At the end of many great stories comes an epilogue. We want to know what happens next, even when the book or movie is finished. We become invested, we want assurances that everything works out in the end, and that the universe is kind. After disappearing for a year, I owe you an explanation, and an epilogue. This story has a happy ending, and I hope that it gives anyone reading this courage to believe in their own happy ending.
About a month after my last post, after years of disappointments, miscarriages, failed IVF rounds, and two donors who failed to produce any embryos, I got the message that our third donor had cycled and four, perfect, PGS normal embryos were waiting for us at our clinic in Argentina. A transfer was scheduled for November- a ray of hope after so much struggle. The hope though was a heavy one though- weighed down by the strength of my desire for a child, and by the fears that I would never be successful. It was too heavy to take out of the little box I had for it in my heart- it felt risky to share with the world, and so I didn't blog. It turns out that I would be unsuccessful that round as well. I found out shortly after Thanksgiving that the transfer had not worked, and the heartache seemed almost too much to bear. I turned inward to my journal instead of outward to my blog as I faced the holidays with an empty womb.
Thankfully though, three embryos remained- my last three chances for a baby before my husband and I would call it quits. So on January 13th, 2020, exactly one year ago today, I sat in a clinic in Argentina, awaiting another transfer. Six days later a home pregnancy tests read positive, just like the next test, and all the ones after that. I tested several times a day- the more tests I saw, the more I allowed myself to really believe that I was pregnant. Instead of feeling excited though, I was terrified. I am a survivor of miscarriage, and a positive pregnancy test doesn't guarantee a happily ever after in my experience. I was terrified- terrified to hope and then crash, terrified to love and then lose. This little embryo felt fragile, the prospect of a baby felt like a dream. I sensed that at any moment the bubble could burst and the dream would disintegrate in my hands, so I kept it close. I held steady, I moved quietly, I protected this secret little life so as not to scare her away. And I didn't blog.
Maybe I'm alone in this experience, but I think there are other mothers out there, other survivors of infertility and miscarriage who have felt incredulous when a pregnancy happens, doubtful that the pregnancy will be successful, and petrified to fully open their hearts to the possibility of deep joy over the child who is to come. I wanted to keep this pregnancy to myself for as long as possible, to guard it closely until I could sink into love and excitement without fear. And then, just as my first trimester was coming to a close and most people announce pregnancies, a global pandemic hit. Secrecy was easy. Our lives were lived inside our houses, on phone calls and Zoom calls from the waist up. And I held onto my precious, delicate secret- don't burst the bubble, don't break the spell. This feeling never went away for me- scared that she might be taken from me late in pregnancy or during delivery, unable to lean into the joy of loving her until she was in my arms. When I posted my first baby pictures on Facebook after delivery, many of my friends hadn't even known I was pregnant.
So here it is...my epilogue.
On September 10th, after years of struggle, pain, and uncertainty, three weeks before her due date my beautiful daughter Skylar, conceived via egg donation was born. Her picture is above- cradled in my hands, the incarnation of my dreams. And then, just like that, I was on the other side of infertility, unfrozen and alive!! There is a lightness in my life now as I hold her and a freedom from the aching longing that gripped me daily. The journey was hard, and I know that it will take time and likely, counseling, to fully process and heal from what happened along this difficult path and that's ok. It was all worth it. I won't post again in this blog and will focus instead on moving forward to see what life has in store for me next. But my heart is with all of you still seeking your babies. You are strong and brave, you deserve a beautiful ending, and you are not alone. You are NOT alone. Sending love to each and every one of you.