Finding blessings in infertility after 3.5 years

You might wonder how anything positive can come out of infertility, I would have thought the same way three and a half years ago. But it is true. After 3.5 years of infertility, I reframed my mindset to see all of the blessings it has brought into my life. Of course, I wish I was announcing a pregnancy rather than more health and healing stories. However, I can truthfully say that this infertility experience was a blessing and am excited to share that with you. [7 min read.]

In early 2022, I finally came clean about how much infertility (and other challenges) were bothering me. Then with the help of community and family support, I shared again at 18 months TTC (trying to conceive) that it was slowly becoming easier. Last year, more pieces of the puzzle came together and I got an endometriosis diagnosis and accompanying surgery. It has now been over a year since the surgery and although it was unfortunately not successful for me in the ways I had hoped, many positive things came from it.

So, here is my latest update: finding blessings in infertility after 3.5 years.

A Brief Infertility + Trying to conceive recap:

To recap, we decided to start a family in August 2020. Like most people, we thought it would be a straightforward experience. Since I had spent most of my life trying not to get pregnant, I falsely assumed it would happen easily when I wanted it to.

Every month for a year, I would get positive ovulation tests and high hopes, only for it to end in the self-doubt, rage, and sadness that pairs so well with a negative pregnancy test. From there we went through all of the typical infertility steps with no additional success: Blood tests, hormone tests, cycle tracking, temperature tracking, medications, exercise, yoga, supplements, medicinal herbs, acupuncture, osteotherapy, pelvic floor physiotherapy, massage therapy, gut health, food intolerances, alcohol-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, caffeine-free, ultrasounds, procedures, tube flushes, x-rays…

After all of that, I was diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” and recommended to move on to in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

Endometriosis + Surgery

If you have followed along for a while, you will know that I am not one to settle for something as vague as unexplained infertility. I believe that our bodies want to function as intended and that there is a bigger, root cause to our illness. Eventually, I connected the dots between my infertility, painful periods, and other horrible hormonal imbalances that are often dismissed as a “normal part of being a woman”, and I wondered if I had endometriosis.

A laparoscopic surgery (January 2022) confirmed this and I had three endometriosis lesions removed. The surgeon told me that many people who get this surgery have reduced period pain and increased fertility for six months. Unfortunately for me, neither of which was the case. My painful periods and infertility continued.

While I think modern Western medicine has its benefits and I appreciate everything my doctors did for me, I felt like I reached the end of the road with it. My only options left were period pain management, another surgery, or IVF. To me, these felt like band-aid options instead of a solution.

Eastern Medicine

Soon enough, we discovered a different approach. We had a friend who worked with an Eastern (traditional Japanese) medicine doctor and had great success. After hearing more about it, my husband encouraged me to try it out. I am very grateful that he did this, as this experience is really where my health began to improve beyond what I ever thought it could.

I am not an expert on the subject and can only share my experience. But in general, the foundations of Eastern medicine are more holistic and work to bring your body back into balance. When your systems are in balance, your body will naturally begin to heal itself. I have to admit that after years of promised solutions, I was skeptical. However, the principles did align with my beliefs and I was very curious.

Before I knew it, I was scheduled for ten intensive appointments with an Eastern doctor in Canmore. During my first appointment, he told me that I had lots of inflammation, tension, high cortisol, food intolerances, a leaky gut and sluggish organs. None of this surprised me and it felt like an accurate summary of how I was feeling. He encouraged me that he would be able to reverse all of it and improve my period pain/infertility. All I had to do was see him for regular appointments and make diet and lifestyle changes for 6-8 months.

After just four appointments, I was feeling incredible. My persistent acne cleared up, my bloating was gone, my energy levels soared (I started running for fun??) and best of all, my period pain came down from a 10/10 to a 3/10. Somehow, Eastern medicine was able to solve more for me in six weeks than Western had my whole life. I continue my appointments with this doctor and encourage anyone with unexplained ailments to consider Eastern medicine as well.

Meditation + Spirit Babies

With an amazing new sense of energy, I eventually got curious about other areas of health outside of diet and exercise. Meditation has been my latest practice in this holistic approach to infertility. Originally, I wanted to try meditation to help keep my nervous system balanced. Eventually, it led me to two other concepts: spirit baby communication and visualization.

Let’s talk about spirit babies first, because chances are you have never heard about this concept either. The idea is simple, you practice specific meditations to make a connection with your spirit baby. Hopefully, you can learn about them and see if any blocks are preventing their conception. Admittedly, I felt a little silly at first but kept an open mind and had some powerful results. If you are open to it, I highly recommend the book Spirit Babies by Walter Makichen.

The second concept is visualization and future casting. Right now we are particularly enjoying Joe Dispenza’s work and approach. He is interviewed on the Modern Wisdom podcast (How To Unlock Your Mind and Master Your Life) which explains it much better than I can. In general, one of his foundations that resonates with me is that with the right mindset, our adversities ultimately lead us to our dreams. This is where the blessings come in.

Ok, Now for the blessings:

Clearly, I have surrendered to the experience of infertility and am open to wherever it takes me. A few weeks ago, I took my meditation experience and wondered if I could find blessings in infertility. For an experience that has brought me and my husband so much frustration, confusion, sadness, anger, and grief, I assumed the list would be short. Once I got started though, the blessings were flowing.

Here are the reasons I am grateful for my experience with infertility:

  • I am much healthier now than when we began in 2020 (or ever)
  • I have a deep understanding of my health and how it deteriorated throughout my life
  • This experience is proof that our marriage can withstand anything
  • I feel more in control knowing that my pain has a name: endometriosis
  • Knowing about this diagnosis validates all of my symptoms and frustrations with my body growing up
  • We created a healthy lifestyle that will let any babies that come to us thrive
  • If we have a daughter, I hope that we can prevent endometriosis for her (this is my favourite blessing)
  • This time spent in waiting allowed my husband to build a home for us that is warm, safe, and healthy
  • I have been able to grow my business and become more financially stable
  • I can enjoy a healthy body before pregnancy
  • I can experience an energetic, healthy body now
  • I have found a new hobby: running
  • Although I don’t wish this experience on anyone, it has brought me closer to friends and family
  • New friends from our shared experiences
  • An incredible online community of supporters (you!!)
  • I am a better photographer for understanding how hard parents work to start their families
  • I am positive that we want kids and will never wonder ‘what if’
  • Being in my thirties gives me more life experience and brain power to be a great mom
  • Introduced me to Eastern medicine
  • Helped others feel less alone in infertility

What is next?

More healthy food, more running, more sunshine, more meditating. My husband and I both feel like we are on the right path and that this infertility chapter will close soon. In the meantime, I am feeling the best I ever have and am enjoying that.

At this time, I am open to answering any questions and sharing experiences, but I am not open to any “have you tried…” conversations. I know they are well-meaning, but as you have read we have been through a lot and feel good about where we are at right now. Thank you for all of the love over the last 3.5 years. I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

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5 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing + for your vulnerability!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing. Best wishes to the two of you.
    Two Very Ready and Good parents when we hear more news!

  3. Anonymous says:

    You are amazing. Sending love!

  4. Barbara Gibbins (Twila's mom) says:

    Wishing you all the best! Bless you both! Hugs.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Incredible post, Jena. We love you, and I’m so inspired by your strength!

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