“Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it’s your greatest asset. Be vulnerable: quake and shake in your boots with it. The new goodness that is coming to you. In the form of people, situations, and things can only come to you when you are vulnerable when you are open”. Stephan Russell

Name: Matilda

Age: 36

Time TTC: 4 years

Diagnosis: IVF, PCOS, Female Infertility, Hormonal Issues, Miscarriage / Loss

Strategies: Fertility Diet, Fertility Herbs, Naturopathy

My fertility story

Our fertility journey started just after we were married in 2013. As my cycles had always been very unpredictable I was aware it may take some time to conceive. After having no success in the first 12 months I decided to begin investigating. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and referred to my first fertility specialist who prescribed clomid as the first treatment option. After one round and no success, we decided to discontinue clinical treatment as we had an overseas holiday coming up and just wanted to enjoy that time together without the stress of fertility treatment.

Three months after returning from the most amazing holiday to Europe we had a positive pregnancy test. We were so excited. Unfortunately, at 11 weeks, I started having some bleeding and a scan revealed a missed miscarriage. While the miscarriage was early I can still remember the pain of the loss that we experienced that day. I was scheduled for having a dilation and curettage the next day. The staff at the hospital were amazing. I can still remember waking up from my general anaesthetic with a lovely nurse sitting next to me. He provided me with many kind words and wisdom. I was very grateful.

At the beginning of 2014, we decided it was time to get more serious about medical intervention. We returning to our first fertility specialist and began clomid again. We attempted 6 cycles without success. We also had further medical investigations that provided no answers to our ongoing issues. After 6 cycles of clomid, we moved onto injectable gonadotrophins for 2 cycles. We became emotionally exhausted and decided to have a break and consider our options.
During 2015 I saw a fertility naturopath who assisted me to change my diet and prescribed a number of herbs and other medications to assist my cycles. While my cycle regularity improved during this time it did not assist us to conceive. By the end of the year with no success, we decided to try IVF as our next treatment option.

We decided to change fertility specialists as I never felt totally comfortable seeing the woman who we were initially working with. I thought a fresh start and new doctor would help our mindset to feel more positive about the process. We were recommended another doctor who completed more investigations including genetic testing. In the middle of 2016, we did our first round of IVF which was successful.

The lowest point in my journey and what helped me recover from it

My lowest point was during and after the failed treatment cycles in 2014/15. It was emotionally exhausting. I also had many friends and work colleagues falling pregnant around me. I started feeling angry, bitter, powerless and lonely. Being resentful of others was very difficult for me as this was so far beyond my usual self and way of being. Just like any grief, I had good days and bad and when those awful thoughts did get into my head I reminded myself that it was the grief and not me as a person.

Spending time with my partner, walking my dog and doing my exercise really helped me to stay energised, connected and positive on the good days.

Where I am right now in my journey

After our first IVF cycle in 2016, our little boy was born in April 2017. We are hoping to have a frozen embryo transfer during this year.

What I learned from my fertility experience

I learned a lot about conception and fertility. I also learned a lot about my own body and how to be kind to myself. I learned what its like to feel vulnerable. Really vulnerable and to realise this was okay. I learned a lot about my relationship with my partner and observed how this brought us closer in many ways despite the tough times, the tears the arguments and the anger. I realised how resilient our relationship is and how I could never imagine going through the emotional roller-coaster with anyone else.

If I had to start my fertility journey again: What would I do differently

If I was to go back to the start of our journey I guess I may have started IVF earlier, but its difficult to know as I was not to know that IVF would be successful at that time. I do wish I had listened to my instincts earlier in relation to our first fertility specialist and moved on earlier.

My favourite resources about fertility (websites, books, blogs or articles)

Natural Fertility Info is a good website even for people not taking fertility herbs/treatments.

I didn’t get too consumed with too much information. I did read some blogs and information in relation to PCOS.

What I would tell someone else going through infertility right now

Be very kind to yourself. The infertility journey can be a very stressful experience at times and the stress can creep up on individuals and couples. Know that you are not alone. I had a lot of trouble expressing my feeling to friends who had not been through infertility issues. It can feel very isolating and lonely at times. It’s good to talk to people who have been through similar experiences. I believe it’s important to ensure you are communicating with your partner as this is something you will both ride together.

Don’t give up the things you enjoy. Infertility and treatment can be very consuming. Life still goes on around you so don’t miss it! Continue to do the things you enjoy or even start a new hobby or take trips away with your partner. Yoga and meditation are great ways to de-stress and connect you with the body.

My favourite inspiring fertility quote

“Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it’s your greatest asset. Be vulnerable: quake and shake in your boots with it. The new goodness that is coming to you. In the form of people, situations, and things can only come to you when you are vulnerable, when you are open”. Stephan Russell

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