In between breaths

I started bleeding four days after I came off the crinone gel and Nemo left me forever.

My little embryo, only five weeks old, who had a heart that never beated. Forever my first pregnancy, but never a child I would hold in my arms.

The doctor had warned me the bleeding would be heavy and painful, but this was actually the lightest bleed I’ve had in my entire life and only lasted five days. Normally my periods go for 8+ days. I don’t know what that even means.

Doug and I have also had a rough few weeks. We’ve been fighting more than usual, which is to say we’ve been fighting at all. We usually argue very rarely. Our relationship is the most solid of any of the couples in our friendship circle. But at the moment we feel very separated from each other, and I suspect this is because we’ve dealt with the grief of losing the pregnancy very differently.

I spent weeks being injected with hormones and cultivating my eggs to grow, then I saw my future when I looked at a photo of a 6 day old embryo. And when that embryo was transferred back inside my womb I felt instantly connected. I was living for two, breathing for two, caring for two.

Doug made the mistake one night last week of confessing he wasn’t devastated like I was because Nemo “wasn’t even a real baby”.  I was lying on our bed, and he was standing in the doorway to the room, but we may as well have been on different planets. His words couldn’t have stung anymore if he’d slapped me.

He tried to back-peddle, explaining what he’d meant was that this pain would be greater if we’d lost the baby at 12 weeks or 16 weeks or 26 weeks instead of 5 weeks. At least we’d lost the baby when it was no bigger than a tadpole and wasn’t able to feel pain or hear or see or think. I knew what he was saying was true, but I was still so mad that he didn’t feel the loss of the pregnancy like I had.

The next evening he said something that really stuck with me. He said that he thought what we were experiencing was normal. Women feel connected to their babies so much earlier than men do. We can feel them expanding our wombs, moving and growing. But men need to see that belly growing, feel those first kicks and hear that tiny heart beating during an ultrasound before they start to make that same connection. Nemo passed on too soon for him to experience those things. He had very much wanted the baby, but never managed to make a real connection.

Doug and I love each other. We know we love each other. We just need to stay strong and understand this is hard for us both. The hardest thing we may ever go through. If we can make it through this together, we can make it through anything. We just need to never forget we want to be together, and we want to have children together. When we are holding our child in our arms, these painful moments will all be worth it.

Doug’s family have also been a bit insensitive. They still talk to me all the time about Jess’s baby. They mean well but they’re making things worse. A pregnant lady came into my office yesterday and I had to rush to the bathroom because I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I’m pretty sure it’s not normal to have a panic attack at the sight of a pregnant belly.

Doug keeps insisting I go see a counselor. I know he’s right. I know I need to see someone. I just can’t explain why I haven’t made an appointment to go see one. He’s even offered to go with me! What is holding me back?

Our appointment with the new fertility specialist is 22nd May. It’s my birthay on the 19th May. I really desperately wanted the appointment to be before that day. I didn’t want to turn another year older, feeling like I was no closer to becoming a mother than I was two years ago when we started trying to conceive. But that’s not going to happen and there’s nothing I can do about it. As usual, I just have to be patient.

IVF is an incredibly long and drawn out waiting process. The wait to start treatment is just as hard as any other wait. It makes you feel useless. Why can everyone else get pregnant on their own? Why do I need a doctor to intervene? Why does our fertility have to happen on the doctor’s schedule instead of our own? When is it our turn?

You know I read a statistic that only half of people who go through IVF get a baby at the end of the process.

Half.

Which half am I in?

I really wish I knew.

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