My Journey To Love
I’m Monica Bivas. As an IVF mentor and coach, I guide couples through the often overwhelming IVF treatment experience while they prepare themselves for the ultimate outcome… a beautiful bouncing baby!
While working with me, you’ll come to realize that your experience with IVF is a blessing, that fertility treatment doesn’t need to be a stressful process, and that your journey with IVF can help strengthen your marriage and help you develop a whole new outlook on life.
My IVF treatment experiences made me wonder why there was no one in the field who coached women through the process. Having someone to guide me through, listen to my fears and worries, and help me prepare for each stage of the journey would have been invaluable!
You don’t have to do it alone. I didn’t have anyone to guide me, but you do. When you work with me, I will help you each step of the way – framing your experience in a positive light so that you can seek out and cherish the blessings hidden in your experience.
I’ll help you get past the embarrassment and shame so that you can embrace the beauty that comes with bringing a life into this world, help you process your emotions, and coach you and your husband through your IVF experience to keep your marriage strong.
My Journey To Love
Back in 2003, 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. After years of trying I started to feel insecure and a bit ashamed if my body was the problem.
I went to the OB/GYN and I got my blood tested. After waiting for weeks to get my results back they told me the good news that my hormones test came out normal. On paper they said there was nothing wrong with my body. Yet the news somehow disappointed me. Why was I not able to get pregnant?
My doctor then prescribed Clomid that I took for two months. During this time I became severely depressed.
I felt like a failure.
My body was supposedly made for this, so why was it having a hard doing what it was built to do?
I had so many questions and so little answers.
I wish I had someone to guide me through this process.
I wish I knew at the time that I wasn’t alone in this that other women experienced this too.
I wish I knew that the food I was putting into my body directly affected my hormones.
I wish I knew that the female body needed to feel safe and supported in order to conceive.
But this was almost 19 years ago and we didn’t have the information we have today back then.
At the time I only had my husband support through this mess and for that I am very grateful. He was my rock, I was an emotional wreck and without him I would not have been able to survive what was waiting for me in this journey.
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.
My heart sank as I heard the words coming out of my doctor’s mouth. “Unfortunately this means you will not be able to conceive naturally because an embryo could not travel from my tubes down to the uterus.” It took everything in me not to burst into tears.
My OB/GYN recommended that I visit a well-known reproductive endocrinologist (RE).
We left our OB/GYN appointment and I was devastated realizing that IVF was the only solution. After I got into my car all the tears I held back at the office came out. I felt a pain deep within myself. A pain only another women going experiencing this could understand.
My husband did his best to comfort me by telling me that all hope is not lost. That there was still something to be grateful for and that we still had a chance to have a baby. But at the time I felt anything but grateful.
How could this be possible? Why was this happening to me?
I cried so much, I had to grieve the loss of my dreams of getting pregnant naturally. That may some silly to some but to me it was important.
I went to go see the RE doctor. He ordered more tests and a laparoscopy.
This was our last chance at opening my tubes….
The procedure did not work. …My tubes were still blocked.
At this point, we knew that IVF was really our only option to conceive a baby.
I felt incredibly sad, maybe even more than a bit jealous.
Everyone else in my family was able to conceive easily. It seemed like all they had to do was look at their partners 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 did my research and went in as informed as I could be. 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.
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.
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.
Today our family life is a blessing. Now I recognize that my IVF journey was a gift and my teacher.
By going through IVF treatment, I learned how to be more patient, loving, and kind to myself and others.’
After this experience I knew deep inside that what I went through wasn’t not for nothing. I wanted to help other woman who were going through the same thing I was going through in their journey. I became the person I wish I had when I was going through my journey.
Now It’s My Turn to Help You!
I’ve created The Journey to Love, a revolutionary IVF coaching program that gives you 1-1 support through every stage of your journey—from exploring whether IVF is the right choice for you, all the way through pregnancy and the birth of your new baby.
When we were going through IVF, we had no one to lean on, no one to talk to, and no one who offered consistent support.
This isn’t just a mindset coaching program, this is my 19 years of experience of nutrition, supplementation, stress management and much more.
You don’t have to go through the same thing. Going through fertility treatment can seem overwhelming, but your experience doesn’t have be. I’m here to help you navigate the process, shake off the stress and anxiety, and embrace the joy of the journey!