One year ago we saw that second pink line on a home pregnancy test, and our hearts leapt out of our chests, tears running down our faces as we realized that finally, after two IUIs and four rounds of donor egg IVF, we would be parents.
At 6 weeks, 5 days, we saw you for the first time and your beautiful blinking heart. With just one more confirmation in 2 weeks to hear you and see how you’ve grown, we started reading the books, we started nesting, we even looked at a stroller for you. We made our first appointment with the midwife to see after “graduation” from our fertility clinic and, in early August we sat on our sofa talking to the world’s most perfect doula and confirmed that she’d be with us as we brought you into this world, to be born right here in our home.
The day before you were 9 weeks, we went in confidently to our final appointment, expecting to graduate…and found out your heart had stopped. I unleashed a cry in the clinic that was beyond gutteral. We fell apart in each other’s arms in the parking lot, your dad and I, as our dream of you was torn from us.
Your little self, your little heart, lie still inside my body, waiting to slip out of me in a way that would eventually take 2 pills, 12 hours of severe contractions and several weeks of heavy bleeding. We were in the depths of hell. Destroyed. I simultaneously dealt with the grief of losing you and the grief of having my mother, who I was working my ass off to rebuild a relationship with, ignore me through my miscarriage to be with her brand new boyfriend (who she’d started dating just a couple of months after the death of her husband of 35 years) – just as she’d shown zero interest or sympathy in our long struggle with infertility. I don’t know how I finished the summer. I don’t remember it.
I have no proof but my gut told me that we were going to have a boy. We had many girls names chosen but I referred to the baby inside me as “he”. Henry, the name we’d chosen but not shared, was the only name we had for a boy. I can’t explain it but I knew in my heart that this little one we’d worked so hard for was a son.
After this loss, I never fully got my zen groove back for the 5th and 6th rounds of DEIVF. I tried to focus my heart and mind but I never was quite the same. I thought all it took now were throwing more embryos in on the 5th one, then after having the ERA I thought that was going to be the answer. It wasn’t. Ethiopia closed their program just before our final IVF heartbreak, ripping out the two years we’d spent waiting for our little girl to be matched with us.
My heart shattered even more. My back disintegrated into a herniated disc. My retina detached. My trust in the universe, in healing what I had lost? Eliminated.
Have you seen Minnie Driver in Return to Zero where she tears up her vision board? That’s me.
We may be in the domestic adoption journey but this is not related to that. It never will be. This loss will always cling to me. I will always have this memory of motherhood burned in my brain. This child that began to form in my womb, this baby boy.