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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

not ttc | infertility after loss > Infertility Before Loss and After

After 8 years of infertility treatments, my husband and I were finally expecting our daughter, Evelyn. My due date was to be December 9. She was our miracle, conceived on our 4th and final round of IVF and even though the odds were high that she would have a congenital heart defect due to the fact that I have one and it is prevalent in my family history, she did not. She was so healthy, and so was I, despite having open heart surgery 7 years ago. Everything was really going so well, and we were finally allowing ourselves to believe that this was really happening, that our dream was finally coming true. Tragically, I went in to preterm labor on August 15, 2016 due to a spontaneous full placental abruption at 23 wks 3 days and our Evie only lived 8 hrs and 43 min, before passing away on August 16, 2016. There is no explanation as to why this happened, as I did not have any of the risk factors. Over and over again, by several doctors, we've been told that it "just happened," it was just a tragedy. That sometimes, these things just occur and they don't have any answers. But WHY did it have to happen to us, after trying for so long, after waiting so long for our family? I know there are no answers but watching my friends who I was pregnant with at the same time go on to have their children without issue, I just can't quite comprehend it all. Why not Evelyn, too?Why couldn't she have also lived? We have no living children and when our Evelyn died, so did our chances of having a biological child. We are so devastated and simply cannot afford -- nor can we emotionally handle-- infertility treatments any longer, so our next step will be adoption, when the time is right for us. At this point, 3 months out, we are still feeling raw and at times, it still feels unbelievable. There are just so many layers of grief that come along with it. But we still very much want to be parents to a living child one day. We have so much love to give and though it hurts to imagine moving forward with our journey to parenthood, knowing we'll never again hold our girl in our arms, the desire to parent remains very strong. But right now...the idea of starting the adoption journey after 8 long years of battling infertility is just absolutely overwhelming. The cost alone is prohibitive, and we have a long way to go before we can even afford to take steps in that direction after so many years of expensive treatments. It just all makes me so very sad.

Are there other mamas out there who had infertility before their loss and are still experiencing it afterwards, and who do not have any living children? Any who are choosing adoption as a way to build their family? How do you cope? The added grief of knowing that it is very unlikely that we'll ever conceive again, that the 23 wks and 3 days of pregnancy were the only I'll ever experience, it just so hard. I loved being pregnant. I loved feeling our girl move. I loved it all. Infertility was challenging and isolating enough, but now? I really feel like "the other." No one understands and we feel so alone. We have some wonderful, supportive friends and family but at the end of the day, they all have kids and after comforting us as best they can, they hang up the phone or step away from their email, and return to their in-tact families. Watching our friends go on to have children and add to their families when we've spent the better part of a decade just trying to have our first child, and now watching it all unfold through the eyes of infant loss, it just feels so overwhelming, so painful, so unfair. I know life isn't fair but Evelyn's death, after so many long years of trying and waiting and just feels cruel. I feel so hopeless and wonder when parenting a living child will ever happen for us. I'm just so very tired.
November 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
Hello Melissa,
I am so very sorry for your loss. I know how you feel. Your story seems awfully familiar. Our loss was on the 2nd IVF, at 21 weeks. I remember now being like the walking dead after that loss. Just stumbling around, not knowing what hit me. We did more IVFs after to no avail.
We pursued egg donation after that. I will refer you to my posts here. Scroll down under "age related infertility after loss" (last post on August 22, 2016). You will see why we pursued egg donation, rather than adoption. I'm not encouraging you to do one or the other, just giving you options so you can best decide for yourself.
I'm sorry this is so short.
Words cannot capture the grief, the hopelessness I know you must be feeling now.
Hang in there and be good to yourself.
November 22, 2016 | Unregistered Commenteranon
Thanks for the suggestion and reference, anon, and I am so sorry for your loss as well. At this time, we just don't have it in us to pursue further fertility treatment options. We've spent tens of thousands already over the past 8 years (9 yrs in February) and we just cannot rationalize continuing to spend money we don't have on a chance. Even though adoption is another long, grueling journey, there is a baby at the end of the road whereas with infertility treatments (as we both well know), a living child is not always the outcome. Also, we were told that because we lost our baby due to a full placental abruption, the odds are higher that it would occur again. I am not willing to risk that happening to us again if I can help it. But, I can certainly appreciate why people would pursue egg donation and I'm glad it's an option. For us, we've just reached the point in our journey where we want to be parents more than we want to experience another pregnancy. I could never have fathomed the grief we are experiencing and I cannot, in good faith and knowing what we've been told, undergo more infertility treatments knowing something horrible could happen. Our broken hearts just couldn't take it. But I'll never say never, perhaps we'll change our minds one day down the road and be open to pursuing another pregnancy. Best wishes to you, hugs.
November 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
Dear Melissa, I am so sorry. It seems some people pop out babies like it's so easy, and so many do not even seem to want them or care very much for them! That is one thing I do not understand. Why does God give babies to people who have more children than they can manage? And to people who do not look after them very well? Then not give babies to women who so very much want them?
We lost our only son last year, at 20 weeks pregnant. We have four daughters, aged 15-22. I know that really hurts you to read that - you do not have that. I am so very deeply sorry. I had prayed 11 years for another baby. Every time I saw friends with little ones I had to look away. We had some fertility treatments. We were so elated to be expecting. Once we got past the first few weeks we could hardly believe we were really going to have a real live baby. I felt so well, and so very very happy. Then a routine antenatal checkup - no heartbeat. I screamed. Two days later I had labour induced to give birth to my long wanted baby. I had to leave him wrapped up on the bed, walk out the room, leave the hospital without him.
15 months later I have given up on fertility treatments that do not work and that make me feel awful. Every month I hope whilst telling myself it will not happen, trying to convince myself I am too old (46) to get through pregnancy and look after a little one. Each cycle I go through hope, fear, confusion, disappointment, telling myself to stop caring. When friends have more healthy babies I can only avoid them.
No-one understands - unless they too have given birth to a dead and much wanted long awaited baby, knowing another pregnancy is not going to happen.
But I understand, at least in part, and I care. I am so sorry.
I feel like I am a different person now. The "before his death" me and the "after his death" me are two different people. I cannot participate in normal life. I feel sad and I withdraw and avoid. I do not think I will ever be the happy "me" I was before mym baby died. Even putting the word 'baby' and 'death' in the same sentence is so awful.
People do not want to talk about it. Taboo. That may be nice for the, avoid any potential discomfort. But it multiplies my grief. Makes me more alone. I am not allowed to talk about the one thing that consumes my mind, heart, life. The enforced silence makes it seem like no-one else cares about my son dying, about my baby dying. Like he never existed.But he did! He does matter!
Even my own family do not talk about him. That really hurts.
Your Evelyn did live, she is real, her life - and death - do matter, and are part of who you area, part of your life. I am so sorry and I grieve with you.
August 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjennycat
The pain and loss you have had to endure is beyond. It must feel very isolating. I hope you can connect with others. One thing that may be helpful is to see a therapist who specializes in family planning. My regular bereavement therapist was not able to be as helpful in guiding my husband and I on what should be our path. I felt often, she was saying I should be happy for what I've got. The longing for a child is strong and painful when unfufilled.

My infertility clinic has a family planning therapist who helped us greatly. I have a living son, and lost a full term infant girl. I have since had failed IUI, IVF, and two miscarriages. The therapist helped us grieve the fact that we would not have another biological child. She was also able to provide evidence and research about adoption and egg donation by presenting the psychological issues for us and for the future child. It was the first time I felt I really understood what egg donation and or adoption would be for us and what our family story would be like. Neither guarantee a baby first try (adoptions fail too sometimes) but adoption can eventually mean a living child in your arms with no more painful treatments. Your medical issue may preclude you from egg donation?

I wish I could hug you. It's so unfair what you've experienced. It's doubly hard grieving your Evelyn and the hope of a biological child. I read somewhere that a family is defined by the love it holds not the number of people in it. You are three always with love for 50! I know with time your heart will lead you to the right path but some professional guidance may give clarity.
August 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnon2