FET Prep Week 14: Plans Changed, Flying Solo, & Confusing Med Instructions

FET Prep Week 14: Plans Changed, Flying Solo, & Confusing Med Instructions

Last week I was so happy to finalize our plans to fly to Seattle for our frozen embryo transfer. But what I didn’t think about until after everything was booked was whether Kurtis could be in the procedure room with me. I was just so excited to have the date set that I didn’t think about the possible COVID restrictions. After reviewing a letter my clinic sent out to everyone, I realized one part of the letter did in fact state that partners were not allowed in the procedure room. I verified this with my nurse as well and she said they were still following those restrictions. This week I had to make some changes to my travel plans because of that.

 

Catch-up on Previous FET Prep Posts

FET Prep Week 1: 3.5 months until FET

FET Prep Week 2: Supplements, WTF Email, & Increased AMH Level

FET Prep Week 3: You say Future Tripping, I say Future Planning

FET Prep Week 4: Bad News from SIS Test

FET Prep Week 5: Surgery, Depression & Trip to Nevada

FET Prep Week 6: Relax! You’re on Vacation.

FET Prep Week 7: Food Plan, Medical Debt,  Post-op Follow-up, & Imagining Motherhood

FET Prep Week 8: Migraines & Some Good News

FET Prep Week 9: A Tough Decision

FET Prep Week 10: Down-Regulation Started, Infertility Group, Coronavirus Concerns

FET Prep Week 11: Possible COVID-19 Travel Restrictions, Postpone Fertility Treatment?, & The Skyrocketing Cost of Leuprolide

FET Prep Week 12: Clinic Says “No FET” due to COVID-19 Pandemic, Digital Roundtable on COVID-19

FET Prep Week 13: FET Scheduled After Clinic Partially Reopened

Countdown Until FET: 39 days (as of 05-24-2020)

 

FET Prep Week 14

 

Plans Changed, Flying Solo

I don’t know how I didn’t factor in COVID restrictions into our travel plans as far as the clinic rules. I unfortunately assumed the only thing we would need to do is to wear our masks, gloves, and social distance from medical staff. But what I didn’t consider is that Kurtis might not be able to join me at all for my FET procedure because of the clinic’s COVID rules. But sure enough I double checked a letter they had sent and within the letter there it was. My nurse let me know that he wouldn’t be able to join me. I wish I would have thought of that before I booked our flight.

I found this out the day after we had to pay our taxes. No tax refund for us, just thousands of dollars we had to pay. Because of that and the fact that he isn’t allowed in the room he decided he financially cannot afford to come down with me for the procedure. It was really disappointing to say the least. I called the airline to try to get a refund on his ticket but they would not refund it. They did allow me to get a credit for future travel as long as it’s booked within one year. So I agreed to the credit, that way I at least have that option of using it if I decide to do another round of IVF in the future. 

 

IMG_20200522_133426

Taking some shots…

 

IMG_20200522_133454

…of vitamins.  🙂

 

If I had known he could not be there I would have scheduled my FET one week sooner, which was their earliest time, but I planned it around his time off. One week later isn’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, because my little embryo has been waiting almost two years to be transferred. I postponed my FET when I found out my mom had cancer so I could help her. When she recovered from her cancer I had my own cancer scare. I got pregnant naturally and it resulted in a miscarriage, which lead to complications that left me susceptible to gestational trophoblastic disease, which could lead to cancer. So my doctor told me to postpone my treatment for six months to prevent uterine cancer from developing. I needed a total of three surgeries over those six months because they were finding masses in my uterine lining and had to clear it. Thankfully they were only remaining products of conception that they had not completely cleared from my last miscarriage, and not a tumor. 

When I finally passed that six month window of “no baby making whatsoever” that my doctor prescribed, I was ready to get started on treatment again. I made all the plans then COVID changed the world and my clinic shut down temporarily. So when I say that this little embryo has been waiting a while to get transferred, it has been a long while. I am so ready to do this transfer, even if I have to do it alone. I have no choice right now other than to do it alone.

I’ve done solo travel multiple times across the world, no big deal. In fact I preferred traveling on my own sometimes. But when you pump a girl full of hormones that make her weepy and then you expect her to do one of the biggest events of her life alone with no support, it’s a recipe for even more hormonal emotions. It’s only two days that I’ll be gone. But it’s a really special and sensitive time in my life. I feel like this is the time I need the most support, but I’ve got to figure out how to emotionally handle this on my own.

I’ll get over this initial disappointment. I think the biggest thing I want to avoid is sitting in my dark hotel room staring up at the ceiling and crying by myself. Yeah that’s no fun for anyone. So I need to keep my mind occupied while I’m down there. I don’t plan on going anywhere but my clinic because I don’t want to risk exposure to COVID. I can get food delivered to my room so I don’t have to go out. Maybe I’ll work on my writing, listen to audiobooks, watch TV, or be amused by the goofy TikTok videos. I want to try to make it as stress free as possible so I can increase my odds of my embryo implanting. Now I need to keep my mind occupied until my transfer, because right now that’s all I can think about.

 

Confusing Med Instructions

When I did my egg retrieval in the past there were some confusing instructions regarding the dosage of one of my meds. I can’t recall at the moment which medicine it was at the time, but I had a moment of deja vu again, but now it is with my progesterone shots that have me really scratching my head. 

 

 

My instructions say to inject a dose of 50mg. Easy, right? Well when you look at the syringe it is in milliliters and not milligrams. Instead of relying on an internet source to help me convert, I decided to get clarification directly from my nurse. If you look at the pictures you can see how someone might get confused. She let me know I need 1cc and then later sent another message that 1cc is equal to 1ml. So in the end 50mg = 1 cc = 1ml. 

 

Mini Victories for the Week

Got a lot of cleaning done around the house earlier the other day, which helped me get off my booty and exercise more. Buring calories!

Asked my nurse some questions about my medicine that wasn’t clear with the paperwork. 

Work in Progress

Review FET part of “It Starts with the Egg” by Rebecca Fett.

Order more of my non-toxic, fertility-friendly soap, shampoo, and toothpaste. All low on them since I had to postpone my treatment.

 

FET Prep Week 13: FET Scheduled After Clinic Partially Reopened

FET Prep Week 13: FET Scheduled After Clinic Partially Reopened

I’m happy to say my clinic has reopened to patients with certain diagnoses, which includes myself. They decided to allow women over 25 years old and women with an AMH level below 1.0 to start treatment again. From what I understand this has also been the trend for other clinics across the country as well. On my Instagram I am seeing more and more posts from other people showing they are starting back up with their treatment too. How long has it been that I’ve had to postpone treatment due to my clinic being closed? It’s been 49 days. It may not seem like a long time,  but when you have no clue when your clinic will reopen those days seem like an eternity.

So what did I do during the time I was waiting to restart my treatment? I focused on trying to get healthier and lost some weight. Check out my Weight Loss Series to see my progress.

Catch-up on Previous FET Prep Posts

FET Prep Week 1: 3.5 months until FET

FET Prep Week 2: Supplements, WTF Email, & Increased AMH Level

FET Prep Week 3: You say Future Tripping, I say Future Planning

FET Prep Week 4: Bad News from SIS Test

FET Prep Week 5: Surgery, Depression & Trip to Nevada

FET Prep Week 6: Relax! You’re on Vacation.

FET Prep Week 7: Food Plan, Medical Debt,  Post-op Follow-up, & Imagining Motherhood

FET Prep Week 8: Migraines & Some Good News

FET Prep Week 9: A Tough Decision

FET Prep Week 10: Down-Regulation Started, Infertility Group, Coronavirus Concerns

FET Prep Week 11: Possible COVID-19 Travel Restrictions, Postpone Fertility Treatment?, & The Skyrocketing Cost of Leuprolide

FET Prep Week 12: Clinic Says “No FET” due to COVID-19 Pandemic, Digital Roundtable on COVID-19

Countdown Until FET: 46 days (as of 5-17-2020)

 

FET Prep (1)

 

FET Scheduled After Clinic Partially Reopened

I was so excited to read the email from my clinic that said they will allow me to start back up with treatment, due to my age and diagnosis. My diagnosis is low AMH (Anti-Müllerian hormone), which has lead to low ovarian reserve. With my particular diagnosis time is of the essence, and postponing fertility treatment could mean missing the chance of having a biological child. I’ve been told by my doctor that my ovarian reserve level is equivalent to a woman in her mid to late 40s. Basically, I cannot waste any time. So when I heard my clinic was prioritizing treatment to women with my diagnosis I thought it was a great idea and I was on board with scheduling my FET (frozen embryo transfer).

 

20200506_134612_0000

Found out on May 6th my clinic could let me schedule my FET again.

 

Naturally, I do have some concerns about flying out of state to do my FET during the COVID-19 pandemic. I plan on being extra cautious on the plane, in the hotel, the clinic, and any other place I may have to go while I’m in Seattle. I hear they are requiring everyone on airlines to wear masks, which is definitely a good thing and it makes me feel somewhat safer. 

 

But I am very concerned about the recent photos I saw in the news where upset flyers took a picture of their packed flight. Airlines were promising to block out middle seats to allow for some social distancing, but those pictures show that the airlines are not following through on what they are saying. Granted it’s not every airline doing this, but apparently it’s been more than one. I’m hoping that my airline will stick with what they are saying. I plan to wear a mask, gloves, wash my hands often, and all that good stuff. 

 

ethan-weiss-united-flight-ethan-weiss-photo

Image Credit: On Twitter @ethanweiss Photo of packed flight during COVID-19 pandemic, after airlines ensured flyers they would enforce social distancing.

 

I don’t have any sight-seeing plans while I am down there. The only place I plan to go to is my clinic, that’s it. I’ll most likely have my food delivered to the hotel while I am there. I don’t even want to go to the grocery store that is around the corner from my hotel. I’ve only been inside my grocery store one time these past two months. Luckily I’ve been able to do grocery pickup to where I don’t even need to set foot inside the store, which has been really nice. The only time I went to Costco recently was because I knew they were requiring everyone to wear masks. Had they not done that I would not have gone in.

 

My doctor has me starting the process of down-regulating with birth control pills, to prepare for my frozen embryo transfer (FET). I won’t be starting my injections until June according to the calendar my nurse created for me. The birth control pills help to time my cycle so I can start my other medicine at the right time. The main goal of all the medicine is to help thicken my uterine lining to be more receptive to the embryo I’ll be transferring. The thicker the uterine lining the more likely the embryo will implant and the more likely I will have a positive pregnancy test. I’ve heard that some women have a hard time getting their uterine lining to become thick enough and they have had to postpone their FET. I really hope that isn’t the case for me. This is my first FET so I have no idea what to expect as far as how my body will react to these meds. I’ve never heard my doctor mention anything about issues with my uterine lining in the past, so I’m crossing my fingers I won’t have any issues. 

 

The other issue that is on my mind is that I know several people who were returning to Alaska and they had their flight cancelled multiple times. Several of them said they had to wait upwards of one week before they could actually fly back home. I’m not stressing over how long it will take to get back home as much as I am getting to Seattle. The reason being that if I miss my flight I will miss my narrow window to have my FET procedure during the time that is best for my uterine lining. Essentially, my worst-case-scenario is missing my FET. But I don’t want to get there too early because 1) the hotel is expensive (yes, even during the pandemic), and 2) I am more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 in Seattle as opposed to back home (based on the number of cases).

 

FET Scheduled. Flight booked. Hotel booked. Ready to go!

 

At one point I considered driving down to Seattle but if I remember correctly I thought I heard that Canada closed its borders. Even if Canada was open, I think it would be stressful to drive that insanely long distance and make all those stops along the way for gas and food, which could expose me to COVID. Not to mention they say you need to reduce stress as much as possible before, during, and after your FET. I don’t know about you, but a 43 hour road-trip (one-way) during a pandemic while on hormone drugs sounds stress inducing to me. 

 

I have my flight and hotel booked. It’s happening! Kurtis will be able to come with me this time since he has some time off. Just as I was writing that last sentence I had an “uh-oh” moment. What if he can’t be in the procedure room with me like they normally do because of the pandemic? S*$&! Why didn’t I ask that question before I booked the flights for us? I just took a moment now to shoot off an email to my nurse, asking her if Kurtis is able to be in the room with me. I’m not sure he’ll want to go if he can’t be in the room. 

 

I just went back and reread a recent email from the clinic they sent to everyone. It says they are limiting appointments to patients only. Dang it! Why did I not remember that when I booked my flight? Well, before I go and cancel the flight I’ll see what my nurse says, and then I’ll check with Kurtis to see if he wants to come with me to Seattle anyway. If he doesn’t want to then I’ll have to see about getting a refund, which I don’t know is possible. Or maybe I could at least get a credit. I bought trip insurance, just in case my FET needed to be postponed, so I may have to use that on his ticket, we’ll see. 

 

As of a few days ago, Seattle did not have a quarantine order for travelers, so that means I do not have to hunker down for a certain length of time when I arrive there. But when I return home to Alaska I am required to self-quarantine for 14 days. This is a mandatory state requirement as well as a requirement with my job. I’ll have to plan ahead and get groceries just before I leave Alaska so I won’t have to go anywhere during my self-quarantine. I’m not sure if DoorDash delivers groceries in my city yet. I know they deliver restaurant food, but that can get spendy pretty quickly. I need to plan ahead and get the majority of my food from the grocery store before I leave for my trip. 

 

Mini Victories for the Week

Started back up with the vitamins I was on before for FET Prep.

Getting back on track with FET prep.

I’ve been doing weekly hikes on trails I’ve never been on before (social distancing of course). 

 

Work in Progress

I had cut back somewhat on exercising this past week, and I want to get back into the routine.

Find out if Kurtis can be in the room during the FET procedure.

6 Ways to Handle Mother’s Day During Infertility

6 Ways to Handle Mother’s Day During Infertility

 

For those of us experiencing infertility, pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or infant loss Mother’s Day can bring up so many emotions. Grief can come in waves, and holidays, especially Mother’s Day can be an especially difficult time. Here are six ideas that you might find helpful during Mother’s Day.

 

6 Ways to Handle Mother's Day While Experiencing Infertility

 

1) Take a Break from Social Media and TV

When you are already struggling with infertility, the last thing you need to see is how everyone you know is either pregnant or recently had a baby. It sucks, and can feel isolating. Mother’s Day can be particularly painful for mother’s who have lost a child, had a miscarriage, or have never been able to conceive.  But just remember that what you are seeing on social media may not be the true picture of what is actually going on. It’s possible the baby announcement on Mother’s Day that is making your heart hurt was after they had a long period of infertility, and they just never talked about their struggle. On the other side, maybe their happy face is concealing their absolute fear of how they are going to afford their doctors appointments during pregnancy and the high cost of birth. The “shiny happy people” of our social media accounts may be dealing with a lot more than you realize. But what we are seeing are often surface-level snapshots. It’s a normal tendency to want to compare our life to what other people post, but just know that everyone is on their own path. 

 

photo-of-woman-using-mobile-phone-3367850

Photo by mikoto.raw from Pexels

 

Taking a break from TV, or cutting back on watching TV is another way to allow space between you and the overabundance of Mother’s Day commercials. It can feel painful and like we are being excluded, especially when we feel like in our hearts we are already mothers. Just remember that these advertisements are meant to motivate people to buy their product, simple as that. Marketing to mothers by saying “you do everything for everyone, today is the day to pamper yourself with the best skin cream out there,” or to husbands, “show her she means the world to you with this beautiful necklace,” or even advertisements directed at adult children, “show Mom you really care with a gift she’ll never forget, spending time with you on her special day.” The advertisers have a target audience for Mother’s Day, and it almost always does not include women who have experienced infertility, pregnancy loss, or infant loss.

If avoiding TV is not practical for you, maybe try pressing the mute button during commercials, or change the channel during the commercial. You can even walk out of the room on the commercial if you need to. Personally, I find diaper advertisements the most painful during Mother’s Day. It’s totally normal to feel a pang of sadness or longing when these commercials come up. It’s okay and healthy to set boundaries around these sorts of things temporarily. 

 

2) Focus on self-care

There are an endless number of ways to take care of yourself. Ask yourself some of these questions to figure out what will help you take care of yourself best:

“What normally helps me feel happier when I am feeling down?”

“What can I do to take care of myself emotionally and physically?”

“How can I focus on something different if I begin to dwell too much?”

 

self-care-isn-t-selfish-signage-2821823

Photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels

 

It may feel hard to say “I can’t make it” to a Mother’s Day event with our family, but if you’ve recently had a miscarriage or lost your baby in infancy it can be too soon to attend an event like that, it can be the opposite of what you need. Feeling obligated to go, even though you know it will compound your pain, is not really good self-care. You have to really tap into how you are feeling and know when to set limits. On the flip side to that, you need to find a way to let out your emotions somehow, whether it’s on your own or with others you trust. Keeping it all inside will tear you apart over time, get it out somehow. Write it down in a journal, punch a pillow, cry if you want to cry, listen to music, talk to a friend or family member, go for a walk, create a piece of art that shows how you are feeling. Do something, don’t just sit in the pain.

 

3) Reflect on Your Strength

You are strong, and don’t ever doubt that! You may cry, get frustrated, and impatient, all of that  is totally normal. We can’t always be “happy rainbows and sunshine” about the fact that we are not where we are hoping to be in our life. But the fact that you keep putting one foot in front of the other is simply amazing. Our ability to reproduce is not a reflection of our value as a person. You have special gifts and talents only you can share with the world. 

 

beach-woman-sunrise-silhouette-40192

Photo by Jill Wellington from Pexels

 

4) Find Support

You’re reading this post, you are seeking out advice, support, connecting with other women who are just like you. You are sharing your experience, and when you do that we all grow as a community. None of us wanted to be in this “club” but when you hear other women’s stories and the strength they have, you just might realize you are strong just like them.

 

four-women-chatting-while-sitting-on-bench-1267697

Photo by ELEVATE from Pexels

 

You may have dealt with heartache after heartache with recurrent miscarriages. Or you feel deep sadness each month when you get your period when you hoped that it would finally be your month to conceive. Or you have experienced the trauma of a stillbirth or losing your baby in infancy. There is an unimaginable amount of grief and longing we all share. I believe that from pain can come tenderness. I felt like no one understood my experience with recurrent miscarriages until I started getting connected with other women just like me in different infertility groups online. It’s amazing how a simple comment or message of support can go a long way to make someone’s day. 

 

5) Speak Up

You never know who you are helping when you share your experience. Sometimes it can be hard to talk about our past. You can choose, when, where, and how to talk about your experience. Who knows, maybe if you talk about your struggles to someone on Mother’s Day, you might be helping expand their understanding. This could in turn help them to be more considerate of those experiencing infertility. You would be helping to break down the stigma of infertility. 

 

two-white-message-balloons-1111368

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

 

If you are more private and not ready to share your story, at least talk to your partner or other women online who know where you are coming from, for example. Find someone to talk to and don’t be afraid to be authentic. For a long time I held back from sharing my story, but when my friend started talking about her pregnancy losses, I felt like it helped to create space to share my story too. Feeling heard and understood on a deep level is one of the best ways to begin the healing process. 

 

6) Celebrate Mom and other Maternal Figures in Your Life

Mother’s Day is traditionally for mothers, but why not expand that out to celebrate other women who have helped you become who you are? Your grandmother, your aunt, your old school teacher. Why not tell them today that they have made a world of difference to you. You don’t have to bring life into the world to help nurture other lives. Some people may think they are not “worthy” of being celebrated if they are not a mother, but I think it’s about time we expand this out to other maternal figures. Their good deeds helped shape you for who you are, just the same way your good deeds have done this for others.

 

pink-flowers-centerpiece-1070863

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Weight Loss Series Week 6: 100-Mile Goal Met, The Dreaded Plateau, Egg Retrieval Before Frozen Embryo Transfer?, & A Turn of Events

Weight Loss Series Week 6: 100-Mile Goal Met, The Dreaded Plateau, Egg Retrieval Before Frozen Embryo Transfer?, & A Turn of Events

Last week I got a little lazy with tracking my calories and keeping up the exercising, and it showed on the scale. But for this new week, and new month, I am looking forward to getting back in the swing of things. I want to try to keep the momentum going of changing my lifestyle to become healthier. I am brainstorming some ideas to try breaking my current plateau. 

 

Disclaimer: All content and media on the Hoping For Baby website is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health advice.

 

Catch-up on Previous Weight Loss Series Posts

Weight Loss Series Week 1: Fertility Clinic Closed, Focusing on Health

Weight Loss Series Week 2: 100 Miles in April Challenge & Online Infertility Group

Weight Loss Series Week 3: The Difference & BFFs with My Treadmill

Weight Loss Series Week 4: Variety is the Spice of Life & Virtual DIY Walk of Hope

Weight Loss Series Week 5: Tough Week, NIAW, & Mini-Goal Met

Countdown Until Target Weight Date: 4 months & 25 days (as of 5-6-2020)

 

Weight Loss Series (4)

 

100-Mile Goal Met

I am happy to announce that I did it! I was able to complete the 100 Miles in April Challenge that my work participated in. I was kind of lazy in my last week compared to the other weeks, but I completed the challenge just in time! I’m looking forward to doing this 100 mile challenge again for the month of May. I think if I were to change my approach for this next month, I would try to be more consistent throughout the month instead of taking several days off from exercising and trying to make up for the lost time in long workout sessions. Other than that, I really enjoyed the challenge. It definitely got my butt off the couch more.

 

101

 

I already started my mileage for this month, Kurtis and I went for a drive out to Portage and walked the Blue Ice trail which was really nice. Near the beginning of that trail were these surreal looking trees that had moss clinging to the branches. I told him they looked like Dr. Suess trees as we stared up at them. He said it reminded him of the trees he saw in Oregon, very green like that. 

 

IMG_20200502_163632

Our recent walk on the Blue Ice trail in Portage, Alaska. It was cool to see the moss growing up the branches. See more photos of our hikes on Instagram @hopingforbabyblog

 

Further down the trail it opened up into a beautiful, scenic river. It was a wide river but was also very calm, with the sun shimmering off the water. I loved how the mountains were in the background with snow still covering the tops. This hike made for some great pictures. My goal for this summer is to get out more and discover new trails. We’ve driven past this trail before but this was the first time we actually walked it. 

 

 

The Dreaded Plateau

So this previous week I was starting to slip back into some of my old habits, and the scale was proof of this. Dang it! I wouldn’t say I was fully indulging like I used to, but I was getting a little too loosey goosey with how I was doing things. I stopped tracking my calories and I was working out less. The scale has held steady and I didn’t lose any weight recently.

I’ve told myself I’ve got to get back into the swing of things because I still have work to do on getting healthy. I started brainstorming some ideas on how to challenge myself in different ways so I don’t revert back to my old ways. Sunday I decided to do mini-fast to help me get back on track. 

Another idea I have is to challenge myself to improve my running speed. I want to improve my time for completing a 5K (or 3.1 miles). I haven’t focused on my time much before, but in general when I do alternating jogging and walking I average about 1 hour to complete 3 miles. So if I can shave that time down that would be great. My goal is to see some weekly progress with this time. Although the pandemic has shut down organized walks and running events, I’d still like to focus on this for myself. 

 

Egg Retrieval Before Frozen Embryo Transfer?

One of the big questions I’ve been thinking about lately is whether I should do an egg retrieval before my FET. Why would I do this? Well, my fertility clinic in Seattle is still closed and it’s not possible to transfer my embryo now. I found the clinic called CNY, based in New York, has been doing fertility treatments and is not shut down. I was already planning on going with CNY in a year or two (depending on if I get pregnant with my embryo from Seattle), so I am debating whether to go ahead and do the egg retrieval in New York. 

I have low ovarian reserve and a low AMH level, so time is of the essence for me. The longer I wait to do fertility treatments the less chance of having a healthy baby. I’ve heard that is precisely the reason for many clinics choosing to stay open, because they have some patients with certain diagnoses that if they do not have a baby now, they may never get that chance. If anything, I want to at least freeze my eggs. But ideally I’d like to freeze some embryos in New York, prior to transferring my Seattle embryo.

Earlier this year, I called up my Seattle clinic and asked them about the process of transferring my husband’s frozen sperm sample to CNY. They told me that I would need to become an established patient first at CNY before they could start that process. There is a fee to ship the specimen because it requires special handling in the cryopreserved container. I can’t remember the amount they quoted me to ship it but I think they said several hundred dollars, compared to all the other fertility treatments that is just a drop in the bucket.  

The idea of wasting an egg each month with my menstrual cycle does not sit well with me. Natural conception during this waiting time is not an option for me, because the likelihood of another miscarriage and risk of health issues for me would be high. I’ve had three different doctors advise me against trying on my own again. So yeah, natural conception is out the window. But maybe if I am able to “bank” some new embryos during this pandemic, I won’t feel like I’m wasting time just sitting here waiting for my Seattle clinic to open. I have a phone consultation with CNY on May 15th so maybe they will be able to schedule me for an egg retrieval before the Seattle clinic opens.  

 

A Turn of Events

I wrote everything you just read the other day, in preparation to post it on Tuesday. But there has been a recent turn of events as far as my fertility plans. I was lying in bed this morning with these thoughts weighing on me:

“How am I going to afford to go to New York right now to do an egg retrieval while my Seattle clinic is closed?” 

“Will I have to take out a personal loan to afford another cycle?”

“Will I hear back from anyone today about a second job?”

“What if the pandemic sees a second wave of cases and I need to cancel my egg retrieval in New York?”

“When will I be able to do my FET my one embryo?”

So most of those questions I didn’t have an answer for. But I thought I could at least tackle one question right away. Before I even got out of bed, I decided to call my Seattle clinic and ask them if they had any idea when they would reopen. The guy who answered said he was just with the answering service because they were all in a meeting, and that he had no idea when they would reopen. Dang, still no answer.

Today marked one month since the last time I received any update from my clinic. I decided to send out an email asking my medical team if they knew when they might reopen. I quickly got a response back form my nurse who let me know that they decided to reopen for women over 25 and for those with an AMH level below 1.0. I’m both of those! We sent a couple messages back and forth and I am all set up with starting my FET process again. 

I am over the moon excited to be starting up again. I told myself that if my Seattle clinic was not open by the time I had my phone consult with CNY, then I was going to proceed with my egg retrieval in New York. My one and only little embryo is finally going to be transferred. My nurse is creating my calendar of medications today. I already have all of my meds from before when I was originally scheduled to do my transfer on April 24th. I used none of my meds, and none of them have expired, and for those reasons I am grateful for not having lost any money on meds like other women have experienced.

My hopes are way up right now and I’m hoping that nothing will interfere with this process again. The only thing I can think of getting in the way is that my flight might be cancelled or delayed. The reason I think this is because I’ve had family and friends who’ve tried to come back home from out of state and their flights got delayed several times, and this was multiple people I’ve talked to. I think my best bet is to arrive in Seattle several days prior to my FET, just in case my flight gets cancelled or delayed. 

Since we all know fertility meds tend to bloat us because we retain a crazy amount of water, I’ve decided to pause my Weight Loss Series for now. I’m still going to be focused on getting as healthy as I can before my FET. I’ll be starting back up with my FET posts here shortly, so keep an eye out for new posts about my FET. Those posts will be a continuation of where I left off prior to the COVID clinic shut downs. In other words, I’ll be starting back up with FET Week 13.

 

 

Most recent weight loss from last week, went from 188.8 to 187.2. 1.6 lbs lost from previous week.

 

Screenshot 2020-05-06 at 4.06.45 PM

 

Mini Victories for the Week

Keeping up with my goal of trying to walk some new trails.

Made a plan for getting back on track with weight loss. 

Kept myself accountable by writing about weight loss plateau here. 

 

Work in Progress

Try to break out of the mid-180s weight range. I tend to get stuck around this weight. 

Start tracking calories again and stick to 1200 per day.

Track my initial time for my first timed 5K.

Weight Loss Series Week 5: Tough Week, NIAW, & Mini-Goal Met

Weight Loss Series Week 5: Tough Week, NIAW, & Mini-Goal Met

So for whatever reason this week proved to be more challenging than the previous four weeks. I was doing pretty well for a while but I was starting to slip up a bit these past few days. I told myself from the beginning of this weight loss series that the goal is not perfection, but to aim at meeting my goals around at least 80% of the time. Because “80% of the time” is a 100% improvement of how I was doing before all of this.

 

Disclaimer: All content and media on the Hoping For Baby website is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health advice.

 

Catch-up on Previous Weight Loss Series Posts

Weight Loss Series Week 1: Fertility Clinic Closed, Focusing on Health

Weight Loss Series Week 2: 100 Miles in April Challenge & Online Infertility Group

Weight Loss Series Week 3: The Difference & BFFs with My Treadmill

Weight Loss Series Week 4: Variety is the Spice of Life & Virtual DIY Walk of Hope

Countdown Until Target Weight Date: 5 months & 1 day (as of 4-28-2020)

 

Weight Loss Series (3)

 

Tough Week

I think part of the reason this week was a little tougher was that my body was getting exhausted from working out so much. I kind of hit a wall of exhaustion. I took a day off to recover and then another, and then a third day. It’s not the end of the world. I just need to re-evaluate how I am doing things and aim to find a good balance. I want that balance to be about reasonable expectations and consistency. 

I’m going to have this week be a “test” of working out twice in a day, as opposed to doing one long workout session like I was doing. We’ll see how it goes, maybe it will be even better than what I was doing. I was working out 1-2 hours all at once 6 days per week. But my body finally said, “Naw, I’m going to curl up on the couch and make you immoblile for a bit.” I want to listen to my body but also challenge it. I think working out twice per day might be more reasonable for me. Wish me luck!

 

NIAW

NIAW stands for National Infertility Awareness Week, and it was held April 19th through April 25th this year. I recently started becoming more active on Instagram (follow me @hopingforbabyblog) and I was blown away at how active the infertility community is during this week. There were so many posts from people of all walks of life dealing with infertility. I liked that each day of the week there was a theme. One day people were posting photos of their pets, another day was photos of those who have supported them, and Wednesday was photos of people wearing orange for NIAW. It was cool to see. I think maybe next year I will be a bit more involved with the photos. I didn’t realize until halfway through the week there was a theme for each day. I saw a few people mentioning their health changes they have made that helped them improve their fertility. 

Some women seem convinced their weight loss was the reason they were able to smile into the camera while holding their baby, and maybe that’s true. But the more I learn about infertility the more complex it seems. When I reach my weight loss goal I’m not going to have inflated expectations of being able to have a baby. It would be nice if it were that easy, but I see so many women of all shapes and sizes that struggle to have a baby. But if I can improve my odds even just a little bit of having a baby, at least I know I did everything I could. Plus I’d have the added benefit of not feeling so bloated, which is a good thing right?

 

Mini-Goal Met

Although near the end of the week I ran out of steam, I am happy to share I met my goal of 20 miles for the week. I had pledged to donate 50% of the miles I walked this week to RESOLVE’s Virtual DIY Walk of Hope to raise funds during National Infertility Awareness Week. I just got done donating tonight. Even though money is a bit tight for me at the moment, I figure this small amount is able to help out a bit with RESOLVE’s mission to provide infertility education and services to those experiencing infertility. Even if you missed out on the walk from last week you can still donate to RESOLVE.

 

 

This accomplishment has planted a seed for me and I am considering doing something similar over a longer period. I think that would help me to keep my momentum going. I’m thinking of selecting one or several infertility foundations to donate to, based on exercise and health challenges. I’m going to meditate on it and think about how I am going to execute this. Maybe I will select one foundation per quarter possibly. I’ll let you know when I decide.

 

Screenshot 2020-04-28 at 10.49.30 PM

Credit: 100 Miles Bonus Challenge. So close, almost to my 100 mile goal for April.

 

 

Darn it! Went up a bit with my weight. Oh well, there’s always next week.

 

 

Screenshot 2020-04-28 at 11.08.49 PM

 

 

Mini Victories for the Week

Walked 21.5 miles this week for the Virtual DIY Walk of Hope and donated today.

Became more active in the NIAW events on Instagram.

Applied to Fertility IQ grant and CNY grant. 

 

Work in Progress

Gained a little weight (doh!) but still motivated to keep going.

Try exercising 2x per day instead of a long session like I was doing.

Get back on track with doing 1200 calories per day (missed a few days).

Weight Loss Series Week 4: Variety is the Spice of Life & Virtual DIY Walk of Hope

Weight Loss Series Week 4: Variety is the Spice of Life & Virtual DIY Walk of Hope

This past week I’ve been trying to mix up my workout routine. I recently read that if you are doing more than one hour of exercise most days of the week, it’s good to add variety to your workout routine. It helps to work different muscles in your body which can prevent overuse injuries. I did HIIT on my treadmill, workout videos from YouTube, and went for a walk outside. The snow is melting here in Alaska and I am so happy for summer to begin. 

 

Disclaimer: All content and media on the Hoping For Baby website is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health advice.

 

Catch-up on Previous Weight Loss Series Posts

Weight Loss Series Week 1: Fertility Clinic Closed, Focusing on Health

Weight Loss Series Week 2: 100 Miles in April Challenge & Online Infertility Group

Weight Loss Series Week 3: The Difference & BFFs with My Treadmill

 

Countdown Until Target Weight Date: 5 months & 9 days (as of 4-21-2020)

 

Week 4

 

Variety is the Spice of Life

As you read in my intro, it is really important to do a variety of different exercises. I think this is especially true for anyone that is in the beginning stages of their weight loss journey and they may not have built up enough strength yet. In the past I would be super gung-ho about getting back into an exercise routine that I would sometimes get an injury from overdoing it. Whether it was shin splints, achilles tendinitis or even a sprained ankle, I was notorious for ending up hurt not too long after I started my new exercise routine. 

 

IMG_20200418_182221

On our walk Sunday afternoon. Coastal trail with city of Anchorage, Alaska in background. See more photos on our Instagram.

 

I decided that this time around I wanted to be more calculated with my exercise routine to avoid injury. Firstly, I started slow. I was sedentary for so long that I started off moving more by simply cleaning the house. It got me off my butt and moving. The following week I started walking slowly, then the next week I incorporated more of a light jog. This last week I have been doing a variety of exercises. Even my cardio routine looks different each day. I’ve been doing strength training too, several times a week. I’m trying to be very conscious of focusing on exercising different parts of my body throughout the week. For example, upper body strength training one day and lower body the next. 

 

IMG_20200418_181257

Cook Inlet during “Spring Breakup” where chunks of ice are starting to melt.  See more photos on our Instagram.

 

I can feel I’m getting stronger and stronger each day. My arms are in the beginning stages of starting to tone up and my stomach is slowly starting to get a little smaller. It’s cool to already see a few changes. I’m looking forward to seeing how many inches I’ve lost by the end of the month.

 

 

Virtual DIY Walk of Hope

I am looking forward to participating in the Virtual Walk of Hope, as part of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) through RESOLVE. If you didn’t know, NIAW is April 19th through the 25th. Although money is kind of tight for me at the moment with my reduced hours at work, I’ve decided to pledge 50 cents for every mile I walk this week.  Check out how you can participate by going to their website. My goal is to walk at least 20 miles over these next seven days. Let me know if you are also participating in the Virtual Walk of Hope and what your goals are for this walk. 

 

 

Currently in Alaska we are still allowed to walk outside during the pandemic but we must be 6 feet away from others, except for household members. Now that it’s warming up outside I’m looking forward to sharing more of my walks and hikes outside with you all. Follow me on Instagram as I get outside and walk and hike here in beautiful Alaska.

 

Screenshot 2020-04-20 at 11.00.45 AM

My progress for the 100 Miles in April challenge so far.

 

 

Last week’s weight 189.0, this weeks is 187.4 lbs. (1.6 lbs lost this week)

 

Screenshot 2020-04-20 at 11.12.50 AM

 

 

Mini Victories for the Week

Continuing with the momentum of my workout routine.

Knowing when to rest when my body is tired from exercising.

Did not go over my 1200 calories per day at all this week.

 

Work in Progress

I got outside once this week, would definitely like to do more of this.

Find a new trail to walk on this week that I haven’t been on before.

National Infertility Awareness Week 2020

National Infertility Awareness Week 2020

National Infertility Awareness Week

 

Why have a National Infertility Awareness Week?

National Infertility Awareness Week, also known as NIAW, was founded by RESOLVE, a foundation that supports those going through infertility. NIAW was created as a way to bring awareness to infertility by educating the public. The more people understand infertility and the challenges that come with it, the more likely people are willing to donate to scientific research. Infertility is complex and the reasons for being infertile vary from person to person. But recent research and new treatments have allowed people to pursue parenthood that previously would not have been able to. Some people choose not to have fertility treatments, discontinue treatments and live child-free. It’s important to have open dialogs and for people to feel supported whether someone chooses fertility treatments, adoption, fostering, or living child-free.

Infertility advocates can discuss with lawmakers topics that are important to improving the science and laws regarding fertility treatment. They can also advocate for topics relating to adoption and foster care. Writing to your congressman or becoming a RESOLVE infertility advocate are some of the ways to make a meaningful impact on the different subjects that are important to those experiencing infertility.

 

 

When is National Infertility Awareness Week for 2020?

For 2020, National Infertility Awareness Week is being held April 19th – 25th. Each year the dates are slightly different but it is normally held for one week in every April.

 

I thought October was National Infertility Awareness, what is the event in October called?

The month of October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, where people honor the babies they lost. The Wave of Light is a worldwide event on October 15th, at 7pm where each timezone lights a candle to remember their babies, creating a wave of light across the world. There are different events held during October for National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness including support groups that come together as a group to remember the babies they lost. There are also different charity walks to help raise funds for pregnancy and infant loss research. Women who have lost a child during pregnancy or in infancy can also participate in National Infertility Awareness Week.

 

What events happen during National Infertility Awareness Week?

There are many local and national events that take place during NIAW. One of the biggest fundraising events to support infertility research is the Walk for Hope. This walk can also be done virtually for 2020, which is a great way to stay safe during this pandemic while also still fundraising for NIAW. This year there is a Virtual Summit being held by Beat Infertility where different speakers will present on various topics relating to infertility. Check out some of the other events on the calendar page of infertilityawareness.org.

 

 

What are some ways I can talk about infertility?

There are so many different ways to talk about infertility. You can share your story anonymously online, talk to a trusted friend or family member, create artwork, record your story on YouTube, make a podcast, or even make a social media post. Sharing a news article about infertility is one way to begin the conversation online with friends and family. Many people find that once they talk to someone supportive, they begin to feel less alone. It can be very healing to talk about your struggles as well as what you have learned. As we learn from each other we can all build each other up. You might be surprised how many people in your life are also dealing with infertility or know someone who has experienced infertility.

 

Where can I get support?

Look into infertility support groups locally, nationally, and worldwide. There are infertility support groups that are also being done online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sarah’s Laughter is a national infertility support group and has recently did an infertility group held virtually on both a national and local level. RESOLVE is an excellent resource for both in-person support groups as well as online information that helps connect people who experience infertility.

 

Where can I learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week?

Infertilityawareness.org 

Resolve.org

modernfertility.com/blog/niaw/

verywellfamily.com/national-infertility-awareness-week-niaw-1959978

Documentary Review: “MTV True Life: I’m Desperate to Have a Baby”

Documentary Review: “MTV True Life: I’m Desperate to Have a Baby”

“MTV True Life: I’m Desperate to Have a Baby” was filmed the same year I met my husband, in 2013. I remember watching this for the first time during that year. Little did I know that I was going to experience the same infertility challenges that Jenna and Candace went through on this show. The show was my first introduction into the grueling process of IVF. So when it came time for me to start IVF, I knew how difficult the road ahead was going to be. I recently decided to track down this episode and rewatch it again so I can review it for you all. The first couple featured in this show is Jenna and Kurt, and the second couple is Candace and Chris. Their stories are emotionally raw and also inspiring. Both couples showed an immense amount of strength to persevere despite the odds. 

 

MTV True Life: I’m Desperate to Have a Baby

Season 2013 Episode 19

MTV True Life Series

Length 39 minutes

Air Date: July 28, 2013

Available on Amazon 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure here

 

Spoiler Alert! I talk about some of the outcomes of the couples from this documentary. Go watch this documentary series first on Amazon if you don’t want to read any of my spoilers beforehand.

 

 

 

Jenna and Kurt (Chicago, Illinois)

FXJTXV7GJFBLHLHRMHASU6SYUY

Credit: Chicago Tribune Kurt and Jenna with their baby.

 

They have tried everything; naturally, with ovulation kits, and fertility drugs. But after 2.5 years of trying and nothing working. Jenna learned that she had a fallopian tube issue that was most likely the problem to whey she could not conceive. After learning this, they decide with their doctor that her next best chance at having a baby was to move onto IVF treatment. By doing IVF the doctors can extract Jenna’s eggs and put it with Kurt’s sperm, completely avoiding the many issues that can arise from fallopian tube obstructions. 

During the time that Jenna was struggling to conceive she talked about how she chose to stay off of Facebook, due to knowing multiple people who were all pregnant at the same time that were posting their pregnancy updates and baby pictures. 

Jenna’s sister and several other people she knows are all pregnant at the same time. Jenna talks candidly with her mother about how she feels with each pregnancy announcement, “I get happy all the time to hear it but then at the same time, it’s like that’s how easy it was?”

I laughed out loud when Kurt provided his sample and spoke with his wife in the procedure room before her egg retrieval by saying, “Honey, I’m home! That’s one of the most awkward things I’ve done.” Kurt called it the “magic room.” I think it’s great that they are having a sense of humor about the whole process.

Jenna had 16 eggs retrieved and eight fertilized. They were deciding whether to transfer more than one embryo. Jenna asks her fertility clinic about her chances of pregnancy with implanting two embryos, “Does it go up a little bit, the chances for getting pregnant by putting two in?” and they respond, “Three to ten percent. What doubles is your risk of multiples, by a lot, by fifty.” So how did Jenna decide? She explains, “If I did one and it didn’t work, I could regret that. But if I did two and it didn’t, at least I did as much as I could.” Deciding whether to transfer more than one embryo is a very personal choice and many factors go into these decisions. It really depends on the person and also the clinic restrictions.

Jenna was struggling during the two-week wait after the transfer of her two embryos. She thought about taking the pregnancy test early. One of her embryos implanted and at five months along Jenna says, “I don’t think I’ll be totally relieved until I’m holding that baby in my arms.” She was able to give birth to a healthy baby boy.

 

Candace and Chris (Virginia Beach, Virginia)

MV5BYmU3OTJiNDMtMDg5OC00NjgzLTkyODAtZWFjNDI4NTVjNDkxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTM3MDMyMDQ@._V1_

Credit: IMDb Candace and Chris

 

Candace and Chris have a blog which I’m a huge fan of called Our Misconception. I’ve been reading that blog for a while now. When I saw that they were featured in the MTV show I had watched years ago I decided to rewatch the show. It was really cool to see their journey of the years, not only on their blog but also in this show. 

At the time of this show, Candance and Chris had five failed rounds of IVF after trying to conceive for six years. They had spent about $60,000 on all of their treatments so far. Candace had issues with her uterus which led them to seek out fertility treatment, and they decided to try IVF. Chris helps administer her shots and seems very supportive of her throughout the process. 

Candace decided to try some medication that helps suppress her immune system, so it doesn’t attack the embryo. I’ve heard this process is starting to catch on more. If I recall correctly, I’ve heard that natural killer cells have been correlated to immune responses in some women, that are believed to attack embryos that have implanted. I myself have not tried this treatment but I am interested in getting tested for this.

The medication that Candace uses to suppress her immune system is a five-hour long procedure. The scene where the nurse “blew” her vein had me literally clutching my face with both my hands and made my jaw drop. I was so freaked out for Candace after that, and then to see the blood dripping from her hand had me even more freaked out. Dang that girl is tough!

They decided to transfer two embryos. Candace decided to not wait the full two weeks and took a home pregnancy test. While they are waiting for the pregnancy test to process Chris said, “I’m terrified.” Sadly, the pregnancy test was negative. It was so heartbreaking to see the pain they were going through. After their failed transfer, they decided to start looking into adoption seriously. Their friend Korinn considered helping them by being their surrogate. If they were going to do surrogacy it would cost them around $40,000.
If you want to continue to follow Candace and Chris’ story go to ourmisconception.com to read their blog.

 

Featured Image Credit: https://www.ourmisconception.com/candace-and-chris-true-life-update-show/

 

Weight Loss Series Week 1: Fertility Clinic Closed, Focusing on Health

Weight Loss Series Week 1: Fertility Clinic Closed, Focusing on Health

Have your fertility treatments been cancelled due to COVID-19? The uncertainty of infertility treatments is hard enough, and now we face the uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation. Now is the time to focus on what matters most, our health. I recently read that having a higher BMI can increase your risk for having complications from COVID-19. Not too long ago I also read that a higher BMI reduces fertility treatment success. I feel like now, more than ever, I need to get my ass in gear and make some major health changes to lower my high BMI. Due to my fertility treatment cancelling my FET procedure, I am shifting my focus from my FET Prep Series to instead my Weight Loss Series. The weight loss series will be individualized to my own experience, and you are welcome to follow along. 

 

Disclaimer: All content and media on the Hoping For Baby website is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health advice.

 

Countdown Until Target Weight Date: 6 months & 1 day (as of 3-31-2020)

 

Weight Loss Series

 

Let me be real with you, I did not feel fully prepared for my FET (originally scheduled April 24th, now cancelled) as much as I wanted to be. My weight has been an issue off and on over the years. My last round of IVF left me feeling extra bloated and I struggled to lose the weight from the hormones I was on. My weight crept up with each infertility treatment, each miscarriage, each surgery, and was compounded even more so with the depression I was experiencing. I kept thinking that my body would somehow magically bounce back to my pre-infertility treatment weight, but it never did. 

 

I can’t blame it all on my infertility treatments though, but I can definitely blame my habits. In order to deal with the stress of everything going on, I became more relaxed with how I was eating. “Fast food today isn’t that big a deal” I would tell myself. Instead of cooking at home I was starting to replace more meals with eating takeout often. Unhealthy food and being a couch potato is a surefire way to pack on the pounds. 

 

But with COVID-19 I had no choice but to make more meals at home. I started eating more veggies and fruits and making healthy dinners. I’m still working, but it’s significantly less hours now. So with my extra time I decided this first week I wanted to really focus on cleaning the house and being active that way. I accomplished quite a bit of reorganizing and cleaning. My measurement of a successful active day was whether I broke a sweat cleaning for at least an hour. As I was cleaning I was either listening to upbeat music, a podcast, or an audio book. Once I get into it, the cleaning process was actually pretty therapeutic for me.

 

On March 21st, 2020 I weighed myself, the scale flashed 200.6 pounds. It’s not the heaviest I’ve ever been, but it’s damn near it. At my heaviest I was 220 pounds years ago. But I’m facing the facts now, and I’m realizing my situation is serious. I have high blood pressure and I’m pre-diabetic, both of which are reversible. It seemed like it was just a few months ago I was only 180 pounds. 

 

 

My starting weight of 200.6 (March 21st) to today 195.2 (March 31st).

 

My last miscarriage was September 2019, which required me to have a total of three surgeries due to complications from the first surgery. My depression increased with each surgery. I had zero control over the situation, there was simply nothing I could do other than follow doctors orders. I had to continuously postpone my FET plans with each surgery. Now with COVID-19 it has been postponed again. 

 

But instead of sinking into a deeper depression and gaining more and more weight I decided enough was enough. Sometimes I tell myself, “I’m going to do the opposite of what I feel like doing today.” Instead of spending an entire day escaping by binge watching Netflix like I wanted to do, I focused on cleaning the house instead. With the consistent daily movement I started to feel better. I didn’t feel quite ready at the time to hop on the treadmill again, and I wanted to ease into exercising by cleaning the house first. I’m feeling much better this week physically and emotionally, and I feel like I am ready to start actively exercising again. 

 

I’m hoping to lose about 50 pounds over six months, give or take. So by October 1st I’d like to have shaved off quite a bit of weight. Even if I don’t reach my exact goal I think any amount of weight loss is better than the weight-gain trajectory I was on. I have no idea how long the COVID-19 fertility clinic closures will last, so I might as well focus my energy into becoming healthier. 

 

Have you decided to focus on improving your health while you are waiting for your fertility clinic to reopen? If so, I’d love to hear the steps you are taking to take care of yourself. Whether you are focusing on your physical health or mental health (or both) please comment below. 

 

Mini Victories for the Week

Cleaned the house daily.

Lost 5.4 pounds already!

 

Work in Progress

Work out on the treadmill this upcoming week. 

Focus on 1200 calorie/day.

Start with 5 minutes of meditation daily.

 

ticker week 1

Follow my Weight Loss Series on

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

FET Prep Week 12: Clinic Says “No FET” due to COVID-19 Pandemic, Digital Roundtable on COVID-19

FET Prep Week 12: Clinic Says “No FET” due to COVID-19 Pandemic, Digital Roundtable on COVID-19

On March 17th, ASRM gave directions to U.S. fertility clinics advising them to stop all fertility treatments due to COVID-19. The following day on March 18th, I received an email from my clinic that told all patients the clinic would suspend services for an undetermined length of time. Although I was initially disappointed to hear this, I learned soon after how necessary it was. 

 

Catch-up on Previous FET Prep Posts

FET Prep Week 1: 3.5 months until FET

FET Prep Week 2: Supplements, WTF Email, & Increased AMH Level

FET Prep Week 3: You say Future Tripping, I say Future Planning

FET Prep Week 4: Bad News from SIS Test

FET Prep Week 5: Surgery, Depression & Trip to Nevada

FET Prep Week 6: Relax! You’re on Vacation. 

FET Prep Week 7: Food Plan, Medical Debt,  Post-op Follow-up, & Imagining Motherhood

FET Prep Week 8: Migraines & Some Good News

FET Prep Week 9: A Tough Decision

FET Prep Week 10: Down-Regulation Started, Infertility Group, Coronavirus Concerns

FET Prep Week 11: Possible COVID-19 Travel Restrictions, Postpone Fertility Treatment?, & The Skyrocketing Cost of Leuprolide

Countdown Until FET: ? days (Waiting for clinic to reopen after COVID-19 closure)

This will be my last weekly FET PREP post until my clinic approves me to continue with treatment. I will pick up where I left off with my FET PREP posts once my treatment resumes. I’ll be posting on other topics in the mean time.

 

Clinic Says “No FET” due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Here’s a quick breakdown of how quickly my plans had changed due to COVID-19:

March 10 – Started BCP to down-regulate for scheduled FET.

March 17- ASRM advised clinics to suspend all fertility treatments.

March 18- I received a message from my clinic notifying me of ASRM recommendations, FET cancelled.

March 19- Medications I had ordered previously for FET arrived at my home.

March 24- First day of FET medication would have been this day, had it not been cancelled.

April 24- Original date of FET, now cancelled due to COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

Honestly the week leading up to the message from my clinic on March 18th was the most agonizing for me. I was stuck in limbo, not knowing whether to fly to my Seattle clinic. If I did fly I would risk getting COVID-19, which is running rampant down there right now. If I chose to postpone my treatment it would push out the timeline for any future egg retrievals even further, and when you have a low AMH level like I do it can cause you to feel like you may miss your chance at being a mother altogether. I went back and forth thinking at times, “I should go now before it gets worse” and also “Seattle has some of the highest numbers of COVID-19, why would you go now?” If I did decide to start injecting myself with the medication, book my flight, and make all the final plans to go, it was possible that President Trump would suspend all domestic travel. He had mentioned on the news several times he was considering it.

Thankfully the decision was taken out of my hands, the ASRM decided to recommend no one do fertility treatments right now. Oddly enough I was relieved and grateful to hear that news. The timing of everything worked out fairly well for me, because I wasn’t in the middle of my cycle. I had only started my BCP and that was it. As it turns out my medicine had just arrived in the mail the day after my clinic suspended all treatments. On the bright side, my medicine has a long shelf-life and should be perfectly fine to use within about a year or so. I was able to avoid being pregnant during one of the worst pandemics of our lifetime, and that would not have been possible if not for the science of reproductive technology, where my little embryo waits safely in it’s cryopreserved state.

Now that the April FET procedure is off the table, there now comes the question of “When will I be able to do my FET?” As of today, no one knows the answer to when women can resume their infertility treatments. It may be a matter of weeks or months before we will be able to continue. But this is a minor inconvenience compared to the fact that so many people are suffering and dying from COVID-19. My heart goes out to all of those affected by the virus and to all of their families.

 

Digital Roundtable on COVID-19

I recently participated in the “COVID-19 Digital Roundtable Presented by Modern Fertility & Alma” on March 20th. Dr. Jane van Dis (OB-GYN) and Dr. Lucy Hutner (Reproductive Psychiatrist) gave an update on the COVID-19 situation as it relates to family planning including Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART). They answered questions live via Zoom video conferencing. They talked about the emotional impact of having to cancel fertility treatments, especially with regard to how some women feel their “time is running out” due to their diagnosis. 

This was my first time using Zoom so I thought it was pretty cool to try something new. It was a good experience. I had some questions written down ahead of time. Many of the other questions that were asked were also on my mind, so I felt a lot of my questions were answered. The one question I asked them was:

“I was taking a prenatal vitamin as well as other vitamins for my upcoming FET. Should I continue to take all of my vitamins as originally planned? Or should I drop down to only taking a prenatal vitamin until my fertility clinic reopens?”

They answered my question saying that it would be fine to continue taking my vitamins. I suppose my concern is there might be a long stretch of time to where I would need to pay extra amounts of money for vitamins. But on the flip side of concerns about cost is the fact that my body will have more time to prepare and absorb the vitamins needed for my future FET. 

Main takeaways from the Digital Roundtable:

For pregnant women, doctor’s office visits will become more limited and shift towards telehealth during this pandemic.

Postponing pregnancy is probably recommended during this time, but it is ultimately up to the individual.

Pregnant women have a more suppressed immune system, leaving them susceptible to having complications if they were to contract COVID-19.

Consider that SARS and MERS are similar to COVID-19, and SARS and MERS showed an increased risk  of miscarriage rates. There is currently not enough information on COVID-19 relating to increased miscarriage risk.

Now is the time to reach out to friends and family that can support you (using social distancing of course).

Avoid watching the news too much, because it can be overwhelming.

Dr. Lucy Hutner suggested having a “highly flexible mindset” relating to family planning timeframes.

 

Although I had no control over my clinic closing, after listing to the digital roundtable discussion I feel like it was explained in such a way that it made more sense as to WHY the clinics stopped services. They clearly explained the reasoning behind ASRM’s explanation to close fertility clinics. I highly recommend you listen to the discussion, because it might provide you with some clarity on some of the common questions many of us are asking right now. 

 

To my readers who were about to start their treatment and now it has been delayed due to COVID-19:

I understand your frustration, I felt the same way. You will save yourself so much pain if you accept the circumstances as they are. Just know that this is only temporary. It could be just a matter of weeks before we may be able to resume treatment, we just don’t know. It could also be months. But instead of wasting this time dwelling on the situation, I hope you will find peace in other ways. Here are some healthy coping skills you can do right now; clean your house, get outside (allowing for 6 feet for social distancing), take your dog for a walk, listen to happy music, watch some comedies, take a hot bath, and catch up on sleep. Do whatever you normally do to take care of yourself. We are all in this together.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure here

Want to find out how fertile you are?

The Modern Fertility test is an affordable test that shows your hormone levels and gives you an overall picture of where you stand with your fertility. I recommend taking this test at least every 9-12 months to keep track of your hormone levels. What hormones will be tested? Depending on the type of birth control you are on they can test up to eight different hormone levels which may include:

AMH (Anti-mullerian hormone)

FSH (Follicle stimulating hormone)

E2 (Estradiol)

LH (Luteinizing hormone)

TSH (Thyroid stimulating hormone)

FT4 (Free thyroxine)

PRL (Prolactin)

T (Testosterone)

Order your test today.

Modern Fertility Test – Women’s Health Hormone Test You Can Take at Home – Not Available NY, NJ, RI

%d bloggers like this: