priorities imageIt has been over two years since we started this process. When I think about the time commitment, it is like taking on a new big life project or part time job. There is the element of managing the time needed for doctor appointments and ensuring injections can be given about the same time every day (For our last cycle, I endured at least 80 intramuscular injections to support the embryo transfer and pregnancy). There’s training on how to give the injections and following up with various pharmacies to fill prescriptions and to make sure they will be available on time and if they are covered by insurance. There’s up front financial planning, insurance inquiries and perhaps the decision to sell off investments and take out loans. It may mean saying no to vacations. Going through all the planning and commitments for one cycle is manageable as it becomes the top priority of your life for a couple of months. However, we have now done this five times, including the time commitment to go through the egg donor process as well as the unexpected periods of time to recover from failed cycles in addition to pregnancy losses. Over the past two years, the commitment and emotional strain of this process has impacted decisions about my career and how I want to live my life, which has lead to some positive changes.   During my first pregnancy, I was in a very stressful job. I was miserable and exhausted. I wanted to be as healthy as possible during my pregnancy and I could not figure out how to reduce my stress level at work. I kept thinking to myself that I would just hang in there until I had maternity leave then I would look for another job. But that never happened. After losing our baby, Jaxon at 15 weeks and returning to work two weeks later, I made the decision to change my job. It was an absolute necessity for my mental health. I was very lucky that there was something I could move into but the process took a few months. While grieving and managing depression I was still under terrible stress at work but I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. This was a very different type of career decision for me. I had spent about 15 years pushing forward, taking on new challenges, taking risks and putting myself in situations outside of my comfort zone in order to get to the next big career move. But this time was different. I made a deliberate decision to return to a job that I had done before for many years. And that is exactly what I needed…Established expertise without stress of learning a new role, predictable challenges, and a feeling of stability. My plan was to create a situation at work that allowed me to focus on my health, emotional recovery and enough flexibility in my schedule to manage doctor appointments for our continued attempts to make a baby. While it ended up taking another nine months to achieve my goal of manageable stress and a stable, supportive work environment, it was worth the time and effort. I even managed to achieve a promotion along the way. I am incredibly thankful for the support I have at work from my management and close friends, which enables me to continue to pursue our dream of having our own baby. For this last embryo transfer cycle and nine weeks of pregnancy, the flexibility to manage my time at work allowed me to go to at least 12 doctor appointments and at least 10 trips to the lab for blood draws. Overall, my priorities have shifted from a focus on my career development to a focus on my mental and physical health, and taking on this journey with my husband to make a baby. And this priority means we have to say no to some other things and accept the risk of disappointment while not losing sight that our dream could come true.

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