Sixteen Losses

July 9, 2018

By Sanda Rathamone



I feel like I am running in circles, making tally marks each time that I fall into the hole of despair. So far, I fell another sixteen times.

I am a tad disappointed that we couldn't make the idea of a baby room "slightly more than just an idea." It turns out that we aren't moving out after all. (Read more on: My Dad Leaves Us A Maybe Baby Room.)

However, I am more disappointed that I am yet again - not pregnant.

I don't know why there is a disappointment, it wasn't like I was going to get pregnant anyway. It wasn't like it was the right time anyway. It wasn't like I had a chance anyway. The past two years after losing Elijah showed me that hope wasn't enough.

I don't mean to sound hopeless - because there was a little hope this month - but I lost, again.

This month is the sixteenth loss. 

Sanda = 0  Infertility After Elijah = 16

Here's why:

In every cycle that I am not pregnant, it feels like I had lost another baby.

In every cycle, there is a potential for a baby. When there isn't one, when all there is left after a month or so of hope is a pool of blood to clean up for 4-7 days and no baby forming or a tiny beating heart inside my womb, that potential baby died.

Those sixteen potential babies died with Elijah, along with all of my dreams to carry, birth, bear a child, and have a family.

If you haven't guessed by now, sixteen is the number of how many cycles I have endured after losing Elijah. Sixteen is the number of how many babies I have hoped for and died. Sixteen is the number of how many times I had hoped that the symptoms weren't premenstrual, but a sign of early pregnancy.

Although it is not the norm to have sixteen babies, I feel like I have lost sixteen babies after Elijah. Throughout those sixteen cycles, no baby had ever chosen or was given to me. It often makes me wonder why, why in every cycle do I have to lose, again. Sometimes, I ask God if I should just stop hoping for it because maybe I wasn't meant to have children (writing and admitting that to myself makes me cry).

That is one of the reasons why I hesitate going to the doctor. 

I don't want to hear from someone else's voice - who knows nothing about how hard I had grieved after losing Elijah and not getting pregnant month after month and years before Elijah - that I could never have children. I don't want to hear that there is something wrong with the one part of my body that should be working just fine. I don't want to hear about the kinds of medications or shots I should take to get pregnant. And I don't want to hear about how much money it takes to make a baby.

Never in my life did I think that man + woman/egg + sperm doesn't always = baby. I never thought that now in my mid-twenties would I be worried about having children in my thirties or at all.

It's overwhelming knowing that there is a huge potential that I could be a childless woman. I don't want to live my whole life grieving over something that my family had absolutely no problem doing. I don't think I could ever accept being barren for life - it's a life sentence!

Before we got pregnant with Elijah, those 3-4 years of not being able to conceive doesn't compare to the pain of not getting pregnant two years after Elijah. I think it's because losing Elijah intensified the need and yearning for a baby; it made those 3-4 years before Elijah seem so irrelevant and incomparable to the depths I am now living in.

Last week, I was watching a video about a woman who had lost her baby and struggled with IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) and suffered miscarriages. My sister overheard the video and asked if I would ever do it.

"Do what?" 

I paused. I knew what she was asking. I asked anyway.

"IVF?"

"Yeah." 

I said, "No." 

She said, "If I wanted to be your surrogate, would you let me?"

I said, "No." 

I had explained to her that I felt that IVF would take away that feeling of God gifting us a baby. I wanted to trust God that He would not forget about my desires, my prayers, and my pain for a child. Plus, I could never afford to do such a procedure, go through it, and come out unsuccessful. The pain is too much to bear; I have already been put through so much heartache.

I didn't explain to her that her being a surrogate would take away my opportunity to carry to term and birth my baby. I wanted to experience the whole nine months... those four months that were taken from me when I was pregnant with Elijah.

From the documentaries and stories I have watched and heard, IVF isn't always successful. Again, the whole concept of egg + sperm doesn't always = baby.

I felt that IVF was personally wrong for me and didn't want to force what God might someday present in the most beautiful and blessed way. As hard as it is, I want to trust God's timing and my journey. Perhaps the story of Abraham and Sarah in the Bible influences the way I feel.

Just last night, I finished a book called A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

In the story, Ove's wife, Sonja, was in an accident, in which she was pregnant (in her second/third trimester?) and caused her to lose the baby. Sonja ends up in a wheelchair and could never walk again. The couple never had another baby after that. Ove fights for Sonja's right to work while being disabled and to have an accessible ramp for her wheelchair.

She was a teacher who helped troubled kids to read and write. She later becomes ill and is diagnosed with cancer. But, even with her illness, she still had the will and energy to help these kids until her dying day.

Before she died, Sonja says something to Ove that I have seen and heard in many other stories/movies (both true and fiction). She says something like, "God took my child, but gave me a thousand others." 

She had cared for those kids as if they were her own. She believed in them, even though Ove never saw why she had felt that those kids and her teaching was so important. She felt that these kids needed her love and someone to show them that they could do anything, even if it was just reading and writing.

It made me refer back to the time I was in school last fall for child development. A part of me had  wanted to be a preschool teacher because of losing Elijah. Because I could never witness the gift of his development and growth.

I am now in a different school with a different goal.

And though I have ended my brief path in child development, I am content with that decision. Because going to school to learn child development theories and how to teach and care for young children during one of those days that I had lost another potential baby was a disaster. It didn't motivate me.

The thought of caring for someone else's child, but mine, hurt so bad. I was already doing it at home with Jazmine, Elijah's cousin.

It's exhausting.

I don't know if I am strong enough to be a Sonja. And if God wants me to be, then I don't know... that's a tough one to swallow. Because that would mean that I am making a huge sacrifice, an even bigger one than losing Elijah and so far, sixteen potential babies.

I wish I could say that I could feel sixteen little angel babies surrounding me, but I feel like there are at least three.

One of them Elijah, his sister, and perhaps the twin I had dreamed about before he died.

With love,
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Read the full story about Elijah:

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