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[www.infertilityawareness.org]

We are 1 in 8

Listen up — We are 1 in 8. I may have been the one with endometriosis and adenomyosis, but my husband was there with me, every step of the way. He administered my injections, attended countless appointments, nursed me through procedures and surgeries, dried my tears, held my hand, and somehow never lost hope.

I wouldn’t have been able to endure 2 cycles of IVF and a miscarriage without him by my side. His love kept me going.

I know he would have made an amazing father.

[http://www.infertilityawareness.org]

Listen Up

April 23-29th is National Infertility Awareness Week. One in eight couples struggle to build a family – that’s an estimated 15% of couples in America. Despite what the media often portrays, infertility does not always end with a long-awaited and much-wanted baby. Many people, myself included, have surrendered to a childless life after struggling with infertility for years.

My husband and I are now moving forward, dreaming new dreams and making new plans. Although our hearts still ache, infertility has not broken us. We’ve learned that happy endings come in many forms.

To those struggling with infertility – you are not alone. Whether you pursue medical interventions, alternative treatments, adoption, surrogacy, fostering, prayer, childlessness — please know, with or without a child — you are enough, you are complete, and you are deserving of happiness.

To learn more and join in the conversation, visit – http://www.infertilityawareness.org

This is me

This is me. One week after a life-changing surgery. One week older, wiser. My life is irrevocably different and yet, I still recognize my reflection. I look the same, and somehow, different. It's there in my eyes - a knowing, a softening, an understa

This is me.

One week after a life-changing surgery. One week older, wiser.

My life is irrevocably different and yet, I still recognize my reflection. I look the same, and somehow, different. It’s there in my eyes – a knowing, a softening, an understanding. A checkmate. A surrender.

I now know that my future will not be any version I’ve ever imagined.

As if promises were made. As if I could want something into being. As if wishes were horses. As if it were that simple.

As if.

If only.

Still, the days push me forward. I feel the tension, the awakening, and it moves me. Ever forward.

This is me, on the cusp – becoming someone I’ve yet to know.

I am the face of miscarriage

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[As featured on Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope]

October 15th is National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Day.

Last October 15th, I was blissfully, naively pregnant — as one should be — taking belly photos with my husband and dreaming about finally being a family of three. After struggling with infertility for over 2 years, we were pregnant! We had seen the baby! And the heartbeat! We were over the moon.

Little did I know, by that time, our sweet baby had already slipped away. She was gone and I was none the wiser. Isn’t a mother supposed to know when her child is no longer alive? I did not. It wasn’t until a routine ultrasound on October 23rd, that my doctor would say the words that changed everything: I’m afraid I don’t have good news. And for what seemed like an eternity — I stared at the motionless screen, along with my doctor and the ultrasound technician — desperately hoping for some sign of life.

Please… something, anything… please…

But there was nothing to be seen, just a tiny shadow frozen in time. She was gone.

After the D and C, and the misoprostol, and the vicodin-induced haze, I packed all of the pregnancy tests, and the congratulatory cards, and the sympathy cards, and the photos into a small wooden box and closed the lid — an entire life in one small box. I couldn’t put the box away because I couldn’t figure out where such a box should go. Under the bed? On a shelf? Nothing seemed right. I didn’t know what to do. I was lost.

Baby loss is so very hard. No one knows what to do or to say, and truthfully, there aren’t any “right” things. There are, however, lots of “wrong” things. In my case, I wasn’t interested in hearing about adoption, or how I can, “always try again,” or how, “everything happens for a reason,” or how, “at least I know I can get pregnant,” or how a niece or a neighbor or a cousin got pregnant again right after a miscarriage. Hearing those things only made me feel damaged and broken and guilty and responsible and empty.

The only thing that helped me was space and peace and quiet.

So, I took some time off of work and I spent some time by the sea and I slept long and I dreamt hard and I cried big, fat, ugly tears every single day. I thought about everything that almost was and about everything that could never be and about everything that just is. I bought a remembrance necklace with a tiny angel wing and a pearl (for her birth month). I lit a candle every day for all the babies who had been lost and for all the mamas and papas who had lost them. I found a therapist. I started Zoloft.

I gave her a name.

And somewhere along the way, there was a shift – almost imperceptible, but I found I could smile and laugh and get out of bed again. And that’s when I knew I could get through the grief and the heartbreak and the loss. Not over it but through it. I’ll never be over the loss, but I’ll keep on getting through it, some days with a quiet grace, other days with a tear-soaked pillow and puffy eyes.

So, no, there is no happy ending to this story. Losing my baby will never be okay, but I have learned that I can be okay in spite of the loss — or maybe even because of it. After all, as Glennon Melton says, “grief is love’s souvenir. It’s our proof that we once loved.”  And loved I did — a whole lifetime of love in just a few weeks.

So now, with nearly a year’s worth of wisdom and distance, I can say that not a day goes by when I don’t pause and think about that tiny flicker of a heartbeat, and that brief whisper of time when I was a mother.

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