We waited and waited through almost two years of Covid before we could make it back to the UK. But then when we did! The stars aligned and we managed to do a frozen embryo transfer, transferring an embryo we nicknamed ‘Ice Ice Baby’.
After the transfer I was planning to go to see a theatre show, something funny, as I once read research that embryo implantation is aided by the mother laughing – it’s what we did for Freya too. But during dinner I start feeling awful, so I go back to the hotel and rest instead. No matter how many blankets I pile on top off me that evening, I can’t stop shivering.
I feel better the next morning, but the icy hands and feet remain. I am not feeling anything ‘more’ though. No implantation, no bigger breasts all of a sudden. I spend most of the day complaining to Jo that there’s nothing, NOTHING happening, what if it’s a failed cycle, what if we just spent all this time and money and stress, dear god the stress, for nothing???!
Then the next day, on Freya’s birthday, Jo and I go out for Indian food. I allow myself a chai even though it has some caffeine in it and I shouldn’t in case I am pregnant, but I’m convinced it didn’t work anyway, so why not.
And then, that evening in bed, suddenly I feel very clear implantation cramps. I clearly remember the sensation from when I was first pregnant with Freya, and it’s exactly that feeling! I smile and smile, there you are baby! Finally!
The small pinches carry on throughout the next day as we come back home by Eurostar. I am queueing for customs at St. Pancras station when it’s there again, sharp and clear. I put a warm hand over my belly to calm the feeling. Hello darling. That evening we’re back home and Jo asks me, ‘Do you want pizza?’ I feel a little pinch along with a rumble of my stomach and laugh because hey, Ice Ice Baby wants pizza! Better eat some *g*
The next day the feeling isn’t as present, but my breasts are suddenly bigger, so I feel confident that it worked and that I am pregnant. I do the following days as well, I feel on top of the world, fully sure that there is a baby growing there.
And then it all starts to fade a bit.
No more little pinches inside of me. My breasts go back to what they were.
And maybe it just means that the embryo is safely implanted now, maybe that’s good, not all pregnancies are the same, Jo and I remind ourselves. But we’re worried.
I cave and do a urine test even though the clinic told us not to, but with Freya we had a clear positive by that time so it’s possible. It’s negative. I try again the next morning, first thing, that’s supposed to be the best time. Nothing.
I go to the doctor to have my blood drawn as the clinic wanted, but I’m already feeling down. That same morning Jo, I, and Freya go to the city hall to sign our official ‘living together’ papers, they afford some of the same protections of marriage. It’s a bit of a distraction, but not much. I already know then.
The doctor confirms it that afternoon. A chemical pregnancy. The embryo did implant at first, but didn’t fully and/or stopped growing a few days in. It is no longer a viable pregnancy.
It’s not a surprise, but that doesn’t make it much easier to hear.
I am happy that I did feel something, that I did get to live those few days completely convinced that I was carrying our next baby and that it would all work out. It also makes it more cruel that I did believe it for a while.
It’s hard because of all the effort we put into this, the emotion, because of the two years that we have already waited. This was our best embryo. And I never wanted there to be a big age gap between Freya and her siblings. I imagined all of this differently.
So we take a moment to mourn this loss, however small it might be. We ask a friend to watch Freya in the park while Jo and I take incense and a candle to a quiet spot. We find some discarded flowers and we put them there too, by a tree, in the cold autumn sun. And we say goodbye to Ice Ice Baby.
We only had you for the tiniest bit of time, but we dreamed the dream of you, of a baby born in August. You were so wanted, so loved already…
Always, your mamas.