Welcome back to another episode of Office Talk. Now, you may or may not have noticed that I haven’t published any new episodes of the podcast for a hot minute. I think my last episode came out in November, and we’re here in July. So what the heck happened? After more than two years of consistently producing episode after episode, at the end of last year, I really felt like I just had nothing left to say.
I didn’t want to produce episodes just for the sake of producing them. Because Lord knows, we all have enough content to consume all of the time, I really wanted to make content that was going to be valuable, even if that meant that it came out more infrequently. To be honest, there were a few times over the past few months that I thought about ending the show altogether. But ending the show didn’t feel like a definite yes. And keeping it also didn’t feel like a definite yes, either. So I just let it sit. which was really, really, really hard. Because I like to tie up loose ends. I like to turn the page. I like to put a period at the end of things. And this just kind of felt like it was sitting there uncomfortably, and kind of reminding me like, “Hey, I’m still here.”
But I’m so glad that I didn’t rush through it. I realized now more than ever, there are no right or wrong ways to do things, which is both kind of frightening, but also really freeing and exciting at the same time. So all of this is to say that I am going to be bringing more episodes to you. And I’ve drummed up some new ways to have more fun with it. This is going to include a lot more video content that you can grab on YouTube and on IGTV and on Facebook. But you can also catch those episodes here on the podcast as well.
So what the heck have I been up to the last few months? Well, on the personal side, my husband and I are really, really thrilled to announce that we are expecting oer own little bundle – a little girl. And I’m going to talk to you in a little bit about what that journey has looked like for us in the hopes that it might help somebody who’s going through a similar situation.
On the business side of things, things have been moving along as usual. And the two biggest things that we’ve created are one, we launched Your Legal BFF, which is really a continuation of all the great contract templates and all the great online trainings that I’ve been providing for several years now. But they’re all going to sit now on YourLegalBFf.com and operate under its own brand. And is what I like to call your go to legal bestie for easy to understand and industry specific contract templates that are going to help you confidently start, grow and protect your business baby. YourLegalBFF.com is where you’re going to get your hands on all the templates and trainings from here on out, including some frequently requested templates you guys have been asking me for. And I’m launching new templates all of the time. Things like licensing agreements. So if you are interested in licensing your content to be put on merchandise, for example, I’ve got a template for you there. I have agreements to terminate contracts, podcast guest releases. So I’ve added quite a few in the last few months. And all of our products got a major upgrade. I actually went through and I did revisions on all of our templates. And not only did I include frequently requested clauses, but almost all of our templates now have step-by-step instruction in video. So they always have the step-by-step instruction. But now you’re getting them in video. So you can walk through every single clause of the contract to customize it. But more importantly, to understand what the heck it means so that you know what you’re signing. And if clients come to you with questions, you’re prepared to answer them. You also have access to my proven three step system for drafting contracts that save you time and money.
So it was really important to me not to just throw a template your way. I mean, that’s always been our goal is to educate you and not just give you a template. And that’s why we’ve always had the guides and these kind of explainers and things like that. But we kind of stepped it up took it to the next level we added video. So hopefully it’ll get you to a place where you’re truly feeling confident with your contracts. In the meantime, we also gave my beloved website, annettestepanian.com a huge makeover. So it already has some really great resources on there but we kind of stepped it up. I really want us to To highlight the five essential legal ingredients you need to understand in order to successfully start and grow your business. So when you go there, there’s like these fun interactive ways that you can really educate yourselves on these different areas. I also really wanted to highlight the people who I have had an incredible honor of working with, right there front and center, I have these great stories from different clients across a variety of different industries, who’ve I’ve had the honor of helping over the years. And it’s I just love that that’s like, my favorite part of the website is really highlighting just these people, their businesses and celebrating them for taking their business seriously and getting their legal ducks in a row.
And what’s coming up? Well, I’ve tried to freshen up the show a bit, maybe you noticed I have some new intro music coming in. But listen, I know, I feel like everybody has a podcast these days. I mean, whether you’re like the Bachelor on, you know, ABCs, Bachelor to everybody has a show nowadays. We have so many channels where we can consume content. I know I love my Instagram stories. Not to mention, we’ve got our Netflix and or Hulu and our YouTube TV. And the amount of information out there is mind-boggling. And I don’t want to contribute to that noise unless I have something important I want to say. So with that said, we’re scaling back the show a little bit in the sense that we’re gonna be producing about a show every other week, you know, some weeks might be, I might do one every week, I don’t know, we’ll see how I feel. And we’re going to be experimenting with video, which I’m really excited about, I’m actually really terrified, because I don’t love doing the videos. But I think it’s also a really exciting medium to kind of play with. And so you’re going to be seeing a lot more video content. But you can also catch those episodes here on the podcast as well. And the topics are going to range from things that I’m either seeing coming up with clients, you know, maybe some trends, or some issues that just are constantly popping up that I want you to be aware of. There’s going to be you know, the my favorite legal quickies, where I answer your frequently asked questions, where I educate you on topics that I think are important for you to understand. And then there will be the occasional inspirational tool and inspirational aha moment, and interviews if I feel like it. So as you guys can maybe get the sense I’m kind of just taking a much more relaxed and intentional and purposeful approach to all of this.
Now with that under our belts, I want to talk about today’s topic, which is my IVF journey. Now, this is kind of a personal topic for me and my family. But I found it really important to share, because I personally have benefited from the conversations other women and other families were having about this. And I know that this can be a very triggering topic for many. Please know that that’s not my intention. My intention is truly to share my experience in the hopes that it might help somebody else who might be going through a similar experience.
Now, at the time of this recording, we are 10 and a half weeks pregnant. However, you’re probably going to hear this several weeks after I’ve recorded it. And I wanted to record this sooner rather than later. So while things were still fresh in my mind, I wanted to get down on paper, so to speak, what my thoughts were and what kind of advice I would give to a girlfriend of mine who was going through this process.
So with that said, please, I apologize. One of the side effects of pregnancy is you get very out of breath. Who knew? eEen when you’re talking, so I feel very out of breath right now and I think we’re not even a minute into this episode. So please be patient with me. Like many others, IVF is never something that I thought I would have to go through. You know, as a young girl, the young woman, you just think you’re gonna get married, you’re gonna have babies and you know, the whole fairy tale. So it was kind of perplexing and kind of a new experience that my husband and I had to go through. But one thing that really, really helped me was having the mindset that nothing was wrong with me. And this is where I think it’s so important to have these conversations. Because I had seen so many stories, whether they were of celebrities or strangers or some of my close friends. I’d heard so many stories and I knew so many women and families went through this process. It truly normalized it for me. It just made it feel like less of like I didn’t carry that burden of “Oh, something is wrong with me. Why can’t this work for me?” I really just went into it as if, “Hey, like we just need a little help you know?” Just like you kind of need help around the house every once in a while, or you might need an extra, you know, set of hands in your business. This was just another thing, we needed a little bit of expert guidance and expert help in order to make it happen. And I truly believe that that mindset was really, was really beneficial for me in terms of the my experience with it, you know.
Fortunately, my experience, for the most part was a positive one. And it actually, I don’t know if it was the hormones or what but I actually felt pretty good during the process. I think it was because I had had so many examples strangers or otherwise, who had been through this or that support, and that just that the their stories, just normalized it all for me and it just felt like, “Okay, another thing we just had to do.” Having said that, I also think this is a very subtle distinction. I really believe words have power. And I actually never said the word infertility. I always said the word fertility. I never thought okay, well, we’re infertile, I just thought, well, we just need some help with fertility. And so my point with this is that, you know, your mindset and your approach and your perspective, I think has a lot to do with how you’re going to experience this whole journey, because it’s not easy.
My second piece of advice I would give people is truly build a support system for yourself. It was kind of funny, because I’m the type of person who likes to talk about feelings and to communicate. And I found myself as we were deciding to embark on this, to like, I was just like telling some of my friends that I speak to on a regular basis. And at first I was like, well, maybe I should keep this private, you know, it’s maybe not something that everybody needs to know. But then I felt like I was subconsciously trying to build a support system for myself. It was almost as if, like, I wanted some of my friends to know, so that in the event that they called me, and I just wasn’t myself or I needed them, and I want to call them, I didn’t have to give them the whole backstory, I could just like, dive in and check in with them. Building that support system for yourself – whoever that might be, I think is truly, truly is essential.
As I said, I’ve had a lot of friends who’ve gone through this process, and one of the best pieces of advice someone gave me was – ooh – I need to take a breath – is that you are your best advocate. Okay. My friend said this. And it was so true. You know, when you go to these clinics, they have a lot of patients. They have a lot on their plates, and even though they are well intended, and they’re there to help you and to treat you they can’t like you know, micromanage your case. So you have to be in that position of asking a ton of questions. Sometimes I felt like we were being super annoying. But I think it’s really, really important for you to get the answers to the questions that you need. And, you know, my clinic and my doctors and the care staff there, they were great. They always took the time to answer the questions. But we kind of had to initiate things. If we were curious, you know. It’s just there’s so much to the process that you’re you’re learning as you’re going through it. I don’t know, it could just be a personality thing. But my husband and I like to take control like to kind of project manage, and really know what we’re getting into. Just keeping in mind that your your best advocate and that keeping in mind that your doctors are really busy. And you’re one of hundreds of patients that they see. Don’t assume that they’re always gonna catch a mistake. And so one of the examples is, so this is going to be kind of scientific. But when you do the transfer, our doctors told us that there’s like this window between the time you first take your progesterone to the time they do the transfer, it’s usually about 120 hours. The goal is that you need to have the transfer occur about either three hours before or three hours after that 120th hour.
Well, when we had scheduled our transfer, or when they had scheduled the transfer, that transfer was going to take place, the fourth hour after that 120th hour. And we were like what the heck, like, you know, and in my mind, I was like,”Oh, well, they know what they’re doing.” But thank God, we just didn’t like just take that as is we called we questioned it. And the doctors admitted, oh, we made a mistake. Yeah, let’s move it up earlier, they moved other people around, so that we can make sure that our transfer would occur closer to that window when the transfer needs to take place. Thank goodness that we were like paying attention and we were knowledgeable and we knew some of these details so that we could kind of double check them.
The next tip or piece of advice is to make room in your schedule for the unknowns So I was in the midst of relaunching my website of launching yourlegalbff.com, which was a lot. There was a lot going on. And to be frank, when we first started, when we were first considering doing IVF, I actually broke down because I felt like my business was going to have to suffer as a result. Because I didn’t know how I was going to react to the medication, I didn’t know what the process was really going to entail. And so I felt like I wasn’t going to really take a big hit in terms of my productivity and whatnot. My recommendation, or my advice to somebody would be to exercise compassion. You’re working on a really big project. And so if you have to give yourself some extra time and some extra space, in order to, to handle it, do that. With, for example, my launch, you know, I had a really aggressive timeline, I had all these things I wanted to do as a result of that launch. And I just decided to scale it back, I slowed it down, you know. I extended the deadline or the launch date, because I realized what was truly important, you kno. I figured the websites will be redesigned, they’ll be launched. Yeah, maybe it’ll be a month later than I intended. But I don’t need that extra stress that self imposed stress, during this time. This is already a stressful time for me. And so okay, we launched a month later, big whoop, right? Give yourself that time, and that space, judgment free zone, where you can just take good care of yourself. And in fact, a lot of the advice that the nurses gave us was to exercise, self care, whatever that looked like for me. So whether that was eating ice cream, and watching Netflix, you know, reruns doing that. If that meant taking a nap doing that. And so I just tried to make sure that I not only had the actual time, but also I just didn’t, I didn’t judge myself for that if I needed to take that time.
The next one, the next tip is to stay off the internet. There’s a lot going on in this process. And you’re trying to educate yourself at the same time and like you’re getting your numbers, you’re getting test results, you’re getting all these different results coming through. And it’s very, very easy to get sucked into the internet into these like chat boards and community groups. And like women are comparing, like, their levels with other people’s levels and their results. The few times that I did have like a specific question that I wanted to research, it was almost like I was like a diver who would like dive into the internet, I would like grab that that fish that I wanted. And then I would like get out. Because otherwise you just get sucked in. And it’s not I don’t think it’s a very healthy experience. Because everybody, everybody’s circumstances are different. Everybody’s body is different. So you can’t really compare, you know, one woman’s experience to another woman’s. To the extent that you can stay out of there, stay off the internet, do so. Find your trusted sources, hopefully that would be your doctor and your nurses. Talk to them about the questions you have or whatnot. And then just keep it up that.
One other piece of advice that my friend gave me that I thought was really helpful was that IVF is not a guarantee. You know, when my husband and we’re trying naturally gnome wasn’t working, we were like, “Okay, well, we can just do IVF” almost like it was like insurance or something like “okay, well, we can always like fall back on that.” And I thought it was really great advice when she said that, because it is not a guarantee. You don’t know how your body is going to react, you don’t know, you know how it’s gonna respond to the medication you don’t know, there’s just so many unknowns and like a whittling down process that happens. You don’t want to create a false hope for yourself by thinking “Oh, it’s a done deal” just because you’re doing IVF. So I think that was also really, really good advice that kind of put things into perspective. You know, we were optimistic about it. But we weren’t like, we knew it wasn’t going to be 100% for sure. That there were going to be issues that came up along the way.
So as I mentioned earlier, you know, when I was younger, I thought oh, this would never be an issue. Like we would just like kind of just sail in from like marriage to having kids and whatnot. And it’s it’s kind of a weird experience because like, you’re not prepared for it. You know, you’re not educated about it, you feel like it kind of sneaks up on you, and that nobody ever warned you about it. Because you know, our parents never had to go through this. They never had to deal with some of the decisions that we had to make. So it’s a very new and kind of surreal process. If you’re in your early 30s and you want to have kids, but maybe not right away. I would really encourage you to take charge of your fertility and educate yourself about what what your options are. Because as you get older, you know, generally speaking, you know, your fertility levels drop. And so I wish someone had told me when I was younger, that this could possibly happen. And so I wish I had had these conversations at a younger age, so that I wouldn’t be so surprised or this process wouldn’t have been felt so kind of overwhelming at the time. I’m not saying to necessarily do IVF, but at least research and understand the different options that you have. And those options keep changing. Technology and medicine keeps improving, and so who knows what might happen, you know, 10 years from now what we might be able to do 10 years from now.
One thing that has really come out of this experience is just realizing what a miracle it is, every time a child is born and a child is actually naturally conceived because so much has to be in the right place at the right time. Science is amazing. And it’s so it’s such a blessing that we have these tools available to us. But at the end of the day, there has to be like an element of magic, you know, or God’s Will or the universe has to play its part. The science can only take us so far. It’s a great tool to use. But I think that also needs to be complemented with your faith, your hope, your whatever, that magic, whatever you want to call it. And those balancing of the two will hopefully get you to the result that you want. I hope this has been helpful. And it was a little bit of a deviation from the normal topics we talk about here but I really, really can’t stress enough how much I wanted to share this with you just as another girlfriend who has gone through this process. I truly hope this has been helpful to you. It’s really meant out of a place of love and support.