Hopeful Healing

It has been a long time since I posted here, and in that time so much has changed..! The remaining two frozen embryos that we transferred in May not only implanted, but one also split into identical twins, and somehow, amazingly all three have turned into my beautiful children! Everyday this still surprises me. Everyday this still amazes me. It is still surreal and strange and wonderful that we have triplets and that I was pregnant and stayed pregnant after three long years of infertility and loss.

These changes have been wonderful and overwhelming and confusing at times! There are lots of things I don’t know… I’m not sure how or why our transfer in May was successful. I’m not sure why our transfer last February was not successful. I do not understand why we had success and others have not. I cannot explain why we ended up with more babies than we had embryos. I do not know why all of this has happened. I don’t think I ever will.

But one thing I know is that Matt and I are very lucky to have our triplets. There are no guarantees with infertility treatment or pregnancy, and I am so thankful that we had success and that my babies arrived safely after my hard, high risk pregnancy. And despite how overwhelming and exhausting caring for newborn triplets is, at the end of the day I know I have an opportunity that I thought at one time might never happen — I get to be the mom to living children! So I’m trying to enjoy the moments that I can, sleep when I am able, and do my best to take care of my little ones and raise them into kind hearted, loving people.

I also know that my pregnancy in some ways allowed me to connect with others who are experiencing infertility. Some people have opened up about their struggles with infertility after hearing our news, and I have been able to hear their stories, share with them our story, and remind them that they are not alone. I suspect a lifetime of questions regarding the conception of our triplets, so I’m prepared for discussions about this in the future too… I think part of my healing process will continue to be connecting with others to share the heavy load of infertility.

As for this blog, I intend to leave it here, untouched. It’s an honest record of my infertility experience, and until this post is untouched by our outcome. I hope my words will continue to be a source of comfort and connection to those who need it.

Even though I now have living children, I suspect that healing from my infertility and pregnancy loss will still continue for a long time — I would not say that I am “fixed” now. I do find that my babies are helping to heal my wounds from infertility, but I cannot count on them to do all the work for me. As I wrote in my post on rainbows, I believe healing from infertility needs to come from more than just a baby (or three!). So I continue to care for myself, process my feelings, and appreciate the multiple rainbows in my life.

I don’t know where this new adventure with triplets will take us, but I know we are headed there together, surrounded in love — Matt and me and our children, with our family and friends. We head into our new adventure with half agony, knowing that the world is a confusing and unfair place with loss and heartache, but we also head there with half hope that our sacred lives will still be beautiful and filled with love and rainbows if we look in the right places.

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Looking for Rainbows

looking for rainbowsAt support group once we were talking about how we are not our infertility and how we can identify ourselves separate from our infertility…. And I understand that on a rational level, but I argued that it’s not how it feels. I may not *be* my infertility, but it *is* a part of me and one that I can’t get away from, although I wish I could. I explained that sometimes I think of infertility and loss like my own personal cloud… From day to day, the forecast might change, but it’s always there.

Sometimes my cloud is far away, puffy and light, and I can more easily focus on the good things in my life — the spots of sun and blue skies. Sometimes my cloud is looming over me, and sometimes it’s actively storming and I try not to drown in the torrential downpour of grief. Often I feel like it’s partly cloudy with a chance of scattered storms. But no matter how close or how big the cloud is, the pain of infertility and pregnancy loss is with me nearly all the time, following me around.

In the baby loss community, some people use the term “rainbow babies” for babies who are born after the loss of an infant or a pregnancy. The idea is that a rainbow baby brings hope and joy after the storm of grief experienced after the loss of a baby. I frequently see in descriptions of the phrase that the rainbow doesn’t negate the storm, and it doesn’t mean the parents are done dealing with the aftermath, but that the rainbow offers hope, energy, and color in the midst of the darkness.

I was not aware of the phrase “rainbow baby” until one of our support group meetings… and since I learned about it I became pregnant myself, and then had to say goodbye to our baby. So I’ve had some time to think about rainbow babies. I’ve had some unsuccessful treatment cycles since our loss too… Overall, I feel like our experience has allowed me to gain some perspective on the meaning and feelings associated with the phrase. Additionally, I’ve done a little research and reading on it, and talked about it with a few people close to me… and I have some thoughts I’d like to share.

My first thought is that I hate the idea that my lost baby caused a storm or was a storm. Our baby was, and still is, surrounded by love, and I do not like the idea that someone so loved, so missed, and so very innocent, would be blamed for the grief that followed her death. Comparing my lost pregnancy to a storm surrounds our baby with negative feelings, and that makes me sad. Because of this association with the negative, many people refuse to use the phrase “rainbow babies” — it essentially names the lost baby as the storm. Still Mothers, for example don’t use the term. And I understand why. I don’t like the negative connotations either.

But nonetheless, the loss of my pregnancy was filled with grief and pain, and describing the overwhelming emotions as a storm seems, to me, to be a pretty good metaphor, especially considering how even before our loss I felt like my infertility was a cloud following me around. What helps me to move past the negative feelings about the storm is knowing that our baby wasn’t the storm and didn’t cause the storm. What happened in my pregnancy wasn’t the baby’s fault — it just happened, and we will never know why. The storm wasn’t her presence, but it is grieving her absence. In fact, her presence in our lives was joyful, even though it was short lived. And knowing she was here still gives me hope for us. In a way, I think she was like a rainbow for us even though she didn’t survive, even though she wasn’t a traditional “rainbow baby”… after trying to conceive for two years, we finally managed to create a life — she was our miracle. The grief after our loss has been enormous, but the love we have for our lost one and the hope we have for our future is still there.

Once I start to move beyond the negative feelings about the storm and what it actually is — the grief — I can see great beauty and symbolism in the phrase “rainbow baby”.  The beauty of rainbows and the hope for joy and sunshine in the future resonates with me. And when I see and hear about other people’s rainbow babies (e.g., here  and here) it gives me hope for us. I so want to be able to bring home a healthy baby, and knowing that others have successfully brought home healthy babies after loss helps to keep me hopeful that it might happen for us too.

I also think the phrase is a special way to acknowledge and honor the previous life that was lost, while celebrating the new life. If I were ever pregnant with a new baby or were so lucky to bring home a healthy baby, mentioning that the baby is a rainbow baby would be a way for me to acknowledge that it was my second pregnancy. It would be a way for me to remember and honor my lost baby while also celebrating our new baby. I know it’s not the only way to honor and acknowledge the loss, but I think it’s a sweet way of doing it.

All of that said, another reaction I’ve had to the phrase “rainbow baby” is awareness that the phrase can be alienating and hurtful, because not everyone who has experienced baby or pregnancy loss will go on to have a rainbow baby — not everyone gets a rainbow. For various reasons, a couple may not have another opportunity to bring home a healthy baby of their own. So then, in a community that should be supportive and inclusive, talking about rainbow babies can hurt and alienate grieving parents. However, I also think that the fact that some loss parents go on to have healthy children and some don’t is still going to be divisive. I suspect that some pain will always be present whether or not the phrase “rainbow baby” is used. Therefore, I think that no matter what we call a baby after loss, we need to be mindful and sensitive of the fact that some people are not so lucky.

I also believe that to promote more widespread healing we can start to think about rainbows in more ways than one; I think that that the phrase “rainbow baby” has some room for improvement. The writer of the Still Standing post above said, “Let’s stop pretending the best way to heal is to feel the redemption of birthing a healthy baby and recognize that sometimes healing has to come solely from within.” And I think she’s onto something, but I want to expand on it — I do think healing has to come from within, but I also think that there are sources of encouragement, hope, and joy outside of ourselves that can aid in our healing. I think a new baby is one kind of rainbow that might bring loss parents color, energy, and hope, but it is not the only one. I still hope that one of my rainbows is going to be a baby, but if I wait for healing only in the bringing home of a healthy baby, I may never be healed. And that’s not ok. So I look for rainbows in other places in my life too, and I can say that some are already shining.

Since the loss of my pregnancy I have become closer to a new friend and I consider her to be a beautiful rainbow in my life. She has given me so much support, joy, and love. The loss of my pregnancy was horrible, and in the midst of the darkness and rain, this friend has been a beautiful energy shining in my sky. I am so thankful for her.


After our loss this summer Matt and I had the opportunity to take a small vacation during my recovery. We used frequent flier miles and spent four days in a destination we’ve always wanted to visit. This trip was so lovely and so rejuvenating for us — it was like being somewhere over the rainbow. We were together and happy and felt carefree. Our rainbow trip reminded us that we can still find joy with just each other.

This blog has turned into a rainbow for me too. It’s become a beautiful way for me to connect with people in ways I never expected… infertility aside, some of my loved ones experiencing different kinds of emotional storms have told me that my words here have comforted them or given them new ideas for coping and healing. And, for me, hope for happiness and healing in all of our futures is a very beautiful rainbow.

I have also realized that not all of my rainbows are new. Love and encouragement from long standing rainbows in my life help me to continue finding joy and holding hope — even if they have to hold it for me at times.

The storm of infertility and loss is a nasty one. It has ravaged my life and shook me to the core. As I said in my post about strength, I know that I am not the same person I was before. I have had to focus my strengths into areas that help me to withstand the downpours and the rough winds of the storm. I have to sit with my grief and let the storm rage. There’s nowhere I can hide or run to when the clouds roll in and the storm begins, so my coping techniques act as umbrellas, and I try hard to use them appropriately to protect myself. Humor acts as rain boots so that I can try to splash the rainwater collecting at my feet. My rainbows shine as bright as they can trying to bring me hope and joy, support and healing. Sometimes I find that my rainbows sit with me in the darkness while the storm rages; they glimmer in my sky during my moments of greatest despair. But sometimes I just can’t see them for all of the darkness. So when the storm is finished, I look for rainbows.

Contrary to the belief repeated on rainbow baby onesies or announcements, there isn’t *always* a rainbow after the storm… But sometimes I’ll find one. Sometimes I’ll even find more than one. Whenever and however a rainbow appears, it is beautiful and helps to bring me happiness, hope, and healing. The rainbows that shine in my life help to open up space in the clouds for spots of sun. Despite the fact that I haven’t yet brought home a healthy baby, I have seen a number of rainbows. They are out there in different forms. I just have to remember to look for them.


For more perspectives on rainbows, please visit:



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writingAs I’ve said before, I like to write. And my enjoyment of writing has enriched my life in multiple ways. Ever since I learned to write, I have been writing: writing little books, writing in diaries, writing letters, writing a blog, writing a new blog… and in school I wrote a numbers of papers too. They were necessary at the time, of course, but not so important to me in the grand scheme of things; my important “works” have been the bits for myself and communications with others. Writing in my personal life has been far more satisfying than any writing I ever did for teachers or professors… writing has allowed me to connect with other people, it has connected me to myself, and in both situations for me, writing has been therapeutic and healing.

During infertility, especially, I have found writing to be immensely helpful, and I have taken advantage of several writing outlets during my journey. Ernest Hemingway said, “write hard and clear about what hurts”… and although I haven’t read any of his work, I have taken this advice — I have written lots and lots about my painful infertility journey… and I believe it has been healing for me. Writing has been a way for me to release my feelings and work through them. I know this is not the case for everyone, but it has been for me… and for anyone on the fence trying to decide to write or not to write, maybe knowing how it has benefited me will nudge someone else in the direction of giving it a try.


On and off throughout my life, since learning to write, I have journaled. I started in a little kitty cat diary with an actual lock and key when I was younger. That filled up quickly, and during my teen years I filled many journals with my thoughts… After a pipe burst in our basement last spring I had to repack all of those old journals and make sure they were dry and undamaged, and wow — reading some of those took me back. I’m so glad I’m not a teenager anymore. Anyway. I have since switched from writing in a physical journal to writing in private documents on my computer. Some people say that typing doesn’t provide the same release that handwriting does, but I disagree — that might be true for some people, but typing works for me and I don’t think there’s a “wrong way” to journal. If it’s helping, who’s to tell me that my way is wrong?

Whenever I choose to journal, I have found it to be a therapeutic way for me to release my thoughts, worries, fears, and wishes. Sometimes I don’t know how I am feeling about something until I try to sit down and write about it. When I write it down, it can be easier for me to acknowledge what I’m feeling, to accept, or try to accept my feelings, and to release them, if I need to. And I think that writing it down and getting it out of my head seems to end some of the internal narration that plays itself on repeat in my mind when I’m upset. I don’t think that writing fixes anything, but it has helped me to process situations and work through my feelings.


Writing letters has been a wonderful way for me to communicate with many of my loved ones for a very long time. My best example of how writing letters has enriched my life is my friendship with my pen-pal — we have been writing to each other for 18 years! I also love to write thank-you notes, send greeting cards, and send postcards when I travel. There’s something so lovely about receiving a meaningful piece of mail, so I like to spread that joy when I can. In general, I think that writing things down and sending a letter is a special and meaningful way to communicate with a loved one. However, I have also written some letters that are best unsent or cannot be sent…. But for me the act of writing them is still very powerful and therapeutic.

Unsent letters

I have had some times during my infertility where I have been extremely upset about something someone has said to me. These have been good opportunities for me to write someone a letter, to be honest with them, and let all my feelings out… and then never send the letter. (It can be deleted, or burned, or whatever.) Writing unsent letters has helped me to release emotions and thoughts that would not necessarily have been appropriate to share. After releasing the emotions I can calm down, and then more appropriately address the situation. Sometimes that’s to completely let it go — forgive them and move on, and other times it’s to confront them. But either way, the unsent letter has been helpful for me to avoid nasty confrontations that would not have been helpful or productive.

Released letters

During this journey, I also wrote a letter that we released. After my ectopic pregnancy we did a few things to honor our lost baby… one of them was writing a letter to our baby. I wrote my letter privately — Matt didn’t even read it — and we released it together in a river at a quiet park. Writing this letter was very hard for me… But I had really wanted to do it, and I’m glad I did — it turned out to be very healing for me. In writing my letter, I felt like I had found a small way to connect with our baby. To tell her how much we love her and miss her. To explain what happened. Writing the letter also allowed me to acknowledge a lot of emotions I had been feeling. It brought them to the surface. And releasing the letter helped me to feel like we had done something meaningful to acknowledge our loss and to say goodbye.

Other people have published or posted their letters to their lost babies. I was not comfortable doing that myself… but I am grateful to the mamas who have been so brave and open. Reading their letters to their children has been healing for me. In the book Our Stories Of Miscarriage there are a number of letters and poems written to children, and online I have found some too. Here’s one example — a letter written to a baby lost in an ectopic pregnancy.


Most recently, writing this blog has been a healing project for me too. The writing I do here is very different from my journaling or my letter writing, and it’s been helpful. Even a little fun. Although to be honest, I never thought I’d be writing publicly about infertility… not in my wildest dreams.

Gratitude Journaling

About nine months ago I started a gratitude journal. This one is a physical journal. It lives in my bedroom and every night before I go to bed I write down the things I am thankful for from that day. It was a simple and quick addition to my nighttime routine, but it has been very powerful. There are lots of things “out there” about how practicing gratitude is good for us, and I won’t bother trying to look up statistics, but I will say that it has helped me.

When I started my gratitude journal, I was not really in a good place emotionally. So many months of disappointments had made me feel like everything was awful. Once I started practicing gratitude I was able to keep my mind more focused on the good things that were happening in my life. That said, practicing gratitude doesn’t take away the bad things or even make them less painful, but being more aware of the good things has helped me to stay more balanced, more positive, and, at times, more hopeful too.

There are some days where writing down the things for which I’m thankful is easier than others, but I can honestly say that there has been something good in every day, even my really, really bad days. Practicing gratitude on my really bad days has reminded me of some of the simple things in my life that bring me joy: my kitties, a walk with Matt, a relaxing dinner on the deck, time to water my flowers and sit in my garden. Thinking about and writing down the things I’m thankful for has reminded me that even when I feel absolutely miserable, there are still things in my life that bring me joy.

Until our infertility journey took a major toll on my emotions and outlook on life, I had never kept a gratitude journal. I wrote thank-you letters for gifts and for favors from loved ones, but I had never taken the time to sit and write down the daily things for which I was thankful. Now writing in my gratitude journal is something I look forward to every day and I plan to continue to the practice. I would even say that I’m grateful for being alive and well enough to practice gratitude — practicing gratitude has brought me joy and given me a renewed sense of hope for our future happiness.

Writing is powerful

With my all of my writing about infertility in my journals, my letters, and now my blog, I think Mr. Hemmingway would agree that I have written hard and clear about what hurts. And it has helped — writing has been therapeutic for me. It has aided me in working through my emotions. But it’s not just writing about the things that are painful that has been important. I have also found great healing in writing about the things that don’t hurt — the things that bring me joy. Words and writing are powerful and I plan to continue using them to aid in my healing.

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Support Group

About a year ago a friend suggested I find an infertility support group. She thought it might be helpful… I hadn’t thought of a support group until then, and I was glad she had suggested it. That said, at that time I wasn’t ready for one, but I did keep it in mind. Shortly after that conversation with my friend, we scheduled my laparoscopy. With the treatment of my endometriosis and the thoughts from the doctor that he was optimistic my fertility would improve, we carried on for a few more months alone. However, when that train ran out of track and Dr. 1 sent me away to Dr. 2, we were ready for a support group. Being told that he was out of options for me and that I needed to go see someone else was hard to swallow. Plus, time was ticking away. We had been trying for over a year and half by that time and infertility was taking its toll on us.

I had found the website for Resolve months earlier and remembered that they had a section of their website for support groups. I went back there and quickly found what I was looking for: a support group right here in town. After some phone calls and a face-to-face meeting with the group facilitator who is a therapist, Matt and I were invited to join in at next meeting.

The meetings are probably a little bit like you’d imagine. I had never been to a support group before, so I only had movies and TV to guide my expectations… but they weren’t too far off. I’d say the big differences are that we meet in the living room of an old house that’s used for therapists’ offices, not a church basement or community center; we sit on couches and comfy chairs, not folding chairs; we don’t have a podium, we speak from our seats; and we don’t respond with monotone voices… But we do go around the circle giving updates about how we’re doing, developments in our journey since our last meeting, and what we’d like to talk about that night. We share tips on how to handle an upcoming procedure or what can be done to help our sore injection sites on our tummies and hips. We talk about tough situations with family and friends. We talk about how hard it can be to see other people’s babies and pregnant bellies. We share our fears, our frustrations, our disappointments. We share our anger. We share our grief. We share silence. Sometimes there is no perfect thing to say and just listening, being present, and accepting each other is the comfort we need. Many times we cry together. We hope for each other. We understand each other and support each other.

surround_yourselfUntil I went to support group I felt very alone. None of my close friends or family have been through this, so no one seemed to get it. At my support group though… they get it. They understand. All of our stories are different — no one’s journey is exactly the same, but the underlying love, hopes, and dreams are similar. The fear, frustration, and grief are similar. Because we are all familiar with the roller coaster of infertility, we can support one another and validate each other’s experiences on a deeper level. And the power of validation is enormous. Feeling understood, feeling accepted, and feeling that my emotions and reactions are normal has been so meaningful. Meeting others face-to-face, hearing their stories, and sharing with them has been so healing for me. I know for sure now that I am not alone — at group I feel surrounded with love and support from people who *get it*.

Reading about infertility has been helpful for me, yes, and I know it will continue to be helpful, but joining our support group and being in the presence of people who understand has been one of the very best things Matt and I have done for ourselves during our infertility journey. It connected us with people who understand what this journey is like, and for that I am so grateful. I am so thankful for our facilitator who guides us with understanding, wisdom, kindness, and love. And I am full of gratitude and love for the brave souls in our support group who open their hearts and share with us their stories. Thank you.

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