Tomorrow, my baby turns 3. I have no idea how this sweet little baby is already three years old, but sure enough, it’s happening. What you may not know about Owen is that he was supposed to have a twin. I think about the what-ifs often and it brings me to tears each time. And it only gets harder during October. I think about how instead of celebrating Owen’s birthday, I should be celebrating “their” birthdays together.
Let me step back a bit and tell you about my second pregnancy. From the minute I took the test, I knew something was off about this pregnancy. I had spotted (what I thought was a period) for a few days, then it stopped, then came back and that’s when I decided to take a test because I figured that’s what was going on. Sure enough, it was positive and I cried my eyes out when I went to tell Tom we would be having another baby (Charlie was just 20 months when I took that test). This pregnancy was completely unplanned, but that did not make it unwanted.
Over the next several weeks I had horrible pains that brought me to tears and I have a crazy high tolerance for pain. The only thing that would make me feel slightly better was sitting in a warm bath. I would wake up in the middle of the night and go sit in the bath. Pretty much anytime I could, I was in the bath. Let’s not forget that I was also working full-time and already a mommy to a toddler.
Skipping ahead, but you can read more here. One day (at 9 weeks pregnant) the pain was too much for me to bear while I was working and I called my boss to have her come in and work for me. I curled up in a ball on the floor of the backroom crying and called Tom to have him come pick me up. I called my mom and cried to her while I was waiting. After a few minutes, I called Tom back and told him I needed to go to the hospital instead of home.
At the hospital, they decided that I had a cyst that burst and that was causing internal bleeding. This, of course, means surgery. I remember having to sign papers that said I knew what I was doing and to pretty much save my life. I was told there was a chance that my baby would not make it through this life-saving surgery I was about to undergo. I was so scared. So incredibly scared. And yet, I felt guilty. I felt like I was choosing me instead of this little life that was growing inside of me. But, I had to be there for the child I already had at home.
I remember coming out of surgery in a little recovery room. They told me I had an ectopic pregnancy and that my Fallopian tube had ruptured. Odds of losing the intrauterine pregnancy during the surgery were about 1 in 3. Not only was I crying from the news that we were initially blessed with two, but I didn’t know the status of the other baby. They did an ultrasound and everything looked great with the intrauterine pregnancy. I still have the ultrasound from that day tucked into my top dresser drawer (where I keep important memories).
What I had was a heterotopic pregnancy and odds of that occurring naturally are about 1 in 30,000. And yes, we were told many times after this that we’re “one for the books”.
As you have read, we had no idea we were “expecting” two babies. No one did. The doctors all missed it (several times might I add). It’s hard to feel sad about losing a baby when you have a perfectly healthy one still growing inside of you. It’s not exactly a miscarriage, but a tubal pregnancy or an ectopic pregnancy. People consider those types of pregnancies losses because they lost a baby. The thing is though, they’re usually not carrying an intrauterine pregnancy at the same time.
Every now and then someone would say something like “wow. could you imagine having another one?” or something along the lines of how much harder things would have been, but that definitely doesn’t make me feel better. Yes, these two boys of mine are a handful, but we would have rolled with it and handled it just fine with three.
Three and a half years later and it still feels weird to feel like I’m missing someone. It’s hard to explain and not something I talk about often, not even with Tom. That day in March of 2013 was an especially hard day, to find out we almost had and lost another baby in the same day.
I’ve googled things like “is an ectopic considered a miscarriage?” because I feel like my loss is not as great as those that knew they were expecting a baby and then lost it. The fact is, it doesn’t matter. We may not have known we were expecting two prior to that, but a loss is a loss.
October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, so it’s the perfect time to really get personal and share my story. It’s been really hard writing this through the tears, but it feels good to share.