Remembering My Unborn Child

Avery and Jacob, 2007

Avery 11/2007

Above is one of the only pictures I have of my child, Avery.

In 2007 I went in for an ultrasound and discovered I was carrying twins. At the same time the Doctor shared that most likely, baby “A” wouldn’t survive.

I was devastated. I had always thought that I didn’t want twins but once I found out I was carrying two children I couldn’t imagine life as anything but a mother of twins. I spent the whole next month hoping for the best but worrying that the baby would not make it.

In December of 2007, my fears were confirmed when only one heartbeat was heard. Though I still had one child growing inside of me I was filled with grief. I wondered what kind of mother I was that I could mourn when I still had life inside of me. That was one of my most difficult and confusing times as a mother.

June 4, 2008, I gave birth to Jacob who was baby “b”. He was healthy and I was thankful that God had given me a son.

In June 2009, I gave birth to Lucas. I had a hard time calling him my second son, since in my mind he was my third child, but I knew that calling him such would confuse people so I say that Lucas is my second child.

Two children later and I still think of baby “a” (who I have since named Avery). Would I be the mother of three rambunctious boys or two wild boys and one sweet, calm girl? Would Avery have had blonde hair like Jacob or brown hair like Lucas or maybe even red like grandpa’s? What would life have been like raising twins?

I will never know.

My prayer today, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, is that no other parents would have to wonder these things, that every mom would give birth to the child they carried and that no parent would have to bury their son or daughter.

If you are raising children I hope that this serves as a reminder of just how blessed you are and that you hug them a little tighter today.

Pregnancy Loss- Coping With The Loss Of A Twin

I lost a child during pregnancy in 2007. Avery was one of two babies that I was carrying, and is my son Jacob’s twin. According to the doctor what happened was called “vanishing twin syndrome” and was “normal”. To me, the mom of twins that was going through this, it wasn’t normal. It wasn’t just “any baby”, a part of a statistic that my doctor could rattle off… it was my baby.

What follows is a writing that I found online years ago. I don’t know who the author is but when I read it I thought “wow, that is how I feel”. This person put into words what I could not so I wanted to share it with you.

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“One twin”–it seems like a contradiction in terms…It was not something we ever would have imagined at the time of learning that we were expecting twin babies, and everything became “twos”. Yet for so many of us, because of the high risks in pregnancy and birth, it is the way it turned out: we have one to care for and raise while missing and mourning for his or her twin. We experience all the realities of becoming a parent at the very same time as all the realities of becoming a bereaved parent, and all in one package. Not this year and next year, but all at once now, and “my twins”. We grieve for our baby and for our twins being together, and we worry about the impacts on our survivor. It is often a deeply sad, confusing, and physically and emotionally exhausting time. We’re the last ones who need to be told to be grateful when a baby lives–yet finding joy in our survivor can be a huge challenge, for so many reasons, even though we need and want to all the more, and want our child to be happy.

As if this weren’t enough, many of us experience feeling like we don’t fit in anywhere, and that no one understands what we are having to go through and cope with. We also usually receive comments by others who may mean well but aren’t trying to “get it”, urging us to downplay or even deny our loss. (Like we want to hurt so much–but it hurts more to act like this baby was the only one or that our other child didn’t matter.) With all the attention paid to living multiples, and little shown of the risks and realities, it is also easy to feel that we truly are the only one and are much more unique than (sadly) we actually are.

Just when others think we are or should be doing fine, is often when we need the most support. Later also there are pressures from others and from within ourselves to be “fine”, to be coping, to not expect to spend much time thinking about our baby who died or doing what we need to do in relation to him or her. Sometimes we get used to putting our grief to the side and then it can seem scary to get in touch with it when we do have the opportunity or the need.

But–we have the same amount of grief as anyone who loses a baby, plus the grief for “my twins” and the concern for our survivor, and so it gets stretched out over a fairly long period of time–longer, not shorter because of having a survivor, and complicated, not “easier”. Besides our sheer feelings of losing our baby, we have a great deal to re-live and process emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and even physically about what happened, “why” it happened, and how to somehow integrate it all into our ongoing life. While all that is going on, we are dealing with a birthday which is also the birthday, and then the anniversary, of our twin who died…other landmarks and day-to-day reminders…issues about talking to our survivor and about what they may be feeling.

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*I love and miss you, Avery*

If you have gone through a pregnancy loss, or are currently going through one, please know that I am here for you if you need somebody to talk to. I can’t say that I understand exactly what you are going through but I can listen and pray for you.

(If you are the author of this writing please let me know so I can thank you and name you as the creator of this work.)