I Think of How My Life Could Have Been

could have been

When my husband and I were ready to start a family, we were devastated to learn that this would not be possible without fertility treatments.

After several unsuccessful medication treatments, we decided to go all in and try IVF. We did our first IVF transfer on August 1st, 2014. I was a wreck waiting to learn if I was pregnant. Then my blood work came back showing I was pregnant! We couldn’t believe it. It was finally our turn to have a family.

Shortly after learning I was pregnant I started having some bleeding so I was told to come in and see my doctor. My husband and I expected the worse when the ultrasound was done. However, we were surprised to learn we did not have 1 baby but 4. Both of our embryos had split. According to my doctor, this is rare. Because I was only five weeks, two of the babies did not have heartbeats yet. My doctor said they likely would never develop and I would end up with one, possibly two babies.

When I returned for my 7-week ultrasound, I learned I had two healthy babies with strong heartbeats. As my doctor had predicted, the other two had not developed. At this time, my fertility doctor released me to my midwife. This was a confusing time for me because, though quadruplets scared me to death, I was sad that I had lost those two babies.

At nine weeks I had my appointment with my midwife, only one heartbeat was heard by the Doppler. An in office ultrasound was done, I was told both babies looked healthy with strong heartbeats.

At 12 weeks, I had an appointment with a perinatologist because I was pregnant with twins. She did an ultrasound and found that I had lost twin B. I was told I probably lost this baby at nine weeks. I was devastated. I thought I had made it past the 12-week mark. I thought I was in the clear. For several weeks, I was angry and depressed. Too sad to even enjoy the remaining life I had inside me. This loss sparked me to purchase my own Doppler to listen to my remaining baby’s heartbeat on my own to give me peace of mind that it was still OK.

At 16 weeks and three days, something felt off. No pain, no bleeding, just “off.” So I decided to try and listen to the babies heartbeat with my Doppler at home. I had always been able to find my remaining baby’s heartbeat quite quickly. I always find right below my belly button.

However, this time I spent 30 minutes searching and no heartbeat. I work in health care with an OB/GYN practice so I knew what this meant. I decided to try again in the morning hoping the baby was just hiding. Again – nothing. I called my midwife and she told me not to panic – to just get an ultrasound done at work.

I had my co-worker (who is also a midwife) do an ultrasound. No heartbeat at 16 weeks and four days. I was devastated. No one thinks about losing a baby this late in the game. You think if you make it past the first trimester you are in the clear.

My midwife gave me the option to wait in see if my body would go into labour on its own or induce me. I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. I couldn’t bear the idea of walking around still looking pregnant with my dead baby inside of me. So I choose to be induced.

After three days in the hospital, I finally gave birth to my son, Julian. It was an extremely difficult experience that I never would have been able to survive without the support of my husband. He was truly my rock. We decided to cremate Julian and place his ashes under the altar at our church.

Not a day goes by that I do not miss my twins. I think of how my life “could have been.” It is painful just to be near a pregnant woman right now. Fortunately, my fertility doctor was able to determine that I have a clotting disorder and he feels this was the cause of my loss. So at least we have a plan for next time.

But even if I get pregnant again, it will never fill the loss I have in my heart for my precious Julian and his twin.

Photo credit: adapted from Andrew Pescod | Flickr

— Amanda

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