RSCBA medical assistant offers inspiring words and shares her journey in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week
Quite often, I reflect on how I got to be where I am and how grateful I am to be a mother working in healthcare, specifically with patients who have experienced infertility.
I can empathize with their struggles and can relate to their experiences. Although everyone’s circumstances may be different, I do my best to offer them positivity and encouragement.
I have relied on my heart to guide my way and I encourage patients to do the same. “What does your heart tell you?” I often ask. Listen and then run in that direction.
Infertility is very challenging and patients are often dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of medical treatment, the uncertainty of the outcomes and the obstacle of making decisions for their care. Even if the mind is not consciously thinking, the unconscious mind and body respond to feelings that stem from the heart.
My personal story
I speak from a wide spectrum of experience and I can relate to most of the feelings that patients have. I have felt what it’s like to be in their shoes. My journey to motherhood has been the best experience ever and in retrospect, I can genuinely appreciate the events that unfolded in my life.
I had my first child at the tender age of 18. Although this was indeed a blessing, it was a trying time. Getting pregnant seemed easy then, but my youth and inexperience as a mother made me fearful about getting pregnant again.
In my heart, I felt that I should wait until I was ready, stable and old enough to have another child. Nine years later, at 27, I had my second child. This time around, the lessons that I learned from having my first child, as well as listening to my heart, guided me and I felt more confident in my decisions. As a planner, I was determined to have my next child soon in hopes of having two children who would be closer in age.
When my second child turned three years old, I set the course to plan my next child. I planned for the baby to be born in the spring because I had already had one birth in the winter and another in the summer. I wanted this one to be different. I went to work plotting my third child’s astrological sign and comparing it with my own.
However, throughout all of this planning, I realized that I wasn’t getting pregnant like I was supposed to. I kept track of my cycle, looked up ovulation calculators online and was aware of when I should be ovulating. While this was unsettling, my heart told me that if I was persistent, I would be resilient.
As each month passed, I would wait for my menstrual cycle to NOT come. Each month, it did. I felt less and less inclined to keep trying. One month, I had an inkling of hope when I did not get my period. I thought I may have been off on my dates. Unsure, I purchased a pregnant test kit. To my disappointment, the result was negative.
During all of this, two of my friends who had not been trying to have a baby got pregnant. I began to resent them and felt shame in doing so. I took this as a huge blow and kept thinking, “Why can’t we get pregnant? Is it something I’m doing wrong? Is it something my husband is doing? What could be the reason we are not getting pregnant?”
I began to get irritated. Everywhere I looked, I saw pregnant people. In magazines, in stores, in commercials.
I began to feel disappointed and depressed. I noticed myself turning down social functions and keeping my feelings to myself. In addition to all of this, sexual relations between myself and my husband were at a low and intimacy went completely out the door because I just wanted to get pregnant. This began to cause stress between my husband and me and we talked to each other less. Each month my hormones were all over the place and I just felt so alone.
Light at the end of the tunnel
Although working in the infertility field can give a person a general knowledge base of reproduction, unless it’s happened to you, or you’ve shared in an experience, you do not realize the struggle that most patients with infertility problems are going through. At this time, my heart was broken and it needed a boost.
The ups and downs in my life were taking a downturn which was leading to despair and hopelessness.
The light at the end of the tunnel actually came to me from an infertility blog. The blog helped me realize that I was not alone in this process. My feelings felt confirmed through this blog and sharing experiences with other couples.
At one point, I had a heart-to-heart conversation with myself and came to the realization that pregnancy would happen. With this newfound affirmation and the resources available to me, I set out to be more positive and go with the flow.
I made changes to my diet, I exercised, I took relaxation measures to make my life less stressful. My husband and I improved our communication and went on more dates together. We interacted with friends at social gatherings and made sure to take good care of our minds, bodies and souls.
Three years passed and we were given the wonderful news that we were pregnant. I took three urine pregnancy tests because I could not believe this news. What great joy! However, I was very guarded and had a lot of anxiety. I kept hoping that the pregnancy would keep, because the occurrence of bleeding early on in the pregnancy had me concerned.
I met with a practitioner who performed a sonogram and reported that all was well with the pregnancy. I learned that occurrences of bleeding are not uncommon. At first, I was afraid, but then I was relieved when I received confirmation that the baby was okay. Inside my heart, I was positive.
When patients come in for their final ultrasound at the fertility clinic and proceed to graduate to their respective OB/GYNs for care, I can empathize with their feelings. Know that you are never alone. You have a great team of doctors, support staff, family and friends. Above all, you have to follow what your heart tells you and let it guide the way. Wherever life takes you … run in that direction.