One day in March, the day my cycle was due, I woke up and didn't want any breakfast. Now that is remarkable for me, because I usually can't stand to wait a second for breakfast, but I didn't think much about it until the next morning when I woke up nauseous. Suddenly I remembered the pregnancy tests I had just bought from one of the MOMYS. I did a test right away and got two dark red lines! Wow! That was unusual, usually I didn't even get a faint line until a day or two after my cycle was due, and my cycles had been rather short lately, too. I immediately sent my dear husband, who was away on a business trip, an e-card congratulating him on his new baby. When he called, I could hear the joy in his gentle, choked up voice. What a great husband! I then told showed the children the card I had sent their daddy. They shouted and yelled with joy! They were so excited that the Lord had given another gift to our family! Everyone wondered if it would be a boy or a girl - we had six boys and one little girl - the youngest.
Within a couple of days, I was having very strange symptoms. My blood sugars went wild (I tested as I felt funny after eating a lot of carbs) and they usually didn't become a problem until much later. I started having heart palpitations. I didn't know if all of this was because I had been on a low carb diet, or if something was different with this pregnancy. One week after the positive test, I went in to my OB's office to check out these weird symptoms. There on the screen, we plainly saw two nice little gestational sacs. I was ecstatic! I knew before she even told me - that's why the sudden, strong symptoms - there were two little ones in there. Hal knew right away when I called him, too and we laughed together over our double blessing! That was week 5, day 1.
We were both euphoric at the idea of twins. It seemed daunting to face the difficulties I deal with in pregnancy with twice the weight on my cervix and twice the risk, but it was obviously well worth it. That weekend it looked like one of the children might have the flu so Hal banished me to Mama's house. I had a fantastic weekend searching the internet for all sorts of information about twins and twin pregnancy. Again, daunting, but delightful. I was so excited. When I got home, I kept sneaking a peak at the ultrasound picture I'd brought home showing two little sacs. I'd tucked it in the bill container and everytime I sat at the computer (which is way too often :-) I'd pull it out and stare in amazement. My grandfather was a twin - the youngests of a large family and I'd always wondered if we would have any. It was a thrill!
By the next week, I started feeling better, less heart palpitations, lower blood sugars. It didn't worry me much until week 6, day 1 when I started having some cramping. I drank water and went to bed and the next morning at the OB's the ultrasound showed only one sac - one of our precious twins had gone straight to the arms of the Savior. I was so stunned, confused at the doctors and it didn't really sink in until late that night when weeping overtook me. As soon as I knew about the twins, I had pictured the two of them lying like spoons between me and the bedrail and me reaching over and laying my hands across them, feeling them breathe. I had to accept that our little one to come would never know his twin until heaven.
At my 8th week appointment, we saw the little remaining child's heartbeat and we finalized plans for my cerclage surgery to be at 11.5 weeks. I never had any bleeding or cramping beyond that one afternoon, but I had read that was not unusual when a twin was lost early. I was very conflicted during this time. It was very, very strange to have suffered a miscarriage and still be pregnant. I felt like I couldn't enter into either the grief or the joy without conflict. I was so busy during this time, frantically cleaning house and tying up lose ends preparing for the bedrest to come and never even considering that we could lose the other child.
The night of the 10th week, the first day, I saw some spotting when I went to the bathroom. Oh no! I asked my husband and eldest son to pray and I prayed, but I really wasn't anticipating the worst news - I had a lot of spotting with two or three of our other children and had been given progesterone until it was well stopped. I thought I probably needed a little extra progesterone and that would be it.
The next morning I went to the OB's to see what was happening. He checked with the old ultrasound in the room and we certainly thought we saw a heartbeat. He checked my cervix and it was closed tightly. Just to be sure, we went to the newer machine. After much checking with both ultrasound wands - there was no heartbeat. I was absolutely stunned after seeing it just a few minutes ago. I was in shock. I talked to the doctor about what would happen. We agreed that a D&C was a bad idea for me with the incompetent cervix - I couldn't afford to weaken it further. I also well remember a friend who had a difficult, bloody miscarriage when we were younger, but refused a D&C - seven months later she gave birth to that baby's twin.
This was so hard! My sweet husband was in Nebraska on a customer call for our business - how would I make it through the day without him?? I went home and told our precious children who were so sad - I will never forget the sorrow and tears in their eyes for their young siblings. How I rejoice to have children who value life - who understand what is important. My dear eldest son took all of the children to my mothers' for the day so that I could cry for awhile. I can't cry with them here because they are nearly all guys and they think they have to fix it - tears them to pieces for me to be upset.
I told my dear husband when he called after his calls were all done - we are truly one and I can't keep things from him for a minute. He had to pull over because he couldn't see for the tears. Many people would not understand our sorrow - this was, in a worldly sense, not a great time to be pregnant: we were starting a new business and no money was coming out of it at all, our house is too small for us and we are at our wits' end how to manage with it, we have all sorts of commitments in the next few months. Those who don't understand, though, need to see children as we do - gifts from God, rewards, precious unique additions to our family. When you have had seven children, you know how different, how dear, how incredible each new soul is. When you have had children grow from infancy to adulthood, you know what you have lost in miscarriage. You know the years of interaction, conversation, joy, and happiness you are losing. You know that you are losing decades of joy and friendship, pleasure and pride in your children.
Therefore, we weep. We weep for what we wish we were able to share with those children. But, we don't mourn as those who have no hope. We do not weep for our children, because we know that they behold the face of the Father. We know they are in the realm of the Great King, where there is no sorrow, no pain, no sin. They are the gainers by it, even if we are, for the time being, the losers. We will know them one day.
I will share about the actual physical miscarriage in another post, because I know that there are some for whom it will be too much information! On the other hand, I was desperate to read stories with all the details so I could have an idea what to expect.