Guest blog by Bethany Fortune, a fertility health coach.
Honestly, ever since I was a little girl, I had dreamed of becoming a mother. I thought THAT was my purpose in life. Becoming a mother has been the greatest gift I have ever received, but it took years of struggling to finally complete my family.
After my extremely painful journey, I realized that I can help other women avoid the experience I went through. And that is why I became a fertility coach. I feel very passionate about providing guidance and support to these women because I know how much it can change their entire experience into a more positive one.
My story begins like this- I didn’t meet my husband until I was in my late 30’s, we both wanted to start building our family right away as I knew I wasn’t getting any younger, but I didn’t think I would have a problem getting pregnant.
I had always been fit, had a healthy diet, and saw other women my age getting pregnant so we kept trying month after month but after 8 months had passed I started to feel defeated and extremely worried that it may not happen for us, and we had tried “all the things”!
I read all the books, blogs, articles, tried every supplement promising to increase my fertility, spent hundreds of dollars on OPK’s, online programs, and tests, but still got a negative pregnancy test.
Month after month, I went through a downward cycle of complete heartbreak when my period showed up, signifying that I was definitely not pregnant. I began to excessively chart my fertility signs and time things just right to try again during the next “fertile window”.
During the dreadful two week wait when every woman prays this will be the time that works, I would feel a glimmer of hope, but then the cycle would start all over again and I would be right back in the stressed out defeated phase.
When your body goes through this fight or flight spiral, month after month, it signals to your reproductive organs that your body is in an emergency state and your body will actually try to “NOT” conceive. This is what most women going through infertility experience and they don’t even know it!
These women need someone to support them, to help them identify the underlying issues that are keeping them from conceiving, someone to help them reach their goal.
I didn’t have anyone to turn to for emotional support, guidance, to give me concrete tools and strategies to make my experience more productive and more fulfilling. This is no way to live. I was thinking about getting pregnant obsessively, always overthinking what I could have done differently while always second guessing myself.
I had excessive worry and fear that everything I had done would be in vain and that there would be no end to those feelings. I couldn’t bear to attend any of my friends’ baby showers. I would feel sadness and jealousy every time I saw a pregnant woman.
These strong emotions can only lead to more and more worry and stress which as I mentioned earlier, signals your body “don’t get pregnant”! After watching every YouTube video and meditation out there, I came across Circle + Bloom meditations, tailored specifically towards your IVF journey!
I felt like I had been given a gift from above as I laid in bed every night finally feeling peaceful and relaxed listening to the soothing meditations that pertained to each stage of my IVF cycle. It was brilliant! I can honestly say that this is when I finally learned how to destress and really be “in the moment” with my thoughts and emotions.
A hard fact many people don’t know is that research shows that women dealing with infertility experience as much stress as women dealing with cancer. Isn’t this just heartbreaking? These women are grieving the loss of a child they haven’t yet conceived, which means there is no opportunity to work through the natural stages of grief.
After months of negative pregnancy tests we decided it was time for us to see a fertility specialist. I am 4 years older than my husband, so going in I wasn’t surprised to hear the doctor tell me I was the reason we had not gotten pregnant. Like many other women, I was just given a diagnosis of “unexplained infertility”, He went on to tell me that my eggs were old so IVF was my best option to get pregnant.
Writing these words even now brings me right back to the intense sadness I felt. I started to fear that I would never become a mother. But I never, ever gave up, because NOT becoming a mother was just not an option for me.
I was determined to do whatever it took to have a baby. And so I did..We first tried an IUI, which is much more affordable than IVF and less invasive, but that did not work. I didn’t want to waste any more time so I started to prepare myself for my very first IVF cycle.
The first cycle is always the most difficult, as it’s all brand new, the drugs, their terrible side effects, the painful injections, and the endless doctor appointments to monitor your progress. Then there was the tremendous financial strain most couples feel when they make the decision to do IVF. The cost of just one round of IVF is highway robbery! It’s unbelievable just how expensive it is. The sad reality is that it usually takes more than one round of IVF to get that positive pregnancy test.
We went into the first round with heavy hearts and as much hope as I could muster. I felt I was very lucky as the doctor was able to retrieve (4) 5 day-blast embryos. If the embryos make it to day 5, then they are strong enough to be sent off for genetic testing, which the doctors usually recommend.
I honestly thought I would at least have one embryo that was chromosomally normal to transfer back. But unfortunately, I was told that not one of them came back without any chromosomal deficiencies. After all I had put my body through, we had nothing to show for it.
I did 4 more IVF cycles that resulted in the birth of my first daughter and then 3 years later, doing IVF again , I gave birth to twins. A huge chunk of my life was completely taken over and consumed by my infertility struggles, and it finally ended when I had completed my family.
I don’t want this to be the experience women have, there is a better way. I feel honored and grateful to be someone who can help others have a completely different and more positive experience than most currently do.
Bethany Fortune is a certified Fertility Health Coach, online course creator, entrepreneur, hovering mother of 3, doting wife, health nut, clean freak and a strong believer in God-we had gotten pretty close during my many years of fertility struggles. I understand and appreciate why you are here. You want to be a mother….period!! My goal is to give you all the tools and support you will need to get you as close to that goal as humanly possible!