To our little embryos, the ones that failed to implant after our IVF transfer:
I wish I knew why things work out the way they do, but I don’t.
I don’t know why you didn’t stick around (literally) the way I hoped and prayed you would. I don’t know why our IVF transfer failed, why you didn’t grow into the beautiful little babies I imagined you could have been. I don’t know why I’ll never get to hear your hearts beat, feel your tiny feet kick, or swell with your growing life inside of me.
I don’t know why you weren’t meant to become my children. I don’t know why the children I already have won’t get to call you siblings or why my parents won’t get to call you grandbabies.
I don’t know why I won’t get to call you by the names I so carefully chose for you.
I don’t know why I was chosen to bear the burden of infertility. I don’t know why I can’t just be “normal” or why my body so strongly resists giving me what my heart desires.
I don’t know why you left me empty in so many places—my womb, my heart, the part of my soul that attached to you when the doctor put you inside of me. I don’t know how long the holes you left will take to close. I don’t know if they ever will.
I don’t know a lot of things, little embryos, but I do know this:
For you—and for all you gave me in our short time together—I am grateful.
I am grateful for the sense of purpose you gave me.
I am grateful because you made me feel like something bigger than myself (and I’m not just talking about all the bloating from the hormones and IVF medications). You made me feel responsible for protecting you. You made my body feel like a gift instead of a curse. You made me aware of the fragility of life, and you taught me how to cherish it.
You made me feel like I was worth something, like I was something.
I am grateful for the 11 days of “pregnancy” you gave me.
I am grateful because in that short span of time we spent together before my negative blood test, I got to feel like any other pregnant woman, even if I was never technically pregnant at all. I got to make decisions based on what was best for you. I got to request decaf coffee and hard-cooked eggs at the diner we went to for breakfast. I got to avoid hot baths and heating pads, even when I was cramping. I got to practice prenatal yoga and monitoring my own heart rate so it never rose above 140.
I got to feel just a touch of that unique pregnancy paradox—to experience something that’s so innately natural, yet so breathtakingly extraordinary.
I am grateful for the memories you gave me.
I am grateful because even though I feel an emptiness now, I remember the fullness I felt when we were together. I remember how it felt when you filled me with love and optimism, with promise and possibility. I remember how it felt when you filled me with life.
I remember how it felt to carry you in my body and in my heart. I remember you. And I always will.
And for that, little embryos, I am grateful.
So even though we’ve parted ways, even though our destinies were not meant to intertwine, even though I am sitting here at my computer typing you this letter through tears of grief, I am grateful.
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