I mentioned a few days ago that there was a little more to my pregnancy than what I had shared. There was actually a reason I was experiencing worse symptoms this time around than I had with MacKenna.
My pregnancy started out as a twin pregnancy. Here’s the other part of the story…
I had my first ultrasound at 7 weeks + 4 days (May 16). I was scheduled for an ultrasound the day prior, but my OB/GYN ended up having to go deliver a baby, so unfortunately, Matt ended up not being able to make it to our first appointment. Thankfully, he has been through this before, so I knew that I could relay the information and would be able to show him the sonogram picture.
My doctor took a few minutes just looking at the ultrasound. I was a little worried, especially when she asked me how much I had been throwing up. I explained to her that I hadn’t, but that my symptoms were much worse than they had been with my first pregnancy. She sort of nodded her head and continued looking at the screen. Then she turned to me and said, “Would you like to see your babies?!”
I actually wasn’t as surprised as you might think. Twins actually run in my family – my mom was pregnant with twins before my brother and me but lost them at 24 weeks, my maternal grandma had twins, and my aunt (my mom’s sister) who is a twin also had twins. Matt and I had been joking for weeks that we were having twins given how early my bump was showing (seriously, I had a legit bump at 5 weeks).
My doctor turned and showed me the screen showing two gestational sacs, two yolk sacs, and two tiny little beans. However, Baby A had a great heartbeat that we were able to see on the screen but Baby B’s was much harder to pick up. We were hoping that we could see a little bit of a flicker, but she wasn’t positive if we were actually picking up a heartbeat. My doctor took a quick measurement of both babies and explained to me just how tiny and behind Baby B was measuring.
At the time, I was just so in shock and excited about the possibility of having twins that I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that we actually might lose one of them. Because we were using the portable ultrasound machine, she wanted to see me a few days later at their main office with much better equipment, just to make sure everything was OK and that Baby B was, in fact, viable.
The next 3 days were the longest days of my life. I researched (googled) all about fetal poles and heartbeats and anything that had to do with twins. I also started pinning all things twins as well, excited that there was still a possibility that we could be having 2 instead of just 1. I was cautiously optimistic, but I just knew that I was supposed to be a twin mom because I had always known that in the back of my head.
Matt was thankfully able to go with my to our next appointment and thank goodness he was there with me. I was excited to see our babies again, but so nervous about what we might – or might not – see. As soon as I was ready to go, the sonographer explained what exactly we were looking for and that she wouldn’t take long on the second baby, but had to take the measurements. But, first we got to see our beautiful little baby. Growing right on track (at 8 weeks, baby was measuring 8 weeks + 4 days) with a very strong heartbeat (167 bpm). Baby A looked just perfect. But, Baby B unfortunately was about 1/4 of the size of Baby A, measuring only 6 weeks + 3 days with no fetal heart rhythms. I was devastated. I couldn’t hold back my tears and at that point, my doctor had walked in and tried to comfort me a bit. She explained how this decreases my risk and the babies risk throughout pregnancy and that Baby A should be just fine.
I was diagnosed with Vanishing Twin Syndrome. 20 to 30% of all twin pregnancies end up as single pregnancies because of this syndrome, many times going undetected because they did not have an early ultrasound like I did. In many cases, the weaker twin is not miscarried like other typical miscarriages (cramping, bleeding, etc.), but (like in my case) instead is just crowded out and “absorbed” by the surviving twin.
I admit that I continued to research until our 12 week appointment, hoping that there was a possibility we could find a heartbeat at 12 weeks. I just really wanted to have twins. Unfortunately, at our 12 week ultrasound, Baby B had not grown at all and we could still see the little dot on the screen of its tiny little body. I am hoping that by the next ultrasound at 20 weeks, Baby A will have crowded Baby B out so I don’t have to relive the heartbreak again.
It has been a very confusing and emotional couple of weeks. Quite honestly, I haven’t really talked to or told many people about it. Of course, our families knew since the beginning because we really wanted as many prayers as we could get, but it’s just too hard to talk about and many people just don’t understand my emotions (of course, pregnancy hormones are not helping) since I am still pregnant with one healthy baby. Women who have not lost a baby before don’t seem to understand, and those that have think I’m lucky to still have one. There really hasn’t been anyone to turn to that can provide the empathy and support I need (except Matt of course). So, I decided to keep it to myself until now. Which I guess is why I’m writing about it now – I needed to get the experience and my emotions out.
Please understand that I absolutely know how very fortunate I am to still be pregnant with Baby #2, and believe me, we are absolutely over the moon excited for this baby to join us in about 6 months! I get more and more excited about our new addition every single day. But, my heart still mourns for the baby that we lost. That was still my baby and I would give anything to be able to hold that baby in my arms, even for just a few minutes. Because I think any mom can understand that regardless the outcome of any pregnancy, you still want and love that child, regardless if you carried them for 9 months or only knew about them for 3 days.