Dear Little One,
I thought about writing this letter a million times. I have even started a few times but couldn’t bring myself to finish it and always end up crumbling it up and tossing it in the trash. Even right now I’ve got the mouse hovered over the “x” and trying to make some excuse to keep all of this inside.
This is not an easy story from me to tell but one day, I hope someone can find this, read it, and it helps them cope with whatever they are going through. Ok, here we go.
2016 was a very rough year for your dad and me. We wanted to start a family and had been trying for a few years with no luck. It was hard but your dad and I are very stubborn people, we weren’t giving up.
There was a story that popped up on the news one morning about a couple that had triplets after seeing a specialist in Charlotte. I brought it up to your dad and we thought it wouldn’t hurt to just go talk to them. With hopeful hearts, we started our journey at REACH. I remember driving up to the building thinking, are we really doing this? Is Jarrett ready to be a dad? Am I ready to be a mom?
Your dad locked his hand in mine as we nervously walked through the double doors. My knuckles were white from gripping his hand so tight. I was scared. There were a few other couples in the waiting room with us. As I sat there looking around, I wondered what part of the journey they were on. I tried to read the expressions and body language. I honestly couldn’t tell. Was it because I was so nervous? Possibly.
We were there for maybe 10-15 minutes before we were called back to meet the doctor. I won’t bore you with all the medical details, but he did an ultrasound to look at my ovaries and saw all the cysts. He asked if I knew I had PCOS. Yes, I knew. (Side note: your mommy was diagnosed with PCOS when she was 17 years old. I knew this was going to cause some problems with pregnancy, so I was prepared for issues.) The doctor came up with a plan to get us on our journey to parenthood and we left the office with smiles on our faces.
The next couple of months were pretty fuzzy. There was a LOT of driving back and forth to Charlotte. Blood work, specimen samples, prescriptions, instructions, test after test after test. We were mentally exhausted but still very hopeful! Then “the week” came. “The week” that would have all of our hard work pay off. I remember “the week” very well.
The doctor’s office called in a prescription for us with special instructions to take the night before our IUI. We were so close to becoming parents and it was a little overwhelming. This prescription wasn’t a pill or some kind of syrup. It was a damn shot! Yeah, I kind of have a fear of needles. I had to lay flat on the bed while your dad pinched the skin right below my belly button and inject the shot Pulp Fiction style. Totally kidding about the Pulp Fiction but it was uncomfortable. Your dad was so scared he was going to hurt me or mess up.
The next morning, we had to drive into Charlotte and start the IUI process. To say we were excited was an understatement. Once again, we walked into that doctor’s office hand and hand and sat in the waiting room. Once again, I people watched. I looked around at the couples sitting there with us and I was getting a little better at predicting where some couples were in their journey. They called us back and explained what we were going to be doing that day. I’m about to get a little personal, so bear with me. Your dad had to give another specimen. They would take it, clean it, and prepare to inject me with it.
This was becoming so real. Jarrett took care of his half of the process, kissed me goodbye and left Charlotte to go to work. I on the other hand had to anxiously wait around for the preparation. Once all the prep was ready, I was escorted to a little room. I undressed and put on the little hospital gown they had folded in a chair for me. I sat up on the bed and swung my feet back and forth as I looked around the room. I started daydreaming about a little redheaded baby and couldn’t stop smiling. A young, happy-go-lucky nurse walked in the room with a syringe in her hand. She introduced herself and was explaining what she would be doing but I couldn’t take my eyes off the length of the syringe. I don’t think I heard a word she said. She asked me to lay back on the bed, place my feet in the stirrups and to just breathe. She held the syringe up and said, “Let’s make a baby!”
I walked out of the doctor’s office, got in my car and headed into work. So much was running through my mind at that moment. I was thinking about all the work we had put into this, what it would be like to hold my baby for the first time, the joy on Jarrett’s face.
The waiting, oh God, the waiting! We had to wait what felt like forever before we could take a pregnancy test after the procedure. Your dad and I talked about the experience all the time and were anxious to find out the results. It was two weeks before I could pee on that stick. We were told that we would get the best results in the morning, so the night before, we went out to the pharmacy and bought the best tests on the market. Sleeping that night was nonexistent. We felt like kids on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to come down the chimney. I got up the next morning, ripped open the pregnancy test packages, laid them all out and began doing my thing. I had to walk away, I was so nervous. What if it was negative? I was pretty used to seeing the one blue line, a “not pregnant” flash up on the screen and even a “frowny face” on some tests. Seriously? Adding insult to injury here guys. I don’t need you to feel sorry for my infertility with your damn “frowny face” response. Honestly though, I had never seen a positive test before, so I was wondering, what does it even do? Does it flash a different color at you? Is that other blue line more defined? Straighter? Brighter? Do I get a “smiley face” that winks at me? Yes, these are all the things that went through my mind during those two minutes.
I walked back into the bathroom and looked down on the counter, it was positive. All of them. They were all positive. We were pregnant.
So many emotions ran through my body! I’ve never seen Jarrett smile so big in his life! We couldn’t stop hugging and kissing and were ready to start telling the family. Of course, Jarrett’s parents were over the moon and my parents were just as excited! We were ready to be parents. So much disappointment leading up to this moment. So many negative tests before we received help. It was our moment to shine.
A few days went by, the excitement settled a little but picked right back up when it was time to schedule our first ultrasound. This is the part where I don’t remember anything leading up to that day. I couldn’t wait to see the baby we had made and hear the heartbeat for the first time!
Somehow, that trip to Charlotte got a bit longer that day. I couldn’t stop smiling at Jarrett. We walked into the doctor’s office and sat in the waiting room once again. That waiting room was starting to feel like a second home to me. The faces on the couples waiting there with us were starting to look happier. Did they just get the best news like we did? Were they about to see their first ultrasound? We walked back to a dark room and they began to prep me for the ultrasound. Jarrett squeezed my hand as the nurse rubbed the Doppler across my stomach and then, there it was. The sweetest “little tadpole” popped up on the screen. We made that. That was ours. I couldn’t believe I was growing a human inside me. She flipped a switch and I heard the most beautiful sound my ears have ever heard, a heartbeat. A tiny, wonderful heartbeat. The tears streamed down my face as I turned my head to Jarrett and said, “I love you.” He was a dad, I was a mom. I was 4 weeks along.
A few more weeks went by and I had to go in for another appointment. The doctor said it was going to be a routine checkup with another ultrasound to view the growth. I told Jarrett there was no reason for him to come with me since it was just a quick checkup and that I would call him when I left the office. I drove into Charlotte so eager to see how much the ultrasound has changed from the first one. I walked into the doctor’s office and sat in my “second home” waiting room. The faces were different this time. One couple sat across from me and were whispering to each other and I smiled as she made eye contact with me. I looked down at her adorable little baby bump and began daydreaming about my redheaded baby again. I thought about what my baby bump would look like.
They called me back to the dark room, I laid up on the bed and got in position to see the screen. I was smiling so big as I saw the baby pop up on the screen. The nurse stood beside the doctor as he moved the Doppler across my stomach. They weren’t talking. Their smiles were fading. There was no sound…no movement and my heart was pounding. I saw the concern on my doctor’s face. He removed the Doppler from my stomach. I could see he wanted to say something, but he wasn’t looking at me. The nurse turned her back to me and tossed her gloves in the trash. Somebody say something! My doctor looked up at me and said, “I’m sorry.”
I felt the tears welling up in my eyes and soon it was hard to even see my doctor’s face clearly. The lump in my throat was so big it hurt to swallow. What did he mean? What was he talking about? My baby was on the screen, so what’s going on? He couldn’t look me in the eyes anymore but instead dodged them around the room behind me and said, “I don’t know what happened.” The nurse looked down at the floor as she walked out of the room. The doctor handed me a tissue as he said, “When you are ready, we can start talking about a D&C or your body may start aborting it in a couple weeks.” He called my baby an “it.” After all that he just said to me, that’s all I could think about. This asshole just called my baby an, “it.” He stood up from the chair in front of me and told me, “take as much time as you need in here.” He walked out of the dark room and I was alone, truly alone. I needed Jarrett so badly.
I slowly walked out of the room with tears streaming down my face. I’m assuming the nurses and other doctors had been informed because no eye contact was made with me. I walked back down the hallway which felt way longer than it did before. All the newborn canvases hanging in that hall started to close in on me. It was so narrow, and I couldn’t breathe. I made it out to the “second home” waiting room which no longer felt “homey.” It was cold and uninviting. I didn’t want to be there anymore. I made it to the parking lot, fumbled for my keys and quickly got in. The tears streamed faster, and I screamed so hard my throat hurt. I needed to hit something! I beat the shit out of my steering wheel until my hands stung. The pain was somewhat soothing in that moment.
I stopped and just sat there replaying what just happened. The doctor saying, “I’m sorry” only got fainter and fainter in my head. The lifeless “little tadpole” on the screen was burned into my mind.
My heart was broken. I was alone. You were gone.