In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is the process by which eggs are removed from your ovaries and mixed with sperm in a laboratory culture dish. Fertilisation takes place in this dish, “in vitro”, which means literally “in glass”. The embryo is then placed back into the womb for implantation.
During a consultation of an IVF treatment you are advised that the aim is to produce as many eggs as possible, so there is a better chance of fertilisation. The process of IVF is to take over your body, by stopping your regular period cycles, in order to create more eggs to be used for fertilisation.
During my IVF treatment I was advised that this is done by taking drugs for 2 weeks to down regulate hormones which puts the body into a “false menopause”. You are then given different drugs for two weeks to re-stimulate ovaries to create as many eggs as possible for fertilisation – it’s like shutting the system down and re-booting it again (artificially).
My journey to becoming a parent and having a family of my own started when I was around 37 years old.
Life was ticking along, I was feeling the pressure of ageing, society and running out of time.
Looking back, my life was actually very intense, but at the time and being immersed in this constant commotion to me felt normal, like life is always just that way.
I was holding two jobs, one of which was self-owned business, traveling long hours and always busy doing something, either working or socialising.
Life never stopped, unless I was forced to stop.
Every few months, I would go through colds, sinuses, back pains, intense periods, but never did I pause to ponder that these might have been messages from my body to slow down. I would have regular complementary treatments all the time believing this was supporting me and that with that as well as with exercise and food I could somehow get my life in balance. I would go on detoxes convinced the body needed it, even if it didn’t. I trained as a yoga teacher and in meditation, convinced all of this was bringing balance into my life before I embarked on the journey to try for a baby.
But my body was not responding so we explored IVF.
I went through the whole four weeks of taking drugs daily, from down regulating to re-stimulation. To begin with I felt no side effects. I was too determined to make it work, that nothing would have stopped me. On collection, they managed to retrieve three eggs which they were able to fertilise, and put back two embryos for implantation. The implantation failed. It wasn’t until this point that I started to feel the impact my body had gone through. I had not stopped working throughout the drug stage and I felt exhausted. I only stopped for the two weeks after the embryo was put back hoping that would support. But in truth, reflecting back, there was no or very little chance for the process to work.
It was a very quick process and I never really allowed any time to fully understand the impact of the treatment. I had three tries on IVF and what stuck in my head was that the treatment takes you through “false menopause”. At the time I did not understand menopause and, honestly, I was not interested in knowing. The fact that I had painful periods was not a concern to me or to my consultants. During internal examinations I was informed I only had one active ovary. The other had shut down and was not visible in the scans. And yet, even at this point when I was given a clear warning that something was not right, I didn’t listen. Determined to have a child I went along with the whole process.
I had been pushing my body so hard and working to the point of exhaustion which was considered totally normal and no different to how the majority around me were living. I never for a moment considered that my painful periods and clotting, my colds, sinuses and permanent state of exhaustion could be at all connected with the way I was living and what I had been putting my body through. And even though I felt a high level of exhaustion I was determined to put my body through the IVF with all the drugs just to have a baby. I was too fixated on: baby first, body second.
What came after was horrible. I went through major depression and decided I would not put myself through IVF again. I started seeing a friend who was practicing the Esoteric Healing Modalities who I had been seeing during the IVF Program. Without any judgment she allowed me the loving space to connect to a deeper understanding within myself of the choices I had been making and how they had been affecting my body and my general way of being.
I started to truly want to find ways to support my body and to look at what I could possibly change about the way I was living in order to get a greater understanding of what was going on for me, hence my return to the practitioner for more Esoteric Healing to go deeper in dealing with the hurts I was feeling, like sadness and depression. My practitioner had changed over the years I had known her and I was inspired, so I wanted to know how and what changes she made in her life. It was from this inspiration that I went on to attend Universal Medicine presentations. I started to take responsibility for my life.
At first I worked on my exhaustion by going to bed earlier to get enough restful sleep. I then stopped drinking alcohol as I found that it added to the exhaustion and definitely made my depression worse. Next, I started to change my diet and looked closer at what I was eating that was adding to the tiredness I felt. I explored foods without gluten, diary and sugar, given that I found these all contributed to my tiredness. This way of living felt amazing. I felt healthier and more energised in my body than I ever had. I looked younger than my age. To me this was a definite big improvement in the way I was living.
At some point I met Natalie Benhayon who I learnt was offering Esoteric Ovary Massage as a part of Esoteric Healing. What prompted my particular interest in approaching Natalie was that I wanted to explore if there was a connection between the way I was living my life and the fact, as confirmed by my medical consultant, that my reproductive system had shut down. I began regular sessions with Natalie twice a year with the intention to at least attempt to uncover what might be buried deep down in my ovaries. With the support of Natalie and other practitioners, I began to be much more sensitive to how my body was and to really see why my body was in the state it was. My periods, which were regular as clockwork prior to IVF never returned to normal. I had gaps when I never had a period and these gaps started getting bigger during cycles.
My commitment to heal my own body kept growing and with the support of Serge Benhayon, Universal Medicine and their practitioners I was opening to all that was being presented and shared, be that through sessions, workshops or courses. There was lots of great wisdom being shared which I took on board and applied into my daily life with practical tools and techniques, one of them being the Gentle Breath Meditation – a simple way and a great support to connecting back to my body through creating moments of stops. Another was the Esoteric Yoga, a very gentle and powerful yoga where I was able to bring full awareness back into the body through a deeper level of stillness, which is possible through surrender of the body and mind, causing the mind to stop wandering and allowing the body to focus on the stillness within. My body started to process and eventually clear a lot of hurts and buried issues.
Two years later I was still feeling the want to have a child as did my husband, however, I could not face going through traditional IVF again. I found out about Natural IVF, investigated a bit more, and discovered a clinic that specialised and encouraged Natural IVF over IVF, as it is less invasive, does not require drugs for one month and there is no reason why women with low ovarian reserves need to take the full drugs. In my case this made sense as I had low ovarian reserves. The fact that there were no drugs to take is what interested me since it was less invasive to the body. My husband and I went along for an open evening and we found out more about both forms of IVF and why Natural IVF is a better and cheaper option for me.
Natural IVF is very simple. You are monitored from the two weeks before ovulation to check the egg is growing and then when they feel it’s at a right size, you take one injection so you don’t ovulate and then within that 48hrs the egg is collected, fertilised in the laboratory and the embryo put back. No side effects of drugs.
My experience with this clinic was amazing. They checked everything and with a 3D scanner they could see blood flow to the womb. The scans were regular, every other day, to know when the egg would be ready for collection. They also knew that my blood was not thin enough to support implantation so agreed to give me blood thinners to aid the process.
I was told before I commenced on the program that both my ovaries were functioning again. This was a miracle considering one had completely shut down a few years prior. I got to understand that through even the simplest changes I had made in my life, such as slowing down, taking even small breaks to rest when feeling tired, being active but not frantic, focusing on how I moved around and conducted myself throughout a day even down to some very simple things and something I used to discard as ‘unimportant’ like keeping my body warm when any part of it was cold, going to the loo when I needed to and not waiting till I was ‘bursting’ and all of the increased awareness of the importance of looking after myself like I might after a precious newborn came with the support of the Esoteric Modalities, and the more great results I was experiencing the more I was able to make more loving choices, which allowed this miracle to happen. It was my own way of living that brought this amazing change. I was definitely the queen of that castle.
I was informed that as I had very low ovarian reserves I only had a 10% chance of success rate. What was beautiful about this place was that they were open and honest and it never felt like it was about making money but truly supporting me and actually wanting a positive outcome.
Two weeks later when I was informed I was pregnant I was over the moon. Yet, part of me could not believe how quick, simple and less invasive it was especially after the previous journey I had gone through. I had some doubts and knew my body still had a lot more to heal, even though I really wanted to be a mother and wanted my own child. I went for a 6-week scan, then a 7-week scan. I was then called back for another scan as they picked up some abnormality. The 8-week scan showed that the embryo’s heart beat had stopped. My heart felt like it had stopped too. The consultants and nurses were so lovely and reassured me not to give up. I was in shock. I could not cry, but I felt my body hardening and going into protection mode. My upper chest tightened and closed in, upper arms tensed up and lower arms become heavier. I didn’t want to speak to anyone about my loss because I did not want anyone to feel sorry for me. Instead, I put on a brave face and went on with my day.
It so happened that straight after the scan I had an Esoteric Healing session. I shared my experience and had the space to connect to what I felt more deeply and feel the sadness of the loss and allow the grieving process. I was able to surrender and let go and feel the sadness. I had to allow the body to go through natural miscarriage.
During the next few weeks I worked on just simply allowing my body to go through what it was going through, until the night when the miscarriage took place. I had three hours of intense pain, as the lining of my womb separated from the fetus. The pain was excruciating and no pain killer was touching this pain. I had to just bear the pain and allow it to pass. In these moments my life flashed me by in how I had been living, what I was experiencing and in that I felt there was a major healing of past momentums. The next several weeks were tough as I had to deal with loss, but with the support of Esoteric practitioners, the process felt much easier than I might have expected it to be as my body went through some great healing. I came to understand there was nothing I had done wrong, but that in the same way we all have a choice, the child had a choice too and in this case the child chose not to come. This for me was a great healing moment.
In the coming days I had a whole week of support where I received numerous healing sessions and support from Serge Benhayon and various other practitioners.
I knew I had one more chance still to try again. Three months later rather than giving myself six months needed break I rushed into the last Natural IVF. Needless to say, my body was not ready and this time no eggs were collected, just a fractured egg.
The consultant was honest with me and shared I would be wasting money to try with my own eggs as I had very few eggs left. She advised the better option for me was to go with an egg donor and that my body was strong enough to carry even until I was sixty. On one side it was sad to hear that I had very little chance of having my own child, but it was a great confirmation in how having taken much greater care of myself had such profound impact on my body that I now had a higher chance of carrying a child. What I learnt from all this is that the body is very clever. It knows everything and it really is up to us to continuously make loving choices, to support our body to stay healthy.
Many would say my journey is sad or even unfortunate. When people ask if I have children and I explain I have not been able to have my own, they feel sorry or don’t know what to say. I share with them that it’s ok, it’s my journey and it’s been a huge blessing, one where I have learnt so much about my body, how I have lived and how I have learnt through my own living experience that my every choice affects everything. What we cannot do is underestimate our body and the messages that we constantly get given.
Ironically (or not) I have learnt more about parenting and children through Universal Medicine, courses, workshops and presentations, through our attempt to adopt a child and perhaps most significantly through being with and observing other children grow up around me.
There is no right and wrong in how we become a parent. The IVF process in fact brought me to my new understandings and that the key thing is to firstly understand and honour our bodies and how we live.
Today I feel very blessed that I have a deep level of understanding about my body, my own healing, self-care, self-nurturing and self-love.
By Amita, UK
* Published with permission of my husband.
For further inspiration..
What if infertility is about my relationship with me first and foremost?
A young woman’s journey from the very first excruciatingly painful period…to clearing the build-up of tension & lack of care in her body…