Everybody’s different. I remember those two words hitting home when aged seven a good friend at primary school announced she was vegetarian and our teacher did her best to explain the decision! When it comes to trying to get pregnant these two words have never seemed more apt. What our mothers, sisters, best friends have experienced will never mirror our own stories and in my case things definitely weren’t a simple case of that hideous phrase “just relax and it will happen”.
Two years and a few months ago my husband and I made the very happy plan to start a family. I had clockwork cycles and there seemed to be no cause for worry. After six or so months I had all the standard tests and everything was normal. Fast forward and a year down the line and I had become agitated and quite frankly a bit of a control freak. Why did most of my friends blink at their husbands and hey presto their Clearblue test flashed the word Pregnant at them? What followed was pretty testing both emotionally, financially and physically but strangely looking back at it I wouldn’t have changed a thing (leaving aside the self-administered injections!) as we became a lot stronger for it and I’ve learnt huge amounts throughout the process.
Ironically, it was my acupuncturist Emma Cannon who signposted me towards my long awaited medical answer, it turned out that I had high Natural Killer cells – my body was rejecting any embryo that was trying to implant as if it was a virus. I never seemed to get bad coughs, colds or bugs and there I was thinking how great my immune system was…little did I know that it was this over activity that was affecting my fertility. After an IUI, trips to Milan to see crazy doctors, course upon course of steroids, trigger shots, super ovulation drugs, odd suppositories and a lot of heartache later, I still didn’t have my longed for positive. After many discussions we decided to start IVF at the controversial ARGC clinic, they specialise in NK cells and apparently have the highest success rates. We were determined and felt ready but even still, I at times felt completely lost.
Exactly two years pretty much to the day later during our monitoring cycle at the ARGC by some extraordinary and still mesmerizing miracle, I fell pregnant naturally. I had to inject myself three times a day for the first three months to keep it in there and even after my 20 week scan I still don’t quite believe it and am absolutely not taking anything for granted. I know I’m going to be that story that friends tell friends – “you know…she got pregnant the month before IVF…if you just relax it will happen”.
As you can tell I shudder when I hear that phrase so here are my tips which might help to keep you sane:
Do everything you can to feel good
As long as you’re doing something you’re moving forwards….be it acupuncture (www.emmacannon.co.uk) , fertility massage (http://www.fertilitymassage.co.uk/) reflexology or yoga just do what makes you feel positive and more in control
Join a support network
Your friends and family can of course be utterly wonderful but you might not want to burden them with every twinge or negative test result. www.mindfulmumatobe.co.uk is a great resource and there is a wonderful secret Facebook group where people share their concerns/experiences about all sorts of treatments and thoughts. Naomi the founder also does brilliant Mindfulness Coaching and Cognitive Hypnotherapy
Diet is really important and for me, Alkaline eating worked wonders. www.honestlyhealthy.co.uk is a fantastic resource for recipes, cooking classes and supper clubs
Let go but don’t give up
It’s so easy to let your fertility journey be all encompassing and dictate your life. Do everything you can to focus on the positives and the things you can control without giving up
Find a balance at work
If you’re going through treatment be honest with your boss/team if you can. You’ll have to take odd times off work and dash for tests at funny times and it’s much easier if it’s all in the open
Get a dog!
This is my most favourite tip! I went freelance partly due to the treatment we were having but if I’m honest mostly due to the fact I was desperate to get a dog. Dilly the whippet has got us through some tricky times, but most of all has provided fun, hugs and walks when we’ve needed it the most. She’s the apple of both of our eyes and we’re looking forward to be being a family of four!