Friday, April 7, 2017

Coming Up on the Big Launch

This month (I hope, I hope) I am looking to launch the service piece of my business. I am SO excited and nervous and anxious and elated, and all other total extremes of the spectrum over it!

Very basically, the program will be meeting the needs and filling the gaps in natural fertility that I have both personally and professionally experienced over the past 11 years.

What were those gaps?

One of the biggest gaps I've seen has been the assumption that 1 provider/1 specialty alone can heal any and all problems causing (or caused by) infertility.

What do I mean by that? For example, too often I have heard women (clients and friends) talk about the diet their Dr recommended, solely based on what seems to have worked for many other patients. After the recommendation was made, the patient was left with all kinds of questions as to where to start, how to succeed, and why this diet may even be beneficial for them. More often than not, what ended up happening was one of two things, depending on the patient's temperament:

Some tried the diet based on a website or a print out's protocol, did it for a month or so not even realizing they were eating foods that contained ingredients that were supposed to be eliminated, nothing happened after a while, and they gave up.
Others went full-speed ahead, reading everything they could about the diet, throwing out every food in their house and going on a shopping spree for all the foods they were now supposed to eat, then realized while they were out of the house at a friend's, a party, a restaurant, that there was little they could eat. These temperaments often turn into the "No thank you, I can't eat that. No, I can't eat that, either"s who were more often than not STARVING. Again, results were minimal, if any were seen at all.

The problem? Lack of expert and GUIDED personalized approach to diet and nutrition.
While a certain style of eating or popular diet may have benefits for a general population (for example, cutting way back on sugars and artificial sweeteners is a generally good idea), I've seen these blanket recommendations, even coming from a trusted physician, fail time and time again. The reason is because it is not being customized for success for that patient, by an appropriate specialist in diet and nutrition.

Imagine you want to learn to dress stylishly, because you are tired of the same old sweat pants and t-shirts. You walk into The Gap and speak to the Manager. He's a very smart, very professional man who knows the sales of clothing and accessories VERY well.  He tells you that A-line skirts are incredibly popular, and many of his customers are buying those. So, you go and you buy a bunch of A-line skirts. You get home and realize you don't have any tops to go with them. Back to the store you go, but now the Manager is speaking with other customers helping them find the exact color and size pants they need. You wait. You wait some more. Finally, he points you towards a rack of tops in the front of the store that just arrived, but they are way out of your budget. You leave with one, because you've already invested in all the skirts, but now you're left with only 1 complete outfit.
You get home, try on the top with one of your skirts, and realize that the way the top falls lower in the back than the front actually makes your butt look ginormous.

You return all of the clothes the next day, and go back to your sweat pants and t-shirt because this is just too complicated. Who needs style, anyway?

Now, imagine instead of walking into The Gap to speak to an expert in popular clothing sales, you walk into an office building called "Styling For You!" There, you meet for a consult with a professional stylist, who learns what it is you enjoy wearing now, what your budget is, what your goals are in dressing better/differently than you have been, and then proceeds to tailor a plan to fit those exact specifications. Not only that, but she stands up with you at the end of the consult, and walks out the door with you to go shopping with you, watch you try on several of her recommendations, and ensures that you are happy with the results.

There is nothing wrong with the Manager from The Gap. But his area of expertise for customers is in sales and marketing. The Stylist was just a better fit for this customer's specific needs in this area.

Diet and Nutrition are just 2 examples, but I have encountered many gaps or deficiencies in holistic approaches to fertility that I intend to make more comprehensive.
So, I am bringing together a team of specialists in their respective fields to maximize results for the whole spectrum of Mind-Body-Spirit.

The Program will include sessions with:

A FertilityCare Practitioner for education and guidance in understanding the woman's own unique biomarkers and fertility cycles (the Practitioner will be matched to each client based on the client's specific history and needs)
A Nutritional Therapist, specializing in women's health and fertility
A Naturopathic Physician to evaluate polymorphisms, nutritional deficiencies, adrenal and thyroid sufficiency, and to develop a personalized supplement plan based upon Spectracell findings
A Psychologist/Marriage Therapist to help the couple understand how their fertility struggles may be affecting their mental health and their relationship, and how to achieve well-being of mind
A Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) to lay the groundwork for successful lactation

Each specialist's sessions very easily bring the client from pre-conception, through pregnancy, and/or through postpartum, with no sessions ever expiring (should someone become pregnant before having used all of the sessions, for example). The Program is meant to be a "guiding through," rather than a one-and-done approach, for long-term, lasting results.

You may also notice that NaPro Technology is not on the list. This is for several reasons, most importantly because my Fertility Program is offered ALL LONG-DISTANCE to make the process that much easier for the client. While several NaPro physicians do work long-distance, in general there are liability and insurance issues that would hold us back from providing the best possible care this way. However, with the guidance of the FertilityCare Practitioner, referrals for NaPro will be made where necessary, again to ensure the best outcomes for each client.
Another strength of this Program Providers is that they can all be seen as Complementary Health providers, who, as a team, become a powerhouse for optimizing health and fertility from every angle. Many clients who are coming to us may already be under the care of a NaPro physician, and so our Program becomes the "whole package" to support and boost their current treatment plans.

(My website will explain this all in much greater detail, I'm just giving you a taste, here!)

What I'd love to hear from you is your questions about the Program! I am crowdsourcing now to make sure that my FAQ section and my description of the Program addresses all of the questions, comments, or concerns out there. And, I could think of no better place to ask than those who have watched my own personal infertility journey over the past 9 years, and the people I credit with helping me get to this point in my life. Truly, blog readers and friends - I owe this ALL to you. What a blessing you have been to me.

Thank you so much for coming along for this oft-bumpy ride!


Anonymous said...

It is a very interesting project but let me bring up right away the big elephant in the room.. what is the cost of the plan? Also, US is a very big country and it seems that you will work long distance. Are the networks of specialists needed for the plan already identified and in place for each area of the country? How did you choose them? Are they accepting insurance?

Kat said...

Sounds like a great program! I can't wait to hear more :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy,

I admit that I haven't read and commented on your blog since 2015, but the Holy Spirit asked me to take a look at your blog today. Wow! I am sorry to read about your civil divorce. Your life and mine has had some parallels. I too was married and desired children for many years. I got married in the Catholic Church to who I believed was a faithful Catholic when I was 26 years old. We were unable to have children and my husband agreed to research adoption and fostering to adopt. We became foster parents and fostered a baby girl for 6 months. After she left, my husband left our marriage. We went through counseling, but he couldn't stay in the marriage. After my civil divorce, it was very difficult. I was 34 years old, single, with no children. Since I knew that I was married in God's eyes, I decided that it would be just Him and me for now. I grew very close to the Lord during this journey. The loneliness that I felt was the hardest part of the cross. In the beginning, I would hear from a lot of friends or family. After about 6 months, most went back to their lives. During this time of loneliness, I found such consolation in Eucharistic Adoration and reading Sacred Scripture. I decided to pursue an annulment. My annulment was granted two years later. It was very healing for me and I am grateful to the Church to have the annulment process. I did not date anyone during this time. After my annulment was granted, I still did not feel ready to date anyone for about a year. Almost exactly a year after the annulment was granted, I got on Catholic Match. I prayed a Novena to the Holy Spirit. A few months later, the Holy Spirit introduced me to my future husband on the site. We got married last June and will celebrate our first anniversary this year. I am now 40 years old. My husband never married before so we do not have any children. We have tried to conceive since we married, but we have not had success. We took an NFP class last year and have tried to improve our nutrition. We both know that all things are possible with God. My husband is still looking for work as he is working a less than minimum wage job part time while he keeps looking. I share this story with you to say that you are not alone in your cross of divorce. I know that is it not easy, but I also know that God will continue to help you through it as long as you stay faithful to Him.

God bless you, Katherine

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Pax, to answer your great question (thank you!), the providers I have on board currently have all traditionally either not accepted insurance (Naturopath, for example, is in NJ where there is no license for NPs, astoundingly) OR such as the case of the psychologist, are generally not a covered expense except under very good plans. We decided as a group rather than to piece-meal it together, and again, to ensure that all of our sessions can be delivered completely long-distance, to not bill insurance at all. The cost, however, will be offered at a very deep discount for getting the sessions all together in our Program, as opposed to getting them individually from each. All costs will be broken down on the website for the launch!

Kat, thank you as always for following and for your support.

Katherine, I can't tell you how much the sharing of your story has meant to me. Thank you for taking the time to write it, and I will be praying for you and your husband. God Bless you.

Shannon said...

Sounds like a great new endeavor for you! Prayers for its success and for your well-being of course.

Jenny said...

I love the idea. I've been checking your blog consistently to hear about the launch because I've been inspired by your IF journey and know that you will offer great things in this space.

A couple things that will go through my mind as I choose whether or not to purchase this package:
I'm very interested in using Natural Family Planning to achieve pregnancy - I previously used it to avoid. Unfortunately, I've been to several practitioners and also a NaPro doctor, and to them it's unexplained and they haven't been able to recommend changes to me that will help (not just that their changes haven't helped - some of them have just said they have no idea why I'm not pregnant and so aren't really sure what I should change outside of anecdotal changes). In this process, I've gone through several providers - some of whom have been more helpful and some have been less. That experience makes me wary of purchasing a package (what if some of the providers know less/can't help/just aren't a good fit with me?). I think that the opportunity to buy a consultation before committing to a package would be something that I would want that would make me more likely to committ to a plan like this (basically, a way to know that these specialists DO have a plan they can help me with). It could also help to have multiple sized
or configurations of packages (I need X and Y but not Z, or I need LOTs of X and a little Y&Z). Just a few things I know I would be looking for as I consider this plan!

No matter what, best of luck to you in the new endeavor and I look forward to checking out your website.

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Thank you, Jenny! I developed the program especially with women and couples like you in mind, and your honest and open feedback is so important, so thank you for being brave enough to share it!

This helps me in being able to address the major reasons why each provider is a) included, and b) included with as many sessions as are a part of the package, for the website copy. For the past 6-8 months, I have really gone back and forth both in my own mind and also with these providers, over what would be the best # of sessions for what purpose they will serve to the journey, and each one is truly at the set amount needed to actually make any kind of difference. I had wanted, originally, to put more appointments with both the psychologist and the Naturopath, for example, but for a therapist to truly be influential, the consult will establish the relationship and the expectations. So, we stuck with just the consult, with the option to continue with the same therapist (or seek a different one) up to the couple. For the Naturopath, each woman and each couple will have a different set of issues they come to that provider with - some much more complex than others. However, her role will be to run and interpret 2 specific tests that she has training and expertise in, then crafting a plan to address the nutritional deficiencies and polymorphisms - this is the minimum 2 sessions with her. Again, she will make suggestions if she sees that more sessions are warranted with that particular client, but not everyone will need that level of ongoing attention.
For a diet/nutrition plan to truly succeed, however, what I found time and time again was that women need a roadmap with an expert navigator, not simply a few recommendations with no follow-up. The Nutritional Therapist, therefore, will provide her entire wellness program of 6 sessions.
The others, FCP and IBCLC, again will do the bare minimum but full-scope program to carry through as long as the client needs it.

This will be outlined much better on the website, but this at least gives the gist! I am avoiding the pick-and-choose mentality that I have witnessed countless couples fail with, over and over again. It is impossible to pick and choose if you have no understanding of how something may be of benefit to you, and all of these providers WILL help bring health and wellness at the very least. Unlike a physician, for example, that you visit for an HSG, or for Clomid. The test could show no abnormalities, and the medicine could result in no pregnancy, and then you're left empty-handed and out the $$ with nothing to show for it. But by getting on a catered-to-you nutrition and supplement plan, and given the education about your body and its biomarkers, you will always win in the Get Healthier game - AND be that much more likely to conceive as a result!

Jenny said...

Thanks for your response! I like the consult-based idea (where the package includes "minimum effective dose" and you choose to do more follow-up if needed, or not if not needed), and I like the specificity of what each one will do (interpret and create a plan for X test)! It does seem great to have a holistic plan laid out! Looking forward to the website launch!! Good luck with it, praying for your success!

Chasing said...

Love it

Anonymous said...

would you be willing to work with customers who are not totally IF, but are slow at conceiving and if/when they do the pregnancy is extremely hard? we have been successful at conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy with the help of T3 (for thyroid) and progesterone shots. Unfortunately, the pregnancy was so very difficult that I am having a hard time committing again to the plan (assuming the plan will work again) and I would like help to figure out if I can address any potential problems in my body to make pregnancy more doable.

Good luck with everything!


Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

Hi Katherine,

Thank you for your question! So much appreciated.

I do think your situation could be addressed, and there will actually be an application process to delve deeper into each person's specific situation and ensure that the program is a good fit for them.

It wouldn't just be me making that final determination, but the whole team. But in my experience, it sounds like you would be a good fit.

prayerfuljourney said...

THis sounds awesome. I need to look better at my diet as well. I've been working out and sometimes I feel that I would see more results if I could eat better. It's hard to make dietary changes that will also fit my families needs. I just try my best to keep snacky foods away and try to eat more veggies.

I'm looking forward to reading more about your new business and what it entails.

Praying it is a huge success for you!

BTW: Diet for me now is more about health and wellness and not fertility. I'm not looking to get pregnant anymore. I'm perfectly happy with the little girl my dh and I adopted last year. :)