Miscarriage and Loss Remembrance
Strange where those words burrow themselves in. Miscarriage and loss.
I had two miscarriages. Many years ago. Many experiences ago.
My grieving went on long after it made much sense to me. After all, the losses were so early they were barely losses. Right?
They were losses after IUI's (intrauterine inseminations). I knew exactly what day I had been impregnated, exactly how far along I was. I could practically have told you how many cells each embryo had and how they were developing.
I hesitate to write on this sensitive, emotional subject. There is a political aspect to this conversation that is undeniable, given that we have a presidential election a scant 3 weeks from today.
The emotional, spiritual side is unmuddied by the political controversy. For me, I can separate these issues as easily as I open my eyes after a full, restful night's sleep.
I believe in a women's right to choose to have a baby or not to have a baby. That is my belief. I vote with that belief. That is not only my political belief; that is my feminist belief.
And yet. Those pregnancies held my future as I hoped it would be. Those two pregnancies were filled with soft, green grass and blue skies and picnics, holding a baby. Dreams of lighting candles and seeing the lights reflected on my baby's face. Gently holding my baby as I read my favorite books. I breathed into those places of sleeping and waking, knowing that my baby was alive and real and part of my waking life, not just a dream.
Yes, all those dreams and thoughts about an embryo so small that there was never any possibility of survival past living in my uterus.
Positive Pregnancy Test Dreams
While in fertility treatment, after a positive pregnancy test, I dreamt a whole life with my baby, toddler, pre-schooler. I dreamt of life with my child, all the way through college. All in the first several weeks, all while that baby was only a possibility of a baby. And I mourned the loss of that baby, child, and adult when the pregnancy failed. My heart broke with each realization that not every conception or embryo or pregnancy resulted in a baby in my arms.
I mourned the loss of those embryos that did not survive to babyhood.
I still do.
I still know exactly how old those children would have been. When their birthdays were.
I know that the moment I got those positive pregnancy tests that those embryos became babies to me.
Prayers to Those Mourning Recurrent Pregnancy Loss and Miscarriage
My prayers go to all of us who are mourning those losses today. Infant loss, spontaneous miscarriage, recurrent pregnancy loss--this pain has many different names. I am sending you loving thoughts, hoping that comfort finds it's way into your lives, moment by moment.
I hope that you can separate your loss from the political side of pregnancy. In three weeks we elect a president that is being very clear on his position. The issue is not abortion. It's about freedom to choose and reproductive health.
Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said in the debate with Vice President Joe Biden that he and Mitt Romney, if elected, would place supreme court justices on the court who would vote against Roe v. Wade.
Please understand that this is not only about abortion. It's also about fertility treatment and the ability to create embryos that create our families. It's about being able to have fertility treatment as a choice at all. If you think I'm exaggerating, please refer back to previous blogs about embyos being granted personhood.
I support a woman choosing. Choosing to have a family. And choosing not to have a family. Her choice. Not mine.
My choice is to take a few minutes today, two decades later, to sit quietly and remember the pregnancies that I lost. The embryos that didn't mature into the young men or women that I dreamed of. I will say a prayer of love and gratitude.
For all of us.
Big Fertility News
Fertility news is big the last few days. I read some of the conversation online. As you need to be a subscriber to Time Magazine to read the full cover story, I have not done so. I do not want to subscribe to the magazine; I prefer the way that the news has been coming into my consciousness, deliberately.
It's unusual for me to be attracted to the news, I'm embarassed to admit. I've been avoiding the television and the newspapers for quite a while.
Still, the news seeps in. Sometimes it's called to my attention, like it was yesterday about egg freezing.
Time Magazine Cover
What else is all over the news? The new Time Magazine cover. A 3-year-old nursing. Standing up, breastfeeding.
Think it's controversial?
You bet it is.
And, as usual, I'm not going to enter it. I'm a huge believer in live and let live these days.
How does it relate to infertility?
It has to do, once again, with judgement and inflicting one's point of view on someone else. Whether it's political, moral, psychological, or religious, when do we stop assuming that we know better for another human being what's best for them? Or even what's best for their families?
Here's the relationship to infertility: fertility treatment. How many times over the last twenty two years have I heard similar comments and conversations about the fertility treatments that men and women experience as a process to create their families?
Too many times to count.
I've heard the same comments. Identical comments, especially after major technological breakthroughs in fertility treatment. Here are a few:
- It's not natural;
- I would never do that;
- There will be something wrong with those children;
- If God intended . . . (a personal favorite, fill in the blank);
- It should be illegal.
The name of the article, the cover, is "Are You Mom Enough?".
For those of us going though infertility, we are already Mom and Dad enough.
That's how dedicated and determined we are to have our families. Despite what someone else might question, we are already enough.
And we don't have to let anyone else decide for us whether fertility treatment is moral or what God intended.
On a political side note, we should keep an eye out about the legal piece of it. There are many in political office that would make the decisions for us. Careful who you vote for.
Is An Embryo A Person? Virginia Says No . . . For Now
Virginia is a safe place for now. Why? And from what? From the "Personhood" bill that was presented in the Virginia Senate. Not sure what that is? Read on for details about the bill.
The Virginia "Personhood" bill stated that “unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the commonwealth, subject only to the laws and constitutions of Virginia and the United States, precedents of the United States Supreme Court, and provisions to the contrary in the statutes of the commonwealth.”
While it's very nice that Delegate Bob Marshall would like to have us believe that this bill is primarily about a fetus that is killed in a car crash, it is overwhelmingly obvious that those would not be its only effects. Clearly, this bill would affect anyone undergoing fertility treatment and having embryos created.
Embryos and Fertility Treatment
Regardless of your stance on abortion or on how this bill would have affected women's reproductive rights, granting embryos personhood has many ramifications for fertility treatment. When embryos are created for an IVF cycle, often there are more eggs than are able to be transferred (used) in that particular cycle. The extra embryos are then frozen (cyropreserved) until they are needed for another cycle.
Virginia is not the only state that has been considering a bill that considers the rights of embryos. It's just the only state that has been this close to granting them. As it stands now, the couple or persons that have created the embryo, via DNA material (ovum and sperm), have the right to make the decision about how the embryos are used and/or disposed. Some persons or couples choose to allow their excess embryos to thaw, stopping the freezing process and having the embryos cease to divide. Others would like to call this killing or destroying the embryos, without giving consideration to the fact that the embryos cannot survive past a certain time outside a woman's uterus. They certainly cannot grow and become "people" outside of the uterus.
Women's Reproductive Rights
Granting "personhood" to an embryo decends a very slippery slope, where fertility treatment and the creation, freezing, donating, use and disposal of embryos are all at-risk. One could argue, fairly reasonably, that it would make it legally impossible to continue to create embryos for those who needed treatment for infertility. Assigning personhood to a mass of cells that only have the potential to become a person is, in fact, nonsensical. It does not make sense to assign personhood to cells that have only the possibility, not the inevitability, of becoming a human being.
Then again, it appears to make plenty of sense to many people, including state delegates and other legislators. In Virginia, as in every other state so far, more people agree that it is nonsensical. The way to ensure that women's reproductive rights remain in tact is to stay vigilant--keep informed, be involved. Read the bill in full for more background.