For Viann and her husband Oscar, their long and bumpy road of infertility began 9 years ago. After numerous tests and failed treatments, IVF was their only hope of conceiving. In 2015, the procedure was successful. Early in the twin pregnancy, one of the embryos stopped developing, however subsequent ultrasounds revealed a strong heartbeat with the second. Their prayers had finally been answered and their dream of having a child was becoming a reality. At nearly 10 weeks, their doctor uttered the words no one ever wants to hear, “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat.”
Overwhelmed with grief, and so many other unnamed emotions, the months and years that have followed have not been easy. No one is ever really prepared for how to cope with loss. It’s not something that is taught in school and in most families, not discussed openly. Men and women grieve differently and the couple would soon learn, these strong emotions began to manifest in different ways.
In the months prior to IVF, Viann made it her mission to prepare for her body for pregnancy the best she could. It was almost like training for a marathon. Her regimen included an anti-inflammatory diet and numerous vitamins and supplements. She felt strong and hopeful and started a blog to share her journey and encourage others struggling to conceive.
Soon after their loss, that feeling of hope began to fade. Between the IVF medications, and miscarriage, the hormonal roller coaster was unrelenting. Viann no longer felt she had a reason to focus on her health. There was nothing to look forward to and feelings of apathy set in. Not sure how to help his wife through this emotional struggle, Oscar did the best he could to be a supportive and loving husband while dealing with his own feelings of grief. He often found solace in lone fishing trips and spending time with nature.
Three years later, drawing strength from their faith in God and each other, the healing process continues to be a work in progress. Anyone who has experienced infertility or miscarriage will tell you it changes you. Recognizing this life changing event was stressful on their marriage. Communication for the two has been key. They are both learning how to lean into the pain and allow themselves to be vulnerable and honest about their emotions with one another.
By reading and studying emotional resilience, grief and loss, they have started on a new path of healing by embracing and reckoning with the painful scars that infertility has left behind. Facing a lifetime of childlessness, they are rumbling through the middle of the messy emotions. Grief has no timeline and no one really knows how long the rumble will last.
While their infertility story may not end with a rainbow baby, they are learning to flip the script and write a brave new ending. One where it’s okay to be sad and joyful, to grieve a painful loss and embrace the wonders of life with gratitude and most importantly, together.
Viann B., Houston, Texas