On Thursday, July 12th, we came back from our three month long trip to Spain, and I was pregnant. The day before my mother, sister, MH, and I all squeezed into our doctor’s consultation office in Valencia to celebrate my successful IVF transfer. We learned our due date, received a printed picture of the growing sac as a memento, and I had my blood drawn one last time. Little did I know that days later I would suffer from a miscarriage.
Restraining My Optimism
I had been feeling cautiously optimistic. I knew there was a risk of miscarriage, as there is with any pregnancy, and that we had many more milestones to pass before we could fully embrace the certainty of a child coming into our lives. However, I was content with the adrenaline rush-like excitement from having a successful first transfer, and from knowing that this dark chapter of stress and hopelessness was behind us. I also felt pregnant-starting from 24 hours after our transfer-I felt an external life growing within. I knew that after our week-long stopover in NJ to stay with my family, we would return to San Diego as expectant parents; the last two years would become a distant memory eclipsed by the promise of having a family of our own.
The First Miscarriage Symptom
On Saturday, at 5 weeks and 3 days, I woke up drenched in a cold sweat. I panicked, since this was exactly how I felt when I was about to get my period. I tried to keep my worries at bay and stay off Dr. Google, but later that morning I broke down in tears as I told MH that I could no longer feel my baby. My morning nausea seemed to have subsided, and felt like the water weight I had accumulated since the transfer had disappeared overnight.
As the day went on, I rested and slept, and gradually felt better. I felt more sensation in my abdomen, and the following morning I had a little more nausea. However, as the days passed the night sweats continued. I tried to remain calm, and told myself that what I was experiencing was likely a new set of pregnancy symptoms.
The 6 Week Scan
On Wednesday morning when I woke for my 6 week scan I was feeling optimistic, and was finally allowing myself to feel excited about what was to come. I was so focused on arriving for our 8 am clinic appointment that I failed to realize that I had no morning sickness whatsoever, and other than an occasional strong period like cramp/contraction, I no longer had that sensation of life within.
MH and I arrived to the RMA clinic in Eatontown, preparing to officially make our baby a US patient. Although the clinic is affiliated with our IVI clinic in Valencia, it lacked the warm greetings and our doctors enjoying their afternoon coffees (which we had grown accustom to). When the exam began and the doctor started taking my measurements, he verbally noted to the assistant that there was fluid. He then asked me when my last scan was and what they saw. At that point I knew no good news would follow. In the nicest way possible, he informed me that there was no growth since last week. And in the most supportive and professional way possible, he said “Miscarriages are a part of what we do.”
Surrendering to the Process
I never thought I would find comfort in those words when learning my pregnancy was ending, but hearing the reiteration of fertility treatments being a process, and that all along this was one of three expected outcomes, gave me great comfort in that moment. It allowed me to keep my faith and surrender.
After they left the room, MH was stunned, but was still holding on to hope that the next scan would give us positive news. I explained they should have seen something by now; a larger sac, a yolk, a fetal pole, a heartbeat maybe. But to have no growth, when I was already measuring on the small side of normal, meant that our blastocyst would never become a baby. I cried a little, but felt a little relieved. A loss at 6 weeks I could handle. At 8 or 9 would be harder; at 20 weeks, unimaginable. I had wondered if the little one growing inside me was really MINE, and I got my answer sooner rather than later. Before leaving the room we embraced, and came up with our game plan – Valencia in the fall. In the fall we will reunite with our baby.