"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born." Isaiah 66:9

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Written by an RE, who obviously "gets it"

I borrowed this from my friend, Kat's fb page...


This is so true. Very touching. Another neat note on the sacrifices Mothers-to-Be make on a daily basis for the children they don't even have yet... Written by a Fertility Dr in Arizona on Mother's Day...

She broke the bread into two fragments, and gave them to the children, who ate with avidity. “She has kept none for herself,” grumbled the sergeant. “Because she is not hungry,” said a soldier. “Because she is a mother,” said the sergeant. – Victor Hugo

The other day I ran into another one of those patients that always makes me smile when I see her. She brought me up to date on what was happening in her life. It was a story of debilitating pain and multiple surgeries to try and relieve the pain. Instead of relief she developed a tumor in the area that required more surgery. In the end she was still in just as much pain and on chronic medications for it. I expressed my heartfelt sympathy for what she has had to go through. She smiled and said she’s fine and that she is almost off of the pain medications because she is planning to come to see me soon to try to have another baby. She was coming off of the medications not because she didn’t have pain, she was coming off of the medication because she wanted to have another baby. I looked into her eyes – and her smile and realized I am a better person for knowing her.

Mother’s day is upon us. It is not that welcome of a holiday for my patients. Gifts passed out at church or given by a well meaning spouse do little to fill the void of yearning that brings them to my office. We hear stories about the great love, sacrifice and courage that mother’s have for their children, but little is said about the incredible love, sacrifice and courage of my “mothers-to-be”.

It takes incredible courage to acknowledge that there is even a problem. We all want to believe that we are in control of our lives and to acknowledge that there is a fertility problem is to internalize a lack of control over this incredibly sensitive part of their lives.

It takes courage to seek medical attention. No one likes to see doctors (I’m over a year late for my colonoscopy), and the trip to the fertility doctor is a particularly difficult journey.

It takes courage to undergo procedures that are not comfortable and are in an area where discomfort is particularly unwanted.

It takes courage to face the possibility of disappointment. Studies have shown that when a woman experiencing infertility has a period, indicating that once again she is not pregnant, she experiences the same degree of grief as if her brother or sister had just died. Most of us will go through that only once or twice in our lifetime. Imagine going through that every month for years. Then imagine going through a specific procedure to get pregnant and having it not work.

It takes courage to hope that it will work the first time and proceed , and even greater courage to experience a failed attempt and then turn around and have the courage to hope again.

These women undergo great sacrifices.

They sacrifice the intimacy of what was supposed to be a wonderful and intensely personal experience with their partner for a doctor’s office.

They sacrifice time on often repetitive visits for monitoring and procedures.

They sacrifice financial resources as they struggle to have something that everyone around them seems to receive without thought and sometimes with disdain.

They sacrifice personal comfort, sometimes thinking that if they experience pain, they will be more worthy of the “gain” they so desperately seek.

Why? Why do they do this? They do this for the same reason the mother gives her bread and goes without. They do it for love. The only difference is that they do it for a deep abiding love for a child that they have not yet held, a voice they have not yet heard, a smile they have not yet seen, and a touch they have not yet felt.

My smiling patient had experienced infertility for 10 months when she came to see me. It was clear that each passing month was difficult. She had endometriosis and her husband had a sperm problem. We unfortunately discovered that her biological clock was more advanced than it should have been. When two months of inseminations failed, she went immediately to IVF. She required high doses of medication to produce 9 eggs but only made 4 embryos. One of them would be her beautiful baby boy.

Sixteen months after delivery, she was back for a brother or sister. She did IVF again. Similar story with a positive pregnancy test but then the pregnancy hormone dropped, leaving her with what is called a “biochemical pregnancy”. The pain from her medical condition had reached a peak and she had to stop infertility treatment to pursue that. She returned two years later after many surgeries and no relief in her pain with the intent to continue but could not. She returns now two years later having experienced a tumor where her pain surgeries had been and having had an additional 7 biochemical pregnancies – and she still wears a smile. She is the epitome of the courage, sacrifice, and love that characterizes mothers in general and the “mothers-to-be” that I have the privilege of associating with every day.

To each of them and to mother’s everywhere, Happy Mother’s day!

Drew V. Moffitt, M.D., FACOG, is the co-medical director of the Arizona Reproductive Medicine Specialists (ARMS), the director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and an assistant professor at the University of Arizona. He is now president of ARMS and director of the Division of Reproductive Medicine and infertility for the residency program at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. Dr. Moffitt has significant clinical experience in assisted reproductive technologies and reproductive surgery.

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