Warning: this may be too emotional and/or graphic for some. . . you’ve been forewarned.
Today, I wait with the knowledge that my triplets are now a singleton. This is a tough pill to swallow. It’s even harder when compounded with the loss of our single pregnancy eight months ago. This means, in 8 months, I have lost 75% of the babies we have conceived. That’s not a great statistic folks.
I’m mired in grief. I can’t stop crying. I keep hearing, “well, at least you still have one”. That’s not helpful. . . yes, I have one, but for how long? With the way things are going, I have almost no hope that our remaining baby is going to go to term and come home with us.
Here’s our healthy Baby B. She was dancing all over and wiggling those little arms and legs. Baby A who should have been doing the same, was still and had no detectable heartbeat. We don’t know why Baby A died. . . she was the one with the strongest heartbeat from the beginning. . . just a week before this tragic ultrasound, both A & B had heartbeats of 166 & 171 and looked great.
It’s hard for me to look at that photo of B. . . I feel a mixture of incredible sadness over Baby A and a fierce fear that when we go back in a week Baby B will be gone as well. I am scared to allow myself to continue to be attached to B, because I am so fearful that we will lose her too.
I feel no comfort, no joy, nothing but emptiness. I should be thrilled to be pregnant. Instead, I am overwhelmed by a deep sense of grief, loss, and fear. Will I feel better if I make it past the next ultrasound with a healthy baby? Will I feel better when I can hear the heartbeat at home on the doppler every day? Will I feel better when we pass viability? Something tells me that I will never be completely filled with joy and anticipation with this pregnancy (and maybe not with any future pregnancies). I know only too well how quickly things can change, how many things can go wrong.
Even after a tremendous struggle with infertility (that bane of my life despite mothering five children), I went into this pregnancy fully believing we would bring 3 babies home at 36 weeks gestation. It never crossed my mind that we would actually be in the statistics of loss in multiple pregnancy. I knew the statistics, but I didn’t seem to have the risk factors. . . my previous pregnancies did well once I got them in me, in fact, they never wanted to move out. The losses I’d suffered in the past had all been early, before a heartbeat was detected. Adjusting from 3 to 2 babies wasn’t horrific, since Baby C stopped developing early and never developed a heartbeat. I mourned that baby, that little soul that I will never know on earth. But, I was able to adjust and find joy in the knowledge of my healthy twins, who I could carry to term with less risk than a triplet pregnancy. We had several good ultrasounds with strong heartbeats on Baby A & B, so when we went in last week, I fully expected to see two little dancing babies on the screen. Instead, I saw one doing exactly what it should be and the other was still, so very still.
Everyone wants me to be happy that we still have a baby. Even the RE feels we’ve fulfilled the purpose. Our goal was to get a baby, which at this time we have. But what about the other babies. . . the ones that should be growing inside of me and aren’t. I fear that when B arrives (if we make it that far), I will always look at her and mourn what should have been. I wonder if she will feel the loss of her siblings (or at least the twin that remains with her, not moving).
I dread my next ultrasound. I want to see my baby, healthy and bouncy. . . I fear she will be still too. I don’t want to see our Baby A, much smaller than B as she grows. I don’t want the reminder that I have a dead baby inside my body and there is nothing I can do about it. Baby C’s sac is still there, but finally seems to be decreasing in size, I can’t see Baby C inside the sac so it’s a little easier to deal with. Baby A was a little baby, with a strong heartbeat. That’s a terrible sight to see. And of course, there is a part of me that hopes and prays we are one of those stories, you know, the couple you hear about that is told their baby is dead only later to discover they were wrong. I saw Baby A, I saw the cyst/clot in her umbilical cord, I saw her stretched out cord and how far away from her placenta she was (which is something my Dr said he hadn’t seen before), I saw the fluid filling up her little chest. . . I saw her still body without even a flutter of a heartbeat. It would truly take a miracle for her to be alive, I believe in miracles, I pray for that miracle. . .
Some like to say that all of this is “God’s plan”. To that I say, “how can you know?”. Do we honestly believe that God’s plan allows teenagers to have healthy babies and women conceive who are going to kill their unborn child? Do we believe that there is glory in couples who love children, can take care of their children, who are striving to raise godly children, and yet, must spend thousands of dollars and years of anguish to try to bring children home? Maybe God’s plan is for us to adopt children. . . I am so very open to that, however, it appears those doors are closed to us right now for a myriad of reasons. If God’s plan was for us to adopt, wouldn’t those doors open? If God’s plan for us didn’t include more babies, why would he allow our infertility struggles to reach fruition and then rip those little ones away? None of that makes sense to me. I’m a strong believer that God created us and our reproductive biology for a reason. Humans are not the most efficient breeders, but since we are the only species that copulates for recreation, that’s probably a good thing. I believe that sometimes, through faulty genetics, through lifestyle choices, through environmental factors, some of us have faulty reproductive systems. I really don’t believe that God decided my cervix should be crap, but rather, I believe it received damage from medical procedures I needed. I believe my genetics which have been shaped by marriages, dietary and lifestyle choices, and environmental factors, afforded me with PCOS which affects the way my body ovulates (among other things). I know without a doubt, that I have made lifestyle choices throughout my life that may have affected my overall fertility and I can’t reverse those things in a short span of time. Do I believe that all of this was God’s plan? Nope. I believe we were created a physically perfect species and through time and choice, we’ve become less perfect. So please spare me the “it’s God’s plan” talk about my dead babies. If it was God’s plan, then I would have only conceived the baby I could carry (if there is truth to my body not being able to carry 2 or 3, which medically is hogwash as I’m strong and was assured I would be on the high end of multiple gestation term). God doesn’t intentionally force grief upon us.
Right now, I’m having a hard time functioning. I’m finding it difficult to interact with my living children. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m lost. Is that God’s plan? Does he want my living children to suffer through my grief? Does he want my darling oldest daughter to spend hours in tears crying for her dead, unborn sibling? What in that gives glory? We know that God is good and we don’t doubt that for a second. My children continue to pray for our remaining baby to be healthy. . . and for a miracle.
My other option for dealing with this is to believe that our infertility struggles and pregnancy loss is punishment for my past sins. I know that even with forgiveness, punishment happens. But how much and for how long? 3 babies or 4? Years upon years? My only sense of worth is through being a mother. . . I would be thrilled to welcome child after child into our lives. . . I know we are incredibly blessed, I birthed three beautiful daughters and I gained two amazing sons when I married their remarkable daddy. We are blessed. Our lives are amazing and full. But we have room for more. We have more love to give. We have more room in our home, our lives, our hearts. Our children beg us for siblings (because evidently, 5 is not enough!).
This post barely skims the surface of my emotions. . . they are so intense that I can’t even process through it all. Most of my days are spent in tears, but I’m praying for the sunshine.