Dear Little One
Dear Little One,
We have always wanted to be your parents. From the day we got married, we were never scared to have you in our lives. For five and a half years, we have dreamed about you being a part of our family, what you would look like, if you would love the F1 like your daddy, or fashion like your mummy. But on our own and in our timing you never came. With the love and desperation to meet you, we did everything we could to bring you into this world.
You see, God loves you so much that he planted a thought in someones mind on how to medically help the human body conceive a child for those who naturally cannot. After months of praying, of fasting and seeking our heavenly Father’s heart, we knew our journey to meet you was not what we ever expected.
I’ve never admired your daddy more than over these past few weeks, as he has watched me physically endure needles to help prep my body to be perfect just for you. Your daddy is so loving, so supportive and he loves you so much already. He prays for you everyday, and he cannot wait to watch you grow.
We’ve known every step of your growth, from when my DNA and your daddy’s DNA met for the first time and joined to create you. We knew how three days later you had divided more than normal and were so strong already. We knew exactly when you were a little five-day-old embryo, you were placed in my womb and we prayed like crazy that you would find comfort in your new home for the next nine months. Each and every step of your growth and development, although helped with incredible science, God has had His hand all over. We have prayed into every appointment, every needle, every medication, and that you my baby, would be born in God’s perfect timing.
Love always, your mumma.
This is the letter I wrote to our baby, shortly after we had arrived home after our fresh transfer. Our Little One was five days old. We saw them in close up, a formation of cells on the screen. Our Little One was already our child that we loved so much. For ten days we waited to know if our baby had nestled in tight, and it wasn’t an easy wait. Four days before our blood pregnancy test, I started spotting. This is a symptom I always get anywhere up to four days before I get my period. So in my mind, I was certain I wasn’t pregnant and the embryo hadn’t taken. The next few days I battled against anxiety while I tried to cling onto the hope Jesus was giving, that our heavenly Father is ALWAYS good, no matter what happens. That this pregnancy was His, and whatever the outcome my eyes will always be fixed on Him.
On Friday 2nd March, I went into the clinic early that morning for my blood pregnancy test before work. I was so distracted all day at work as I just knew the results would be negative because I knew my body, and I felt exactly as I do every month when I get my period. As I drove home from work I cried as I told God that I trust Him, that I was scared, and that He is always good. When I got home, we sat down on the couch and prayed before calling the nurses. The nurse who took our call seemed to fumble through my file for what felt like forever. She thought she had my results, and then… “ummm, nope, no that’s not it.” And then as casually as possible, “Oh, it’s positive.” No exclamation point was needed at the end of her statement. I was so shocked, I blurted out, “Are you serious?” And I went into a full on ugly cry, black mascara-soaked tears streaming down my face. Once the phone call ended, I looked at Adam and said, “You’re going to be a daddy!” We hugged and sobbed together as we realised our dream had come true. We were officially pregnant, and for the first time (as far as we know) ever!
I was rostered on to work that entire weekend, so we strategically chose moments around our schedule to sit down with those closest to us to share the good news, “WE ARE PREGNANT!!!” But little did we know, this excitement wouldn’t last.
In the IVF world you are monitored very closely. On Monday morning I went in for a follow up blood test to make sure my hCG level (the pregnancy hormone the placenta produces as the embryo grows) was rising correctly. Every 48 to 72 hours your hCG should double. When the nurse called me back around lunch time, her words were, “It’s not good news I’m afraid. Your hCG didn’t double and I’m sorry to tell you I think you are going to have an early miscarriage.” We were devastated, shocked, numb as we both collapsed there in the middle of our staircase where we had taken the phone call together. We weren’t given a lot of information (or hope) and I became instantly terrified that I could haemorrhage and have blood flooding out of my body at any moment. I was scared to leave the house even just to quickly buy milk. I felt trapped in this nightmare that wasn’t supposed to be a part of our story. I took the rest of the week off work, and we were covered in prayers from the family and close friends who had been supporting us through this journey.
Going through something like this will definitely send you into fight or flight mode, and ‘fight’ is the stance we took. The people at the clinic are trained to use words that prevent you getting your hopes up but all we wanted to do was hope. Even when the signs seemed despairing, Adam and I made an agreement to always choose hope over despair, knowing full well this was a riskier mindset to take. We decided we didn’t want to become people whose default outlook on every life situation is to expect the worst, just to protect themselves from disappointment. So although I had moments of sadness and gut wrenching pain, we sought after God. When my head couldn’t agree with my heart, I worshipped and repeated over and over, “God you are good, you are for me, and you are for this baby.”
Our doctor requested we come in early for an ultrasound, which we did at 6 weeks 5 days. We were so hopeful for a miracle, and I had told God I just wanted to see a gestational sac and a yolk sac. “Please God, just give me those!” As we looked at the screen, there in my uterus was the gestational sac and the yolk sac. There our Little One was. But at 6 weeks 5 days we should have seen a heart beat and they should have measured much bigger. Our Little One was only measuring at not much more than 5 weeks, almost 2 weeks behind where they should have been. Our doctor said to come back on Easter Monday if I hadn’t miscarried before then, and if nothing had really changed by that point we would need to decide on whether or not to end it all with a D&C. That really took me back. I wasn’t prepared for her to suggest a D&C and I didn’t want to have to pay for another surgery that, instead of bringing me closer to our babies, would take me further away. And above all, if there was even a tiny chance our baby could make a miracle comeback (which, given stories of others we had read online, there was) we didn’t want to face making a decision that would end it all prematurely.
On Good Friday, we were at Adam’s mum’s house helping her clean out and prepare her house for sale. I was feeling okay in the morning, but as the day went on I started to experience more cramping and spotting (keep in mind I had been experiencing regular spotting and cramping from the first week after embryo transfer). At around 4:30pm I told Adam we needed to go home, the cramping was intensifying and I just felt like rubbish. As we drove home, Cory Asbury’s song, Reckless Love, came on. Earlier that week, my sister-in-law had organised to have a worship and prayer night at our place. Reckless Love had played that night and instead of singing the bridge as it is written I would sing, ‘There’s no shadow You won’t light up, mountain You won’t climb up coming after my baby. There’s no wall You won’t kick down, lie You won’t tear down coming after my baby.” And as that song was playing in the car on the way home again, I just had a sense that this was the end. And as the bridge in the song started playing, I sobbed. I sobbed so hard my chest hurt and in that moment I felt like I was breaking.
The night went on and even after climbing into bed the pain intensified and then nausea decided to join the party. After throwing up and taking Panadeine Forte which barely helped at all with the pain, I made the decision to go to hospital. It felt like a big decision as neither Adam nor I had ever visited an ER. Being that it was not only a Friday night but also a public holiday, the ER was packed and almost every bed was full, but thankfully within 15 minutes of arriving we were put into a private room just before midnight. We waited there alone, me just trying to withstand each wave of pain until, sadly, around 1:30am I had a complete miscarriage … all before a nurse or doctor even had a chance to see us. I felt empty. We waited even longer, feeling numb, until a nurse eventually came in to take my vitals. And it was another hour or so after that before a doctor came in and confirmed, finally with an ultrasound, I had indeed miscarried. I would have been 8 weeks and 2 days pregnant that next day.
I never thought miscarriage would be a part of our IVF journey, I always thought it would either work, or it wouldn’t. I never imagined we would be in limbo and then be left devastated. All I know is that even though this really sucks, and I miss being pregnant, and that I wish this was me announcing my pregnancy instead of announcing my miscarriage, God is still good. He is still loving, and pain never goes wasted.
I will never forget our Little One, and I’m so glad I took this photo. Even though I don’t look pregnant, this is the only photo I have of us together. It may seem silly to those that have never been through this but our embryo was our little baby, was our child.. is our child, and we were their parents even though they weren’t strong enough to make it to full term. So my dear Little One, I will always love you and you will never be forgotten.
This week in the US it is National Infertility Awareness Week. I hope that in being really raw with our story it will help those, who have never experienced infertility, understand what many of us go through.
Meanwhile, it’s hard to sit in the balance of being happy for those around you and being sad for yourself, especially if all those around you are in the same phase of life, starting a family. Be patient and kind to those who are on this journey, and don’t be offended if they withdraw from your happy moments. It doesn’t mean they don’t care, or aren’t happy for you. It just means they’d rather let your moment be about you, than have it become about them and their sadness.
Right now, we are heartbroken but not broken. I have been determined not to let my sadness turn into brokenness because it’s when you become broken you become bitter. And to become bitter means I will miss out on the joy of celebrating some dear friends who are expecting their own precious little ones soon. Even when you’re sad, you can attend a celebration and be happy for those you love. To let myself fall into brokenness would mean there is no way I could put others before myself. And in several years’ time, when I do have my baby in my arms, I don’t want to look back and regret not celebrating the births of my friends’ newborns and sharing in the excitement of their own incredibly special moments. Life is too short. My God is a healer, and He will heal my heart in time.
For anyone who has been through miscarriage, I am so sorry you had to go through this. I like to think our babies are dancing in Heaven together, and one day we will get to be with them again.