I arrived early, and picked the same seat in the café and sat down. Everything was the same, the décor, the smell. A year and an half ago, three of us gathered here for the 1st time, right after we found out that none of our implantations was successful.
“I cannot believe it did not work. Everything went so well,” Emmy started.
“I knew I lost her. Three days after implantation, I had a nightmare. The day after, I spotted,” Pam said.
“I had high hopes,” I said. “This is already my 2nd IVF. I flew all the way from the US to be here in Shanghai…. What went wrong? What are we going to do?”
No one said a word. I reached for the frost on the cake. It tasted bitter.
“I am done with IVF,” Pam broke the silence. “This is too hurtful and unnatural. I am going to give myself few months to rest and try the natural way. My Buddha will give me a child. I will start meditating and praying.”
“I do not know much about Buddha but I still have two embryos left and will have to go back for implantation in a month or two. What about you, Jasmine? Are you going back to the US? Do you have more embryos left?” Emmy turned her head asked.
“I do not have any left. I do not know what to do. I have to call my husband tonight to discuss,” I replied.
“You should try another cycle since you are already here,” said Emmy.
“I am not sure.” I shook my head, “Do I have more left in me to go again? If I do, I would have to go to another clinic. I do not have faith in this one and the doctor there.”
“Agree. I do not think I was treated with enough care,” Pam complained.
We started venting. Toward the end, we held each other’s hands and vowed to keep going. That night, I felt the wound of losing another hope hurt less.
Fast forward, a year and an half later. Pam gets what she has wished for, a daughter from her Buddha. Emmy has a daughter, after another IVF. I, after the 3rd IVF, lost my baby to preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome.
“Nice to see you again, Jasmine!” Pam and Emmy came together. They both looked cheerful, as if bathed in spring blossoms. After chatting about their precious daughters, Emmy asked, “What happened, Jasmine? How did you lose your pregnancy?”
I choked a little and uttered each word with difficulty, “I, lost, my baby.” I reached out for napkins and continued, “I was at gestation 27. On the night of 6/26, I started with frequent urine. At 7:30, blood came. Joo and I went to the emergency room right away. The baby had weak heartbeat. 45 minutes later, I was on the operation table. The baby had to come out. I had placenta abruption, lost lots of blood and almost died. But my baby… When I saw him for the first time, he…passed….” My tears soaked the napkins in my hands.
No one said a word. I reached for the frost on the cake. It was bitter just how I remembered it.
“Did that hurt?” Pam asked.
“Of course, it did,” Emmy jumped in. “She had the entire operation done but her baby died. It must hurt.”
I said nothing and waited to be comforted.
“I am preparing to have another child,” Pam broke the silence.
“I am thinking of the same thing. My baby daughter needs a sister or brother to play with,” Emmy said.
As they were exchanging tips of having another child, my heart stopped beating. Like someone poured a bucket of ice water over me, I felt so cold. Any warmth I had for them, just left me. I looked at the exit door, wished I was not sitting here.