Kari shares her struggles during her journey, and continues to encourage women going through miscarriages, loss, and infertility.
"Honestly, the two miscarriages in the beginning really broke me. I struggled to know who I was after the trauma."
I love to be in control. I love to be so prepared in any situation that I not only have the knowledge of what may come but also a strategy to combat each of those outcomes. I have always been able to overpack, overstudy, over prepare until the world of infertility came in and reminded me everything was out of my hands. This personality trait alone made me ill fit for the world of infertility. A world where control is a joke and you live within an everchanging itinerary.
As a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, I felt I had a solid foundation of knowledge to be "prepared" when we decided to have a baby. I studied ovulation charts and basal body temperatures. Just as planned, within a few months, we were pregnant. Easy. Unfortunately, there is no level of medical knowledge that prepares you for a miscarriage. I knew it was a possibility, of course, but I didn't think it would happen to me. This was not the plan.
I think this is a unique hurt we place on the infertility community. We have created a world in which talking about loss or fetal demise is off limits and, therefore, so much is unknown about how to respond to people who are walking through it. Most people didn't even know we were trying to have a baby. I was scared to let people in. At the same time, I didn't know how to live in a world where I was full of darkness and pain but had to walk around pretending that everything was okay. Pretending that I didn't just lose my baby and my future family. Unknowing at the time that it was about to happen again.
Honestly, the two miscarriages in the beginning really broke me. I struggled to know who I was after the trauma. After the heartbreak. I would fluctuate back and forth between wanting to make a giant change in the world and being completely unable to function, while of course making Google searches and lists to ensure that this would never happen again. I had retrospectively gone through each action leading up to the losses to see the breakdown points that would contribute to this loss being my fault. I was obsessed with “fixing” this problem. In case it needs to be said, you did not cause your miscarriage. This was not your fault.
There are so many points that I want to cover. I want women to know that I have been there too. I have sobbed against my spouse’s chest while dressed as Winnie the Pooh post ultrasound. I have given death stares to random pregnant women. I have judged who “deserves” to have a baby. I have taken hundreds of pregnancy tests. I have also imagined lines, made up symptoms, cried on the floor of the bathroom. This journey is hard. It’s really hard. It’s living for months or years in a land where hope and fear collide.
We were terrified walking into the Fertility clinic. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. We did medicated cycles and IUIs. We lived in monthly reminders that we were broken. Monthly anniversaries that we were incomplete. Then we got transitioned into IVF. It felt incredibly hopeful and unbelievably hopeless simultaneously.
We made it to our first egg retrieval after discovering cool, fun, new places to do hormone injections: bathrooms, airplanes, restaurants. Seven eggs, turned into 5 embryos. Our story was changing. We were so hopeful.
Then, just two. Two embryos compatible with life. Two little baby boys. We loved being their Mom and Dad. We knew they would come home with us. We knew when we got the call that I was pregnant that this time was different. But it wasn’t. In one phone call, our future, our boys, our Christmas miracles were taken away. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. So, right now, it hurts. And it’s heavy. But this isn’t the end of our story. Who knows what the end will look like.
It is okay to be broken and brave, simultaneously. So as we restart IVF, if you have someone in your life that needs a letter of encouragement. It’s our time. Let’s change the world.
"Little did I know as he was fighting for his life, I would be fighting for mine."
"It's okay to grieve the birth story you thought you woud have, while also honoring the birth story you have."
"On the 8th day of Jack's life, he experienced complications and passed away. The heartbreak engulfed my body but my baby was at peace and not experiencing any discomfort or pain anymore. As difficult as this experience was, I am not the only mother to experience it, nor will I be the last."