Hi friends! I sincerely hope your New Year is off to a good start. My holiday break wrapped up earlier this week and I went back to work yesterday. Over the holidays, we went down to the beach in South Carolina. It gave me time to reflect on everything that happened 2022 and think about my intentions for 2023. So today, I’m sharing a 2022 reflection that I have been working on for a while. It is focused on the things that have weighed heavily on me for the past year — my pregnancy loss and ultimately facing secondary infertility. This post has been a long time coming, and something I have thought about for several months now. But, there’s something about the year’s end that felt like a particularly natural time for me to really process the past year.
It is impossible to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have.Cheryl Strayed
Oh where do I begin? 2022 started off rough, spending the holidays away from family because of Covid. We were able to reschedule time with family a couple weeks later, but it was a little stressful readjusting all the plans. Then, just as I though we were getting into a groove, my whole world turned upside down.
I found out I was pregnant in January 2022 and was a little surprised, but excited. We had been trying and my biggest hope for 2022 was to give Liam a sibling. I was due September 25, 2022 — the day after Liam’s birthday. I plan to finally share more about this experience for those who have experienced similar losses, but the long story short is that we discovered our pregnancy was ectopic in February. I had to immediately go to the Emergency Room to end the pregnancy because it was not viable and staying pregnant meant risking my own life. I was given a type of chemotherapy medicine to force my body to miscarry. This experience was the hardest thing I had to go through. There was shock and a lot of grief. The medicine also stripped my body of nutrients and while we wanted to keep trying for another child, we had to wait. It took time for my body to heal.
A Season of Waiting
Processing everything was so difficult. There have been a lot of tears. I had to let go of the plans in my head for having another child. I kept hoping, kept praying, and we kept trying, but it kept not happening. I felt alone in this struggle, and at times I felt like I shouldn’t be so upset because I have Liam, a healthy, beautiful boy. Then, Liam turned two. The next day was my should-be due date and I was quickly losing hope that we would conceive naturally. When the ectopic happened, I thought I would be pregnant by the end of 2022. We got pregnant pretty quickly with Liam and with the ectopic pregnancy. Surely it wouldn’t take much longer for us.
But, deep down I was afraid there was something being overlooked by my doctors. So after Liam’s second birthday, which marked a year of trying, I decided to trust my instincts that something was wrong and we might need help. In October, we decided to consult a fertility clinic. We did a lot of tests and bloodwork. At first everything looked ok, but then a couple numbers came back looking off. I was officially diagnosis with a Diminished Ovarian Reserve at the end of November. Basically some of my bloodwork numbers showed my reproductive system is functions more like that of a woman in her 40s, and our chances of getting pregnant on our own are much less than the average 33-year-old woman. Our doctor advised that we begin fertility treatments as soon as possible.
While it felt good, to have my suspicions confirmed and to get a diagnosis after losing hope for several months, it was also a lot to take in… and it continues to be. I don’t think anyone who had a relatively easily time having one healthy child ever imagines having such a difficult time having another one. Facing secondary infertility after our pregnancy loss felt almost like an out of body experience. I had moments of denial and anger that my story was unfolding in this way. I have also felt great sadness that I have not yet been able to give Liam a sibling, and fear that that will ever happen for us.
But, going to a fertility clinic, getting a diagnosis and coming up with a plan has given me hope (also making me realize just how much hope I had lost). During the last couple of months of 2022, I started to accept that this is our story. And while waves of sadness still occasionally hit me, I have a new level of peace that our story will unfold in its own beautiful way. This struggle to conceive again has given me a new level of appreciation for my son and my husband and the little family we have. I know that despite these challenges, together we will grow our family.. one way or another.
2022 began with grief and it has ended with hope and a new-found joy for the blessings in my life.
A Few More Thoughts
Please keep in mind that this reflection is a small snippet of the past year. There are plenty of details I have left out, some intentionally and some not. I plan to share more about my ectopic pregnancy and our infertility journey when the time is right. These experiences are still a lot for me to process, but I feel strongly about taking time to share them because I know firsthand how isolating and alone you can feel when walking through it. If you are facing any kind of infertility or pregnancy loss, please know I’m giving you a virtual hug, and I invite you to reach out if you need someone to talk to.
Lastly, it’s not lost on me that this reflection is solely focused on pregnancy loss and facing infertility. While these two things encompassed a lot of the past year, there were many happy, precious moments in 2022 with family and friends that kept me going through it all. I’m so grateful for the support system I have and the people who kept my spirits high or distracted me when I needed it most. Whether it was the co-worker who made a joke when I so badly needed a reason to laugh or the older lady who held the door for me and Liam at a store. This past year has shown me how powerful little acts of kindness can be for those who are having a hard time, and I plan to pay it forward.
So there you have it – that’s what’s been going on off of the blog and instagram. Though we are gearing up for infertility treatments, I am thankful to be feeling much more at peace than I have in a long time. I have set some intentions, made some goals, and have some home projects and fun things planned for the year ahead. I’ll share more about those soon.
Cheers to 2023!
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