Baby Bennett 2, October 2009, 5 weeks
Baby Bennett 3, May 2010, 8 weeks
Baby Bennett 4, October 2010, 5 weeks
Just a day after announcing our big news to friends, coworkers, and extended family, I began to have bleeding. We were only a couple days shy of that magical 12 week mark. The ultrasound appointment that was supposed to have been so exciting and happy was filled with tears and trepidation. Although the technician gave us no indication of what she saw, our worst nightmare was confirmed when the midwife called us back four heart-wrenching hours later to tell us the baby had died. The miscarriage was physically very hard. I needed emergency treatment when the baby finally passed, and without insurance, we took on substantial debt with the hospital bill. The doctors told us it was just bad luck, probably a random chromosome abnormality, and was not likely to happen again. Devastated at the loss of our little boy, we took several months to grieve.
After our baby’s due date passed, we finally felt ready to try again. Within a few months, there was another “big fat positive” on the pregnancy test. We allowed ourselves to rejoice, knowing that this was the rainbow after the storm. It had taken so long for the first, and it seemed so easy in comparison the second time! But very soon we lost that baby too, just a week or so later. More tears and heartbreak, more dreams put to rest in a memory box. Again, the advice we got was that we were having bad luck, and that it was not unusual to have two losses at my age before finding the “golden egg” that would become our take home baby.
The third pregnancy took six months of trying. All seemed to be going well when we passed the six week mark, and being much more cautious this time, we were scheduled for an early ultrasound at eight weeks. We had been strangely reserved about this pregnancy, not daring to laugh with anticipation or talk about names, not until we got past that first ultrasound, or maybe the second. We now knew that a pregnancy does not mean getting to hear that first newborn cry. Yet, there was a lot of hope too. A lot of silent cuddles, pleading with the universe to help this baby hold on.
Our third baby died just before we were supposed to see its tiny heartbeat. The miscarriage was difficult again, but in a different way from the first. Instead of extreme pain for a few days, I had cramping and slow bleeding for sixty days straight. Even a dose of misoprostol and a full round of birth control pills did not bring an end to the constant physical reminder of the loss of our much-loved third baby.
We barely had time to process that I was now in a category called “recurrent loss,” never mind decide whether we wanted infertility testing, when the fourth pregnancy occurred. We had even less time to muster a sense of optimism before losing that one too. Now, the doctors’ story had changed. With four consecutive losses, my chances of ever carrying a baby to term were “poor.” Much was made of my advanced age, as I was now past 40. We were encouraged to “move on” to adoption or donor eggs. But those are very expensive options. Without insurance, and now paying on several thousand dollars of medical bills from the miscarriage treatments, our dreams of a family seemed to be fading away.
It’s now November, 2010. We are ready to build our family through adoption or donor egg IVF, but need to wait at least a couple of years until we are able to manage the expense. In the meantime, we will continue trying to catch a golden egg despite the low odds we have been given. Neither of us will ever forget when I carried our four miraculous children inside me. For those wonderful weeks and months, I was a mommy! Regardless of how small they were, their brief lives affected us deeply. I think of all four of them every day, sometimes every hour.