Quick Update: We just received the good news from our suppression check that my cyst has finally reduced in size, and I am good to go for IVF! Our IVF cycle was delayed by 2 weeks due to that issue but it has now been resolved. That recent experience inspired me to write this article today.
I am an advocate for not only prayer (happy thoughts, good vibes, or what have you) but also a huge advocate for taking action. This action can include advocating for ourselves at appointments, deciding when to do a certain treatment, or defending our stance to other people about how your treatment plan is your personal choice. But what if your treatment plan is constantly changing because your body is not doing what you thought it should be?
You may have never seen a positive on a pregnancy test before. Or a positive pregnancy test may fill you with dread because all the other positive pregnancy tests you’ve had ended in miscarriage. Or you may have a child already but are experiencing Secondary Infertility and the dream of more children seems to be getting harder and harder to achieve. No matter what your fertility situation is, one of the most important factors for success is the ability to adapt to changing situations.
Wouldn’t you like to be able to bounce back from setbacks more quickly? Although the odds seem insurmountable, there is almost always still hope for each of us. Being able to adapt to the constantly changing treatment plan can help to reduce the negative emotions that can drag you down.
3 Practical Tips for Adapting to Changing Fertility Plans
Get More Flexibility at Work
The more flexible your job situation the better, especially if your treatment is as aggressive as IVF. I had no idea how many appointments were actually involved. In my case I am in the doctor’s office at least once a week, then it will be daily the week of IVF. If your appointments begin to conflict with your work schedule, try talking to your supervisor about the options you have. You can still advocate for yourself while keeping your medical issue private. You could say, “I need to go to more appointments for a medical issue and I was wondering if option A, B, C, or D are available to me, or if you had any suggestions on how we can work this out?”
- Try to schedule appointments during your lunch hour.
- Save up leave time for appointments, medical issues or personal time off.
- Change the time or day you work to a more flexible schedule if possible.
- Consider looking for a different job if your current job cannot accommodate your appointments. Ask yourself what’s more important, starting a family or keeping a job that restricts your family planning? Trust me there are more flexible jobs out there.
2) Make a Back-up Treatment Plan
Try not to ruminate on all the what-if scenarios that could happen. One funny example I have of this is I was certain I had a balanced translocation when I really didn’t. My surgeon had mentioned that sometimes people have deletions or a balanced translocation with their DNA they pass on to their embryos, which could lead to a miscarriage. I heard this right before the weekend and I was also waiting to hear back from my geneticist. So what did I do?
I spent practically the entire weekend researching about balanced translocation. I watched so many videos, and did so much reading, I tried to decipher scholarly articles riddled with medical jargon. I fell down the research rabbit hole in an epic way. But that following Monday I heard back from my geneticist and she said I didn’t even have a balanced translocation. The time I wasted researching was unreal. Hey, maybe now I can also write a scholarly article on the subject and make use of all this information packed into my brain. The moral of the story is to focus on your current treatment plan but ask your doctor what the next immediate step would be if your current plan does not work. This helps you to not get too far ahead of yourself like I did with the above story.
- Write down your current treatment plan including your diagnosis, medication, actions your doctor is taking, and actions you need to take.
- Research your current treatment step to gain more knowledge.
- Ask your doctor what Plan B is if your Plan A does not work after the expected amount of time.
- Consider a second opinion if you feel you are not getting adequate treatment.
3) Consider Adjusting your Vacation Plans
There have been several vacations we were hoping to enjoy but could not do for one reason or another due to our treatment plan. For me it’s a no brainer, starting a family is my highest priority. My vacation can wait a year or two, not a big deal. It’s good to be hopeful and plan around the possibility of getting pregnant. Please also remember to look up on the CDC website if Zika has been found in the area you want to travel to. I chose to postpone our natural conception several months because we visited an area with Zika. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Follow your doctor’s orders.
- Double check for Zika locations before traveling and follow your doctor’s advice about postponing conception.
- Calculate if you’ll have enough savings for both treatment and a vacation.
- Consider a “staycation” or doing something closer to home instead of longer distance travel to save money.
- Think about whether you can physically go on vacation, given your diagnosis and treatment plan. Do you have a medical issue not related to fertility that could become aggravated by traveling, which in turn could postpone your fertility plans?
Commit yourself to finding solutions as opposed to dwelling on the problem. These are just a handful of practical ways to adapt to changing fertility plans. What would you recommend to others who are struggling to adapt? Please comment below. I’d love to hear back from you. As always, thank you for reading.
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