our other baby

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.

Twin Ultrasound

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.

8 week ultrasound

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.

  • Kristen’s Mom

    You’ve got me crying again! Just like we will never forget Matthew and Melissa (and we don’t want to ever forget), it will be the same for you. It was your baby and always will be. And it’s okay to mourn the loss of that baby.

  • jen

    I am so proud of you for being brave enough to share this and being honest about the feelings of loss. Regardless of how many children you have, that baby was your child and your feelings are very much appropriate and ok. You never know who may be able to relate to your story and find some comfort in knowing they aren’t alone.

  • Stefani Ketelsen

    First, thank you for sharing. I read this while rocking my almost 4 month old “rainbow baby” back to sleep. My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of our first child. I even hesitate calling our daughter our first. (I stick with first born)
    Please do not feel guilty mourning. That little one is your child. No matter how long God allowed you to care for them. No matter if you have 10 kids after this. This child mattered to you and you shouldn’t need to apologize for being a, well, a mom.
    (BTW, I believe we have met in real life at least once. You began working at your last school after I left and moved out of state. I visited a couple times soon after moving.)
    Again, thank you for being brave enough to share.

    • Kristen

      This baby will always be a twin to us, I’m sure. He or she is twinless, but none the less, still a twin. My mom even told me this morning (after reading and commenting) that she has been telling people I am pregnant with twins but that one isn’t growing. I like to think of it that way, since I will never forget that baby.

      And funny that we have probably met before! It’s a small world!

  • Haley

    Hugs to all of you <3

  • I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your baby.
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  • Katie D.

    I lost my first baby around 8 weeks (6 weeks gestational age) and it still brings me to tears thinking about that sweet baby that I love. Now I’m 39 weeks pregnant and getting induced on Sunday, but it doesn’t block the loss or the fear that comes with lossing someone that you love so much. *hugs*

    • Kristen

      Congrats on your pregnancy and I hope your delivery goes well! It won’t block the loss, but just know that holding that baby will be the best thing to ever happen to you! (hugs)

  • Jamie

    Hugs….as someone who lost two babies before ever experiencing the joy of holding a baby in my arms, I am so sorry for your loss. You have every right to mourn the loss of Baby B and hurt that you will not get to meet your sweet little one. I’m happy that Baby A is thriving and I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes amazingly. Thank you for sharing your story, it was incredibly brave. <3

  • Sarah

    I’m so sorry, Kristen. I will say a prayer for you and your family. I lost my first pregnancy at 9 weeks and even though I went on to have a healthy baby boy later, for which I am eternally grateful, it still hurts. You are incredibly brave to share your experience, I had no idea vanishing twin syndrome was that common.

  • I know exactly how you feel. It doesn’t matter how early it happens, it is still a loss. Let me know if you need anything.

    • Kristen

      Thanks Melissa. I know – we lost ours the day after you posted about your loss, but we already knew that it was a possibility.

  • Kari

    Having never experienced the loss of a baby, I can’t say I know or understand how you feel, but I would imagine that it would be very difficult and heartbreaking. Hugs and prayers to you!

  • Ugh, this takes me back 🙁 I’m so sorry for your loss Kristen, I know how much it sucks. I feel for you, and know how awful it is to be in a doctors office and get that kind of “unknown” news and have to wait and hope only to have your hopes crushed. I’m glad to hear Baby A is doing great, but I know how devasting it is to lose a baby and I think you have every right to still be upset about it. I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes well and congratulations.
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  • ((HUG))
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  • Aw I am so sorry to hear about this. That really is terrible. I am so happy that Baby A is doing well, but still – so rotten.

  • Rachael

    Beautifully written. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • Kathleen

    Having worked at a pregnancy center for a number of years, I’ve seen every reaction you can imagine to a positive pregnancy test, a negative pregnancy test, the news of twins, the loss of a pregnancy at any week and the birth of a baby. I think what I’ve learned from these incredible women is that there really is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel, and sometimes how you feel can change from one day to the next and then cycle through again. The clearest indication for success and healing seems to be amongst women who have a support system that allows them to be in the space that they are in, for as long as they need to be, and who place no judgement on any of their feelings. In reading your Mom’s comment and from the way you write about your husband, it seems very clear to me that you have these systems in place. Thank you for sharing your story here, I’ll pray for your pregnancy, God bless.

    • Kristen

      It’s crazy to go from feeling so sad to feeling so excited at the same time. It’s been extremely confusing but I am definitely feeling much better and yes, I am thankful for a good support system.

  • Lee

    I’m really sorry. You have every right to feel sad about it.
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  • sending prayers and thoughts and love your way
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  • sending hugs your way, girl. what a tough situation!
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  • Jen

    I’m so, so sorry for your loss Kristen! My Dr thinks that’s what happened during my pregnancy with Hadley too. I’m so glad baby A is doing well though. <3
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    • Kristen

      When I was doing my research, a lot of things came up about VTS on Misdiagnosed Miscarriage (I was hoping for the opposite – that my miscarriage was wrong and that I still had 2) and I thought of you. There were a few times when I was needing someone to talk to about it that I almost emailed you, but didn’t. I am thankful that I didn’t have any miscarriage symptoms though. I just hate having to see that poor little thing with every ultrasound…