|Photo courtesy of Amy Lacina Photography|
Last November, a local photographer and friend sent me a box of new marketing materials. As I opened the box- the words "this is worth fighting for" greeted me on a simple white card. The words hit me hard. Days before, I had lost my son due to miscarriage at 14 weeks and I was still in a haze. To date, I had been through a total of 4 rounds of IVF and while I have my beautiful son, Charlie, I felt like a complete failure.
To add salt to the wound, it was Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) and my 35th birthday. Weeks before my loss, I had painted a Norman Rockwell version of what the holiday and my birthday would look like as Steve, Charlie and I would head to my home state of Pennsylvania to be with family. Facing my new reality, I was unable to accept the new version of the holiday. I decided to stay back in Charlotte, where I got a tattoo in honor of my angel boy and spent Thanksgiving/my birthday at a mediocre restaurant eating dry turkey with people we didn't know.
While plowing into the caramels that accompanied the package, I took the little white card, grabbed a piece of tape and strategically placed it on the wall in the room where I planned to bring home my son months later...right over the empty crib.
Regardless of my new motto, I wasn't entirely confident that I had it in me to do it all over again. A 5th round of IVF. The shots. The pills. The emotional strain. Not to mention, the vulnerability that comes along with the (very real) possibility of experiencing the pain of loss again.
But I also knew that I had one little frozen embryo from the previous round waiting for us and my decision to fight for that sweet embryo came easily. I was choosing hope over fear. And believe me, I had (have) so much fear.
As an only child, I have always been self sufficient and private. Sometimes to a fault. So, when I decided to go back in to see my reproductive endocrinologist over the holidays- I told very few people. Infertility (and not to mention, infant loss) is handled differently by each person. There is no right or wrong way. But for me- I do not like to give timelines or progress reports. The stress and pressure of IVF is enough without having questions (even if well-intended).
By March, the hormone replacements were where they needed to be and I was given the go-ahead to have my frozen transfer on March 8th. We would be transferring one embryo, our last embryo... which was from the same round as the baby boy we had lost 4 months earlier.
Anyone who goes through IVF can then tell you about the dreaded TWW (two week wait). The two longest and hardest two weeks of your life as you wait to go back in to have your blood drawn and get the results of your beta test.
On March 22nd, with Steve by my side we got the call from our doctor's office that I was pregnant!!! While ecstatic, I couldn't help but to be especially cautious. We had announced our last pregnancy at 12 weeks and lost the baby 2 weeks later. Deleting the announcement from social media was devastating, but also needed. I couldn't have people thinking that I was bringing a baby boy home in May.
So, here we are at 20 weeks pregnant and while I am still cautious and still scared of all of the what ifs-- I also know that I need (and want) to celebrate this sweet life and publicly acknowledge my expanding belly.
And in perfect timing, Baby GIRL Markey is due on my birthday- November 24th.
I can not think of a sweeter and more redemptive way to spend my birthday and Thanksgiving this year. Holding my (rainbow) baby girl and eating hospital turkey with the people I love the most.
That simple white card with so much meaning remains to hang over an empty crib, with great anticipation of what is to come. And while nothing is ever guaranteed, it is in fact all worth fighting for.