Baby Gemini

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Told by: Lia

The pregnancy was a surprise. It was my fifth. I’d carried three babies to term, and lost one around 6 weeks.

Almost as soon as I knew I was pregnant, I started suspecting twins. At first I brushed it off as a passing thought that most pregnant women entertain at some point.  But the feeling got stronger and I started to really wonder.  I was just a few weeks along, but I felt more pregnant than I had early in my other pregnanciesOn a Friday, as I wrote in my journal about the feeling, it became clear I was in new territory.  Still hesitant to talk about it, I cautiously asked my husband if he thought it might be twins.  A man who values logic, I expected him to counter with a question, “why do you think that?”  But he surprised me by answering, “I think it is.”  Neither of us could explain it.  I became more sure by the hour, and anxiously awaited Monday morning so I could call my midwives and request an ultrasound to confirm.

I was nervous, of course, but felt sure we would rise to the challenge of having twin babies.  I started to identify as a mom of twins.  I believe our children choose us, and it felt really special to have been chosen by two!  I started thinking about the extra carseat we’d need and how we’d need a co-sleeper to fit both of them in bed with us. I worried about the added challenges of twin births.

Part of me still wondered if it was all in our heads and I was relieved when the midwives agreed to schedule an ultrasound right away.  The night before the appointment I had some significant cramping, but overwhelmed by a sense that everything was okay, I didn’t get concerned.

When first I saw the two tiny figures on the ultrasound, all I felt was relief.  It didn’t seem to matter that only one had a heartbeat. At least we knew we weren’t crazy.  At least we still had a healthy baby.  I sent a text message to a few family members and close friends who were waiting to hear the ultrasound results.  The first response I received read, “I’m so sorry,” which shocked me a little. It hadn’t fully hit me that we’d lost a baby.

I woke that night in a cold sweat and broke down crying so hard my husband woke in a panic, “What’s wrong?” I couldn’t find the words.  “I didn’t expect to get so emotional,” was all I could manage to squeak out between sobs.  It was the only time I really cried about it.  The mourning was so different from the miscarriage I’d experienced three years before.  I was still pregnant. I still got to have a baby.  My body didn’t even seem to realize the loss.  I didn’t notice any more cramping.  I never bled.

I continued to feel more pregnant for nearly a month.  It was confusing.  I entertained the notion that they’d made a mistake – maybe they just missed the heartbeat and both babies were still okay.  But finally, that twin feeling started to melt away.  A follow-up ultrasound confirmed that the twin had been absorbed into my body and our daughter (it was too early to tell at that point, but I knew she was a girl) was healthy and growing.

I was jealous when other members of my due date club announced they were having twins; and a mix of relief and sadness later when they had premature babies or struggles breastfeeding.  I have a special little place carved out in my heart now, not only for the little soul that briefly shared my body, but for all twins.

Concerns about my daughter’s birth followed me through the pregnancy and though I’d only ever given birth unassisted in the past, I made plans to deliver her in the hospital.

I had several dreams of twins.  Once they were tiny premies, once one died, once the girl was healthy and the boy lacked vital organs and required me to donate my uterus to save him.

On June 19, 2012 my daughter Zena was born in an uncomplicated waterbirth in the hospital.  She’s a Gemini; a twin without a twin. Though I knew it was unlikely with a loss that early, I’d hoped there might be some sign of her sibling left behind with the afterbirth; there was none. I kept the placenta to encapsulate, and dried the umbilical cord in the shape of two hearts (pictured below,) the smaller one representing the baby we lost.

I braced myself for a second wave of grief to hit me after the birth, unsure if my arms would ache for that second baby.  But they didn’t.  I felt full and at peace.

When I first felt that twin feeling, I imagined twin girls, but now, as I hold Zena in my arms, I feel certain he was a little boy.  I can sense him.  The dream about the sick baby with missing organs stays with me and I feel certain that was him.  His body wasn’t developing as it should and that’s why he didn’t survive.

The pregnancy had been hard. I was sick all the time and I swore I never wanted to go through that again.  I don’t want to.  My husband and I are done having kids.  But I’m not so sure if the kids are done choosing us.  I feel this little boy might still enter our lives someday.

My daughter looks at me like she knows all of this and more – as if she remembers having a twin but has some divine knowledge about his current whereabouts that keeps her from missing him.  And when she’s looking across an empty room babbling on, I can almost see him there talking back.

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Comments

  1. Wow. What an intense thing to go through and also, how intuitive you are! This story deeply moved me….I don’t think I’ll forget this one for a long time…

    • Thank you! Intense is probably the best word I could choose to describe the whole thing myself…It wasn’t as sad as the miscarriage I experienced before, but it was so much to absorb.

  2. I realize it has been almost a year to the day that you wrote this post. But I just wanted to let you know that I found this today after having the exact words said to me at our ultrasound yesterday. I’m struggling with how to process it but I am trying to allow myself to grieve but also stay positive because we have the hopes of the other baby who is healthy and doing all kinds of wiggles inside 🙂 Thank you for writing about this, it’s a tough topic to even address.

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