After three years, multiple IVF cycles, two devastating miscarriages, and countless setbacks … Aela’s road to motherhood has been anything but easy. Follow her story on Babble and don’t miss the latest chapter in her journey below.
I can’t believe I’m here again. Wait, but can’t I, though? If I really look at it, this — this losing pregnancies, this multiple miscarriages business — has become more normal for me than not. All I know of pregnancy is loss. And this is now my third miscarriage, the fourth life my body has rejected.
I’m numb from it. I’m used to it. I don’t want this to be my story, but it is. And so I’ll continue to tell it.
I got my first positive pregnancy test four days after my embryo transfer. It was my second frozen cycle this year, both were with 5-day embryos, or what the medical field calls “blastocysts.” We transferred two beautiful embryos this cycle: a 5ab and a 4aa, which are as close to perfect as embryos can get. I continued to test positive over the next several days, with each faint, positive line becoming darker each time. My blood test finally confirmed the pregnancy with an hCG level of 66.4. I was worried that number was low, but my doctor reassured me that it was a perfectly good number for this early in a pregnancy, and that I would retest it in three days, as is standard procedure this early.
Something felt wrong, but something always feels wrong when I’m pregnant.
Three days later, I found out my hcg levels dropped. To 14. A biochemical pregnancy, they call it.
You’ll miscarry again, they said.
It’s very common, they said.
It’s a “better” type of miscarriage to have, they say, though of course it’s never what we want.
You’ll test again in a few days, they said, to monitor the drop.
You actually have a very high pregnancy rate, they said.
What? What the heck kind of thing is that to say to someone you just told is about to lose another pregnancy? Should I feel better knowing that I can get pregnant but can’t seem to stay pregnant? I suppose I should. I know other women who struggle and have never gotten a positive pregnancy test. Ever.
But how is this better? Why?
WHY give me a positive test, why give me that hope, and then literally rip it away from me three days later? Why did I have to find out on International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day that I will lose another pregnancy? There are 365 days in the year. Why this day? I mean, really, what kind of sick joke is this?
That night, I had to host a yearly event at work with over 200 people, smile and speak, and cheers and present awards. All while I began to lose another pregnancy.
This is my life, you see. I forge ahead in all aspects of my life, but this remains stuck.
“It’s like our life is a record stuck on a really sad song,” my wife said to me over the weekend, while I bled out another pregnancy.
It is sad.
It is numbing.
It is infuriating.
It is unfucking fair.
How many types of loss must I experience? I lost our twins at 17 weeks when my water broke far too soon. My next baby’s heart stopped at 10 weeks, after an awful bout of OHSS. My wife’s pregnancy ended at 12 weeks after a heartbeat never developed. And now this biochemical pregnancy at 5 weeks. I think I’ve had my fill. I think I know enough of loss.
Of course, I worry that my worrying somehow did this, even though I know that’s not it — and even though we have no idea why this keeps happening. I’ve been tested for everything. The remains of my two previous losses were also tested, and nothing was chromosomally wrong. We have no answers. I can’t even begin to describe how unsettling that is. To know nothing. To not know if this will happen again. To not know if I’ll ever have a baby. To not know if we’re so close and should just keep trying or if our next efforts will be fruitless, too. To not know if we should switch wombs and have my wife try again.
They say you can never know what the future holds, but we all know we should learn from the past, right? How do we know the difference between endurance and stubbornness? Are we incredibly resilient, powered by hope and the desire to become mothers? Or are we incredibly foolish, powered by our fear of never becoming mothers?
It feels like my life is all questions these days, and I’ve never known so little.More On