Vicky Bonnefoy, CEO at Freedom_fertility.coach
Well where do I start!
From the day I started my periods, I had problems! Crippling pain left me in and out of A&E on a regular basis and feelings of dread each month. I started having tests done, investigation work to find the cause of the pain and heavy bleeding. It took over 4 years until I was diagnosed with Endometriosis and Poly cystic ovary syndrome. I was a young girl already dealing with so much pain and uncertainty.
Hospital appointments, admissions through A&E and operations. I remember being asked at 19 if I had started trying to get pregnant, when I answered no, that's when I was told to go on the contraceptive pill and come back when I was ready to start trying to conceive.
I Knew this wasn't the right type of treatment or support at the time but being desperate to not have the immense pain each month was pulling me down the contraceptive route.
I decided to get a 2nd opinion and I went private for a consultation. I went ahead with some tests, one being a smear test, only to find out that I had severe dyskaryosis and needed some surgery to remove the pre cancer cells. It was just the scariest time for me at that point, to think I was so close to having cancer to deal with.
Not one of my friends had to deal with anything like what I was facing. I started distancing myself at that point from people I cared about, I just didn't feel like they truly understood and I also felt like a burden. Never having anything else to say other than what was always going on for me.
I had surgery through keyhole not long after diagnosis with the private clinic which also revealed scar tissue, fibroids, endometriosis, poly cystic ovaries and some other cysts too. At 19 years old, having babies wasn't massively high on my list at that time and as for most young ladies at that age, it was just something I'd considered for my later years. It suddenly became the most important thing on my mind though! I couldn't think of anything else.
as the years went on, I suffered physically and mentally, cutting off friendships as they fell pregnant and becoming distant in all my other relationships too. I felt so alone. I felt like I was never truly listened too. I felt angry at the world, heartbroken and just completely lost.
I remember shouting back at my mum one day after she and I had a talk, I'd shouted at her that she couldn't possibly know how it felt for me, how could she know! as she had already had her babies, me! I knew it hurt her to watch me suffer mentally as well as physically, but I retracted from conversations with anyone who wasn't going through what I was, even my mum.
I met my Husband when I was about 20 years old, He didn't know all that had gone on with me for quite some time really. How do you meet someone new and tell them it’s very possible you won’t be able to have children of your own and then all the reasons why, without scaring them off! I was getting quite good at putting on a bit of a front, I mean it's not something you start conversations with, so I just didn't say much about it at all.
A year into our relationship, I fell pregnant! By then he had pretty much worked out that there were some issues with me to say the least!
I couldn't believe it! Pregnant! I was told that I would find it extremely difficult, if possible even!
The happiness I felt was amazing and frightening but was also short lived, I miscarried at 7 weeks and was just absolutely heartbroken.
We started trying for a baby pretty much as soon as we could after that but month after month my period came. It broke me, the consistent loss I was feeling impacted every aspect of my life. I Googled frantically like a mad women, I was obsessed with trying to find fertility information online, I had to try everything I could or I wasn't doing my best. The rollercoaster of emotions had truly begun! after being referred to the hospital fertility department, we started Clomid, and not long after starting, I became pregnant again.
I felt a massive relief that I was pregnant but also a relief I could get off this rollercoaster and start living my life like other women do! About 4 weeks into the pregnancy, I started feeling sick and when I mean sick, I mean being sick morning noon and Night! I couldn't eat a thing, I couldn't drink or even swallow my own saliva. Hadn't I been through enough, why me! Why cant I just be normal, Why cant I just have a baby like everyone else! why won't my body work. I felt like my body and my mind were two separate beings, one working for all that would fill my soul and the other (my body) well it might as well of stuck two fingers up at me! that's how I felt.
I felt extremely sorry for myself and quite rightly so I thought.
I had Hyperemesis, which is an extreme sickness condition which left me in hospital on a drip until I was hydrated enough for them to send me home, only to be back in again 24 hours later, sometimes sooner.
I miscarried again at around 8 weeks and I was devastated all over again. Physically and mentally drained and weak. I recognised this pain, almost like a friend I've known for years. We knew each other well, I knew how this would play out. I'd turn my phone off, cry for weeks on end, binge eat and Google my time away, looking for reassurance it wasn't my fault or some certainty that I would eventually have a baby of my own.
Investigations started again and more operations followed to remove more endometriosis and cysts that they found.
I remember the day the Dr said that enough was enough, something more needs to be done now.
Finally I thought, a Dr who is actually listening to me rather than just taking notes on me. I left that appointment feeling so much lighter than I had done in years! I hated the hospital appointments. I never really felt like I got anywhere, it felt cold and it was unattached, a box ticking exercise.
We were then referred to the IVF clinic in Hammersmith to start IVF which I was so very hopeful about.
I didn't expect there to be any hiccups along this beautiful straight road of IVF and having a baby, in fact I thought this would be almost easy compared to the rollercoaster I'd been on.
Well Cycle after cycle left me feeling exhausted mentally and physically once again.
Now I knew it wasn't at all what I'd thought originally. It was heart breaking and the journey began to really take its toll on my mental wellbeing. I became distant with my Husband, I just shut him out along with everyone else.
I gained weight and I really wasn't looking after myself mentally or physically at that point. I. Felt like I was to blame, that maybe this was karma or that I deserved this. Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a mum and so many more damaging and useless thoughts. I was so down, my whole life was in low vibration. I didn’t live, I wasn’t there, present in my life at all. I went through all the motions but I wasn’t processing my feelings because I didn’t know how and I spiralled. I kept myself busy, distracted but it’s a pretty impossible task!
My mum had told me then that she had been thinking about being a surrogate for me! I couldn't believe it! finally a great idea, an answer to my prayers even!
during our inquiries my physician told me that he thought I should take some time out of treatment and give my body and mind some time to recuperate but said he thought I should come back and do my last round of IVF before looking into surrogacy further. 3rd round of IVF had been unsuccessful and I just felt numb. It was a frozen embryo transfer and I had turned up at the clinic after weeks of injections and medications, sat in the waiting room with all the other ladies and waited for my name to be called out. The nurse appeared, started calling names of the women with me in the waiting room and ushered them upstairs to the embryo transfer waiting area. Name after name until there was just 2 of us left. I knew at that point something wasn’t right. The last lady went upstairs to collect her precious embaby and I was called into a side room. I’m so sorry to have to tell you, but your embryos didn’t survive the thawing process. I walked out of there expecting to feel the pain but I was completely numb. I knew then that my heart had had enough. No support in place, no proper professional support, i tried to cope as best I could which meant squashing my feelings down and trying to be brave!
This is the first time I Remember actually making a decision, because up until this point everything seemed so out of my hands! I said no to the treatment I so desperately wanted and began to think about life outside of this hamster wheel of fertility treatment, this yo-yo of hope and despair. I found a lady who did some Reiki and reflexology and I went along twice a week to something I looked forward to, something I felt was working for my mental wellbeing.
Well my last treatment round came along after taking a years break and I went into it with trepidation. I was scared beyond belief! This was it, my last go! It worked, I became pregnant on my last round of IVF!
The Hyperemesis came back with a vengeance though a few weeks later but the pregnancy continued despite being on a drip for 4 months. It was living hell. My body was shutting down and i foundry do anything about it.
Eventually My Baby girls came along 3 months earlier then they should have and I then watched them fight their own battle. Desperately fighting for every breath, every single minute a blessing. Once again I felt my body wasn’t capable and now it had hurt someone else. Now once again I had no control, I couldn’t help and I was filled with guilt and uncertainty all over again.
So where am I now?
Daisy and Lilly are 10 years old, Healthy and Happy. It’s not been easy, not 1 single part of this journey has been a good experience. But now its my turn to give back to you. It’s my passion to be able to support you properly on your journey to parenthood so that you don’t spiral and you feel in control, so that you move through trauma and cultivate true happiness and inner peace, so that guilt, blame and shame doesn’t become your narrative and you can be present and living in your life.
I have set up this coaching service out of Love, out of appreciation and total understanding of the rollercoaster you find yourself dealing with.
You are not alone and you absolutely don’t have to do this feeling unheard and unprepared. You can be emotionally in control and feeling calm and confident as you navigate your path to parenthood and beyond xxx