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Our Journey with Infertility: A Letter to My Doctor

Dear Reproductive Endocrinologist,

I think what you do for a living is amazing. Your job is to laugh in the face of infertility and grow families. I can say "thank you" on behalf of your patients, but that doesn't quite cover it. Picture me giving spirit fingers and high kicks for you, wearing a letter jacket for Team Infertility. You deal with some hard stuff, and you help create some pretty cool little humans. But as I get ready to start another treatment cycle in our final attempt for Baby No. 2, there are a few things I want you to know.

My story is not the same as the patient before me

I hope you take time to listen to my story during our first appointment. Our journey has been long, and as tired as I am from talking about it, I want to share it with you. I want to talk about the side effects, the procedures and the treatment protocol I have already experienced. I earned that right when alcohol swabs and sharps containers became a part of my bathroom's decor.

Sure, some of my story might be similar, but we are all not alike. My treatment protocol should not be the same as my girlfriend's, even though we both have endometriosis. I hope you take time to learn that sticking a motion sickness medicine patch behind my ear helps me feel more comfortable when I come out of anesthesia. I hope that you ask me about our son, Jackson. I hope that you listen and realize that each of your patients is different, and more than a diagnosis.

Please take my preferences into consideration

I know I'm not a doctor. My master's degree is in therapeutic recreation, and I've spent my career providing meaningful activities for seniors and writing about family activities. I don't know how to perform a laparoscopy—or how to pronounce it correctly without saying it in my head first. But I do know that Follistim doesn't grow my follicles as well as Menopur, and that the side effects with Menopur are much lighter for me. I know that I think acupuncture and chiropractic care are wonderful complements to my treatment protocol, and I would like to incorporate those as much as possible with your approval and guidance.

When I would talk to my previous RE, she didn't listen to my preferences. Two cycles of Follistim later, she finally put me on Menopur, and my follicles grew steadily and healthily. She was surprised, even though I had been telling her about it for months. I'm not one to say "I told you so," but come on!

I trust you

My days are full of injections, precise medical protocol, confusing hormones, side effects and trying out homeschooling with my 4-year-old. I'm exhausted. I don't have it in me anymore to read the latest studies or drug recommendations. I certainly don't have it in me to be on infertility message boards for hours and hours. In fact, I don't want to be.

You're my person. You're my link to getting me my baby. I trust you, and I pray for you. Please read my chart before you come in to talk to me so that I feel like you know me. Please ask me about my side effects and then give me a few coping tips instead of just telling me that it is par for the course. You're a very important person in my life right now, and I need to know that you pay close attention to me and my uterus for those 15 minutes that we see each other.

High-five your nurses and techs

Dear Doctor, I love you. You're the one guiding my care and giving me doses. But let's be honest, your nurses and ultrasound techs are the ones doing all the heavy lifting. Between 6 a.m. internal ultrasounds and nervous emergency pages after hours, your nurses and techs become some of our biggest cheerleaders. I'll be forever indebted to a nurse named Gina who ultimately gave us Jackson and who gave me tips and skills to advocate for myself and my care. So, Doc, you should take your nurses and techs out to lunch. They're the heart behind your practice, and I like to see that you appreciate them.

Doc, let's do this. I'm praying for your wisdom and that you make the right decisions for my health. Let's get pregnant.