The Loneliest Moment

The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart and all they can do is stare blankly.

– The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald


“I’m so sorry, Ashley. It was negative.”

And with those words, any hope we had for our first embryo transfer came to an abrupt end. I knew it was over the moment I picked up the phone and heard our nurse’s somber tone on the other end. Forty-one seconds. It wasn’t a shock, but it left me shocked. The tears began to slide down my face before I even had time to process the emotion, and the only coherent thought I could form in my brain was, “What are we going to do now?”

I don’t know.

Kyle came home a short while later, still unaware of the final verdict. I met him by the doorway to the kitchen and shook my head sadly before walking into his open arms. We stood there in the door frame for several moments, completely severed from the world around us. The sound of his rapidly beating heart reverberated in my ear as I rested my head on his chest, and I briefly wondered if it was caused by the hope that I had been about to tell him we were finally, finally expecting our first child.

“What are we going to do?” I asked him as I pulled away and walked over to the stairs to sit on the landing. But all he could say was, “I don’t know.”

For so long now our only focus had been getting to the transfer; we had been unable to plan for anything that followed. Now we had reached the other side and it was a bit like falling off a cliff into nothing.

Later that evening I laid in bed listlessly, feeling as though someone had carved out all of my insides and left me hollow. I didn’t know what to do next or where to go. How do you mourn an embryo? We had already lost a long line of them prior to this one, the sixteenth. But still, this loss felt different than the others. We had seen this embryo, we even have a picture of it. This embryo was supposed to be our Thanksgiving baby. And now, it’s gone. Forever.

I don’t know how much longer we can keep doing this. Maintaining hope requires you to keep an open heart. It means not being able to let yourself fully start the healing process and holding yourself back from taking the first step in acceptance. It means staying in the very same place for more than three years and not knowing when, if ever, you can leave. How do you know when it’s the right time to give up? And then, how do you let go of the only thing you’ve ever really wanted?

I listened quietly as Kyle tried to process out loud what had gone wrong. Could we have done something more? Were your dosages so high that they affected the egg quality? How do we know that our doctor really knows what he’s doing?… I didn’t give him answers because I knew he wasn’t really asking me, or anyone else. We both know by now that there is no way to be sure about any of it.

I don’t know. I just don’t know.

So, I did the only thing that made sense to me at the time: I picked up the overflowing laundry basket and resumed the motions of life.

It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

15 thoughts on “The Loneliest Moment

  1. How can one respond to something so heartfelt. so life affecting? My poor powers do not know. The only thing I can assure you of is God’s love and mine. It is constant and true. God Bless you all! Gram


  2. I am still deeply affected by your loss. This grief feels like losing a family member who has been part of my life. Proverbs 13:12 says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” (ESV) The Good News Translation is “When hope is crushed, the heart is crushed, but a wish come true fills you with joy.”

    Though I don’t understand why this journey has been so hard for both of you, I hope and pray that this is not the final chapter. What that means, I do not know. Only that Mom and my thoughts, prayers, and love are always with you, with the hope that you will one day experience the reality of the second half of that proverb. Love you so much. Dad


  3. Grieving with and for you, dear ones. I can think of no words except the Word from the book so aptly named that sustained my niece when she lost her daughter at five months gestation:

    “I will never forget this awful time,
    as I grieve over my loss
    Yet I still dare to hope
    when I remember this:

    The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.

    Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.

    I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
    therefore, I will hope in him!” – Lamentations 3


  4. I love you more than I can express. My heart and soul are with you both. I pray mercy and blessing poured out upon you. xoxoxo


  5. Ashley and Kyle, we are so heartbroken for you. I have been following your blog every step of the way with you, and can actually feel your pain. Tears were running down my face too, but I’m sure, not like yours. Wish we could make things better for you, but of course that’s impossible, so just know that we are continuing to pray for you and keep you in our hearts. God has a plan for you. We love you so very much!!! Uncle Jim and Aunt Arlene So, so sorry for your news.


  6. I’ve only just started following your blog and I’m very sorry to hear that your cycle didn’t work. We’re going through the same pain now and you asking how you grieve and embryo really struck a cord with me as I’m not sure how either but here I am in the grieving process. I’m sending you and your husband all the strength in the world. Keeping you in my thoughts.


  7. I have tried to write a response to this entry multiple times and each time I just feel at such a loss for anything to say. I am so very sorry. You are in my prayers.


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