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Here is Heather’s story of how she advocated for her health and infertility. She also writes a blog Survive Infertility and Thrive that you should take a look at. If you like her story be sure to leave a comment below to help her win the $250 AMEX card!
I remember sitting staring at that phone.
I must have sat there for a long time before I got up the courage to make that call to the fertility clinic. All the fears of: “How much was this all going to cost?”, and most of all, “Can they actually help me?” were swirling around in my head.
Because, as the years pass, it gets harder to trust another doctor and embark on another procedure. It gets harder to open up to trying again after repeated failures.
Four years back in 2007 I went to my first gynecologist. He treated me like a complete idiot. Just because I couldn’t remember exactly how long my periods were, or exactly how long I’d been off the pill.
I was so ignorant back then. I didn’t question the doctor when he merely counted days and didn’t scan me to figure out exactly when I was ovulating. I was so sure I was not fertile on that first transfer. He drew out seven pipes filled with blood because of course everything was not lined up and ready. He made catty remarks such as “You really don’t want to get pregnant, do you?” But what did I know back then? I felt like complete shit, and was cramping like hell.
The second day was a bit better pain wise. (I was a bit more fertile by then). I was in a better frame of mind and hubby took me out for breakfast. I drank two cups of coffee. What did I know about caffeine and fertility back then? Not much. But we did our best that we knew how to do at the time, and it was a negative outcome.
I took a bit of a break after that. But I used the time to get better informed. My mom bought me a book called “Fertility Wisdom” which made a whole lot of sense to me. I went to a homeopath. I started subscribing to fertility newsletters. I heard about Sarah Holland and her fertility conference and I learned a whole whack more.
So in 2010 we went for our second IUI, with a different gynecologist. This guy was nice to me and did lots of scans and injections. Yip, definitely in better hands.
This time I proceeded the treatment by six months of acupuncture, homeopathic tablets and a very strict no sugar, no caffeine, no dairy, no gluten diet. I landed up becoming real skinny. I wasn’t taking any chances. I listened to Circle and Bloom. I did EFT tapping. I poured myself into this. The IUI took place during SA’s Fifa World Cup and I was so filled with hope.
Again, another disappointment. This was worse because of putting in so much effort from other avenues. And to top it all off my maid’s 14 year old daughter gave birth. We were even offered her baby two months later. To say it was a hard time and a hard decision would be an understatement. Nobody should have to make these kinds of decisions. And you can imagine the effect on our marriage. Adoption versus biology was suddenly this huge issue and we had to figure it all out.
In the end, after going for some EFT tapping to calm myself down and realise there were other options, and blogging through all of this, the best thing that could have happened gradually did a work in our relationship by the following year.
I became more accepting of adoption and we even visited an orphanage together. My DH became more accepting of IVF and came on board with taking money out the bond to pay for it. Nobody talks much about how hard this all is, but we got through it.
In 2011, I took a different approach. I went to a different acupuncturist who was also a homeopath who had been recommended to me. He was very good. While I tried to stick to the fertility diet, I was not as strict as last time. I did eat unhealthy stuff at times, but I didn’t stress about it. I was not going to get skinny again.
The doctor at the fertility clinic was excellent. I had heard a lot of good things about him. He immediately did a scan and picked up some problems. I had also been having very bad period pains and he suspected endometriosis. He scheduled a laparoscopy. He also put me through a load of expensive blood tests.
They found out that my TSH was slightly too high and I went onto Eltroxin. They also found that I had antiphosholipid antibodies which could also be medicated once I got pregnant (they had the potential to kill a developing fetus! Thank goodness I found out about that!)
I had the op. My mom came up and looked after me. DH even helped out. They found stage two endometriosis and removed a big nasty fibroid.
It was all about “out with the old and in with the new”. We prepared for IVF.
The last month before IVF I went for a follow up appointment with Dr. R. He said I would be ovulating on Thursday, and should try for conception as a last chance.
I thought this was hilarious. It was just like my homeopath trying to get me pregnant naturally. It had never ever worked before, so why should it work now? But what the heck, we tried.
I went for acupuncture on that day. I listened to the pre-IUI/IVF Circle and Bloom audios. I focused on that healing path. But my mind was the next month.
Two weeks later, waiting for my cycle to start so I could get going with IVF, I was still waiting.
And a miracle happened.
Two lines happened.
As I write this I am six weeks pregnant. It is still very early days.
But I am so glad that I persisted. I am so glad that we did not give up. I am so glad I picked up that phone.
Sometimes it really does take courage to keep going. It takes courage to ask for help when you’ve had some bad experiences before.
Take that leap of faith and become your own advocate for your fertility. Your future baby will thank you.