Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Tonight, Chad and I will be lighting a candle at 7pm to remember all of those who have suffered a loss, as well as to honor the pregnancies and infants that have been lost. Sadly, I have so many friends who know this pain all too well and I think it is not only important to light a candle for them tonight but to spread the word and raise awareness about loss. Far too many go through it alone, unaware that they have friends and family members that can empathize because these losses unfortunately, happen far more often than many people realize.
For Chad and I, today's remembrance ceremonies are incredibly bittersweet. As most of you know, I became pregnant after my first IVF transfer in March and, after a roller coaster of not quite doubling betas, learned that the pregnancy was not viable. I still miss Sprout all the time and while I love Snow Pea more than I could ever express and feel incredibly grateful that this pregnancy has been healthy and problem-free so far, I still can't help but sometimes wonder what might have been.
Being pregnant after a loss brings so much hope but it can also be ridden with hidden emotional land mines. Each time I reach a milestone in this pregnancy, I am simultaneously relieved and a little sad knowing that my first pregnancy never made it to that point. The first appointments after graduation from my RE were the hardest. Dr. Jedi was a model of empathy and support, He and his staff were there with me through the entire ordeal and often asked how I was feeling and recovering, physically as well as emotionally. They also of course knew everything there was to know so I never had to answer any hard questions. At my first OB appointment though, I was completely unprepared to be asked how many previous pregnancies I have had. Having to answer that this was my 2nd and then providing the history of my pregnancy with Sprout was difficult. Especially since I had to write it on my intake paperwork as well as say it out loud. It knocked the air out of me a bit and I spent the rest of the day in bed.
I still relive that moment often and fight a tear each time I tell someone that this is my 2nd pregnancy. But I always tell them that because I want to honor Sprout and also continue to raise awareness for all those who have experienced loss. After the miscarriage I used to cry for hours asking Sprout, why? Why did you leave me Sprout? Although I know it's not rational, I still sometimes wonder what I did to make Sprout leave. Struggling with infertility is hard on so many levels, one of them being the anger and despair felt at your own body for unable to do something you always believed it was made to do, something that is supposed to happen naturally without thought or effort. Then to finally achieve pregnancy and have it end, the feeling of failure and of betrayal by nature can become downright overwhelming. I can't imagine how I would've survived those first weeks without the love and support of others who knew my pain. I know for many it is difficult to share their experiences with loss and miscarriage, but knowing you are not alone helps so much. So although it isn't always easy, I still share.
During our journey with Sprout we discovered that each time something happened, we would hear John Lennon's "Imagine". Chad and I declared it to be Sprout's song, and we would often hold on to those lyrics as a source of hope. After we lost Sprout, I found peace in the thought that Sprout somehow left my body in a state even more ready to grow life. As if, like a truly protective and loving older sibling, Sprout left some special unseen energy to ensure that the next one would grow healthy and strong. Which is why Chad wasn't surprised when on our way to Snow Pea's first ultrasound we heard "Imagine" on the radio. He said it was a sign from Sprout that our Snow Pea was strong and being cared for. I can't think about that moment again without shedding a tear, just as I did then.
I wear my Sprout charm often close to my heart, including to every appointment, and I think of the happy memories each time I do, especially today. I remember the utter joy and hope I felt those first few days of my pregnancy. And I will never forget. Although today is full of tears for many, it is also full of hope, remembrance and love. So when I light that candle tonight I will be thinking of Sprout as well as every other loss, and while I am bound to shed a few tears, I will also be thinking of the joy these precious ones have brought to us. Whether for a moment or a lifetime they have each made us capable of more love with their presence than we thought possible, and they will live in our hearts forever.
In honor of Sprout I also want to post again the beautiful remembrance video my amazing husband made: