Anyone who suffers infertility knows that there will always be certain dates that you will never forget. It might be the day you were diagnosed with PCOS, or the day that you went in for your first fertility treatment, or the day you were finally told the happy news you were pregnant.
For me, there are two dates I will always remember.
December 11, 2015 and July 15, 2016
You see, those were the due dates given to me after our two rounds of IVF.
I’ll start at the beginning, and share my story because maybe my story is a lot like yours. And maybe you need to feel like you aren’t alone and that someone else can relate to what you have been through.
A few hours later my nurse called, and my husband and I both breathed a sigh of relief when the nurse told us that I was pregnant. However, my pregnancy hormone was very low. At that point of the pregnancy they like to see the hCG number to be above 100. Mine was 31, however, anything about 25 is considered pregnant. We were told to be cautiously optimistic, and go back in for another blood draw in two days.
It was after the second blood draw that we got the devastating phone call that my pregnancy hormone level was going down. My pregnancy was ending before it even got started.
And to add insult to injury, to make sure I wasn’t having an ectopic pregnancy, my doctor had me go back to the clinic to get my blood drawn about four more times, on four separate days to make sure my hCG level was continuing to go down.
It was a painful reminder that my pregnancy was ending, and so were our hopes and dreams for another baby.
In between all of this, I figured out what my due date would have been.
December 11, 2015
That date has come and gone but on that day last December I remembering writing down some of my feelings:
“I wasn’t sure how I would feel today. I know I want to write something today, but honestly, I don’t have any huge words of wisdom or anything eloquent to say about this journey. My heart hurts. We are still grieving. Going through IVF is intense, and something that stays with you even after the baby comes or doesn’t come.
When you go through IVF there are so many doctor appointments, there are months of preparation, medications, pills, and shots involved- not to mention the intense emotional and physical roller coaster you are on. So when you go through something like that, where you are remembering to take 10 pills a day, shots three times a day, remembering to go in for ultrasounds, blood draws, and lining checks- and then it just ends-it is devastating. You have just put in so much time, energy, money, and emotion and you are literally running on adrenaline that when it’s over, and there’s no baby to show for it- there is so much loss and so much grieving on so many levels.”
My thoughts and feelings are pretty much the same today on our second “would-be-due-date”: July 15, 2016 from our second round of IVF that we did in October 2015.
That round of IVF also ended in a chemical pregnancy. We felt the same emotions of being excited to be told we were pregnant- (my hormone level was higher this time, but still low enough to need to check it a few days later) to then have our hearts crushed into bits and pieces when we learned it was another non-viable pregnancy.
Today is the day that we could have potentially welcomed another child into our family.
I have firm faith and a belief in God and His plan for us. We hold onto the faith that one day everything will be made clear to us, that our loving Heavenly Father is aware of us, and knows the desires of our heart. All along my husband and I felt that it was in God’s hands. Yes, the medications needed to work, the timing had to be just so, but ultimately, I always believed that it was up to God, and His will.
This journey is a learning process. Wondering why something happens the way that it does can drive one crazy. Questioning, and feeling hurt, angry, and confused are all valid and important emotions. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to truly build yourself back up into the strong and brave person you are meant to be.
Thinking back on our journey and reflecting today on our due-date, I can say that my heart is just sad. I’m not bitter, or angry, or jealous, or hurt. I’m just sad. And my heart aches to be pregnant again and to feel a baby inside me, to experience child birth one more time and to be able to give our children another sibling- to add to our family in the way we always hoped and dreamed. A part of my heart will always long for a baby and perhaps a part of my heart will always break a little when others become pregnant, and my arms may always feel a little empty.
And I have learned that that is okay. And I don’t need to justify my reasons for any of it.
But there is healing that comes, and will continue to come. Healing that allows me to function every day, to laugh and smile, and to truly be happy for others, too. We have felt so much love from so many earthly angels who have held us up, taken care of us, and offered service to our family in the form of meals, flowers, treats, cards, hugs, longs talks, and more. We have literally felt the prayers offered on our behalf lifting us up every step of the way. And it’s a feeling you get to experience after hitting that rock bottom I mentioned earlier.
We have seen the beautiful side of people. We have gotten to see that there is still so much good in this world. Being able to witness others drop everything that they were doing, to rush to our aid during our darkest hours to lift our burdens has been such a blessing. Seeing this has shown me how I want to be. It has taught me a valuable lesson. To reach out, to help others, to act instead of ask. Going through nine years of fertility treatments including a total of 18 rounds of IUI (two of those successful!) and two rounds of IVF, has shown me the best that people have to offer. And I want to be more like them.
I have felt immense sadness, but with that I felt so much joy and happiness. There were moments during our losses where- by the grace of others- I was out and about smiling and laughing instead of curled up into a ball on my bed.
Even though what I want is a baby- if that is not the plan- the charity, the service, the love and compassion we have felt from others is the next best thing. It has helped my husband and I to both grow, become more humble and has helped us gain greater compassion and understanding toward others. We know that we have done everything that we possibly can do to become pregnant. So now we leave it in God’s hands and turn it over completely to Him.
Infertility and pregnancy loss is something I never thought would be story. But I know we all have our trials. And this is mine. My greatest plight is to ensure that no one takes being able to get pregnant easily for granted. Maybe that is not your trial, and be grateful that it isn’t. If I cannot get pregnant, I have to believe that those who can, are beyond grateful for it.
Today would have been my due date. We were so close to having that be a reality. Yet, our lives keep going on, we keep living, we get through each day and we enjoy the life we’ve made for ourselves because this life is worth living beautifully- even through the struggles.
Despite living with infertility, I can still emulate happiness, joy and gratitude. I hope I can be a beacon of light for others. I pray that the hope and faith we hold in our hearts, can help a light shine within us that helps people to see that even though our hearts our hurt, we still live a happy life, have wonderful blessings and feel very fortunate.
So even though today is not bringing a new baby into our family- I’ve still laughed, I’ve enjoyed my children, and even through the lingering sadness, I’ve chosen to be happy today.