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Still Waiting for Our Happy Ending

*Trigger Warning*
This personal story is a raw, heartbreaking, and beautifully written experience of infertility and infant loss. While sharing these experiences can help bring both awareness and comfort to others who are grieving, everyone handles grief differently.

Infertility is filled with waiting and uncertainty, and often, heartbreak. Not every story has a happy ending, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful.

Marc and I were married on a Tuesday. At our wedding, my brother-in-law read an excerpt from my own parents’ wedding thirty years earlier. Embedded in those lines was the wish for children. When we chose those lines, we didn’t know how hard that simple wish would be to attain.

It was another Tuesday, two years later, when I saw my first positive pregnancy test. After seven months of trying, blood tests and fertility medications, we were finally pregnant. We celebrated, feeling overjoyed.

It was not a Tuesday, but a Wednesday when we lost that baby after only ten weeks.

It was on a Tuesday last year, April 16, when we went in for my first embryo transfer. The four years between the miscarriage and this moment had become an infertility journey more complicated than I had ever imagined. I’d learned I had gone through menopause at age 29. We’d chosen two egg donors who had backed out. Finally, finally, we had found one who had stuck with us and given us four viable embryos. We watched one little embryo – the strongest one – on the ultrasound screen, and I couldn’t believe our years of waiting were almost over.

Reed was born on a Tuesday, December 10, 2019, almost five years after we’d started trying. He was worth the wait. I remember just staring at him in awe because I could not believe how perfect he was. Our son. However, Reed was not the healthy baby we’d been expecting. We gradually learned alongside doctors that Reed was born with a severe neurological injury. There was no way to detect this during pregnancy, and nothing we could have done to prevent it. There was also no way to treat his injury. We had many difficult conversations with extremely compassionate doctors, and we realized we would not be bringing our baby boy home.

On our last morning with Reed, we told him the story of how our family of three came to be. We told him how desperately we had ached for him, how long we had waited and how hard it had been to wait so long. We told him about the countless people out there who loved him so much, even before he was born. Mostly, we told him how very much we loved him. How our lives had changed when he was born, and how he was worth every single second we had to wait. We told him how brave he was, and how much we cherished every moment we got to spend with him. We told him we didn’t want him to have to wait for us, because waiting is so hard. We told him we needed him to let us know when he was ready to go, because we never would be.

Less than two hours later, he was gone. I will always believe he heard us. He didn’t want us to wait any longer for him, and he felt safe and loved. Saying goodbye to him is the hardest thing either of us has ever had to do, but we are comforted in knowing that we are his parents. He is our son. Nothing will ever change that.

Waiting is hard. We are still waiting, because we still dream of having a child we can bring home one day. Yes, infertility is filled with waiting and uncertainty, and often with heartbreak. What Reed taught us is that even heartbreak is sometimes worth the wait.

Samantha G, Colorado