Updated: Oct 16, 2022
"I want you to know that every loss is real."
Written by: Lauren
It looks like we have two children. We really have three. It’s something that I wrestle with all the time. There is this idea that children that you didn’t see on an ultrasound didn’t exist. My heart knows differently.
We struggled to get pregnant for years. When we finally got pregnant with our second, I was pretty sure that that was going to be the last time I could go through that process. We implanted two embryos through IVF and we waited. Inside, I knew that it was all or nothing. A few days later, the test was positive. It was right around Christmas, so I waited to call our fertility doctor for a few days. When I finally reached out, he sent me for a blood test, and it was confirmed. At least one of the eggs had implanted. But the test a few days later did not come back quite as happy. The numbers dropped, which was a bad sign. A few days later, they dropped again. “It isn’t good news,” the nurse said when I called. Honestly, the next few weeks are a blur in my memory. I know we went for another test and all of a sudden, the numbers more than tripled, which made no sense. Then, they started doing ultrasounds, but nothing was showing up. A few days later, another. Numbers still climbing, but nothing was there on the screen. I was a mess. I had no idea what was going on in my body. Breathing even felt like a betrayal. Finally, they sent me for one final ultrasound before medically terminating. It was a last check to make sure they hadn’t missed anything. And there she was. Our youngest, blinking on the screen in her little gestational sac. I saw her heartbeat. I knew she was there. And next to her, the sibling who didn’t make it. An empty sac with no heartbeat. My heart soared and shattered at the same time. Everything felt like the wrong thing to feel. Happy that she was there and thriving and growing, but destroyed that the other baby that we already loved even though we didn’t even know they existed wasn’t coming with her. I felt selfish for wanting both of my babies because weren’t we just so lucky to have one? I felt like a walking hurricane. The warm and cool waters were slamming together inside of my heart because nothing felt like that right thing. I love my two girls. They are the lights of my life. And yet, years later, I still wonder. I wonder who that third child was and who they could have been. I still get sad when I see the two of them together knowing that she had another half. October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. It is more common than we talk about and so much more difficult than we let on. I want you to know that every loss is real. Every baby that didn’t make it earth side was real and loved, and you should love and honor and grieve them as if you got to hold their tiny hands. I spent so much of my grief beating myself up for feeling that way that it took me years longer to understand it for what it really was. Every minute of that experience matters, and it’s not something to be swept under the rug. They mattered. Full stop.