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Amber

October 27, 2006

I wrote the following two days after learning I had lost my identical twins at just 9 weeks 1 day pregnant. Later that day I went to the hospital for my first ever surgery – a D&C. I am sending my story to you, along with the only “belly pic” I have from my pregnancy – at just 4 weeks – because although I find my experience too painful to talk about, sharing it through my writing has been very cathartic. Some may question this story’s place on this site, but as I struggle through my grief I find some comfort in the belief (the hope?) that my experience HAS made me a mother.

-Amber
27 years old

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I had some very light spotting on Monday, something which has been quite common throughout this pregnancy, but I had just decided that I was putting too much energy into work and wasn’t prioritizing as I should. So I decided to stay home and give me and my babies some much deserved rest. The bleeding stopped and everything seemed fine. But Tuesday morning when I went to the bathroom there was a large volume of red blood. The toilet water was pink and on the paper was a quarter sized clot. I knew it wasn’t good, but I assumed everything would be ok. A tiny part of me was relieved actually. I didn’t have the guts to quit my job (although I believed it was the right thing for my pregnancy) but surely my doctor wouldn’t want me doing physical work if I bled like that.

I had started this pregnancy as the most nervous mother-to-be. I was sure I would miscarry at any given moment. That is, until 7w2d when we saw TWO heartbeats instead of one. Even though I went from a regular to a high risk pregnancy in the blink of an eye, suddenly I didn’t have any concerns for the health of my babies. I thought my mother’s intuition had just been off base – I had known something was different, but it wasn’t an impending miscarriage I sensed…I was a mother of identical twins! And I just knew, to the core of my being, that I wouldn’t be given this blessing (a scary blessing, but a blessing nonetheless) and have it taken away.

I got to the doctors office on Tuesday and was pleased that although it was very tight and cramped, there were photos of smiling moms and babies all over the walls. My new doctor was in many of the pictures – beaming over children she’d helped to bring into this world. This was the doctor I had wanted. Not the one I’d suffered through for 2 months, with grey walls, grey chairs, grey staff. Not the doctor who loved to drop the “m-word” in every appointment, like she was talking about brushing her teeth. I had finally found the doctor who would deliver my twins. I just had to sort out this little bleeding problem first.

As I sat to tell the nurse practitioner my story she listened with a kind face and understanding. She told me that I’d already gone through so much with this pregnancy. It was so nice to hear that acknowledged, because I sure felt I had. When she performed the internal she told me my cervix looked good and closed and I remained optimistic. It’s funny how quickly optimism can drain right out the soles of your feet when faced with an ultrasound.

I knew the moment the ultrasound had begun that it was bad. I couldn’t look at the screen – couldn’t discover for myself that it was over – but the heartbeats were so easy to see now and I knew that no exclamation of “there they are” was coming. When the nurse started saying she was sorry, when she put her hand on my shoulder, my husband was concerned. He could see our babies on the screen – both of them. He could see their little faces and their hands. Why was his wife moaning and why was the nurse giving condolences? He had forgotten to check for the heartbeats. This brilliant man had somehow decided that if we’d lost them they’d be gone. Melted away into the fuzz of the screen. He wouldn’t see his perfect babies lying in my womb if they were dead. But he did.

I moaned and I whimpered, but the tears didn’t come. A nurse handed me a pile of tissues I could’ve suffocated myself in (maybe she wanted to give me the option) but I couldn’t do it. Tears welled up in the nurse practitioner’s eyes and the assistant nurse openly cried.

The doctor came in to confirm the diagnosis, although she gently told me before hand that there would be no change. Heartbeats don’t hide in ultrasounds, and my babies’ chests were as plain as day. She said she was sorry. That’s all there is to say. My husband asked her to point some things out on the screen – the head, the body, the umbilical cord – but I couldn’t look. Just before she finished the ultrasound I realized that this would be my last chance to see my babies and that I needed to take that opportunity, so I looked at the dark little screen. And there, in the clearest image yet (and this was our 5th ultrasound) was one of my babies. Facing right at me. I could see the eyes, I could see the torso, it was so obvious that this was a little person I was looking at…my little person. I don’t know if my last vision was of baby A or B, but whichever it was, it looked so perfect. I forced myself to ask the doctor for printouts from the ultrasound. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with them, but it only seemed right that their mother should have them. Neither image is nearly as clear as that last shot of my baby. I don’t get to see their perfect faces, staring right at me. But they’re there and I think they knew I love them.

Being at home is so strange. The bleeding has stopped entirely and I haven’t had a single cramp. I feel nauseas much of the time and can’t eat, but then, isn’t that what pregnancy is like? It’s so strange to have no will to go outside and witness society and yet feel lost in my own home. I can’t do nothing, but doing something is so overwhelming. So I wait. I watch the hours tick by, napping occasionally and then feeling guilty for it. Pregnant people need naps and I…am not pregnant. I could drink a case of beer, but I sure don’t want to. I want to treat myself as a pregnant woman, attribute the nausea to morning sickness, not dread at the procedure that comes today.

I had a dream while I was pregnant. Just one pregnant dream. I dreamt that I didn?t feel like I was in labor, but my doctor kept telling me I was. I had no pain, no contractions, but they told me I was dilated and it was time to push. I didn?t understand, didn?t believe I was giving birth but I pushed anyway. Eventually out popped a green olive with a bright red pimento. The doctor realized he was wrong, that I wasn?t in labor and that a baby would come later. It was a strange dream, but obvious where it came from. I had just read in a pregnancy book that at 9 weeks your baby is the size of an olive. From that point forward (I was 6 weeks at the time) my goal was to get to the olive stage. I wanted my babies to be the size of olives. At 9 weeks, I turned to my husband and said gleefully ?they?re olives!?. At 9w1d the bleeding started. And today the doctor will deliver my little olives. All I can hope is that the rest of the dream was right as well ? a baby will come later.

Each day has been worse than the last. Yesterday, upon receiving flowers, I realized a little bit more that it’s over. Today, when unable to drink or eat all morning in preparation, I realize a bit more still. And tomorrow, I won’t be able to cup my belly and talk to those little beings inside. They might not hear me now, but I know they’re there and I can tell them how loved they are. Tonight they will be far from my body. Removed by force and placed not into my arms, but into a receptacle marked “waste”. There aren’t any other options really, they’re only 2cm each. It’s not appropriate to bury your children in a shoebox in the backyard…but is it appropriate to let some man take them away? They are my babies. They were tiny and helpless and they died, but they had faces and fingers and hearts – can they really just be disposed of? How can I just go to sleep and wakeup with them in another room, in a bag, on their way to a disposal facility? What kind of a mother am I if I let that happen?

Am I a mother? At what point are you entered into that club? Do you have to kiss your babies’ foreheads? Do you have to rock them to sleep? Did you have to feel a tickle in your belly – movement, a kick – to be a mom? I will go through a birth of sorts. I will be asleep (and so will my babies) and the doctors will take them from me, but they will still pass from my womb, through my cervix and out into the world – is that not giving birth? Can I call myself a mother when all I have to show for it are a few printouts from a scan and two lines on a stick?

I know it’s illogical, I know it’s not possible, but it seems so cruel to take them from me. I know they’ve died and I know I’ll never hold them in my arms, but can’t I hold them in my belly? Can’t I keep them with me where I know they’ll be safe? My husband and I tried so hard to make those babies and now they’re going to be taken away from me? It doesn’t seem right. It seems like they need me as much as I need them.

This was not how this was supposed to be. This is not right and it isn’t fair. All I wanted was to be a mother. But I guess if being a mother just means loving your children with every ounce of your being, well, then I am a mother. And I will be a mother again.

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31 Responses to “Amber”

  1. Meghan Says:
    October 27th, 2006 at 10:15 pm

    Amber- I am so sorry for the loss of your babies. You are a mother, and nothing will take that away from you. Thank you for sharing your story. -Meghan

  2. Anonymous Says:
    October 27th, 2006 at 11:37 pm

    i agree.. you are a mother.. and you will be again! thank you for being strong enough to share this with us. you’re a brave young woman. **Hugs**-Maijken

  3. Anonymous Says:
    October 27th, 2006 at 11:58 pm

    I found out I was pregnant when I was a bit farther along, and found out by means of an ultrasound that showed me a tiny person. The father tried to convince me it wasn’t like a real “person” yet, and tried to force me to abort my beautiful daughter. I nearly lost her twice during my pregnancy, I delivered her prematurely and always my heart was in my throat, I was terrified of losing this little person that I loved so much. I cried and held her a little tighter when I read your story. You are a mother, never feel that you aren’t, your love was felt every moment they were with you and I believe they feel it still.

  4. Mistie Moo Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 2:12 am

    I read your story through weeping eyes, you are a mother and I am so sorry fo rthe loss of your babies. We can only guess why these terrible things happen. I am sure you will get to enjoy a beautiful baby or more soon, I wish you all the best. Mistie

  5. c2s Hayley Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 3:51 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your very personal story, Amber. My heart is with you AND your babies.

  6. Michelle O'Neil Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 4:42 am

    I too lost my first pregnancy and felt as you do. Didn’t it count? aren’t I a mother? Losing the first seems extra unfair. Losing twins? I am so sorry for your loss. You definately ARE a mother, and good one. P.S. You are a hell of a writer too.

  7. Anonymous Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 5:52 am

    There are tears in my eyes, you ARE indeed a mother. I am so sorry for your pain and I hope you find joy again soon.

  8. Victoria Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 6:49 am

    Your story made me cry this morning. Very beautifully written, and anyone who reads it knows what being a mother feels like because it was written by a mother.

  9. Sarah Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 7:28 am

    When we lost our first baby, someone told me that I was a mother, and that you become one when you make the space in your life and in your soul for your child. And I really do believe that. So, never doubt or question your motherhood. I don’t know if you’re “there”, but we found naming our child to be a really positive thing.My heart breaks for you, and I hope you can allow yourself to fully grieve this loss. Sarah

  10. Robin Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 7:42 am

    I am so, so sorry. Your story brought me to tears. And yes, you are a mother. And I pray that someday you will get to hold your baby in your arms. You’re in my thoughts. Thanks for sharing…

  11. Miss Valerie Jean Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 7:47 am

    Dear Amber, First let me say that you are most definitely a mother! Nothing will ever change that. You grew and nourished 2 little “olives” for 9 weeks. You. No one else. Thank you for sharing your story. I, too have lost babies. One to miscarriage and one to full term stillbirth. In my mind, there is no difference between them. 9 weeks or 40 weeks, they are still babies, still precious and we are still mommies.Personally, I believe that stories of loss fit in perfectly here, because these experiences of birthing our babies, anytime during the pregnancy, not only changes our body shape, but shapes our souls and spirits, too. These precious children, lost or still here, they shape who we are, probably more than anyone else in our lives. They leave a lasting mark on our bodies, and most importantly, on our hearts.Thank you Amber, for sharing your beautiful story with us. I pray that you will be healed, in body, soul and spirit, as you continue on, to share and help other mommies out there to tell the stories of their precious babies, too.Love and Blessings to all,Miss Valerie Jean

  12. Caerynn Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 8:09 am

    I am so sorry you went through this, and yes, you ARE a mother. I had a dear friend go through something very similar, and she last her twins at 12 weeks. She DEMANDED that their ashes be returned to her. She carries them in a locket she wears around her neck.Thank you so much for doing something that I know must have been very difficult. I know your story will help others.

  13. Katie Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 9:54 am

    Amber, there are not words to express how sorry I am for your loss. You are truly a mother in every sense of the word. And now you have two sweet guardian angels to look out for you and your husband.

  14. Elaine Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 10:22 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss, I too miscarried back in January when I was 11wks, my bean had died at 9wks. I couldn’t look at the screen so I think you were very brave. On a positive note i’m now 30wks pregnant so it will happen again for you. I will never forget my lost little one but it does get easier and I hope it will for you. Lalblue

  15. andrea Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 11:45 am

    I am so sorry for your loss and I can say I feel your pain. I lost my second baby at 8 wks. While I will never understand the Lord’s resoning behind it, I trust that His plan is still perfect. About 3 months after my miscarriage I got pregnant again and now have a beautiful, healthy 11 month old boy. I know the feeling of life coming to a complete halt and not wanting to go on but time will heal. You are 100% a mother and never let anyone tell you different.

  16. Anonymous Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    I wish you healing.

  17. Manic Mom Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 1:15 pm

    God bless you, and I’m so sorry. You are a wonderful mother, and I’m sorry for your loss.

  18. Anonymous Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 4:46 pm

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. I truly understand your pain. I miscarried my long-awaited second child at 8 weeks and just this summer, my fourth daughter died 7 hours after she was born at term. I want you to understand that you ARE a mother, that you DID birth those babies, and that it is NOT wrong to have wanted to bury them in your yard. Our children are not defined by the size they are at birth; whether they are the size of appleseeds or 8lbs 4 oz, they are our children. And as soon as you conceive a child that you dearly love and want, you become a mother. I wish you peace and blessings as you heal from your loss. Janicebabycatcher33@livejournal.com

  19. Anonymous Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 7:05 pm

    Amber, you are most definitely a mother. Never let anyone tell you otherwise! I know the pain of losing a precious little soul early in pregnancy, as we lost our first child at about 7-8 weeks. I didn’t know the baby had died until about 10 weeks. I also have a friend who lost her baby girl a week after a full term delivery, and I must say I agree with Miss Valerie Jean: a baby is a baby. It doesn’t matter whether it is an early loss or a loss that occurs after birth. You lost your babies, but you will always be their Mommy. No one can take that away from you. I am sorry that this happened to you, and I will keep you in my prayers. Sincerely,Gina in Texas

  20. ChrissiK Says:
    October 28th, 2006 at 10:56 pm

    Im not a mother….and Ive have never been pregnant..though Ive dreamed of it for sometime now…what its like…I wanna carry my OWN child and feel its first movements..maybe one day, You story really brought tears to my eyes…it was beautiful…You are a Mother and always will be!! You are are forever in my thoughts…I hope nothing but the best for you…-Christine

  21. Anonymous Says:
    October 29th, 2006 at 6:11 am

    It seems that in the eyes of our society the mothering experience has been narrowed down to the physical event of becoming a mother. We know and you know that there is so much more to it than the physical body of a child. I miscarried my second child last week at 14 weeks, and four days later my beloved sister lost her two month old baby to SIDS. when we held hands and grieved the loss of our children together I felt the presence of these little beings hovering over us, not gone at all, whispering to us to not be afraid, everything is ok…. Not our children any more but our angels, our spirit babies.So many women feel like a failure with a miscarriage, myself included, but what if it is not a failure at all but the completion of something agreed upon? what if it is only the beginning of a very different relationship with them? what if they only needed nine weeks or fourteen weeks or nine months, to exist only knowing that they are wanted and loved and loved and loved? or maybe they come to let us know of our capacity for joy. everyone says that when someone dies they live on in our hearts… I am beginning to believe that that our spirit babies must require us to do the same. continue to love them and love them and love them, even if we never get to hold them in our arms. if you find your courage failing you, perhaps your two little olives will be the ones to whisper that courage back into your heart while you become a mother again.

  22. Anonymous Says:
    October 29th, 2006 at 10:39 am

    The minute those babies were concieved you became a mother. Never doubt that. Your story made me cry and I believe that you will get a chance to experience motherhood to its full extent sometime soon. I wish you luck and all the happiness you can handle.

  23. bon Says:
    October 29th, 2006 at 2:57 pm

    A mother, no question…. a mother.

  24. Elizabeth F. Says:
    October 29th, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. Obviously, by the number of comments you have touched many with your story. I lost my first baby as well. I had the same questions too. What I realized through my experience is that there was a grieving process that you go through with the loss of a baby, no matter how many weeks you have been pregnant. What helped me is when my MIL (who was a Psychologist) told me that it was ok to name the baby. It somehow gave validation to the life and helped me give love and respect to my baby and his memory. I named him “River.” I put an ultrasound picture in a frame and put his name and the date that I lost him. I keep that as a reminder that I lost a BABY, and that was a real experience that I went through that meant something to me, even if others made it seem trivial or tell me that I would have another one. Some people just don’t know what to say and end up saying the wrong thing. Anyway, soon after my miscarriage it was Mother’s Day. Ughhh…I HATED all mothers that day. IT was really hard for me. I was extremely emotional and sobbed most of the day. A week or so later, I found out that I was pregant again. Hmmm…very irrationally emotional and hated all mothers, but didn’t realize that I was preggo again! Anyway, 3 more kids later I still remember my little “River” and I know that even if I’d never had another child I would still have been a mother and so are you. I wish you the best and appreciate you sharing this. It made me feel normal.

  25. Anonymous Says:
    October 29th, 2006 at 6:20 pm

    I couldn’t read your post, it would make me weep for my own lost babies. It’s a sad club we belong to, you’re a brave courageous Mom, even if your babies live only in your heart now.Best of luck to you in the future, I hope you get to hold your own living breathing baby sometime soon xx

  26. Anonymous Says:
    October 29th, 2006 at 7:58 pm

    I am sorry for your lost. I was very touched by your story. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  27. Drea Says:
    October 30th, 2006 at 5:46 am

    I believe all women who have been pregnant and lost a child through a miscarriage are infact mothers.I lost my first baby when I was only 20 yrs. old. My husband and I got pregnant with him 5 months after we got married. I carried him for 10 weeks… then lost him.One of the hardest parts I think was having people come up to me saying “So when are you due again?” Knowing from just a week prior that I was pregnant… Others asking me “Do you have any names?” and such… unknowing that I had lost the baby.I would just freeze up and cry.. My husband would have to do all the talking. Thankfully I never had any of these questions asked to me while I was “alone.” I always had him by my side.The comfort I have though is knowing that one day I will see this precious child. My sister-in-law just embraced me the day she found out we lost the baby and said “Its okay.. We both have to beautiful children up in Heaven waiting for us.” (She had lots one child as well years ago)… and she went on explaining how her mom (my husbands mom) was up there with them right now.That brought me so much comfort.. and I believe it with all my heart. For life does not start at birth, it starts at conception. These babies we dont ever see will be seen one day :-)I have 1 photo of my son … It was taken around 10 weeks but he was only 6 weeks along.. no heartbeat.I lost him at home… was more painful than the birth of our now 2 yr old son Caleb.The instant I miscarried I felt like I was half a person…It does get better though.The Lord knows out needs… and will supply them. Since the birth of my son Caleb (born aug. 31, 04) we have lost one other child by miscarriage… and now I am currently 32 weeks pregnant with our 2nd… Due on Christmas.Thanks for the story.Just know your not the only one :-)Hope this helps

  28. Anonymous Says:
    October 30th, 2006 at 10:43 am

    i had an abortion in june. i know in my heart i didn’t want to, but it was the only choice i thought i had at the time. whether a woman chooses not to have a child, or wants them and they are taken away, or gives them away…she’s no less a mother than a woman who has a successful pregnancy. motherhood creates such a whirlwind of emotion, and the downward spiral some of us experience at the loss of our own children is rather difficult to comprehend.i wouldn’t say i’ve healed from my surgery…i break down every time i look at the ultrasound and have anxiety attacks every time i go to the hospital. i have insomnia, depression, mood swings. i feel empty in this life i chose over motherhood. i think of how different my life could have been and long for it. but it’s too late.it’s hard to shake the guilt. it’s hard to make sense of pregnancy interrupted, but in one aspect, you’re lucky because yours were taken. you didn’t have a choice like i did. it wasn’t your fault. your loss isn’t any less. no. not at all.it’s just… you’re not alone. you are not alone in your sorrow. and i hope future children you have fill the void left by the loss of your twins. take care.

  29. Angela Says:
    October 30th, 2006 at 12:37 pm

    I am so sorry. Time makes it a little easier, but they will never be forgotten. Those little angels will live in your heart forever, as mine does…

  30. Alison Says:
    November 29th, 2006 at 1:10 pm

    I lost a baby at 8 weeks. I know exactly how it feels to look at the ultrasound when you first find out you’re pregnant…and when you find out it’s over. Thank you for sharing what I know is a heart breaking experience. No matter what anyone tells you, you ARE a mother. Good luck to you and best wishes.

  31. Delia Says:
    November 29th, 2006 at 1:51 pm

    I lost my first baby 3 years ago when I was 21 weeks pregnant. A beautiful daughter we named Charlotte. I was very angry as she was growing perfectly until I went to my two year old nieces birthday party and contracted ‘parvovirus’ (slapped cheek syndrome) from her. This is harmless under normal circumstances but can be lethal to the unborn child. Unfortunately, despite trying our best to save Charlie (In-utereo blood transfusion) she slipped away. The moment the obstetrician turned from the scanner and gave me that look – the look that told me my beautiful girl had gone, I felt part of my heart rip away. I missed her dreadfully and felt that nobody could understand how I felt inside. I was a mother who had had her baby cruelly taken away from her.

    I am happy to say that we now have two wonderful boys (aged 2 and 4 months) but nobody will ever replace our dear daughter. I truely hope that you will find peace and happiness, as we have done. You are without doubt a loving mother and in time to come I am sure that you will hold your babies in your arms too. God bless.

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