Did you know you can get pregnant like 2.3 seconds after a miscarriage while you’re still sad and overwhelmed and grieving? Yeah…. well, apparently you can. And when that happens, you may have feelings other than abundant joy and excitement. Or you may have no feelings at all for a long time, which just makes you feel like an ungrateful person and a bad mother…
At 24 years old, I got pregnant with my daughter and it was the simplest thing ever. I thought about maaaaaaybe having a baby and BAM; There she was. 13 years later, immediately following our wedding, my husband and I started trying for a baby. At 36 years old, I knew it might not be as easy as last time. For over a year, we did all the things. We tracked, peed on ovulation sticks, took my temperature in the morning, logged every baby-making attempt, took hormone pills, ran tests, attempted IUI (intrauterine insemination) and finally, underwent a successful round of IVF (in vitro fertilization.) We had a healthy baby boy in June of 2018, and he is currently a little toddler monster too loved for words.
The plan was always to transfer our last embryo this fall, 2019. We scheduled a consult with our fertility doctor this past July to plan our approach, which included running some tests at the start of my next cycle. Unbeknownst to me, I was already pregnant during this meeting, and that cycle never came. When I finally took a pregnancy test, there was not an ounce of me that believed it would be positive. After everything we had been through to have our son, those double lines were the biggest shock. I walked around in a daze for a week.
It felt like a miracle, a gift straight from God. My husband was ecstatic. I got excited about the possibility of a girl and expanded my daydreams to include an extra unplanned family member.
And then I lost the baby. Miscarriage is not something you can ever prepare for. It was more traumatic than I expected, both physically and emotionally. I didn’t understand why God would give us a treasure so unexpected, just to let it be taken away.
To ease my sorrow and confusion, I quickly reverted my thinking back to the original schedule. I found comfort in the feeling of control. We could still start the transfer process for our last embryo this fall, just like we had always planned. All we had to do was wait for my hormone levels to return to normal.
6 weeks later, the pregnancy hormone was still present in my body. I had been taking weekly home pregnancy tests that were still showing up positive. I was beyond frustrated. I just wanted this whole ordeal to be over. I wanted to get back on my own timeline. Not to mention, my body was still acting like I was in my first trimester… nausea, indigestion, exhaustion, and unpredictable emotions. I wasn’t handling the limbo well, and my heart was still aching for my baby, who had died.
After 7 weeks, my doctor had me come in for a series of blood tests that revealed my pregnancy hormone levels rising significantly. She called to congratulate us on a new pregnancy. I had conceived immediately, without having a period, and without knowing it for a month and a half. Turns out, it’s possible. Even with my fertility history and the recent trauma, new life can begin.
The amount of blood and tears I had recently lost made me feel empty and desolate, hollowed out by failure. My frustrating lack of control over the workings of my body had made me feel desperate and anxious. And when the doctor gave us the news, all I felt was confused and numb. I knew I was supposed to be thrilled. I really tried to be excited. But I had been on such a rollercoaster, I think my heart just needed a time out.
Some things in life are simply not as straightforward as they should be. Our fertility journey has been full of unexpected twists and uncharted territory. This baby announcement and this pregnancy is a confusing surprise on top of a happy surprise that ended in sadness and frustration. My emotions are a mess. My hormones have been all over the place. In the last few months, I’ve been a hermit, an absent friend, a mediocre leader, and an irritable wife and mother. I’ve been trying to make it through the days, not win any awards.
But things are getting better. My recent ultrasound showed a perfect little sour patch kid wiggling around with a busy 172 bpm heart rate. I was extremely relieved to see that, and my husband was overjoyed, which is also helpful. As for me, I’m really trying to be okay with how I feel and also okay with how I don’t feel. I know in my soul that I will love this baby with everything in me…. when my heart is ready. So I’m waiting and praying, letting my heart catch up to my body and allowing time to work it’s healing magic.
If you are a friend of ours, I love that you are excited and happy for us! Please express that! It helps, thank you. But also, please be patient with me if I don’t seem myself. I’ll get there. I promise.