A week after I had the thrill of seeing a very strong heartbeat blinking away on the ultrasound, I was at the doctor’s office again for what we were hoping would be my last visit to the fertility specialist. If all went well, I’d be released from the practice and sent back to my regular OB/Gyn for prenatal care.
After four miscarriages in fifteen months, it looked like we were finally going to get the happy ending we had prayed for.
Joe and I were nervous but excited. I lay on the table and watched the doctor turn on the ultrasound machine.
“Oh my,” she said.
My heart sank. I knew it was too good to be true.
“What’s wrong? Is there a problem?” I was so nervous. I’m sure I was cutting off Joe’s circulation from squeezing his hand so tightly.
The doctor was smiling and said, “No problem at all. Look at this.” She turned the screen around and in a very happy voice said: “There are two babies, not just one.”
Joe and I started to hysterically laugh. We were beyond excited.
She showed us where Twin B was. This was the baby I had seen the week before with the very strong heartbeat. This baby was measuring perfectly, and his or her little heart was flickering away on the screen. I was thrilled.
The doctor then showed us Twin A, which she let us know was measuring a bit smaller.
There was much excitement and joy in the room. The doctor took several pictures and labeled them. She gently let us know that there was a possibility that due to the smaller size, Twin A might not make it. But she was very confident that Twin B was doing great. We made an appointment for the following week, and then we would go from there.
Joe and I were beyond thrilled. We shared our news with our families, making sure they also knew that there was a chance we could end up with one baby.
I was elated and excited. But I was also very nervous. I had a hard enough time being pregnant with one baby. How would I be able to carry two? Was my body up to this? And if it wasn’t, would I end up losing both babies? After all we had gone through, could I even handle that type of loss?
It was at that moment that I decided I would enjoy every single moment of this pregnancy. And I did. I milked every moment out of carrying two babies and insisted that when I needed ice cream at 8:00 at night, it wasn’t me but both of our children that needed Joe to go out and get me vanilla Haagen-Dasz.
Our next doctor’s appointment was bittersweet. Twin B was continuing to do great. But, just as the doctor had warned us, Twin A had stopped growing a few days before. She couldn’t find a heartbeat and felt that it was now safe to say that I had a viable single pregnancy.
My feelings were jumbled. Joy and relief mixed with sadness. I wanted to mourn Twin A. I had just been told that I lost another baby. My dreams of double strollers and two of everything were dashed.
But it was impossible for me not to be thrilled that we had one strong baby. This caused me to feel guilty. What right did I have to be so happy when one baby was gone?
There was some concern over what would happen if and when my body miscarried the lost twin. Most of this concern came from me. It seemed beyond cruel that God or the universe would bring us this far only to leave us with nothing.
Those first few weeks I spent panicked over every cramp and pain, but my pregnancy continued beautifully. I never miscarried my baby’s twin. It was just absorbed by my body.
We were told that it was very possible that Twin A was the reason that my pregnancy was able to continue. The fact that my body was forced to make extra hormones could have been what I needed to finally carry a child to term.
My doctor later told me that the medical community would never be able to fully explain why I had all of the losses, nor what it was that finally made it possible for me to have my son. But I have my own theory.
When I finally held my beautiful newborn son I knew he was our miracle, and I was grateful for the baby I believe made him possible.
A version of this piece was first published on the Dishwasher, October, 2013, under the title, My long and Winding Road to Motherhood. It has been edited from the original