Sorry for the lack of posts lately… the construction on our new home was delayed…we moved into a hotel…we closed a week late…and waited another week for internet access. But now, we’re here, in our new home and all is well.
I’ve been seeing a few posts lately about October 15th being Pregnancy and Infant loss Remembrance day…I guess I am supposed to light a candle to remember our Warrior, but I find myself confused about how to address our loss on this blog. I struggle with what to say about my miscarriage. A few weeks ago I read an article (by actress Ashley Williams) discussing her own miscarriage and how her goal is to make talking about a miscarriage less taboo. I think the only thing I can do to ‘recognize’ October 15th is to do the same…
A few months ago, on a sunny April morning my husband and I anxiously waited in our doctor’s office, in exam room 7, for our first ultrasound of our first pregnancy. After a year of not conceiving naturally, an incidental finding of a shared genetic carrier status (for the husband and I), a stressful round of IVF which resulted in 13 fertilized eggs, but only 1 healthy (SMA-carrier) embryo, we had been blessed with a successful first transfer…it was the day we would hear our Warriors heartbeat and discover if our first baby was going to be a boy or a girl (thanks PGD testing). Instead, as I lay back smiling at Dan and chatting about first-trimester exhaustion with our nurse I watched our physicians face go from happy…to concerned…to disappointed…and I listened as the room went from filled with laughter to complete silence…the absence of a heartbeat the loudest sound in the world. And I heard the words that would change my life “Your pregnancy is not progressing…” A quick trip to the lab drawing station in our fertility clinic (where I bit my lip to fight back tears as I listened to the woman next to me complain to the other phlebotomist about how she could only keep crackers down, who knew pregnancy was going to be sooo hard) and after a two hour wait for those results I received a phone call from our fertility nurse telling me what I already knew “you are going to miscarry, the pregnancy is no longer viable.”
A missed miscarriage.
I wouldn’t physically miscarry until 6 days later…an excruciatingly painful experience that started while doing morning assessments on my patients as a nurse in the ICU and ended (physically) 72 hours later with me as an exhausted mess on our bathroom floor. From a hormonal standpoint (trending those HCG levels) it would ‘officially’ end 20 days later.
It’s been over 6 months since I was told I was not going to give birth to our Warrior. I have gone through every Kubler-Ross stage of grief more than once. I have found myself angry with the world, crying randomly in Target and filled with happiness holding my newborn nephew. I have celebrated my friends and families pregnancies, I have cursed every (and any) Higher Power that exists for my suffering and I have been thankful for the community of fellow infertiles who have comforted with me their words and their stories. I have read books, met with a therapist, consulted friends and strangers on the internet and found myself slowly (sometimes at an agonizingly slow rate) healing.
And then last week I sat outside on a sunny fall day, wrapped in a blanket, on the back porch of our new home and I felt okay.
I will always mourn the life that did not grow, who our Warrior could have been and what our life would have been like if we had that baby. But I will never have that child. He or She will always be our Warrior embryo and nothing more.
A miscarriage after infertility (I imagine any miscarriage, but I can only speak to what I know) feels like the loss of hope. 2+ years of my life was devoted to becoming pregnant…and it lasted only a few (precious) weeks…it is easy to feel defeated by that. I have considered tossing in the towel, resigning myself to a life of being the ‘cool aunt’ and the couple who is childless but travels often with my husband.
But…I cannot. Hope is this amazing thing because even when you think it is lost, you find it in the most unlikely of places. You find yourself sitting in the backyard feeling okay…
So, tomorrow I will light my candle. I will mourn our Warrior. I will grieve with the millions of women who have suffered their own loss. And I will also persist. I will decorate our new home (but leave the bonus room empty to become a nursery) I will go on getaways with my husband (but leave enough money in the bank for our second round of IVF in January) I will spoil my nephew with adorable baby clothes (while keeping the Peyton Manning baby jersey for myself). I will grieve for the past and hope for the future.
I wish peace to those who have to light a candle tomorrow and understanding to those who do not.
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”-Brene Brown
*bonus words for 2 WordsWednesdays missed*