Things that are NIAW: How to be your own advocate

Friday, April 28


As National Infertility Awareness Week comes to a close I wanted to encourage you to be your own advocate in regards to your fertility health.

There are so many reasons we need to be an advocate for ourselves and for our bodies. I will give you a few examples from my own life. I have been to the doctor a number of times for physicals. Each year they do the routine pap exam (though it's not as frequent anymore) and draw blood to check cholesterol, white blood cells, hematocrit, etc. FYI they don't (at least at my doctor) check vitamin levels unless you ask.

There have been a number of times I have gotten a call letting me know that my blood tests came back within the normal limits. That's great that my results are in the normal limits, but what if they were on the upper or lower limit of being normal. There was no way to tell just by what they said over the phone. Yet, all I have to do is ask them for a copy myself, and the clinic is required to share.

Another experience, last April I went into the doctor because I was told Vitamin B deficiencies run in families, and so I thought I should get checked out. The doctor I went to (not my normal doctor) didn't seem curious, and I got the vibe that he was annoyed with me wanting to know. He also told me that checking vitamins aren't always accurate and can be misleading. I thought, does that mean all of the blood tests that they do are then inconclusive?! He then said there have been studies shown that having thyroid issues can play a role on fertility and cause infertility. I for 1, already knew that and 2, my fertility doctor had already addressed that issue. After getting my blood drawn, I hadn't heard from them a few days after so I called to get my results and asked for a copy of my results. All vitamins (including my thyroid) were normal or even high, but my vitamin D was on the low end of normal, yet they told me everything was normal.

The last example is during our IVF cycles with our fertility clinic at every appointment they would do a follicle scan, and check my estrogen levels. There were several days where I would walk out of the clinic not knowing how many follicles I had, and when they called they wouldn't tell me my estrogen level. I had to ask them, every time. It can be tiring to ask every time and at every appointment. It is worth it to know how you progressed, so you can keep track and ask questions to the doctor if your IVF cycle happens to fail. Or for journaling purposes if your cycle is successful you can get an idea on how it went the last time. 

Here's a few ideas on how you can be an advocate for your own health:

1. Research the crap out of everything. It's important, and with how much information is on the internet you can find different things to try or bring up to your fertility doctor. They know a lot, and can carefully explain why they think it is or isn't a good idea.

2. Have a list of questions to ask your doctor. Use the support groups on FaceBook, ask your Instagram followers. You can check out BEATinfertility - Heather has created a support group app that isn't connected to Facebook. Be sure to ask for clarification on what certain procedures/tests are for so you fully understand them.

3. Take pen and paper to take notes. You could even record your visit with your doctor so you can reference back to it, and take more detailed notes.

4. After your visit, talk to your significant other about what was discussed. You want to make sure you have a plan that you both agree on. You can also pray about what was discussed and decide if moving forward is the right thing for you.

5. Speak up if you aren't comfortable with a test or procedure, or if you aren't ready to move forward with treatments. For example, I was very uncomfortable when I got a saline ultrasound and they tried to hurry as quickly as possible knowing how uncomfortable I was.

6. Ask a friend who has gone through it before to go to an appointment with you. It's also helpful if you feel you are too scared to ask questions or speak up on your own.

7. You can always, always get a second opinion. Sometimes it's nice to have a fresh set of eyes to scan through your chart.

8. AND last but not least, you can always switch doctors if you feel that you aren't being taken care of. 

How have you been your own advocate for your health?
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Other places you can find me:
Instagram: @runningwithinfertility1
Pinterest: Running with Infertility
Twitter: @runwinfertility
Bloglovin': Running with Infertility
Email: runningwithinfertilityATgmail.com
Facebook: Running with Infertility

Things that are NIAW: Infertility Humor

Wednesday, April 26


Infertility can be tough some days. Growing up I dealt with those tough days a grumpy, angry mess, because that's how my parents dealt with tough days. When I got married, Chase was the complete opposite. He enjoyed laughing and watching funny videos to get through those tough days. He has since helped me to lighten up when I start to become angry and grumpy.

I'm not saying that you can't have "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days," cause I still have them. What I'm saying is come in with a mindset that it's just a day, and tomorrow may be better. You can still laugh and enjoy life with those hard days.


So on bad days here are some funny #TTC humor that will help lighten your mood when you need a good laugh:














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Other places you can find me:
Instagram: @runningwithinfertility1
Pinterest: Running with Infertility
Twitter: @runwinfertility
Bloglovin': Running with Infertility
Email: runningwithinfertilityATgmail.com
Facebook: Running with Infertility

National Infertility Awareness Week: The Hope for Fertility Foundation

Sunday, April 23


For the beginning of National Infertility Awareness Week I thought it would be beneficial to talk about the foundation that my husband, Chase, and I started, The Hope for Fertility Foundation. I know there are a lot of nonprofits that help with growing families, either giving support and knowledge to the community like Resolve and Utah Infertility Resource Center. But there are also other nonprofits which help give grants to couples seeking fertility treatments and adoption.

The theme that Resolve put out for this years National Infertility Awareness Week is #listenup. Well this is how and why we started our nonprofit so LISTENUP:


Chase and I had been going through infertility for 6 years when we created The Hope for Fertility Foundation. Leading up to the creation of the foundation, friends and family would ask how they could help us, knowing of our struggle. Yes, coming over and cleaning my house, or bringing us dinner is nice, but it's not what we needed, and I'm sure there are many that feel the same. We needed help paying for our fertility treatments, which really was just the cash to pay for in vitro fertilization (IVF). We decided to start a Go Fund Me page. There, people could give a small or large donation to help us offset the cost of our upcoming IVF cycle. In our efforts to raise funds, we got a LOT of negative feedback, people (a lot of who we didn't even know) saying how Chase and I were just asking for a handout, and that it was our "choice" to have children.
After that push back, instead of being saddened and hurt by what others were saying we took that motivation and decided to have a big yard sale fundraiser with a bake sale, yard sale, character meet-n-greets, food trucks, and possibly a silent auction. We created a little committee and went to work asking for donations for the yard sale. In this process we realized that businesses wouldn't donate to us directly for our silent auction, but they would to a nonprofit. That's when we created The Hope for Fertility Foundation. During our creation as well as doing our big fundraiser, Chase and I were saving up any and all cash that we could, to cover the cost of our upcoming IVF cycle on our own. We created the foundation with just myself, my husband and one of our dear friends. We were able to get the necessary permits, and all the donations that we could to help make the fundraiser a success. At the end of the fundraiser we were able to raise just over $4,000.


By July of 2016, Chase and I saved up roughly $14,000 in 4.5 months by ourselves. We were blessed by God, and felt that this was His way directing us to help others in need. In our hearts we want to be able to help everyone. We obviously can't help others without sharing our Foundations story first, and getting the necessary donations to be able to spread hope. Since July, our board of directors has created a grant application, and in March we gave away our first grant.

We have 2 application periods per calendar year, spring and fall, and we just closed our first grant application for the spring grant (Feb 1, 2017). Since The Hope for Fertility is a nonprofit and all of our board members are not paid, we only have what we collect in donations or our fundraising efforts to be able to give grants. For those that have struggled with infertility and would like to give back we have a donate button on our website, which is tax-deductible. We set up an AmazonSmile account, and a portion of eligible purchases made on Amazon will go to us. All you have to do is go to smile.amazon.com and search "The Hope for Fertility Foundation."

Our mission is to spread infertility awareness, hope and encouragement. We do a lot of that through our various social media channels. We do daily posts on our Facebook page, and they are reflected on Instagram and Twitter. My personal favorite is Wednesday's, "Warrior of the Week." On Wednesday we spotlight a couple who is either in the midst of battling infertility or a couple who has been successful. Each week it is inspiring and gives so much hope as each journey is unique and different. We are always looking for those to share their journey, as it gives a glimmer of hope that we are not alone, enduring the pain that infertility brings.

Since we are only a year old, we are still getting our feet wet and trying to find what works for us. As we do this we have been invited to several fertility conferences. This past October our Foundation was invited to an infertility conference located here in Utah which was put on by Utah Infertility Resource Center (UIRC). The end of the week (April 29) we will be attending the American Fertility Expo that will be held in Pasadena, CA. We are so excited to be able to meet more couples struggling with infertility as it gives us hope to be able to want to help more couples. 

If you have any questions you can reach out to me via tedi@hopeforfertility.org or check out our website, www.hopeforfertility.org. We would love to connect with each of you and hear your story!

The Not so Glamorous Parts of IVF

Tuesday, April 18


If you have never been through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) you may not fully understand what women put their bodies through during IVF. Well, IVF is broken down into 3 different phases:

-Injections to stimulate eggs (10-14 days)
-Egg Retrieval
-and Embryo Transfer

There are unfortunately not so glamorous parts of IVF. I've come up with a few, based on my own personal experience with IVF.

1. Unnecessary weight gain - Before starting a normal IVF protocol, you are given birth control. Birth control makes you cranky (or at least it did for me), and want to eat all.the.things. Because of that you end up gaining weight. You also don't feel like exercising or being yourself.  

2. Bloated - Because you are on birth control, and during injections, you tend to become bloated. All those hormones (or no hormones) running through you tend to add on the excess water.

3. Feeling like a pin cushion - Giving yourself 3+ shots a day and trying to find a good spot on your belly that isn't already bruised or is as painful can be nearly impossible. By the end of the 10-14 days of injections you feel like you've become a pin cushion.

4. Worry at every ultrasound appointment - There is always this constant worry with ultrasound appointments. Worry about if my eggs are growing, will I have to do another day of injections, etc. When you've put so much time and money into IVF, you want it to be successful. You don't want to have to put your body through this again.

5. Surgery aka Egg Retrieval - Most of the time during egg retrieval you are asleep. I have heard of women being fully awake for egg retrieval, and have heard horrible stories. If you were put under for egg retrieval, you will most likely sleep for a good chunk of the day. You could be in pain or sore the days following the surgery.

6. Progesterone - Out of everything that I've listed, this by far beats all of them in not being so glamorous. When getting ready for embryo transfer you start Progesterone, which helps with sustaining a pregnancy. There are 3 different types of progesterone you can use; Progesterone in Oil (another shot), Progesterone Gel (inserted vaginally), and Progesterone Suppositories (inserted vaginally). You may be able to pick your poison. The reason I say that is you will either have vaginal leakage (a lot of it) or have your significant other give you a shot with a huge needle that will be injected in your butt daily. If you have a successful cycle, then you will be doing these until you are 10-12 weeks pregnant, so roughly 3 months.

7. The tears and heartache after a failed cycle - Because you've invested SO much time and money into IVF, you SO want it to be successful. After going through so many years of being infertile, you pray and wish your body would work and sustain a pregnancy. But when you get the call that you didn't achieve pregnancy, the tears come, the questions come, the heartache comes, and the "will we ever become parents" come. That is what makes this the not so glamorous part of IVF.

Is there anything that made IVF not so glamorous for you?
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Other places you can find me:
Instagram: @runningwithinfertility1
Pinterest: Running with Infertility
Twitter: @runwinfertility
Bloglovin': Running with Infertility
Email: runningwithinfertilityATgmail.com
Facebook: Running with Infertility

Goals Update: February/March 2017

Tuesday, April 4


I was a little slacking in writing up and keeping track of my goals for February, and completely forgot to write up a post to help keep me on track. So I'm going to lump the past 2 months into one post.

My goals for the year are in bold and my progress is starting with an asterisk:

Spiritual
-Read my Scriptures/Conference talks for at least 5 minutes a day.
       *I have been reading/listening the scriptures a lot better the past 2 months. I have been sitting down and reading scriptures or listening to conference talks at least 3 out of the 7 days. It is a huge improvement for me since I wasn't doing it at all.
-Attend the temple (with or without Chase) at least 10 times.
     *I didn't get to the temple the past 2 months, but Chase and I are headed down to visit a clinic in Arizona regarding our nonprofit. We should have some time to get to the Mesa Temple. Whenever we vacation, if there is a temple near, we always try and make it an effort to visit the temple or do a session.
-Fulfill my Visiting Teaching each month (something I constantly struggle with).
     *I have visited or at least attempted to visit my sisters the past 2 months. I got a new companion at the end of February and we were able to go visit or drop a treat/note off.

Physical
-Sign up for 1-marathon, 1-half marathon, 1-10k and 1-5k to complete by the end of 2017.
     *I still haven't signed up for any races. I know St. George Marathon opens within the next few weeks. So I'm hoping I'll get a spot. If not then I'll find another race to run.
-Stick with strength training/Barre at least 3 times a week.
     *I thought I would enjoy exercising and staying active, but it's been a lot harder. To be honest it's almost like a chore for me to complete. It makes me really sad that that's how I'm thinking of being active. Aside from thinking that way, I have been making an effort to get to barre at least once a week. I did find a great pregnancy yoga YouTube video that has helped stretch and strengthen my legs/hips.
-Do some sort of cardio activity at least 3 times a week.
     *I have been trying to walk my dogs more and staying active by walking. I have run/walked a few times with Pepper, but it's hard because she wants to go so much faster than me.

Relationship
-Do an activity/Date night we both enjoy once a month.
     *Chase and I went and saw Beauty and the Beast and Power Rangers in the theater. But other than that we haven't dressed up to go out.
-Being okay with asking for help from Chase (this is an ongoing one that I need to continue to do).
     *I've stepped it up and asked for help a lot more, since there are certain things that are just too physically laboring for me now. He's also stepped it up with helping around the house and me not asking.
-Have a better and more meaningful relationship with Chase (this is ongoing).
     *It's been hard to sit down and chat with him. Because there are so many other things to talk about aside from just us. But I know how important it is, so I will keep it up, and keep trying.


Emotional/Mental
-Read/Listen to 5 books.
     *I haven't listened to any books, but I am reading a book called "How to Cope with IVF" by Silvia Dunn and will write a book review as soon as I'm finished.
-Be in the present and stop focusing on the "what if's" and the future.
     *I've not been the best, but I have tried to set my phone down more and to stay off of social media. I have also started unfollowing people on FB, not unfriending them, just unfollowing them. I felt like there was so much negativity and people often complaining that I thought I should just not follow hardly anyone. 
-Write in my journal at least once per month.
     *I haven't been writing in my journal. I know once per month right?! It should be a lot easier than it is. I will keep trying to remember. I have been keeping up with writing about what's been going on this pregnancy on my personal blog.

What are some goals you have set for yourself this year? Do you keep track of your goals monthly?
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Other places you can find me:
Instagram: @runningwithinfertility1
Pinterest: Running with Infertility
Twitter: @runwinfertility
Bloglovin': Running with Infertility
Email: runningwithinfertilityATgmail.com
Facebook: Running with Infertility