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  • Writer's pictureNicole Alviti

Just Keep Swimming

Updated: Apr 27, 2021

This week is "Infertility Awareness Week". I can't stop thinking about all of the poor young men and women who aren't yet "aware" of their own infertility. It's one of those things that no one really thinks about until it's too late. Both men and women go for their yearly check ups with a doctor. Women go for yearly OB appointments. Why is fertility not something that is addressed at these appointments? They check your glands, they look inside your ears, nose and throat, they look at your skin, they feel your organs, they run blood work. They listen to your heart and lungs to address and prevent any possible issues. How is it 2021, and fertility health is not even an OPTION to address during these routine visits. Whether someone is ready to start a family or not, don't you think they should at least have a heads up for what lies ahead? Don't you think they deserve to know if they are going to have a difficult road in their future? Maybe if these patients were given information, they could make educated decisions for themselves ahead of time instead of panicking in fear from the shock of diagnosis' later on. Struggles that could have been prevented just by having the knowledge of what is going on inside your own body. Research that could be done in spare time instead of on a time crunch on lunch breaks and in between distractions. The medical community is proactive with every other aspect of your health. Why not with fertility?

It has been approximately 11 years since my husband and I have started trying to have a baby because of my own late diagnosis and time crunch. Within that time, we have experienced 3 failed pregnancies. One loss at 10 weeks (2013), one early loss (2014), and one loss at almost 18 weeks (2016). Our baby boy should be turning 5 this year, however we had to do what no parent should ever have to, and buried our baby. I have been treated by countless doctors and medical staff, changed doctors and switched doctors offices multiple times. Each office I have been a patient with has had at least one person with a shitty bedside manor and/or complete disregard for what I was experiencing. There were rude and dismissive ultrasound techs. There was reception staff that forgot to add appointments to the schedule that I was told to show up for and then tried to refuse to see me even though they knew I was high risk and followed regularly every other day. There was the nurse who was assigned to me that was so condescending I almost left that practice during my first pregnancy.. My HCG count was not doubling as it should in the beginning. She looked me dead in the face and said "don't get your hopes up, it doesn't look good." My next couple of days worth of HCG counts my numbers MORE than doubled. How dare she make assumptions and accusations so early and so bluntly. The doctor who was dismissive of my concerns and symptoms and told me they were "normal and nothing to worry about". The doctor who misdiagnosed my complications, sending me home while they got worse - to the point that my pregnancy couldn't be saved. The doctor that paraded student doctors through my emergency department room to examine me as if I wasn't experiencing the worst possible horrifying and mortifying moment of my life. I was just another teaching opportunity for them. If that same doctor didn't send me away, they could have performed a procedure to save it. The doctor who did not send me to a maternal-fetal specialist for high risk pregnancies (I didn't even know that was a thing) even though I was on my third pregnancy and considered high risk to begin with. All of these medical professionals who are supposed to "do no harm", have done nothing but do harm both mentally and physically.

Who holds these people accountable? They are hurting the most vulnerable of patients. I am sure I wasn't the first, and I won't be the last. Who is looking out for everyone who has come after me? I was strong enough and determined enough to leave and keep going. I kept going until I found the right team. I kept going and vowed to never take no for an answer again. I didn't fight for myself back then. I didn't know I needed to. If you are not getting the care you deserve, you need to know that it is okay to leave. It is okay to start over with a new office. It is okay to start over as many times as it takes until you find your people. It is okay to FIGHT FOR YOURSELF. Because there isn't anyone else who can.

I am so glad I wound up in the office I am with now. From check in to check out, every step of the way through that office, every member of the staff has made this extremely difficult and draining journey a little easier. The front desk is always pleasant and warm whether on the phone or in office. The lab is quick and efficient. The ultrasound techs are caring, patient, and encouraging. They get to know you and talk to you like you are an actual human being. My doctor is thorough and kind and tells me how proud she is of me. She assures me I am not out of options when I'm feeling hopeless. Most importantly, my nurse has done nothing but calm my worries and fears when I get inside my head. She reassures me that this process is normal. That I am normal. That there is nothing wrong with me. That my system just responds differently because of my condition, but that it doesn't mean that something is wrong. No matter how much I may think and feel it, my nurse tells me that it is not my fault. There is literally nothing I can do or not do that will give me a different outcome. She tells me that just because my progress is slow, doesn't mean it will fail. And most importantly, that just because one cycle fails, doesn't mean the next one will.

When you feel like you are drowning, keep kicking. Kick harder. Find your people. And don't stop until you do.

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