Final Notifications of Baby B’s Death

Late last week, I received a letter from the company that conducted pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) of my eggs and my husband’s and my embryos during our two in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles last spring and summer.  The first sentence was “Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your new babies!” 

The genetic counselor who wrote the letter wasn’t being insensitive.  In the 16 weeks since I learned of Baby B’s death, I couldn’t bring myself to call either my IVF clinic or its associated genetics lab to give them the bad news.

Notifying both has been on my “To-Do List.” 

I just couldn’t make the calls.

But, receipt of the letter made me realize I can now handle the notification process.  Because, when I read it, I didn’t get upset.

Not at the opening congratulatory sentence.

Not when reading sentence #2, which started, “As you are busy preparing for the new additions to your family…”

And, not when reading the closing sentence, which referenced my “babies” a final time.

Four months ago, I was devastated at the loss of one of my twin boys.  But, wallowing in self-pity isn’t productive, and I have another baby inside of me, my almost-5-year-old son, my 14- and 15-year-old stepsons, and my husband to love and care for.

I recognize that, considering my DES (diethylstilbestrol) Daughter status and my DES-induced uterine abnormality, I was incredibly blessed to successfully conceive my son six years ago.  Even my reproductive endocrinologist, a woman of science, called it a miracle.

My advanced maternal age of 41 and my husband’s advanced paternal age of 43 (during our second, successful IVF cycle) were added to the mix this time, making a pregnancy even more unlikely.  But, here I am, thanks to IVF with PGD, 25 weeks into carrying a healthy baby boy.

Because I’ve been so blessed, I’ve accepted the loss of Baby B.  (But, I admit that if I weren’t pregnant right now, if I weren’t going to have the baby I so desperately want for my family, I might still be bitter.)

Because I am pregnant, because I’m far enough along that my baby could survive, today I not only called our genetic counselor, but also wrote a long e-mail outlining every stage of Baby B’s short life, from my first ultrasound, at which my twin pregnancy was verified, to my 9-week ultrasound at which the technician notified me that he had no heartbeat.

Tomorrow, I will do the same with my IVF clinic.

And, I will not get upset, for I have so much to be thankful for.

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