I write this now. Numb. It’s been five days since I lost my twins, and my life has been a living nightmare since. I’ve tried numerous times to sit and write this story. And each time, I can’t. This isn’t the story I ever set out to tell. These aren’t words I ever thought would belong to me.
My water broke at 17 weeks. At 17 weeks and one day, I lost my twins, an angel boy and an angel girl.
I spent last Friday sneaking off from work to attend an early gender-reveal ultrasound. It was going to be a Christmas surprise for us, and Sara knew nothing about it. I had the technician seal the information in an envelope, and Sara and I were going to open it together Christmas morning — to find out together, and to later that day share the news with our families. The sealed envelope burned a whole in my pocketbook and I just knew I’d never be able to wait the four days to find out what its contents revealed. I rushed home and told Sara what I had been up to that day. She thought I was joking. I showed her the sealed envelope and she screamed.
“Should we wait?” I asked, feeling guilty that I had already spoiled our Christmas surprise.
“NO WAY!” Sara was so excited. It had been hard for me to keep the appointment a secret over the past few weeks, especially when Sara would randomly exclaim how excited she was to find out what we were having.
We snuggled together on the couch. Me between her legs, her arms around me tightly, so we could read the card together.
“Just for the record, I want to say that I totally think it’s two boys,” I said, fulfilling my need to always be right. “I promise I don’t know, and that I didn’t let the tech tell me. But that’s what I’m going with.”
My wife smiled at me, not saying anything. And kissed me. We opened the card and there it was:
Baby A: BOY
Baby B: GIRL
We screamed. And cried such happy, happy tears. We would have a son and a daughter.
We sat there on the couch, embraced, for nearly a half an hour. I had never been so happy to be wrong. And I had never been so joyous in all my life. This was going to be our family: two moms, a son, and a daughter.
Sara and I talked about the many ways we could share the news with our families on Christmas. And we reveled in what was the happiest holiday season either of us had ever known.
At about 5:00 that evening, I went to the bathroom and saw light pink on the toilet tissue. My heart sank. I called Sara in to look as well. She immediately went to Google, and I immediately called my doctor.
“Are you cramping?” he asked.
“Is it light or dark red?”
“It’s a very faint pink.”
“Keep an eye on it; take it easy; and call me if you have cramping or it gets darker or heavier.”
The light pink spotting lasted on and off for about an hour, and it never was heavy. Sara and I went to bed that night at around 8:30.
At 11:15, I woke up to this burst between my legs. I stayed in bed for a moment, frozen in fear and terrified of the unknown. Earlier, I had put a pad on to monitor any spotting through out the night. When I stood up out of bed about a minute after the burst, I could tell my underpants where heavy. I was scared of with what.
I walked to the bathroom and said to Sara, “Honey, something is wrong.”
By the time I got to the bathroom and was taking down my pants, Sara was standing in the doorway. My underpants and pad were saturated, but Sara didn’t realize because it was clear.
“It’s totally soaked,” I said, and went to sit on the toilet. More liquid spilled from me. “Oh, honey, this isn’t good,” I managed to say through a cracking voice. “We need to go to the hospital.”
Sara got dressed. I put another pad on and grabbed my jeans.
The labor and delivery unit was expecting us when we got there, and I was admitted immediately.
Neither Sara nor myself had any idea what we were about to experience. I felt it my heart that it couldn’t be good for our one baby, but I never suspected we’d lose both.
After a long night, during which we discovered that, yes, my water for Baby A had broken, and that he now had very little amniotic fluid surrounding him, we began to realize that we were losing him. That our son’s teeny tiny lungs were slowly going to suffocate and that his heartbeat would eventually stop.
We sobbed. And sobbed. Sara climbed into the hospital bed with me, and we held each other as we cried through the night. And we prayed — aloud — for God to save our daughter, knowing nothing of how “these types of things” play out.
It wasn’t until morning when we discovered that we would lose our daughter too. That, because our son had lost his amniotic fluid, because my water for him had broken, that it was just a matter of time before our daughter would either get an infection that would take her life or that her water would break as well. Babies cannot survive out of the womb at 17 weeks. If neither of those things happened to her, it would be my life at stake.
I was told I could die. Or that I could get an infection that could cause permanent damage to my reproductive system and render me infertile. I was transferred to a hospital that was better equipped to handle my condition.
There, after agonizing conversations with doctors, my mother, and my wife, and at 1 cm dilated, I was induced with pitocin to further dilate and to begin to thin my cervix — all so that the doctors could better retrieve my dying twins and save my life.
Saturday, December 22, 2012. My twins left this world for heaven. And I weep that I’ll never know them; never learn their favorite foods and colors; never curse the sleepless nights their two moms had because of teething, fevers, and dirty diapers; never see their sweet faces smile for the camera and cry at bee stings.
This is not the story I set out to tell. When I began my journey to motherhood, I knew there would be so much to discover, so much I knew nothing about. But not this. This wasn’t supposed to be my story.
The doctors don’t know why. Nothing was wrong with me or my pregnancy. Picture perfect. Nothing was wrong with the twins. They were developing exactly as they should have been.
“Sometimes, these things just happen.”
Three days later, on Christmas morning, I awoke to swollen and sore breasts. My milk had come in. Engorged and full, just waiting for the mouths of my babies. But there are no babies. There is nowhere for my milk to go. It is the cruelest, cruelest irony.
I sit here now, with still tender and full breasts, drenched in sadness, uncertainty, and pain.
I miss my babies.
I feel empty.
And so, so sad.
An angel at the Book of Life
Wrote down my babies’ birth.
Then whispered as she closed the Book,
“Too beautiful for Earth.” ~Author unknown