“Unfortunately we have walked these halls before, leaving with empty arms. This is the second time in two years we have left this hospital through these doors without our baby.
Two years ago we were expecting our first child, after a year and a half of struggling to conceive with endometriosis. We finally got to see those beautiful two pink lines. Our pregnancy was great, I was feeling fantastic, not sick, my belly was growing by the day. Ultrasound after ultrasound everything was as it should be. We picked names, we picked nursery themes, we bought big items, we sent our baby shower invites. Seven months into our pregnancy the baby stopped kicking. I knew in my heart something was wrong.
The morning of May 18th I had showered and was getting ready for work. The baby hadn’t kicked, I tried everything that had worked in the past to allow others to feel her kick. Nothing. We went to the ER and they brought us to labor and delivery. They scanned with the Doppler. ‘Are you sure your OB has heard the heartbeat on the Doppler? Maybe she is just hiding!’ I knew then, they were buying time. Poking my belly saying, ‘come on, give us something baby.’ The OB walked in with the portable ultrasound and he took one look. He sat on my bed and said the words I knew we were going to hear – they shattered our world in an instant. ‘There is no heartbeat.’ We were induced that day and after 28 hours of intense labor our beautiful daughter, Elle, was born on May 19, 2016 without a cry. The silence of the room was heart wrenching as the tears came from everyone but her.
My husband and I decided to take some time to ourselves and grieve the death of our daughter and the future we had planned and lost so quickly.
From as young as I can remember I wanted to be a mom. I wanted four or more children. I met the man of my dreams, had to talk him into more then one or two children and he agreed whole heartedly. The struggle of trying to conceive and now a stillborn child haunted every dream we had for our family. Where did we go from here?
We went to couples and group counseling to heal, grieve and try to understand why this happened. We will never know. Every test was perfect.
We were going to spend the summer healing and trying to enjoy life. We planned a spur of the moment trip to Vegas with friends who wanted to help make us happy and laugh again. What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas …. when we returned home I was off. I knew in my heart I was pregnant again. I was scared, terrified, emotional. We weren’t trying. We thought we would have another long struggle of getting pregnant. Seven short weeks after our daughter we were pregnant.
This pregnancy was the same physically, everything was great, all the tests were perfect and there were a lot of tests. The only problem was my mental state. I was a mess, I was depressed, experiencing severe anxiety and PTSD of ultrasounds and OB appointments. I would end up in labor and delivery for every little symptom. With my husband, mom and sister by my side for 37 weeks we walked into that hospital terrified but April 7th, 2017, we finally got to bring a baby home through those halls. Our rainbow baby, Nash, was finally here, he was perfect and alive.
Our son healed us in ways we didn’t know we needed. He was a light to the dark days we had experienced. It was difficult to parent after loss but we managed every day. Day after day our hearts were heavy yet beginning to feel joy and love again.
We decided that when our son was 9 months we would try again for a sibling. We would not let fear hold us back from expanding our family. We didn’t have to try long and we were pregnant again. All the anxiety came rushing back. We knew that little baby for two weeks when the cramps and bleeding started late one evening. We miscarried on our son’s first birthday. Devastated doesn’t describe our emotions, how could this happen again? We already had to endure our daughter being stillborn now we have to deal with a miscarriage.
Time went on and we talked and prayed and decided we still needed to try for another baby. We wanted to expand our family. On Thanksgiving we found out we were expecting again. This time I didn’t allow the anxiety, I didn’t allow the depression. I was calm, I was positive and confident. This baby was coming home with us.
On Halloween we went in for our first ultrasound. Not only did we see one heartbeat we saw TWO. Identical twins. We lost two babies and now we get to be pregnant with two more. The dreams of expanding our family were coming true.
The pregnancy was great, I was experiencing some symptoms, my belly was getting even bigger by the day again. I was so nauseous but so happy. The days and weeks went by. We picked out names, began planning, began buying bigger items again (we now needed two of everything) I wasn’t letting fear or anxiety in. I was the happiest I truly believe I had ever been.
We were 15 weeks and off to a regular ultrasound. My only fear crept in every single ultrasound ‘please let there be a heartbeat.’ There they were, two identical beating hearts fluttering away on the screen. We met with the OB after the ultrasound and she calmly said, ‘you’re a complicated case.’ I replied, ‘I know,’ with laughter, assuming she meant our past and my endometriosis. She then said, ‘No, the babies, this is a really complicated pregnancy.’ In that moment my world shattered again. I knew we weren’t going to be able to bring these babies home.
We were diagnosed with TTTS – Twin – Twin Transfusion Syndrome. It affects up to 30% – 40% of identical twin pregnancies. Depending on the stage and severity of the diagnosis is how treatment can proceed. We were given a very somber diagnosis of Stage 4 leading into Stage 5 with no treatment possible. We asked for second opinions, talked to the best maternal fetal medicine teams and saw for our own eyes our little babies fighting to stay healthy. Unfortunately Baby A was keeping Baby B alive and doing all the work but this was not good for Baby A either. Her little body was strained, over worked and had developed hydrops which caused heart and brain defects from too much blood and oxygen supply. The weeks passed and the shock of the diagnosis set in. We knew where this pregnancy was taking us again, and that their little hearts would stop beating, another traumatic second trimester loss.
December 19th, 2019, we said goodbye again to our identical twin daughters, Elliott and Ensley, who were so deeply loved and wanted. We now have four babies looking down on us and protecting us.
Hope. It’s all we have left.
Life has been literally ripped from us more times then can be imagined in all different ways. Yet somehow we are still hanging onto hope. Some days and some hours it doesn’t seem like we have much more to give but we have the most caring and compassionate family and friends. When we lack our hope, they have it for us.
We are not done fighting. This is hardest fight we have endured in our lives. It has made us stronger yet completely shattered. We won’t give up on each other or our family. We don’t know what the future holds for us but we do know, throw anything at us and we will stand together and take it on with broken hearts, tears and a little laughter.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jenn Gauvreau. Submit your story here. For our best stories, subscribe to our free email newsletter.
SHARE this story on Facebook or Twitter to support those struggling with miscarriage and loss.