Stored IVF Trauma: The Body is the Ultimate Storyteller
The following essay comes from a former IVF patient. She underwent multiple failed IVF and ‘donor’ egg cycles. In the years since, she has endured a series of health issues. The IVF industry’s failure to collect health data leaves patients who’ve undergone assisted reproductive technology procedures with guesswork and unnecessary suffering. The lack of longitudinal health studies, particularly in the U.S., makes it all but impossible to correlate or track post-IVF health impacts.
A few years after my last IVF procedure I developed an auto immune condition of my liver. During the last three years I have experienced a lot of pain in the soft tissue of my legs and thighs. Most recently I started having some strange issues with my right leg. There’s intense pain in the muscle of my right leg — thigh, side of thigh, buttock. I have not been able to spread my legs more than 10 inches. I cannot sit cross-legged anymore (I used to sit in half Lotus).
Debilitating Body Pain and Anger
As the pain intensified, I finally reached out to some bodyworkers. For the past five weeks I have received deep tissue massage and several other body therapies to help relieve what is, on some days, absolutely debilitating pain. Pain to the point where I cannot walk and must sit.
“Out of the blue I started talking about the IVF doctors and how they misled me and millions of couples around the world.”
About two weeks ago as I laid on the table, a bodyworker manipulated my sacral and lumbar spine. I burst into tears. Out of the blue I started talking about the IVF doctors. How they misled me and millions of couples around the world. How could they do such a thing? Maybe my auto immune condition is linked to the hormones I took, etc., etc. Uncontrollable crying for half an hour.
The next day, I see a Feldenkrais practitioner. She gently touches my right leg at the shin and thigh, rocking it to and fro. I say, “I feel that in my pelvic floor.” A few minutes later I burst into another fit of crying. This time anger crying, super duper mad at the industry, at myself, at the pain.
“They sedated me and hoisted me up like a cow with my feet in stirrups.” I repeated this more than once. I told her I felt the doctors committed medical rape, over and over again with the probe. The violation of their trust, egging me on with hope only to hurt myself. She was touching my leg the way I am sure the IVF staff did when I was mentally asleep. My body, however, was awake and now remembering.
Later more crying at home, doing some yoga stretches, uncontrollable crying.
Then after a walk (limping)…
Physical Memory of IVF Trauma
At my next appointment, the first woman, who has been doing bodywork for 30 years, tells me that many times when you touch someone in a certain place the topics of discussion that arise are directly linked to that area of the body.
She asks me about the hormones and what happened to me and my body when I took them. “I cried all the time,” I said, “uncontrollably, for hours.”
Then the light bulb goes off in my head and hers at the same time: My pelvic region and legs have been storing all the physical memory of the trauma. Now that I am really being poked and prodded in that region of my body for the first time since IVF — the deep tissue massage hurts — memories are flowing. I mean, I haven’t cried like this since the IVF failures.
Just crying, crying, crying — nervous system freaking out crying — just like during injections. The severe pain in the middle of my right buttock is the exact same pain I had when I had to inject that horrible progesterone in sesame oil into my butt.
Paralyzing muscle pain, the muscle tensing like a stone.
Reliving Pain and Emotional Release
This body worker also gave me a lymphatic drain, where she moves the fluids in the deep tissue, looking to smooth out lumps and clumps so the fluid flows evenly. She said it was not uncommon for people to relive whatever is being cleared. One woman, she told me, had the taste of novocaine in her mouth ten years after many oral surgeries.
“I wonder how long those f—ng hormones last in the body? How did my liver process them — or not? Was I overloaded?”
So…no evidenced-based cause and effect of course, but a snapshot of my current life. Sigh.
The whole ordeal — the physical pain and now the emotional release, which I know is ultimately a good thing—is absolutely exhausting and I am wondering why now? Why after 12 years? Is it because I am now in menopause and my body is wacky with hormone imbalances?
I wonder how long those f—ng hormones last in the body? How did my liver process them — or not? Was I overloaded?
Body As Story Teller
Going back into my medical records I found that in 2004 I had laparoscopic surgery on my right ovary for an endometrial cyst. Most of my follicle retrievals, I am pretty sure, were from the right ovary. Being right-handed, I injected mostly on my right side. Then, when our son was one, my right jawbone started to deteriorate. My right middle finger is the first to form into trigger finger (inflammation of the tendon/sheath). The liver issue (right waistline) followed. Then my right kidney stone. Then….
I feel like such a mess, but I know I am clearing out cobwebs I thought I already swept away. The body, I think, is the ultimate storyteller.
If you have had health issues since IVF and would like to share your story, please contact us at info (@) reprotechtruths [dot] org.