Health

‘It Feels Like Another Loss’: What It’s Like to Pause Fertility Treatments Because of Coronavirus

I’ve had two miscarriages. My husband and I decided to start trying to have a baby in June of 2018. I found out I was pregnant for the first time in December. We thought wow, this is fantastic. We were both really excited. In mid-January I found out I’d had a missed miscarriage—there was no heartbeat. In November of 2019, I found out I was pregnant again, but literally days later I had a natural miscarriage. After two in one year, I found a new OB who had me undergo some testing. In February of this year, they found that I had a uterine septum, which is extra tissue that makes my uterus shaped a little bit like a heart. It needs surgery, and I ended up having to go to an IVF specialist.

The surgery was scheduled for late March. Everything was moving along, but I started to see that this pandemic was happening. In mid-March, I reached out to the doctor’s office saying, have you heard anything? Is there any chance the surgery will be cancelled? And they just told me, ‘listen if anything happens we will notify you as soon as possible.’ I had been required to get blood work done by the surgical center prior to the surgery, and when I was able to go and get that done, I was thinking, everything’s moving forward. But then it got canceled.

I was so shocked and disappointed. I did not take the news very well when the surgery was canceled. Unfortunately, my father passed away last month. So to me, that surgery was like a light at the end of the tunnel. I had something to grasp on to. And when that disappeared, I absolutely just did not cope very well. I took maybe a couple of days to be very much in my feelings about it. I have a very supportive husband who tried to remind me all of this is not under our control. As much as we want to move on and move forward, we have to accept that.

I know that my egg reserve levels are lower than I’d like. I’m 35. There is a ticking clock here, there’s a timeline here. And I have conceived naturally twice. My IVF doctor did mention ‘you could try again, though there’s obviously that risk’ of losing the pregnancy. And I was like, there is no way. My father just passed away. If I go through a third miscarriage, I will lose it. That’s not even an option.

You have these treatment plans laid out and for them to be just torn apart during this time was a complete blow. A part of you realizes that of course, all these hospitals need all the medical equipment they can get. I understand. But it sucks for every single person who is dealing with this.

“Knowing that we’re not going in for another treatment for who knows how long? It feels like another loss.”

-KYLIE RUCH, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, as told to Sara Gaynes Levy

My wife and I started talking about this whole journey probably about two years ago. In the last year, we found a fertility doctor that we loved. I think being a same sex couple, we were really fearful that we were going to meet a doctor who viewed us differently just because… we are a same sex couple. But we loved her from the beginning.

We decided we were going to do donor sperm from a sperm bank, and that I would carry the pregnancy. I am older by a year than my wife, and while she also wants to carry a pregnancy, she and I talked about things and I just have more of an awareness of pregnancy and birth. Through lots of conversations we kind of settled that I would go first and then she would go after me. When we started this journey, we had a big discussion around our finances. Going into it we knew that we wanted to buy enough vials of sperm to have three tries for each of us, so a total of six. And that in itself was such a financial burden. We didn’t have any friends we wanted to use. Once we had actually purchased the sperm, we were like, okay, now we can relax, set up all the appointments, and go from there. As we started talking to our insurance, it was frustrating, because there was no conclusion or real answer for what would be covered. We ended up meeting with the financial counselor at the fertility clinic who was able to go in the backside of things and give us a better sense of what the numbers looked like. We realized that we wanted a family so badly that everything else could wait. If it was date nights or going out to dinner, we were just going to cook at home. If we had house projects, we would do them once we were pregnant and pretty far progressed. We were gonna make it work no matter what that looked like financially.

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