I feel like I need to start off by saying that this is something I avoided writing. Nearly every part of me wanted to continue to put this off and I contemplated just keeping it to myself. I rationalized that keeping it private somehow kept me safe. But the truth is that in order to truly heal I needed to be vulnerable. I had to release it. Life might not always make sense, but I owe it to myself to embrace it and accept it for all that it is and all that it is not.
Second IVF Attempt
In the middle of September I asked my husband if he had any specific birthday wishes. He told me that he would love nothing more than to try a second round of IVF, if I was ready of course. I surprised him a week later with a tracking number for our shipment of IVF medications. By the end of September we had started injections and we were once again full of enthusiasm and positivity about the possibility of this cycle being “the one” and our days quickly became focused around appointments, shots and all things IVF.
During my egg retrieval 10 eggs were retrieved and we patiently waited for five days while those eggs were monitored in the incubator. On day 5 I got a call that only 2 eggs survived, but they were healthy and ready to be transferred back into my uterus. During our last IVF cycle none of our embryos survived so the fact that two had made it this far made us ecstatic. We had two fighting embryos and we decided to transfer them both to increase our chances of pregnancy. I’ll never forgot what it felt like to have my husband next to me holding my hand as we watched our embryos get placed carefully back inside of me. It was one of the most special moments that we have ever shared together.
The Two Week Wait
The next two weeks were exciting and stressful. I wrote daily in my IVF journal about my symptoms and I can’t tell you how many times I talked to those little embryos in my belly and encouraged them to stay strong and keep growing. They might have been just embryos, but they were more than that to me. They were OUR embryos and the love and connection I felt with them was very real. I even hung a picture of them on our fridge and smiled every time I looked at it. The day before my husbands birthday I went in for a pregnancy test and I found out that I was in fact pregnant. His birthday wish came true. I was in shock, but I remember the overwhelming happiness that flooded every cell in my body. We were over the moon, but knew we still had a long road ahead of us.
At our first sonogram we discovered that only one of the two embryos had attached, but we were so grateful for the one that stuck around. The doctor kept me on my medication over the next few weeks and I went in regularly for checkups. At week 7 our baby was visible on the sonogram, but it was no longer alive. Writing about it now still floods tears to my eyes. We walked out of the doctors office holding hands and didn’t let go the whole drive home. I can’t recall if we even spoke during the ride home. All I can remember was his hand in mine and the emptiness I felt inside me. Over 50 days of injections and my body rejected it all.
The following weeks were miserable. The miscarriage and toll it took on my body was something I could never prepare for. Any woman who has endured this heartache understands this type of pain and every single one of us are stronger than we probably give ourselves credit for. Women endure some truly painful shit during their lives, but somehow we find the strength to smile and keep going.
I spent the rest of the year focused on healing both physically and emotionally. I had moments where I was so angry at myself and my body, but I now accept that this wasn’t my fault. My body might not be able to do the things that it is supposed to do naturally, but this is the only body I have. Loving myself regardless of this heartache has been my biggest challenge and reward.
I don’t know what the future holds for us as far as children, but I do know that being parents does not define who we are. We are a family already and today that is enough for me. My husband wants to try a third and final round of IVF, but I need time to heal. The next chapter of my life is still being written and whatever unfolds I know that I’m more than capable to take it on, I’m blessed with all the love and support I need and my gratitude will continue to pick me up whenever I feel down.
If you’re reading this, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to be vulnerable and share my story. It’s very hard for me to open up, but sharing my story has let me know that I am not alone. Every infertility story is different, but one thing we all share is the power of community and knowing we are not alone.