LIKE A BOSS
So what makes me the BOSS of my fertility journey? KNOWLEDGE knowledge and more knowledge. I have taken the position that I am the one who will be the powerhouse behind my drive to become a Mother. When you stop and think about it, why would anyone be more passionate than me? I put so much faith and trust in my doctors because I had no clue what infertility meant, this is where my disadvantage started. Why would I have any clue about what my first steps should be? What doctor would be the best given my issues or diagnosis? What treatments should I first explore so not to waste time? It’s all very confusing and expensive; the pressure is unreal. I am sharing with you today how I have learned to be LIKE A BOSS in my infertility journey.
You Will Get Nowhere Without Understanding Everything about Your Diagnosis.
- You will get nowhere without understanding everything about your diagnosis. I am so passionate about driving this statement home with women who are just starting out with their fertility journey. How can you make informed decisions if you don’t even know the first thing about your diagnosis? How do you ask questions to help move you forward if you don’t know your options given your issues or your partners? Are you waiting for your doctor or nurse to tell you everything? Get in the game sister and stop expecting your doctor to have all the answers.
- Getting involved in fertility boards such as Inspire or TTC-specific Facebook boards are incredibly helpful in shedding some light on fertility issues and finding others that are struggling with the same fertility problems. After I had extensively researched my upcoming laparoscopy surgery, I would ask others if they had any tips for recovery or had an experience they could share with me. I already did in-depth research on my procedure, so I knew what I was getting into but hearing from other women that had already had these procedure(s) behind them made me feel comfortable. The boards tend to create a bit of laziness when it comes to doing your research. I see a lot of questions that one would know if they did even the least amount of research. It’s disappointing to see so many women that want to have strangers tell them what to do, how much to take or how to inject. Take the power position in your fertility journey. To be “Like a Boss” you will research, ask, research, watch and ask some more to know what you are about to inject, or undergo.
- Let your anger fuel your desire to find answers. It’s easy to let anger and frustration take over your life when you are going through IVF. I get it believe me do I get it!!!!! But letting anger take over is not the way to be the boss of your fertility journey. I release my anger to kickboxing. I have been very vocal about envisioning my doctor’s face and the repetitive phrase “Advanced Maternal Aging” when I kick and punch the bag. I know my blog is different than most infertility bloggers in that I say things that maybe sound a little harsh but honestly I am so over the lack of kindness and knowledge from these reproductive endocrinologists that I feel you should know that it’s not all rainbows and cotton candy. Kickboxing, therapy, yoga, acupuncture are all great ways to filter anger. For me, kickboxing has had the most beneficial results because I can get the anger out of me and transferred to the bag. I leave with all that negative energy at the boxing studio it’s priceless.
DON’T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER
- When you hear “No, I am sorry we can’t do the laparoscopy because it’s exploratory and unethical,” You say “No, I AM SORRY NEXT.” If I took the lame options from my reproductive endocrinologists like “You Can Do Donor Eggs” or “Sorry It’s Just Bad Luck” or the best “Nikol, You Know What The Issue Is You Just Don’t Like To Hear It.” I would have never pushed and fought to have the laparoscopy surgery this past October. If you don’t know my history, our diagnosis was “Unexplained Infertility” since 2013. I knew that wasn’t a real diagnosis and pushed for three years through 2 IUI’s, 5 IVF cycles and 1 PGS FET to get a laparoscopy to rule out endometriosis. On October 14th I went from “Unexplained” to stage three endometriosis, I also had three fibroids removed. Hopefully, from my experience, you will see that you need to be “Like A Boss” take control and make things happen. You must know what’s going on. Be fierce and obsessed with figuring it out.
IT’S ALL OR NOTHING
- When it gets hard, you fight harder. That’s right you put on those gloves, and you fight harder because your future baby needs you to be strong and relentless. It’s a hard road girl, and that’s par for the course. If IVF were easy, everyone would do it. It’s not an easy road to Motherhood but you know what you want, and you know how to get it. Reach deep down inside and talk yourself through the hard times. Your husband, partner, Mother, sister don’t know what it’s like because they haven’t been through this. It’s YOUR journey you are on this path for a reason so get focused and stop looking outside of yourself for the strength.
- Don’t be afraid of second opinions. After giving my local doctor one medicated IUI and three IVF cycles all failed I couldn’t believe that I stayed so long. I was ready for second opinions and I aggressively scheduled multiple (five to be exact) appointments to hear what other reproductive endocrinologists had to say. At this point, your research will be precious. I received so much conflicting information from these second opinions that I thought maybe we were not speaking the same language. I had one doctor tell me to Google what a medical term was on my records; he refused to tell me what the word meant. Being treated like I wasn’t important enough to explain a medical term to me proved that I had to be my health care advocate. I knew right then and there that I had to be as knowledgeable as possible if I was to survive this infertility journey.
- Don’t get too comfortable where you are in the voyage. Being comfortable and scared was one of my early mistakes in my fertility journey. I had just left IVF Florida with one IUI under my belt and a bad taste in my mouth. I felt like I was one of a thousand women in the waiting room which almost is not an exaggeration. I moved on to a boutique fertility practice with one doctor, so I went from a cattle call and multiple doctors to a one man operation. I felt that I was making the right move to a smaller clinic, but I was very wrong. So many limitations from the doctor refusing to do PGS testing, no ICSI, outdated IVF protocols. I was so scared to move again to another clinic probably why I stayed for four cycles. I felt that I had put so much time and trust into this clinic how could I leave? Maybe one more cycle would be the winner. Time to think Like A Boss and MOVE. Don’t get emotional like I did and stay comfortable. You need to get up and walk out when you are not getting the treatment, options, and results that you know you are capable of achieving.
- Don’t let doctors intimidate you. At times I have felt like it was them against me. Maybe because I refused to listen to these doctors on the only reason they can come up with (before my endometriosis diagnosis) that it was solely my age. This reasoning is a default, it sounds good, it makes sense, but it’s not always true for every woman. Even after we made two PGS tested embryos, my doctor was still stuck on this “Advanced Maternal Aging” bit. Now the issue was maybe they weren’t “that normal.” Maybe they’re not but don’t say it’s all about my age and I probably couldn’t make a PGS tested embryo. I not only made a PGS tested embryo once but twice. It’s a catch 22, every time I would produce what these doctors thought wasn’t possible they would throw another curve ball in the mix like mosaicism. Did I mention that this industry is unregulated, mostly cash? Be Like A Boss and trust your gut, know that age does have something to do with egg quality but it DOESN’T mean that it applies to everyone. Miracles do happen.
- Focus only on your journey, do not compare yourself to anyone. You will be making cyber friends all over the world through these TTC boards. It’s going to get hard when you start seeing all the positive pregnancy tests on the feed. When you refocus on yourself and only yourself (yes you are allowed to be selfish) is when you will be able to casually scroll through multiple pregnancy announcements without having to drink the entire bottle of wine. YOUR JOURNEY IS NOT HER JOURNEY. Remember that! It might seem like everyone is getting pregnant and maybe that’s true but stay focused on yourself, your husband, your appointments, your body and block out all the noise. Whatever you do DON’T COMPARE YOUR NUMBERS! Maybe you need to take a break from social media to give your journey all the attention that it deserves. Do what’s best for you, find your strength and don’t give away your power because others are moving forward.
- Find solutions. Your infertility journey will throw you some curve balls it might be smooth now, but get prepared it will get bumpy. Be proactive and think about your exit strategy if the clinic you are going to doesn’t meet your expectations or you don’t like the way they handle your treatment. Be proactive, not reactive when you hit some bumps. Talk to your husband about possible issues that might arise and how you both will handle them. Speak of the investment, how you will pay for unexpected procedures. The more communication between you and your husband the better you will be able to deal when things get tough. This entire journey has brought my husband and me closer. He is my rock, my supporter, my cheerleader and my best listener. I have had more meltdowns than I can count and every time he tells me it’s all going to work out. Even though your husband is not physically going through the injections, procedures or retrievals, he is feeling your pain.