“Sometimes I feel my heart is breaking
But I stay strong and I hold on cause I know
I will see you again, whoa
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
‘Til I see you again.
Said goodbye turned around
And you were gone, gone, gone.”
June 20th, 21st, and 22nd. Those are the days that I got to feel my babies living inside of me. 8, 9, and 10 days after egg retrieval. I was SO tired. Like, unbelievably tired. I could smell colors. I had a non-stop headache. I was peeing every five minutes.
I know it sounds crazy. I know it seems early. I thought it too. I never even entertained the thought of early pregnancy symptoms. I was patiently waiting for my blood work on Tuesday the 25th and was going to go from there. I attributed any and all symptoms to the new progesterone I was on. It was a gel and one that I had never used before. I assumed it was a stronger dose and therefore, affecting me differently. I texted my mom about how awful the medicine was making me feel. I texted my BFF and am pretty sure I said something like, “this progesterone is kicking my butt”. Honestly, I didn’t feel like myself.
And then, Sunday morning I woke up and I felt normal. Hooray! My body was finally regulating a bit more to the progesterone. And then I started bleeding Sunday night.
The following Thursday I found out that I had been(and technically still was) pregnant. Those symptoms I had felt? They weren’t the progesterone. They were my babies. And then? They just stopped.
Honestly, I felt cheated. I never got to have that pee on the stick “SQUEE!! My test is positive!” moment. I never tested. I never had proof that our IVF had worked. Not until that call on Thursday afternoon.
I don’t know which would have been better. Finding out that I was pregnant only to lose it a few days later? Or, thinking I’d started my period only to find out that it was actually a miscarriage- or excuse me, a “chemical pregnancy”. I guess either way, it’s the worst situation possible so however it happened doesn’t really matter, change the outcome, or my feelings about it. I do wish that I could have enjoyed a few days of bliss and happiness knowing that I was growing a baby. I am sad that I never got that. Looking back, I can point to signs and symptoms that proved they were there, but I never had that tangible, real, physical proof that every pregnant woman gets to have.
The day I found out what had happened was just terrible. Luckily, Abigail was napping when I got the call. After I got off the phone I called my Mom. She couldn’t even understand what I was telling her because I was crying so hard. It took minutes to finally explain the phone call I’d just received. A few more minutes to cry and cry together. Then she told me to call Jim. There aren’t many times I have to call Jim at work. There have been even less times that I’ve ever called him hysterical. He immediately came home.
Those first days were just horrible. I couldn’t stop crying. I had to get my blood drawn again to make sure my levels had dropped to 0. Then I had to wait for a call back to tell me it was all officially over. Once they did call, my levels were negative. Like, under 0. Like, even more not pregnant than already not pregnant. It was all done.
I have never had to deal with loss before. With anything. My cat died a few years ago? That’s about it. I still have all of my grandparents. Parents. Jim has all of his grandparents. Parents. All of our siblings. I have never felt the pain of immediate loss and I’m not sure what is normal for handling it. I also don’t know if I was only grieving the children I had lost, all 8 of them, or if I was also grieving the failed IVF. Or, the end of infertility treatment. Or, the end of the hope that someday we would have more biological children. I was grieving all of it and the weight of it was unbearable.
Everyone who has experienced miscarriage has a different story and a different response. I think we tend to all grade other people’s loss on our own little pain scales. “Well, she was only such and such far along” or “Well, she already saw her baby so that must be worse” or “She didn’t try that long, she can try again”, “At least she already has another kid” etc, etc. But, in reality, we’ve all lost a child. Our child. Our baby(or babies). It’s an exclusive club that no one ever, ever wants to join.
And unfortunately, I have been learning that this “club” is even more huge and more vast than I ever could have imagined. If you haven’t experienced miscarriage yourself, I can guarantee you that you know someone(and probably multiple) people who have.
Here are two really helpful articles with tips on how to treat and talk to a woman who has experienced a miscarriage:
Six Ways to Support a Woman Through Miscarriage
I know it feels like a lot to remember and in this day and age it feels like there isn’t anything you can say without it offending somebody. So I would just encourage everyone to pick one or two things TO say and file away the things to definitely NOT say and otherwise not stress too much over it.
Luckily, I have been so crazy blessed by the people that surround me. My family. My best friends. My church. Even the message boards and blog communities that I am a part of. They have all reached out to me in the most caring and delicate way. They have shown me how much I am loved, how much they are grieving with me over my babies too, and how much they are interceding for me before the throne of Christ.
That being said, I am still carrying a boat load of hurt. A huge weight, sadness, and burden of knowing I will never get to hold those children this side of heaven. And that breaks my heart. But, being a month beyond the initial loss now, the time passing has helped a small amount. I’m not crying as much as I was and my body has moved back to it’s regularly scheduled programming. Which actually helps, surprisingly. I can only hope and pray as more time passes that the hurt won’t always feel so raw, the pain always so fresh, and the tears won’t always be brimming.