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Don't Ignore Your Inner Wise Woman

a blog by Traci Shahan, RN, WHNP-BC, Doctor of Nursing, Albrecht Women’s Care Denver IVF, April 22, 2012

Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
—Pablo Neruda

I'm unable to ignore the gift that God gave me, so I'm going to sing.
—Lisa Nicole Larsen

As I pen these words, I do so in my living room, tucked away in a window seat that is swaddled in heavy folds of taupe, silk drapes. This haven of mine is a few steps from the commotion of the family room and kitchen, but with my noise-canceling headphones, it would take a seven on the Richter Scale to get my attention, despite that my almost-15-year-old twin daughters, conceived via in vitro fertilization (IVF), are currently trying their hands with some concoction that includes fondant. I can only imagine the mess — flour trails here and there, sugary utensils on the cabinet, measuring cups cast asunder. It is a lazy Sunday afternoon in the Colorado foothills where I live. One of my Labs lies near, her toes twitching as she dreams her doggy dreams. I smell something sweet and yeasty wafting in from the kitchen. It snowed a bit last night, which made my trail run this morning fun and challenging. I sit in my seat. I write, today, about fertility and that we should not ignore our inner wisdom, our Inner Wise Woman. Had I, I certainly would not have become a mother, though it was a herky-jerky, scary, messy journey to get here.

I learned not to ignore this inner sage, courtesy the School of Hard Knocks, because when I do ignore the small quiet voice, suffering will result. It could be loss, a soul sickness, it might manifest as someone present or absent in my life who shouldn’t be, but if I ignore the whisper and tap from that deep well of knowing, I’m doomed to pain.

Before I worked as a nurse practitioner in the field of reproductive medicine, I was a fertility patient. I tend to be a loyal sort. At the time I was a patient of an Ob/Gyn who had a good reputation in fertility circles. After several pregnancy losses, surgeries, months of tests, and being told to, “throw away” the fetal tissue that I had just miscarried, I still went back to this physician to try to help us have a child. One day after my doctor blithely announced, after an obstetric ultrasound that disclosed another unliving pregnancy, that he could squeeze in over his lunch hour, a D and C to “remove dead products of conception,” I sat naked, on the end of the table, shaking. He then went on to repeat this exact phrase several times, while I sobbed and signed the papers he put in front of me.

That night at home, my husband said, “Why do you keep going back to an office where you feel devalued? Where you don’t seem to matter? You never say that you feel respect or support; you just complain about how bad you feel after each appointment. Honey, don’t you think it’s time to find another doctor?”

Oh. That. Yes, of course, I had known this for over a year, that I really didn’t matter to this doctor who seemed to view me as simply an obstetric failure, an impediment, maybe. Being a patient of any physician can be tricky, but especially so with one with which you share your most intimate information and dreams to become a parent. This is stuff of the soul, though few doctors will say this aloud. But it is. I know because I have worked in this field for the last 15 years, and I do know what it’s like to be a patient, how it feels to be rushed through the appointment, barely acknowledged, certainly not honored. I know what it’s like to be tapped dry emotionally, financially, socially and temporally, and, yes, it’s awful.

But I fed this awful by not honoring what my insides were trying to tell me: lose the Ob/Gyn and find a doctor who not only knows how to help you with his letters but has the guts and staff to help you get through what would prove to be a grueling pivotal life experience.

So I say to each reader, presumably patients wanting to have a baby: Don’t Ignore the gift that God gave you: Your Inner Wise Woman. Sit. Breathe. Listen. Act.

For more information about RESOLVE and National Infertility Awareness Week, visit:


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