When I was 38, the corporate world took over my life. I’d dart out of bed at 6:00am, dash out of the house by 7:00am, sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic to work 10 hours, straight through lunch, and sometimes take an hour’s worth of work home. Exciting, I know.
My job was deadline driven. If retail sales were down, it was a mad dash to create additional marketing materials last minute and rush them into stores. Our team was expected to perform on the tightest turnaround times. Talk about stressful.
I’d been married for five years. We had the time of our life with friends. However, if I wanted kids, I knew my clock was ticking. My husband and I discussed when we should start trying to conceive. We agreed to say goodbye to our coupled “singleton” life and begin to “start” a family.
At first, it was fun not using contraceptives. As we lay in bed at night, we wondered who our baby would look like and whose personality it might have. Will it be a boy or a girl? The thought of making a baby made us smile.
Yet, month after month, my period kept appearing and I started to feel very anxious. Getting the memo that I’m “NOT PREGNANT” over and over just killed me inside. Stress was NOT helping, nor were all of the comments from friends and family asking how it was going. It was time to see a fertility specialist.
She reviewed our health histories and from various tests, we were cleared for conception. Since it wasn’t happening, we got thrown in the bucket of “unexplained” couples unable to conceive. It was so alarming, as we thought she could help.
Not giving up, we underwent three disappointing rounds of IUI (Intrauterine Insemination).
The doctor then suggested IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). The process starts a few weeks before ovulation. Many women are given a drug to control ovulation, so that eggs can be more readily collected. The drugs are administered with a needle that either you insert into your thigh, or your partner inserts into your rear end. Blood tests are done daily or every other day at the doctor’s office to determine the right mix of drugs for you.
The doctor monitors the eggs’ development over the next few weeks. Once they mature, they’re harvested with a small needle. Patients undergoing this procedure are usually sedated and given pain medicine when they wake up. Soon after, sperm is collected, either by a donor specified by the woman or from a sperm bank. In this case, I had my husband’s.
Our eggs and sperm were placed in a glass dish, so that the sperm can fertilize the eggs. After two to five days, the healthiest eggs were chosen and set aside. Between one and three eggs are usually implanted into the uterus.
We underwent three rounds of failed IVFs in a total of six months. Each round takes about a month. My confidence and hope was fading fast; and it didn’t help that my insurance ran out. Ugh! The average cost of an IVF cycle today is anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000. When I did it, it was around $20,000 to $25,000.
The whole IVF process takes the fun out of spontaneous lovemaking. Sex has to happen like clockwork. The drugs make you feel bloated, which isn’t sexy. Getting a daily needle can be stressful. All we wanted was a healthy baby girl or boy! Is that so hard?
In the meantime, I changed jobs. My insurance covered up to three more rounds of IVF. Yay! My hope returned.
Before starting the IVF process again, I needed a new approach. I read about how stress can hinder your conception success. I also don’t like to admit that I would drink a couple of glasses of wine, more than a couple times per week, just to calm down and relax from work. Alcohol also can lower your chances of getting pregnant. I immediately replaced wine with more natural ways to lower my anxiety.
This was my new obsession. I became fascinated by and started practicing self-hypnosis, affirmations, and visualizing – all of which are hypnotherapy techniques. Simultaneously, a co-worker introduced me to the movie, “The Secret,” which is about the “Law of Attraction.” These subjects intrigued me and I spent my free time diving into them.
Affirmations are short, positive statements that you say to yourself in the present tense to declare your intentions. A general one is: Every day in every way, I am better and better. One specific to fertility success is: More and more, every day, my eggs are healthy and viable. Or: Every day in every way, my fertility is better and better. I also like: More and more, every day, I trust in my body’s natural abilities.
When you repeat affirmations to yourself over and over, a few good things happen. It sends a clear message to your reticular activating system (RAS) in the brain that THIS is important to you. Therefore, it starts finding ways to help you achieve your goals.
Visualization is powerful. When you hold a picture of the end result of what you want in your mind, coupled with feeling the excited and grateful emotions of already having it, magic starts to unfold. Visualization works best when you focus on the end goal (not the process) and hold the vision for as long as you can.
According to research, visualization works. How? Neurons in our brains interpret imagery as a real-life action. When we visualize a desired result, the brain generates an impulse that tells our neurons to do the movement. This creates a new neural pathway — clusters of cells in our brain that work together to create memories or learned behaviors — that prime your body to act in a way consistent to what we imagined. This occurs without actually performing the physical activity, yet it achieves a similar result.1
I’d visualize myself taking a home pregnancy test. I’d visualize my husband, our baby son, and I on our first Christmas together and feeling the rush of elation.
Self-hypnosis helps reduce stress and my job at the time was full of it. It can allow people to bypass their conscious minds and introduce positive thoughts into their unconscious. It helps reprogram how you think about something.
To start my self-hypnosis practice, I’d get comfortable lying on my bed. Closing my eyes, I would imagine all of my body parts relaxing, from the top of my head down to my toes. Literally, each body part – head, eyes, nose, mouth, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, chest, back, stomach, butt, thighs, calves, ankles, feet, and toes. Then I’d visualize the outcome I desired – I produced a lot of eggs, I’m pregnant, and I have a baby by Christmas.2
Despite all my hard work, my fourth IVF failed. This made me feel depressed. I felt like something was wrong with me. When I saw others getting pregnant without trying, I admit, I felt jealous.
My courage to carry on came from knowing that it wasn’t the end. I still had two more rounds of IVF covered. I felt hopeful.
Before my fifth IVF, I started regularly implementing all of those hypnotherapy techniques I read so much about. I was determined to make them work. After a consistent practice, my mindset actually started changing. I got my confidence back that I could become pregnant. It was an exhilarating feeling! I hadn’t felt this way in such a long time. I decided to ride the tide, let loose, let go of all the anxiety and fear, and just go with it.
I prepared my mind as to how my IVF embryo transfer day would go. I would get up in the morning, feeling relaxed, instead of being filled with worry about whether or not it would take. I started thinking about the positive results that I wanted. I started visualizing a picture of me being pregnant (and loving it!). Then I visualized a picture of my husband, our new baby, coupled with the unexplainable feeling of having it all. It really put me in a good frame of mind.
I envisioned imaginary “helpers” in my body that took care of the embryo, my baby-to-be, attaching to my uterus; my own tiny-teeny personal nurse, inside of me, making my baby comfortable and welcomed. However, the 10-day waiting period was brutal, which is when I would definitively find out if it actually “worked.” Repeating positive affirmations and visualizing myself pregnant kept me hopeful and on track.3
My IVF doctor warned me not to take a pregnancy test before we ran a blood test. I couldn’t wait, but who could? I took the test. Two lines appeared – I’m pregnant!!! I went into my IVF doctor’s office to get a blood test. It was, of course, before I went to work, at 7:00 am. The results quickly confirmed – YES, I WAS PREGNANT!
I wanted to shout from the mountaintops! I did it! WE did it! And then I went to work and could tell no one, for at least three months. Since I was considered a “high-risk” pregnancy, I may not keep the baby full term. Let me tell you. They were the LONGEST three months.
Finally, I made it past the 3-month mark. Whew. Thank God. Thank the Angels. Thank my parents. Thank my insurance company.
Now because of my age, I had to have an “Amino” test to see if the little dumpling growing inside of me would have Downs syndrome, or some other genetic issue. Geez, when does the stress end?
My husband was adamant, “If the test comes back positive, we will have to abort.” Really? I don’t think so, not after all this effort. I’m loving this little munchkin, no matter what. OMG, would we have to get divorced? Both of our convictions were strong. Thank God again, the test was good. No abnormalities detected.
I was officially pregnant and everything was looking good. I frequently talked to my baby in the womb, told him how much we all loved him and looked forward to meeting him. I loved every minute of being pregnant, even during the times of discomfort that pregnancy can bring – especially the last two months. It was such a gift we were given – the miracle of life. Unexplainable to those who haven’t gone through it. Before I actually had a baby growing inside of me, I really didn’t appreciate children in the way I do now. I also felt more deeply for those who so desperately wanted to have a baby, and couldn’t. Heart-breaking. I knew that I had to help these people, which is why I left corporate America and became a certified hypnotherapist and law of attraction life coach.
An infertility journey can be the biggest roller coaster ride of your life.
We delivered a healthy baby boy just one month shy of my 42nd birthday. It was an irreplaceable experience, and the best gift ever. I also have a dear friend who used donor eggs, and delivered a healthy baby boy at age 50. My biggest message to you is to know that you have options, believe you will conceive, stay positive, and don’t give up. Preparing a fertile mindset is key to supporting a fertile body. I invite you to let me show you the way.
Dee Ballington’s Bio:
Dee Ballington is a Certified Hypnotherapist and Law of Attraction Life Coach helping couples create a fertile mindset, so they can conceive without stress. She received a Hypnotherapist Certification from the Quantum Edge Healing Institute, a HypnoFertility Therapist Certification from Eastburn Institute for Hypnosis, and Law of Attraction Life Coach Certification from Quantum Success Coaching Academy. When she’s not coaching, she enjoys spending time with her family and rescued pet dog named Dexter; she’s also a self-proclaimed, personal growth junkie and can often be found taking an on-line course that will expand her consciousness, which she loves to share what she has learned. Contact Dee to learn how to create a welcoming space for your future baby by texting her @ 732-615-8368.
1Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis
Vol. 29, No. 2, 2001, 107-115
2The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis
Volume 38, Issue 1, 1995, 22-26
3Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis
Vol. 31, No. 2, 2003, 121-127
Fertility and Sterility. Impact of Hypnosis During Embryo Transfer on the Outcome of In Vitro. http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(06)00077-X/fulltext