One year after the coronavirus was first declared a global pandemic, it’s safe to say that all of our daily lives have been changed in some way, even if we (and our loved ones) have remained healthy.
But for healthcare workers, the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly disruptive and challenging. Even when treating apparently healthy patients, the risk is always there. We’re grateful for the sacrifices all healthcare workers have made.
Whether providing preventive care or treating a disease like infertility, doctors and medical staff routinely put their own safety on the line to help patients keep or restore their health.
Here’s how the doctors (and physician assistant!) of CARE Fertility were impacted by the pandemic, and how they’ve coped with the stress and challenges of the past year.
With social lives paused, they embraced time with their families.
“My family’s 2020 was impacted in a lot of different ways, personally, but we managed to adapt (slowly!) and got through it,” said Morgan Copeland, PA.
“My husband pivoted and changed roles and is now currently staying home with our kids and while it’s not what we had planned, it’s turned into a blessing for many reasons.”
For Dr. Robin Thomas, the pandemic initially brought less time with her family.
“My husband is a local ER doctor, so he moved out for 3 months and lived at the First Responders’ hotel when the pandemic first hit us,” she explained. “Then, he moved back home but lived upstairs, away from us for another 3 months.”
“It was a crazy year for our family but we survived and are closer than ever,” said Dr. Thomas. “I’ve cherished the extra time spent at home with my family, instead of our usual hustle and bustle throughout the year.”
They also discovered a newfound appreciation for the health of their families.
“This pandemic has put things in a whole new perspective,” shared Dr. Anna Nackley. “I am thankful for my family and our health.”
And of course, they also got the vaccine as soon as they could.
“One of the happiest days of 2020 was the day I received the COVID 19 vaccination - I felt extremely fortunate to have been a recipient and it gave me hope that someday we can return to ‘normal,’” said Dr. Nackley.
They dream of traveling and spending time with friends
“Normally I go to a lot of meetings and give a lot of talks around the country and all around the world, and that's just come to an end,” said Dr. Kevin. “All of my talks over this past year have been over Zoom.”
“And I miss it,” he continued. “You know, at first I kind of liked not having to travel — and I don't love airports at all — but I do miss interacting with people in a way that you can't do necessarily completely well with Zoom. So when all of this is over I'll be happy to travel again and meet with colleagues face to face.”
Dr. Kathy has also embraced Zoom, and not just because it has become CARE Fertility’s standard practice for safely and conveniently consulting with patients!
“Zoom happy hours with my girlfriends made me laugh, smile and feel a bit more ‘normal,’” she said.
They also tried out new hobbies, or leaned into old ones.
“Initially it was difficult, because I think we’re all just so wired to be constantly busy that slowing down and staying in just seemed uncomfortable,” shared Morgan Copeland.
“I felt like I couldn’t watch Netflix 24/7, and wanted to find a hobby that would utilize my hands, because I tend to be pretty fidgety. I decided to try hand embroidery. I started with a stitch sampler and really enjoyed it. It was surprisingly relaxing to learn new stitches and follow along with a pattern,” she said.
“Finding quiet time alone to work on a hobby can still be a challenge most days but I’m definitely trying to be more intentional about it!”
Dr. Kathy also leaned into crafting and working with her hands. “I probably should have spent more time organizing my home, but I loved the chance to indulge in my hobbies – needlepoint and binge watching TV shows on Netflix!”
Dr. Nackley focused on hobbies she could enjoy with her children or that expanded her mind.
“Some of the things that have kept me busy during the pandemic are the board games we play at night with my kids, learning piano duets with my son, polishing up my Tagalog (Filipino language) with Rosetta Stone, and doing 15 minutes of French a day,” she shared.
“I also finally got to run a race outdoors in November for the Fort Worth Half Marathon, where I helped pace my running friend during the second half of his full marathon!”
Also a runner, Dr. Kathy focused on being outside with great music to make exercise a refreshing physical and mental break.
“Running outdoors with great music playing in my airpods went a long way to helping me feel better,” she shared.
Dr. Thomas also found solace in socially-distanced exercise. “I have been working out on my Peloton almost daily since the pandemic started, and this has been my primary saving grace.”
They enjoyed a little more time in the kitchen
“We finally got our act together a bit and started cooking dinner at home six out of seven days a week, which helped with some of the extra COVID weight that snuck up,” shared Morgan.
“Since we started cooking at home, my son always asks to help with cooking and is much more likely to at least try the veggies we cook and one of my daughter’s new favorite things is salad!”
They even added to their own families!
“The most excitement in our family,” Dr. Nackley shared, “has been the addition of two furry friends Coco and Binky, our cute little rabbits.
“These cuties bring us so much joy and entertainment.”
To all of the patients we treated over the past year, thank you for rolling with the punches right alongside us.
We know the pandemic has been difficult in its own unique way for infertility patients. We’re grateful to you for trusting us with your care and allowing us to play a role in building your future families.
If you have a success story to share, please consider passing it along with any baby photos (we can never get enough!) to us here. You never know how your story could inspire hope to someone else battling infertility.