“We found out very early that we were pregnant. I had been watching my cycle closely, and the first day I thought there might be a possibility to detect pregnancy, I took the test. With our first son, we tried for several months to get pregnant. So, I was ecstatic to see a positive right away.
A few weeks later, I noticed a bit of bleeding, so I quickly called my doctor in a panic. I thought to myself, ‘It must be a miscarriage.’ I was a nervous wreck. We hurried downstate and arrived for our ultrasound. The technician was very quiet during the screening. I had a huge pit in the bottom of my stomach. Something was wrong, I was sure of it.
She stepped out of the room to give my OB a call. When she returned, she looked at me and said, ‘There’s not just one healthy baby. There’s two.’
My husband, Ethan, about fell to the floor in shock. Suddenly, I wasn’t crying over what I thought would have been terrible news. I was crying in complete confusion. Two? Twins? Twins only very distantly run in the family, so the possibility had never been on our radar.
Pretty immediately, I moved from feeling overwhelmed and confused, to feeling excited. Honored, even. I felt pride and I felt instantly connected to these two new babies I had been chosen to carry.
This was my second pregnancy, so my belly muscles did not hesitate to go into full blown preggo tummy. Therefore, we couldn’t keep our news a secret for long. Right at twelve weeks, I told the world, ‘When Ethan and I do something, we go BIG! Introducing the Resteiner TWINS! Due in January!’
I was proud of my rapidly growing belly and loved feeling both babies fluttering and wiggling regularly. I was so in awe of the lives that were growing inside of me.
Eight weeks later, I went into the doctor’s office for an ultrasound. Something just felt… wrong. The last time I had experienced this feeling, wonderful news had followed. The news of twins. So, I tried to discard the thought. ‘Wonderful news,’ I thought to myself. ‘That will surely be the case this time around too.’
The technician put the ultrasound jelly on my abdomen. It only took a few moments to see that one of our babies was drastically smaller than the other. Once again, I dismissed the worry, perhaps because I didn’t want to comprehend what that could mean.
She continued to scan our larger baby and we heard the heartbeat of a healthy baby boy. When she moved the probe over to our other baby, we didn’t hear anything. Silence. I was in complete disbelief. I thought there had to be something they weren’t detecting.
‘I’m so sorry, but I’m not finding a heartbeat for this baby.’ I began to sob on the table. ‘There must be some mistake.’ But as much I wanted there to be, there was no mistake. One of my babies had died. We had a healthy, growing baby boy alongside his twin, frozen in time, lifeless.
Afterward, there were many medical questions that arose. I was told, ‘At this point, the goal for you is to carry both babies for the remainder of your pregnancy.’ I had to deliver my twins together. One alive, one deceased.
The next 18 weeks were consumed in grief and terror, and a constant stream of doctors and tests. Each visit was filled with fear that bad news would be shared and every single night came a panic attack over how long it had been since I last felt our baby boy move.
Ultrasounds would send me into a spiral of paranoia and were a visual representation of what we were gaining and what we had lost. I had extreme anxiety about losing our healthy twin and, perhaps irrationally, gave up almost all physical activity in fear of causing complications. I was unwell in every way.
My only priorities were caring for my toddler, protecting our healthy baby, and somehow coming up for air in a sea of grief. At home, my heart would break when I walked into our nursery where the second crib box was stored, along with the two new matching high chairs. In public, my stomach would turn when I would have to answer questions. Questions that were once so simple with a healthy pregnancy were now so much more complicated to answer. Questions like, ‘How far along are you?’ or ‘Do you know what you are having?’ and ‘What number baby is this for you?’
Even worse were the acquaintances that meant well but did not know what to say. Remarks like, ‘I heard you lost one of your twins. How is that going?’ or ‘At least you have your healthy baby’ or ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ The thoughtless questions and hurtful remarks seared into my gaping wound until I would practically lose my breath. Instead of explaining my reality, and breaking down in front of strangers, I just avoided leaving my house altogether.
I was living a life of contradiction. I was full of joy and excitement for our newest son, and in complete despair at the loss of our second baby. Delivery quickly neared. And with it, the reality that I would be losing the only physical connection I would ever have with our deceased twin, all while celebrating the new life we were welcoming into our family.
On January 4th, 2019 our twins were born. Konrad, hollering and healthy, was born alongside his still and heavenly sister, Kit Marie.
Today, my arms are full and empty at the same time. My heart beams with pride for my sons and yearns for my daughter. I look at Konrad and wonder if she would have had dark hair like his or if she would share his big gaping smile.
And yet, amidst my pain and amidst my aching, somehow the world still spins. Through losing Kit, and growing Konrad, I have learned that joy and sadness can coexist. I’ve navigated waters filled with extraordinary despair right alongside elation and hope.
As a mother, I fear that her existence will be forgotten. No one met Kit apart from me, no one felt her little spins and flips apart from me, no one had to say goodbye like I did.
Will anyone remember? The question haunts me, so although it rips me apart to tell her story, I will continue to share her name. Kit was here. Kit’s existence was real and purposeful. Kit is my daughter and she is loved.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Erin Resteiner of West Branch, Michigan. You can follow her journey on Instagram here. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more from strong women battling loss:
‘I whispered to myself, ‘It’s going to be okay.’ The silence in the room was deafening. I held my breath as the wand slid over my stomach.’
‘She let out a deep, gut-wrenching wail. ‘I want my baby sister back!’ She cried. In that moment, they saw mama fall apart for the first time.’
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