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Here is some ‘stuff’ that has to do with our whole IVF experience … it sounds as if we had alot of money … that wasn’t the case at all, I saved hard, didn’t go out and worked hard to be able to afford the treatment. It was a huge deal. We had one shot at the IVF and I knew that there was no point (for me) in going to it lightly, if we were going to go through all that I wanted to ensure it had the best possible chance of success … you hear so many stories of people having many many cycles … we only had one chance, another was simply not an option financially so I needed to be sure that I was giving it my best shot and was as physically and mentally prepared as I could possibly be.

Bourn Hall

The IVF clinic in rural Cambridgeshire … we first went there eight years ago … the doctors have been marvellous as has a wonderful nurse called Doris. We got pregnant naturally after we first went there, but heartbreakingly lost the baby at 12 weeks, even though we hadn’t had IVF, they allowed me to talk to one of their counsellors who was quite amazing and really helped me to deal with the loss. All the staff at Bourn Hall, the originator of IVF, responsible for the conception of Louise Brown all those years ago … the first test tube baby. I called then the day I started this blog, hysterical as the midwife I’d been allocated by my doctor’s practice didn’t know what ricotta cheese was or if it was ok for pregnant people and seemed to (correctly) think I’d gone bonkers. They, kindly and patiently told me everyone having IVF goes bonkers and not to worry, they made me feel calm again. I still don’t know if ricotta cheese is ok to eat during pregnancy … I forgot to ask.

Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort

I first went to Kerela in Southern India back in 2004 and found the treatment, the calm and the healing there quite incredible, they sorted out issues with my immune system that Doctors here just couldn’t get to the bottom of. When I got pregnant naturally I had just come back from Somatheeram and so when we did decide finally in 2011 it seemed the perfect place to go to prepare, mind and body, for the IVF and to (hopefully) carry a healthy pregnancy to full term. I hate the word ‘detox’ it is over used and often wrongly used. Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient discipline and works treating the person as a whole rather than just  a specific symptom, the body is cleansed, a tailored diet is prepared for you to follow (rigorously) and a very precise treatment regime (not always calming and pleasant). The incredible team of doctors and therapists there calmly welcome you and seek to understand what you want to gain from your visit and where you’ve been (physically) on your journey to that date … once they understand that they are able to treat you. The feeling of utter health, vitality and well being I bought back from Somatheeram carried me through the IVF and the pregnancy … I maintained an almost 100% vegetarian diet, I avoided sweets and caffeine and fizzy drinks, I didn’t have much dairy (other than goat milk with tumeric in) and I walked, slow gentle walking, every day during the preparation, the treatment and the pregnancy. People often describe IVF as a battle, I think going into it with that attitude isn’t the right approach, if you are tense going into battle then your body will be tense and the IVF less likely to succeed. I don’t know how it would work for anyone else, but for me it did, I was able to approach all the challenges that I was faced with over the following month with an acceptance and a calm that I wouldn’t have been able to before.

There are two Somatheeram health resorts (run by two brothers) I’ve been to both and during the three week visit prior to IVF had treatment from both and also stayed in their sister ‘resort’ Manaltheeram.

Instituto Bernabeu

This is where we went in Spain  … it is where my magical little soul, The Spaniard came into being, in a Spanish petrie dish or test tube. Due to the stunning location and area around it, IB offered a relaxed almost ‘holiday’ approach to the scary process of IVF. This helped hugely. Lovely  staff,  Dr Bernabeu himself (quite THE most enthusiastic genuine doctor I’ve ever encountered), Dr Llacer who performed the ’embryo transfer’ and other formal, gentle supportive staff. The day of the transfer was very sunny, the clinic sits in the hills to the side of Alicante … a very peaceful spot … and the first thing I smelt when being wheeled back to the ‘room’ was calamari, well paella to be more exact … apparently what the staff were having for lunch. I’ll never forget that – I felt so so hungry and REALLY wanted some! I can’t recommend this clinic highly enough. Before I went to Spain I read some research about humour being a factor to the success of IVF (the study was an Israeli one and worked with clowns … odd but true that it significantly increased the success rate of IVF in a group of around 200 women), in IB during the embryo transfer we didn’t have clowns but there was alot of laughter and it’s true to say that I was so busy laughing that I didn’t really feel the actual transfer, something that really surprised me … who knows if it made a difference … I like to think that laughter and the calm from Kerela both led to our IVF experience being such a positive one.

Hotel Hospes Amerigo

Where we stayed in Alicante during the treatment … a beautiful haven with a lovely roof terrace overlooking the blue tiled cathedral dome (St Nicholas) and yards from Las Ramblas and the seaside. Wonderful breakfasts that we plundered to last us all day – and particularly wonderful Spanish Omelette and juice … wonderful fresh juice; pineapple, orange, passion fruit and kiwi fruit… far away from day to day stress and ‘reality’ of life at home with bills and work and so on.


Alicante and the Santa Cruz area

The city of Alicante didn’t seem promising at first – all tower blocks and a busy city beach … however once you scratch the surface and wander around, there are so so many beautiful areas to visit. The Castle high above the city is reached by a lovely path or through a mysterious tunnel through the rocks. The gorgeous area of Santa Cruz – all whitewashed and pots of geraniums has no cars and a wonderfully old Spanish feel to it. St Nicholas Cathedral became our second home and I practically became Catholic the amount I prayed during the process – it is so so beautiful inside and out (we had the perfect view of the blue tiled dome and up to the Castle from the wonderful roof terrace at the hotel)





Playa San Juan

Glorious … miles of Californian like white beach with big surf and Casa Domingo a great tapas bar. Wonderful walks along the beach … this was walking distance from the clinic so a wonderful place to go and ‘recover’ after treatment. The kite surfers, the walkers, the miles and miles of pounding surf made all my anxieties fall away.

La Vila Joiosa (Villajoyosa)

Was our favourite place … the El Rincon ‘bull fighter’ bar (hams hanging from the ceiling, huge cheeses behind the counter and thousands of dramatic toreador photos and magazine clippings all over the wall) in the tiny square infront of the BEAUTIFUL church before winding down the narrow colourful streetsto the prettiest of beaches. Stunningly vivid and tiny gardens, ladies sitting eating on chairs in the shade infront of their houses, old men under orange trees reading papers. Just lovely. We were in the charming alley Carrer Angel there where we heard the news of the success of the early stages of the IVF, around us the swallows darting everywhere as the light faded.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 21, 2013 3:40 pm

    Love your photos, your story is very touching. Check out my Spanish blog at

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