Recently, I reflected on my vision board for 2020. On this New Year's Day 2021, I go a bit deeper.
A Look Back:
I focused on two things in 2020:
Starting my IVF journey and focusing on my own self-care
Returning to freelancing
1. Starting my IVF journey and focusing on my own self-care
It was July of 2019 when I found out from my then-doctor that, following my unsuccessful IUI in June, he recommended IVF as the next step in our journey to be parents. That was a tough thing to hear, and the timing couldn't have been worse: we were making a big move and had just purchased a new home and selling our townhouse. We moved not once, but twice, in 2019, first into an apartment in August after we sold our townhouse and then in October after we made settlement on our new house, which happened to also be new construction.
I sought a second opinion from another doctor because I was pretty fed up with the clinic I was going to. I felt my doctor was knowledgeable and experienced, but communication was lacking, and I felt more like a number at this clinic. If I was going to undertake something as stressful as IVF, I knew I needed to look into other options and also get a second opinion.
After a consult with my now-doctor who evaluated my situation, I found out that IVF, was, indeed, the best route to take to ensure a successful outcome for my situation and age. Because of the moves and my husband's change in insurance and a need to figure out our financials and a bazillion other reasons that included my husband having surgery in September 2019 and a bad episode of depression around that time stemming from a job I grew to hate and overwhelm surrounding the move and the IVF news, we decided to wait until after the new year, 2020, to get started.
We started our first round of IVF in February 2020, right around the time we heard about this thing called the Coronavirus. I had my mind set on our journey, and I wasn't letting anything stop us. Our first embryo transfer took place not until May (this is a long process I tell you and even longer for someone like myself whose body takes extra long to ovulate and do its thing). Because we took part in a clinical study and received our embryo testing for free, this took an additional month. Fortunately, the pandemic didn't actually hold us up because the office closed during lockdown during a time I was on hold; however, I wasn't able to continue with acupuncture, which I had just started about a month earlier.
Our first IVF attempt, with an embryo transfer in May 2020, was unsuccessful. We were able to get started again in July; this time I was able to return to acupuncture (wearing a mask, of course!). Our embryo transfer in mid-September resulted in implantation (IVF terminology) or pregnancy, a term most people understand! We were beyond disappointed in October when we learned that the pregnancy was not viable.
It took me another two months from this time to get my period, so we could get started again; however, because of timing, the the actual process would not begin until January 2021.
2. Returning to freelancing
A year ago, prior to Covid, I found myself unemployed and collecting unemployment benefits for maybe the third or fourth time in my life. I was laid off from that "job I grew to hate," a job I had taken as a move away from a previous job I hated, though I probably hated that one slightly less. It's kind of a toss up to be honest!
I was totally unsure what the new year would look like, a year that brought uncertainty to all. At the end of January 2020, I attended an awesome event for freelancers called The Philly Freelance Fest, which I think I learned about from an e-newsletter I subscribed to. I had dabbled in freelance writing and editing over the years but had stopped when I began working a full-time job again in 2017 (the aforementioned first job I hated) and was also teaching a college course in business Communications, a job I loved but had to leave when my life got crazy in 2019.
I decided that returning to freelancing at least part-time would help provide me with the flexibility I needed to make all of my doctor's appointments while working at home around my own schedule without having to answer to a boss. Additionally, another goal was to find a part-time job that provided me the flexibility and the time to build my freelance business.
I learned a lot at the Freelance Fest, which served as a networking event with individual break-out sessions on all sorts of topics relevant to freelancers. Plus, it was fun to take the train to Philly and explore the trendy, hipster space where the event took place and get to see other humans before the lockdown. I landed a new project as a result and began getting more work from a client of mine I had not worked for since 2018. In August of 2020, I began working a part-time contract at a Pearson test center that is next door to my fertility clinic. And when I say next door, I mean like literally next door; one is at suite 280 and the other suite 290. You couldn't get more convenient when I had work at 7am and needed to get to an appt. at 7:15.
As the year progressed, I continued to take on more projects from my main client as well as several others. I created a profile in Upwork, an online platform for freelancers, and landed a small project there. By the end of the year, I had even landed a gig as a Freelance Editor for the women's news and lifestyle brand of a major digital publication! This goal of mine was actually taking shape!
A Look Ahead:
I'm focusing on two things in 2021:
Continuing my IVF journey, as we head into Round 3
Growing my freelance business (and this blog!)
1. Continuing my IVF journey, as we head into Round 3
It's the first day of 2021, and I enjoyed sleeping in before getting started on some work. But I couldn't focus on the project because I just felt inspired to write this blog post to shed some light on my year and give some context to my earlier posts.
I have another bloodwork appointment at the fertility office on Monday to check that I ovulated over the weekend, so that my nurse (and may I add, my one dedicated nurse) could map out a tentative schedule for this next round. I'll be posting more often with regular updates as we progress!
2. Growing my freelance business (and this blog!)
I'm excited about the steady flow of work I've got for the new year, but I have to admit that, with that, I worry a bit about getting overwhelmed, which is the last thing I want heading into this next step in our journey. I plan to take it all one step at a time and be mindful that I'm also taking care of myself in the process.
I've had a difficult time defining my goals for this new year, especially since so many things can happen on this IVF journey. The year ahead partially will be determined from that outcome.
And then there's that pandemic we're all dealing with. Hopefully, we'll start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel this year.
So, with that said, Happy New Year! May it be a year of hope and new beginnings and, for me, personally, a continuation of what I've started.. and maybe a (healthy) baby, too?