Secondary Loss: Dealing With Infertility
It's June 2016, and I have just experienced the most horrific and unimaginable thing any parent can go through. Avery, my first and only child is gone. Upon one of the many pieces of paper I left the hospital in Chicago with, was a page of follow up appointments that were recommended for me to do. This morning, for some reason I recalled the details of one of those appointments and I reflected on how it has impacted me at this point in my loss journey. Maybe it is the fact that it is Friday the 13th (a day of strange occurrences some say) or the undeniable ability for my body to remember events at times. Either way, today I have reflected about my loss, about my struggles, and the unfortunate truth that I am suffering from secondary infertility.
One of the recommended appointments after Avery died was to return back to my Gynecologist for a follow up. This was the same office where I was given the sad news that I had an incompetent cervix and where Avery was given only a 10% chance at life. I struggled deeply returning to that office, to meet with the same doctor that gave me the dreaded news, but something more was about to plague me.
During the appointment I can recall several details of the conversation. One part in particular was the doctor's comment about my loss and the next steps of my journey. He told me that by September of 2016 I could begin trying for a family again and that by December of 2016 he would see me again. December 2016, a mere 6 months from Avery's entrance and departure from this Earth. But I was left with hope for my second chance.
This morning as I reflected on the past almost 2 years I thought to myself how unfortunate I feel being robbed of that false hope. These moments I sit with the realization that I am one in millions who experience a loss and secondary loss and infertility.
To so many on the outside, it may be easy to offer the simple idea of "trying again" as if it is guaranteed to result in a granted wish. But trying again is so much deeper than that. Trying again for almost two years now has beat me down, given me strength, challenged my marriage, but made us more understanding, made me bitter and angry but also appreciate Avery that much more. You see, AND is existing in my life. And it's in the delicate tightrope that sometimes I worry of falling from.
I went to a new doctor recently and during our visit I was told to lose weight. Lose weight and then try again. I am totally aware of my body and the truth that yes, I am overweight. As we talked we were interrupted by the blaring alarms throughout the hospital. It turned out, it was not a fire drill and I was sent immediately to a nearby stairwell to exit the building. As I rushed in the rain to my car I could feel my anxiety building more and more. And upon reaching my car I burst into tears. Why do I always feel set backs? Why me? Where is my happy ending? The thoughts raced and I turned on my car. The time....exactly 11:11. One of the angel signs I often get. Now the tears are flowing heavier. And I asked the Universe to help me understand.
The last few days that have followed I have felt rather somber. It's so very difficult to feel hope at times, and to plan for a future that may never come. Secondary infertility is a brutal test of faith, hope and strength. I have the courage somewhere to continue, and praying that Avery is watching out for me.
This is my path for a reason.