As I was fast approaching forty and had been with my partner for several years I was becoming more and more concerned when I hadn’t been able to get pregnant. Also my periods were becoming more irregular so I finally decided to seek advice. After various basic investigations the consultant at my local hospital offered me an exploratory laparoscopy after which she told me I had several minor complications and that as I was due to be forty the next month IVF was the best chance of getting pregnant.
It felt that as soon as we indicated that we may be able to finance this with help from my parents we were booked in for treatment to start a couple of days later! The procedure was sadly unsuccessful and I am sorry to say that the consultant didn’t even find the time to telephone us to offer her sympathy. We were simply given a deadline date to commit to a second cycle with no follow up on the first.Unfortunately at this time my cervical smear came back with irregularities so I went to see a specialist in London who performed a loop cone biopsy.
During this time we had the chance to research the “success rates” of the various fertility units so once I recovered from the biopsy we decided to go to a much more highly acclaimed unit in London. This was not only more expensive but more draining physically and emotionally because of all the travelling involved. Although I hadn’t realised it at the time, one of the embryos had implanted but I miscarried a few days later.
I was obviously devastated but I felt that it gave me some hope of a future pregnancy. The specialist made time to call and offer her sympathy and we discussed plans for a third attempt.I obviously needed to let my body rest and we also needed to try and raise some finances to afford a third attempt. I discussed with the consultant whether there was anything that I could be doing during this time to improve my chances of maintaining a successful pregnancy.
She told me about an experienced midwife who offered lifestyle advice to parents to be. Out of desperation I booked an appointment with her and in the meantime read her book which whilst very informative seemed pretty common sense. It covered preparing both the mother and father to be prior to conception through holistic and complementary approaches and looked strongly at nutrition but although I cancelled the appointment and therefore cannot comment personally I felt that the this had become nearly as much of a “business” as some clinics offering IVF had become and that the chance of seeing the midwife personally and not one of her many employees was probably impossible.
At this time I had to visit my doctor’s surgery for an unrelated issue and mentioned to the Nursing Practitioner what I was going through and realising that I was not adverse to a more holistic approach to medicine she asked me if I had heard of Ayurveda. She informed me that one of the other nurses at the practice had completed a course in Ayurveda treatments and spoke very highly of the course leader.
I spoke with the other nurse who gave me Dr Rodrigo’s telephone number. I phoned up to make an appointment and immediately felt that I wasn’t just going to be offered the next half hour slot in the diary and when I went along to the appointment it was very informal and seemed more like a chat. Dr Rodrigo looked at my eyes and my tongue and checked my pulse.
She asked me about my toilet habits and general way of life. She explained that we are generally all one of three, or a combination of three body types and that if we become unbalanced for our body type the imbalance can manifest itself in certain ways. She said that I was typically a vata kapha type but that through general inbalance of my diet I had a pitta disorder and this had affected my fertility.
I didn’t actually tell her my typical diet but at the end of the session she completed a diet sheet for me to follow and at least five of the things that she told me not to eat were things that I was almost addicted to! She explained that if food doesn’t pass through the bowel efficiently then fermentation occurs, producing toxins which can be reabsorbed by body tissues causing problems such as fatigue, infertility and poor skin tone. She gave me various powders to mix as a drink and take at various times of the day.
Because I was already forty one I asked if I could carry on with my third attempt at IVF at the same time but she told me that there was no point as the imbalance would not be conducive to holding a healthy pregnancy and that if I really wanted to have another attempt I should wait until I had really cleansed and rebalanced my body. Within about three weeks I began to feel totally re-energised and had lost nearly a stone in weight, not from eating less but obviously from eating the right things for my body type.
After about a month I had a three day panchakarma treatment and about two weeks later I had a second three day panchakarma treatment.
I was continuing with the potions and still following the diet sheet. Almost three months to the day that I first saw Dr Rodrigo I became pregnant with our son! I had a very easy pregnancy and am enjoying every day of motherhood.
Whilst I feel there is a definite place for IVF, particularly in clinical situations such as when someone has badly damaged tubes, I feel that too many clinics, particularly when the couple are financing the procedure themselves, jump to IVF as what seems to be a very easy option without looking at the true health of the parents first. Whilst there seem to be one or two clinics promoting “lifestyle” coaching I hope that these are based on grounded and informed information and are not primarily for financial gain.
Whilst I obviously paid Dr Rodrigo for the consultations (which always went way over the hour booked), for the medicines and for the panchakarma treatments I truly believe that she was diagnosing and prescribing for all aspects of my general health and well being and that our son Oliver is here as a result.