How my journey with Endometriosis started
Everyones journey into pregnancy is different and very unique. It is still a subject that isn’t discussed that openly. There is so much information out there to look into but it all comes down to what feels right for you. So make sure you follow that path as it can be a confusing one and one with many distractions and noise along the way.
I thought I would share my journey to encourage people to talk about similar experiences, whether it was easy or hard, whether it was successful or not, but sharing will enable other women long after us to take guided steps in the right direction. I want to also point out that this is our story and I understand everyone’s backgrounds, medical history is very different but it means a lot to me to open peoples minds to different alternatives or even just changing a negative mindset to a somewhat more positive one.
As shared in my Endometriosis story blog post - I suffer from stage 4 Endometriosis and have done for over 10 years. All doctors advised me that my chances of having babies myself are very limited to non-existent (less than 10%), being told that, at around 21 years young will really dig deep into your conscious mind and at some point sooner or later will make you start believing in it too!
In addition to my own health issues - James also suffers with a long term illness called M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), which there is little to no research on, again this adds more complexity and worry, if the child will be affected? Can he even have children? All of this plays so heavily into your conscious mind without you even realising.
When the doctors told me I had to have a child now (I was 21 at the time) or at least before I turn 30, otherwise my chances are basically non-existent, we had to have a lot of serious conversations - this was also so early into our relationship, James was still partly bed bound. I remember coming home from that appointment and having to give James the option to break it off with us, as I didn’t want him to feel obligated to be with me, not knowing if I am able to have children. He reassured me instantly that we are in this together and that’s how our journey really started.
We had lots of interesting and tricky conversations about timelines, alternative options and adoption, which was a lot at such a young age. The main decision was that what ever happens we will go through it together but we both knew that we are not ready to be parents and wanted to see where our relationship goes, how our health can still improve and what alternatives we have to ensure we can get pregnant at a later stage in life naturally first.
After all the Endometriosis, bowel and IBS battles, I started working with a nutritionist and we had many great discussions around prepping the body for pregnancy for when I am ready - having that hope and someone telling you there are alternatives is like a light at the end of a very dark tunnel and something I would always try and bring to the forefront of my conscious mind when the darkness would overwhelm me. It is an alternative route and you have to be up to try, it doesn’t just happen over night, it is a lifestyle change that you need to be willing to make.
Preparing to get pregnant - steps we took to try and conceive
Fast forward a few years, after many conversations of "are we ready to give this a go'? We decided on a rough timeline, as I knew I had to prep my body for this journey, again something that we worked out with our nutritionist and something I read lots about. Therefore, I changed my nutrition, slightly changed my current supplement plan in preparation and cut down on alcohol, coffee (gosh that was hard) and all the other things that without you thinking actually can really affect your fertility journey. I really recommend if you do suffer with underlying health issues or even if you don’t to really look at what you are putting into your body as you might be surprised how this can affect your pregnancy journey.
Another big topic of course is contraception and how long before you start trying, should you be coming off whatever method you are using. I decided even before we wanted to try for a baby to not have any form of “artificial” hormones in my body anymore, for many reasons that are part of our journey with Endometriosis as well as mental well-being. Therefore, I had the coil removed a few years beforehand. But wow can I tell you, once I started detoxing from all the hormones I remember saying to James that I feel like an alien has been removed from my brain and the first time in many years I felt like me again, it was such a surreal moment, one that really sticks with me even all these years later.
It was one of the best decisions, again very scary as all the doctors advised me heavily against it based on it keeping my Endometriosis at bay and manageable, but it is a call you have to make for yourself and preparing yourself for this with your support group. I am not sugar coating this, it was hard as my hormones had to balance out, my periods had to find a rhythm again, and yes they did, they came back mighty heavy and hard to manage for a while, but I had my end goal in mind and it was another lifestyle adjustment I had to make on my journey of finding out what is best for my body and my mind.
I am not saying this is what you have to do, it is what I wanted to do for myself and it took me a while to make the jump, there was always that really busy month at work, or that trip, or that birthday but there was a point where I knew it was right for me! You also have to remember if you try something it doesn’t mean it is going to work for you, or that you have to stick with it, it is entirely up to you and your health and mental well-being if this is something you want to try out and consider, remember you can always revert back and try different routes, I could write a lot more about this part of the journey but I will leave it at this for now.
Steps I took to becoming pregnant with endometriosis:
Coming off any hormonal birth control
Changing my nutritional plans
Changing my supplements
Reducing alcohol, coffee etc in my lifestyle
Opening my mind to the possibility of pregnancy
Reducing stress and anxiety
Reducing exercise to be less explosive and a little more calming for the body
All of the above took me just over a year and that’s the time I wanted to give myself to prep and make sure I am comfortable with the decision and also bringing James on the journey with me. So now we get to the part of actually tracking your cycle and instead of avoiding these red days now actively seeking these and turning them into green days.
When I came off the hormones I actually started using an app called Natural Cycles (not an ad) it comes with a subscription and an oral thermometer to measure your temperature each morning, as I was using it to understand my cycle for my periods, I was well accustomed to this now and it was easy to change to trying to conceive rather then avoid pregnancy. That is a big step - well it was for us anyway :)
Let's try getting pregnant!
Going into the stage of actively trying to get pregnant, James and I both knew this is not guaranteed and it could take months, years for us to be successful, if that route of trying naturally was meant for us, but we had to have an open mind and not get disheartened if it didn’t work out. Well, easier said then done, I was trying to be positive but after a few failed attempts the tears did start coming. Something James really struggled to see as he didn’t want me to give up hope.
Something that really helped me through it and again opened my mind to other possibilities of why it didn’t work for us was this book I read, it was recommended by a very close friend of mine and I loved it. I took so much on from it, from making lists of blockers in your mind (what you think is stopping you to get pregnant) and trying to get rid of this in your mind and chaining the way you look at pregnancy - the book is called; “Trying to get Pregnant (and Succeeding)” by Marisa Peer who is a well known hypnotherapist, who now specialises in helping women to get pregnant.
The book opened my mind to other avenues of helping us on our pregnancy journey and so I began to look into Hypnotherapy, luckily my friend recommended one to me. So I booked in for some sessions to really get down to what is going on in my mind and potentially stopping me from getting pregnant, as deep down I knew my mindset was a big issue alongside with the obvious health issues but I had so many doubts in my mind, things you wouldn’t even admit to yourself sometimes. To name a few;
Endometriosis - the doctors told me I can't have children now, as I am over 30 and missed my opportunity
James and his illness - will the baby be ok, will he be ok?
My work, how will they take it, what about my career what will happen to it all?
Money - can we afford this - James is self employed
Can I be a good mum - I had a very difficult upbringing and that affects you in more ways then you know
And the list goes on…….
Hypnotherapy helped me get pregnant with endometriosis
Hypnotherapy opened my mind, I really embraced it, I was sceptical at first but sharing that with my therapist as it is important to be open and honest before you start. And no its not hypnotherapy like you see on TV at all, so don’t be put off by that or write it off as something it is not. It has truly changed my life, it is like magic. It is not a one session fix you again have to commit yourself to this and do the “homework” but it literally opened up a new part of my mind and cleared some of the darkness that was clouding me for many years now. Again there is so much more to this and if there is interest I will of course share this, but again these are my experiences and I know everyone is different.
A few things that hypnotherapy makes you focus on (this again was my case)
Think about the baby even before you're pregnant - envision this daily
Knowing you can handle anything and everything
Buying that first baby item to really give your mind the opportunity to align with you on this journey
Believing in your body
After completing my course and really embracing all that came with the sessions, we tried again and what can I say it is a magical success story, I still remember it like it was yesterday, we were on our forest walk with Peanut and I just had this very different feeling in my body and my subconscious mind was telling me to believe in it, to believe in the possibilities of this pregnancy. So on the way home I made James stop at the supermarket and I ran in and got a few tests.
Discovering I was pregnant
As soon as we got home I went to the bathroom, James had no idea what was going on, and there it was the positive pregnancy test!! It still gives me the shivers thinking about this now. I had to pee on around 5 more to make let my head catch up to what my heart knew. But here it was our miracle baby!
Everyone that goes on this journey, short or long, we all have a story and it is worth sharing because we can learn so much from each other. I have learned so much of alternative options available to us and without speaking to different women out there and doing a lot of research and having a very open mind, I don’t think I would be sitting here writing about my success story of how we got pregnant.
I hope this story is helpful to a few and as always if you have any questions at all please feel free to reach out to us on social media.
Lots of Love