Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A test of courage - TTC after miscarriage & stillbirth

TTC after miscarriage, stillbirth

I wrote this early in my journey trying to conceive after stillbirth and miscarriage.  It would take 9 months to conceive my rainbow baby - equaling 3 long years of trying to grow our family that have been marked equally by fear and courage.

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Trying to conceive after loss has been a test of courage, strength, and perseverance.

“It has only been two months,” my husband blearily responds to my sobs at 3:30am. “It has been TWO years,” I snap back. It’s been two months since we’ve been trying this time, but two years since we have been trying to grow our family.

Two years. It’s been two long years since my husband and I have wanted another living child to enter our life. Two years since we have tried to make Riley a big sister to a living child. Two years since I have dreamed of my first living child meeting my second living child. Two more years of interacting with my own siblings and feverishly wanting Riley to have the same one day. Two years yearning to say “my children” or “the kids” or “the girls” instead of “my child.”

I had a healthy full-term pregnancy with my second child which ended in stillbirth due to a nuchal cord accident at 40 weeks. After eight months of soul searching, healing, regaining balance, and trying to embrace the “new normal,” my husband and I set off on a journey to once again try to grow our family. Soon after I found myself pregnant, however, I miscarried at 9 weeks. And now, the long months roll forward as we try and try again.

Each month I think, this has to be it! We want another baby so much and we have so much love to give. We are good people – we try to put kindness and love into the world. We try to make good choices and be good citizens. We teach our living daughter about gratitude, kindness, and friendship.

Yet, why can’t we have this? Why can’t Riley have a living sibling? After all we’ve been through and all the loss…Why us?

If only Quinn lived. If only I was pregnant.

With each passing month comes more time and more hurt.

The months of our efforts have turned into a year, then two years, and now we have entered our third year of trying to bring another living child into our family. With each passing month and year we grow older. Our daughter grows older. The living children we wanted to have one to two years apart are now a dream’s whisper. The hope of having a big family is now a plea: “…if I could just have one more living child…please…”

My living daughter is enough. She is a true blessing and I do not take one second with her for granted. But, how I yearn for her to grow up in a vibrant household that one with living siblings can offer. How I want her to have a companion as she grows up to share experiences and stories with. How I want her to be able to lean on her sibling as she enters adulthood. How I want her to have her sibling on this planet when her parents grow old and die. Each passing month brings more heartbreak and disappointment, once again shattering our dreams for the future, continuing to test my courage, strength, and perseverance.

After our stillbirth and miscarriage my husband and I have worked so hard to reestablish ourselves and restore hope. Our hope for a future living child is like a fragile stained glass window that is just out of reach. With each passing month of unsuccessful attempts the window becomes more and more fragile and ultimately shatters with the start of a new bleed. With new healing, the window of hopes gets pieced back together, but it is more disillusioned than the time before and slightly further out of reach. I can still recognize the picture in the window, but it is a patchy resemblance of the clear window of hope I once had two years ago.

Each time I work to piece together my window of hope, I wrestle with the loneliness and heartbreak of trying to conceive after loss:

Haven’t I been through enough?

Isn’t it my turn for it to work out?

How much loss can I endure?

Do I have the courage to try again?

When do I give in to time?

How many more times can my window of hope be pieced back together before shattering completely?

I struggle with these questions each passing day, month, and year. I am ever so grateful for what I have and each loss and passing month has taught me immensurable lessons.

However, this journey of trying to conceive after loss is lonely, painful, and heart wrenching. I feel like an outsider swirling in a world where others are fertile and get to keep their babies. I’m putting on a fake smile to go to work or out with friends, pretending everything is OK. When it’s not. Quietly suffering. Each new bleed bringing a dagger through my heart. To want a baby so badly…to have had one, and lost…and now not yet able to have another. The pain. The hurt. The loneliness. The yearning.

As another month ticks by, I try to piece together my window of hope and gather the courage and strength to try again.

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