I couldn’t deal with work or the rest of the world the rest of this week, so I took Wednesday through Friday off and told work I was feeling unwell…. and told my manager I had a family situation emerge. When one of your growing embryos that had a strong heart beat suddenly just dies and starts shriveling up in a matter of days with zero warning, nothing else in the world really matters.
I had a long Zoom session with two of my close friends tonight, two of the three people outside of Chris and me and the medical professionals I’ve worked with who knew that I was pregnant with twins. Even if just for three short glorious weeks, I thought I was going to be a twin mom. And they knew, too, and they were so excited and happy for me. Yet even after detecting strong heart beats in two, one of them just vanished… literally into thin air. And when telling them about what happened, it was like my pain was their pain; we all cried, grieving the loss of this little embryo that had split off from its sibling… who I thought could both survive. This is when you know that your friends are really your close friends for life; when they mourn when you mourn, even when you are mourning something you only had for a few weeks.
I had two babies… and now I have one. Chris doesn’t quite get it; he said it wasn’t real. He insists that they are not babies. He said they are “two potentials” and one “went away.” I told him he’s wrong; they both had strong, detectable heart beats that I heard. I heard them with my own ears. There’s documented proof in my flow chart that they REALLY existed. How dare he tell me they never were “real.” Of course, it’s not easy for any man to understand this, my friend said. They don’t have the burden of carrying the child. They don’t have the physical feeling of being pregnant, the pelvic tension, the weird food aversions, the bloating, the intense breast soreness that is a constant reminder that your body is growing a living thing. They never had to go through the countless clinic visits, all the endless transvaginal ultrasounds, all the blood draws that have left bruises and scars on my arms that I’ve gotten questioned about during physical therapy visits. Yes, it might be a loss to him, but the loss will never be the same. He thinks rationally with his head, and I’m thinking with literally everything I’ve mustered up in this fight with the world and my body and the forces out there working against me just to fucking get pregnant. He has not invested as much into this as I have. He has not fought as hard as I have. It’s just not the same at all. This is where men just truly cannot empathize AT ALL.
They don’t call women who have to go through IVF “IVF warriors” for nothing; it really feels like you are fighting a war just for the chance of being a mother. Their partners are just spectators reading news in newspapers of the results of that war, attempting to sympathize but not quite getting close enough to really feel the pain and the loss and the suffering.