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Contemplations on This Crazy Thing Called Life

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a blog by Traci Shahan, RN, WHNP-BC, Doctor of Nursing, Albrecht Women’s Care Denver IVF, March 31, 2012

As I write this, my family and I are in Vail, where the snow is wretched, but the convivial mood in town is celebratory and upbeat. The Vail valley is the kind of place where you can eat a leisurely breakfast, exchange names, handshakes and gossip with your laid back server, Greg, leave, then remember halfway down the valley that you got so engrossed in trading stories that you forgot to pay. After you turned around and went back and paid, Greg was nonplussed, wiping tables and said, "Don't worry, happens all the time. Everyone always comes back." I love this in my native state.

After breakfast, we ambled through the village and poked around the shops. There were families everywhere speaking various languages, dressed according to the norm of the country or region from which they hail. Although I've had a great time, this afternoon i took some much needed time by myself to sit with a sort of melancholy that had been creeping up on me. I decided to swim laps because being in the water helps me sort things out, as if the pristine pool settles my angst and helps me to discern better.

Midway through, I figured out what was bugging me — all the happy families! What topped it off was that the woman who was my massage therapist had never heard of reproductive endocrinology, apparently having had her family without even intending.

Now this — nonchalantly getting pregnant and bearing children without a care — is completely foreign to me. And at certain points in my life, nearly unforgivable.

I remembered how it took me many years, surgeries, embarrassing appointments, all the tens of thousands of dollars, countless hours while both of my requests to women I thought might consider carrying a pregnancy for me declined. Then I thought of our dear patients back home, one who, as I left Friday, had left a dozen fresh eggs from her farm on my desk. I thought of all the patients who are pregnant, those with upcoming in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles, those who just became parents. I thought of the one I visited last weekend who just gave birth after being patient during treatment for secondary infertility. Then I thought of my ever patient husband who never let me quit, despite crazy insurmountable odds. (I created only a few follicles during IVF when I was expected to make at least 10.,) I checked the urge to call the office to check in because I believe we all need to disengage for a bit from everyday pressures. I learned about self care from infertility, actually.

I looked around at the families playing in the pool, listened to the shrieks of delight from the kids and watched as dads flung their toddlers into the water. Suddenly the melancholy morphed into wonder at this crazy existence we call life. And for those of us who have ever needed help having a baby, I was really grateful for the incredible field of reproductive medicine.

Be well.

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