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’d like to say I can’t believe I’m writing this. But, somehow, I can believe it all too well.
We saw our baby’s strong heartbeat at 6 weeks. For a woman over 35 years old, the chance of a miscarriage after a heartbeat has been detected is a mere 16 percent. That’s an 84 percent chance of not miscarrying. Those are some pretty good odds of having a successful pregnancy.
They weren’t my odds, though. I am the 16 percent.
This pregnancy hadn’t been the smoothest. I was diagnosed with OHSS at 4 weeks (a rare but not totally uncommon side effect of IVF). I was on modified bed rest for two weeks. My ovaries were the size of grapefruits. I gained roughly 18 pounds in fluid in my gut. I was awfully uncomfortable.
But I was pregnant.
Around 8 weeks, my OHSS symptoms subsided and without having to deal with the discomfort, I was able to focus on my pregnancy. But I was scared that something would go wrong. It’s hard not to worry after a 2nd trimester loss like I had with my twins. I kept thinking I just needed to get past the 17-week mark, which is when I lost them.
I never thought I needed to worry about the 1st trimester, especially after seeing that strong heartbeat.
When I went for a regular appointment with my OB at just over 10 weeks, our baby’s heartbeat couldn’t be heard on the Doppler. I was sent for an ultrasound, and the heartbeat couldn’t be detected topically or by the internal ultrasound.
Our baby had died, and another miscarriage was on the way for us.
It was just six months before that my wife miscarried at 12 weeks. Two years before that, I miscarried our twins when my water broke at 17 weeks.
Between us, my wife and I have now lost four babies.
I’m somehow used to the pain and disappointment now. Or, at least, I’m not shocked. If this wasn’t my story, if I wasn’t living through this, I might not believe this at all.
But I do believe it. And it’s made me numb. Perhaps that’s an internal defense mechanism, so that I don’t completely lose my mind and my heart. Perhaps the loss of the twins so far along and then the pain of witnessing my wife’s miscarriage were both so great, that this doesn’t hurt as bad in comparison. I’d rather it be me than her. And I’d rather it be 10 weeks than 17 weeks.
Isn’t that sick to even consider? The either/ors of pregnancy loss. Weighing which pain is worse. Being grossly grateful that it happened this way than another way it could have. That I’ve been handed this terror — again — yet I know worse pain.
I keep waiting for the tears to rush me, for the pain to hit hard. I shed some the first day, but how broken can a single heart get? I’m not sure I have anymore hurt left in me.
People talk about what’s “fair.” So many I know are outraged for us. Their hearts are broken too. My friends call me crying. Readers offer condolences. I’ve heard every version of “I’m sorry for your loss.”
And I’m over here thinking: This is just what we do. We lose babies.
The day doesn’t feel much different.More On