How I transformed my own fertility journey from one of devastation to become an IVF mum to 2 happy and healthy girls
“You’ll get through this, you’ll see.”
7 years ago, I was lying in a hospital bed about to be wheeled down for emergency surgery. My sister was holding my hand and walked down with me through the ward, as far as she could go. She had to let go when we reached the door of the operating ward and told me it was all going to be ok. I started to cry. My husband was on a work trip in New York and was desperately trying to get back home, so couldn’t be with me. I was surrounded by nurses asking me endless questions and I was lying there, alone. All I could think was that they were going to take my baby. My pregnancy had been ectopic and, until this morning, I had thought everything was ok. But my body had failed me, and I was about to lose my baby.
I felt powerless and completely hopeless
As long as I could remember, I had wanted a family of my own. My own parents had always been really busy with work when I was little. But this was not how I wanted my family to be. I had always imagined what family life might look like. I pictured spending time with my children looking at flowers and insects in the garden, hosting teddy bear tea parties and reading all the bed-time stories I had loved as a child. I had started dreaming about what my baby might look like and had even drawing up a list of baby names. It had never occurred to me anything could go wrong. And now it was all over and I was being robbed of my dream.
After coming home from hospital, I spent months wrestling with never-ending feelings of loss and despair. I didn’t know what to do and I felt overcome with fear that we would never have a baby. I also spent many sleepless nights worrying that the same thing was going to happen again. The next year was spent trying again but with no success. Every month became more of a struggle and a source of stress. My body seemed to have shut down and I felt unbelievably low. My dream was slipping away.
We finally got referred for IVF and, after even more waiting, it was our turn. By this time, I had just started my nutrition training and I knew more about the importance of eating well. We were blessed with our first daughter. For a couple of blissful years after, I was able to step off the fertility treadmill and enjoy simply having my baby.
But 2 years later when I was 40, a familiar feeling started creeping back, but this time it was a longing to complete our family. I tentatively dipped my toe back into trying again. I felt torn between not wanting to go through it all again and the fact that time was running out. We still had 2 frozen embryos left over from our first round which, sadly, weren’t successful. One resulted in a chemical pregnancy and the other didn’t survive the thawing process. We decided to carry on naturally for a while.
Then I had my second ectopic pregnancy
This was the turning point. I couldn’t go on like this again. I knew I needed help. We had the option of going for one more IVF cycle, so I was determined to make it count. I desperately wanted a plan and to feel that I had done everything. If nothing else, I wanted to be able to look back and have no regrets.
So, I started work with a Nutritional Therapist who specialised in fertility and I discovered first-hand for myself:
- The foods I needed to eat to nourish my depleted body and support my egg quality
- The changes I needed to make to my lifestyle to support my hormones and energy levels to help carry a baby to term
- The testing I needed to do to get to the root causes of my health issues that might be affecting my fertility
- The fertility optimising supplements I needed to take to help support my nutrient deficiencies
Armed with all my own nutrition knowledge and now a focused fertility plan, I started preparing. 6 months later we had our final round of IVF when I was 41. I went into this IVF round feeling positive and confident in the knowledge that I was going to give my age a run for its money. I am delighted to be able to tell you that, despite being 3 years older than my first IVF round, we were successful again. My consultant even commented that I was ‘younger’ than I had been 3 years previously. I was overjoyed to discover that I was pregnant. All my preparation work had paid off and I went on to have a second healthy and happy little girl.
This was the end of my own fertility journey, but I was even more determined to learn everything I could to support others going through the same experience. I wanted to be able to share what I had done and help others find hope again. Since qualifying as a Nutritional Therapist from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, I have made it my mission to undertake as much post graduate training in fertility as I can and it has become my passion. I now specialise in fertility, ectopic pregnancy and IVF preparation.
So, if you want a helping hand to guide you through your fertility journey, why not let me show you the way through my 12-week fertility programme.
I will support you in:
- Knowing exactly which foods and lifestyle choices are going to support egg quality
- Uncovering any potential health issues that might be hampering your chances of conceiving or maintaining a healthy pregnancy
- Working on your mindset so that you feel empowered and positive that you have everything to increase your chances of a successful pregnancy
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