Trigger Warning: this post discusses pregnancy loss.
And all we want
for you to know
we love you
and we wish
we could fix it.
Love, Mom and Dad
I wrote this poem after we lost our daughter on October 30, 2018.
We found out we were pregnant on August 19th. It was our first try. We knew nothing until we knew too much.
Lucky isn't a word I would use when I describe our adventure in growing our family. However, we are lucky in the sense that getting pregnant has not been a challenge for us. I had no clue when I ovulated for either pregnancy - a concept that may cause some couples to (rightfully) role their eyes. I took tests just in case, you know to see if I should avoid drinks with friends or if cycling off the pill was really just messing with my body. Nope, two pink lines. We were pregnant.
Not knowing when I ovulated taught us our first lesson: you can't always base how far along you are on last month's period. We were told a date to come in based on our LMP, anticipating we'd be 8 weeks. It turns out we were only 6 weeks, which would lead us to have another ultrasound in 2 weeks - just in case.
Just in case. Cue the beginning of anxiety. I should preface this by saying that anxiety was not a foreign concept to me. However, at the time, I didn't know this is what I had struggled with for years, that it did in fact have a name. I thought "this" was simply how I was.
We were told we didn't "have to" have an 8-week appointment, but that we could come in to make sure the fetus was still growing correctly, since the dating did not match my LMP. How anyone would feel like they didn't have to come in after hearing that is beyond me. Needless to say, I had to make an 8 week appointment to make sure everything was ok.
Everything was okay. Our 8 week appointment showed you, our little baby, was growing at the right pace - I simply ovulated later which is why your growth did not match the dating based on my LMP. Despite this, I continued to live in fear - waiting until we reached that magical mark of 12 weeks where it was "safe" to share our pregnancy. I eagerly counted down the days until we had our next appointment - our first trimester screening - an appointment we were constantly reassured by everyone around us would go well because we are healthy. Everything was okay. Until it wasn't.
We were healthy. You, our butterfly, were not.
I remember the estranged vibes the technician gave as she performed the ultrasound. She was quiet. She had me change positions to get better views of you. I asked if everything looked okay. She responded with, "you can't tell without the blood test results." I thought nothing of it. We took our ultrasound pictures and waited for our doctor. What was going to be the best day, our magical safe zone day, quickly took a turn for the worst.
Our doctor walked in as I was holding our ultrasound pictures. "Let's take a look at these together." She quickly pulled them from my hands, pointing out the fluid behind the back of your neck. This was an indication that something was wrong - a chromosomal abnormality - a 50/50 chance you were not well, not well at all. She didn't recommend doing blood work because it wouldn't give us information that was any different. We were going to be referred to the high risk doctors to move forward with them. She stated how sorry she was, hugged me and walked out of the room.
I was shook. We both were.
Being it was a Friday, we had to sit through the weekend before we'd even be able to make an appointment. I spent my days in bed, googling "cystic hygroma" and frantically reading as much as I could on pregnancy boards. Nothing made me feel better. All it did was overload me with information and could be's. Like every other part of pregnancy, it was out of our control. The reality was we would have to sit and wait. This would be our second pregnancy lesson: it's all one big waiting game.
And wait we did. It would be another two whole weeks before we'd even have an answer. Because we live where we do, we were able to pull some strings with our connections and set an appointment with Duke ASAP. We'd go in for a more in depth ultrasound, not knowing this would be the last time we'd see you. The fluid was still behind your neck. In fact, it was also in your lungs and surrounding your head. We decided to move forward with a CVS test. They would pull fluid from our placenta. This would tell us for sure if you had a chromosomal abnormality, this would tell us our chances.
This was our third lesson - despite our health and clean genetic history, these misfortunes can happen to anyone.
There was a less than 1% chance that as a couple, we'd produce a baby with a genetic disorder called Turner Syndrome. There was also a less than 1% chance you'd survive. There was little choice in our choice. In the end, we chose to suffer so you wouldn't have to.
The hardest day of our life was the last day of yours. I sat with tears streaming down my face, your dad wiping my tears with one hand, grasping my arm with the other as he sat there and sobbed. We were in the midst of our darkest season - a season of grief and forceful growth, a season with and without you.
The light would shine, again. At the time, we didn't know it - but belief in it was all we had other than each other.
To our butterfly, thank you for making us parents.