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Showing posts from March, 2014

Got March Madness? Stop Bracketing Your Life

(An image ubiquitous on the internet right now)
March Madness month is almost over, and some lucky (and skilled) players are about to reach their ultimate goals. It's also a time when people spend lots of energy predicting brackets and outcomes, expecting certain teams to win. The appearance of the bracket sheets remind me of my pre-medicine days as an engineer when I used to plan construction and water treatment projects. And it makes me think about how we often try to plan out the events of our lives as if they are on a linear time line... only life doesn't always comply with our plans. It certainly hasn't aligned with my expectations in recent months.

This article from the Huffington Post, although with a slightly mystical or religious bent, delivers the message clearly: life rarely follows a perfect plan. It's best to "show up" and work towards your goals as if they will happen exactly as you want, but don't expect the dominoes to fall perfectly into p…

Think of it as one, long pregnancy

(Photo: Jim Lowman)
I knew he meant well, but he could not and would not ever really understand.

"Think of it was one, long pregnancy," he said.

"I mean, all those eggs were all taken out of you on the same day and fertilized on the same day..."

"So it's like they're all part of the same process."

At first I laughed through my tears. To me, the only thing that felt real at the moment was the inevitability of my miscarriage. Though scientifically and evolutionarily flawed to say the least, I vaguely got what he was trying to say. And as the time marched on, I saw the true meaning of my husband's words.

I was well aware that by telling everyone about my pregnancy at an early stage I ran the risk that I would have to someday share bad news. So many people had already known that I was waiting for the results of my first IVF. Now I was regretting my choice, because only a week after the early sighting of a strong heartbeat, that day had come. The…

What IVF Taught Me

(Photo: personal collection)
I recently completed my first cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF). It is a long and detailed process, requiring lots of resources, money, time, and patience. The first stage involves, ironically, taking oral contraceptives to reset the hormone milieu and force all eggs into a senescent, follicular stage. The second stage involves injecting repeated doses of hormones to stimulate ovarian growth and maturation of as many eggs as possible. There is quite a bit of monitoring at this stage, including almost daily ultrasounds and blood draws to evaluate the progression of the eggs. The third stage is egg retrieval, in which all fluid-filled cysts within a certain size distribution are aspirated for the contained egg. The eggs are then fertilized with the intended sperm in a lab and are allowed to grow for 3-5 days into multi-celled embryos. The last stage is the embryo transfer in which the best-quality 2-3 embryos are injected back into the uterus for impla…