Like most women, I had started this journey of trying to conceive with the assumption that I would get pregnant within a few months and then deliver a healthy baby - just like a Fairy Tale that ends in “Happily Ever After.” Little did I know what my journey would actually look like. Unfortunately, it is not Fairy Tale and it does not yet have a happy ending.
My journey started out very confusing. I went off the birth control pill in November 2017 and my cycles were incredibly long. I didn’t know what my cycles were supposed to be like because I had been on the pill for 10 years, but I knew 48 days was not normal. In April of 2018, I was diagnosed by complete chance with a thyroid disorder after discovering my thyroid looked enlarged. I promptly started taking medication and by some miracle, I conceived on a very long cycle with my first baby. I can’t even begin to express my excitement. I went into my first pregnancy with blind optimism. I knew about the chance of miscarriages, but it just never occurred to me that I would have one.
On July 17, 2018 we had just gotten back from a trip to Nova Scotia in Canada and I was having a repeat ultrasound at 10 weeks. We didn’t see the fetal pole at our initial ultrasound at 7 weeks, but I wasn’t worried. However, I was quickly blindsided with devastating news since at this ultrasound we discovered that everything was there except a baby. I had no idea this was even possible. To say I felt devastated is an understatement. I could almost feel my physically heart breaking as uncontrollable tears rolled down my cheeks. Every single minute of the rest of that day seemed to last an eternity. I felt like I was in slow motion. To make matters worse, a few hours after I took medication to terminate the pregnancy I ended up hemorrhaging and had to go to the ER. Then my nightmare continued as I suffered further complications: retained product, D&C to remove retained product 4 weeks later, and finally scar tissue. I felt like I couldn’t get out of this loss. I was stuck in it, unable to move on, even though I desperately tried to. The hope of getting pregnant again was robbed from me as I was told I couldn’t try to conceive until I had a procedure in January 2019 to remove the scar tissue. And so we waited and stopped trying to conceive. Then my procedure got bumped from early January 2019 to late February 2019. At this time, my husband and I were frustrated and met with the to discuss what the risks would be if we were to get pregnant with the scarring. After discussing it with my OB, we decided to try to conceive in the month prior to my procedure as the risks of the scarring on a potential pregnancy were very minor. Unfortunately, we were still unsuccessful, so we again put trying to conceive on pause as we awaited the procedure in February 2019. I didn’t think I’d be able to get pregnant without the procedure.
February 22, 2019: The date that my hysteroscopy was scheduled for. I was waiting in pre-op in my cap and gown, IV inserted in my hand, waiting for my scheduled procedure. The nurse came into my room and informed me, to my complete and utter surprise, that I was pregnant. Somehow, my body ovulated early and I happened to have sex once during my fertile window to conceive. What a miracle! My husband and I then spent 19 weeks in complete and utter bliss as we saw a heartbeat for the first time, saw my fully formed baby at 12 weeks, watched my belly grow, and began preparations for this beautiful baby we had been waiting for.
June 3, 2019 is by far the worst day of my life. A day that started out so ordinary: buying flowers for my pots, lunch with my mom, maternity clinic appointment, and Netflix with my husband. It took a turn for the worst within the blink of an eye as I spontaneously went into labour at 7:50 pm and gave birth to my beautiful baby boy, Noah, silently at 11:10 pm. There was nothing wrong with him, he was genetically unaltered, healthy, and beautiful. There is no explanation for why this happened. No one can possibly prepare you for the feeling of having to say hello and goodbye to your baby. No one can prepare you for how it feels to leave the hospital with empty arms. No one can prepare you for the dark days you have to survive after the death of a baby.
Now, here I am trying to conceive after my second loss. This journey is not for the faint of heart, although I think it really is just something you merely survive through. I have conceived both my babies naturally and for that I am thankful. But, I sit here 7 months after losing my last baby and after 2 years of trying to conceive and it’s hard not to feel frustrated. I hate that struggling to conceive has taken away the childlike innocence I once had about what the future would look like. I used to look at trying for a family with so much excitement and wonder. Now, all I see is the potential complications and fear that it will never be. This is definitely not what I had pictured and sometimes it feels like I will never get my “happily ever after.”
Right now I get up, go to work, I try again for a baby, I get my period, I grieve my losses and the loss of another month of not being pregnant, and then the cycle repeats. I survive and I fight and I dare to hope that maybe, just maybe, my rainbow will come. I do all this out of love for the babies I’ve lost and the love I already have for the babies that will be. I don’t know where my journey will take me, but I do know that in the end, it will all be worth it. In the meantime, I can share my story and possibly encourage others along the way. I find purpose and healing in doing just that.
You can follow Larissa on Instagram at @riss.inthewaiting