Five Stages of Grief

Last month we were approved to go ahead with our third embryo transfer. This time we were given a 70% chance of success. We thought those were pretty good odds. Our embryo was pre-genetically screened and deemed “normal.” It was a fair quality embryo and our only girl.

Our transfer went smoothly. Post-transfer, I obediently rested for two days on the couch and used the time to pick out baby girl nursery decor. Man, oh man, I found the absolute cutest, sweetest little girl items to decorate our home. As hard as it was, I obediently refrained from picking up my IVF miracle toddler (much to both our dismay) so we could protect his little sis. Chris gave me shot after shot after shot to help keep my hormones at the perfect levels for our little girl.

As many of you know, there’s not much to do during this time but daydream, so we thought about our daughter a ton. We talked about what she might be like. Chris has always been crazy about the Fourth of July, and her due date was set to be right around that time. He was thrilled. We shopped online for cute little outfits containing more ruffles, floral print, and bows so big they go all the way up to Jesus. We were so excited to become parents of a little girl.

Beta Day was the day before Halloween, and just like that, our hopes were crushed in one simple email. Negative. How was this happening to us again? I felt numb. The news simply wouldn’t sink into my brain. I talked about it with a hollowness in my voice. I couldn’t believe it was true. The tears wouldn’t fall. I couldn’t laugh. All my emotions were frozen. For nearly two weeks I was deep into the first stage of grief: disbelief.

A phone call snapped me out of it. A relative told me she was in the early stages of pregnancy. Due early July. Like we should have been too. Something inside me snapped and all the sudden the suppressed feelings hit me like a Mack truck. Our daughter was gone. There would be no Christmas pregnancy announcement. My belly would not swell with the growing life of my little girl. There would be no big bows, and floral prints. The perfect name we picked would never go to a child of ours. Mason would never have a sister. We were simultaneously bummed for someone telling us their happy news at such an sensitive time, and utterly depressed that infertility has us deep in the clutches once again. I laid on the couch and sobbed for most of the weekend.

The stages of grief are no joke. I feel like my emotions are a pinball machine, and I find myself bouncing from one thought to another. The same thing is happening to Chris and not at the same time. There’s not a lot we can do except feel what we feel and try not to judge our emotions. We still have some grieving to do. We’ve talked to our family therapist, and she’s supporting us through this time. To be honest, most people really don’t comprehend our pain. And why would they? It’s not something the majority of the population has any experience with. Most expect since we have Mason already, we will be fine. He definitely makes us so happy, and we are beyond thankful for him. But our life will always be different moving forward. Part of us will always feel the absence of our daughter. Time may help us heal, but it will never give her back to us.

Our clinic reviewed out charts. Since this is the second embryo we’ve lost that was expected to be a successful outcome, they’ve decided they want to try some new options with us in the future. They want to try an endometrial scratch prior to our next cycle. This brought me to another phase of grief: bargaining. If we’d tried this procedure prior to our transfer, would she still be with us right now? They’re ready for us to move forward at any time. My heart is still broken and in mourning for my daughter. I want to process this. I want to move forward. I’m terrified of another disappointment. It’s hard to say what our next step will be, or when. For now, we are just loving on each other, praying, and trying to find a sense of peace.

21 thoughts on “Five Stages of Grief

  1. Jein says:

    So sorry for you. Reading this brought emotions and feelings flooding back from our not so distant past. The devastation, the disbelief and everything thereafter… It is really of no comfort, but I was glad to read you saying that you are letting yourselves feel what you feel and not to judge your emotions. I think that is the right thing to do. X

    Liked by 1 person

  2. L and D says:

    Oh man that is so crap. it must make it so much harder knowing the sex of your embryos, it instantly makes them real people. We are planning to try again next year, and after having success first try with our first embryo, I am bloody terrified that our remaining 2 won’t work. Ugh. Just gotta keep holding onto hope huh, all we can do. Much love to you in this hard time xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ashleykyleanderson says:

    Oh, Heather. I haven’t caught up with you in SO long and I didn’t realize you were at this point but I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter. I know that you really felt like you guys had pushed through that wall already, and it just sucks that you’re still stuck in this place. My heart breaks for your family knowing the pain you’re going through. I think of you guys from time to time still and will keep you guys in my thoughts. Are you on Facebook? I’d love to keep up with what’s going on with you that way if you’d like. I’m rarely on WordPress but always mean to come back more. Lots of love to you, Chris & Mason (who I will always think of as Casper :))

    Liked by 1 person

    • heatherhopeful says:

      No worries, Nara—I’ve been pretty scarce too. I’m just trying to keep everything updated to document it for my kids! Maybe one day they’ll want to read it all. I hope you’re doing well, Nara. Sending you hugs!


  4. srabird says:

    so sorry to hear this, it’s so hard trying not to build up that hope isn’t it, especially when the clinic give you such good odds! I’m in the middle of the 2ww for our 3rd embryo and trying my best not to think about names, even though I think positive thought does go a long way. Wishing you all lots of love and strength for whatever you decide for the future xx

    Liked by 1 person

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