Love, Family and IVF. Monica's Story.
I was lucky enough to meet Monica through a wonderful Facebook group. A group who's purpose is to serve women and families battling the crippling journey that is infertility. Monica Bivas is an IVF Coach, Speaker, author of the book 'The IVF Planner' and married mother of 2 gorgeous IVF Daughters and
one stepdaughter. She is also the founder of the beautiful community Facebook group 'The IVF Journey', a safe space for women and couples (no matter their sexual preferences) to find support, inspiration, hope and connection between one another. But before I go into more detail about what Monica has to offer, here is her story. The reason she is where she stands now.
I truly have a story to tell, my road to motherhood was not an easy one, and I know that there are so many women and couples out there struggling to be moms, so by my own experience on this, I want to share my story with you.
My fertility journey started 13 years ago when I came to the United States after marrying my husband in my country, Colombia. We met on match.com. He is Israeli and was living in the States and I am Colombian and was living in Bogota the Capital. I wanted to get pregnant right away. I assumed , I will get pregnant right away, (I come from a very “fertile” family, I have from my mother’s side 9 aunts and 9 uncles, all these 18 children were from the same mom and dad, and from all of them I have a ton of cousins, about 203, My grandpa died at age 103 years old and he was able to meet his 5 generation, so basically I took for granted that I would get pregnant with the “blow of a kiss”) But it did not happen.
After a little bit more than a year of trying I got worried and thought that I must be the one with the problem. My hubby already had a cute little girl from a previous relationship (she will be 19 years next July; I love her as my own). My OBGYN put me on Clomid for two months, but nothing happened. I felt very depressed, but my husband always supported me. Next we did a lot of blood tests which all came back normal and my hormone levels were amazing. I always had very steady and exact periods, so all seemed ok on that side.
After I went for a hysterosalpingogram, my OBGYN told us that both my tubes were
blocked which was the reason I couldn’t get pregnant, (the cause of my double tube blockage was stage IV Endometriosis), so the embryo could not travel from the tubes to the uterus.
He gave us a card recommending a RE well known here in New York and with very
reasonable prices. I left that office devastated, crying non-stop. My husband calmed me down in the car telling me to look on the bright side – that we can be grateful that there is still a possibility of having a baby.
We went to see this RE in November 2004. He ordered further tests and
a laparoscopy to try to open the tubes or unless one, and then another hysterosalpingogram but the tubes were still blocked. IVF was our only choice. Everything went smoothly – They retrieved 34 eggs, 14 of which fertilized, and I transferred 4. We were lucky, as this first Cycle became a successful pregnancy, most of first cycles are not successful, but ours was. The result of this cycle is today our 14 year old daughter Eliyah.
We did not know at that time that we could freeze the remaining embryos, and nobody in the clinic told us, so again I took for granted that I would get pregnant the next IVF cycle when we would come back to try for a sibling to our daughter, because for sure we would want another child. But again it wasn’t that easy and this time, that second IVF cycle we would do and we were taking for granted that would be a secure pregnancy like the first one, became a count of 4 cycles, and a pain and sorrow I would never imagine would happen to us…..
Our Second cycle was in 2009, due to a mistake by the nurse in the clinic, who gave me the incorrect medicine amount, I got very sick with OHSS and that cycle had to be cancelled. The RE offered us another cycle at no cost, taking responsibility for the mistake, this was the same clinic and RE of my first cycle. So, three months after cancelling this second cycle, we enter on to the third. For this third cycle we decided to do chromosomal testing. We found one embryo that
had issues and wouldn’t make it. Of the other 4 blastocysts, 3 were very good and 1 was developing slower. We transferred all 4 embryos and the embryo which was behind attached and developed into a pregnancy.
My pregnancy was good all the way, including the amniocentesis, which was when we confirmed that we were expecting a baby girl. Everything was normal. But no one knew that I had a blood clotting problem. At 39 weeks, 3 days before my delivery due date, our baby Isabelle died in my womb due to a blood clot in the umbilical cord. I had to deliver her anyway. We were devastated, I wanted to disappear from the pain, because it was unbearable to deal with, and I felt guilty for what had happened. It was very painful. I felt so empty that I did not even wait 3 months before going for round four of IVF.
We decided to change clinic and RE, and they told us there that I should wait more, let my body rest and recover as I was still producing milk and having the changes
of a woman that just had a baby… but without a baby in my arms…. And I must heal emotionally, but I was stubborn and must have that baby I lost, so they proceeded with this 4th cycle. I did get a positive test, but I guess from the sadness, the loss of the baby (a complete baby) the stress and the fear all combined with other personal things, I miscarried at 7 weeks. Another unbearable pain, I was upset with G-d, I felt I was being punished and I was thinking why I was here and why I had to go through all of this.
The loss of our daughter, the miscarriage, the emotional disbalance all together also
took a toll on our marriage and it started to crumble. My husband and I almost got a divorce, it was a really dark time, one thing after another….When we were on the fence, already each of us with a lawyer, and after a talk with our rabbi, we knew there was still love between us, and we decided to give our relationship another chance, and work on it for over a year, not thinking about a baby but on us and our Eliyah and Daniella (my stepdaughter), solidify things, making them stronger, and then try again one last time for a baby……
In September 2012 we started another round of IVF, with a new Clinic and a new RE. During this cycle I shifted my thoughts and decided to take things in a much more calm way. I was more relaxed. I read every night the Pregnancy Prayers from the Tefillas Channah (the Book of Prayers for the Jewish Woman), I did acupuncture, and started to see the bright side of being infertile and going through all this burden, there was a purpose on all of this…. I got a positive pregnancy test and today she is our daughter Maya. She will be 7 years old next June. For some reason I feel so strong that it is our Isabelle’s soul back in a little different body. I’m lucky to say that, even after all this journey, I was able to become a mom. I have learned so much and my own journey inspired me to do what I do today, coach other women struggling with Infertility. IVF inspired me to write a book, and create more. I am on the process of my second book… I have learned that no matter the end result, negative, positive, or even canceled cycles, IVF takes strength, courage and teaches us to be disciplined. Though expensive and extremely challenging, for me, it was a journey to be proud of.
A little more about Monica:
Monica helps her beautiful tribe of people from 'The IVF Journey' who are going through the IVF process to shift their experience, to think of IVF in a positive light, and ultimately to prepare themselves for the wondrous outcome (a lovely bouncing baby). During their IVF mentoring and coaching, Monica’s clients can feel her positive energy and authentic love, and through it gain inspiration and trust to walk this rollercoaster of emotions in a more confident and positive way and get closer to reaching the goal of motherhood. Monica also offers fertility resources, like IVF Guides and an IVF Planner, Meditation Series, Fertility Crystals and Fertility Coloring Book. Monica promotes her programs inspired by her own experience with IVF. Her road to motherhood was not an easy one and she knows what it is to walk in the shoes of fertility issues. She promotes love, positivity and her main mantra “Where your thoughts go, energy flows” which are just the basic tools she teaches to learn how to deal with any fertility challenge.
Monica’s articles have been featured in The Huffington Post, and Thrive Global where she is an often contributor. Monica’s birthplace is the South American country of Colombia, but her hometown is Long Island NY. She is married with her Israeli husband Shai, whom she loves and considers her best friend and unconditional partner in her journey and has 2 IVF daughters and one stepdaughter. When she is not supporting her fertility tribe, she is a full hands-on mom, and a must in her life is a weekly date with her hubby doing one of the things she enjoys the most: dancing.
If you'd like to connect socially with Monica, you can find her here:
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/theivfjourney/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/monicabivasIVFcoach/