An Open Letter to my past, present & future Fertility Patients

The truth is, I had a feeling. You know the one you can’t quite put into words, or explain, and you know people won’t fully understand? I had THAT feeling. The gut feeling, intuition or instinct, whatever you want to call it, I had it.

My cycle had shifted, significantly, since I got my IUD taken out a year before. 22 day cycles with 1.5 days of bleeding. Intense, but very short. I had seen this too many times in my practice to let it slide. I gave my body a year to regulate and nothing was changing. So, I started to get some testing done.

Day 3 and Day 21 blood tests including my thyroid (TSH) and AMH levels. I had got them done before we left for Bali and the second we landed in Edmonton, I checked my voicemail and had a message from my doctor. She said she would only call me if my AMH levels were below 0.5 ng/mol (“something to be concerned about” she said). And she called.

I couldn’t wait to hear back from her, I went into work the next day and asked one of the other physicians to go through my results with me. If I’m being honest, I really thought I would be able to handle this like a practitioner. Rational and action focused, with a solid plan in place and steps on how to move forward. Enneagram type 8, or the control freak in me, I don’t know. Because I felt like I already “knew”, I thought hearing it wouldn’t be that much different.

Shit….Was I wrong. 

I sat there while my doctor gave me my results and the truth is, I couldn’t think about much. I just started crying.

AMH Levels: 0.47ng/mol
FSH Levels: 13.0

All signs pointing towards pre-mature ovarian failure or poor ovarian reserve. AMH levels of a typical 28 year old female should range between 2.1-6.7ng/mol. Mine were in the range of a 41+ female. So, you know that biological clock that people talk about, mine was an hour glass with only a few grains of sand left and my god could I ever hear it draining, FAST.

Then I remembered all of the countless patients that have sat in front of me, broken, with their lives completely flipped upside down.
The women that are frustrated with their partners
The women with binders of information they have collected, and continue to ask “is there anything else you suggest I do?”
The women who lose themselves and feel so low
The women who laugh often and smile through it all because they are so scared that if they feel it all, they won’t know how get out of it
The women who delete their social media because the pregnancy announcements are too much
The women who are so angry and frustrated but do everything possible to hold that back
And the one that scared me the most; the absence of men in my practice. It is often times something a woman goes through and their partner supports them. But it is rarely a joint experience.

I have been every single one of you over the past 7 months
And trust me when I say, I understand how badly it fucking sucks.
I have felt sad, defeated, hopeless, angry, resentful, fucking vengeful, confused, annoyed, dissociated, lost and I have questioned everything
I have been that woman that fakes surrendering because she thinks it’s her only option for things to finally fall into place
I have been that women that resents their partner because they aren’t as informed with the process as they are
I have been every single one of you over the past 7 months

And I get it now. I get how poorly we, as practitioners, handle you all when you walk into our treatment rooms. Preaching what is blocking you from creating what you truly want. Instilling this belief that if you just heal some piece of yourself, or your past, that you will then have access to the one thing in your life that you desperately desire. How insensitive we have been when all you really want is someone to give you a full guarantee that it will be ok, even though you know that’s not possible. And the thing is, I get all of these pieces too. They are all valid, and I truly believe they are things to look into and consider as an avenue to better your health and healing. But most of all, I am sorry. I am sorry that you have to go through any of this, that you feel lost and angry and confused.

Sometimes I feel like Alice in Wonderland, like I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole and don’t know how to get out. And what I truly want you all to understand is this; No one has the answers. I promise you that. It really is a pool of grey with so many layers. And as a practitioner I make this promise moving forward ; I will sit with you. In the absolute depths of whatever you are feeling and going through, I will just sit with you and hold space. I may not have all of the answers, and I refuse to act like I do any longer. I have come across things that are helpful and that have worked. But I know that in my worst moments, so far, all I ever wanted was for someone to just BE with me. I didn’t want someone figuring me out and telling me whats blocking me, I didn’t want someone dissecting my relationship, I didn’t want someone asking me “what are you going to do about it?”, I didn’t want someone telling me to have faith and that things will happen when they are meant to, I didn’t want someone telling me that my stress levels weren’t helping and to manage them, I didn’t want someone acting like they understood and had the answer. I wanted to be cared for without judgment or without holding this over me. I wanted someone to just BE with me. So, when you come to see me, you do not have to BE or DO anything. You can show up in whatever state you are in and we will team work through it.

With Care,

Nicole