Thursday, May 14, 2015

MiM Intro: PracticeBalance

Full disclosure: I am not a mother... yet. But I will hopefully (finally) be one soon!

Like many women in the medical profession, I delayed my plans for starting a family until late in my residency training. I initially worked as a chemical engineer, and I also traveled extensively to rock climb prior to deciding on medicine. In addition to entering the medical field a bit later than average, I frankly wasn't ready to be a mom when I was a medical student. I found the amount of work ahead of me to be exciting but also overwhelming in the face of a potential pregnancy/childbirth/parenting etc.

About half-way through my anesthesiology residency (coinciding with my 35th birthday), my husband and I decided it was time to start trying. Only one thing stood in the way: I hadn't had a period in several months. I had always been irregular, but those irregular intervals had increased during internship to an eventual standstill of menstruation. After ignoring this warning sign for a while, I finally sought the help of a reproductive endocrinologist. This initiated a long journey with many blood draws, tests, and time off which finally revealed that I had a large pituitary tumor causing severe hormonal disregulation. My experiences managing both physical and psychological stresses during medical training prompted me to start my own blog, PracticeBalance.com, in 2011. I continue to write regular posts there about stress management, being a patient, and self-care issues.

After my tumor removal, I have suffered from continued hormone deficiencies, which means that I need to use assisted reproductive techniques to get pregnant. I started following Mothers in Medicine a few years ago, around the same time that we actively began trying to conceive. I work three days per week as a purely clinical anesthesiologist (no research or teaching responsibilities) in a large academic hospital - what I'm hoping will be the perfect setup for balancing a career and motherhood!

So now here I am, currently expecting my first child - three years, one miscarriage, and thousands of dollars later. I hope to bring a perspective to the MiM community about what it's like to be an expectant mom (and then eventually a new mom) while working in the operating room. I could also write about what it's like to be an IVF patient (who happens to be a medical professional), if there is any interest in that. Currently I am experiencing a lot of apocalyptic worry regarding all that could go wrong in my pregnancy - feelings born out of both having had a miscarriage in the past and having work-related experience with all the "bad things" that can happen.

Please let me know what you'd like me to write about by leaving a comment below. I'm excited to be here and look forward to hearing from you!

18 comments:

  1. congratulations on the pregnancy. infertility is so hard.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congratulations! I hope the remainder of your pregnancy goes well. I for one would be interested to hear more about ivf. I'm just about to undergo IVF for preimplantation genetic diagnosis to prevent our future children from having tuberous sclerosis. My daughter has a severe form and she got it from me. I look forward to reading more from you about whatever insights you have and wish you the best of luck as you begin the amazing adventure of motherhood. It seems you have a great setup for a good balance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Best of luck for the PGD, see my comment below!

      Delete
  3. I would love to hear about life in the OR as an expectant/new mom, and especially about IVF as a medical professional. I'm an anesthesia R1 (like intern in the US) and having been trying for a pregnancy for 6 months. Due to issues with both myself and my husband, we're looking at seeing an RE soon and potentially IVF. If we end up in that scenario, I have no idea how I'm going to juggle those demands with my R2-3 years. It's not something that's talked about and would love to hear about your experience!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will be hard, but don't be discouraged. You could always take FMLA if in an understanding program. See my comment below.

      Delete
  4. Thanks so much for your encouragement and suggestions! I will start working on some IVF content for MiM. In the meantime, you may enjoy reading these 3 posts (I suggest reading from the bottom up) on my personal blog about my experiences with IVF: http://www.practicebalance.com/search/label/family

    ReplyDelete
  5. From one pregnant mama to another, congratulations! I too, have been through a miscarriage and I remember the fear and reservation I felt at the beginning of this pregnancy. Wishing you a wonderful, yet uneventful pregnancy :)
    I also wanted to mention that I hopped on over to your blog and I loved the post about choosing specialties. I know I'm just starting school, but I'm going to keep those questions as a framework in the back of my mind as I start to explore my options.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful! Thank you and good luck to you too!

      Delete
  6. Congrats on your pregnancy!! I'm a new MS4 with 3 little kids planning to go into anesthesiology. Your current schedule is my dream, I hope that I will be there someday! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honestly it is rare and requires bring in the right place at the right time, but it IS possible!

      Delete
  7. Congrats on your pregnancy!! I'm a new MS4 with 3 little kids planning to go into anesthesiology. Your current schedule is my dream, I hope that I will be there someday! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I checked out your website and found those articles very informative. I also figured out from your name, that you were a resident when I was a lowly third year medical student in my first rotation of the year, internal medicine. You probably don't remember me but I remember your kindness and competence, and also your awesome shoes. You are going to make a great mom and I'm so excited for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember someone named Emily. Last name starting with a P?? :) Thank you so much!!

      Delete
  9. I'm really enjoying reading the introductions to a whole crew of really cool MiMs. I look forward to reading everyone's posts!

    ReplyDelete
  10. PracticeBalance, it's great to see you here (and in the OR). I look forward to following you in two places. You bring such great perspectives and insight.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm glad you are on MIM! You have a valuable perspective and I can't wait to read more.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Welcome! I love what I've read on your blog. I would be interested in learning how you arrange coverage for your own appointments and tips on being pregnant in the OR.

    ReplyDelete

Comments on posts older than 14 days are moderated as a spam precaution. So.Much.Spam.