#Listen Up: The Difference In Doctors

Insights on Infertility Medicine’s Failings

For National Infertility Awareness Week April, 2017

“Something is wrong. The holidays are over, yet my physical symptoms are still present”.

I was sitting, practically slumped over on my primary care physician’s table. I had originally thought the debilitating and sudden onset symptoms I was experiencing might have been spurred by holiday grief. I had just been riding a fairly good, transformational spell but had become open, in the past three years, to the fact that grief can do funny things.

“I feel just like I felt two weeks ago when I went to the ER” I informed him, my heart bouncing around in my chest as unprovoked waves of nausea and panic swept through me while the room spun.

Fortunately, he listened to me and took me seriously. He showed concern. And he acknowledged right away that his puzzlement over why a healthier than average almost 45 year old was in such a state of disarray warranted further investigation. Investigation he knew required the help of others, so he funneled me to the right specialists. On my way to a diagnosis I was, unaware of the relative medical paradise I was about to enter.

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My Dicey Relationship with Goals

Musings on infertility’s psychological aftermath

In the aftermath of infertility, on the heels of the numbness and avalanche of grief that follows, there is a lot of sorting to do.

For me, it conjures the image of a once complete home now in shreds of rubble and shrapnel post tornado. Some of the pieces are just missing. Some still present are unrecognizable. Most noticeable is that the pieces no longer fit together into a form that shouts sense, direction and continuity.

And so in my mind, I have piles. (more…)

Sweet Words

A doctor finally gets it right

I have two major biochemical imbalances that caused chronic and sometimes suicidal depression between the ages of 17 – 29.  They were finally diagnosed and pretty well treated by the Pfeiffer Health Research Institute via a prescribed nutrient therapy program.  While I should normally get re-tested every year or two, for me, this was just one more thing that got pushed to the side during fertility treatments and the subsequent loss of our children.

I think most if not all of us have situations where our infertility collides with challenges and crisis we faced prior.  Those experiences can be internal, or more external, as it was when I was driving to my first Pfeiffer appointment in four years about a month ago.  I was pondering how I was going to explain the infertility/childlessness trauma/PTSD amid grief symptoms amid symptoms of my biochemical imbalances with a dash of peri-menopause thrown in while marinating in that all too familiar not knowing if I was going to be seen, heard and taken seriously. (more…)

Future Generations: Nine Things Young People Should Know About Human Reproduction

When it comes to infertility and involuntary childlessness, everyone needs to go back to school.

The second day of our little North Fork of Long Island July getaway started out with a full delicious breakfast, and a bike rental that went off without a hitch.  Perfect eighty – degree weather and much pedaling brought us to our first winery stop in the early afternoon.

Sipping on a succulent sparkling rose, my husband and I found ourselves seated in proximity to what for us is a past life of sorts – a group of eight youngsters celebrating an engagement.  I enjoyed their effervescence to the hum of my internal groan as they yammered on about how many kids each of them wanted and were going to have.

The disturbing aspect of all this you ask?  What was missing.  (more…)

The Need For a Tribe

The Global Sisterhood Summit Part 1

“It’s just so damned basic, THAT’S why it’s hard to iterate.”

I was musing to my husband as I attempted to compose an e-mail to my yoga teacher training colleagues.  I was on my way to Vancouver for the first known formal gathering of women who wanted children but couldn’t have them and desired to share why I was not going to be in yoga teacher training attendance that weekend.   But, like all other communications these days it was proving to be a challenge.  (more…)

#StartAsking Reproductive Medicine to Prioritize Patient Care

Dear Reproductive Medicine,

I’m one of your patients.

I went through five IUI’s (all done with injectables), one hysteroscopy/laparoscopy surgery for stage 3 endometriosis, four fresh IVF cycles and one frozen.

I also, during my four year trying to conceive trek, unexpectedly dealt with PTSD that went undiagnosed for quite some time and entailed panic attacks, many of which took place in your waiting rooms.

My husband and I have now embarked on the third year of grieving and mourning the loss of our children, notably all by ourselves.  And no, we don’t consider our departure from reproductive medicine and the pursuit of a family with children a “choice” upon which our grief can be blamed.  It was, rather, the only sane and responsible action to take under the circumstances.

Yes, I’m one of your patients.  A patient who, two years and three months out of her final treatment is disturbed by many aspects of the care she got….and didn’t get…..while in the care of reproductive medicine.  Prompted by this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week theme, it’s time to #StartAsking. (more…)

#StartAsking For Support From Family

Guest Post – My Mom

I’ve been noticing that it seems our family members need to speak on our behalves a lot more.  I envision a future where people speak up for family members dealing with infertility as much as they do for any of life’s other crisis and unexpected heartaches.

I know that eliciting support from family is not always feasible.  Not everyone has a parent, parents or siblings within reach, due to death and other circumstances.  And, since we have about as much of a choice of who our parents are as we do over our reproductive situations (please read: none!), some of us are dealing with more astronomical levels of crazy than others.  Please know that I abide with these circumstances too.

The path to incorporating the hardship of treatments, the losses brought by infertility and the needs that arise because of them into my extended families’ reality has not been an easy one.  But we all persisted and I’m glad we did.  It touches on a spirit present in some of my other posts, which is that one doesn’t matter less in any given equation because they couldn’t have children easily or at all.  So, with that said I’ll turn things over to Mom. (more…)