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A story of a Harvard student going through IVF

Month: May 2017

Today Is My Birthday

Today is my birthday. Who would have thought that I was scheduled to have sonohysterogram on my birth anniversary. This is a procedure to prepare for the frozen embryo transfer? The purpose is to detect if there’s any abnormalities since the egg retrieval and hormonal treatment.

I have heard so many scary stories about what people have found during the procedure – polys , tumors, unknown tissues, etc. I have also been told about how discomfort it could cause.

The bottom line is…I hate vaginal-ultrasound. That thingy is never ever girl’s best friend. And if you are putting saline and a balloon in it for a scan, that doesn’t sound like a pleasant experience to me at all.

So I was mentally prepared that something would have gone wrong…or the Dr might say something like “hmm, we found something. And we will need to delay your embryo transfer. I am sorry!”

I was holding my husband’s hand so tight as I was so worry that it could be very painful. Even my hubby thought that I would bite him (for stress relief). While my Dr was inserting all sort of ‘materials’ to get ready for the scan, I was anxiously waiting for the ‘pain’ to happen. I waited and waited…nothing yet. Then all the sudden, my Dr said “Ok. Everything looks fine. Your uterus is perfect. Good luck on your transfer!”

The scan by itself was less than 10 secs.

WHAT? That’s it?! I have a perfect uterus?!?! You kidding me?

Disbelief. For days and weeks, I told myself that I ain’t the lucky one who would have a smooth cycle. I never would have thought to have a ‘perfect uterus’. I sat by the ultrasound machine and kept asking my Dr for any possible signs of imperfection. The answer was still ‘No’. She took off her gloves and left the room.

So…this is it. I am one step closer to transfer. I have the privilege to continue this path. This is scary, yet surreal.

Today is my birthday. The birthday present I gave to myself is a perfect uterus.  Unbelievable.

A Year After My Graduation

Me, my husband, Harvard

It is officially a year since I wore this graduation grown. I still remember the heat and the excitement from the commencement on May 26, 2016. I know my parents were so proud of me. I know my husband was busy taking pictures of us in a 75 degree weather.  I was showered by greeting cards and congrats messages.

Some people might have anticipated for what’s in the store for me after graduation.  I know a few people have constantly checked my Linkedin profile for new ‘job title’. I got messages from mentors and colleagues asking about my ‘career updates’. I have recruiters pitching me a few job postings.

I don’t think anyone would have expected that I literally took the whole fxxking year trying to conceive.

Yes. I gave up career and turned my head into ‘planned parenthood’. In just a few days, I am 1 year closer to the big ‘four zero’. While my colleagues are traveling for business meetings and/or getting a promotion, my husband and I visit the fertility clinic once or twice a month in preparation for a in vitro fertilization.  I stopped going to professional networking. Instead, I joined 3 IVF support groups to receive advice and to lend my shoulder to other struggling women.

We retrieved 23 eggs, fertilized 12. We created 7 embabies.

This is me. This is what I have been doing since I graduated.


How to Tell Your Male Mentor You Are on IVF

“Hey, what are you up to? Let me know if you will be XX by the next few months so that I can help make some introduction”

“So good to hear from you! I’m recovering from a procedure from IVF but I’m doing well. Where are you heading to? I may plan a trip soon.”

Soon after I entered ‘send’, this conversation became radio silent. I didn’t hear from him for a nearly a month.

I am not sure if my mentor was confused by my response. Or he just took it as “I am taking a break in my career and making babies now. Bye!”

Obviously, I didn’t get the ‘introduction’. The feeling is so cold as I felt like I am not the ‘chosen one’, just like the ladies in any episodes of the ‘Bachelor’ . I am no longer being invited into an elite group of executive business; I won’t be joining the important conversation of investment for the future. For a few seconds or hours, I felt worthless. All the hard works that I put in order to follow the shadow of my executive sponsor meant nothing now. All I have left was a bunch of tight pants, dresses and business tops that I can no longer wear (due to weight gain by fertility treatment).

If you are reading this, I am not asking you to lie to your mentor / boss about IVF. Nothing will make you feel more relief and powerful than telling the truth. But if you are like me, I want you to be prepared that male mentors aren’t necessarily trained / prepared to assist women like me, who is undergoing fertility crisis. The fact that they are kind enough to take you on board, despite the gender gap, is already remarkable. What I’d suggest is not to take the ‘silence’ as a rejection. Find the most appropriate time to engage with him and to let him know that you are always appreciative of his support. Always be grateful for his thoughtfulness and continue to maintain the mentoring relationship the best you can.

And last but not least, don’t put too many eggs in one basket. There is always someone out there that is nurturing and eager to listen.