The Rough Road to Our Rainbow Baby

How long have I wanted to be a mom? Oh, just my ENTIRE LIFE! Yes, I’ve always known. No question about it! I was always fearful that because it was the one thing I wanted more than anything, it wouldn’t happen smoothly for me. Self-sabotage, right?  You can imagine my surprise when my very new hubby and I found out we were expecting after returning from our honeymoon. We were like that Staples red button. You know the one, “That was easy!” It’s amazing what two little lines on a stick can do to your, well, your everything! We quickly focused in on being the responsible grown-ups we knew we had to be. Everything was moving fast. Six weeks later at our eight-week ultrasound we heard it and saw it. No one really prepares you for it, do they? That teeny tiny little heartbeat. The start of something so magical. A life, a life that we made together. We were on top of the world.

That is until our 12-week ultrasound. Just as much as the happy moments of our pregnancy are still engrained in my brain, was the moment I was told, “there’s no heartbeat.” Have you ever been punched in the gut? Yup! It felt just like that times a million. I felt so stupid. Stupid for revealing the happy news to our parents. Stupid for picking out names. Stupid for thinking it could be that easy for us. After the nurses gave us a hot second to grieve,  I wiped my tears and rushed passed a waiting room full of expectant moms, so enraged and consumed with complete jealousy. I was officially on a journey that I never wanted to travel and I had no control over it.

Not many of us will ever know why those little heartbeats decide to stop, but we were lucky enough to get an answer. Partial molar pregnancy. Ever heard of it? Ya, neither had we.

A partial molar pregnancy is when a fertilized egg develops incompletely as cysts begin to grow in the uterus. In some cases, Persistent Gestational Trophoblastic disease can develop leading to a rare form of cancer.
Yes, you read right. A partial molar pregnancy can have complications that can lead to a rare form of CANCER. How ridiculous is that? I had never heard of such a thing.

So let me get this straight. Not only do I have to continue grieving a miscarriage, but now I have to worry about a potential cancer diagnosis as a result of it?!  Did I mention we were newlyweds?  What followed was weekly blood work and being told not to try again for six months. A pregnancy could result in passing on the mole to another fetus. So basically sex was no longer romantic and fun, it was terrifying.

Days before my 33rd birthday I was informed that my pregnancy hormone levels weren’t dropping fast enough and that I was being referred to an oncologist. Oh ya, my worst fears were becoming more of a nightmare. Chemotherapy would no doubt stall or even end all hope of us starting a family. I was devastated. I spent most of my day praying (not something I did often), begging for some kind of miracle and I guess it worked. The great news came in that my levels had dropped enough that no oncologist, radiation, chemo, any of it would be needed. All I had to do was follow-up with blood work for the next four months. I’ll never forget that final drive to the hospital. I brought flowers in for all the nurses I had gotten to know so well and gave them thank you cards. There were hugs all around. We could try again. YIPPEE!!  It was going to be the fresh start that my husband and I needed; what we REALLY needed now was an epic vacay. Like one that would totally put a dent in that responsible grown-up budget we had been working on.

We set off for a two-week train trekking trip across Italy. Trust me when I say we literally drank and ate our way through it all. We stopped in Rome, Florence, Assisi, Portofino, Milan and Venice. We spared no expense. It was the trip of a lifetime!

We were almost certain that all that fresh air and let’s face it, WINE might help us out in the baby department. To mark the occasion, I dipped into a pricy baby boutique and spent more than I ever thought I would on a baby tee.

We returned feeling alive and so optimist, but what followed was one negative pregnancy test after another, and another, and another. I was starting to think I might have better luck investing in First Response and Clear Blue. I was becoming their best customer. After six months, we were officially ready to admit that something was wrong.

We made that dreaded phone to our doctor and before we knew it the waiting game for our first fertility appointment began. I’ve heard that fertility issues can weaken a marriage. For us though, it made us more of a team. We left each other little notes of encouragement as if we were months away from a ring fight or a triathlon.

It was almost a year later, Valentine’s Day to be exact (romantic, huh?) that we found ourselves nervously waiting in the fertility office. After several tests we found out that our first pregnancy was quite the accomplishment, considering we were both to blame. I say blame because it truly felt like my body had failed me. I had the eggs of a 45-year-old.

After a failed IUI we were informed our only option going forward was IVF. We knew we had to proceed. Our dreams of starting a family were so close, yet so far away. We got ourselves enrolled in a mandatory IVF class. You know so that we were well informed of our slim chances of success. Something in me pushed me to ask our doc if we could just try another IUI round. I knew our chances were slim, but I just didn’t want a cycle to go to waste. They agreed and we proceeded, but if I’m being honest, I didn’t put too much faith into it knowing our IVF procedure was looming. I’ll never forget the day we signed the in vitro consent forms. It was a Wednesday and just days before our second wedding anniversary. The hopeless romantic in me took it as a sign that good things were to come. Nowhere in our wildest dreams could we predict what happened next.

The Friday of that week while I was on the air I noticed a call coming through from our fertility clinic. I had been there earlier in the day for routine blood work following our second IUI.  I had taken a BFN (Big Fat Negative) pregnancy test that morning, so I had entirely written off “the call.”

“Hi Nicole,” (our fertility nurse) “It’s okay. I already know.”

“Know what?” said Nicole.

“I know I’m not pregnant.”

She paused.., and replied, “but…you are!”

 

YOU ARE! I’ll never forget those two words. I looked up and I before I knew it I was on air in,  3… 2… 1… I wanted to scream, tell the listeners the news, shout it from the rooftops, throw my papers in the air.  Instead, I told the world that Forbes was out with their list of the 100 highest-paid celebrities and Beyonce was number 1. What a day to celebrate, huh? For both Beyonce and I.

Well, it’s been a wild ride. Beyonce is richer than ever and I sit here nine months pregnant, just days away from Aria’s arrival.  Is this real life? Let me just tell you that expecting a rainbow baby (the beautiful thing that occurs after a storm) is a gift, but it’s also terrifying. I’ve been robbed of feeling confident in my pregnancy, and as much as I hate to admit it, feeling connected to my unborn baby. Why? Out of fear of losing again. What has brought me comfort is every little one of her wiggles, kicks, and at times aggressive punches. It’s her little reminder that she’s fine, she’s mine, my little missing puzzle piece.

To every woman who has lost or struggled with fertility, know that I feel your pain. It’s a raw pain, a deep pain; one that can never be put into words, so I won’t even try. My wish for you is that you never give up hope. That you connect with the people who have travelled a similar road, and that you allow the strength of those you love to hold you up when standing seems to hard. You are NOT alone.

One diaper at a time,

Wanna Be Super-Mom

Ashley Greco
Hey, nice to meet you. I’m new at the whole mom game. Just trying to get it perfect. HA! Impossible, right? I think so too. That’s why I created a place for the Wanna Be Super-Mom. We exist, we’re trying, and although we may not get it right the first time, you better believe we’ll keep working at it.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I just wanna say that was so beautiful and well written we had very similar journeys to our rainbow babies and i wish you all the luck in the world! Its hard there are tears and wondering and sadness and stress and love oh so much love! Ots not an easy job being a mom but so worth it in the end. I have not much time before returning and i feel.so sick thinking im leaving dessa . Its so hard no matter what point your in. But we’ve got this!!

    Signed
    Another super crazy tired love filled mom

  2. Ashley, that was beautiful. So many emotions in that one blog. What a journey you’ve had, and now
    you have a beautiful baby girl named Aria. I don’t know you, but I’m so happy for you and your husband.
    I listened to you every night on my way home for work… all 1 1/2 – 2 hours of it in traffic (Mississauga to Richmond Hill). I look forward to your return, but for now enjoy your little girl. All the best!

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