This week I listened to a podcast which hasn’t been far from my thoughts ever since. The wonderful Giovanna Fletcher did a podcast with Elle from Feathering the Empty Nest and Michelle from Dear Orla. The podcast is all about baby loss and centres around Elle’s and Michelle’s baby loss stories. They share their stories in such an honest and gentle way that it inspired me to share my baby loss story in a lot more detail than I already have (I have only really ever covered about 10 minutes of that night). When I listened to these ladies speaking for a while I felt normal as they described every feeling that I felt too. If I can do the same with my story for one other mum then this platform that is being created by people like these 3 ladies is working and baby loss is being talked about.
So I am taking a big breath at my keyboard and telling you my story of losing one of my twins. Please, if you think that you may find this too upsetting to read then click away.
Driving home from work on my last day before beginning maternity leave at 28 weeks pregnant with twins I realised that I was only getting kicks in my back. I used to get kicks in my ribs from the top twin and kicks in my back from the bottom twin. I remember in the early days wondering how I would ever know which twin was kicking but I became accustomed to it, I got to know them.
Through the evening I tried all of the usual tricks; ice lollies, lying on my side. But I knew the movements had severely reduced. By 8pm of that evening we were getting a family friend over to sit in the living room while Little Man slept oblivious to what was going on and we had begun the 30 minute drive to the hospital.
I’m not sure if I was in denial at this point but I think I had convinced myself I was just there to set our mind at rest. There would be nothing to worry about, the twins would just be sleepy. I thought I would end up looking a bit silly, that as soon as the monitor went on me they would both start dancing in my tummy.
I lay on the bed while the midwife hooked me up to the machines. She found one heartbeat straight away. Nice and strong, one happy baby. Now for the second one. She searched and searched for it, told me it was probably hiding.
Isn’t it funny how you know these things even before you have accepted it?
Two Doctors later and a lot of scanning and monitoring and the Consultant gave me a look I will never forget. She told us that one of our babies had died. The midwife held my hand and cried with me and I made a noise that I don’t think I have ever heard from anyone or myself before. My husband just went grey.
Before I knew it there was a roomful of people, I was being given steroid injections to help my other twins lungs. I was only 29 weeks pregnant, she wasn’t ready to come out. I signed forms for a c-section and it all became one big blur. I don’t really remember anything else until I was on the operating table. I know phone calls had to be made because of Little Man. I know that my bags were brought to the hospital. I know I was in shock about having to give birth there and then. I know it hurt and I was frightened for Little Lady.
My baby girls were born within a minute of each other. One screaming and one silent.
I had Little Man by emergency c-section and I wasn’t given him to hold until I was in recovery over half an hour later. One thing that had been really important to me about this birth that my babies were given straight to me. Little Lady wasn’t given to me, she was put straight into an incubator and rushed off. I saw her foot. Her sister though, silent and still was put into my arms straight away and there is nothing more precious than that memory. Holding her tiny little hand and crying with happiness and sadness all at the same time was one of the most overwhelming moments of my life.
That was the night my beautiful twin girls came into this world. One screaming, one silent.
There are no words for the pain of losing your baby and believe me, Elle and Michelle put it a lot more eloquently than me but just as they were so brave to share those to help and support others I wanted to do the same.
I will be writing more about the days that followed soon as I think it is an important story to tell, not only to help others in the same situation especially with twins but also to give their friends and family an insight into what they went through.