Thursday, March 1, 2012

Earlier this week I saw a patient that I have been seeing for six years. I only see her yearly and I must admit, I don't immediately recall details of patients by a name on my schedule alone. But her face.

The second I saw her face I remembered.

She's a sister in this fight.
Only she never won.

She's 50 now.

I had to go through her electronic chart trying to find some information and as I clicked entry after entry the 'chief complaints' zipped by. I went back to the beginning, when she was 40.

I felt sick as I watched those years go by, literally clicking through them with my simple mouse clicks.

"A 40 year old female presents for..."
"A 41 year old female presents for..."
"A 42 year old female presents for..."

and so on and so on until now.

"Are those your babies?" she asked, gesturing towards my two small photos of the babies on my bookshelf in my office. I will not plaster the place with baby photos. I would hope I am more sensitive than that.


She knows I know her history. We've discussed it as it has related to the reason she sees me.

But she doesn't know mine.

She might have an inkling now, seeing the faces of my two adopted babies, but she might not.

Oh but my heart broke.
Her social history will always say: Number of children: zero.

I worked hard. I fought through so much. Year after year I hurt, a pain so raw and ragged there were days it threatened to take me right under. And she waged a war, too. For reasons unknown to me she stopped at medical treatment. I have no idea if she had any interest in adoption. If her mind wasn't open to it I wished it had been. But I"ll never know.

Life is not fair.
It will never be fair.
Everyone has pain.

"A 44 year old woman presents for..."
"A 45 year old woman present for..."
"A 46 year old woman presents for..."

Damn the years just keep ticking by and some are no closer to their dreams of being a parent.

It is a simple dream. A simple dream. The simplest, when you think about it, to be a parent. Most people take it for granted.

And I will never understand why it is denied to so many good souls out there.

Keep fighting ladies. Do not give up. Remember there are many paths to parenthood, and each one of them is beautiful and unique and none is better than the other.

Different--sure. But not better.

Hugs to you all, my fellow ladies in the battle. I haven't forgotten, even though I don't hurt so much anymore. For what it's worth, I promise I haven't forgotten.


  1. Oh, you make me tear up. I don't know what I'd do if adoption wasn't an option. XO

  2. What a sad and beautiful post. I know what you mean about not giving up - everyone has their "enough" point, I suppose, but like you, I look at the amazing results of our not-giving-up and wonder why some people stop when they do. And I don't think many of us forget - in fact, I've come to realise from the support I was given and the support I now try to give that those who have fought the battle and got through it are the ones who want it most for the ones still in the trenches.

  3. Beautiful post. making me cry. so so glad you got out the other side. so hoping to join you there.


  4. Love this post. Thanks for writing it.

  5. Great post - I haven't forgotten either

  6. Ah, yes. I have 2 women in my life who are both early 50's and gave up the IF fight. 1 of them even endured laparoscopic egg retrievals back in the day. They are my motivation to keep going... They have regrets... It totally is not fair...

  7. What a beautiful post. Thank you for this.

  8. Thank you... there are days that I just can't even imagine how I am going to keep fighting. Then I remember the stories of those of you who have won the battle, and I get some hope and fire to keep going forward. I am scared that my medical records read much like your patient. I dread going into my PCP- even though I need to- because I don't want to have to explain that we've had yet another loss.

    But I've said it before and I'll keep saying it--- you give me hope MTL... and for that I will be eternally grateful.

  9. Lovely post. I think about that when I see my patients too with a G0P0. I only know one of their stories- they shared with me- but mostly I try just to be fully present and careful to focus on why they're there. My heart goes out to them, especially when they're there for well-woman exams. On the flip side- it is AWESOME when you see them coming in with their kiddo for a well child check. The best!

  10. Wow, amazing post. You really do have a gift for putting IF emotions into words in a way that other people really feel them along with you. I’ll never forget your post about how going through multiple failed IVFs was like being on a plane listening to the engines cutting out one by one. That post broke my heart, as did this one.

    My dad’s partner is in her 60s and never had kids. I’m not sure if it was IF related or just circumstance, but she’s so the mothering type I’m certain she would’ve wanted them. My sister and I were pregnant at the same time (3 weeks apart) and I’ll never forget the tears I saw brimming in her eyes when we were both round there one day with our heavily pregnant bellies.

    So glad there are so many different options out there for building a family these days, maybe one day we will reach the point where no-one needs to lose this fight (we can hope).

    P.S. So happy that (present post excepted) your blog doesn’t break my heart anymore. Quite the opposite in fact!

  11. By the way when I say 'people' I mean people who've been there - am not sure fertiles can ever really understand, hard as some of them might try.

  12. I have a fair amount of curiosity about women who have never had children, also, especially when they are super-maternal types (not that I would *ever* ask about IF!). I've been really close to giving up on the journey as well, and can truly see how it may be the best decision for others. It can be so, so hard, and I'm sure you bring a tremendous amount of compassion for patients in your care who are going down that road.

  13. Beautiful post.

    And you never know - she may have been open to adoption but that process too, didn't work out.

  14. Beautiful post. So sad. I will never forget.

  15. This made me cry. I guess I still have IF scars and loss scars. And do I even have a right to? Where do I fit in now? I miss coming by your blog, girl. I think about you often and miss your voice. Love you.

  16. I have a friend (just turned fifty) in a similar situation. I think that she was open to adoption but her husband wasn't. It absolutely breaks my heart. And I always wonder if our children hurt her heart even more than other people's bio children, because we took the road that they didn't. It makes me really sad. I really hope that she isn't as sad about it as I think I would be in her position. This post made me tear up, too, and think of her.

  17. I know its damn depressing. I have one IRL friend that is 8 yrs older than me and after POF (never got a period after age 28 after going off the pill she had been on for 8 years) and a failed domestic adoption, she and her DH jumped off the IF treadmill onto the path of Child Free. I know she has her moments but I think she is at peace about it 90% of the time. But I just wonder...had she been just 8 years younger at my age...who knows what technology and/or the non stop info of the internet could have done for them? So my heart feels sad but at the same time...I have to be happy for her because that's what she chose and thats what she wants me to be...happy for her. But dang it, I thank my lucky stars EVERY.SINGLE.DAY...

  18. My husband and I were talking about "needs" and "wants" the other day. There are so many things that people think they "need" in life: a house with a master bedroom, a new car, a vacation. But, when it all strips down, very few things are real needs. And, to us, we needed to have children. It was NOT a want. It was essential to our life and we would have them whatever way they came.

  19. I'm one of those still fighting, after 4 years...still fighting. We are not going to give up. Thank you for not forgetting us!

  20. I'm one who stopped fighting. I've commented before and I check on your site every now and then to see those beautiful babies and share in your joy. This was a beautiful post. I'm 99% good with our decision to stop (or maybe it was our lack of decision to continue) fighting IF. But, I know deep down, when I'm older and my biological family slowly goes away and I'm wanting a holiday meal with a table full of love and history - It'll hurt like a beast. That part stings and there's no denying it.

  21. Today has been a particularly rough one so thank you for this post. You brought me to tears once again. Lately I've been contemplating giving up because I don't know how much longer I can live in limbo with this pain. Over six years mow with nothing to show for it. Thank you for not forgetting us that are still fighting the fight.