I have a new friend who I met through the blog who has really been through the wringer. She's been on IF Island since...she basically came over on the IF Island Mayflower. After 9 IVF's, multiple losses, auto-immune testing/issues/medication, and donor eggs, she finally sent me an email a few weeks ago that she had a positive pregnancy test, and her beta HCG was increasing as expected. I felt so relieved for her. She's an incredibly nice woman and it just felt like she deserved for this to finally work. She was nervous last week on the day before she was supposed to go in and hear her baby's heartbeat for the first time. So was I. And when I didn't hear from her at all the day of her appointment, I was really nervous. What else could happen to this poor gal?
A blighted ovum, that's what.
WTF is a blighted ovum? And HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN TO HER AFTER ALL SHE'S BEEN THROUGH!!!???
A blighted ovum is when a pregnancy sac develops but there is no embryo in it. Your body thinks it's pregnant but there's no baby. A blighted ovum after years of infertility treatment is a big slap in the face. It feels like proof that the universe is somehow against you. A blighted ovum means your doctor insists you continue to take medications for another week (just to be sure) and come back to the office, to finally pull the plug. A blighted ovum breaks your already broken heart into a thousand more microscopic pieces, until it feels like shattered glass pulsing in your chest every time you inhale. And that's how I felt just thinking about her. I can't imagine how she felt.
What could I say to her? How can anyone make this better? How can someone make sense of this?
I felt so sad for her. The excitement and hope of a positive beta made the crash even harder. And there are no answers. All I could do was share in her sorrow. Validate her feelings that the universe does seem to be against her, and remind her that it won't always hurt this bad.
The shock/pain/anger/disappointment/sadness that comes after an unsuccessful IVF attempt or after not hearing an anticipated heartbeat is so specific in its devastation. Those of us who have experienced it know exactly how it feels--the hollow stomach, the tight chest, the extreme emotional and physical exhaustion, and the salty, swollen eyelids. It's intense, but then gets better. The immediate experience slowly fades into a memory, a part of the past, and with that it atarts to hurt a little less. Mourning this kind of a loss can be a slow process, but eventually it does get better. Taking a moment to appreciate what we do have, finding comfort in our loved ones, and allowing ourselves the space to feel whatever it is we feel is all we can do.
One day at a time, I know my new friend will be okay. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but hopefully she'll be able to piece together her broken heart and figure out how to move forward.
Sending so much love to my sweet friend and to anyone else out there going through a tough time on IF Island.