I have been in the field of fertility for over ten years now. I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed. I started off as a young graduate, still single, working many long hours since I didn’t have a family to go home to. My coworkers became my extended family. My work and my patients were my life.
I remember the first patient I ever got pregnant. She was a physician’s wife. They were so elated that they were finally going to have the family they had dreamed of. They were so appreciative, not only to me, but the miracle that allowed it to happen. Months later, after they had started seeing their obstetrician, I heard from a colleague that her husband had died of a heart attack, having never met their unborn son. I was truly devastated by this news. I never spoke to her after that but there have been many days and nights when I have thought of her, and her son, and wondered what became of them. I’m sure she had many tough, desperately lonely nights. But I was thinking of her, and hoping for better days ahead.
During the fertility journey, there are many times when you may feel isolated, like nobody can understand what you are going through, and it may be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe you don’t think your partner will understand. Maybe your friends are busy having their own baby showers and certainly they won’t understand. Maybe you don’t want to “burden” anyone with your personal struggles. Believe it or not, we get many of those phone calls in our office too. Most of us are in the field of fertility because of a strong sense of compassion and commitment to family. Your success is truly our success too. Your failure is heartbreaking and we share your disappointment. We bond with our patients, and when you need us, we are here.
I once had a patient who truly was alone. Her partner was always travelling, never able to come to her appointments with her. When she arrived for her embryo transfer procedure, the big day when many partners take off of work to accompany their spouse, she showed up to the clinic crying, nervous, scared and alone. One of the nurses assisting the procedure came to tell me about it. I went and sat with her during the procedure.
Certainly there have been many joyous occasions that I have shared with my patients. I am honored and humbled to call them with positive pregnancy test results. When I hear them shedding tears of joy, chances are, I’m reaching for a tissue also. The highlight of my job is when I do an ultrasound and show them the heartbeat of their unborn child. When they weep, I stare intently at the ultrasound screen, trying to blink back tears. I get the privilege of being witness to your little miracle, to be a part of a moment you will forever cherish.
There have been many nights, as I lie in bed unable to sleep, that I think of my patients. I know I am not the only person who does this, many of my coworkers do too. I smile at the successes, I am saddened by the failures, and I am thinking of my patients and everything they have gone through. So when you are lying in bed thinking the same thing, feel free to call me, I’ll be up too.