We’ve all had a point in our life when the ache in our hearts is unbearable. That’s how I would explain grief to someone. And yet, how we react to grief is so personal. Some of us cry out, lean on loved ones, and wear our hearts on our sleeves. Others of us don’t say a word, silently suffering from the inside out, hoping that pain will eventually go away. But it doesn’t. Sometimes, but not always. And for those of us who have lost a pregnancy or infant that pain in our heart will often never extinguish.
National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is on October 15th. Since 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss, too many families know the grief associated with this kind of loss.
We are one of those families. If you’ve read my previous posts, you know we have an amazing five-year-old son. When we decided to add another child to our family we hoped it would come as easily as he did. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. On our third round of IUI, we became pregnant, but at the eight-week mark we realized the pregnancy was no longer viable and all three (yes I said three) embryonic sacks were empty.
Looking back, I know that wasn’t a healthy pregnancy. That’s how I choose to look at things, but at the time that didn’t make it much easier. The grief was almost too much to bear. Following that loss, we went back for more. That is how I dealt with grief. It made me want another baby even more. I knew I wouldn’t stop either. Those in the fertility world know that all too well. Hit a wall, you ask where to next. Transfer doesn’t work, where do I sign up to do that one more time? Have a loss, screw it, let’s do that again!
At any rate, another round of IUI led to another loss. Followed closely by our first round of IVF which also ended in loss. Both times we had a chemical pregnancy. Some might argue that it is not that bad because we never saw the baby. But again, grief and pain don’t have boundaries. It just enters your body and wreaks havoc.
It’s weird to think about our family now, it feels so complete. But in the months after our losses and even now, I tend to think about where we would be if those babies had survived. As I sit here on my back porch writing this, I laugh thinking about my husband and I raising triplets (loss #1) and our son. I smile thinking about the second one we lost that would have been born around my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, and the third one that would have been closer in age to my now five-year-old and know they would have been inseparable. That is how I like to remember those babies.
At the time, the grief wrecked me and I wasn’t the same person for a while. But I also know I am not the same person now. I am stronger and I am appreciative of the beautiful and amazing family I have with me here, now. Madison was born in January of this year and after three consecutive losses, she was and is our rainbow baby.
The loss of a pregnancy is often not spoken about, and yet, those who mourn often need more support and understanding than anyone can imagine. So use October 15th to reach out to your friends that may have experienced what I did. They may be through the hard part, but as I said previously, grief is funny that way and those memories of what could have been often still have hold of our hearts.