life, love, and maybe babies

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Kleenex From the Ashes

It's 2018, ya'll.

How in the fresh hell did that happen? One minute I'm shopping for Valentine's Day cards for my kid's daycare and the next minute I'm asking Alexa what Christmas gifts I can order that will arrive in 48 hours.

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I literally cannot even.

(Side note: I made a resolution to never say 'I literally cannot even' ever again.)

Moving on. 2017 was a year of the highest highs and the lowest lows. One of those lowest lows coincided with the highest of highs and it made me feel all weird and sorta sucked the life out of me.


We'll begin with the highest high. 

We bought a new house. Not only were we not in the market for a house, but also we had just completed updates on our existing home and were finally ready to enjoy the fruits of our labor. 

Only about five miles away, nestled in mature trees and windy roads was a neighborhood that my husband and I have always been drawn to. Uber eclectic, great schools, 80's architecture. It's so very, very us. Every now and again we would 'dream drive' through that neighborhood and do the Wayne Campbell about one particular house.

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Spoiler alert: dreaming works.

In early August that house came up for sale. It should have been financially unattainable. Thankfully it needed some major love, which is exactly how we prefer our houses because it makes them cheap and customize-able to our super picky tastes. Quicker than you can say are we seriously doing this we made an offer and bought it. Oh and we sold our house in 28 hours. 

'Slow and steady wins the race' clearly isn't our bag.

So there we were in the dead heat of August, getting ready to close on the house of our dreams. Needless to say we were preoccupied, operating on all cylinders.

The day before closing the craziness got to me and I snapped at Hubs for something incredibly important like one of his socks was higher than the other. He rolled his eyes on his way out the door for work and said, "Note to self - Kim's period will be here tonight." 

I shot him a well you aren't getting laid tonight look and then abruptly stopped short. Wait, was my period on its way? I started counting...

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When I got to 42 days since my last period, I started to panic. This resulted in a 6:30 AM trip to the store to buy a pregnancy test and ingredients for nachos. 

In an unrelated story, I love self checkout.

Anyways I came home and peed on the stick and also a little bit on my finger. Pregnant. Six weeks pregnant.

Okay but hooooow? I've only been pregnant once and it took injections and pain and tears and loads of money and depression and all the rage. Oh and WE JUST BOUGHT A HOUSE.

Could we afford another child? Did we even want one? (Because remember, I had just posted this not long before.) It didn't seem that the Universe particularly cared about my infertility or our new house. I was pregnant.

Right away I told my husband. Hindsight is 20/20 and I may or may not could have done it a little more eloquently. As it happened I asked him to go to lunch at 10:59 AM, put the pregnancy test in a Warby Parker glasses case and gave it to him as we walked to the restaurant. He opened it and looked at me like this:

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Needless to say he was shocked. Our lunch mostly revolved around me sobbing and freaking out while he tried to reassure me it would all be okay. He basically became Matthew McConaughey in "How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days."

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Anyways. We decided I should go to the doctor first and foremost. After all, the child we do have is an IVF baby so chances are this one would need extra love and care as well. We made an appointment for that Monday morning. 

But first we had to close on the new house. It was exhilarating and scary all at the same time. This house was an upgrade. Of course we would never buy something we couldn't afford, but staring down the barrel of another $1000 a month in day care costs will certainly make you ask is this a good idea? Despite those reservations, I found myself getting excited. A baby. A brother or sister for our son. A new member of our family to love in this new house. A new start. It seemed meant to be.

We signed the papers and started our renovations on the home. The whole weekend all I could do was think I'm pregnant I'm pregnant I'm pregnant. But that initial excitement I had felt was running low. Years of infertility had made me less optimistic than I had realized. I was doubtful. But I didn't want to say that to my husband. I wanted to think positive.

That afternoon I remember walking into what would become my son's room. My husband looked around at the empty walls and parquet wood floor and said, "Yeah, this would be big enough for two kids...if it all works out." It shook me. The if. The fact that the both of us were already expecting the worst.

(Question: on a resume under "Qualifications", can you write handles the bitch of reality very well?)

Ultimately, we were right. My HCG levels never got high enough for it to be a viable pregnancy. We knew what was coming. The doctor wanted to do a sonogram to be sure, but the night before we went in, I started bleeding. By the time they did the sonogram, there was nothing left. The baby was gone as quickly as it had shown up. 

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't devastated. Because I really was. More than I thought I'd be. Even though this wasn't planned, and even though it would make more sense to use any of the 13 amazing embryos we already have if we want another still hurt. It seemed like the Universe was saying "You can't decide if you want to go through with another one? Well I'll just make the choice for you."

But then to take it away?


Why give a woman, who had finally accepted that she couldn't get pregnant on her own and was given her miracle child, why give her a pregnancy and then yank it away? It just seems cruel. Heartless. Mean.

I didn't talk about it much when it happened. I only told a handful of people. At 7 weeks, I wasn't showing. And part of me felt like I didn't even have a right to grive. So many women have had this happen to them multiple times. They never share it, so why should I? So I mostly dealt with the anguish on my own as so many women do. I woke up every morning and knew that something inside me had changed, even though the outside still looked the same.

After some time had passed, I realize I wanted to share. I've always been a sharer. (Clearly.) I shared my battle with infertility to get my son, so why wouldn't I share the after-shock of it as well? Just because I have my child now doesn't wash the infertility away. Two years after becoming a mom, I'm still, in the end, an infertile. It is a part of me. I am a part of this community. There are those of us (most of us) that are silent about it, and that is understandable. But I feel there are those of us that choose to be vocal. To inspire understanding. To inspire empathy. I'm happy to take that role on.

From this experience, all I really know is, I am changed. Forever. Maybe this happened to me so I could better understand the infertility community. Before this, I only knew the pain of not getting pregnant. I didn't understand the turmoil of having, then losing. Women and their partners who have gone through this, you are troopers. You are warriors. You are amazing.

Today I am a little bit softer and a little more broken, but a whole lot stronger. This miscarriage tore me up, but I've put myself back together...with a lot of emotional Scotch tape. 

Emotional Scotch tape pictured below:

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