It is National Infertility Awareness Week. I started writing this series several weeks ago as a way to deal with all of the loss I have experienced because of infertility. I never intended to publish it, but I thought there was no better week than this one.
I have been very quiet about my struggles, but now it’s time to be open. To any woman reading this who is struggling with infertility, you are not alone. To any woman reading this who has never fought this battle, please understand how hard it is. This series is very raw. Each one features an open letter that I am writing to someone in specific or a group of people.
Content Warning! Topics discussed in this post are as follows: infertility, miscarriage, and pregnancy loss
Dear Pregnant Best Friend,
We initially bonded over the fact that we were both trying to get pregnant. I found out I was pregnant in March then two weeks later, you sent me a picture of your own positive pregnancy test. I was thrilled to have someone to talk to during such a life changing time. We had already talked every day, and now we had so much more to talk about. Your due date was only weeks from mine. We would get to experience this together.
We created a group chat with another person who had the same due date as me. In the group chat, we talked about our pregnancies and our hopes for our unborn children. It was a wonderful environment. We talked every day, and we were so supportive of each other.
When I was 11 weeks along, I messaged you all and explained that I had been cramping with some bloody discharge. I had spoken to my doctor, and she instructed me to go to the ER. I was scared but in good spirits. You both said that you didn’t think it would be anything bad and told me to let you know.
I walked into the ER that night alone. I couldn’t have my husband with me due to Covid restrictions. They admitted me and took me back to a room where they drew some blood for testing. After a while, they wheeled me to another part of the hospital to do an ultrasound.
To say I was excited to finally see my baby is an understatement. I had been wanting to see it for several weeks at that point. I hate that it was under the circumstances, but I was so sure that I would hear a heartbeat. I even asked the sonographer if I could video chat my husband. She said I could but to wait until she started to get a reading.
So I laid on the bed in nervous anticipation. She said I was far enough along to do an external ultrasound and asked me to pull up my hospital gown. She squirted some gel onto my stomach, and it wasn’t as cold as I had anticipated. Maybe I was just too excited to notice. I felt like I was going to throw up as she began to press the probe onto my stomach.
Her face fell, and I immediately knew something was wrong. She explained to me that she didn’t see anything, so she was going to switch to an internal ultrasound. She said maybe my due date was off. I knew it wasn’t, though. I knew the exact day I conceived. My heart dropped, and I held back tears.
I spread my legs, and she placed the wand inside of me. I looked up at the screen, silently begging to hear a heartbeat, any sign of life. I heard nothing. The silence was both heartbreaking and deafening. She said that the sac didn’t look like it developed passed 7 weeks, but she wouldn’t tell me anymore. I knew, though. I knew I was miscarrying and the baby I wanted so badly was dead.
They took me back to my room where I began bawling. I called my husband to tell them what she said, and he cried with me. He couldn’t even touch me. We couldn’t comfort each other because of the pandemic, so I had to tell him over the phone that the baby we wanted was gone. It was the worst moment of my life.
After I hung up, I continued to just cry in the hospital room. I had never felt so alone. I could tell the nurses wanted to comfort me, but they weren’t allowed to make contact due to the restriction set in place by the CDC. They just looked at me with pity in their eyes. I hate pity.
The doctor came in and told me that I was, in fact, miscarrying. He discharged me with some pain relievers and instructions to call my doctor in the morning. I was devastated. I just felt numb. I couldn’t believe it. My mind was racing with all of the people I would have to tell now, all of the hearts I would have to break. That’s the burden of being the woman in this, you’re the first to know when something is wrong. You are always the one that has to deliver the bad news.
I went home and cried with my husband until I finally passed out from exhaustion. The next day I began sending the heartbreaking messages recounting my nightmare from the day before. I told you I was going to leave the group chat because I couldn’t stand the idea of watching you all talk about your healthy pregnancy while I bled. You were understanding. Of course you were because you were an amazing friend, unlike me.
After that, I tried. I tried to keep up with your pregnancy. I tried to talk to you some and make sure you were okay. I liked your post on social media about your sonogram and how you were having a boy. I looked at the pictures from your virtual baby shower then eventually the ones of your newborn. I was so happy for you, but I just can’t force myself to speak to you.
You remind me of everything I lost. You remind me of how absolutely useless I feel as a woman and a wife. You have your family now. You were able to give that to your husband, and motherhood looks so amazing on you. I wasn’t able to do any of that because my body doesn’t know how to do a normal biological function like reproduce. I’m sorry, I’m such a terrible friend. I’m so fucking selfish.
After everything I had been through, I just wanted a happy ending. You got yours while I had to watch mine bleed away.
A Selfish Acquaintance
To read more of our story and donate to our IVF effort, please use the link below: