Life After Infertility Treatments Fail


This is an amazing piece that ran in the New York Times Parenting Blog over the weekend. I find it striking in its honesty and bravery. I’m going to post the link to it here and you can read it. If you don’t care, here is the brief summary. After many years of infertility treatments to include numerous IVFs, the author decides to abandon her dream of being a parent. It is also goes to say that she is choosing not to pursue adoption. In the article, she explains to America what it feels like to be an infertile adult and offers some suggestions for relating to people who experience infertility.

What staggers me is the 14+ pages of comments this post drew.

There are people who chastise the author regarding her decision not to adopt. She is called selfish for wanting an infant. She is told by parents that they feel it is their parental right to brag about their children. She is told to stop drowning in self pity and get on with her life.

And yet there are wonderfully supportive comments from people who have been there and who get it.

Wow. One groupings of posts were especially familiar to me. At the hospital where I work, I have the absolute misfortune of sharing an office on the same floor as labor and delivery. I don’t see the babies but all day long I get to hear Brahms’ Lullaby every time a baby is born, which I truly hate but can live with. However, I am the Deputy Chief of a Social Work Department and I believe it my job to advocate for my patients. We have counseling patients who have lost babies, who’ve had stillbirths, who’ve relinquished children for adoption or have had their children removed. They complain about the song, too. I was brave enough to confront the Colonel who is in charge of OB/GYN about the lullaby (you can hear it in the hospital but it is loudest on our floor). He basically told me and my staff that, “people like the song and the nurses find it comforting after cleaning up after a death to hear new life coming into the world.” So in other words, tough shit for you and your clients.

While I was out on convalescent leave, we received a new Sergeant in our department. After three days she approached the senior non-commissioned officer in our section and asked to be moved. Surprised, he asked her why. She had 3 miscarriages and couldn’t deal with the song. We moved her immediately. We’ve tried to disable the PA system but if we do, we lose our access to the emergency message system. So now, all we ask is that Labor and Delivery figure out a way to play the song in their department only. God help anyone who delivers a stillborn and has to hear it.

When a poster had commented that she had asked her hospital to stop playing the song, she was called selfish for taking away other’s happiness. Amazing. If I miscarry, I plan on ignoring the song just like I always do but those words are easier said than done and I might have to shut my office door and cry it out. I don’t know how I will react but I’m not looking forward to it.

As for my pregnancy, we aren’t that far behind for where we are in supposed to be. By dates, this pregnancy is only 4 weeks and 4 days along. (We know the dates of fertilization and of transfer). MO2 is frustrated that SG is applying Nagle’s rule to these pregnancies because unlike most we have pinpoint dates. We should expect a fetal pole tomorrow but we might be a bit early on a HB. If we don’t have one in a week, then we have a problem. I’ve already started researching our next cycle just in case. All I want is what is best for this baby and what is best for us. If that means this cycle isn’t successful, then we move forward (you better bet I’m grateful for the 6 donor egg cycle plan we’re on).

Read the article, if you can and let me know what you think.


4 responses »

  1. What a great job you have, at least from my office with the grey suits. But what is the deal with the Brahms! Isn’t the first rule “first do no harm”!!
    I am delighted to hear that your little one is chugging along as expected and wish you all the everything I can that you see a pole and even a HB at your next u/s
    Good luck. Be thinking of you.

  2. what a great post from you and what interesting responses to the article. thanks for linking to it. it never ceases to amaze me how mean and judgmental people can be and then there are the sweet kind and understanding people that make it all better!
    I am a SW too – in supportive housing / mental health. That whole lullaby thing is bizarre – not having ever been near a labor and delivery floor or maternity ward or apparently in a hospital ( except the ER and the psych wards!) I have not had the pleasure ( sic) of hearing that bit of unnecessary schmultz!

  3. Claire: Wow, supportive housing and MH is a tough field. We do all the domestic abuse treatment and monitoring on our Army post, averaging about 125 new abuse/neglect cases per month, plus all the people who have subsequent incidents.

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