Last week I sat in front of my laptop and everything that I was feeling just poured out. I had intended to share an entirely different topic but I felt as though it was important to share that I did have twins and that I knew I had to say goodbye to one of my babies.
On Tuesday, I said goodbye to one of my babies.
The support I received was unlike anything I had ever known. People wrote me messages about what they had personally gone through, people understood the fact that this was the hardest time in my life, and people did not judge me. Instead, friends, family, and the social media community all came together and sent me messages of compassion, empathy, and hope.
There was this connection with people all around the world that understood me and understood a lot of the feelings I was experiencing. It was the greatest gift that I could have ever received and it honestly helped me to begin the healing process and to make the situation a tad bit easier. Thank you. Thank you for lifting me up when I was feeling so down. Thank you for opening up and for sharing your stories. It is so important that nobody has to suffer in silence.
I always learned that if you share about something so personal and tragic, people will be there for you and will give you everything that you could possibly need. Unfortunately, my story is very common and some of the messages I received from both Mom’s and Dad’s broke my heart and reminded me about the importance of talking about such difficult topics. In discussing the situation, I was better able to process the situation and I needed so much help. I needed to feel this massive army of hope and love all around me. When I was on that procedure bed, I could feel everyone around me and when I doubted myself, another message reminding me that I was doing the right thing would come in and I would feel just a tad bit better.
This has honestly been the toughest thing that has ever happened to me in my life.
When I told my counsellor about this situation, she cried with me. In the 8+ years I have known her; I have never seen her cry. We talked about how to handle this situation and I just kept saying “I want it over.”
Unfortunately, the OB explained that I had to wait until the 12 week mark because it was too likely that the procedure would end the life of both babies.
My counsellor kept telling me to “feel everything and to go through the centre of grief.” Too often, we just want to get to the other side and breathe a sigh of relief. We don’t want to deal with the uncomfortable feelings that come up and tend to find things to numb the pain.
“You need to start grieving the loss of your baby” she suggested.
Part of me wanted to punch her in the face.
I didn’t want to feel anything.
My anxiety was manifesting itself in my body and I just needed to breathe.
“Breathe through it” she said.
“You need to figure out how to say goodbye to your baby.”
At my eight week ultrasound my babies looked like total blobs although I did see the heartbeats of both of them. I needed to figure out how to say goodbye in a way that felt natural to me. Was I going to ensure that our connection was super strong especially when I had to say goodbye? For weeks I debated how I was going to do it.
Just before the procedure it came to me. I lit a candle and dimmed the lights so that I could feel a little more relaxed. There I wrote two letters. One letter was to the baby that I had to say goodbye to and I explained the situation and asked for forgiveness. The other letter was to the baby that was hopefully going to survive the procedure. I begged for both babies to remain as strong as possible and apologized for separating him/her from an incredible bond.
That helped to prepare me for what was going to happen and after a month of getting ready to say goodbye to my baby, I knew I was as ready as I could be. The month waiting for the procedure was important and forced me to process what was happening.
Tuesday went as well as could be expected. The waiting room was right across from labour and delivery and I got to see so many beautiful miracles happening just before I went into the procedure room.
I watched as women came in with their partners and watched them experience their contractions and sign in to the hospital.
I even watched as one Dad came out of the labour and delivery room explaining to his family that the baby survived and that everything was okay. He said he dropped his wife off, went to park his car, and by the time he came into the hospital his wife was having an emergency C-section. The umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck and the doctors performed emergency surgery and everything was okay. The new Dad beamed with his exciting news and we watched as all six family members went from being completely terrified to celebrating the news of a miracle baby girl.
Then I was called in for my procedure and it just felt like the entire floor of the hospital was filled with tiny miracles. There are so many things that can go wrong pre/during/post childbirth and I really felt like I was in the right hands.
Just then, my counsellor texted me “Hope it goes well. Thinking about you Sarah. Breathe…”
And breathing is what I did. Slow breaths from my diaphragm allowing myself to feel.
Dr. Whittle at Mount Sinai was exceptional. She explained everything in so much detail and paused so many times to make sure that I didn’t have any questions and that I was okay.
I had to sign my consent in case my water broke or in case I required a blood transfusion which just made me realize how scary this procedure could be for some people.
I explained to the three amazing staff in the room that I liked chatting and that talking about random things relieved my stress (I think it was the same for my Mom in the room).
I was given 1 mg of Ativan, had an extensive ultrasound, was given some freezing, felt a needle inside of me (for about 20 minutes) and was closely monitored and the whole procedure lasted for about one hour (from entering the procedure room). I won’t get into the specifics of anything that happened but I will say that I was awake and in some physical pain but not a lot of physical pain at all.
When the procedure was over, Dr. Whittle turned her screen and showed me my baby. Although there was a 5% chance of loss, my baby had survived the procedure and we heard the heartbeat.
She explained that the next seven days were extremely important as there is a 5% risk that I could lose my baby. She reminded me that if I lost my baby, it would not be my fault at all.
So far, I am feeling pretty good and I think of my babe as a warrior.
I am going to a cottage over the next week and I am really looking forward to just being with my family who have just shown how incredible and kind and caring people can be. They have really not left my side and even had a whole timeline to watch over me after my procedure. I will have to come back to Mount Sinai mid-way through the week so they can check on the baby but I don’t mind as it will give me peace of mind.
So many people have asked how I am doing and I always wonder if they mean physically or emotionally – they probably mean both. Physically, I am okay and have a lot of medication that I am taking right now. My morning sickness is getting a little better.
Emotionally I am doing really well. I miss my babe and am planning on getting a necklace to remember my baby. I’m still going through the grieving process and one knows that grieving is never linear. There will be days when I have complete breakdowns but I know I have so much love within myself and around me to build me back up. There is this strength inside of me that I never knew existed.
I also feel as though a massive weight has been lifted. I was happy to be pregnant over the past month but I was also in complete fear of having to say goodbye to my pregnancy and my two amazing babies.
Now, it looks as though everything might be okay. I know that there can always be detours along the road but for now I feel content, blessed, and as though I have a miracle inside of me. Every day, I talk to my baby and remind him/her how much he/she is loved and how proud of her/him I already am. My baby is a fighter and a reminder that life is so damn beautiful.
And I am so proud to be a Mama – to both babes (one here and one I will remember and love forever).