Loss and Infertility: My Baby Reminds Me with His Eyes How Lucky I AmDevan McGuinness
“Why does it have to be so hard?” I asked my husband, tearfully, after another night of restless sleep. I am not one who spends too much time on self-pity, but after countless months of not achieving a healthy pregnancy and 12 losses behind us, the challenges caught up with me. We were trying everything to conceive our fourth child, a long-wanted child who was taking his time to come.
There is something in infertility, at least in my case, that leaves a feeling of being broken — of not being woman enough. It may be hard to understand, I had three kids after all, but there was a missing person I just could not place and I wanted to meet him.
“I don’t know, love. I wish I knew,” my husband gently answered my unanswerable question. The toll of infertility and multiple loss, medications, planning, and my tears were getting to him, sitting heavy on his shoulders. It took him a while to get to the place of wanting a fourth child — he likes to fully commit to anything before saying “yes” — and when he did get to that place, we then sat there and waited for over a year.
A few weeks later, when I awoke to an urge to test – again, fully expecting to have that sad, lonely one line stare back at me — everything changed. I was pregnant. Finally.
My pregnancy was rough. It was my hardest of the bunch with worries about his growth, losing over 20 pounds, and food aversions that overtook my days. I had pain, multiple testing sessions, and hundreds of self-injected needles.
But, we made it — a fact that I know very clearly so many others are not able to say despite their total body want and desire to meet that child who is missing that they can’t place. My fourth child was born, small, but perfect.
“He’s perfect! He is so small! He is finally here, Devan,” my husband tearfully shouted as baby Silver was being checked just out of view from where I was laying on the operating table. I remember that moment so vividly; I think it was the first time I had taken a real breath in over two years. He was finally here and safe — safe.
It has been six months since he was born. Six months filled with its own set of challenges and fears and pain. But these six months have also made all that past pain seem more distant than in a real timeline. There is something about a baby born after loss and infertility. It’s something I can’t put into words and probably not something you could understand unless you’ve been through it.
There are days where I have been holding Silver for hours, him unwilling to be anywhere but my arms that are tired and aching. There are nights where Silver and I have been up for hours straight while he comfort nurses, clingy and attached. There are times I wonder if there will ever be a workable routine in our day again or if we will always have this unbalance of work and life.
In the middle of those moments, Silver reaches up his pudgy hand to my face. His eyes catch mine and he looks at me, deeply, with a wisdom too old for his age. He has this ability to look at me like that, and in one small glance, he silently reminds me of those late night conversations with my husband over a year before.
How badly I cried to meet him. How lucky I am to have him.
Photo credit: Devan McGuinness
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Devan is a freelance writer living in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and four kids. No, those aren’t her kids’ real names – they’re online pseudonyms. Read more from Devan on Babble as she dishes about babies, pets, and love + keep up with byDevan on Facebook and Twitter!