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When Two Become One

Updated: Feb 18, 2020

“Don’t freak out – your baby is fine.”


Those were the words my midwife said when she called out of the blue on a random Tuesday afternoon in April. I was 12 weeks pregnant and very used to calls from my OB’s office, but typically they were from nurses or front desk workers giving me my latest test results or confirming my upcoming appointment. I knew right away that something was up.


I was lying in bed about to take a nap, overcome with that first trimester exhaustion, but suddenly I was wide awake. My heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest with anticipation. I had no clue what she was going to tell me.


The rest of the conversation was a blur, but I picked up on the fact that I was once pregnant with twins and wasn’t anymore. This was news to me, since I only ever knew I was pregnant with one baby. I repeatedly asked her if my baby was okay while she tried to explain to me that sometimes this “just happens.” That they don’t have a real explanation for it, but sometimes one twin is just stronger than the other one and takes all the nutrients, leaving the other with nothing to survive off of. That they didn’t detect two babies until my first ultrasound, which is why they never realized there were two babies earlier on.


I had no idea if I should be sad for the baby I lost or grateful for the one I still had. I felt so many conflicting emotions that seem impossible to put into words. How could I be sad about losing a baby I never knew I had? How could I grieve that unknown baby while another healthy, strong one grew inside me?


The rest of our conversation was brief and full of medical talk. I hung up the phone and was unsure of what to do next. In reality, there was nothing to do. My body had done its’ job, and my baby was growing inside of me. It didn’t just feel right to brush it under the rug, but that is exactly what I did. I told a few people about what had happened over the next few weeks, but I kept it pretty private. I focused on the baby I still had and relished in the fact that he or she was strong and healthy.

__________

After my son was born and we struggled with sleepless nights for the first five months of his life, I found myself wondering often how on earth I could have done that with twins. When I struggled getting him in his car seat for an outing, I thought how much more difficult it would be if I had two babies. When I got mastitis or he was cluster feeding I am ashamed to say that I felt grateful that I only had to do this for one baby. But when he laughed for the first time or started to crawl? I couldn’t help but feel how much more special it would have been if my son had a brother or sister he was experiencing that milestone alongside.

Now my son Gavin is 13 months old. He is thriving in every way possible, and dare I say that things are “easy” right now. I truly feel like I’ve got this motherhood thing under control. I see and/or talk to moms of multiples all the time. I rarely tell them that my son was supposed to be a twin, too. Instead, I go back and forth between watching the magical bond between twins and seeing how chaotic it is to have two babies of the same age.

Overall, do I wish deep down in my heart that both of my babies had been born? Absolutely. But am I 100% head over heels obsessed with my son and so grateful that I get to give him my all before we hopefully give him a brother or sister? Yes yes yes.


It’s such a weird dichotomy to navigate. I’ve never really allowed myself to be super sad over losing a baby – maybe because I never knew he or she existed from the beginning. But you know what? The night I found out I was pregnant, I had a dream I was having twins. I thought I would have twins from the start, bu I never allowed it to be a reality in my head. It’s wild what our bodies know before our minds.


All this to say, if you’ve gone through a similar experience, it’s weird and awkward and I get it. It’s okay to be sad – and it’s okay to not be. It’s okay to love the baby you have, but to miss the one you never got to meet. It’s REALLY okay to be grateful for the somewhat peaceful life you have with one, whereas you likely would have had complete chaos with two. It’s okay to wish you had twins, and be happy you only have one.

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