Undergoing Fertility treatment in an age of COVID.

 

Recently a friend of mine shared the good news of her pregnancy. I was so excited for the family as this will be her second child. The first being almost 9 years old.

She’s a medical doctor, pregnant from IVF, a key worker and dealing with the all of that in COVID era is just daunting.

So earlier on during the second wave which hit the UK  at the beginning of the year, the family decided to minimise their interaction with the outside world. One of the things they did was not to send their daughter into school as part of the key workers program. My friend, reduced and limited her interaction with patients, by working 2 days a week. Happy to say the pregnancy has progressed on and she’s doing just fine.

How do you navigate through your treatment during this covid era? It is bad enough prior to covid, now patients have so many other precautions to take, from wearing a mask, social distancing to limit or eliminate completely interaction with those outside your house hold.

There is so much uncertain which comes with any IVF pregnancy any way. One of which is the constant fear that something might go wrong. I have been there and that right until I had my baby in my hands, I lived with the fear that something may still go wrong.

I think the fear was born from years of disappointment and the previously failed pregnancy or miscarriages or other delays an IVF couple may have suffered.

Now add a pandemic to the mix and you have an additional foe to contend with.

So here are some suggestions to take if you are undergoing fertility treatment are pregnant from treatment or are hoping to start treatment soon.

  1. Be cautious at all times. Like my friend, limit your interactions to if, necessary those within your household or within your bubble.
  2. Limit your bubble to a few immediate families, like parents  or a brother or sister. The reason being that they too might have a bubble and you don’t want to form a bubble with anyone whom you cannot trust.
  3. Work from home if your job allows it. If not, discuss alternative working patterns with your employer. You can possibly start later or earlier when the office is not at full capacity. If you company can, they should be able to make your place of work covid safe. So a discussion with your employer is vital at the onset.
  4. If you have to go out, social distancing is a must. Maintain 3 to 6 feet from anyone not from the same household. I have often called on my friend and stood 7 feet from her, sometimes we have had to hold a conversation with raised voices.
  5. Always wear a mask, find out the best mast avaliabile and make sure you always have one handy. I keep packets of mask in every handbag.
  6. Frequently disinfect whatever surface you work on.
  7. Regularly wash your hand and use a sanitizer after touching any food product or if you have been in a public place.
  8. Abstain from touching your face, it is an impossible feat I know, but being mindful of the dangers the virus presents, should spur you to act accordingly.
  9. Limit out doors adventures if you can help it. Only go out if it is absolutely necessary and your partner is unavailable to help, for instance choose the quietest time of the day for your walks or park visits, your commute to walk or the shops.
  10. And finally have your groceries delivered, this will save you time and give you peace of mind.

This is not ideal I know, but it will be worth it in the end when you hold your beautiful baby in your arms.

I wish you every success as you embark on this exciting new phase of your life.

Your partner in hope.

D’ebi

Relevant/related post

How to Cope With the Stress of Infertility

Strategies to cope while in lockdown

Treatment and COVID-19

 

Fertility Journey: Part 2

In our second series of fertility journey today we look at Medical Procedures:

Surgical procedures

This will be necessary ifyour fallopian tubes have become blocked or scarred, you may need surgery to repair them.

Surgery can be used to break up the scar tissue in your fallopian tubes, making it easier for eggs to pass through them.

The success of surgery will depend on the extent of the damage to your fallopian tubes.

Endometriosis is when parts of the womb lining start growing outside the womb.

Laparoscopic surgery is often used to treat endometriosis by destroying or removing fluid-filled sacs called cysts.

It may also be used to remove submucosal fibroids, which are small growths in the womb.

If you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a minor surgical procedure called laparoscopic ovarian drilling can be used if ovulation medicine has not worked.

This involves using either heat or a laser to destroy part of the ovary.

Correcting an epididymal blockage and surgery to retrieve sperm:Causes of Infertility In Men

The epididymis is a coil-like structure in the testicles that helps store and transport sperm.

Sometimes the epididymis becomes blocked, preventing sperm from being ejaculated normally. If this is causing infertility, surgery can be used to correct the blockage.

Surgical extraction of sperm may be an option if you:

have an obstruction that prevents the release of sperm,

were born without the tube that drains the sperm from the testicle (vas deferens):

have had a vasectomy or a failed vasectomy reversal,

Both operations take a few hours and are done under local anaesthetic as outpatient procedures.

You’ll be advised on the same day about the quality of the tissue or sperm collected.

Any sperm will be frozen and placed in storage for use at a later stage.

Disclaimer. This author is not a medical practitioner, the article has been written with the help of reference materials taken from NHS England. Please consult your Medical practitioner for further advice if you suspect you may be affected by the topic discussed here.

Yours In Hope

Debi

Fertility Journey

Do you know what you are getting into I asked? “No, came the reply”, I don’t and I don’t care.

The only thing I care about is that a baby comes out at the end of it all. This was the conversation I had with a colleague a few weeks ago.

2 months into her treatment, she was exhausted, miserable and, an emotional wreck. She was broken in more ways than she ever thought possible.

She has had 3 failed cycle and became pregnant on the 4 try.

Little did she she know what she was getting into. If only someone had told me, she recalled months after giving birth:

So, how can you prepare for Treatment? How do you ensure that you are some how ready and have some insight into what you are about to embark on.

First you need to understand the stages of fertility treatments and what is involved.

According to the NHS websites there are 3 types of fertility treatments. 

Today’s post will focus on Medicines. 

  1. medicines
  2. surgical procedures
  3. assisted conception – including intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF)

Medicines

Common fertility medicines include:

clomifene – This is a drug given to stimulate ovulation. It encourages the monthly release of an egg (ovulation) in women who do not ovulate regularly or cannot ovulate at all. 

tamoxifen: This is an alternative to clomiphene that is also an ovulation stimulating drug offered to those with ovulation problems. 

metformin – is particularly beneficial for women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Other ovarian stimulating drugs are 

gonadotrophins – can help stimulate ovulation in women, and may also improve fertility in men

gonadotrophin-releasing hormone and dopamine agonists – other types of medicine prescribed to encourage ovulation in women

These drugs are prescribed if your doctor thinks you need them.

Some of these medicines may cause side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, headaches and hot flushes.

So it is important to speak to your doctor for more information about the possible side effects of specific medicines.

Watch out for next post where we continue on Surgical procedures

Your partner in Hope

D’Ebi

Sources

stages of treatment @nhs.uk

related post

IVF PROCESS: Step by Step

Add ins to fertility treatment

IVF:Stages to egg implantation


How to Cope With the Stress of Infertility

How to cope with the stress of infertility

One of the worse things a couple can learn is that they are unable to have children. This very discovery can either make or break a relationship.

Having spoken with so many couples about their experiences I have discovered that everyone is affected in a different way, but one common factor is stress.

This post brings you ways of coping with the stress brought on by infertility.

The feeling of helplessness and hopelessness is real to the infertile couple, this feeling if left unchecked can wreak more havoc.

The commonest forms of stress are depression, feelings of anxiety, and mental health problems.

Here are 5 ways you can adopt to deal with stress

1. Identify your feelings: Sometimes it is very difficult to know which feelings you are exhibiting so it is important to identify your feelings. It might hep to Talk to a professional to help you get in touch with your feelings. Identifying how you feel is the first step in dealing with other emotions like anger, guilt, fear, jealousy and shame.

2. Seek Help for your situations : there are a lot of resources on fertility options. (see sources below) rather than waste precious energy on negative emotions, busy yourself by seeking help. Find out all you need to know about your issues. Your doctor should be your first point of call as they will kick start the treatment process.

3. Consider the options available to you. Your research should include cost, the type of treatment available IVF, IUI, Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, other alternatives such as adoption, fostering, surrogacy should be considered also. Advancement in medicine has made possible the impossible.

4. Have a support net work. It is much easier to cope with a stressful situation by talking to someone than by coping alone. Your support net work can be a close friend, who will not be judgemental or a family member like a mum or sister. It can consist of a group or an individual. Be sure they they are people you can count on to be discreet and to always be supportive. There are lots of support groups on social media You can join but only share if you comfortable doing so.

5. Take on a hobby: Find something to do to take your mind off the situation. It can be a passion you had packed away, hiking, fund raising for a good cause, cooking or writing poetry etc. The very act of being engaged in something rewarding frees your mind from the stress of infertility.

Finally always look on the bright side. No matter how worse or bad a situation feels believe it can get better.

So I encourage you to hope for the best.

Believe the best

and expect the best to happen.

Your Partner in Hope

D’Ebi

Read More »

Good News of Great Joy

And the angel said to them, do not be afraid for I bring you good news of great joy. Luke 2:10

Expecting something and receiving it does not diminish the we joy we get from the gift.

My kids always write their Christmas list. they pretty much know what gifts they will receive on Christmas day. Receiving it doesn’t stop them from being excited.

I also know what I will receive and I am always excited to unwrap the paper and see my chosen gift.

The angels announced the gift that will bring us good news of great joy.

The promised Advent. saviour brought great Joy. His arrival did not diminish the joy felt when the angel saw him.

This is a sign that whatever promises we are expecting, and holding on to, it will be one that will bring great joy.

Though the wait may seem long as the years roll on, hold on to his promises for when it comes, it will be one of great joy.

The length of the wait will not diminish the joy that comes with the promise.

Just hold on, look with expectations to the promise that is coming which will bring great joy.

Your Partner in Hope.

D’Ebi

Related post

Advent: Day 7, His perfect plan.

Our Hope This Easter

Christmas promise

Advent: Day 7, His perfect plan.

Continuing on in the season of advent 

Joseph  thought he’d lost control of the situation 

When the young girl he was to be wedded found out she was pregnant.  

Her parents felt she had brought shame on them.

Both families I imagine, felt they had lost control of the situation. 

Their well laid plans appear to be in shambles. 

Like most parents, I imagined they questioned why.

“Why does he have to choose us”?, 

“How can we be so sure she’s carrying the messiah? 

“Who will believe she had a visit from the angel”?

Infertility, miscarriage, endometriosis, blocked tubes has scattered your best laid plans and presented you with an an uncertain future. 

Your diagnosis isn’t very good, although you continue to hold on. And it seems, the longer the wait the weaker your faith. you become unsure sure how much longer you can hold on.

Mary and Joseph didn’t know what was happening but chose to trust God’s plans.  His plans have a way of unfolding and working out for our good.

Maybe not exactly the way we expected, but in the end for our good. 

God could have waited for Mary and Joseph to be married before coming via a legitimate route. giving legitimacy to Christ’s birth, but he chose another way. 

It turns out His way was better than their plans. His plans unfolded right before their eyes and in the end was better than.

Your path towards parenting will unfold at the right time. Right now it seems like it may not happen, as you are faced with one setback after another. Continue to hope in God, this hope is not a wish but a certainty in the fulfilling of your heart’s desire.

This Christmas look to Jesus to find enduring hope and lasting peace.

Commit your worries and fears to hIm, your doubts cannot stop His plans from coming to pass. Nothing will.

He will bring His joy right into your situation and rest your heart while you wait. 

Your partner in Hope

D’Ebi

Wishes vs Hope:

Joy After 𝗣𝗮𝗶𝗻

Advent.

Every year we enter this season but do you know what advent means?

During advent,  we reflect on the events leading up to the birth of Jesus. 

2020 is a year like no other, we all were affected by the pandemic in  different ways.

For those in waiting advent is the perfect time to reflect on all our needs, hopes and desires. 

More than wishing to be with families and friends we long for the fulfillment of our dream to hold our precious child: 

As we enter into a season of advent ponder on this verse in Isaiah 9:1.

If your heart is heavy think on these Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress.

Do you feel like you are walking in the dark with no light in sight?

be encouraged for “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light”;

Do you feel like there is no reason to be joyful? 

rejoice because He the Lord have enlarged the nation and increased their joy”;

So on this advent, flip on the switch of hope and hold onto the promise that the  messiah’s birth brings. His birth. advent reminds of of the hope his birth brings, His promises are sure, you can hold on to them. 

Your Partner in Hope 

Joy After 𝗣𝗮𝗶𝗻

Related post.

https://faithfulwait.com/2017/12/01/the-christmas-promised/

https://faithfulwait.com/2020/05/31/we-are-faced-with-one-of-the-worse-pandemic-in-modern-time-with-this-comes-the-uncertainty-faced-by-millions-of-couples-waiting-for-their-own-families-the-resilience-of-humans-to-cope-and-weather-t/

Tips on Staying Healthy.

It is no secret that the first lockdown came as a surprised. With no warning at all, countries around the world closed none essential businesses.

With most countries in Europe going into a second lockdown last week, we find ourselves in isolation one more time.

If you are alone and TTC, now is the perfect time to ramp up your fitness level. Winter months makes it harder to execise, but don’t pull back now. 

This post examines how to maintain our bodies and mind by staying fit during this second lockdown.

Particularly for women trying to conceive maintaining a healthy immune system can play a major role in boosting our chances of being pregnant. 

Here are a few suggested ways to staying healthy.

  1. Have a nutritious diet. The saying you are what you eat holds true. Having a diet rich in fiber, fruits and vegetables will ensure that your body is provided with vital nutrients it needs to fight, not only the winter blues but viruses. having a mediterranean style diet of low carbs and sugar, packed with leafy vegetables and oil has been proven to enhance infertility. These food types are packed with vitamins which are essential for fetal health.
  2. Regular exercise: exercise is just as important as it produces the feel good hormones, combined with a healthy diet, you can maintain a normal BMI. The NHS sees a BMI of 20-30 as a healthy normal body weight.
  3. Healthy mental well being: Execise produces the feel good hormones, endorphins. This improves our mental health greatly and releases us from the stress brought on by TTC. It is important to not over do it, If you are new to execise simple walking, Biking, swimming for half an hour a day is a good place to start. As you build up your fitness level you can then increase the intensity. The NHS recommends 150 moderate execise a week.
  4. Up your vitamins intake. Most adults who regularly consume a healthy meal will have sufficient vitamins levels. However vitamins D has been linked to a healthy immunity and 10 mins daily sun exposure is enough of our daily dose. However in colder months when we are less likely to be exposed to sunlight, it is recommended to take a Vitamin D supplement along with folic acid.
  5. Drop any bad habits like smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. Several research studies have shown that these habits reduce one’s chances of falling pregnant.
  6. Reduce your stress levels: TTC is extremely stressful, but we have to constantly try to identify external stress triggers and reduce them. Take time daily to refocus by meditating. This frees your mind and calms you from within enhancing your mental health. Practice mindfulness, it is beneficial to maintaining a calm atmosphere around you.
  7. Positive Affirmation; This is another way of boosting your mental well being. positively proclaim good things about your self and body. Speak what you want to see, it can be a word. Hold on to it. Being positive about your situation, boosts your energy levels. It has been said that positive affirmation moves your body in the direction of your mind.
  8. finally, eat, pray and hope.

Your Partner in Hooe

D’Ebi

Read More »

The 2 weeks wait

Those who got pregnant naturally may not have heard of the two weeks wait.

I certainly was not anxiously waiting two weeks after falling pregnant with our second child to see if there was a positive test or not. It was 12 weeks after, I noticed I was late.

For those who have embarked on IVFs, the period immediately after egg transfer can be the most stress-filled days, it certainly was for me.

I was plague with questions like, what if this fails?

Endless questions like, why don’t i feel anything?

Every twinged was analyzed.

Every symptoms is interpreted as meaning something… a loss, especially having suffered miscarriage

So how do you survive this wait, how do you wait while you wait?

This post gives tips on what to do while waiting:

Do not obsess over every twinge, feelings and changes you notice.

You will feel differently from day to day, so save yourself the stress of ringing up your doctor whenever you think something is wrong.

I know this is a difficult task, but doing the next few steps will help.

  1. Take up an interest, this may seem like the most unlikely time to start something new, but doing something new can has focus your mind and in the process reduce the anxiety of having to constantly fixate on what is happening during the wait. There are lots of sites offering short courses on a varied range of interests .
  2. Walks: This is not the time to go for intensive exercise classes, but you can go for short walks in the woods and admire nature’s beauty.
  3. Yoga: IVF takes so much out of you and yoga is a great way to center your senses.It is great for relaxing and also focuses your mind on being calm as you concentrate on your breathing. Yoga relaxes you into calmness which lingers afterwards.
  4. I took up reflexology during my wait and often come away feeling relaxed. There are great work out videos on youtube.
  5. Learn how to cook a new dish. The process of researching, selecting, preparing the ingredients, peeling, cutting, cleaning the ingredients, engages the mind and also fills you with a sense of achievement. The very motion of cooking engages a different part of the brain. Invite friends over and share the meals with them. laughter and banter with others will do you a world of good.
  6. plan a date with your partner: Fingers crossed everything will go well and this maybe the last few weeks of being alone before your little baby comes. So enjoy the moment and do little stuff together.
  7. Start your diary and begin to write about your IVF experiences, you never know who this may help in future. I kept a dairy of my fertility journey which has formed the basis of this blog.
  8. Get going on that to do list you have been meaning to get to, be careful not to do any heavy lifting. Dusting and tidying of drawers and wardrobe are simple chores to get busy with.
  9. Adult doodle is a great way to pass the time. There are lots of inspirational doodle books around, these are great for lifting your spirits and as you color in the pages imagine your life being beautified by your little one.
  10. positive affirmation. this a way of focusing on the positive and a good practice to engage in, long after IVF. Simply refuse to dwell on the negative, you have nothing to loose and everything to gain by being positive so be full of hope.

Above all hold on to hope, you have come this far there is no need to worry now.
Seek out your support net work, it may be that one friend or a group you are path of, be in constant communication with them so as not to allow your self to drift off into negative and panicking territory.

The journey stared with that first push of the needle and will end with a beautiful baby.

Your Partner in Hope

D’Ebi

Relevant Post

https://faithfulwait.com/2019/09/27/ivf-process-step-by-step/

https://faithfulwait.com/2019/05/29/the-pain-of-miscarriage/

https://faithfulwait.com/2018/08/13/single-women-and-ivf/

https://faithfulwait.com/2017/12/06/fearful-wait/