Only one pink line. Negative. Again!
My heart sank into depths it had never reached before. Was there any hope left? I had just buried my daughter a month before—my beautiful, 4-month-old baby girl. And now, this.
Infertility again. But this time the pain was different. It had an edge to it that seemed horribly unjust.
It was a slap in the face of grief—my grief.
My husband and I had both had our share of medical issues that interfered with fertility. We had been through so much. Testing. Failed inseminations. Surgeries. Medications. Supplements.
I am pretty sure I had peed on more sticks than a pregnant squirrel.
We had tried it all.
We didn’t waste any time and consulted infertility specialists again, only a couple of months after our daughter’s death. We were told with our combination of infertility obstacles, we would need injectable medications and probably IVF if we were going to have any chance of another pregnancy. But there was no way we could afford IVF. We still had a few unpaid funeral-related expenses, and trips to pediatric specialists and time spent in the hospital with our daughter had taken a bit of a toll on our finances.
We decided to try a couple of cycles on our own with only oral medications.
We then decided to try an intra-uterine insemination while still taking the oral medications.
The insemination failed.
Everything was failing.
My grief was still very new, but I was trying to focus on conceiving again at a time when even the thoughts of an infant caused me to periodically shut down. How could I want something so much yet be so vanquished by the mere thought of it?
Something within me kept me going.
Perhaps my grief was the propeller on my airplane of determination. It wouldn’t allow me to give up.
We told our infertility specialist we were ready to proceed with the injectable medications. I knew it was going to be a bit of a financial struggle since our insurance did not cover anything related to infertility. Injectable fertility medications were anything but cheap. But I knew we would manage.
I had hope—for the first time since my daughter died.
Then it happened. The economy was in a terrible state, and my husband, like so many others, received a substantial pay cut without warning. I remember trying to stop sobbing long enough to call the infertility doctor to tell them to cancel the order for the injectable medications. That was a very difficult call to make.
Just like that, my hope was gone. I was done.
A day or two later, we were sitting in a church service on Mother’s Day. Our church was having their annual baby dedication ceremony. I remember how much I had looked forward to having my baby girl in the ceremony.
Instead, I sat there with empty arms, watching other parents with their adorable babies. They were smiling and laughing—full of joy and hope. Proud grandparents took photos from their seats. It took every bit of self-restraint I had to keep from breaking down.
We were surprised during the ceremony when the church mentioned our baby girl and presented us with a tiny stuffed lamb and Bible in memory of her. At that moment, my tears could wait no longer, and I found myself crying uncontrollably.
After some time, the tears passed. Soon after, I realized I was having menstrual cramps. I knew what that meant, another failed cycle. I knew my period was coming, and I left church that day trying to figure out how to accept the finality of our situation.
I could not try any longer.
My heart could not take that kind of pain and despair, not after what it had just endured a few months before.
The next day, I woke up with more cramping. I was angry with my body. Of all the times it could fail me, I wondered why now? I had handled infertility before but never at the same time as grieving the loss of my child. It was a level of anguish that prompted me to question my ability to keep going.
I don’t remember what it was, but something caused me to look at a calendar. And then I realized I had miscalculated when my period was due. Serious grief can certainly mess with the ability to calculate.
My period was actually several days late. I had a stash of cheap pregnancy test strips, so I headed to the bathroom and grabbed one. I was quite sure my uncertainty was just another way for me to torture myself by having a glimmer of hope for a few seconds. But I wanted to see the negative test result to extinguish that hope, so it would consume my thoughts no longer.
I wanted to move on, back to figuring out how to survive from one minute to the next with the unthinkable pain I was enduring.
I laid the test strip down and closed my eyes. I readied myself for the sadness I had experienced so many times before with each negative pregnancy test.
I took a few deep breaths, steadied myself on the bathroom cabinet in preparation, and slowly opened my eyes to glance at the test.
But it wasn’t negative.
There it was—one beautiful, amazing, glorious, triumphant second pink line! The test was positive! I was pregnant!
I. Was. PREGNANT!
The months that followed were not easy. Being pregnant after any kind of loss makes it hard not to worry about the possibility of something going wrong. It was especially difficult when we found out our unborn baby boy would be born with a heart defect. It was a heart defect that had led to our daughter’s death.
But our beautiful boy did well, and his heart defect resolved on its own. He is now 10 years old, and I love him with everything I have.
When I look at him, I am reminded that there is always a reason to have hope.
Every day, his smile erases just a tiny bit more of the scars that cover my heart.
His laughter gives me strength—a strength I once thought I’d never have again.
His hugs smother the sadness.
In his eyes, those beautiful green eyes that look like my own, I can see the rainbow . . . the rainbow after my storm.