Sharing some honest reflections on the blog today.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that my posts have been a little less regular for the past few months. In fact, I feel like I haven’t been able to get back into my ‘groove’ since the start of the year. As a full-time content creator, this is an especially tough thing to navigate, as my livelihood depends on creating and sharing content.
We all go through ups and downs, and periods where we lack inspiration in this type of work. But lately, it’s not the inspiration that’s been lacking (in fact, I have so many ideas about what I want for Dine & Fash). Instead, it’s the motivation I’ve been struggling with the most this year, and essentially, finding the time to push the needle forward.
So, what’s been going on?
Fertility Update: 2 Failed IUIs & Where We Go from Here
There’ve been lots of developments since I first shared our fertility journey and my unexplained infertility diagnosis.
Cycle Monitoring & IUI
In February, we were so excited to begin cycle monitoring and IUI. If you’re unfamiliar, IUI means Intrauterine Insemination, and it’s when your partner’s sperm is inserted directly into your uterus at the most optimal time in your cycle, in the hopes of giving the sperm a better shot at fertilizing your egg(s). In a medicated IUI cycle, you undergo Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation (COH), so the ovaries will hopefully produce more than one mature follicle (usually 2 to 3) to increase your chances of getting pregnant. In a normal cycle, usually only 1 mature follicle emerges and releases 1 egg.
Before IUI, you do cycle monitoring. This is a series of bloodwork and transvaginal ultrasounds (how fun!) which allow your fertility doctor to monitor your hormone levels, uterine lining thickness, and development of your ovarian follicles, and then subsequently determine if/when to administer a trigger shot for ovulation and when to inseminate. Leading up to IUI, you’re basically returning to the clinic every day or every other day, and it’s incredibly time-consuming and repetitive.
For us, the decision to do IUI was not a difficult one to make at all. The costs are manageable and it’s not invasive (other than the ultrasounds and needles, which I’ve lost count of by now). We thought IUI was an approachable first step before IVF, if we needed to go that route. But, TBH, I didn’t think IVF was going to be necessary, as I was so sure IUI would have been a success.
Both of my IUI cycles were medicated (Letrozole) and I had no side effects. On the first cycle, I produced 1 mature follicle, and we did 2 inseminations – on Day 14 and Day 15 of my cycle.
After our first IUI cycle didn’t work, we had no hesitations about trying again. On the second cycle, my doctor increased my meds and I produced 2 mature follicles (yay!). Again, we did 2 inseminations and I was put on progesterone until I’d have my beta tested for pregnancy.
This second cycle, I was even more hopeful. Leading up to IUI, I felt a tonne of activity around my ovaries. The activity continued throughout my two-week wait too, which made it SO difficult for me to concentrate on anything other than getting pregnant. Plus, the progesterone probably attributed to some of the early pregnancy symptoms I was feeling – like fatigue, breast tenderness, lower back pain, constipation, and bloating. As any woman who is TTC knows, the 2-week wait is always the most difficult, and you no doubt feverishly google every single twinge you feel in your body!
Realistically, my chances of getting pregnant without IUI were only 2-4%; and with IUI, the odds increased only to about 10-15%. So maybe I was being overly optimistic. But while each failed IUI resulted in disappointment, it wasn’t heartbreaking. Knowing that I had more options and what our next steps would be really helped manage my expectations.
What’s Next for Our Fertility Journey?
In short, we’ll be moving to IVF next! Fingers crossed, we’ll be starting the cycle after this month.
I’m taking a break from treatment this month to have a hysteroscopy and remove 2 uterine polyps that were discovered last cycle. Polyps are usually benign, but they can negatively impact fertility. I’ve also requested an endometrial biopsy to test for possible inflammation (called chronic endometritis) of my uterine lining.
The hysteroscopy will be the first time I’m having any kind of direct examination of my endometrial lining. Under normal protocol, there would not usually be any reason to examine the endometrium, unless there was a problem, or until after repeated pregnancy loss or failed IVF transfer.
At this point, I feel like a science experiment. But, I know that all of these examinations give us more clues about my fertility. And, the more information, the better!
In terms of reflections, I’m okay. I don’t feel an emotional burden because I know we’re doing everything we can. On the one hand, I feel grateful that I work for myself and have the time needed to commit to fertility treatment. On the other hand, I really feel for the women who have to go through this in secrecy, or without any resources or support in place at their workplaces. I honestly couldn’t imagine trying to go through this process while practicing law at a firm or working a 9-5. Understanding this makes me realize how much of a need there is for additional fertility resources, support, and funding for women.
The other huge development this year is that I’ve begun practicing law again. This time, my own legal practice and specializing in the influencer marketing industry.
It’s actually pretty wild because I’d always said I had no intention of going back to law, and I really didn’t. But with the way the influencer marketing industry has grown over the last few years, a need has definitely developed – especially in the area of influencer contracts!
Given that I practiced Corporate/Commercial Law and reviewed contracts on a regular basis, and given the experience I’ve gained in this industry over the last 4 years, this path seems like such an obvious and natural extension for me. I’ve also reviewed/negotiated close to 300 contracts just for my own brand partnerships over the last 4 years. In fact, I can’t think of anyone else who has the unique expertise in both of these industries that I do. So, it’s pretty neat.
That being said, I’m now navigating this reality of having two jobs again – this time, content creation being my full-time and practicing law being my part-time. When feeling creator burnout or lack of inspiration, it’s been nice to know I can tap into my left brain.
This has also made me appreciate the importance of having transferable skills, especially in the age of COVID-19 when I’ve seen countless businesses forced to pivot. I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t had to pivot due to COVID, and content creation has been an unwavering source of income for the last 4 years. However, putting all the eggs in one basket isn’t a great strategy for the long-term.
What Else Has Been Going On?
Apart from those 2 major developments, we’ve been doing home renos, which have been really disruptive at times. I’ve been giving updates in my stories, so I won’t go into detail. I plan to share a blog post on the home renos in future too!
Anyway, if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this post, you’re the real MVP (and *phew*, feels good to get that off my chest)! I think it’s important to share the hardships as well as the triumphs in any career path. I know this is just a temporary downturn in my motivation, and I expect to bounce back energized once all these moving pieces fall into place.
I’m also excited for what the future holds, on both a personal and professional level!
Thanks for following along!