Does My Loss Count?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’m not sure what I want to say about it, but I feel like I have some kinks to work out in my head.

The question that’s been on my mind: Was the loss of Baby B not a real loss?

It doesn’t seem to count as a loss in the medical community. When I first met with the maternal fetal medicine doctor, he told me that I technically don’t have enough losses for him to officially say I have antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. “You need three early losses to qualify,” he said. I didn’t say anything at the time because I suck at saying things in the moment, but now I wish I would have asked him, “What about this baby’s twin? Why doesn’t that count as a loss to you? Is it because I had no bleeding? No D & C? Is it because half of the pregnancy continued to grow?”

It doesn’t seem to count in the general population either (present company excluded, of course). I’ve mentioned to several friends recently that this pregnancy started out as twins, but one didn’t make it. And you know what? Not one person said they were sorry to hear that. There was no acknowledgement whatsoever. Doesn’t that seem kind of…odd? On the one hand, I completely get it. I have a healthy pregnancy, which is freaking amazing, and I’m sure these friends just wanted to focus on that. I understand, I really do. Their responses, or lack thereof, made me feel weird, though.

And sometimes, the loss doesn’t even seem to count in my own head. For instance, I haven’t named Baby B yet. I named Anna and Gabriel right away, but Baby B remains without a moniker. I suspect this is in part because Baby B is inextricably connected to Baby A, and it doesn’t feel quite right to name B before the birth of A.

But still, I wonder about my lack of interest in choosing a name.

I’ve also spent far less time thinking about this loss than my last two losses. Practically speaking, I think it needs to be that way, at least for now. I have a little girl growing inside of me that requires my love, care and hope, and it doesn’t feel right to focus my energy on the pregnancy’s darker beginnings.

But still, I wonder, am I a bad mother for not grieving for Baby B more?

I feel confused about all of this. Because when it comes down to it, Baby B was alive. He or she had a beating heart. He or she was loved. And most importantly, I truly believe he or she helped her sister to grow and thrive.

And that, in my heart at least, counts for a lot.

28 Weeks And We Are Still Ok

I’m 28 weeks. Which means I’m in the third trimester. Say what? For some reason it really hit me today that, holy crap, I’m in the third trimester. And then I started crying. Because how did that happen? How did I get this far? I’ve said this every step of the way, but I never thought I’d be here. It’s truly humbling. Currently, the baby is kicking my bladder and I’ve never been so happy to have to pee every five seconds in my entire life!

I’m not going to lie and say my head is screwed on straight and I’m the very picture of calm. I’m still scared, I’m still anxious, but both baby and I are doing ok. We had a 3D ultrasound last Saturday and we saw the little nugget yawning and smiling and sticking her fingers in front of her face. I won’t post any pictures here because I don’t want them to upset anyone who’s having a bad day in Infertility Land. But if you actually want to see alien baby shots of the inside of my uterus, send me an email at and I’ll pass some along.

On Monday we had a growth scan and the doctor told us that baby was growing on target. Then on Wednesday I found out that I don’t have gestational diabetes! I was certain I would have it because prednisone raises your risk, but I passed the test with flying colors. In my pregnancy with Lettie I was borderline, so I had to watch my sugar. This time, though, it’s Coke Classic and Sour Patch Kids and gluten free Oreos all the way! Actually, I probably should watch my sugar anyway because I’m still gaining weight like an ox, but….nah. Maybe tomorrow.

So I’m hoping that even though this pregnancy started out in a dramatic fashion, the last third will go smoothly. Please, please, pleeeease.

I don’t have much else to report. Tim is painting the nursery today, which freaks me out, but like we need to do it at some point. We’re going with mint green. I always laugh as I write these update posts because they are so blah. Like you guys care that we’re painting our walls mint green!

I took this week off and we’ve been doing things around the house (today guys are here jack-hammering our basement). But we did take one overnight trip to the Pocono Mountains to visit Great Wolf Lodge. This is basically a hotel with a giant water park inside of it. It was completely insane (think Lord of the Flies), but fun, and most importantly Lettie had a blast. She said it was “a million fun.” I’ll leave you with a few pictures from our trip.

Happy Friday! Love you guys!


The Things She Carried

[inspired by Tim O’Brien’s novel, The Things They Carried]

She carried 758 needles, 170 suppositories of the vaginal variety, and hundreds of blood draws—she was told she had good veins, like that was some kind of prize to win. She was weirdly proud of her awesome veins, because in this game of carrying and dropping, losing and winning, there’s not much else to be proud of.

She carried 63 ultrasounds, some of them a routine check for follicles, some looking in vain for beating hearts, some checking to make sure “the products of conception” no longer existed inside of her.

She carried names of drugs she could barely pronounce—Menopur, Follistim, Ovidrel, Ganirelix, Intralipids, Lovenox, Prednisone.

She carried four IUIs, three IVFs, 66 follicles, 33 eggs and 20 embryos. Some of these embryos were placed back inside of her, and some never grew beyond a handful of cells. All were loved.

She carried lesions on her ovaries, cervix, uterus and bladder. She carried a blood clotting disorder called antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. She carried overactive natural killer cells, which weren’t really killing much except teeny-tiny embryos too little to fight for themselves.

She carried one laparoscopy attempt. One actual laparoscopy. Three egg retrievals. Two transfers. Two D & Cs.

She carried 1,938 miles of travel—from the house to the fertility clinic; from the clinic to work; from Philadelphia to Manhattan for surgery; from Philadelphia to Woodbury to visit what she hoped would be a miracle doctor; from Philadelphia to Woodstock to spend the day with a fertility visionary. She carried $726 in parking garage fees, and even one parking garage accident.

She carried Please Gods and plea bargains. She carried what-ifs and what-will-I-do-nows.

She carried special diets—no gluten, no dairy, no sugar, no air.

She carried the love of a good man, but she carried it clumsily and sometimes carelessly. She lashed out. She yelled. “Why can’t you carry any of this for me?” she wanted to know. There was no good answer to that question—he knew it and she knew it, and at the end of the day she was lucky to still be holding his heart.

She carried the memory of lost babies—three at last count. First was Gabriel. She lost him on the bathroom floor at work, and by the time she got to the hospital she was so bloody it looked like she was starring in a Carrie remake. Then there was Anna, who was confirmed genetically normal and therefore should have lived, but didn’t. Anna, who said au revoir to the world on Christmas day, but who would never open a single present. Finally, there was Baby B, a loss too new to even get a name.

She carried a persistence that even she admitted was insane. She carried advice from relatives, friends, acquaintances, the checkout lady at Target, wondering why she was doing this to herself, why she didn’t just give up. Stop this nonsense. Be happy for what you have. Halt. Cease and desist before you ruin yourself, your job, your marriage. And she did want to stop, she did. But she needed to try one last time. One more needle, one more blood draw, one more doctor. One more.

And now.

Now she carries a baby inside of her, a little girl, no bigger than a winter squash. She feels her kicks, taps and nudges, and they feel like hope. She still carries the what-ifs—so many what-ifs—but now she carries something else as well—trust. Trust that this is the soul she is meant to meet. She sings to her baby every night, hands on her belly, heart wide open as a summer sky: ‘twas grace that brought you safe thus far, and grace will lead you home.