Nichola Flood from Loughlinstown in Dublin went through several failed IVF attempts and struggled with her weight, yet she tried to stay on course and focus on the positive. Now, happily married to husband John, she had virtually given up on starting a family but kept pushing forward.
“I took everything for granted. I thought I was going to have babies when I wanted to have them and as many as I wanted, that I was in control of my body,” Nichola told RSVP Live. However, after unsuccesfully trying to get pregnant for two years, Nichola and John sought a doctor’s advice.
“The doctors couldn’t find anything to explain why we weren’t falling pregnant but told me that because of my age I should have a chat with IVF consultants,” she said. “It just didn’t sit right with me - I thought I could do it naturally. We went [to the IVF clinic] and again were told it was an age thing.
Nichola was put on medication after beginning her first IVF session, which her body responded negatively to. She noticed that her metabolism and energy levels dropped, and she became depressed after working so hard to lose weight and stay fit. “The depression came with the weight gain and the two unsuccessful IVF sessions we had as well,” she said.
"Each time we look at her we think of her as our little angel that was sent to us" says Dublin mum Nichola Flood https://t.co/1pgLp6gZiM— RSVP Magazine (@RSVPMagazine) May 2, 2019
Nichola and John began to retreat from family and friends as they grappled with their failed attempts at IVF. She was then diagnosed with an underactive thyroid and put on medication. By then, she was 56 pounds heavier. She decided to enlist the help of a kinesiologist, homeopathist and reflexologist and change her diet.
“I went back to the doctors a few weeks later and thought everything was going to be perfect - I found out my thyroid was even more underactive. They told me they needed to up my drugs to a higher dose,” she said. “I remember going to my mother in law’s after and she and my husband could see how down I was. They said to me ‘would you not just take the tablets and get back to the Nichola we know?’”
Ever the optimist, Nichola told her family to give her a couple of weeks since she believed she could overcome her obstacles. After doing some research, she found a nutritional coach and began to learn how to eat properly. She started eating five times a day every three hours and her energy rebounded.
Though it was hard, she lost 14 pounds in the first four months. She then joined a gym, got a personal trainer, and regained her energy, confidence and motivation. Within a year and a half, she had lost the excess weight. In 2015, after turning 40, Nichola and John decided to give IVF another chance.
“We went back into the clinic and were told they were going to use a natural cycle now with no drugs - this was music to my ears,” she said. “They said 'we need to wait on your next period [to start].'”
That Father’s Day, Nichola felt unwell so she decided to take a pregnancy test. It was her first ever positive pregnancy test. Nine months later, Nichola and John welcomed their daughter Hannah. “It was like a dream and each time we look at her we think of her as our little angel that was sent to us,” she said.
Nichola now works as a nutritional coach and uses her story to inspire others and help them lead healthier and happier lives. She has also published a book, Body Beautiful, in which she shares recipes and tips to help those struggling to lose weight and remain positive.