I Wonder If We'll Ever Hold a Living Baby
Updated: Jul 28, 2021
Photo by Priscilla Stark
Driving through rush hour on the 110 is always a mess in LA.
We had just moved into our new home and traffic during this specific trip was extra painful. The million water spots on my car window reminded me of the sudden gush of my water breaking. Recurrent bumps on the carpool lane kept hitting me like the waves of my contractions and the white lights of opposing traffic were as bright as the walls of the emergency room hallway.
It was the same route I took to deliver our baby, which would later be the same route after I walked out without her.
“There’s no water surrounding the baby,” the doctor confirmed.
“But that’s fine right?” I replied as if I had completely forgotten the science of the female reproductive system.
I wanted so desperately for this time to be different. Every doctor visit, genetic test, blood draw, read the same word—normal. So why was this happening to us, again?
Shortly after announcing our first pregnancy in January, we found out that Baby Henry had terminal hydronephrosis. It is the swelling of the kidneys due to the build-up of urine. My detailed ultrasound at 22 weeks turned into a 48-hour emergency scheduling of a late-term induction.
After 16 hours of labor, Henry entered the world and it was the most magical moment of my life. Without a breath he captivated our hearts and made us parents. Then, after several hours of tearful goodbyes, we walked out of the hospital without our baby boy.
2020 has been especially cruel to us.
After enduring immense grief, I demanded a change of scenery and when summer rolled in we drove to see family in the Midwest. Two months later, with rejuvenated hearts and minds, we were back and met with our team at USC Fertility.
To our surprise, our IUI worked and we were pregnant for the second time with Sienna. Our hearts were beaming as she would be the perfect little sister to Henry.
So, as I sit here wondering why this grueling drive is not to a happy ultrasound appointment and rather to the funeral home to pick up Sienna’s cremated remains, I wonder, will we ever hold a living baby or will we just be collectors of urns?
There is no reasonable explanation as to why Sienna passed at 20 weeks, but they're calling it cervical insufficiency. Our hopes, plans, and entire future have changed without our children. But even through the grim lenses of bereaved parents, at no point would I have not wanted to feel their heartbeats, kicks, and see their ultrasound photos. The best parts of me have been with them.
It is true, that grief is a thief that robs you of all joy. It stands next to my infertility as its faithful partner. But in all these ways that I have been forced to despise them both, it is also where I see my children - present and future.
As I drag my heart and my feet back to a third fertility cycle, I remind myself that I am not defined by these losses, but rather how I heal and honor their memory.
Thank you @misspriss.stark for sharing your story. Shared with permission.
Recurrent pregnancy loss is a unique pain. Not Broken is a wonderful resource for those navigating the hurt of recurrent loss.
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