The last year has been a tough one. We lost a dog and a cat, whom we loved very much, only a few weeks apart; shortly after that, I gave up my job (and what felt like most of my identity) and we packed up our lives and moved from NYC to Orlando. The transition was difficult -to say the least- and honestly, I only started to feel like I was getting my footing back a couple of months ago. On January 1st, I eagerly said good riddance to 2012 and thought 2013 would bring us much better luck.
In January, after trying to have another baby for about 1 1/2 years, we decided to seek out fertility treatment. We would have done it earlier but after finding out that our insurance doesn’t have any fertility coverage at all, we just couldn’t swing it. Finally, we decided that time was of the essence so we sucked it up and paid out-of-pocket for treatment. I did a lot of research on fertility doctors in the area and we settled on one who has a really good reputation. Although he said that IVF would give us our best shot at conceiving, especially given my age, we just couldn’t afford the $15,000 price tag so we decided to give IUI another try.
I wasn’t feeling particularly hopeful so imagine my surprise when it worked! Two weeks after the procedure, I took a home pregnancy test and couldn’t believe when I saw the word ‘pregnant’ on the stick. I was really happy but frankly, I was also relieved that we wouldn’t have to go broke trying to get pregnant.
My husband was so excited and while I tried to share his excitement, I couldn’t let myself. Maybe it was all the statistics I read about women my age and the increased likelihood of miscarriage. Maybe it was because I tend to be a bit of pessimist anyway. Maybe I didn’t want to jinx anything. Maybe I just had a gut feeling. Maybe it was all of those things, but I didn’t want to talk about the pregnancy at all and I certainly didn’t want to read the emails my husband now got on a daily basis telling him that the embryo was now the size of a lima bean and was in the process of growing kidneys. And the more time that passed and I didn’t feel anything, I got more worried. When the mild nausea I had in the beginning began to subside to nothing, my anxiety grew. I bought a box of home pregnancy tests and would take one every 3 days, relieved when I saw the positive sign yet still having a nagging feeling that something wasn’t right.
The day of our first ultrasound, when I was 7 weeks along, I was nervous all day. My husband almost convinced me that it would all be good with his infectious enthusiasm and positivity. Almost. The doctor entered the room and asked me how I was doing. I told him that I was nervous and all I wanted to see was a heartbeat; I think I let myself hope for a second that everything was going to be fine. Still, I wasn’t surprised when he told me that the embryo stopped growing at about 5 weeks and I would soon miscarry. He then said a few more things I have trouble remembering, asked me if we had any questions and left the room. All of this happened and I still didn’t have any pants on.
I think I felt numb and sad beyond belief. For some reason, I thought that because I had prepared myself for this that it wouldn’t hurt. Of course, I expected to be disappointed but I didn’t expect to feel such a deep sense of loss. I was growing a life inside of me that was no longer growing. We were going to be a family of 4 and we could already picture our daughter as a big sister. Whether I let myself be excited about it or not didn’t change the fact that I wanted this so badly and there were times I actually believed it was going to happen.
I was left with about a million questions but most of them I only came up with once the shock wore off and I had some time to let it sink in. By that time, the doctor was long gone – off to see somebody else who I imagine he was relieved to give good news to. I’m angry about a lot of things right now but most of all, I’m angry at the fact that the doctor didn’t let me put my damn clothes back on, sit with my husband for a few minutes while we absorbed the news and then invite us into his office to talk and ask questions. I realize that fertility treatments are big business now but I expected more than a quick brush-off.
So, it’s been 5 days now and I’m still trying to figure out how to process the loss. Here’s a little TMI alert (sorry): as I sit here writing this, I think I’m going through the miscarriage right now and I have pretty much never felt so alone. And the future feels so uncertain; do we keep trying? How much do we want to spend on the dream of having another baby? Do we go into debt doing more fertility treatments? Should we just count our blessings that we have a healthy and amazing daughter? Did we get greedy wanting more? I know some people feel that we were given a gift once and maybe leave well enough alone. I’m not sure how to respond to that. Yes, I love my daughter more than anything and feel thankful for her every day but does that mean I’m not allowed to want more? If it doesn’t happen naturally, is that supposed to be a sign from somewhere that we’re not supposed to have another?
I wish I had answers but right now all I have is grief.