Last week on the evening of our 7 week ultrasound where we had discovered we had two babies, I went for a walk with the dog. There is a very pretty section of eucalyptus trees in the neighborhood with a nice dirt path lined with tall grass. And it’s been so green lately following all the rain we’ve had. At one end of this path is a tire swing. I’ve walked down this path so many times and had never seen anyone on the tire swing. I’ve tried to convince my dog to try it out but she’s just not having it. This particular evening, with babies on my mind, I came up to the tire swing to discover a mom and dad swinging their cute little twin boys. In that instant, I felt so happy and reassured that all would be well with my babies, despite the doctor’s warning that Baby A might not make it. I kept walking down the path for a few minutes and then stopped myself. I wanted another glimpse at that beautiful family and what could potentially be my future. I turned around and headed back. As I walked closer I couldn’t quite see who was there, but I could still hear voices, so I was happy I’d get a chance to set my eyes on those sweet twins again. But as I approached, I was startled to see that the family was no longer there. As if within the blink of an eye, without skipping a beat, these two little boys were replaced with one little girl being pushed on the swing by her Dad. It gave me chills and knocked the wind out of my sails. This vision of the future placed in front of me like a dream played a trick on me. I felt so strongly in that moment that I was being forced to be prepared to grasp the possibility that I may be losing Baby A. This moment felt so intense to me that I cried all the way home.
There were two, then I turned around and there was one. I couldn’t shake it.
Today was our 8 week ultrasound appointment and we were terribly nervous. To our relief, Baby B quickly popped up on the screen with a strong heartbeat, but sadly Baby A did not make it. There was no heartbeat. I was lying there trying to wrap my head around which emotion to attach to. I was balancing grief and joy simultaneously. Grief tipped the scale and it has been winning today. We have our fourth angel baby. And then I felt guilt for not focusing my love and happiness on Baby B. Honestly, I’ve been an emotional wreck today. I’m so in love and so heartbroken, I’m so hopeful and so hurt. I know I have to grieve this loss before I can give full attention to the very special beating heart that is still with us and depending on me.
I’ve been given solid, heartfelt words to lean on by those close to me with kind texts and emails and there have been wonderful words of compassion from those in my support group. Everybody has said something to me that has touched me deeply and meant the world to me. Each of them expressing their love in a way so unique to our individual relationships. There was one thing however, that took my feelings and thoughts to a very comforting place, and it was this, “So sorry. At least Baby A did not pass alone.”
Baby A did not pass alone and there were three of our angels waiting and ready. And they will be watching over Baby B.
There were two, and now there is one. That is where all of our love will go.
Our Journey continues through week 7 of our pregnancy. We had our first ultrasound on Wednesday where I nearly had a panic attack and started crying while we waited for the doctor to enter the exam room. My last ultrasound in 2014 left me with the indelible image in my mind of two babies with no heartbeat. I was terrified that I wouldn’t get to see what I so badly hoped for in this ultrasound. The agony continued as it took a while to find the itty bitty blueberry sized being in my uterus. And finally, we found something and saw a very small, faint, flashing light. My doctor struggled to get a measurement of the heartbeat and we were not able to hear it. I was worried, but also relieved to see life. As he continued to try to get a clearer image, he suddenly said, “oh, there’s another baby.” (AKA Baby B). Now, let’s allow that to sink in. There’s a second baby.
Baby B had a strong heartbeat (which we could hear) and measured well for 7 weeks (7 weeks 1 day and 133 BPMs), while Baby A measured a bit smaller (6 weeks 6 days) and he was concerned about the weaker heartbeat. We were left with an uncertainty about Baby A and were told to be prepared that we may lose Baby A. If that happens, Baby B should still be fine, however that’s not easy to hear. I feel responsible for both of them and we just can’t say anymore goodbyes. Before leaving the appointment, my Dr said to me, “Do you know what I’ve been thinking about the past few weeks? That photo you showed me when we did the embryo transfer.” He gave me a hug before leaving the room.
We walked away from that appointment trying to feel happy… afterall, I really am pregnant! It’s still hard to believe. But we could not let go of our looming worry about Baby A. As we drove away, my husband said, “Is this every going to get easy? Do we ever get to stop worrying? Why isn’t this ever easy for us? I want to just be happy, but now we are both worried again!” He’s right, it’s not easy. We’ve had a lot stripped away from us over the past few years and a carefree, happy go lucky attitude about pregnancy does not exist for us. I know we so badly want to make it to a point where we can really enjoy this pregnancy and not be afraid to see a future with a baby or babies in our arms by next November.
We are encouraging our little babies every day to keep growing and cheering on Baby A. I keep thinking over and over in my head, “C’mon Baby A, you can do it!” Or as someone in my support group said, “Tighten up Baby A!” This morning my husband gave the babies a little pep talk too before leaving for work.
I remember how excited I was at every ultrasound of my first pregnancy. I couldn’t wait to see him move around, such a cute little thing. My mind was not consumed by thoughts of fearing a stopped heart, or possible abnormalities or anything that would get in the way of a happy ending with a baby in my arms. In my second pregnancy I was cautiously optimistic but also relied on my faith in life, and statistics and the universe, that I would not suffer trauma and loss two pregnancies in a row. I did my time in grieftown. I paid my dues in depression and tears. But to my complete shock, it didn’t matter how much I had already suffered. I was there suffering again. Sadly, I learned the hard way. The very hard, painful, devastating way, that pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean you get to have a baby.
But here I am now with pregnancy number three. I’m trying to wade through recurring grief and memories that have been triggered while re-experiencing the first trimester. With each heavy step through (and against) fear, I’m walking closer to hopefulness. I’m trying to remind myself that I can enjoy this pregnancy one day at a time. I’m doing everything in my power to keep my baby’s heartbeat strong. I’m fighting the scary thoughts away and looking at this as a new and different pregnancy.
On Friday, I celebrated my 42nd birthday. It’s the first time I’ve been pregnant on my birthday and what an amazing gift! While it made me very happy to celebrate this new little life with me, it wasn’t easy to stop the thoughts of my first loss which happened two days before my 39th birthday. But I also realized that my baby now has three angels watching over him or her. All that pain and loss has left us with a lot of love from these sweet little souls. I was able to really enjoy the day and the entire weekend looking in the forward direction, enjoying the sun and spring flowers which allowed me to push away the darkness from the past.
My first ultrasound is on Wednesday. I’m excited, nervous, and hopeful. This will feel real when I can see a heartbeat.
I crumbled into a heap of tears when I saw the number.
Compared to my two previous pregnancies, this is my highest HCG number. We were thrilled, relieved, happy and terrified. The first big hurdle of many to come. Now, to calm my anxieties for the second HCG test 48 hours later. The number is supposed to at least double and that did not happen with my other two pregnancies, resulting in early ultrasounds, extra blood tests and a lot of extra worry. Anxiously waiting one more dreaded hour for the results to come through the lab and there it was.
In that instant the weight and misery of infertility and pregnancy loss lifted off of me, leaving me with happiness. In that moment the stress on our marriage dissipated and there we were, sitting together as a happy husband and wife with a lot of hope.
So, here we go. Our first ultrasound will be at 7 weeks. Our due date is November 16. Please baby, hang in there. Be our rainbow baby. We love you already.
It seems that at this point I should have lost count, but I can’t because I know how many I have lost. I try to let the numbers and dates stay blurry, but I know how old my first baby should be. He should be 2 and a half. I purposely try not to remember the due date of the twins. But I can still see their heartbeats. There are six other embryos that disappeared somewhere in between the transfer to my body and the pregnancy test. On Monday, I had my ninth embryo transfer. Two more embryos.
On Monday morning before the transfer, I went for a walk with my dog. I had a choice to go left or right on the trail and decided to go right. We ended up near a beach where she loves to play catch but we didn’t have time for that…but she pulled me out to the beach anyway, looking back at me expectantly with a huge wide smile and tongue hanging out. The beach was empty except for the stroller in this photo. For a second I thought, well maybe my baby is right there waiting for me! Well, no that wasn’t the case, but I tried to view this as a hopeful moment. Somehow, maybe this is a sign. My babies that are watching over me and the baby that is still to be is here with me in this moment. A moment to give me courage to try again. To wait those nine hopeful, yet agonizing days again waiting for the pregnancy test.
The sun was blinding me, but I snapped a photo anyway, not quite sure what I would end up with. I wanted to be reminded of the stroller that was in my path. As I faced the stroller and the rock wall where we had once stood to spread our baby Jaxon’s ashes, I could feel them all with me. A little white light ended up in the photo and I choose to see the souls that I love so much in that light.
One little white light, Two embryos, Nine days to wait. Trying one more time.
I had to get up early today to go get blood drawn as part of my FET cycle which is not how I wanted to start Valentine’s Day. However, on my way there I got to see this sunrise. There is love everywhere and the light of love is raining down on us. Happy Valentine’s Day!
I have not felt up to writing since Christmas, where even my last post was a very brief one. In the mean time, we’ve been gearing up for another embryo transfer cycle and coordinating a two-cycle approach again with an endometrial biopsy. This is in hopes of making my uterine lining more “sticky” for the embaby. The procedure will be tomorrow.
Our TTC journey has faded a bit to the background lately due to the holidays and also having a terribly difficult time trying to help and just make it through a daily family life where my step-son is dealing with some very serious mental and behavioral health issues. While this isn’t something I discuss here in order to protect his own privacy, I will say that it has been a very dark and difficult place for him and of course for all of us involved in helping him. I have another family member who remains to be my light as we trudge through this very difficult journey. I’ve talked about brain illnesses in a previous post and love every opportunity to share my family member’s blog as it could help so many people:
In the midst of all of these difficulties in addition to our TTC struggles, I feel compelled to bring beauty and happiness into my life daily. It has helped me find joy in little things and I look for them everywhere. I got stuck in horrible traffic yesterday morning but enjoyed watching the sky during sunrise and found the moon still lurking around as it became daylight. I just signed up for ballet lessons and I’ve been looking forward to class all week. Plus our teacher is a REAL ballerina and that just brings out the giddy little girl in me in awe of the presence of a ballerina.
I enjoy photography because it keeps my eyes open for pretty things and I don’t want to miss them. I love my dog and every time I’ve had a rough day and she goes nuts with tail wagging and silly antics seeing me come home, I can’t help but laugh.
Last weekend I decided to enjoy my time by taking photographs to make Valentine cards. I think they turned out pretty cute so I thought I’d share a few with you to spread some love. I hope the bright colors and use of Lego mini-figures brings you a little joy.
If you do like what you see, I plan to have these available on my Etsy site this weekend, so you can browse there as well.