Moving on from Miscarriage

As time carries on, and the weeks and months grow into many that separate us from the first news of our untimely miscarriage, we move forward.  I would say that time heals, but I would be lying.  Time removes the sting, the punch in the gut sort of feeling, and maybe even the heartbreak, but I am finding it doesn’t seem to remove the, I’ll call it…the abyss that is miscarriage.   The abyss…the God-given area of our heart that attaches to its unborn, the part of ourselves that gives completely to that in which grows in her depths.  Oftentimes, we are unaware of just how deep our feelings and connection goes until our baby is born or until we have time to feel its bond.  Yet, it is real no matter where you are in you are in your pregnancy and when you lose it, you know that this special area of your heart, created just for this little person, will forever be vacant, will forever wonder if and what.  There are big reminders…dates, pregnancies in similar spots and there are small reminders…musings of your mind, the to do list in the back of your head that you began to formulate upon realization of conception, the shoes you saved for the what if it was this gender or the picture you found at the thrift store – perfect for your future child’s room.  Yes, it’s there…my abyss, my longing for my child.  I wonder how this space will evolve over time.  Will I ever be able to rectify its presence? Time marches on, friends and family move forward, miscarriage is often forgotten, but a mother carries forever her abyss, her God-given hole for her baby.

Even in the face of knowing we get to move forward and try again and are deep in the planning stages for our next embryo transfer, I feel the longing.  I almost unknowingly calculate in my mind where I would have been in my pregnancy.  I can’t help it, I long to be able to begin to feel the movement of my baby, to have scheduled the anatomy ultrasound and be in the planning stages of a gender reveal party.  I am hopeful that there will be news of another baby soon enough, a successful transfer and a celebration of a healthy pregnancy.  In time, I trust I will have these things again.  In time, I know that my heart will feel fulfilled and that it will give immeasurably more love than I ever thought it capable to the sweet lovelies whom I will bear.  In time, the pain will continue to lesson, slowly replaced with a heartfelt understanding that God always KNEW what he was up to.

aka…FAITH.

Like so many other battles I have endured, Faith enters the picture, triumphant and certain.  There are just so many things in life you have to accept on Faith.  We have a very limited understanding compared to God.  Ultimately, healing comes with trusting in His promises. Our Faith carries us forward.

Faith that all will be made right some day.

Faith that He makes everything beautiful in time.

Faith that my baby dances with Jesus.

Faith that He is GOOD.

Faith that He will give me the strength to forever carry on, to bear even more hurts and to live in even greater JOY.

To Him be the Glory.  To Him I surrender my heart, my abyss…please fill it with your love.

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Processing miscarriage

In the weeks since my miscarriage, my state of being has been up and down. I still am having a difficult time wrapping my mind around the purpose in all of this. I try to remember that so many have it worse, or are fighting bigger battles. I remember what a gift it is that we have our precious Eden. I remember just how truly blessed we are in this life and the absolute gift it is that we have such a strong, beautiful marriage. I remember, I give thanks, but the sting still hurts. From the very depths of my being, I grieve, I fight the longings and the ache of it all. Just tonight, a friend announced a pregnancy with a due date in the same week our precious little one would have been due. I thought I was good, but it brought back all the emotions, the hurt, the turmoil and confusion that surrounded those few weeks of my pregnancy given my emergent surgery and everything.

What’s been equally challenging is just how long this miscarriage is lasting. I thought it would all be over with the passing of the gestational sac, but now I wait for my hcg to drop. It has been 4 weeks. It went from 7700 to 95 to 31. In one and a half weeks I will go back in again for another hcg. I hope and pray that it will finally be less than 5, the magical number for which I wait. Once it is there, we will wait for a period to begin and then the whole process starts again. So potentially we are looking at another few months before we will be able to do an embryo transfer. I know what many may be thinking…”it’s just a few months, what’s the big deal?” And I know, it is easy to say such things…but I am telling you, it’s not that easy when you are living it, when daily you walk in the uncertainty of your future, when getting pregnant means injections, appointments, missing work, bed rest and so many thousands of dollars. It is all worth it, believe me and I know it completely but nonetheless it is taxing. And it becomes even more wearisome when it doesn’t work. And let me be honest in saying that I just felt so messed with with this whole last pregnancy. I just feel like the person Job in the bible and that God allowed everything to come crashing down in front of me…bit by bit. I know it is nothing compared to what Job lost, but it was a disheartening journey. The carrot would be dangled in front of me, and then hope would be dashed and then I would be asked to wait…and then the whole cycle would continue, hope…hope dashed…wait…hope…hope dashed…wait and then finally…complete LOSS and DEVASTATION.

Yet, as I have always said…faith endures, I will wait on God. I know that everything will be beautiful in time, that the waiting will be fruitful, that we will be blessed beyond measure…but it won’t be on our timeline. Right now I am in the refiner’s fire…getting worked over, molded. Day by day, my character grows stronger, my ability to persevere increasingly steadfast.

Get ready y’all…it’s going to be a beautiful story.

Beautiful life: A eulogy to our unborn child

WARNING:  Graphic content related to miscarriage

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Tonight we buried our little baby.  No longer than the finger nail of my pinky, opaque and beautiful.  Nothing could have prepared me for the emotion I would feel when I saw that little formed body just beneath the translucent sac that had once developed to nurture it and protect it.  It was obvious when I passed the gestational sac earlier this evening.  There it lay, surrounded in the soft cushion of my uterine lining.  I had been waiting for it all day.  Early this morning, I had taken the misoprostol.  I was hopeful that everything would pass with a single dose but didn’t know when or how it would go.  Mostly I have been emotionally numb since learning this past Wednesday that there was no longer a heartbeat and that our baby had died.  But my emotions ripped to the surface as I held this little life between my fingers.  I went and grabbed my husband and he too was shaken out of his own numbness.  This was it.  This was the little life we have been praying for, hoping for, and loving for so long.  This is the little life that had already been through so much.  Created via IVF almost two years and then frozen for most of that tme.  After a short thaw in April, it had quickly found a snug little home deep inside me where it grew as best it could.  Within weeks of it making its home within me, it endured uncontrollable retching, it’s mother with acute appendicitis and subsequent surgery.  Somehow it endured.  It would seem that so many would give up on this precious being two weeks later when an initial ultrasound revealed no heartbeat.  We were told to stop our medications, that it was pointless, that the pregnancy wasn’t viable.  Instead, we held out for a miracle and waited.  This little embryo defied all odds and continued to grow over the following week.  5 days later, at our ultrasound that was meant to confirm death, instead showed a beautiful little life with a steady heartbeat.  We celebrated the miraculous and praised God for this tiny person.  In the end, it wasn’t meant to be.  At least not on this side of heaven.  We trust and believe with all our hearts that this little life is dancing with Jesus.  We find comfort in the knowledge that he already knows LOVE truer and deeper than any found here on earth.  This little life waits to be reunited with his earthly family, for the only family he has known.  But he waits with strength and courage, for he has found peace with Jesus.

Tonight we buried our baby.  We found the perfect spot.  We dug a hole and we placed him in the ground.   Many tears were shed and fervent prayers were offered up.  It was a precious moment shared between my husband and I under the darkened sky.

For us, he will always be in our hearts.  We are forever grateful to God for allowing us these few treasured weeks together.

 

Today we celebrate a miracle….

Where do I start?

This past week has been rough.  Since finding out our embryo did not have a heart beat and was measuring small at 6 weeks 3 days, we have been on a roller coaster of emotions.  They had told us there was no hope.  They told us that the baby had quit growing and that they had never seen a pregnancy like it turn around.  Over the past 5 days, we went back and forth as to whether we should miscarry naturally, or take misoprostol or schedule a D&C.  That day, overwhelmed with grief and flooding emotions, we decided that we would just stop our medications and let nature begin to take its course.   In 30 years of practice, our Reproductive Endocrinologist had never seen an embryo turn the corner after such a devastating ultrasound. According to him, it had died and miscarriage would ensue shortly.

Later that evening, as we were getting ready for bed, we decided to let my husband’s mother in on what had been going on.  We just felt like we needed more support and who better than mom.  As my husband relayed our tragic news to her, through muffled sobs I could overhear her asking him over and over again if there was any hope for a miracle.  Is there any hope?  Could it be possible?

These words resonated deep within my heart and in that moment we decided that we needed to give this embryo every last chance that we could.  Whatever happened, I didn’t want to look back knowing that we didn’t try, that we didn’t at least continue our meds for  a few more days and do a confirmatory ultrasound the following week.  So, I hurried back into the bathroom, gave myself my IM progesterone and endometrin and to a fitful night of sleep we went.

Over the next few days we pleaded with God, while all the while trying to be real with ourselves about the likelihood of miscarriage.  A friend sent me a card with a verse that really carried me through the weekend (Psalm 27:13), “For I would have despaired had I not believed in the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  I took heart and let this be my anthem trusting that his will is perfect, his timing is perfect.  The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.  He is trustworthy.  It was definitely a faith building wait and wait was all we could do.

Today, as we drove to the ultrasound, we prayed for a heart beat, we prayed for a miracle, we also prayed for strength, for courage, and for peace with whatever the outcome.

Well, to get to the point…there it was….the heart beat.  It was there.   The embryo had grown and it was alive!  But even in this, the waiting continues.  The embryo is measuring a week behind.  It is measuring 6 weeks 1 day and I am supposed to be 7weeks 1 day.  We are FAR from out of the woods and are in a state of limbo.  Our RE is pretty sure that it is an abnormal embryo and will quit growing over the next week or so.  We will go back in a week and a half to hopefully have a more definitive answer one way or the other.  For now, we wait, we hope, we prepare for whatever may come our way.  We are SOOOO far from clearing the uneasiness and 1st trimester dangers and this waiting period will be one of the most difficult.  I can’t even begin to tell you what hearing that your embryo is abnormal and most likely has a condition that wouldn’t be compatible with life does for your heart, but time will tell.  Today, we wait and celebrate that the impossible has happened for us and there is no reason this baby can’t defy all odds and grow to be the most beautiful and healthy little baby! If the baby does stop growing, there will be plenty of time to grieve.  Today, we celebrate life.  Today, I focus and muster all my courage upon just being thankful for this miracle and NOT allow my mind to ponder what ifs.

Heartbreaking Loss. Miscarriage at 6.5 weeks.

I am not alone.  So many have walked much more difficult paths, have endured far more significant losses.  Is it possible to quantify loss, to distinguish the pain threshold associated with differing types of loss?  I do not know.  All I know is that I am feeling it…the death of so much more than just a fetus.  The death of dreams, the loss of hope for this pregnancy, the death of a potential sibling, the dying of prayers prayed in ernest for this sweet, loved embryo.  How do you move forward?  How do you just leave it in God’s hands, relinquish control and say YES, Lord, I know you are so much bigger than me and my dreams…your plans beyond anything I could comprehend.  You must have something GREATER, BIGGER, BETTER in store.  I will get there.  I have walked long enough with my Lord, endured suffering associated with being an outcast in my family, difficult seasons of heartache due to break-ups, years of waiting for my true love, and infertility.  I know that each and every one of these has led to a deeper sense of self, a greater love for my Lord, and always, at the end of each season, when the light finally pierces the dark depths of each tunnel, I have been able to tell myself that I would surely have suffered through each again.  It is always worth it. 

Today I learned that my pregnancy is ill-fated.  We transferred 1 embryo on May 2.  It was a perfect transfer.  Everything was textbook perfect.  The lining was perfect, my hormone levels lovely, even the embryo was graded the best it could possibly be.  I had complete faith that it would work in our favor…and sure enough, 6 days later, we got our first positive pregnancy test at home.  Each successive day it became darker and darker.  It wasn’t really a surprise.  I just knew it was going to work out. Our situation just seemed to favor this scenario.  At 10 days post 5 day transfer (10dp5dt), we had our first offical bHcg.  It was a beautiful number at 125, higher even than our first baby’s number.  Joy upon JOY.  We would be having a baby around mid-January!  What a gift!  

But then, within hours, the trouble began.  That night I developed severe abdominal pain and nausea.  The nausea turned into severe vomiting and soon the pain and vomiting was just too much to bear.  I have never experience a pain more fierce, more unrelenting.  It felt worse to me than child birth.  I had no idea what the source was.  Deep into the night, laying upon the cold tile floor of my bathroom, I told my husband I could no longer endure the pain and dry heaving.  I felt like I just wanted to die and knew that I needed pain relief and resuscitation fluids and so to the emergency room we went.  It was discovered that I needed an emergent appendectomy.  I was devastated.  What would be become of this sweet, vulnerable embryo…just a few days implanted, not yet differentiated into organ or limb.  We stuck with a minimal anesthetic plan and I avoided any and all medications post surgery.  My serial betas continued to double, but in my mind the damage had already been done.  What embryo could endure such stress, such heaving of its newly established home, such exposure to potentially toxic medications….

Today I had my first ultrasound.  The gestational sack looked perfect but as we zoomed in on the embryo, we all realized there was no heartbeat.  I immediately saw the look of concern upon the face of the nurse in the room, jaw half dropped as they probed the embryo from different angles and called in the attending to take a second look.  But there was NOTHING.  The fetus was measuring small.  There were murmurings that they had never seen a pregnancy like this turn the corner.  It was over.  They say I did everything I could.  They say that I can’t blame the surgery.  They say it was probably chromosomal.  They say many things, but in my heart…well, I guess I have to just let go because I will never know for sure.  It certainly is a lot to endure in the early weeks.  All I know is that I now have to decide HOW I want to MISCARRY, how I want to proceed.  These are questions I hoped to never be faced with.  Questions I never hoped to seek answers to.  But I am here, and I will continue to walk, I will continue to trust in my Lord, to look to him for strength, to recognize that His plan is perfect, that His timing is BEST and that His GRACE is sufficient for me, His power PERFECTED in my weakness.  Whatever that means RIGHT now, RIGHT here.  I will keep walking.  

For now, I wait…wait for this baby to leave my body and return to dust.  Dust to dust.  Ashes to ashes.  One day we will meet again and everything will be made right.  

Back in the trenches…

Well, it’s official, we are back in the trenches and are planning a FET for March or early April.  I have completed all my testing and now we wait for my next cycle.  With it, I will start a medicated cycle.  It really feels surreal this time around.  I don’t feel that same sense of urgency and accompanying anxiety wondering if it will work.  The last 10.5 months have been a dream come true and I can’t even imagine what adding another beautiful baby to the family will be like.

As for now, we are planning to only transfer one.  If I knew I could carry twins to term, if I knew they would be healthy, if I knew I wouldn’t go on bedrest, if I knew I wouldn’t be signing up for a crazy first few years, then I would probably go for it.  But as you can see, there are so many unknowns.  Of course, there are always unknowns…singleton pregnancy or with multiples, but at least my chances increase of all of those unknowns working out in my favor with a singleton.  Now, if the transfer doesn’t work, then I admit that all bets are off and that we might proceed subsequently with 2.  After all, we did put in two the first time and ended up with one precious little Eden Rose. Time will tell.

I haven’t blogged forever, but have really enjoyed following the stories of others and their journey in this process, so I think I will start cataloging this journey again.

Now for my digression….

Because we are choosing to get this process going, as of this weekend, I have to quit breastfeeding.  This is hard…and weighs on me heavily. Part of me feels selfish for not getting her to a year, for proceeding with this FET and pursuing baby #2 when our sweet girl who is here still loves to nurse and benefits greatly from it.  Will I regret it?  What if the FET doesn’t work?  Really…I am just so sad she is growing up so fast and that I will never nurse my baby girl again.  Where has the time gone?  How can it be that she is almost a year?  I  cherish our nursing moments together.  Truly, it has been bittersweet…though mostly so sweet.  As for the partly bitter…pumping in the shower for the last 6 months during my breaks, the ever present distracted state of her little mind while she nurses (but mom, there is so much going on around me, the clock is ticking, that picture looks so pretty today, is that a book that I need to bite into on the coffee table?), the fact that I have the slowest letdown in the world (which often makes her so upset), never-mind the fact that your life has to revolve around it.  All worthy sacrifices that I haven’t thought twice about.  My only comfort is that we have a freezer supply that should get her to a year.  Thus tomorrow, it will end, I will nurse her one last time and have my wonderful husband capture a few pictures and then we will move on.

A deluge of grief.

It started out as a rather regular Saturday morning.  Our friend was over and we were enjoying a nice chat. Midway through the morning, she received a phone call that her dear friend’s baby had died earlier that day. 

The world came crashing down in that moment and a wave of emotions engulfed each of us.  My husband and I have been praying for this sweet girl since she was in her momma’s belly.  She was born with a congenital heart defect and though she has been thriving since her surgery shortly after her birth, a common cold caught earlier this week was more then her heart could bear. 

The tears have flowed steadily for me throughout the day.  My heart just breaks for this family, for this baby girl, who to me, had an uncanny resemblance to our own daughter.  I am struggling with how unfair life seems in this moment.  I am struggling with how God could take such a beautiful little girl so soon.  I am struggling with how her parents must have felt leaving the hospital without their little baby.  I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to have left their daughter in that room, in that unit, in that hospital…and drive away.  (I am sorry for how depressing this post is…but I just have to get all these emotions and thoughts out.)  I can’t imagine going to bed without my sweet girl next to me.  Days that have been filled with appointments and constant special heart care amidst the everyday life with a new born, what now to fill your days with. Having struggled with infertility, I have dealt with a great deal of grief in my own life.  Of course, there is no comparison with losing a child, but each month I felt like my heart died a small death with the passing of yet another month, another opportunity.  As a new mother,  I can only imagine how that grief would be absolutely overwhelming after the immense bonding and attachment that happens in these early months. 

There are no words.  No words of comfort I can offer.  Instead, all I can do is look heavenward and do my best to trust Jesus.  To trust that his ways are not our own.  To remember just how precious the time was that she was here on earth.  To believe in His sovereignty and to remember that she is in a better place, free from pain and suffering.  In this lifetime, I will never understand the tragedies and sorrows that we each must endure, but someday they will all be redeemed by the mighty hand of our Savior.  To Him be the glory.  Lord, please bring your peace to this family.  Surround them with your comfort and your care.  Give them your hope and help them to not lose heart.  She will never be forgotten.  All I can do is pray and hold my own precious gift close.  How blessed I am to have one of my own.