On December 31, 2015, almost 3 months ago, after a roller-coaster of emotions, we went to the doctor excited about carrying triplets. It took us some time to get there, but excited we were, on New Year’s Eve.
As the nurse started the ultrasound I detected a problem immediately. I could clearly see that two of the babies were larger than the third. Casey was gripping my hand and the nurse said, “So, I see that this baby is smaller than the others…” The nurse looked for a heartbeat and I asked, “A heartbeat?” She replied “I am not seeing one.” I starting wailing. In fact, Casey says he has never seen me like that. The nurse left the room to get the ultrasound doctor and our doctor who could confirm her findings. Casey prayed.
I have countless friends and friends of friends who have suffered from miscarriage. I had heard the stories and always sympathized with the pain that must’ve come – but I never knew it was like this.
I know what some of you might be thinking – “Evan, you still had two!” This is of course true, but that brings an entirely different set of emotions too. For example, “if one fell, will the others?” A constant fear that continues to haunt me – even today, 22 weeks into pregnancy.
It took me about three days to stop the un-soothable ache. At any given moment of thinking of Baby A, I would cry, sob even. I knew the medical dangers – my risks went from a mountain to a small achievable hill. I knew that even as parents we could cross many concerns off our list – what about a car that fits three? What kind of stroller? How can I ever do anything on my own? But on the inside, none of that mattered. I was given three, I wanted three, and my body couldn’t do it.
Flash back to finding out about triplets. The first thing the doctor recommended was “selective reduction” to reduce risks. I often think of how many women, especially in the fragile state of just learning you have conceived triplets, or any number of multiple, would, with good reason, opt for a selective reduction. Wow do I have a message for you. It’s simple really - Don’t. In fact, please don’t.
I pleaded with the Lord after the demise. I often said, “Why not let this happen to a woman who couldn’t handle it? Why not give it to the woman who wants a selective reduction? Let me have three. I am ready…” I don’t know why it happened, or why the Lord chose that child to call home so early, but I do know that this is the plan and I am, just like our children both now and forever more, in the Lord’s hands.
I often describe that weekend as the darkest few days of my life. I have never been so devastated. So why am I writing this? A few reasons…
MOTHERS WHO MISCARRY ONE MULTIPLE:
One: If you are confronted with the news of multiples and at initial feeling you are not thrilled, it will pass. It will pass so much so that you will look-back and think – how could I have ever desired just one?
Two: If you are confronted with the news of multiples and you are faced with a difficult decision, simply don’t do it. Even if you don’t have faith, refer to point number one – the feelings you are having will pass and the last thing you want to do is make a decision that will impact your entire being because of temporary emotions.
I encourage any mother expecting or experiencing multiples to continue to tell yourself one thing: you can do it. Why? Because it’s true. You can. You are not the first woman to conceive and birth multiples, and you won’t be the last. Not to mention – it’s really miraculous.
Some of the pain of my miscarriage was brought-on by the fact that I had such a poor reaction to three children when finding out the news. I have come to understand this; of course it is shocking to hear you are carrying multiples – especially over two. But hold on. The shock will pass. Just a few more wake-ups and you will feel different.
Three: If one of your babies doesn’t make it, keep positive for the others. When Baby A fell, it was horrible. I just kept thinking, and sometimes continue to think, that the other babies won’t make it as well. This isn’t true. As far as triplets go, 50% of mothers who conceive triplets will not birth triplets. I suspect Vanishing Twin carriers have similar statistics. You are not alone. And, know that other women who have felt the horrible pain that you are feeling are very sorry that we can now share this experience.
FOR MOTHERS WHO LOSE A PREGNANCY:
Anything you are feeling is completely justified. You have every right to feel any emotion. Some women get through it easier than others and no matter what you are feeling – you are exactly right.
I was blessed enough to have family and friends that really supported me through this time. Whether you conceived multiples or a single and you are experiencing the unthinkable pain of a miscarriage, lean into others. If you don’t have someone, or even if you don’t feel like the person you do have is the person you want to talk to, contact someone. Even contact me. Moreover, and most importantly, believer or not, do some soul-searching. Try the Bible. Start praying – on your own, where no one else needs to see. You’ll find answers. You’ll find peace.
FOR FRIENDS WHO ARE ENCOURAGING MOTHERS WHO MISCARRIED:
You know what’s the best thing to hear, in my opinion, from someone who is supporting me? “I’m here for you” and/or “anything you are feeling is completely acceptable”. I remember texting one of my friends shortly after the miscarriage news and I asked her if she would just come watch movies with me and lay on my sofa. No talking, just there with me. That’s what made me feel better. Sometimes it’s better to have someone listen than someone to tell you how to fix the pain. I needed to go through the darkness to get to the light – and the most helpful thing was people who just wanted to comfort me in the transition. All I can say is that I was incredibly sad. I knew the logic, I liked to think it wasn’t my fault (but I think every woman, at some level feels it is her fault), I even knew this was the plan for our lives, but I was sad. Just incredibly and terribly sad. Sometimes, people just need to get through it, and a friend or family member just saying, “anything you are feeling is okay” is all you need to hear.
Ill also add that this can impact a woman’s entire pregnancy – especially with future pregnancies or in my case, multiples. Please be sensitive. No, I am not comfortable “pushing the limits” of my pregnancy because I know the painful loss I have encountered and it’s not worth risking anything to go through it again. Give this mother time – and if she is feeling a certain way, she has every reason to feel that.
Be supportive, understanding and kind. Notice I didn’t put “honest”. I didn’t need someone reviewing the medical advances that I incurred after losing a child. I needed to go through it as I wanted to and I needed empathy and understanding of that.
Another thing that I found encouraging: scripture. Whether a family believes in a divine plan or not, this is a time of deep sadness – and encouraging (both mother and father, may I add) with scripture was very helpful. A simple card with a pointed Bible verse provided great encouragement in this time. One of my “life-verses”, or a verse that I live-by, is John 16:33. This provided much comfort in our dark time.
I will leave readers with the following:
Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.