More than before I really understand that the best things in life often call for struggle, hardship and sacrifice.”

Louise - inspiring IVF success story

Name:  Louise Bratsberg

Age: 38

Time TTC: 2.5 years

Diagnosis:

IUI/s & IVF
Endometriosis
Unexplained Infertility
Secondary Infertility
Genetic Testing
Miscarriage / Loss

Strategies:

Ovulation Charting / Tracking
Fertility Diet
Fertility Herbs
Fertility Coaching
Fertility Counselling
Supplements
Acupuncture
Lifestyle Changes
Relaxation Techniques

My fertility story

I became pregnant with my first son on the first try with my husband of 5 years. Two years later, when my son was about 2, I had a miscarriage on our second try and what followed was a painful journey to conceive our second son.

We first assumed that we would have no issues after the miscarriage (which was very early and took care of itself naturally) and so we tried naturally for a year.

I did see an acupuncturist and discussed my feelings around the loss and the difficulty conceiving with a psychotherapist.

After a year of trying unsuccessfully, we consulted a fertility doctor. Every test turned up normal. Although I was 35 at the time, I was told I had the fertility health of a 27-year-old. My husband’s sperm count was in the normal range.

We continued trying naturally and were given the diagnosis of unexplained infertility. We continued with our doctor and then eventually tried IUIs. We did three in all – all unsuccessful.

I began to suspect that I might have endometriosis consider how painful my periods were. I also learned that I had a thyroid issue and began taking thyroid meds.

At the age of 36.5, I finally insisted we change doctors (I wanted to see a woman) and consider IVF. My new doctor was great and she suspected too that I had endometriosis.

We proceeded with the incredibly painful IVF process but with the best help possible. After the retrieval, the doctor sampled some tissue and it came back positive for endometriosis.

The egg retrieval was very successful and we ended up ultimately with five healthy embryos (five out of seven). We were overjoyed. I was placed on Lupron for two months in order to suppress my cycle (and therefore any endometriosis getting in the way). Finally, I had the implantation and it worked!!!

Throughout close to the final year of my struggle, in addition to psychotherapy and acupuncture, I had the support and guidance of Karenna as my fertility coach regularly.

Having Karenna to discuss the difficulty involved at every stage and knowing that she understood and knew just want to say was invaluable. Knowing I had her support made an enormous difference as this process was incredibly lonely and alienating. Few people can relate or truly understand.

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

My lowest point was probably the third failed IUI and what helped me recover was talking to Karenna, my therapist and a select few friends and going through the motions of getting the help I needed to continue even if I didn’t have the energy to do so.

I would drag myself to exercise, be social and engage the activities that I knew would bring me joy in spite of how disappointed and hopeless I felt.

Karenna was a huge help in guiding me through lifting myself up. This journey felt like battling a life-threatening disease for years.

Where I am right now in my journey

I am so so so happy as I now have my second little boy who is almost a year old. He is an absolute joy. My older son adores him and my husband and I feel so grateful and happy. Having to fight so long for him makes each moment feel even sweeter and more special. I don’t take any of it for granted. I’m even considering a third!

What I learned from my fertility experience

I have learned to keep fighting during a struggle as things may just work out. I have learned to be more open-minded (as initially, I was against IVF).

I have learned what not to say to someone who is having a hard time in life. I know what it means to be a good friend. It’s important to show up and just be there when someone needs you.

More than before I really understand that the best things in life often call for struggle, hardship and sacrifice.

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

I would have listened to myself and been more honest with myself rather than believing what I wanted to hear only. Unfortunately, there were many people (professional and non-professionals) telling me “you’re fine” and “you’re young” and “just relax and it will happen”.

I wasted a lot of time and agony believing that but I think deep down I knew there was something off. I needed to listen to my body more and to be more open to medical advances (like IVF) instead of being untrusting and skeptical.

I wish I hadn’t allowed the process to create so much friction between me and my husband. It might be unavoidable but in my head, I blamed him in the beginning when ultimately it was me who had an issue. In the end, we are much stronger having been through this but it felt like hell at times.

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

Karenna’s site (Your Fertility Hub) and her help. Beyond that, I really think there is a lot of nonsense out there.

What I would tell someone else going through infertility right now

I would listen to them for as long as they wanted and I would share my experience. I would encourage them to not give up hope (depending on the situation). I would show immense compassion and empathy and understanding.

My favourite inspiring fertility quote

Don’t give up. Fake it till you make it. There’s nothing to fear but fear itself.

Infertility isn’t a path you have to walk alone. 

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