Over 6 million women (ages 15-44) across America struggle with infertility. Take 100 of your Facebook friends; it’s likely that 12-13 of them have or are currently having trouble becoming pregnant. I am among those, and in my case, I have been doing so rather silently. However, as I walk into the waiting room of our fertility doctor (my home away from home), I know I am not alone. Countless people (men and women) sit there in the same way my husband and I do, in silence. You see, the waiting room of a fertility office is the quietest place on earth. No one speaks. But I have learned, as quiet as we may be, that whether we are celebrating a win or fearing the worst, we are all in this together.
The waiting room of my fertility office is large in comparison to most doctors’ offices. I usually sit in the corner with the fewest people. But I always try to avoid the seats I used before “bad news” appointments. I look around and wonder what each patient faces behind closed doors. Whether it’s routine blood work, an ultrasound, IUI, IVF, surgery, or even just providing a “sample,” each appointment is important. I try and joke with the staff, who by now know me by name, but they know better. We all wish our visit could just be “no big deal” or hope to “stop stressing and let it happen,” but it’s not always that easy. So, I wait in silence in the big waiting room of mixed emotions of dread, hope, and love.
I noticed a new couple while I was waiting for my last fertility appointment. I could tell they were new by the mountain of paperwork they filled out, but mostly the excitement and trepidation in their faces. I could tell they were there ready to get answers. It often takes most of us a while to admit we need help getting pregnant, so finally getting to the fertility doctor is a big deal. I wanted to give the woman a hug and say, I see you. I wanted to reassure her husband that he could do this and be the supportive partner his wife needs. But alas, I sat in silence because the fertility doc’s waiting room is the quietest place on earth.
I looked around the waiting room last week during my visit, and there must have been five couples scattered about. I knew each was at a different point in their fertility journey. Some were just getting started; others had been riding the fertility rollercoaster for years. Every family’s journey is different, and although we never said a word to one another, just waiting there together bonded us immediately. All the patients, including me, sat quietly, but it didn’t mean we didn’t acknowledge and recognize one another. So to my silent fertility warriors, next time you open the door to the waiting room, just know I may not say it out loud, but I’m rooting for you every step of the way.