Day before Easter

This was the hardest holiday for me, back when I was losing pregnancies and my vision of the future was crumbling. It’s a fertility holiday, after all—so many eggs! Beautifully painted eggs. And children in sweet outfits. The slightly damp spring wind rustling cherry blossoms. Round pregnant bellies or little sweet babes in carriers. It was my favorite holiday, as a child—I loved the season, the outdoors, the hunting for eggs, the funny things my dad would do to reveal the sneakily hidden ones. I remember crying one Easter because he had to work a construction job, and who was going to casually pull back the couch cushion to reveal the bright pink Paas-dyed egg hiding in a crevice of our dog-gnawed couch?

Tomorrow, we will hide plastic eggs filled with candies in the yard, and we will hide an Easter basket filled with bubbles, trucks, and trains in our bedroom, and our son will be so happy. I’m so excited to see his little face—that delight of his that fills my belly with sunshine. 

I would love to report that this is all I need, that I am healed completely from the years of loss, but that wouldn’t be true. I know many who have been down this road still struggle with some vestigial gunk. I want to help lift the stigma of talking about that gunk. A friend today was saying, “Aren’t you so, so happy to have a kid now, after all you went through? Doesn’t it make you even happier? I know someone who struggled to have a baby for seven years, and now she has one, and she is so, so, so happy.” 

And I wanted to say, Yes, I am! Because I am. I’ve expressed all that here. But I mentioned the up-a-notch anxiety I sometimes have (choking, cars, losing S in a crowd) and some of the other repercussions of RPL, and how I have some concerns that the anxiety could negatively affect my parenting in ways I’m not aware of. But no one really wanted to hear that part of the experience. Happy endings, the simple kind, are so much more fun to talk about. 

There is a strange feeling I get at holidays—I’ve described it before—that is in part due to having had really traumatic childless holidays for years. It’s not full-blown PTSD symptoms, but more like a memory of PTSD that comes with uneasiness. It’s this feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

When will I be free of that feeling? I don’t know. Maybe never, completely. Can I be okay with that? Can I just hold that feeling and let it be, accept it as part of me? I’ve already accepted that I am going to have more nightmares of losing S in a crowd than your average parent. I’m okay with that. Small price to pay. And I am able to be present for S even while I’m feeling some of this weird ghost stuff. So I think the next step is just saying: Okay. This is part of the deal. Okay.

In any case, wherever you are on this IF road, I’ll be thinking of you. I always do, on holidays. 

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  1. Happy Easter! I was surprised you said Easter is your favorite holiday–shows how self-centered I am that it never ocurred to me that anyone would prefer Easter over Christmas and Halloween!
    I get what you’re saying. Christmas was my most melancholy holiday during the IF and RPL years.
    Sounds like S will have a splendid Easter! I made a little basket with some toys for BG and stuffed some Annie’s organic fruit snack packs in a few plastic eggs for her to find. We’re not doing a traditional Easter though, just the 3 of us (plus pets) and we’re going to grill burgers at home. Hope you have a magical day tomorrow! XOXO

  2. Yes, just the three of us, too! Sounds similar to our day—except there will be his first taste of M & Ms inside eggs! I’m sure he’ll quickly become obsessed. (I let him taste my coffee once and now he says “I would like some coffee please” every morning. Oh dear.)

  3. Happy Easter to you! That sounds just perfect, your basket and plastic eggs. I so appreciate that you write about the not-so-happy parts of the happy ending, because people do assume that everything goes away when you are successful and it’s not really fair. It’s not fair to you, who experiences heightened anxiety (and I worry that if I get the chance to parent there will be so much baggage wrapped up in things that I will screw up royally) because of all you lost before S. It’s also not fair because it gives people ammo to assume that I should keep pushing towards parenthood because then I will be “healed” — that the standard narrative is that you get the baby and then you are all healed up, and that’s crap. I agree totally with the PTSD thing, I was just talking to a friend who does not want to try for a second child because of all the pain and loss wrapped up in having her daughter. It’s real. I hope it gets less present over time, or maybe less raw? But I so appreciate you writing about it. Thinking of you.

    • Hi Jess, I really miss you! I’m sorry I don’t take the extra effort to hop out of WordPress to your blog more often than I do. Was wondering if you would like to connect one-on-one, like via email, phone–/I think about you often! You so get what I’m talking about (of course—you always do). I am glad it is helpful to hear about…and not annoying. One thing that happens, too, is I find myself seeking out reasons for unease and it is easy to say: Oh, it must be the PTSD from six losses, etc. So it can become an easy “answer” and have to be careful about that, too. Anxiety is such a habitual thing…right now am reading lots of Byron Katie to help us get through another home-move transition and process any feelings of isolation I have right now about being in a new city. She’s so great!

  4. Kali

     /  June 10, 2017

    Hi there. I don’t know if you remember me. Our journeys are somewhat (a lot) parallel, though I think I am almost a year behind you? My son was born October 4, 2015. His name starts with S as well.

    I understand everything you’re saying. I definitely have PTSD from the years of loss.

    Recently, I lost my father, and my dream job just 2 weeks later. That job was also the culmination of years of searching and yearning for security. And allowed my father to pass in peace without worrying about us.

    And the PTSD rears its head. Loss has some common feelings underlying it.

    So I know exactly what you’re saying. Of course my S is a constant joy, to me and to my mom, but there are still many triggers from those years of suffering.

    Not sure why you popped into my head yesterday, but you did, and I’m glad that when I visited, I found a recent posting.

    Hope you receive this message. I’m so happy to have connected. You were a steady support through this blog as I sought my own miracle.


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  •© the unexpected trip,, 2012-2017.
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  • About Me

    Me: 41
    DH: 38

    Fertility issue:
    Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
    6 pregnancy losses
    All early
    5 with my own eggs
    1 with donor egg

    Abnormal embryos

    Factor V Leiden heterozygous
    MTHFR heterozygous

    AFC: 2 - 12
    AMH: 0.2
    FSH: 6.8
    E2: 40
    LH: 2.8


    April 2011 -
    Natural conception, first try. Blighted ovum (gestational sac only). D&C to remove products of conception at 9 weeks.

    Oct 2011 -
    Natural conception, first try. Blighted ovum (gestational sac & yolk sac). Took Cytotec to induce miscarriage at 9 weeks. PTSD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, night terrors followed.

    Winter 2012 -
    Two rounds of Femara/Clomid + IUIs at Columbia and RS of NY. The idea: to produce more eggs and increase chances of catching a good one. BFNs.

    April 2012 -
    Natural conception, first try. Ultrasound showed activity in the uterus, but no complete sac. Diagnosed with "missed abortion." Natural miscarriage at 5 weeks.

    June 2012 -
    Conception after 7 mg Femara for 5 days + IUI. Diagnosed with chemical pregnancy. Natural miscarriage at 4.5 weeks.

    August 2012 -
    Natural conception, without trying. Chemical pregnancy and natural miscarriage at 5 weeks.

    October 2012 -
    ODWU at Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM).

    January 2013 -
    IVF with Dr. Schoolcraft.
    Straight Antagonist protocol

    What he predicted:
    I will produce 11 eggs
    Good chance 1 will be normal
    30% chance 2 will be normal
    Transfer 1, then a 45% chance of success
    Transfer 2, then a 65% chance of success

    What happened:
    7 follicles stimulated
    6 mature eggs retrieved
    2 died during ICSI
    4 fertilized
    3 out of 4 embryos CCS-tested
    All abnormal

    Aug/Sept 2013-
    Frozen Donor Egg IVF at Reproductive Biology Associates (RBA)
    What Dr. Shapiro predicted:
    6 or 7 will fertilize
    1 we will transfer
    1 - 3 we will freeze

    Protocol: Lupron, Vivelle patches, Crinone

    8 frozen eggs from donor thawed
    6 fertilized
    1 Day-5 Grade A XBbb blastocyst transferred
    1 Day-5 Grade A EBbb blastocyst frozen
    1 Day-6 Grade A XBbb blastocyst frozen

    September 13, 2013: Pregnant

    Prenatal vitamins & baby aspirin,
    Vivelle patches & Crinone

    Beta #1: 171
    Beta #2: 706
    Beta #3: 7,437

    6 w 3 d: measured 6 w 1 d
    FHR: 80 bpm
    Fetus did not grow
    7 w: FHR 121 bpm
    8 w: heart stopped
    9 w: D and C

    Test results: We lost a normal karyotype male for unexplained reasons

    Quit stressful job
    Anti-inflammation diet
    Gluten-free diet
    Vit D, DHA/EPA
    Therapy/energy work
    Creative Visualization
    Art Therapy

    March 14, 2014:
    Double FET at RBA
    1 Day-5 Grade A EBbb blastocyst
    1 Day-6 Grade A XBbb blastocyst

    March 24, 2014:

    Prenatals, baby aspirin, Folgard, Vivelle, Crinone, Lovenox

    Beta #1: 295
    Beta #2: 942
    Beta #3: 12,153

    1 fetus implanted

    Measured on track

    Fetal heart rate:
    7 wk: 127 bpm, 8wk:159 bpm, 9wk: 172 bpm

    Due date: Dec, 4 2014!

    NatureMade (USP Seal) Prenatals and 4000 Vit D3
    Baby aspirin
    40 mg Lovenox
    DHA and EPA
    Folgard 2.2

    Born: One perfect baby boy 12.4.14

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