practitioner investigating the underlying issues, rather than focusing on the problem.
“However,” she admits, “had I been handed the results and told I should try to eliminate dairy, refined sugar or alcohol for a while, I would have totally disregarded it.
“With Shona’s support, I learned to think differently.
“She didn’t focus on the results, rather she helped me understand what was happening in my body; that dairy, sugar and alcohol was compromising my gut health, general health and most importantly reproductive health.
“So, while my body was fighting inflammatory issues, there was no chance of me falling pregnant.”
Working with Shona, Annette also gained a much better understanding of fertility and the pros and cons of IVF.
“Having travelled the fertility journey herself, Shona completely understands the sadness, the many ‘whys’, the pain and the pressure of working out ‘what is the best thing to do’” explains Annette.
“I read Shona’s very comprehensive research on IVF and I realised it really was the last thing I wanted to do as a fertility option.
“I realised that I could change my life, that I could fall pregnant, with the right support. And I did.”
Annette’s treatment was to undergo a three-month detox to improve her reproductive health.
She was prescribed natural herbal supplements and persuaded to stop exercising so excessively to rebalance her hormones. She gave up running altogether.
“Within six weeks of making these changes (and following Shona’s programme), I felt so good! I even lost weight that I had been trying to shift for years.”
In April 2017, two months after her first consultation at The Good Health Room, Annette was pregnant.
In December 2017, she gave birth to her baby boy.
Annette stresses that working with a natural health practitioner was a life-changing experience in so many ways.
“Shona has changed my view on medicine forever. Where IVF and mainstream medicine were about fixing the condition, they didn’t address or even identify the underlying causes.
“Whilst I know that IVF is a gift to many women, I felt that the fertility specialists didn’t treat us as individuals, it was a kind of ‘one size (or solution) fits all’ approach.
“Shona, on the other hand is completely personal in her approach. She genuinely cares about me, knows everything about my health, inside and out. She does so much research to understand the individual.
“She empowers you to work through the reasons your body isn’t functioning, or in my case, why infertility was occurring.
“I have never experienced this level of personal care with a health professional before. You can’t put a price on it.”
As a naturopath and medical herbalist, Shona Mackenzie has the trained knowledge and specialised tools to work on different levels, depending on the needs of her clients.
"Fertility is a completely different journey for everyone. In Annette’s case, it was a matter of addressing lifestyle and hormonal balance” explains Shona.
“The beauty is that we can use plants, vitamins and minerals to address major deficiencies that have occurred due to diet and lifestyle choices. Herbs play a powerful role in correcting the hormones. High potency vitamins and minerals will aid change.
“The body has the beautiful ability to regenerate and heal if given the right things, and if the desire to change is there” Shona concludes.