Coming to grips with my new reality
The days and weeks that followed that fateful day were nothing less than emotional torment for both my husband and I, weaving in and out of each of the phases of grief—confusion, guilt, fear, isolation, and helplessness. We carried our grief very silently, packing it away very neatly so that others wouldn’t see the depth and severity of the loss we felt, because we were too fragile in that moment to share our grief. The pain was so debilitating that to truly acknowledge it would mean depleting any small amount of emotional reserve and fortitude that still existed amongst us, and we desperately needed this strength in order to move forward.
But if I’m being truly honest, there is great irony in the fact that it was so easy for us to announce our first pregnancy. We told everyone very early into the pregnancy; yet, when it came to losing our baby, it was almost as if we were mute. We didn’t have the words to express our grief and pain to those same people that we so freely shared our joy. There was a self-imposed stigma, a shame associated with our loss.
It happened again
After the loss of our first child, I would describe myself as entirely broken, but I wasn’t hopeless; however, one year later, when we lost our second child under very similar circumstances, in the same hospital, sitting in same over-sized chair with the same doctor delivering the same outcome, it was almost as if my soul, my heart, my entire purpose for being just completely evaporated.
For the days and weeks and months following this loss, I felt as if I was just a spectator in my own life—not truly living, but rather walking alongside others experiencing life: not truly able to connect or engage with anyone or anything, never to return to the person I was before this happened. The feelings of guilt and fear were so pronounced after the loss of our second child. I was completely terrified—terrified to move forward, but equally as terrified to remain still in that moment.
At this point in our journey, we made the decision to seek medical intervention through a fertility clinic. There was a large degree of similarity in our pregnancy losses and we were concerned from a medical perspective that something was wrong. And also the decision to seek support was an effort to regain a bit of control.
Up until this point, our journey had seemed chaotic and very reactive, almost as if we were completely losing control and I think naturally, as human beings, that’s a very difficult space to be in. And I think, emotionally and mentally, we needed to take these steps in effort to regain a bit of control by doing something proactive.
We researched multiple clinics both in the US and Canada and ultimately chose a clinic in Denver where my husband and I both underwent a series of comprehensive testing and examination so that we might identify any underlying factors that could be contributing to our pregnancy losses. It was intense, and it was very personal—you share the most intimate aspects of your life—choosing an IVF physician is seemingly like choosing a second partner in your relationship. We were extremely lucky, though; we had a fantastic doctor and a support team that guided us every step of the way.
We felt hopeful in that moment.
Please come back next Friday to watch the next episode, in which I speak openly about my diagnosis, my feelings of guilt, and how I learned to reframe my expectations of what my family could look like.