“Sometimes you have to go through the difficult things before you’re willing to commit to the next level.”
In today’s episode I have a very special guest Erin McDaniel. Erin is a fertility coach who has experienced the hardships of infertility, failed IVF’s, but ultimately conceived and carried several healthy babies. We talk about all the things that we learned along the way and all the things we were never taught as young women about our bodies.
“Even when you are in the dark and the depths, it’s going to be okay.”
While everyone’s journey looks different, hearing the hardships and triumphs of others lets us know we are not alone. We dive into the shame, the fear, and the heartbreak that often comes as we walk the path to fertility, and we find hope and happiness in our choices, even when they don’t always lead to the outcome we are so desperately wanting. I am honored to have Erin McDaniel on today to share her story.
“Find a doctor who believes in your ability to get pregnant.”
Connect with Erin McDaniel:
🌺 Download your FREE Guide: Top 3 Steps to Maximise Your Fertility That Your Doctor Isn't Talking About
Hello beautiful and welcome to finding fertility Happy Friday all it is the end of July a nother month gone of this crazy year that we are having. Also that means the heard of a nother month of not being successful in achieving a pregnancy or maintaining a pregnancy my heart truly goes out for you. I know all too well how that feels. But I'm here I've got some one on one coaching slots are opening up because it's a new month, these spots are really limited now. So if this is something that you're interested in, I would highly recommend getting on the waiting list and get your spot booked for the future. So we are able to help you take control of your fertility hope you get down to the root cause the one on one coaching is really targeted, I you know, work with you to figure out what you need to do to really improve your fertility health. Now this includes a customised 30 day action plan. And it also can include if you choose the functional coaching package, head over to the website, it's WWE dot finding fertility.co Super clean website and not much to explore on there. It's really helping you to focus on what you need to do to work with me and get you on the right track. No more throwing darts in the dark, no more guessing. Let's get you on the right path and get you pregnant sooner. So without further ado, we have a very special guest on the podcast today. And Aaron is sharing her journey about years of failed medical treatment to successful IVF babies lots of hard work into figuring out what she needed to do to improve her low aim. Ah, and she got pregnant naturally. I love these stories. They are not easy stories. You know, we know what you're feeling right now we've been in those trenches. So I really hope these stories inspire you that you can take control and maybe learn from it that you do not have to go through what we went through to achieve your ultimate goal. Welcome back to another episode of finding fertility today we have a special guest, we have Aaron here with us, Aaron, why don't you go ahead and introduce yourself?
Sure. So my name is Aaron McDaniel, I have a personal fertility experience that I know we're going to talk more about today. And as a result of that experience, I have created a private coaching business where I work with women, one on one who are struggling to conceive, and that's called my fertility
coach did you know early on in your fertility journey that this is maybe something you want to do to help support other people going in through infertility.
It was really after I would say at the tail end of our experience, I think when we were going through the struggle, I was so deep in the weeds that it took a while for me to even figure out how to take care of myself and how to prove my own chances. And even once I felt like I had done that I was still you know, by then I felt like I'd cracked the code. By the time we were pregnant with our second son even still, I was so intent on having a healthy pregnancy and delivering a healthy baby that it really hadn't quite clicked that I had learned anything that might be helpful for anyone else. And it hadn't clicked yet that this would be an area that, you know I could pivot to from a career perspective. I'd always been in marketing and social media. And during my pregnancy with our second son, I felt like I was searching for a new mission. I've always been a mission driven person when it comes to my work. And it was after he had been born and I had taken some time off to be with him on a maternity leave and had left that position where I was that it started to come together I had more than one person say you have this, you know, tremendous experience. And you know so much I could rattle off all of you know the details of human reproduction that go beyond the eighth grade level of education that most of us have about it. And I was truly interested and fascinated by the process. And that started my wheels turning and started thinking about how could I use my experience to help others and also stay on top of a topic that I just personally find fascinating.
It's really interesting infertility journeys one it does give you a level of knowledge about your own body that you never knew you wanted. And never truly knew existed. You know, like you say eighth grade, there is bare minimum that they taught us and a lot of people to this day still need support in ovulation and On How To Track Your ovulation. And secondly is when you kind of get through certain stage of your journey. And if you have taken in all that information, you just want to make sure no one else has to go through the BSU went through, right, I think our generation had to go through that, because there wasn't a lot of support out there. Like I don't read by the Internet was invented, but Instagram wasn't and you couldn't look up fertility health coach, you couldn't look up anyone really, you know, I'm sure they were out there. But they were really hard to find if
they were exactly yes, at least when I was going through our journey. And you know, admittedly, this is several years ago, but I think your point about Instagram is a good one, because there was no way to find out information without having to put your name next to it. And there's so much at least at the very beginning stages, you know, for me, I felt some degree of shame. And I don't think that's right. I don't think that's fair. But I know that sometimes we feel a sense of shame of this is something that I expected I could do, and I'm not able to do it, and therefore I'm a failure. And so with that comes this shame, which might cause people to be very quiet about their struggle, and that was certainly my situation. And so I didn't, I didn't want to go on Facebook and ask, I didn't want to look in a Facebook group, because I had to put my name next to that. And I didn't want even, you know, my parents to know that we were struggling. So with that, like there wasn't information and you kind of expect once you just you know, you learn in eighth grade, how not to get pregnant. And so the expectation is, I will just simply flip the switch and immediately become pregnant, because at any point in time, you know, eighth grade through, you know, my 20s I could become pregnant anytime I had sex, you know, that lesson. And of course, now we know how untrue that is. But even when we were first trying, I'm so embarrassed to say I didn't know about timing and ovulation and ideal circumstances, those were things that I learned on my own after kind of Googling, like, why am I not pregnant yet?
So give us the cliff notes of your journey.
Sure. So we started trying naturally, and I kind of walked through our first misstep there, we ultimately tried for a full year went into my OB, and she helped us with a time cycle. And in fact, we were able to get pregnant that cycle. And unfortunately, that ended in a miscarriage at eight weeks. And shortly after that, we tried a couple of IUI guys, but we were moved to a fertility clinic fairly quickly because of my levels. And we started doing IVF, we went through two cycles that both did not result in pregnancy, we had one chemical pregnancy in there. And then it was right about that point of the second failed cycle that I started to take more control. And that involves talking to other people sharing my story and getting support from people who had gone through IVF themselves starting acupuncture, which led me down to a road of nutrition and lifestyle and general diet and exercise that could be either contributing or potentially harming our chances are in our ability to get pregnant, we switch doctors after that. And you know, that was another lesson learned of just finding someone who is going to truly believe in your ability to get pregnant and succeed. And then on that third cycle, we were successful. So we have a little boy who's seven. And from there, we took some time to be parents decided to get back on the horse, we ultimately went through another two rounds of IVF that were both not positive pregnancy tests. That fifth round, however, was the best cycle that we could have had ever without actually having a positive pregnancy. And when I say that, because that was the first time we had the most eggs retrieved that were then fertilised ratio. And it was the only cycle we ever had, where the embryos made it to that special day five blastocyst stage where they were able to be frozen. So while we did a fresh transfer that fifth round, they were not successful. We had frozen embryos for the first time ever. And again, I think that was 100% due to I knew what I needed to do, because I had done it for that first success that we had our eldest and I was able to commit and focus and redo all of that again, and got those healthy embryos that when we did a frozen transfer a few months later, and our second son is a result of that. Started my coaching practice shortly after that and was really living in a place of abundance and joy. I felt like I had found a rhythm as a mom and as a entrepreneur, if you will, as a marketer, I was in a place of passion and interest that really kept me motivated. I was paying attention to my health, but not overly focused in a way that I had been. And there was this goal of pregnancy. And one day, I assumed I had turned 40 recently, and I realised I hadn't had a period for a long time. And so I assumed, well, I'm probably going through menopause, because diminished ovarian reserve had always been our diagnosis. But you know, before I decide and self diagnosed myself with menopause, I should probably just take a pregnancy test. And I found a dusty old test in the back of a closet. And lo and behold, it was positive. And as it turns out, I was about 10 weeks along, and so we delivered our healthy baby girl, last July, so she'll be a year coming up in July, and that was with absolutely no intervention medically, at all, is a delightful surprise.
I know that feeling like I know you're feeling because I had it as well, you know, years and years of failed treatment, I mean, fresh IVs with perfect embryos, and you still weren't getting pregnant, like I know all your emotional and physical pain, and then to get pregnant naturally. After that. How did you feel what were your first few weeks like? Naturally, the first
I will tell you the first hour after taking that test, I called my husband because I couldn't leave the bathroom. And then I sat on the floor shaking, and he came in and I showed him the test. And he sat with me on the floor, when we sat there for about an hour just looking at each other and laughing and crying, total shock and delight, but also fear of you know, I hadn't been taking care of myself in the way that I would have ordinarily who had I know when I was pregnant? You know, I was drinking alcohol. I don't think I was sleeping properly. So then it was a lot of fear of is this pregnancy even viable? You know, we've unfortunately, we've had that miscarriage, you know, where we've gone and had an ultrasound and there's no heartbeat, and that first appointment, I honestly was expecting that to be the outcome. So it didn't feel real until we saw the heartbeat at that 10 week ultrasound. And then you know, the next layer was the testing, you know, is this are the are the genes all there that are supposed to be there. And so that was another major milestone. So the whole pregnancy was a mix of delight, but yet disbelief and fear of is this really going to happen? And is this baby really healthy? How How could this happen? My OB laughed at me when I asked her that question. She said, Do I really have to explain this to you? But it really felt? I mean, I think that we couldn't
exactly it's a very fair question, because it is the doctors tell you they get their their statistics, they get their tests, they give you a diagnosis. And they basically say it's impossible without medical intervention, right. And I think there's a small handful of us who are making those commitments, making those changes. And because we can't scientifically prove it along the way, you can't say where the tipping point was for you know, and usually the tipping point happens without your knowledge. You know, it probably happened before that IVF happened because you were so hardcore on what you were doing. And your health just got better and better. Now, fertility for me is such a fickle thing. We're both prime examples that you can be doing everything to a tee and have the medical support and still not work. Right. And then on the flip side with the naturally, you could be a crackhead on the street and get pregnant, right? You don't have to be a perfect picture of hell to get pregnant. But when you're doing with long term infertility, there's this tipping point and it can it can sway through your whole journey.
Yes. And I think you know, biologically in a condensed way to say it, you know, our body recruits a number of eggs every single month. And, you know, if we're not using medical intervention, only one of those typically then is kind of chosen to be the lead egg that will be ovulated. And so it's almost every single month, you have this new opportunity and it is something that those eggs that are being recruited every month have been nourished for up to you know, now they're saying maybe even four months prior, you know, before it was maybe three months so it's certainly a longer road if you will to optimise yourself in you know in your health in order to create those healthy eggs and sperm sperm is also, you know, the 90 day window. And so on one hand that can feel very frustrating because it seems so far away. But on the other, I think it's something that to me is, is an opportunity to be able to take some control. And to not only optimise yourself for fertility to have healthy baby and a healthy pregnancy, but over life. So you know, where I had really committed before that IVF cycle, I felt like I had seen such success. A lot of those habits remain with me today, not everything, because, you know, I felt like I was too restrictive. And it was impacting my life. And I felt like I was kind of under this thumb all the time. And so I was loosening those, but a lot of those healthy habits that just I felt like made me a better person and a happier person and a less stressed out person. I do think those things helped contribute to my overall health being improved.
Oh, well, person. Yeah, I always say I'm a better mom, because of my infertility. You know, like, I've said it before, I would have been a bitch, I have the practices now to control my stress levels, control my patients to control all those things. But before I didn't, I didn't know like, no way I would have been able to handle the stressors of motherhood in a in a healthy way. Right, we all get through it. And that's like with pregnancies. Everyone, you know, a lot of times when you're dealing with infertility, you just want to get to those two pink lines, totally. But once you get to those two pink lines, there is a another Pandora's box that opens that you didn't realise the anxiety and the fear that you were going to feel, especially if you've been through miscarriages, failed IVF treatments, you don't realise, like, I think I was the same with you on my natural pregnancy, the fear of it all was very overwhelming. And then I got mad, I was mad that all this knowledge that I had learned. And like you say, with the time, if I would have just been able to take six months of my life at the very beginning, my journey would have, I wouldn't have never had to do IVF, you know, I would have, we wouldn't have had to suffer through all those things. But sometimes it's you have to go through those things before you're willing to commit to the next level.
Absolutely. And I agree with you 100%. Because I think the it took me being down and completely disappointed and having those thoughts of, we're never going to have children before, you know, selfishly and so silly and short sighted now as I think about it, but you know, to do something, give up gluten, or, you know, to stop having a glass of wine every night, you know, I felt like I was owed those things because I was an adult and I enjoyed them and I had a right to enjoy my life. And I think all of those things are true. But at the same time, what I learned was, they don't necessarily make me my healthiest self, I do want to be very clear, I still eat a lot of gluten, and I still drink a lot of wine. But I know when I can now I feel in my body when I'm getting to be too much. And I appreciate that lesson because I can dial back now before you know I potentially move myself into a state of unhealth.
It's a short period of time that you have to commit to these things. And like you say, some, some you bring with you and some you leave behind. And I'm the same way like I know, when I've overdone it on all the things I know I'm not supposed to have. And it's it's finding that balance in your life, I do believe there is a time and place where you need to be obsessed, you get to a scary point where you're kind of like on maybe the spectrum. But I always say that will excel your healing process. You know, it's always like picking out a womb, right? The less you pick at that womb, the faster it's going to heal. And that's what you're doing to your gut by not introducing even one glass of alcohol, you know, and I one thing of gluten and when you have your mental practice on top of doing those things, it's easier to get through those things. Absolutely. So where can we find you? Where can my listeners connect with you?
Sure. So my website is my fertility coach.com And I'm also on Instagram and the handle there is just at my fertility coach and I love to hear from people connect with people and share what I know. But certainly I'm always learning so I love to connect with folks just to hear their stories experiences and you know, what they feel is working for them, whether that's that they've already achieved a pregnancy or they're on their road and they believe that something is making that road a little bit better.
And one piece of hindsight advice that you can give the listeners if you You looking back at your journey now? What do you wish you would have known to make your journey a little bit easier
that no matter what I would be okay, even without that first child, even without that second child, and now without, you know, having never concept of having a third child, in every case, I know we would have been okay. And our life would be wonderful because it would be what we would make it and that even when you're in the dark, and in the depths, it's gonna be okay. And you will get through
it. Yeah, 100% You know, the end looks very different for all of us. And I believe if you put in the practices of the diet and lifestyle that you're in, we'll be happy no matter what it looks like, because you're happy now you focus on yourself. And it's not about your fertility journey anymore. So a great piece of advice. Thank you so much for joining us. I know this is short and sweet. I've got some timing issues over here in Hawaii. So we connected a little bit later than we were hoping to thank you so much, Erin, it's always such a pleasure to talk to you. I think you're such an amazing person in this community. So I highly recommend you guys go connect with her. So you guys have a beautiful weekend and we will see you next Tuesday for another closer today clip by thank you so much for joining us. Once again. You can find all of Aaron's links down in the show notes also while you're down there. If you're loving the podcast leave us a rating and review. Let us know how this podcast is supporting you through your fertility journey. I hope you have a beautiful weekend and we will see you next Tuesday for another closer did a clip
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Anything written or said about health and diet are my opinions, that I have formed over the years, through trial and error, study, reading, listening and observing. What worked for me may not work for you. I am not a doctor, nutritionist or dietician and all medical advice should be gotten from a qualified professional. Product recommendations are based on what I used during my infertility journey or wish I had.
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