We talk to Kathryn who tells us about her fertility journey
Kathryn is a lovely, warm woman who knows from her own experience how heartbreaking the journey through infertility can be and is keen to help anyone she can with her experience.
“When I was trying people who shared their stories really gave me encouragement and stopped me from giving up,” she said.
Kathryn grew up in Henley-on-Thames, one of four girls, and always knew she wanted to have children.
She met her husband Dabir in 2001 when she was aged 32 and he was 33. Dabir had grown up in London, one of two children. When they met they were both working as accountants. They were married in 2004.
They started trying for a baby immediately as they were both aware of Kathryn’s body clock ticking.
For Kathryn wanting a baby was all consuming
After six months of trying they went to the doctor, had various tests done and were told that they didn’t have any fertility issues. The advice from the consultant was very simple:
“He told us to go home and have sex every 2-3 days.”
But the pressure of having sex so frequently became very stressful and it almost ruined their sex life.
She explained: “Sex becomes a real drag and not at all enjoyable because you’re having to do it. To be honest it just killed our sex life.”
At the end of 2008 Kathryn turned 40 which was a terrible time for her as she felt overwhelmingly that time was running out.
She realised that she was going to have do something to make her dream of becoming a mother come true.
She says that she met lots of people who were in her situation who said to her: “Well, I guess it’s just not meant to be.” Kathryn strongly disagrees with this resigned acceptance of your “Fate.”
She said: “You’ve got to fight for this to happen.” So that’s what she decided to do. Turning 40 became a call to action for her and she decided she needed to take some positive action.
At this time work was becoming very stressful for her and that combined with the huge stress on their relationship resulted in her being signed off from work with clinical depression.
She was put on medication and went into therapy and began to feel much better.
During this time she went back to the Doctor to see what could be done about getting pregnant. They were referred to a consultant who had another set of tests done – again nothing showed up apart from high FSH levels.
He told them their chances of IVF working for them were minimal
Desperate by now they decided to go ahead regardless and had two unsuccessful cycles of IVF which they both found incredibly stressful and heart-breaking.
Kathryn describes how she felt when the consultant told her the options now open to her: “When we went for our second failed IVF chat they said there was no point doing another round and that my only real chance of having a baby was to use a donor egg. We were devastated.”
Kathryn’s mother-in-law sent her a link to a newspaper article on IVF which prompted her to go online and start reading other people’s experiences and also to start looking at books on the subject in particular a book she highly recommends – “Taking Charge of your Fertility” by Toni Weschler.
She also started to chart her basal temperature which she feels: “helped us hugely as we felt more in control. The book also talked a lot about diet, endometriosis, cysts etc which was fascinating and very relevant to me with my medical history.” (LINKS)
Kathryn started to feel empowered by the knowledge she was acquiring: “it was such a relief, as there were only six days where I had to have sex, the rest of the time I could just relax.”
Kathryn believes it gave her a completely different mind-set and a new resolve. She gave up caffeine completely, had some reflexology and intended to have acupuncture as well. The acupuncturist asked her if she had ever had thrush or cystitis – she has suffered from both on and off all her life.
The acupuncturist went on to say that Kathryn could be suffering from an overgrowth of candida and that she should see a nutritionist first as the acupuncture wouldn’t work if she did have Candida. Kathryn recalls: “I was a little sceptical but we really had nothing to lose.”
After doing a little test on her the nutritionist diagnosed her with an overgrowth of candida in her intestine, ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder and joints
Far from feeling disheartened by this Kathryn says: “It’s hard to describe the relief I felt at finally being told by someone that there was something wrong.”
The nutritionist then told her that it isn’t possible to get pregnant if you have an overgrowth of Candida and that she had many clients who have had this cleared up then fallen pregnant. She was then told to follow a strict Candida diet.
She said: “The results were amazing! My energy levels were awesome – my periods completely changed too – I’d always had terrible period pains. I would have three days of red blood and then two to three days of brown blood – the first period I had after the diet I had five days of cherry red blood and my period pains disappeared. My periods have been like that ever since.”
After the candida diet Kathryn started to have acupuncture and reflexology. She was also now recording her basal temperature to ascertain her most fertile days.
Kathryn had two periods after she finished the diet, when in May 2010, six and a half years after she started trying, and at the age of 41, she discovered that she was pregnant. She went on to give birth to her daughter Isabelle.
To find out the rest of Kathryn’s remarkable journey read Part Two of her story next week