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.

The End of Anonymity 

For the first time ever in a post I’m about to share our ACTUAL faces. No weird crops to avoid exposing our identity, and no avoidance with cutesy clip art. It’s taken us awhile to become comfortable with sharing our story without hiding behind a keyboard in a shroud of anonymity. So what’s changed?

For starters, we are tired of feeling like infertility should be something people don’t talk about. Ever since we’ve started opening up, we are absolutely shocked by how many people who have come out of the woodwork to tell us their struggles and grievances with fertility issues and conception. Some people don’t understand why we are being so open about what they view as a very private matter. Those people can worry as much as they want about my life, but not only does it not affect them, it actually hurts others. If we stay silent simply to make others comfortable, friends of ours who are struggling will continue to feel alone and isolated, just like we did for such a long time.

Another thing that changed is we had our miracle IVF baby almost a year ago. We got over that huge mountain we thought we may never climb, and we gained confidence. Now we don’t feel like we are sharing raw emotions as they take place, but we are looking at them in the rear view mirror. It makes our experience a lot easier to talk about. We don’t know what the future holds with our family building, but I can tell you one thing, it’s going to be approached with a lot more transparency.

About three months ago I decided to compete for the title of Mrs. California. I told Chris my goal was to lose the baby weight and promote one of the greatest causes of all: infertility awareness. So with the platform of “Infertility Support and Advocacy” I set off to try to shed some light on our community of warriors. I was completely transparent when speaking with the judges in interview, and they were lovely to talk to. And you you’ll never believe it…they picked me to represent California for 2017!


So now I have this new shiny hat, and I have set out to do great things with it. First, I attended the American Fertility Expo and got to catch a screening of “Vegas Baby.” Holy moly, the tears were rolling. Has anyone else seen it? It hit really close to home.


Then, we attended the Walk of Hope in San Diego with who you all know as baby “Casper” but his name is actually Mason.


Next, I had the opportunity to attend Resolve’s Advocacy Day in Washington D.C. last week. I’ve never done anything more empowering in my entire life. Meeting with members of Congress and sharing our story was life-changing. I felt like I was educating our nation’s leaders on the emotional side of infertility. They were more receptive and empathic than I anticipated they’d be. The experience was one I will never forget, and it gave me such an emotional high that I’ll go back again and again until infertility coverage in this country is so good there’s no need for lobbying on Capitol Hill. 💙


I’ll keep you posted on my journey and events I attend that benefit the infertility community. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them, too!