4 Min readHealth 29 May 2020
As a child, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up you would have gotten multiple answers. Some answers changed as I went through different stages: a doctor, a teacher, a princess, etc. However, there is one thing that was steadfast from the first time I played with a baby doll, I wanted to be a mom. The desire to be a mother was never a choice that I made, it was built into my DNA.
However, what is also a part of my genetic makeup is a reproductive system that is diseased.
When I got married in 2015 to my high school sweetheart, that desire was still present, but I knew it was not the right time. I did not yet know about my reproductive problems. We unwittingly worked to build our lives and prepare the perfect place to bring our children home to. After we purchased our home in 2017, we set our sights on becoming parents. The funny thing about plans is that, at least in my experience, they rarely work out the way you anticipate. Little did we know that as we picked a room for the nursery, talked about names, and spoke joyously about our future; our journey was only just beginning.
After more than two years, two doctors, countless negative pregnancy tests, one miscarriage, and one failed IUI treatment cycle, we are still waiting. Our plans have not become our reality. Now, our plans are indefinitely on hold because of a pandemic. A pandemic?!
Now that's a curveball that not even a seasoned infertility warrior could have seen coming, especially one that was two weeks away from starting IVF.
IVF is not a decision that we made lightly. It is a huge investment and we viewed it as a final shot to create the family that we so deeply desire. After our failed IUI cycle in January the comparison between a 15% chance with another IUI and the nearly 70% chance with IVF, made our choice clear. When coronavirus began to grow in the United States, so did my anxiety. I regularly monitor my cycles remotely because our clinic is a two hour drive from our home. "What if the clinic here closed? What if I started my medications and then they were forced to cancel?" A thousand thoughts filled my mind for days. The anxiety became too much in the end, and I chose to cancel before the clinic officially closed. Though, of course, it eventually did.
There is very little in this process that I have control over. I can do everything right every single time and yet, pregnancy is not guaranteed. It is gut-wrenching to think about for too long. This investment could result with no reward — no baby in our arms. Those thoughts were the ultimate determinant to cancel our cycle. I need to be in the best head space that I can possibly be in while we go through IVF. As we move forward in this pandemic my emotions ebb and flow. I feel thankful that I have such a strong support system, devastated that we have to keep waiting, angry that the pandemic had to happen and put a hold on our dream. Any emotion you can think of, I have felt in the past six weeks.
Fertility treatments are not elective for me. The reality is that while I feel so blessed to be able to continue to try naturally, we only have about a 1% chance without external assistance. Every month a roller coaster of emotions floods my body. Every cycle starts, of course, with intense heartbreak as my period inevitably arrives. As I move closer to ovulating, I switch up our plan and decide this is our month, then the two-week wait seems to go on forever before I finally muster up the courage to take another test. I look at them from every angle, take pictures and adjust them, just to make sure I am not missing that line, but each month ends just as before.
Luckily, there are many products on the market that allow me to be sure that I am doing all that I can while we wait. Proov test strips have allowed me to ensure when I am ovulating and that my progesterone is ideal for implantation. These test strips did exactly what they stated for me during our natural cycle last month. My progesterone was perfect each day that I tested, but the heartbreak was the same in the end.
Every month a roller coaster of emotions floods my body. Every cycle starts of course with intense heartbreak when my period comes.
I hope that in the coming weeks we can have a plan to get back on track with IVF. Our dreams have been put on hold for so long, and I am more than ready to take this next step. In the meantime, I am turning to social media as an outlet for these immense emotions. Connecting with other women on this journey has been my saving grace, their friendships mean the world to me. There is no replacement for the support systems my husband and I have. We could not do this without our family, friends, and each other. Navigating infertility in general, let alone through a global crisis, is not something that I would wish on anyone. I am proud to share my story and I hope that by bringing awareness to this common disease I am able to help even one person cope with their journey.
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Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.
Read with a Purpose
Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.
Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.
When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.
Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.
You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.
Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.
Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.
If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.
Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.