in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
September 28th. May 16th. Two dates forever seared into by heart. The dates I lost my two angel babies. He said, “Are you sure you’re pregnant? Your lab levels look awfully low. You either just conceived (I didn’t) or you’ve lost the baby”. The next time I was much further along… and it went a little more like this, “You see this? It’s not normal. There’s no heartbeat”.
Watching that ultrasound screen killed me. It was like the lights went out, and to be honest, 5 months later- they still haven’t come back on. The first time, while horribly sad, I chalked it up to statistical probability. One statistic says 25% of conceptions will end in miscarriage (I know, depressing, right?). I made myself feel better by telling myself I should have to take my turn. I mean, I’ve had to take my turn trying to conceive and doing IVF. Why not hop aboard the miscarriage train. The second time was like dying inside. We were a day away from leaving on a trip to Disneyland when we found out we had lost our Tiny Dancer (our last name is Dance; since we never knew the gender of the baby, we call him/her Tiny Dancer). My doctor said, “You should go on your trip. Let’s see if your body can take care of this on its own. You certainly NEED a break.”
So, we went to the happiest place on earth. I took my much needed “break”. Put on a happy face. I walked miles and miles. Ate churros and Dole Whips. Rode the Incredi-coaster. I smiled, took selfies, and wore my Mickey ears. I did all this while my body cramped … and bled … and cramped some more… and then ultimately passed my baby. We returned home and my OB wanted, really needed me to come back in. It felt like a slap in the face. Then a kick in the gut to have to walk back into his office, past all the nice ladies who, the last time I was there, congratulated me and asked, “Do you hope it’s a boy or girl?”. Hearing the “I’m so sorry’s” and being on the receiving end of some very well-meaning hugs almost felt like reliving the experience.
To be honest, I relive the loss a little bit every day when I wake up. One day closer to what would be my due date quickly approaching. I relive it each time I see a pregnancy announcement on social media, or a well-meaning article written by an amazing woman who’s made it to the other side of loss and the weight of a broken heart replaced by a soft newborn babe in her arms. But, I’m not there yet. I’m holding on to the preverbal iron rod with hurricane force winds and torrential rain whipping me in the face. I’m holding on knowing that every storm must end. That the sun always rises at the end of even the darkest nights. I’m holding on to the idea of hope.
I realize this isn’t the rosiest view of loss. I wish I had some more upbeat; you’ll feel great soon sentences to share. But the reality is I’m living through it right now. The reason I am sharing this with you is because there’s living you must do while you navigate the stormy seas of loss. I’m hoping that by sharing the raw emotion of how I’m really handling all of this, that it will validate the way you’re feeling. I’m taking a second to pause alongside and mourn with you because it doesn’t feel like the rest of the planet will. I see your light. It’s still there… albeit dimmed. And, I’m hoping that you’ll hope right alongside me. That you’ll join me in hoping that my heart (and yours) will begin to beat again. I’m hoping that my 2-year-old can stay little, just a little longer so the sting of this loss isn’t so bad. I’m hoping that my one good frozen embryo will work. I’m hoping that my body can kick it into gear and let the meds do their job so I can go through a frozen embryo transfer one of these days. I’m hoping (and working) on finding joy in the journey. I’m hoping I can get my head out of the gutter and stop being so angry with my body. In honoring my babies (and yours) and bringing meaning (if there is any) to all this pain. I’m hoping to let go of what I can and lean into the help that’s there. And I guess at the end of the day, I’m hoping that my angel baby’s wings will be the wings on which I learn to fly (again).
Girl, sister, friend… You are NOT alone. Someone else is hurting, too. Wondering how long until sunrise. While the world moves and doesn’t pause to grieve with you, I am. And so is everyone else at FST. They’re here for you. I’m here for you. We’re in this together.
Hi! I’m Brie, a proud IVF mom of three amazing boys, thanks to the expert care at Fertility Specialists of Texas. I know, first hand, how lonely infertility can be, which is why I write personal entries for the FST blog — it’s my way of helping break through the isolation. To let you know you’re not alone. And, neither am I. If you ever want to chat with someone who’s had empty arms, who knows the heartbreak of this journey, I’m here. And, I’d love to connect: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of Amanda McNeal