The title of this blog is, “It gets better, darling.” In this moment those words fall short and today I don’t believe them. Today I am without hope.
IVF, what an expensive, painful beast. That was incredibly hard. And God was with us
through every step of it.
I was pricked and prodded daily and before every shot I would whisper, “I can do hard things; God, You are my Emanuel.” The Wife and I created space on a wall in our bedroom and every day we would add encouraging quotes, scriptures, each with a prayer and a hope of what was to come. We relished in each progression IVF took, each monument including meeting our little embryos and dreaming of who they would be, who they already are right now.
Christmas Eve our doctor was brimming with excitement as he told us that finally, we were pregnant! We ugly cried as we our prayers turned into answers. Relief rushed over us as we realized all the work we had done had paid off in an incredibly fragile, tangible way. Then panic set in, this utter fear and trepidation of sustaining a little, perfect life in me.
And we knew it was out of our control as much of our fertility journey had been. Our mantra became, “God, we know You love our baby more than we ever could and we’re thankful to participate as parents as long as you allow us.” I would repeat it hundreds of times in the next few weeks, with every twinge and injection and bout of nausea that the early stages of pregnancy brought.
More worry set in as we left the first appointment where our doctor seemed frustrated at what he saw. I was hemorrhaging. While this totally abnormal it would mean for a rough next few weeks of pregnancy. Even more importantly, we didn’t hear the heartbeat but at only 6 weeks, we were told wasn’t totally unusual. I was put on modified bed rest and we were sent home with anxious hearts, wondering what the future held. That night we broke the news of the pregnancy to our tribe and pleaded for their prayers of our babe as we knew this pregnancy wouldn’t be easy. But just like the road to pregnancy hadn’t been easy, we knew we could do it. We could do hard things.
At the next appointment a week and a half later, our hearts broke as we saw that there in fact was no fluttering heartbeat. No baby where there should be a baby. Nothing. Our doctor described it as a “blighted ovum” but I couldn’t hear anything beyond those words. My eyes were glued to the ultrasound screen, begging and willing to see what wasn’t there. The Wife could barely see through tears as we sobbed the whole way home.
I believe there’s something healing and sacred about water – it’s cleansing, it’s washing away of things. That night I laid in the bathtub for the first time in months. The Wife came in and we broke bread with Swedish Fish and hard cider. It was a holy moment of crying, reminiscing and questioning; a moment I’ll always remember and a pivotal time in further tying the bond of The Wife and I together.
The pregnancy would be removed the following day through a painful d&c. A mass of fluid would then be found and removed the next week through a painful medical miscarriage. All while my heart was reeling in this loss. The ache of grief in my heart would build over then next several days to the point where it was a physical pain.
Our tribe showed up. Friends from across the Valley brought homemade meals and simply sat and cried with us. I have a new profound sense of how powerful showing up and offering home-cooked food is when one is grieving or impacted by a big life event. Others brought “communion” of wine and good chocolate and with their hands on ours said, yes, this sucks. Flowers showed up on our porch, as did Edible Arrangements and prayer shawls and books. All simple offerings that meant oh so much and that hold a special space in The Wife and I’s hearts.
Where was God in all of this? I felt that my Trust, my God-who-was-with-us was nowhere to be found. I couldn’t see Him. I couldn’t feel Him. And I still can’t.
This fertility journey has shaken my faith in a way nothing else has and has caused me to truly question if God really has good intentions for us. If His promises of good things and big dreams are true and if He can be trusted. It’s all out of my control and I’m not sure I trust the hands it’s in.
Today, six weeks later I sit and remember and the weight of pain is still so heavy and I tug at the scars that still won’t heal. I’m waiting for the dust to settle and world to stop spinning, just for a moment. Just to find my footing again. I feel in a place of spiritual ptsd, spiritual triage. Of experiencing this trauma and not able to move forward or back. Stuck. Naturally I am a highly sensitive person, of big emotions that I feel with my whole being. And lately I am numb, unmoved, un-stimulated except for my new routine of shedding secret tears on my way to and from work. These moments where I’m truly alone, thoughts that I keep tied up finally escaping me causing the tears to flow. Tears for no reason, just simple raw emotion needing to come out.
As again, today I am without hope. My word for this year is strong and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. Lately it’s a good day if I can get out of bed, if I can shower, if I can make it to work. And life goes on. The monotony of our days is what helps me keep going. The rhythm. Just until things stop spinning and I can breathe again.