Hero Baby

*The other day was pregnancy loss day. In honor of that day here is my story.

Vanish……how could it just vanish?

I have a story to tell and it’s a story I never thought that I would tell. It’s a story of a pain so deep that I keep it buried within. But as time starts to move forward I see far too many women with the same pain suffering in silence. I wonder if in speaking about my pain someone can relate and know that it is ok to have the feelings that I have felt and feel the sorrow that still stays with me every day. And so I begin…

I was laying on the table with the bright lights facing me. As a lay there I take deep breaths in and out trying in vain to relax. I place my hands on my stomach and repeat the words “you are both loved and you are both wanted” over and over again. This isn’t the normal way to get pregnant but after 5 unsuccessful years of trying IVF was our last resort. They were threading the catheter inside my uterus and placing 2 tiny embryos inside. “You are both loved and you are both wanted” I say over and over and over again.

10 days later we find out the joyous news-I am pregnant. After so many years of waiting and many tears shed we finally shed tears of joy.

A week after that I am laying on a different table-this time an ultrasound table. I hold my breath as I wait to hear the words that everything is ok. I hear those words and more. The doctor looks at me and says:

“Well how do you feel about twins?”

“Are you kidding me?” was my response

“Of course I’m not kidding you. Congratulations.” he says.

I look over at Joel smiling widely. Twins. I can hardly believe it. Our prayers were answered times 2. The doctor handed us the first baby picture of our two little ones. They were both loved and they were both wanted.

For 10 glorious weeks I would hold onto my belly and talk to my babies. My precious babies. The babies that we had prayed for, pleaded for, and the fact that they were here seemed beyond belief. I would wake up in the night to pray for these babies once again pleading with God to keep them healthy and safe. As mothers of twins will tell you the 2 babies sometimes start to take on the identity of one. Yes, they are separate individuals but they come together as one glorious breathtaking package. And from the very first moment laying on that table I loved and wanted both of them with every last fiber of my being.

I was at week 11 now and going in for a routine ultrasound. We were one week away from getting through the first trimester, breathing a sigh of relief, and sharing our amazing news with the world. The doctor comes in, says hello and gets to work. I turn my head to the right to look at the screen. I immediately see my first precious baby. Wow how he has grown! In just a few weeks he has gone from a small little bean to now looking like a real baby. I see his little heart beating. Relief. The doctor moves the wand around looking for the second baby. He looks. He looks. The room is silent. Too silent. He looks at me and says “well I am sure that you have heard of a vanishing twin-this is common in IVF.” In that moment I knew exactly what he meant. My 2 babies had now gone from 2 babies to one baby. I feel warm tears rolling down my face as the nurse hands me a tissue. “It’s ok” the doctor says “it really is better this way. A single pregnancy will be better on you and your baby than a twin one would’ve.” He tries in vain to make me realize what a fabulous consolation prize I have won. Then he pats me on the leg and exits the room quickly letting me fall apart alone. The room is empty. My heart is empty. I start to dress as Joel sits silently not knowing what to say. In that moment I weep. In the hours to come I weep. In the days to come I weep. Vanish-how could my baby just vanish, my child that I had wanted more than anything that I had wanted in my life. It was growing it was developing its heart was beating and now it was gone.

Before we leave the doctor explains to us that this is normal and that many times both twins aren’t strong enough to make it on their own so one twin gives its life so the other could grow. As I write this line I still weep. My precious little hero baby.

In the days to come I was a wreck. I fell into a dark place. From the moment of conception it was always 2 babies to me in my mind. They were separate but they were one-a package deal-each wanted. I had only lost one but it felt like I had lost them both. All of my hopes and dreams for my 2 babies were now being consolidated to one child and it just didn’t feel right. It was almost like if I couldn’t have them both I didn’t want anything at all. I know how odd that sounds but I can’t explain it any better. In losing one it felt like I had lost them both. Since death had visited me it felt like all the life had left as well. How could grief and joy co-exist?

6 nights later it was Christmas Eve-we went to church. We came home and I sat down in the chair. I feel something wet. I shouldn’t be feeling anything wet. I go to the bathroom and blood is pouring out of my body and is all over my clothes. Blood-bright red blood-I will never forget the site. After the ultrasound the doctor told me that in the case of vanishing twins you won’t bleed and that if I do I should immediately go to the hospital. This wasn’t just light bleeding, this was everywhere, and it was so frightening. In that moment I felt like I had just lost the second baby. My empty heart now felt even emptier. All of those days of IVF shots, doctors appointments, ultrasounds, tears, prayers and all for nothing. My loss didn’t just entail one child-my body was now getting rid of the second one as well.

I scream for Joel. He runs into the bathroom and sees the blood. He goes silent.

“I’m miscarrying the second baby” I state as plainly as I would state that I am done with my plate. I sounded numb-I felt numb.

“What do we do?” He asks.

“We need to go to the ER.” I respond.

He assures me that no matter what everything is going to be ok. I don’t believe him.

We load up in the car and head to the ER. As we walk through the doors the waiting room is empty. Why would it be full? It’s Christmas Eve. People are supposed to be at home celebrating with their families not sitting in a stark room with broken hearts and streaming tears.

They take me to a room, take my vitals, take blood, ask questions….and more questions…and more questions…..They tell me the doctor will be there in a moment to do my ultrasound. A few moments later he is there and so is the jelly and he is moving it around. And then I see it-a small little flicker of light. Boom-boom-boom. A heartbeat. I can hardly believe my eyes. My child. My one remaining child-still remained. He hadn’t left us like his brother or sister had. He was there, he was alive and he was strong.

2 days later we had one more ultrasound in our doctor’s office where he confirmed that our sweet baby boy was still alive in my womb. He was measuring correctly, moving all around, and even appeared to wave to us. In an instant everything switched. I went from not even wanting to be pregnant to wanting this baby with all that I had. It snapped me from depression and made me realize how hard I needed to fight to bring this baby into the world. The doctor said that everything looked great and that I should carry this baby to term. My, what this child has made it through to get to us. He was a fighter-he was a soldier-we didn’t even know it was a boy yet but I told Joel he would be Milo-our little soldier.

I still have my moments of grief. I find it comes in waves. I often think about Milo’s brother or sister and wonder what they would have been like. I love Milo so much and I know that I would have loved his sibling just as much. I will never understand why it had to happen this way. I will miss my baby every day-for the rest of my life. I know one day I will weep with joy when I am finally able to meet my precious baby face to face. Gave his life so we could have our little Milo. And I will hold him in my arms and kiss his little cheeks and tell him how much he is loved and how much he was wanted.

My little hero baby.

“And you’ll kiss our tears away when we’re home to stay. Can’t wait till the day when we will see you, we will see you. But baby let sweet Jesus hold you till Mom and Dad can hold you. You’ll just have heaven before we do.” Glory Baby-Watermark