Boy, it’s been a while. Almost half a year. About enough time to break the silence, I suppose.
When I wrote my last blog post, we had already done an IUI and I was on all sorts of fertility drugs to help ensure and maintain a pregnancy. I’d been seeing a chiropractor for months and was doing acupuncture.
And of course I repeated the pineapple trick to help soften up my lining for optimal implantation if there was a baby.
Toward the end of our endless two-week-wait to find out if the IUI was successful, I ran across this photo in my Facebook memories and shared it for Saint Patrick’s day.
I found these beautiful four-leaf clovers when I was newly pregnant with Joshua, after a lifetime of searching for them, and trying to conceive him. I mentioned on my share and that I was waiting again to find out if I was pregnant, and a friend said I should go see if I could find another. So I did, and my heart was beating wildly the entire time. Like this was the pregnancy test or something, LOL! And I did find one. The awe and joy I felt, you would have really thought I was looking at a positive pregnancy test.
I was astounded and overjoyed when I got my first positive test soon after finding that little clover. So excited! I tested early on a dollar store cheapie test, and the line was so light I practically sprained my eyes trying to see it, but it was there, and a line is a line!
I dressed Joshua up and took pictures and made cards to tell Dennis and our close families about the baby. I surprised him the next day with this card on the fridge, with a darker positive test inside. He was just as astounded as I was. Because while we were taking actions to achieve this pregnancy, having been disappointed so many times, it’s hard to really believe it’s true when it actually works.
I was in bliss for about a week. Until the day before Easter, and I started cramping and spotting just a teeny tiny bit. But a bit is still blood and it was scary. I didn’t feel well. We were travelling for the holiday and I was so upset, thinking that I might miscarry while we were at my in-law’s home. I was scared but still hopeful, as I remembered cramping a lot with Joshua in the first weeks of pregnancy.
When I woke up the next day, I felt much better, I wasn’t cramping any more and while spotting a little more, it was really very little. Like a dime-size amount at the end of the day. Not enough to spell disaster, or so I hoped. We had a very nice Easter with Den’s family. We came back home that evening and the next morning, I went in to get my second beta to see if my numbers were doubling properly. My first beta number was a lot lower than with Joshua so I had already been scared before the cramping and spotting. I was on pins and needles to know what was going on.
Before we left, Joshua touched my stomach and said “baby.” We hadn’t breathed a word to him about the pregnancy and it caught me by surprise. I now feel like it was a special moment between siblings, where he recognized the child at the end of its life. He hasn’t mentioned a baby since.
After my beta, then the more than just spotting happened. I bled more than a normal period, but since there was hardly any cramping, I still managed to hold out hope that all was well. I got a call with the beta results, and the number had increased, but had not quite doubled. Depending on the standard being followed, it still fell into a normal range, but they wanted to see it completely doubled. So I had to return in two days.
I was in complete denial at this point and was convinced that the bleeding did not mean a miscarriage, and that our baby was still hanging on for dear life. I couldn’t imagine or accept that the thing we’d wanted so much and had done everything we could to get, could be gone after only having it a few weeks. But it was. At my next beta, my HCG had dropped from 234 to 40. And that’s when I knew, I really had lost the baby on Monday. And I still had to go back to get another beta because they monitor the number back to zero. Going in just to watch the number go back to zero, the number I’ve been at most of my life, was really hard.
Losing that baby, despite only being just shy of 6 weeks pregnant, was really hard. It wasn’t only losing something I really loved and wanted, that was hard enough. It was also losing something that we put SO much into. Our hopes, dreams, energy, prayers, and money. Money that we’d worked months to raise, along with a lot of our own money. We weren’t the only ones invested in this dream, our friends and family now knew so much about our journey and our struggle, and they were following the journey, praying for us, and had donated money to help us.
It was also knowing it was our last shot that made it difficult. Saying goodbye to the only chance we had for a sibling for our son. We put so much extra into this single attempt, things like a $500 prescription for Crinone that I barely touched, that by the end, we had nothing left for another try. While my brain frantically raced to figure out a way to try just one more time, feeling that I could bury the pain of loss with another pregnancy, we both knew we were done pouring money into the attempt, that we had to stop.
In the depths of my grief, I cried to Dennis, “I wish we’d never tried. Why did we have to go through all this just to lose a baby? If we hadn’t tried, this never would have happened, and we could have done something practical with the money, like get new carpet. ”
Dennis replied, “But if we had given up years ago, we never would have had Joshua.”
So true. So true.
We decided to name the baby, as friends who’ve suffered miscarriages advised that it helped the healing process. Of course, we can’t know the sex of our baby, but we felt it was a girl. I’ve wanted a girl since I was a little girl myself, and losing this chance makes the loss all the more difficult. I lost my dream. The one I’ve had almost my entire life. Gone. I’m fairly dogged about achieving my dreams, so this is possibly the hardest part of losing our daughter. That we were so close, and I was grasping the dream, until it turned into smoke in my hands and disappeared.
While we probably wouldn’t have given the name to a living child, the name Clover Joy came to mind immediately. For the tiny little tattered four-leaf clover I found that felt like a whisper from God, before I even knew I was pregnant. And Joy for for Dennis’s Grandma, and also because of the Joy she brought us for a short time.
A group of dear friends pooled their money together and bought me this necklace, which rests against my chest while I type now. It’s so special to me to have this reminder of the baby that I never got to meet. To have this necklace close to my heart, when I can’t have her. A physical thing that says she existed. And she mattered.
Our beloved church family gave us a pink rose bush to remember her by which is just as special to me. I don’t know that many would even consider losing a baby at five weeks a real loss, but they never questioned my grief. They empathized and validated my feelings, and I’m thankful for that. To have this rose bush grow year after year when I can’t watch my daughter grow, it’s a comfort. It’s not a replacement, but it’s a comfort. Validating her life is a huge comfort as well. She was real, and she mattered.
My sweet mother-in-law, who I can’t say enough good things about, brought me these wind chimes to remember our angel baby by.
I don’t know why we got to have her only to lose her so quickly. I don’t know why. But her brief existence has helped me find a peace with having an only child that I couldn’t find before. Her life brought a sense of finality to our journey. Without her, I would have felt unbearable unrest for the rest of my life. I would have always wondered, “what if?” if we hadn’t tried. And felt uneasy that we didn’t give it our all. But we did. I wish down to my down marrow that I could have kept her and held her and watched her grow up, but her life was not in vain. And she will not be forgotten.