So this one has taken a while.
To be honest I just couldn’t bring myself to write it. I’m ok talking and writing shorter social updates but there seemed to be something very ‘definite’ about sharing the change in our pregnancy journey in a dedicated post.
For anyone who doesn’t follow me on social media and isn’t aware of our current situation here’s a little update.
We had a happy, positive twin pregnancy scan at 18weeks where both our twin girls were doing well and growing as expected. In fact we had a good giggle at seeing one of them giving the other a little kick and I felt the motherly instinct hit straight away as I went to tell them off. We left with our photos, blissfully happy and excited for the next 19weeks before we would meet our precious little babies.
Unfortunately life had other ideas. At our 21week scan we were given the devastating news that one of our little girl’s hearts had stopped beating. I never thought you could feel such actual pain in your heart as I did at that moment. I felt sick. To begin with I couldn’t even cry I was just frozen, it didn’t seem real and I just wanted to wake up from the nightmare. Then the flood gates opened. Not only were we utterly heartbroken but we were in total shock.
How? Why? I had no symptoms whatsoever. No pain, cramping or bleeding – how could this be true? How could I not have known?
It was with the last thought that the guilt sets in. How could my little baby have passed away inside of me, her mummy, and I never noticed a thing. I was going about my day-to day, rubbing and talking to my belly and chatting to people about the excitement of expecting our twins.
The next couple of days were basically just a blur. We cried a lot. We talked alot – which I now know has done so much to help get us both into our current frame of mind. We signed out – of social media, phones and to some extent the real world. We took ourselves out. Sitting in the house wasn’t going to help. We went for long drives. Found quiet beaches and parks and went for long walks. We hugged each other and held hands tighter than ever before. We cried some more.
I’ve always held a very strong belief that things happen for a reason and I had to continue to believe in that to get me through the pain and help me make some sort of sense out of everything. I’ve always been a very ‘practical’ person, it’s how I deal with life and in essence is my coping mechanism. We told each other that our little angel just wasn’t meant for this world and in some unfathomable way that this must be the kindest path for all of us. We have too many special angels in heaven to have let her or us suffer this for no reason. I’ve always had a level of faith but admittedly this loss has deepened it.
Friends and family have rallied around us and I honestly will never be able to express how much the kindness of strangers touched our hearts. Thank you all.
A few days ‘out’ helped us to gather our thoughts and ourselves. I’m not sure how or if you ever fully come to terms with the loss of a baby, I think a piece of our hearts will always be missing and that ache will always be there. We knew though we had to pick ourselves up and life had to go on, not just for our own sakes but for the little fighter we still had growing inside us.
The big 21 week scan may have broken us down, but the one joy we could still take from it was that ‘twin 1’, our beautiful little girl, was perfect. All her organs were checked and we heard her little heart beat strongly. She was fighting so we needed to aswell.
People continue to comment on my ‘bravery’. Truth is I feel like a fraud. I’m brave because I have to be. It’s all I can to do for my growing baby. I can only hope that my positivity and resilience will radiate to her.
Where we are now
I’ve just hit 30 weeks now and every single little (and big) kick from within my belly fills me with more happiness than I could ever had imagined. I whisper to her everyday – ‘keep fighting babydoll, kick as hard as you like’.
We had weekly scans up until 26 weeks and now we are having fortnightly scans. So far she is continuing to grow and develop beautifully but we just can’t wait to have her in our arms healthy and happy.
The twins are in separate sacs with their own placenta which has reduced some of the risks to the continuing pregnancy and for the safety of our other little girl and for me, but we still continue to take every day as it comes. The countdown is day by day and never before has 24hrs seemed like such a lengthy period of time. There is a constant fear within me and never before have I strained so hard to listen to every movement and change to my body. I expect that’s normal though.
The aim is still for 37-38 weeks which is standard delivery policy in Craigavon for most twin pregnancies. Although only one of my precious little babies is kicking I continue to carry them both and will do until their delivery day. Something I know a lot of people hadn’t realised.
I’m not sure how I will prepare myself for delivery and the bitter sweet reality of it all. What I do know is that it’s going to be absolutely brutal emotionally. It will undoubtedly reignite the heartache in a much more ‘real’ and definite way. It’s when we will have to say goodbye and hello. Cry the tears of grief, alongside (please God) the tears of happiness. I’m not sure how any heart deals with that and I for sure wish I didn’t have to find out… but such is life.
I just keep telling myself as long as she’s ok we will all get through it together. To give birth to a baby and an angel all at once, is definitely not something I’d ever considered my fate.
One thing I have learned through our heartbreak is how many people suffer broken hearts in all aspects and stages of pregnancy. So many of you have got in touched and shared your stories with me and I think it’s so important for anyone who has suffered a loss to be able to talk about it openly and freely if they so wish. Silence is what makes miscarriage such a taboo and even more of a surprise if it falls at your door.
It wasn’t until it happened to me that I realised how unfortunately common it truly is.
I was so naive going into this pregnancy as a healthy 30 yr old, I never imagined anything would ever go wrong. That happened to other people, not us. Having breezed through the entire pregnancy with no symptoms or sickness at all, bar a very healthy appetite and a visibly rounder face, I never had any cause for concern. We never had a hint of worry given to us at any scan (and as a twin pregnancy we got scanned much more often than a single).
Sometimes there just isn’t a rhyme or reason. Sometimes there isn’t a sign.
I think that’s important for everyone to know.
My sole focus now is on this little one. Nothing has ever given my life so much perspective. In a roundabout way the heartbreak of loss has made me appreciate even more the miracle of growing a little life… I just wish it didn’t have to be that way. Never take pregnancy for granted – it’s the most amazing, special gift the world has to offer and one begrudged to so many loving hearts.
Our little princess and I will gladly take all the love, good wishes, positive thoughts and prayers you wish to send our way for the coming weeks. Getting to hold her in my arms as a healthy, happy new born is the only thing my heart wants. I know she has a special guardian angel in her sister who will protect her from within and all the days of her life. One thing’s for sure, my little girl will always know she was a twin. What she probably won’t ever fully realise though is just how much her little kicks, her beating heart and her undeniable presence as an unborn baby, gave her mummy and daddy the strength to keep smiling and hoping. I just want the chance now to repay that debt, to raise her, watch her grow and love her unconditionally for the rest of my life.
Keep fighting baby girl, please, please, please … keep fighting.