Shortly after miscarrying for the third time, I found out that I was pregnant again. This was my sixth pregnancy and only two of those babies had made it to full term. My doctor immediately performed more blood tests on me to ensure there was nothing she was missing. This time around, my progesterone levels were really elevated, and my HCG levels were really high as well. This was the kind of news that I liked to hear! I was very sick, very tired, and very pregnant. It was at this point in my reproductive years that I began to realize the differences in my pregnancies that were going to “stick” and those that would not. I knew this one was going to “stick”. And sure enough, it did! I gave birth to my third daughter, Mabry Lynn in August of 2005. We felt so blessed by her arrival. Even though only three of my pregnancies did not end in miscarriage, we still managed to have a total of three children one month before my oldest turned three. People thought (and still do think) we were crazy!
My life that year was a complete whirlwind. In fact, I really do not remember much about it! I had a three year old, an eighteen month old and a newborn baby. They were all three in diapers, because my oldest was a real bear to potty train. I tried every trick in the book, and none of them seemed to work on her! I remember several instances where all three of the girls would be crying simultaneously, and honestly that’s all I felt like doing too. I had a friend tell me that when that happens, the best thing to do is just laugh, because if you don’t, you’ll be crying too! During this time, Jon and I decided we should try and give my body a break from pregnancies and child-bearing, though we still knew that God was the One who gives life (and takes away), so we tried our best to avoid pregnancy. It worked for one year. Right around Mabry’s first birthday, I discovered I was pregnant again - and this time I was violently ill. I could not hold down any food, and I even lost weight. By this time we had moved again, and I was under the care of a new doctor.
Filling out paperwork in a new OB’s office was never fun for me. There are never enough blanks to fill in my entire obstetric history. I might as well just type it out and write, “See Attachment”! This was my seventh pregnancy, and I had the feeling it was going to “stick”.
At my eight week appointment, my doctor gave me a normal pelvic exam, and she discovered that my uterus was larger than it should be for eight weeks along. She later told me that she just wrote it off as being due to all of my scar tissue from the three caesarean sections that I had been given. But she told me she would like me to come in for an ultrasound at 10 weeks, just to make sure all was well. I did so, and I remember that day like it was yesterday.
Jon kept the three girls (ages 3, 2 and 1) in the car with him, so I wouldn’t have to tote them along to my ultrasound appointment. It was just easier that way - at the time we had a DVD player in our minivan, and it was used regularly! I was called back to the ultrasound room and my doctor came in to do the ultrasound herself. With butterflies in my stomach, I laid back and readied myself for news - good or bad. I had heard both from ultrasound techs before. As soon as the image appeared on the screen, my butterflies turned to bats. What I saw before me was not one baby, but two. It was twins!!! I immediately asked the doctor to confirm what I saw, and she did. They both had strong heartbeats, and were the right size for a 10 week pregnancy. I could not believe my eyes!
In that same moment, my life flashed before my eyes. How in the world was I going to be able to care for twins with the three other girls still just toddlers and babies themselves? I was in complete shock (but secretly completely excited)! I called my husband and with a very shaky voice told him we were going to have twins. He thought I was deceiving him - I’ve been known to play a trick or two on him in our marriage. But this time, it was not a prank . . . it was real life. This was news that would change our lives forever.
No one in our families knew we were even expecting again, so making these phone calls would be great fun. We hopped in the car, and on the drive home we phoned our families and told them our news. This was the first set of twins on either side of the family - so you can imagine how excited everyone was. My doctor told me that most likely it was a boy and a girl, because they were fraternal twins in separate sacs. Since I had three girls already, I was thrilled at the possibility of having a boy and a girl.
The planning soon commenced. Where would we put these babies? Would I try and breastfeed twins? What would their names be? Would I dress them alike? It’s amazing at how much planning goes into having one baby, but even more goes into having two. I ordered books on carrying twins and I began to read all that I could on having a healthy twin pregnancy. My 13 week appointment came, and I heard the twin’s heartbeats. It was so precious to hear two separate and distinct heartbeats. I thought I had it made in the shade. I had survived, and both babies had survived, the first trimester.
At around 14 weeks I began to feel movement. At first I felt like I could feel kicks on one side, and then kicks on the other side of my stomach. This was a new sensation for me - two babies kicking and wiggling simultaneously! It was a gloriously wonderful feeling. But in the weeks to follow, I noticed that I was not feeling kicks on my left side anymore. I remember calling my sister worried, but she reassured me that I was just nervous because of my history and that all would be well.
After enduring worry for a few weeks, I went in for my 18 week ultrasound. This was a big day for me because we would find out the sexes of the babies! While something didn’t feel quite right to me, I tried to psych myself into thinking it was going to be alright. It is difficult to forget all the times that the ultrasound room was a place of mourning instead of rejoicing. As soon as I laid down on the table for the ultrasound, I knew. When just 8 weeks before I had seen two babies, now I was just seeing one. My heart sank. The ultrasound technician was not allowed to really tell me what was going on, but from the questions she was asking me, I knew that she was not seeing a twin pregnancy. She was seeing a single baby.
This was the most bittersweet moment of my life. On the one hand, I found out that I was carrying another healthy baby girl. On the other, I found out that one of my babies had died weeks before. Heartache, bitterness, anger and grief filled my heart in that ultrasound room. “Really, Lord? You are really asking me to go through this humiliation and pain once again? I thought we were done with this. I thought You were going to bless me with twins. I thought if I made it through the first trimester, everything would be okay. I thought . . .” My questions just seemed to never end.
The Lord had brought me to this once again. While I knew that it was because of the fallen world in which we live that my baby died, and I knew that my baby was in heaven, and I knew that my baby had a purpose, I questioned why this heartache was allowed in my life again.