It was 2009 when I got pregnant. It was my second pregnancy; my little girl had just turned 1. We found out it was identical twins, it was crazy, we had planned for 2 kids and we already had one!
Early on there was a scare. It would be a high risk pregnancy but we shouldn’t worry. That was when I started researching. At 5-6 weeks, I discovered a disease called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. It was one of the things that showed up; I had checked everything about identical twin complications.
We went to the high risk doctor and got more monitoring and everything was fine. The first signs don’t usually show up until about 16 weeks. They said it happens in 10-15 % of pregnancies. We thought, it happens but it’s not going to happen to us.
At 14 weeks all was good and I started asking about TTST. The doctor just kept saying don’t worry about it, it’s not your problem, let us worry about it.
At 16 weeks he started seeing early warning signs, fluid levels were unbalanced. The doctor told us that probably our babies wouldn’t make it and we should just terminate the pregnancy. Then he said I’ve got to go teach a class and walked about of the room.
I came home and I started researching more. I found a doctor that specialized in TTTS who would do laser surgery if necessary. We started seeing him and we were being monitored with high level ultrasounds. Technically we never progressed beyond border line stage one so we weren’t even candidates for laser surgery.
It happened sometime between the 22 and 23 week ultrasound.
I was taking a shower with my daughter. I picked her up and felt the pain in my side. I had had a lot of pain during the pregnancy but this one didn’t go away.
It was the week of Rosh Hashanna. I felt less heavy and overall better that week and I walked to Synagogue. I didn’t know that she had died. The fluid levels must have reduced.
After we learned that the first baby died we sat in the doctor’s office and they explained what was going to happen. I asked if it was something I did and they said it wasn’t possible. I let myself believe that. I hate uttering the words that it was meant to happen, but I do believe that there was nothing I could have done to stop it.
After I wasn’t pregnant anymore, I didn’t leave the house for 3 weeks.
We really thought it was something that happened and we would move on, like the way other people think it happens. I’m a really strong person, I don’t dwell on stuff, I’m kind of a get over it, pick yourself up kind of girl.
And though I didn’t think it would be that easy I thought I could come at it with strength and logic, but soon realized it wasn’t that way. I learned how to grieve and that it doesn’t just go away.
My husband didn’t grieve the same way as I did. I would sit on line and look at pictures of 24 week old fetuses, I would go to the cemetery and he didn’t go. I felt like I was broken and he didn’t need to be broken too. I knew he was grieving and he was more supportive of me than anything else. We were isolated from others together.
I didn’t talk to anybody, didn’t connect. I would be online and in support groups but didn’t reach out to friends and family. I went back to work, I told them not to say anything because I was scared I would fall apart.
There’s a lot of pain that comes from the kind of shame associated with baby loss. That needs to stop. It will only happen if the people who are fighting their feelings start being honest about how they feel. When you hear on line how honest people are about their feelings, it’s so different from how they are with people in their lives, it’s sad.
There is enormous discomfort; people don’t know how to treat you so they prefer to pretend that it never happened. When someone has a miscarriage, people make themselves feel better by minimizing the other person’s loss because technically it’s small. It’s a broken mentality, when they say she’ll get past it, be strong. Why do I have to? For you?
I was so ignorant about it so it’s why I speak about it now.
On those boards with all those women, there is so much they are feeling that goes unspoken. I found over the years, I have a big mouth! I can’t stand to be in situations where people are being insensitive, I speak up. I guess it’s what I’m supposed to do.
I believe that this happened to me because I’m supposed to do something meaningful with it. I think that this was my own personal wake- up call; I was living on auto pilot, neglecting my own talents, not mothering the way I wanted to, working too much.
My life wasn’t so fabulous; I wasn’t doing anything great in the world. I had always pictured myself as an entrepreneur, very creative, live a really great life. Suddenly in my cave I realized that things weren’t so great, yet I’d gone through all this. Now I needed to balance the scale to make the life worthy of the sacrifice I’d made in losing my babies.
Part of my story is in this moment, what I know now. As I fell lower and lower into this grief, I was learning about myself. I noticed on line that people buried in their grief, I didn’t want to be one of those women. Here I am 3 years later and I’m still on line but in a whole different way, I’m making the choice to heal.
The only regret was that I didn’t have a labor so I didn’t get to meet them. My doctor discouraged me; she said the baby that died sooner would be misshapen. I didn’t realize that when you do the procedure, the babies are dismembered. That was really hard. If I had known that I couldn’t have done it.
I never realized what women do in other places. That they hold their babies and take pictures and they get hand and foot prints and memories boxes. I was stuck in a place of just let it go away. I didn’t fully comprehend it. Until I started seeing other people’s pictures and realized that I could have held them. Afterwards there was no proof I’d ever been pregnant, I just woke up and went home. That was really hard; I could barely believe that I had lived through it.
Thankfully, my family stepped in and made sure they were buried in a Jewish cemetery. It was about 6 weeks after they died, I was at my lowest. I thought I was getting better but I got worse. I called my mom and asked where they were buried and my mom told me. I got on line and punched in my last name and it said fetus A and fetus B. It was the first real acknowledgement that they had existed. It was the first proof; I went to the cemetery the next day.
That section of the cemetery was horrible, just plastic marks on graves. No one in my world knew their names, Sunshine and Daisy. I came home and found some huge rocks and painted their names and dates with sunshine and daisies.
About a year later I got an email through Facebook. A distant acquaintance told me she had lost a son and on the one year anniversary of her son she went to the cemetery. She saw my rocks, her son was buried beside my babies and that brought her comfort.
I woke up from the procedure crying; I went to sleep crying and the first thing out of my mouth was, I want to be pregnant again.
Liat was born almost a year after they died. She’s the reason I made the choice to heal. I was so black inside; I didn’t want her to form in me in darkness. I wanted her to be in light. I even started wearing sequins to bring in some light.
A child never replaces the lost child.