Part 22 - Recovering from a failed IVF cycle
Failing an IVF cycle sucks. It’s not so much the wasted time and money, nor the fact you’ve pumped medication into your body unnecessarily but it’s the loss of the life you began to allow yourself to imagine. Broken dreams. And the fact that on some level you feel that you’re not good enough to be blessed with the gift of new life, almost as if the Universe has it in for you.
I know that I needed to understand how a failed IVF cycle felt to be a more empathetic, conscious and compassionate healer, and be able to help others, but it still hurt. Having already had Elijah undoubtedly softened the blow and I can only imagine how much tougher it must be for those couples who have not already been blessed with a baby. Furthermore, I cannot imagine having to go through failed cycles repeatedly.
Deep down I had known the IVF wasn’t going to work and I’d self sabotaged really, but this didn’t stop me from feeling shocked. It was my wake up call and it was E’s wake up call too. He’d been going through the motions with me but not feeling it either, concerned as he was whether we would cope with another baby with both of us still so sleep deprived by the first.
We processed the failing in our own way and both concluded that actually, yes, we really did want another baby. We’d been told the greatest gift we could give Elijah was a sibling, and we both felt this. We were older parents with siblings of our own living, for the most part, the other side of the world and we didn’t want Elijah being left on his own.
We were also very well aware that we only had one frozen blastocyst still remaining, stored as it was in the clinic in Southampton. We knew this was our last chance because we didn’t want to have to go through the whole process from the beginning again, it was this blastocyst or it was none.
I still recall the moment in the clinic during embryo transfer the first time, when two of the three blastocysts had been inserted into my uterus, and we were told that the remaining blastocyst would be frozen. I had this overwhelming sense that the blastocyst would become a baby one day. It had concerned me slightly as I had always dreamt of having two children and we had the potential for twins with that first cycle.
However, they say that the Universe only gives you as much as you can handle and clearly we weren’t going to be able to manage twins as only one of the blastocysts took. And now here we were, hoping to try for a second baby and only having that one frozen blastocyst left.
It’s a strange concept; a life conceived with the energy of a February full moon in 2013 and yet frozen in time for use in another year.
I knew now, with absolute certainty, that I wanted this frozen blastocyct to become a baby. I also knew that to achieve this, I needed to make changes. My body felt acidic and exhausted, my mind was cluttered and agitated, my spirit had been flagging and my life too busy and noisy. I recognised that it was time to retreat, heal, deepen my faith and get my feet firmly back down on the ground again.
It was October at the time and I had a follow-up telephone call with the clinic, confirming that I wanted to try again using our final blastocyst. The clinic was happy for me to begin whenever I felt ready and I had a feeling that this would be in the following February. I was keen to align the frozen embryo cycle as closely as possible with the original cycle, and give myself plenty of time to heal.
The seasons each have their own energy, encouraging a different way of being, you can see this clearly in nature. Spring is full of the incredibly vibrancy of new life and new beginnings, ignited by Imbolc on 1 February and I wanted to tap into this. I felt that to thaw the blastocyst in the same seasonal energy that it was frozen would spark some recognition and there would be a resonance that would be lacking at other times of the year.
Furthermore, nature encourages one to retreat, rejuvenate and replenish during the darker months of the year and I was keen to flow with this. The timing felt ‘right’ as if it was always meant to be.
And I suspect it was always meant to be, for it felt as if my decision-making caused a rush of support to come in. I asked the angels for help and help was given.
I got this overwhelming feeling that I needed to go and see my Ayurvedic doctor and on her recommendation, and with complete ease, I booked myself on a three-day Pancha karma at her clinic near Gatwick during the beginning of December.
This was a deeply healing experience, not least the opportunity to spend two nights on my own and much of it in silence, but the effect of the treatments too. I was massaged within an inch of my life, my body nourished and my mind cooled and quietened with glorious oils and herbs, and my soul nurtured and brought back to life. My feet were also brought back down to earth again.
There was another benefit to the trip in that Elijah self-weaned. He was two by then and I had been praying for a peaceful weaning experience, and lo and behold here it came. My Ayurvedic doctor had been keen for me to wean him and had proposed the use of herbs which would make my milk taste bitter.
It had taken me a while to come to terms with this, and reach the point where I felt ready to do so, and so I agreed to the herbs being massaged around my nipples during the treatment. Whether Elijah could sense the change in my smell, or had decided himself that he was ready to wean, I’ll never know, but strangely he didn’t even try to feed. I admit I grieved for a few days, but I was welcoming of the shift this created for the family.
I’ll also admit that Elijah started sleeping better, now he woke every three hours. The trouble was I couldn’t now pacify him with my breast, but a cuddle seemed to do the job, so I spent much of the night cuddling him now. This didn’t seem so bad, plus I started to feel like I had a little more energy, and I enjoyed the additional freedom – E could now try settling him to sleep (this is the bit that now took the time and energy!).
I also went for some Ki massage sessions with an intuitive healer, who helped me to recognise and come to terms with the anger and rage I had been holding in my uterus towards the placenta previa and the Caesarean Section. The sessions were insightful and taught me a lot about how we hold our emotions in the physical body and how this affects how we feel on every other level and how our lives unfold in the material world as a result of this.
I also finally managed to find an ornament for my altar of a family of four, so I had a clear visual of what I was trying to create. I updated my vision board too, with images of babies and me pregnant. I know that the jury is out on vision boards as you need to also feel whatever it is you’re trying to create but for me the visual has always helped in manifesting the dream.
New Year arrived and with that I did a burning bowl ceremony where I let go of the old, and set my intentions for the year ahead – it was easy, 2016 was about creation and bringing another soul into the world.
Once an intention has been set and is felt deep within one’s heart and soul, then a spark ignites in the ether and the Universe conspires to provide the support that is needed to assist you on your journey. All you’ve got to do is get out of the way and try not to control the process.
It was poignant therefore that two weeks later I cracked some ribs while skiing my last run of the holiday. I quickly realised why it had happened because it hurt to move, which meant I couldn’t really do anything. I had needed to slow down and the Universe had intervened and made sure of that!
As I mentioned, the Universe will always support what you are trying to create if it is heart felt, but it will never unfold in a way you could imagine. It will leave signs and prompts to direct you along the path, but if you continue ignoring them and not listening to the advice that is given then it will take drastic action to get your attention.
The Universe had my attention and I almost laughed at the state I now found myself in. I had little choice but to rest. I couldn’t exercise and I couldn’t practice yoga, at least not in the active manner I had been practicing previously. It was a blessing really, as it encouraged me into a whole new way of being, especially on my yoga mat.
It gave me the opportunity to practice restorative yoga, which I had not practiced for years. It was perfect, as it helped me to acknowledge the depths of my exhaustion and to (finally) do something about this. I was amazed how quickly I felt the benefits of resting in poses for prolonged periods of time, and am thankful to Judith Lasater’s book called “Rest and Renew” for guidance with this
I also dropped into my Yoga Nidra space again and now felt aligned with the Sankalpa, “I am pregnant with a healthy baby”. I was meditating again too and I prayed for a successful IVF cycle and asked for the support and guidance of the angels. I invested in Rose Quartz and Moonstone, both reputed to assist with fertility and pregnancy and dowsed for Bach Floral remedies to support me.
By the February I was feeling more myself again. I was stronger physically and mentally than I had been for some time and my faith and connection to Source felt restored. I also felt empowered, as I had listened to my intuition and the guidance of the Universe and tried my best to flow with both and now here I was feeling whole and centred again; healed then.
I knew I was now ready for another round of IVF and I had a strong feeling that this time it would result in a positive outcome. I was back in my IVF zone and focused on doing all I could to support and trust in the process.