A month ago, I wanted to write about the greatest news since sliced bread.
We were having a boy and girl.
Two weeks ago, I planned to share the powerful experience of being with my dad in the hospital as he slowly succeeded, two steps forward and one step back, during recovery from open heart surgery and the placement of a heart pump. Now he would live a longer life and would be in Portland come October to be with his grandson and two new grand babies. I would come to find this affirmation in my email box and think, “Damn right!”
“It’s not that your life totally rocks, kara, except for a few tricky spots, slippery patches, and challenges.
But that your life totally rocks, in large part, because of the tricky spots, slippery patches, and challenges.”
Life had been difficult and good and I was appreciative. The only problem was that Life had been busy and had kept me from writing these posts.
Now, in this early, early morning on Wednesday, April 3, I sit surrounded by darkness and silence as I write to tell you this.
I have lost our baby boy.
I am no longer the mother of twins.
I don’t know where to go from here. Last night, I fell asleep quickly, like a rock sinking and resting at the bottom of the lake. Crying had worn me out. Now, I find myself wide awake because the dreams have kept me from sleeping. I am a wide eyed, sleepless wonder trying to imagine how I plan to move on from all of this. I feel torn in two directions of grief and relief. I feel torn in pieces and broken all over again. I am at a loss.
I don’t know that I saw this coming. A few weeks back, I had shown concern because I thought I wasn’t very big for it being my second pregnancy and having twins. I also felt minimal movement and had nonchalantly voiced my concern to my family. Overall, the pregnancy had felt fairly mild and, in fact, I joked that I sometimes forgot I was pregnant because I felt THAT good.
Last week, I voiced my concern to my doctor who, at the time, did not have ultrasound available to do a quick scan. She grabbed the handheld Doppler so that we could hear the heartbeats. Oscar had come along with us for the appointment and when we heard them both, we walked out of the building relieved. The three of us holding hands and talking about what a good brother Oscar would be. Ahhh, life was good.
Oh, how I wish I could turn back the clock and pretend this wasn’t happening.
Yesterday, during the 20 week anatomical ultrasound, the tech glided the wand over my belly and we saw two images on the screen. For a second, I saw both babies. For a second, I felt scared. It seemed like a fair reaction. I never liked ultrasounds and I worried they would signal a red flag that may suggest some problem that was ultimately not there. I did not want to be left to worry.
As Chrissy, our tech, guided the wand towards Baby A, our baby girl, we saw her beating heart and tiny movements. Measurements were made. A few minutes later, the tech moved on to Baby B, our boy. In that brief second, my eyes searched every pixel of that monitor to find a beating heart and saw nothing. The tech saw it too and in an instant I heard her say, “I am so sorry, you have lost Baby B.” She exited the room, leaving us stunned, shaken and confused. It had suddenly turned into a bad dream.
I had no tears to cry but I nearly pulled my hair out. Greg hugged me and I searched the room for a way to exit. I searched for my phone. I needed to call for help. I wanted my mother, my sisters, my dear friends. I needed them to make this better. It needed to be taken away RIGHT NOW! I needed my baby boy back!
Oh, my baby boy. When we first found out we were having a boy and girl, I had already become his protector. I understood that everyone was excited that we were FINALLY going to have a girl. Most people know that I come from a family of 4 girls and my parents have one granddaughter and a succession of 8 grandsons. It was time. As for Greg’s family, there were only boys. I worried that our sweet baby boy would get lost in the shuffle and I felt I had to be his voice. So when I heard, “Yay, finally a girl!” I would respond and say,“ Don’t forget about our boy.”
Ha, and Oscar was so relieved to know we were having a girl AND a boy! Anything was better than two girls. When we showed him the two shirts we had picked up to make the announcement, we showed him the lavender one first. He was excited, but his face immediately turned to concern as if to say, “Please don’t tell me the second one is a girl too?” The relief on his face when we showed him the dark brown top was priceless. He had an ally.
I am mourning that, our sweet family of five. Oscar experiencing a brother and a sister. I mourn the minivan filled with kids and the terrified feeling of how I planned to deal with life with twins. A week ago, I had planned to write a post about the funny reactions I get when I tell people I am having twins. It is far different from telling someone you are pregnant with one. It is led by excitement only to be followed with sympathy. I have been laughing it off for months now and had planned to tell you all about it. Now, I must figure out how I will tell people I have lost one of the two. Now I must deal with an entirely different reaction.
Our baby boy’s life was only meant for this brief moment. Though we decided against genetic testing to determine why this all happened, from what they are able to see, he stopped developing several days, if not weeks, back. There must have been a misreading of heartbeats the week prior. From the moment we met him at the very first ultrasound, he was small but there was no mistaking it, he was a fighter. Compared to his sister, his heartbeat was always stronger and even at that time, we joked that the “little one” would be the strong scrappy one. We like to think he tried as hard as he could to be with us. I can’t help but think he came to us for a reason and he gave himself to us, and left us, so that we may learn something from all of this. There is some greater purpose to this all and in the most painful of ways, I need to find a way to embrace it.
Thank you all for your kind words and support. What would we do without you? It has been a crazy, long journey for us and it just keeps going. I can’t help but feel more scared now than before. Though our baby girl seems to be growing at a good rate, I worry about her development and what this all means for her. From what we have been told, our baby boy’s tissue will be reabsorbed and his placement in my uterus is causing no harm to baby girl, nor to the passageway. They are monitoring my blood because, in rare occurrences, the reabsorption of the fetus could lead to toxicity in the uterus that could affect our living baby as well as myself. Our doctor has been amazing and I am left to feel that we are in good hands.
We ate dinner out last night. For a long time, we were really good about saying a prayer of thanks before dinner followed by one thing each of us was thankful for. It had been awhile since we had been in that routine. Last night, as we sat in the restaurant and before we ate our food, Oscar told Greg and I that we needed to say our prayer. As he followed up with his thanks, he said, “The worst part of the day is that my baby brother died. The best part of the day is that I still have my baby sister."
I ditto that.
love to you all,
In my mailbox this morning:
"Where there is pain, there will be strength.
Where there is sadness, there will be wisdom.And where there is fear, kara, there will be renewal. ”