How my own fertility journey, inspired me to support others.
So here I am almost 7 years after my twins were born telling my story of how they came to be here. What was supposed to be the happiest and most magical experience of my life actually was seriously difficult, traumatic, hard work and downright unnatural!
I had always wanted children but for me I just didn’t meet Mr Right until much later in life. As it transpired he wasn’t Mr Right after all, but that’s a completely different story!
So at the age of 37 I got married and we started trying for children straight away. I was desperate by this stage. we fell pregnant really quickly and the excitement, joy and happiness began to build. Unfortunately, at 12 weeks I began to bleed slightly and we rushed to hospital to be told to go home and rest and come back on Monday. I felt desperate, confused and I had no idea why this was happening. I remember taking myself straight to bed and praying and praying that everything was going to be ok. It wasn’t long before the crippling pains in my stomach began and it just seemed to go on and on and on………the bleeding got heavier and heavier and I knew in my heart of hearts that I had lost this beautiful baby.
It’s really weird but up until my miscarriage I had never really understood just how common miscarriages are. It’s estimated around a quarter of a million pregnancies end in miscarriage every year in the UK. I really thought it would never happen to me and I was so angry with myself as I thought I had clearly done something wrong. I understand now that it was nature’s way of taking my baby as it just wasn’t healthy enough in some way to survive, but that took a long time to accept that.
We had to wait a long time before we could try again as my body was still thinking it was pregnant. Every week I had to traipse to the hospital for a blood test and be told every week it was positive!! There were times when I thought the scans were wrong and I believed that I was still pregnant, that seriously messed up my head! Eventually the hospital decided to carry out a D&C and I had the all clear to start trying again.
But BAM, this time we didn’t fall pregnant. Every month at the beginning of my cycle I would be super positive and really happy that this was going to be the month. “This is it”, I would say and then after day 14, I would get more down and obsessed with looking out for every sign, anything to give me hope that this was the month. But, that sign never came and eventually I took myself off to the Dr’s for the dreaded tests. We both had to be prodded, poked and pricked and I was told my FSH levels were very high. I must admit I didn’t really understand what that all meant but now I get that I was going through premature menopause. My consultant explained it meant I had very few eggs left but IVF could be an option but may not be successful. I do recall a faint mumbled message that egg donation may be my only chance. My brain was screaming at me to do IVF, “I must have my own children” was repeated and repeated through my head over and over again. I just couldn’t stop the obsession no matter how hard I tried.
I think I basically forced my consultant to do IVF and so that ordeal began. I started the medication, stabbing my tummy every day. Scan days would come and it was not positive at all, “there are no eggs, I’m afraid, Mrs Stones” the treatment was stopped and I was told the only chance I had was egg donation. I couldn’t bear it, I didn’t accept it and I certainly wasn’t going to give up. I scoured the internet for the magic potion or pill that would give me my own children, I tried, acupuncture, reflexology, massages, aromatherapy, I changed my diet, I increased my exercise and I even tried a natural IVF cycle to absolutely no avail. I can’t tell you how many pregnancy tests I did in that time but the positive result I so badly yearned for never showed.
One day I was talking to a lovely lady I knew and I was telling her about my fertility issue. She mentioned to me, that her own children, were egg donation children. I could not believe it. I would never have guessed in a million years that they were not her own biological children. I was gob smacked and then a new hope grew within me.
So the next journey began and we started to explore egg donation. We found a fantastic group called the Donor Conception network and we attended a 2-day workshop with them. By day one, I knew this was it and I had to get on with it. The obsession began again; the impatience took over. This time though within 6 months, I was lying on a hospital bed having 2 beautiful embryos being transplanted into my womb.
Well you know my story has a beautiful ending, but I am also acutely aware this happy ending doesn’t happen for everyone. My advice to anyone going through fertility issues of any kind is to look after your mental and emotional wellbeing as well as yourself physically. Hindsight is such a marvellous thing, but looking back I can see now that I was an emotional wreck throughout the process. I didn’t allow myself anytime to grieve for the loss of my first baby and I certainly didn’t allow myself the opportunity to grieve for the fact that I could never have children of my own. I had become depressed and anxious about the whole situation and I hadn’t even realised. That is never a good concoction for nurturing a healthy and fertile body and mind.
Making the decision to share my own story has brought up a mass of emotions for me to deal with. The biggest one was that I knew I had to tell my children about their story and I just couldn’t do it. I am divorced now and I had always imagined that conversation would be had with all four of us sat down together. The thought of telling them on my own scared me senseless but I eventually summoned the courage and we had the conversation. The great news of course is, that I had nothing to fear, my children are my children through and through, they feel it a billion % and so do I.
Its 10 years since my fertility journey began and since then I have retrained and now specialise in fertility support for other women. My aim is to help women maintain a calm and positive mind-set through their own journey with the use of Hypnotherapy and Coaching. I work with women to reduce stress and anxiety, unblock any fears, feel back in control, maintain a positive and healthy mind-set, process loss and explore other options in a safe and non-judgemental space. Research shows that women with high levels of stress, have lower levels of egg production by up to 20% compared to women who were less stressed and 20% less likely to achieve egg fertilisation. Another study shows that infertile women utilizing mind/body techniques such as hypnosis boosted their chances of conception by up to 50%.**
If any of the above has resonated with you, please do get in touch on 07948 685680. http://www.danielastones.co.uk
** contact me for the study details.