To have loved and lost…
It is better to have loved and lost than to never to have loved at all.-Alfred Lord Tennyson
It’s crazy how things can change so quickly, from good to bad, in just a matter of moments, hours or even a couple days. The last time I wrote my June transfer was cancelled and I was mentally exhausted of this journey. I don’t think anyone truly understands the trauma that is associated with infertility. Trauma is defined as damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a distressing event or events. Trauma is often the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope or integrate the emotions involved with that experience. This. Is. Infertility.
After the cancellation of my June transfer I found myself preparing for a third surgery for scar tissue removal. The surgery was a success and less extensive than my doctor thought it would be. The results and recovery were very positive and what my doctor was hoping for and this led to being “cleared” for a September frozen embryo transfer. I’m not going to lie, despite my last post saying that I was done with getting excited, I allowed myself to relish in the excitement of what was to come. How could I not?! I had been waiting so long for a transfer and after so many “not yets”, to finally have a “yes” was an overwhelmingly wonderful feeling. So, yes I basked in all the feelings and allowed myself to enjoy it all.
Joe and I celebrated and prepared for this amazing time by taking a trip to Nashville (we vlogged it) for our anniversary and embryo transfer moon (something I made up to honor this special time). It was a wonderful weekend and a great way for us to celebrate our last weekend before we were pregnant. Our transfer was just a couple days later and it was the best day ever! It was a very quick process of the embryologist thawing the embryo, bringing it to my doctor and him transferring it via this tiny catheter into my uterus. It was a painless process. After that we headed home for bedrest and to relish in the moment.
After that was the dreaded two week wait (TWW), which wasn’t dreaded at all. It was 9 glorious days of resting, enjoying the moment and just being thankful for that time. I actually vlogged it and had plans to share those videos. During that time I did get a little impatient and took several tests at home which all confirmed we were pregnant!! Beta day further confirmed that and I was so excited to share the good news with my family, friends and fertility community. As we’ve done with every win on this journey we celebrated the wonderful news, we had a photoshoot to announce the pregnancy and couldn’t wait to share with the world.
As weeks passed and I progressed further along into the pregnancy, with each weekly monitoring appointment I was met with the good news that my numbers were tripling which meant that our baby was growing. Our final beta test before my first ultrasound was on a Monday and my nurse confirmed again that my numbers looked good and I was progressing “beautifully”. I couldn’t believe it, but I was so thankful to finally be at that point. Never would I have ever expected things to drastically change in just a few days.
On that Thursday, Joe and I went in for our first ultrasound. Looking back I remember being so nervous. Maybe my body knew something wasn’t right. I was so nervous to the point that I was shaking, looking back that was so significant. As my doctor and nurse came in, I laid back on the table and raise my legs in preparation for Wanda (the ultrasound wand lol). I remember seeing our little babe on the screen and Dr. D being uncomfortably quiet. No one was saying anything. He moved the wand around, zoomed in, moved it around again, still quiet. It was killing me. It must have been killing Joe too because he asked, “is that our baby”? Dr. D said, “yes, but I’m not finding a heartbeat guys”. Also, she was measuring at 6 weeks and 4 days even though I was 7 weeks. It appeared that she stopped growing on Monday. What the hell?! At that moment my entire body was numb. He asked our nurse if she was seeing something he wasn’t and she sadly said no. She didn’t see the heartbeat either. He ended the ultrasound, I sat up and just sat there, saying nothing. Joe grabbed me and we were both just silent. I remember my nurse grabbing tissue, apologizing and holding my hand. They both left the room and told us to take the time we needed.
I was completely numb and said nothing. I don’t remember much after this. I got dressed and then Dr. D came back and sat with us for a minute. I honestly tuned out what he was saying and then the tears came. I couldn’t believe this was happening. It was almost like an out-of-body experience. I detached and couldn’t process what was happening. How did our baby not have a heartbeat when just two days ago everything was “progressing beautifully”? That makes zero sense! We were devastated by this news. I remember driving home, it was raining so bad this morning, and then seeing a rainbow. Maybe that was God’s way of reminding me that He keeps His promises and there would be a blessing after the storm.
I think the worst part of this was having to tell my family and friends what was going on. They were in this with us and the thought of having to share this devastating news was adding to my heartbreak. After sharing this news and starting to somewhat process what happened, Joe and I decided we were’t accepting that news. We were going to pray and have faith for God to turn this around. We had heard reports from others that they didn’t hear a heartbeat for their baby until 9 or 10 weeks and that sometimes it’s just too early. I held onto that hope that maybe just maybe it was too early and her heart would beat. I remember my mom called me and told me she was coming to be with us and she was here that night without hesitation. Nothing like a mother’s love.
The next day, which was a Friday, I called my nurse and asked if we could come back for an ultrasound. She told us to come back on Tuesday and in that moment I felt some hope. Maybe God would turn this thing around the way He turned it around for others. Surely God is about to do something miraculous. Why would He bring us this far after everything we went through only to allow our one and only embryo to die?! It just didn’t make sense. We prayed and asked our village to pray over us and our baby. We just couldn’t lose her and it was just so hard to process anything other than a miracle. We had faith, crazy faith, to believe that God would fulfill His promise. Why would there be any other outcome?!
Our Tuesday ultrasound was met with the same results as Thursday. Still no heartbeat and no growth. Not sure what God was doing or why this was happening but we still didn’t accept it. I told Joe that I would wait a couple weeks, fast and pray, and then go to my OB for a third ultrasound. We both agreed that we were not giving up. I continued on as if nothing had changed, still taking my meds with the hope that our baby still needed all the support. I spent two weeks just pouring my heart out to God, trying to understand why this was happening and basically begging Him to turn this around. My faith didn’t waver, I was still so hopeful especially since my pregnancy symptoms were still there and had even increased. She has to be okay, right?! The fact that my boobs were still hurting and I was even more nauseous than before meant she was growing right?! It just had to be a sign. The week of my third ultrasound I woke up to some spotting and starting crying. Deep in my heart I knew it was over, but I prayed and prayed that the spotting meant something else. Maybe my placenta was starting to take over. I read that spotting can occur during that time and also that spotting doesn’t always mean something bad. I tried to find something positive that would give me hope that maybe our baby was okay.
Friday came and I remember feeling that same nervousness I felt at my first ultrasound. It’s like my body knew what was about to happen. I sat on the table and the ultrasound tech tried to do a tummy ultrasound because of “how far along” I was we should be able to see the baby that way. She tried and didn’t see much and said she would have to do it vaginally. At that moment I knew we’d lost the baby. She told me not to panic and asked was I certain about how far along I was. I then told her we did IVF and everything that happened up until that point. When she did the ultrasound, she had the same quietness Dr. D had and before allowing the quietness to linger I asked, “there’s no activity is there”? She said, “I’m afraid not”. I told her it was okay and she didn’t have to look anymore. At that moment I accepted that we lost our baby girl. She was gone. And in that moment so were all my pregnancy symptoms. The mind is so powerful.
This has been the hardest thing Joe and I have dealt with. As I’m writing this I have experienced pregnancy loss and, right now, there’s no greater pain. I can’t explain how much we loved our baby girl. From the moment we found out our one and only embryo was a girl we fell in love. How can you love so much someone you’ve never met? She was ours. In the two months I carried her we connected with her. She was the miracle I needed to keep me going on this journey. She motivated us to start preparing for what we were praying for. She fueled our crazy faith. She made us parents despite all the odds stacked against me. And above all of that she’s shown us that God’s not done with us. He’s still writing our story.
I’m not sure what’s next for us on this journey to parenthood, but we have no choice but to continue to trust God. Although this is so hard, we are so grateful for what God has done through us. We are thankful for our village and for God using us, our story, to touch the lives of others. After all, I did pray for God to use us (well, me – sorry Joe ?), and He’s doing just that. ?
Until next time…. Live well,