Hi I’m Monica
your Mindset and holistic fertility coach
I help you walk through your IVF Journey by being the missing link between you and your clinic.
I’m sure you are wondering what my story with IVF is, and how I could possibly know how you feel. Let me tell you everything starting from the beginning.
My beautiful stepdaughter was born.
I married my husband in Colombia, my birthplace, and moved to the U.S. We were happy newlyweds and started trying to have a baby right away.
After a year of trying, I still hadn’t gotten pregnant. I began to worry because my husband already had a daughter from a previous relationship so I knew deep down that the problem was with me.
After all of the regular visits to my OB/GYN and a few months of taking Clomid, I got my blood tested and found out that my hormones were normal. The other positive thing was that my periods were very steady and exact. Yet with all of this good news and the Clomid, I still did not get pregnant.
Eventually my OB/GYN sent me for a hysterosalpingogram (HSG), which is an X-ray that allows you to see the inside of the uterus, fallopian tubes and surrounding area. That is when we finally learned that both of my fallopian tubes were blocked due to Endometriosis. At this point it was confirmed that I couldn’t get pregnant because an embryo could not travel from my tubes down to the uterus. With this confirmation, my heart sank.
At this point my OB/GYN recommended that I visit a well-known reproductive endocrinologist (RE). He had reasonable prices, which was a bonus during this emotionally draining and expensive journey.
We left our OB/GYN appointment and I was devastated realizing that IVF was the only solution. I cried non-stop in the car. My husband calmed me down. He helped me see that there was still something to be grateful for and that we still had a chance to have a baby.
Searching for a solution
It was time to go see the RE. He ordered more tests and a laparoscopy. This was our last chance at opening my tubes. The procedure did not work. After another HSG, we found out that they were still blocked .
IVF Round One: Success!
At this point, we knew that IVF was really our only option to conceive a baby. I felt incredibly sad. Everyone else in my family was able to conceive easily. It seemed like all they had to do was blow a kiss and boom, they were pregnant. I felt so ashamed of being so different.
Even though it felt terrifying, we went ahead with the IVF process. I read up on statistics and stories about how stressful the process was and how the chance of getting pregnant and having a baby was only about 25%. With all of my doubts, fears and worries, the initial part of the treatment went smoothly. We were able to retrieve 34 eggs. 14 of those eggs fertilized successfully, and we transferred 4. One of those special eggs grew into my oldest daughter Eliyah, which was an amazing outcome for our first IVF attempt. We did not know at the time that we could have frozen the rest of the eggs. Nobody at the clinic had told us.
I have to admit that the process was daunting. I had lots of emotional and physical discomfort that I knew to expect, but I wasn’t ready for the bleeding and cramping that IVF women commonly experienced.
I relied on my faith and my family to get me through it. My husband and my mom were there each step of the way, and I relied on them to talk me through every time I got scared or anxious . I’m so eternally grateful for their support.
IVF ROUNDS TWO AND THREE
In 2009 we were ready to try again. We started our second cycle of IVF, but the clinic accidentally switched records with another patient, and I was given the wrong dose of Gonal-f. I got OHSS (Ovarian Hyper-stimulation Syndrome), and my cycle had to be cancelled. This was absolutely devastating for us, but we decided to put our faith in the idea that some things happen for a reason. We waited 3 months until my ovaries got back to normal. Our RE offered us a cycle without charge, recognizing the mistake the Clinic had made.
We then started our third cycle. We decided to do chromosomal testing. We got 5 embryos. We learned that one embryo had issues and would not make it. From the remaining 4, there were 3 very good ones and one that was developing slowly. We decided to transfer all 4. The embryo that was behind, attached and developed into a fetus.
TRAGEDY STRIKES – IVF ROUND 4
My pregnancy went really well, including the amniocentesis testing (I was 37 years old), which is when we confirmed that we were having a girl. We were so excited! Everything seemed normal, but there was a problem that no one predicted. We learned later on, that I had developed a blood clotting issue. At 39 weeks, just three days before my due date, our daughter Isabelle died in my womb from a blood clot in the umbilical cord. This is an emotional and mental pain that I would not wish on anyone. The most painful part was that I had to deliver her anyway.
I was devastated with grief and wanted to die from the pain. I felt guilty and empty whenever I thought about what had happened. To fill the empty void, we decided to move ahead with a new IVF cycle. I was stubborn and did not listen to my husband or my RE when they said to wait a while until I was feeling better both emotionally and mentally. I sped through the protocol and did not wait for even three months to pass before going for a 4th round of IVF treatment.
The result? A positive test. I was still grieving the loss of our full-term baby Isabelle. Heaviness hung over me and I miscarried at seven weeks. Looking back now, I know it was because of the sadness, anxiety and emotional pain I was experiencing.
IVF Round Five: Success!
After the heartbreak of rounds 3 and 4, we needed a break. My marriage almost went down the drain and we were close to a divorce. We took some time for ourselves and waited about a year and a half before starting what would be our 5th and final IVF cycle in September 2012.
During that cycle, I did a lot of internal, mindful work, started to learn to shift my thoughts, and made the decision to take things with a little more ease. I was able to relax and this new approach worked. I got pregnant! I was on Lovenox (a blood thinner from week 20, to avoid another stillbirth), and from this last cycle our little Maya was born. From the first moment I saw her, I had the strong feeling that I already knew her soul. For some reason, I just know that she was our Isabelle (our stillbirth baby girl), she returned to us in a different little body, but with the same spirit.
Has this journey been easy? No way!!!
Our IVF Journey nearly broke me and my husband and our marriage, but we stayed together and fought through it. Eventually, after 5 Cycles of IVF, I can say that our family is complete.
This is my IVF story, are you ready to tell yours?
I am not a doctor or mental health professional. My services are not a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. For more information, see my full medical disclaimer.