When we were trying to conceive, I didn’t imagine that I would have any issues. I felt super healthy, fit and I was even creating a pre-pregnancy fitness program at the time. What was around the corner took me by surprise and for the first few months of the journey I had mixed feelings. I think my ego played a big role. What I learned is that you can be healthy, you can be fit, you can be young, you can be old, it’s not something we can control and there is no shame in it (infertility) nor does it make us any less of a woman. At first, I wasn’t 100% sure if I should share my journey, seeing that my business was based around helping women before pregnancy. Who was I to help women when I couldn’t help myself? I felt embarrassed and guilty for a short while. I did a lot of soul searching and realized that if I put others before myself, I could perhaps help others on a similar journey and I had to be true to living authentically, so if anyone did judge me (which is what we are all usually afraid of), it was ok and I would live with that because it was better than the alternative.
After years of not being diagnosed, even though I had even asked one of my doctors if he thought I had PCOS and he ignored me – I was diagnosed with PCOS and we believe this is the result of my infertility. You can read my PCOS journey here as that’s a whole lot to write in addition to today’s topic.
I am currently 30 weeks pregnant with twins and feeling very blessed, but it was a long road to here and I learned a lot along with way. I do believe this path was chosen for me, so I could share my story and help others, so although difficult, I am still thankful for my journey.
Secondary infertility can be a ‘funny’ thing. Because you have been blessed with a child, and I think that can come with some guilt for others going through the same journey who are yet to have a child. For those who don’t have any children and are watching everyone around them have babies, it must be so incredibly hard on their hearts, too. I can completely understand that for someone struggling for their first, it would feel hard to completely understand the pain to have more children when you already have one – because this is their dream. In saying that, when your child asks why they are the only one without a brother or sister or ask when they will have a brother or sister and the 100,000 times everyone around you asks why you haven’t had more children – it can also be quite tough. Watching your child grow up playing alone at home and dreaming for a sibling. Each journey is our own and we must all try to never compare ourselves and our pain to others, even though it can be trying at times.
Before conceiving my twins, I went through 4 IUI’s and one IVF transfer. We aren’t sure why the IUI’s were not successful, but I believe it’s due to a blocked fallopian tube. I did do the procedure to unblock it with a very ambiguous answer as to if it was fixed or if there was still a blockage. For anyone who needs to do this procedure, it’s not very pleasant but it’s over fast (thank goodness).
After coming to the conclusion that the IUI’s weren’t going to be our path to conception we decided to go for IVF. I was already using injections for follicle stimulation, so I wasn’t really aware at the time as to the extent of the difference between the two apart from, of course, the fertilization process.
One shock was the ovum pick up, where they take your eggs out. It physically threw me off a bit and it does take some time for recovery. I did learn some tips, so you can see those at a blog post I wrote here. If you are going into the early stages of treatment, it’s good to know what to expect, so I would definitely recommend being prepared.
My egg retrieval gave us 21 egg and 19 fertilized, 5 lasting till day 5. My eggs were thankfully all very high grade, which I do believe comes down a lot to nutrition. When I found out I had PCOS I decided I wanted to find a natural remedy to fix my acne, hormone imbalance and all the fun things that come along with PCOS and infertility, till this day I continue with what I call my ‘magic beans’ which have cleared my acne and helped me through my journey to pregnancy and beyond.
I finally felt that all my fitness and nutrition was starting to play a role in the process. Together with how I was coping with the treatments which was pretty well, both mentally and physically. My first IVF treatment failed, and the second one led me to where I am today. It’s definitely a roller coaster of emotions going through any fertility treatment and takes a lot of self-care to ensure one doesn’t get overwhelmed. I highly recommend meditations, essential oils, journaling and taking time out for self-care like getting your nails done – or anything that you feel is a ‘treat’. We tend to have to focus every minute on our journey and it’s hard not to. Whether its timing for medication, injections, blood tests, ultrasounds, it truly does seem to take over your life and every thought, it can be extremely hard to think about much else. This can cause a lot of stress, which isn’t great for our hormones – so anything we can do to lessen it is great!
I definitely recommend finding an ob/gyn that you feel safe and comfortable with. I went through 2 before I found my amazing one, I really do think if it wasn’t for him, I would have been a mess. When you’re comfortable and feel safe, it takes a lot of stress off – feel good with who is caring for you, so important.
Also, join a community where you can get support, friends and family won’t always fully understand and may not always say the ‘right’ thing even when they are trying. I found a lot of support via my instagram page which is my business page, but I realized a lot of women out there are helping one another, and I fell into such a great supportive network. You can follow me at @nicole_fitandfab and just get using some hashtags like #ttc #infertlity and you will connect super fast to amazing women around the world on similar paths also looking for support.
My journey lasted around 2 years and I find it difficult to put it all down into words, but I am sure if you are going through this you can understand what I mean. I am 100% open for women to reach out to me, and whatever I can do to share my experience to help others I am open to. I find many women just want to understand the process more or ask a bit more about my story and I love being able to share that if it helps in some way. You can contact me direct via instagram DM or email.
Wishing all those who may be starting this journey or on it now much love, energy and baby dust.
Connect with Nicole via her Facebook Group or Website
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