Have you found yourself stuck at home, feeling overwhelmed by a slew of emotions, worries, and anxieties? Yeah. Now throw fertility on top of that.
Maybe you were in the middle of an IVF cycle and the plug was pulled, or you were building speed, momentum, and a plan to tackle your infertility and you had to slam on the breaks. That is devastating, and here at Illume Fertility, we can’t extend a hardy enough “sorry” to make all the pain go away, but we sure wish we could.
Life will come back to us soon. Cycles will be restarted, momentum will rev back up, and families will be built. But what are we supposed to do until then? Sit on the couch and wait?
Yup! Well, sort of.
Sit on the couch and wait it out, but while being fertility-forward (I just made that term up, but I feel like it’s what’s missing from our plans right now). Stay home and be productive by trying out these simple ways to stay active in your fertility journey.
All of the options listed below are offered at Illume Fertility, but make sure to connect with your personal clinic to see what opportunities they have available to you. Always know that you are welcome in our events that open to the public.
If you’re new to the fertility game and just want advice on how to conceive, skip down to number 7!
Below are 7 ways you can be productive from the comfort of your couch, because #stayhome!
1. Initial and Follow-Up Fertility Consultations
There are multiple reasons why you might want or need to speak with your fertility specialist during this time. From your first consultation to a PCOS management session, all of our providers are on stand by for you.
Fertility Treatment Consultations
If you are the 1 in 8 couples who struggles from infertility, welcome to the club! (Listen, I know you didn’t sign up for this, and you didn’t expect to read such a jovial “welcome,” but you’re in GREAT company. As a person who’s been through the fertility-ringer, I can confidently say that the people you are about to meet in this whole process will change your lives.)
Have you booked your fertility consultation yet? That can still be done during this time of social distancing and quarantining. All of the doctors at Illume Fertility are conducting telehealth consultations on a regular basis for couples and individuals just like you.
As I mentioned, life will go back to normal, so now is the perfect opportunity to get the one-on-one meetings and conversations out of the way. Talk about being “fertility-forward” and proactive… this will bring you a huge step closer to making real moves once we’re out of the COVID-19 woods. Instead of starting from scratch, you could already have a plan and momentum.
At RMA of Connecticut, we’re also offering virtual consultations with our PCOS team. There’s no reason to feel shut out or alone during this time, and our physicians and staff couldn’t agree more.
Whether you’re a current patient who has already met with our PCOS team or someone looking to that same opportunity, we are here to help. During this time of isolation, it’s easy to develop habits that don’t jive with our diagnoses, particularly PCOS. So instead of falling into a rutt, take advantage of this distancing and recharge your fight to control your PCOS.
We also have a PCOS support group online, but more on that later…
2. Meet with a Nutritionist
I haven’t bought Pop-Tarts since high school, but I felt like I truly needed them when I was stocking up for our social distancing a couple weeks back.
Why? Because for some reason, being at home all the time makes me a ravenous snacker, and apparently, I think I’m impervious to poor nutrients and high calories. (Virginia, this isn’t the airport, silly!) Obviously, that’s not right.
Instead, let’s take this time to prep our bodies for the fertility journey that lies ahead. We actually have the time and resources now to meal prep (or at least, meal plan) for once, and maybe you have a partner at home who can help.
The first step to impacting your fertility journey with proper nutrition is to speak with a professional. Call your clinic and see if they have a nutritionist on staff that you can speak with. At RMA of Connecticut, we always suggest our patients utilize our nutritionist’s services – she’s specifically trained to offer fertility patients advice and suggestions, so her goals are your goals.
Similar to our telehealth consultations with our physicians, we’re offering telehealth conversations with our nutritionist. This is a great way to stay safe, distant, and smart.
Side note: Pop-Tarts hold up to the memory.
3. Meet with a Fertility Counselor
Another major piece of the fertility journey, no matter if you’re doing an IUI or IVF, is taking care of your mental health. Fertility treatments are no joke and take a tole on your mind and body… heck, getting to the point of embarking on fertility treatments take a tole on your mind and body.
At Illume Fertility, I hear our fertility counselors often say, “Stress does not cause infertility, but infertility can cause stress.” Boy, is that accurate. One great way to be fertility-forward during this time of social distancing is to book a telehealth consult with a fertility counselor.
Just as with nutrition, mental health is an area where you can be fertility-forward. Even though IVF treatments are not active right now, you have the opportunity to develop your awareness, mindfulness, and readiness right now.
Plus, it’s just really, really nice to talk to someone about all the craziness going on. If you’re already a patient of Illume Fertility, you have access to two Fertility Counselors who are ready to schedule your consultation. Please contact your clinic to see if they a similar offering.
4. Meet with a Health Coach
So we’re buying Pop-Tarts, all the gyms are closed, and binge-watching is the only active sporting event right now. This is hardly a combination for model health. HELP!
Don’t panic. There’s a virtual consultation option to assist with your whole health!
Simply, you can have a virtual meeting with a health coach. At RMA of Connecticut, one of our Fertility Nurses is offering a FREE health coaching session for patients. (To take advantage of this free offering, email Monica Moore directly.)
Everyone can find value in speaking with health coach – those about to begin treatments, in between cycles, and even seasoned fertility vets who just need a moment to reset. Getting your overall health (mind and body) in check before, during, and after you seek treatment is a great way to bump up your chances for success.
5. Participate in a Livestreamed Q&A or Fertile Yoga Class
If you’re like me, you end the day on the couch and allow yourself a little scrolling-session on social media. You make the Facebook and Instagram rounds, seeing what’s going on in everyone’s lives – who finished a new puzzle, who is fighting on the front lines of this pandemic (THANK YOU!), who participated in a new #physicalchallenge (thinking “please, please don’t nominate me”)…
Well guess who else is there? RMA of Connecticut! We have started moving all our events to our virtual platforms and revving up new initiatives that will provide you with even more content while you’re home, social distancing.
Every week, we’re posting livestreams to Facebook and Instagram, covering things like Live Fertile Yoga sessions to interviews with our doctors. All of our livestreams are open to the public, so all you have to do is follow us on Instagram and like us on Facebook to get notifications of our next Live. You could also mark your calendars by checking out our event page.
My suggestion? Have a friend meet you at a Q&A virtually. There, you’ll get the opportunity to have some open discussions about different fertility topics and chat about it later with someone you trust and can bounce ideas off.
Another suggestion is to practice Fertile Yoga with your isolation-mates, whether that’s a partner, a sibling, or whoever! Moral support is always welcome in my book! Or you could commit to trying it out alone. Sometimes people can get intimidated with Fertile Yoga (What even is it? Does it work? Am I going to sweat in front of other people?), so this is a great way to test the waters in private to see if it’s for you or not.
6. Join an Online, Private Support Group
Similar to the benefits of having a virtual consultation with one of our fertility counselors, you can also join one of our private groups online!
On Facebook, we have a virtual version of our Ladies Night In group that is active, confidential, and supportive. The host of the group, Lisa Rosenthal, started this group years ago, and it has only grown with fervor ever since. She leads discussions and plans weekly Zoom conferences that all are invited to join. (Want to join in on one of her support group sessions? Email Lisa directly.)
Also on Facebook is our PCOS Boss Support Group. There, you’ll find like-minded young women who are also dealing with PCOS in their daily lives. This support group is a private group open to our adolescent and young women patients and non-patients. We have women from all over who have joined and participate in conversations surrounding exercise, nutrition, mental health, and the overall control of our PCOS symptoms. (If you join, say hey! I’m in the group as a fellow PCOS gal!)
In addition to our Facebook groups, we have video conferences that are open to our patients. As mentioned, our Ladies Night In meets this way weekly, as do our couples in Couples Night In. (If you’re interested in attending a Zoom call support group, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be invited.)
7. Start your 90-Day Preconception Checklist
Okay, so this one isn’t virtual in theory, but it does contain some virtual pieces!
At RMA of Connecticut, we always recommend people follow the 90-Day Preconception Checklist to set themselves up for success in their family-building journey. This is not only useful for the fertility patient, but also for men and women who are thinking about trying to conceive naturally in the near future.
Want to Optimize Your Nutrition?
The checklist itself breaks down your health into basic categories that you can tackle one at a time, building a healthy lifestyle over a period of 3 months. It covers things like nutrition, physical activity, supplements, and mental health.
Do you know where to even begin? It can be daunting, and that’s why we’ve supplied you with the checklist to get you there. Keep in mind that many of the categories can be tackled with the virtual sessions I’ve previously mentioned, like nutrition and mental health!
Are you ready to take the 90-Day challenge and get your body fertility-ready? Yeah, you are!
Make Virtual a Fertility Reality
Now that you’ve reviewed the 7 options to be more fertility-forward and proactive with your unique family building journey, what’s your first order of business? What piqued your interest the most? What phone call or email can you send to put a plan into motion?
I’m the first to admit that being at home, completely isolated from those that keep you accountable on a daily basis can make productivity difficult… But remember your end goal: to build a family. You have to be your own advocate in the fertility world and take the necessary steps to get yourself there. Just because we there are road blocks with IVF, IUIs, Embryo Transfers, etc, doesn’t mean your journey has to come to a halt. We are here to support you and guide you along the way, but you have to take the first step.
If what you need right now is a reset and to disconnect from the outside world, we get that. Take the time you need. We are here for you when you’re ready to jump back in.
And when you are ready, these 7 virtual options can carry us through the pandemic we’re all dealing with right now. This is the best way we know how to continue your treatment while keeping you, your family, and our staff safe.
When you’re ready to make fertility-forward moves, you can think of this time as an opportunity to jump into something you normally wouldn’t have. For instance, if you already think your nutrition is top notch or that you don’t need to engage with a fertility counselor, now is the time you can step outside the box and try it out.
Please know that we are grieving with you during this time of uncertainty. We are trying to make ourselves available to you anyway we can. We will get through this, and we assure you, that even during this outbreak, our number one goal is to provide you with the best fertility care we can. While we need to remain socially distant for the time being, we hope you feel our virtual support from anywhere you are.
Virginia Hamilton Furnari is Illume Fertility's former Brand Specialist. In addition to helping mold the Illume Fertility brand through blogs, videos, and events, she was also a patient at Illume. Given her professional and personal involvement in the fertility community, she has immersed her mind, body, and soul in family-building education.