I was afraid you wouldn’t understand {grieving lost embryos} by Elisha

Tonight, I’m so happy to share a blog with you that touched my heart so deeply. Since the beginning of my infertility journey I have been following a blog from Elisha over at www.waitingforbabybird.com . She guest blogged this beautifully written piece for another website. While reading it my eyes became full of tears and I knew that Elisha would totally understand the emotions behind our failed IVF’s. Our stories are almost identical she had 10 embryos, I had 12. During two separate procedures John and I transferred 4 different embryos. Embryos that I prayed for, Embryos that I wondered if they would have my dark brown hair or his amazing personality, Embryos that I have pictures of.

I’ve never related to an article or blog so closely before. It was like Elisha took all the emotions I was hiding away and expressed them so perfectly. I knew I had to get her permission to repost the article here. So here is her amazing post:

I Was Afraid You Wouldn’t Understand {Grieving Lost Embryos} 

“So, how many children do you have?”

Immediately I looked down as a lump began to form in my throat and tears slowly filled my eyes. I debated on whether I should give you the answer on my heart or the one I had rehearsed. But when I wiped away a tear that had sneaked its way down my face, I noticed you were starting to fidget and shift in your seat. I could sense you scrambling to excuse yourself from the conversation and I knew at that moment you weren’t ready for my answer.

At least not the one on my heart.

And so instead I flashed you a smile to let you know it was okay, and then I gave you the answer I had rehearsed. But it’s not because I didn’t want to talk about them or the incredible imprint they have left on my heart. And it is not because I am ashamed of my story, but simply because I was afraid…

I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to understand that those eight precious embryos that were lost in a lab and the two that survived only a short time in my womb meant the world to me. They were the beautiful combination of me and my husband’s genes created in love and hope… they were our ten beautiful children…

I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to understand that those “dots”, tiny as they were, were just as precious in my sight and in God’s sight as any other beautiful baby born to full term.

I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to understand that even though they were only five days past conception, God had already picked their hair textures, given them their eye colors, and branded them with unique personalities –all of which I often catch myself wondering about.

I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to understand that despite never hearing their heartbeat or feeling them kick, toss, or twirl inside of me, I had already developed an unbreakable bond. And I had already dreamed a million dreams for their lives and pictured a thousand moments they would live to remember…

I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to understand the guilt I so often feel and painfully carry around, because if it were not for me and my decision to pursue in vitro fertilization, this wouldn’t have happened to them. And it hurts…

I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to understand that my ten embryos, as “early in the game” as they might have been, were boys who would have fished with their daddy and little girls who would have one day held his finger as they twirled around in their pink ruffled dresses. And had each of them survived, they would have grown up to be someone’s best friend, perhaps lead a lost soul to Christ, or maybe even become the president…

I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to understand the grief spasm I might have if I do mention them to you. It’s nothing scary; just a few moments, maybe minutes, where I start to cry because I begin to replay my darkest days. And I begin to think about how it’s been four tiring years and I still long for a baby to be in my arms…

I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to understand that every embryo created, even though it was inside of a lab, was a life to me. A life that, no matter how short lived, was meaningful and special. A life that changed who I am today. And a life that I will always view as a person. Because as Dr. Seuss says, a person is a person, no matter how small.

Even microscopically small.

Maybe one day I will be able to share with you about these precious lives that have left an incredible imprint on my heart. And maybe I’ll be able to do it without being afraid of what you might think or being fearful of how you will react. But until then, and until I think you will be able to understand my unique grief that comes from a unique loss, I will just continue to smile and give you my unique answer. It’s the one which I rehearsed and the one in which I proudly say, “I hope one day I will have more than ten.” Because I do still hope.

I believe God is not finished writing my story. I have hope He is not finished in His pursuit to fulfill the desires placed in my heart. And I cannot help but dream of the day I am rocking a baby in my arms…a sweet baby whose eyes, ears, nose, and mouth will look like the ones his ten brothers and sisters would have had too.

Be Still

“Be still & know that I am God; I will be exalted among nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10


Last Friday, exactly one week ago from today, was a pretty bad day for John & I. We didn’t tell as many people this time around, but we had our Frozen Embryo Transfer a few weeks ago. Our last failed cycle was really tough, so John requested a bit more privacy this time. Which I totally get, because the more people you tell what is going on, the more people you have to tell if it doesn’t work. Every time you have to say another cycle failed, it feels like you’re ripping a band-aid off a painful wound.

So last Friday after another blood test, we got the call that once again led to ultimate disappointment, it was another failed cycle. But this time was a little different. We have no more frozen embryos, so we have no back up plan. There were a lot of tears, a lot of pain, and a lot of unanswered prayers and questions. I tell you this, not to get pity, but to show you what infertility really looks like. It’s honestly horrible, and the hardest thing John and I have ever experienced.

So we are at a crossroads now, and we have no idea whether to turn left or right. Do we try IVF again? Or do we look into other options?  Or do we do nothing? Over the past few days a verse has kept popping into my mind. Be still and know that I am God. I’ve brushed it off a couple of times, but it keeps coming back, so I finally decided to read the Psalm it comes from. I dug around for some more information about the verse. I noticed that the psalmist was involved in some sort of warfare and the verse was a call from God to stop fighting, to lay their weapons down, and to BE STILL. It was a call to stop the frantic activity and know that God is sovereign over all.

John and I may not be fighting in a war, but we are right in the middle of a war against infertility. And I’ve been pretty frantic. Doing things like only using organic all natural products, including deodorant (Sorry, John!), to hours of endless research on Dr. Google. I kept ignoring the verse looming in the mind because I was afraid of hearing what God wants us to do next. To be still. To take a break. Honestly, a break from fertility treatments scares me. For all of 2015 I have healed from one failed treatment by immediately jumping to the next treatment. But now I can’t. On Monday I went  to see Beth at the Sarah’s Laughter Infertility Christian support center. After talking crying for awhile, she looked at me and said “You just want answers don’t you? What if a break is your answer right now?” Talk about hitting a nail on the head!

I keep questioning whether we should try again with IVF or look into adoption. Currently, that question overwhelms me. So now I understand why I need a break. John and I need to take a break to “Be still” and know that God is sovereign over our problems. We need to pray and be led in the right direction. Even though it scares me to take a break, I have to trust in God that this is what is right for John and I right now.

In a few weeks we will go in for a failed IVF consultation with our RE. We may get some answers from that meeting, or we may not. But even if the consultation makes our next move clear, we will probably continue our break for a little longer. We need to recoup spiritually, mentally, physically (for me), and financially. No matter what our next step is, it’s probably going to be expensive. And that money tree just refuses to grow in our backyard. Most of you know we have a team in the Baby Steps 5K in November. At the 5k one couple will win a $10,000 grant towards infertility costs or towards adoption. You can help us win by signing up as a participant on our team “Hoping for a Best!”. The best part is, even if you can’t attend, you can still sign up and it still counts!

But for now, we will practice “Being Still” and trusting that God will show us answers when the time is right. And somehow between our last failed results, talking to John, pouring my heart out to Beth at Sarah’s Laughter,  reading the Psalm, and writing this blog, I have become okay with that.

Oh yeah- I threw away the organic all natural deodorant. I found that it doesn’t work very well about 3 months too late! 🙂