at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Our Story Part 3: Pregnant for a Minute

I have a story to tell. It does not have a happy ending. But, perhaps, it has no ending at all. Perhaps we are still in the middle of the story, and this is just the hard part. This is the story of the past seven years, which I will share in segments over a series of posts. This is the third, and perhaps final section -- at least for now. I wrote this section the day after our six week ultrasound. Click here to read part one and part two of our story.

On July 2nd, I went in for my pregnancy test. I had read that >5 is considered positive, but they really wanted to see at least 25. With my luck, I was fully expecting it to come back right on the edge of pregnant/not-pregnant. Well, it came back as a 23! I was officially pregnant! The nurse confirmed that it's a definite positive, but lower than they like to see. Of course. I was thrilled, as it was actually higher than I expected, but still a bit nervous. One test doesn't mean a whole lot. To ensure the pregnancy is viable, they want to see that HCG number about double every couple of days. Two days later was the 4th of July, so everything was closed. They had me test again on July 6th, at which point my number should have quadrupled. I prayed so hard for a number in the 90s that I could feel good about. This time, the number came back at a solid 223! This was the first time in the whole process that something came back "normal!" IVF had worked! I was pregnant, and things looked good. Now, we just had another long 10 day wait until my first ultrasound at 6 weeks!

In the first couple weeks of pregnancy, I didn't have much in the way of symptoms, though I did have some cramping and spotting which were a bit disconcerting, but I know that is often normal. Still, it's hard not to over-analyze everything and worry about every symptom you are or are not having. It was a daily battle, but I tried my best not to be anxious and to enjoy this time of early pregnancy -- the first pregnancy I had ever experienced. I wanted to take joy in knowing this little life inside of me. I didn't really "feel" pregnant, and was anxious to get to the first ultrasound, hopefully see a yolk sac and fetal pole, and if I was lucky, see a heartbeat! Instead, when we got to our first ultrasound, the technician pulled up an image of my uterus and what we saw was...nothing. No gestational sac. Nothing. Just an empty womb. And empty is what we felt.

We were shocked. While I knew this was a possibility, this baby had beat all the odds when the odds were against it. It wasn't until I finally had a normal result that things started to go south. It just didn't seem right. But there it was in front of us: no pregnancy to be found. I was told that I had to get bloodwork done to test my HCG levels. This would help determine if there was an ectopic pregnancy somewhere, though none was see on the initial ultrasound, or if I had had an early missed miscarriage. Numb and grief-stricken, we proceeded to the nearest lab for the blood draw, with red-rimmed eyes and tear-streaked cheeks. The labs came back the next day at 42, indicating I had miscarried. My body just hadn't completed the process yet. I was to stop the hormones and get labs retested in a week. They will monitor until my levels go back to a negative result. In that time, I should expect my period to come and my time of pregnancy to come to its final end.

The grief of loss hit us hard. It was the loss not only of a child, but of a dream. This was our last chance at having biological children, and we pulled out all the stops and gave it our all -- but all turned out to be for naught. Every grief is different, and this grief was certainly different from any I had experienced before. Although I've only had the tiniest glimpse into it, I've come to believe that there is perhaps no greater grief than that of a mother over her child. Though I never got to know or hold our child, I loved it. But this child is now lost to this world and all I can do is hope and trust that it has a place in God's kingdom, and that someday we will meet face to face. A tiny life is still a life, and a life that never got to be shared besides my brief moment of pregnancy is a sorrow that runs deep.

After all of the emotional energy, pain and money spent, and after getting so far down the process -- and finally getting that ultimate level up into pregnancy, it felt like the prize was right in front of us, right through an open door -- and then the door was suddenly slammed shut in our faces. It reminded me of Frodo and Sam from the Lord of the Rings. After a long and harrowing journey, they finally reached their destination -- at the front gates of Mordor. Only, once they got there, they realized that they could never go through the front gate. It wasn't an option. They had to find another path. And likewise, we also must find another path.

Peace will come in time, but for now there is sadness and sorrow and grief. But, life is not without joy and gratitude. I am so thankful for Tom and our relationship. I am grateful for our home, our jobs, our dog. And I am so thankful for all of the loving and supporting friends and family that we have, many of whom have walked this journey with us. I am thankful for the chance to try IVF, to know that we exhausted all of our options, and for the opportunity to experience the joy of pregnancy, even if just for a moment in time. And so, this tiny life, though not destined for this world, will indeed change the course of our future. This is the end of a chapter, but not the end of our story. What happens from here is not clear, but we still have the desire to share our home and our love with children and to pour out life into others. And I believe that God will honor those desires, that he will see us through the hard days, and that, in time, a new dawn will break.

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!