Sharing My Heartbreak: Talking About Miscarriage

I admittedly haven’t been as active on my blog this summer as I would like to be. And the truth is, the subject of this post is not what I started this blog for. My blog is generally a place where I share my favourite spots in Ottawa to visit with the kids. But, I feel compelled to write this – as off topic for my blog as it may be – because I hope it will help start healing this hole that has formed in my heart.

Part of why I haven’t been writing as much over the past few months is because I have been feeling so tired and nauseous. I had been making my way through a tough first trimester of pregnancy. This first trimester was way worse than I ever felt during my pregnancies with either my son or my daughter. An ultrasound at 14 weeks revealed why I had been feeling the effects of pregnancy far more pronounced this time – I was pregnant with twins!

Although the idea of going from two kids to four kids was totally overwhelming, my husband and I were thrilled with the news. More babies to love! And, man, do you love those babies. The minute you know you are carrying one, or two in my case, you are filled with such love for what they are and everything you hope they will grow to be.

Feeling like we were out of the first trimester woods at 14 weeks, and the risk of miscarriage was minimal, we called friends and family and shared our news. We told our other two kids and just generally found it difficult to keep our exciting news to ourselves.

My photo of the twins from our 14 week ultrasound.

But, just five days after learning I was pregnant with twins I woke up in the middle of the night to bleeding and cramping. Petrified, I lay still through the night until we went to emergency in the morning. The bleeding had stopped on its own and I prayed that all would be well. Tests by the doctor and a subsequent ultrasound reassured me that both babies were ok and both still had a strong heartbeat. I had suffered a hemorrhage but it seemed like all would be well. One of the babies was very low lying, with a slight placenta previa, and I would have to be careful with that, but I felt like the worst was now over.

The next two weeks were spent with family out in Vancouver and again I spread the news I was having twins with more  loved ones.

When I returned to Ottawa I was scheduled to have a follow up ultrasound, exactly two weeks from the bleeding. I had no worries that anything was wrong. In fact just hours before I did a cute photo shoot with both of my other kids, and I held a chalkboard in front of my slightly growing belly that read ” #3 & #4″, in anticipation of doing an official “twins announcement”. After that,  I headed off to what I thought was going to be another routine ultrasound. My husband and I waited there smiling as the ultrasound tech brought up the photo of our babies. She read off the heartbeat of Twin B, and then she looked at me and said, “I’m so, so sorry. I have to go and get the doctor.” That’s the moment my heart hit the floor. The doctor on hand returned and explained there was no heartbeat for Twin A. The hemorrhage caused the placenta to detach and sometime, in the days following the bleed, when I went about visiting my family and friends thinking everything was just fine…my baby’s heart stopped beating and I had suffered a miscarriage.

My photo of Twin A, at the 14 week ultrasound.

Since then the tears have barely stopped flowing. It still doesn’t really feel real. The high risk ultrasound team called today to confirm a follow up appointment and I actually thought they might be calling me to explain they made a mistake, and everything was fine, no miscarriage after all. But no, Twin A is gone. Twin B is looking strong, and I pray they will make to the end of this pregnancy, when I can hold them in my arms. The doctor explained that Twin A will remain inside me and gradually break down, and what is left of that baby will eventually be delivered along with Twin B. Right now it is easy for me to close my eyes and imagine that both babies are still in my belly, doing just fine and trading kicks and jabs with one another.

But, that isn’t real and the reality of my miscarriage overwhelms me with sadness. I am sad for my lost baby, and for the future that I had already imagined for them. I am sad for Lucas and Rowan who have to try and understand that one of their promised future siblings is no more. I am sad for me and my husband Leo, who had whole heartedly embraced the loving chaos that twin babies would add to our family. And I am so sad for my baby who remains growing inside me – that they will never know the twin they were meant to walk through life with.

I am trying my best to feel all the feelings that wash over me and work through this dark time. I need to be strong for the baby who is still counting on me, and my two kids who keep checking on me to “make sure mom is feeling better.” But it is hard to make sense of the joy that can fill your life so quickly, only to be ripped from you just moments later.

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