This guest post comes to us from SIOS reader Amy Hunt.
I have always loved children. I grew up surrounded by over 40 first cousins between my mom’s and dad’s sides of the family. Being one of the eldest, there was always a “watch after your cousins” directed at me whenever there was a group of us together, be that a weekend at Granny and Grandpa’s lake house or a holiday function. I started babysitting neighborhood children in sixth grade. When considering the kind of man who I would marry, I knew he would want to have kids too. And not just want kids, but love kids. I never wanted to be the next 19 Kids and Counting, but I wanted a family.
When I got married, my husband John and I decided to wait one year until we started to have kids, in order to enjoy just being husband and wife alone before we added in the responsibilities of being parents. We knew that we wouldn’t be able to have this luxury for much longer, so we lived to the fullest! Our goal date to start trying was after one of my best friends got married in the Florida Keys. Who would want to be sober for that trip? Not me!
We came home and I almost felt nervous about not taking my birth control any longer. It was a part of my daily routine for so long that not taking it felt like I was missing something. We didn’t want to put any pressure on the situation, but I was 32 and knew my biological clock was ticking. Heck, it had technically been ticking for years, I was just continually hitting snooze! So we were officially “trying,” which was always strange for me to say to family and friends, as we all knew what that stood for. We were having unprotected sex – again, something that felt so odd to me! But on we went with our trials.
First month came and went without much thought. Month two was the same. The holidays came quickly. Same questions as usual, with us giving our same responses. We loved that people were really rooting for us, but until we had something to share, it felt like we were letting them down. After the holiday season was done, I was planning on participating in a group cleanse and fitness challenge at Bella Forza Fitness, with John partaking as well. We both wanted to lose the holidays pounds we put on with the intent of being our healthiest selves in the New Year.
I figured I should take a pregnancy test, since you cannot be pregnant while taking this particular cleanse. I knew I hadn’t gotten my period in a few weeks, but chalked that up to being off birth control. I took the test after work before John got home.
I wasn’t expecting a positive result at all. But there it was, staring me in the face! I could barely contain myself. This was the moment I have waited my entire life for! I couldn’t wait to tell John! When he finally got home and I showed him, it was disbelief for him too! We went and got 3 more pregnancy tests, all of which came back positive with me being about 3-4 weeks pregnant.We called our families and shared the incredible news and went out to dinner to celebrate. A beer for John, a water with lemon for me – which would be our usual order for the next few weeks. I went to bed that night with thoughts racing and a huge smile on my face.
I called the doctor the next day to set up my first appointment, unable to contain my joy for much longer. They said we could set up an ultrasound when I was 9 weeks along, which felt like an eternity away. But we marked it on the calendar with a big heart and started the countdown. A few weeks passed and I continued to work out, even though I couldn’t participate in the cleanse. I was feeling great, I felt as though the world could tell I was the happiest I had been in a long time. Not that I was ever unhappy, I just felt complete.
When I came to work on a Monday morning a few weeks later, the kids that I nannied for had gotten the stomach bug over the weekend. The sickness had spread through the house and I figured I would be next, as is the life of a nanny! It didn’t hit me until Wednesday morning, but it hit hard. I work half days on Wednesday and went home with an ill feeling in my stomach and some aches and pains. I crawled into bed.
Thursday was the afternoon of my very first ultrasound, which I had been dreaming of for weeks. I still felt sick that morning and very crampy. John came home from work and picked me up and we were on our way to my new doctor’s office. I checked in and sat down to wait. When the ultrasound tech called my name, I could barely keep myself from running through the door and shouting “That’s me; let’s see this baby!”
We were led back to the ultrasound room and I laid down on the table as I had seen in so many movies and waited for that magic moment of seeing our baby for the first time. She smeared the jelly on my belly and started moving the wand around to see our little peanut. I was overwhelmed seeing the growth inside of me, looking over to John to see his reaction.
“There it is, babe, do you see it?” I was so excited. I then asked, “Can we hear the heartbeat?” The tech had a look on her face that concerned me as she said, “That’s what we are looking for, but I am having a hard time. Try holding your breath for me, as sometimes that helps pick it up.” My stomach dropped inside me and my heart started racing. This couldn’t be happening to me. She looked at me again and said, “I’m sorry, I am not able to find a heartbeat. Have you experienced any cramping lately?”
My mind instantly went to what I thought was the stomach bug. I told her I had been sick the day before, but felt ok today. I was sure she was wrong. “Give me the wand, I will find the heartbeat.”
But it was done. We were ushered in to an official looking office with some pamphlets about miscarriage and what comes next. We sat and talked with a very caring doctor who gave us the terrible odds that 1 in every 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first 12 weeks. I couldn’t think straight; I started to cry when he was telling me about what my choices were at this point. I could let time take its course or I could elect for a surgery to remove the fetus and clean out my uterus of the remaining tissue. We left the office through the same waiting room I was just sitting in with such exciting plans and visions, surrounded by other pregnant women, but this time I was in complete shock. Life was going on around me, but I was just floating through space.
What did I do wrong? What did I do to deserve this? Having to tell people that were so excited for us that our little one didn’t have a heartbeat was so difficult. John was my rock and continually reminded me how much he loved me. I just couldn’t help but wonder, what did I do wrong? Why was God doing this to me? What could I have done better? As much as everyone’s words of support helped, it was hard to hear “everything happens for a reason” or “at least you know you can get pregnant.” I could not see through the sadness yet, it was too soon.
We decided to go to dinner Friday night. I felt guilty ordering a glass of champagne, which I had missed so much in those few short weeks, but the worst part was when our visibly annoyed server came to our table and was complaining about how tired she was and how everything and everyone was bothering her that night. She was 9 weeks pregnant and just didn’t want to deal with anyone’s s***.
I almost burst into tears. I would have given anything to be pregnant at that point, as she was as far along as I had previously been. Why does she get to be pregnant but not me? This was one of the times I wished I could just drive to my parents house, crawl into bed with my mom and just cry. That weekend, John and I made the decision to schedule the Dilation and Curettage, commonly referred to as a D & C, to remove the fetus and clean out my uterus of all the remaining tissue. I couldn’t bring myself to wait for time to pass and let my body handle this when it wanted to. It seemed like a constant reminder of what had happened and I just wanted it done.
I didn’t rush back into my normal social routines, again feeling guilty for going out with friends for a drink. I knew I had to pull myself up and get back to it though, as that would bring me some kind of normalcy again. My friends knew my feelings and were very understanding. I slowly started joining them out again and started feeling better. I was finally at the point that I could discuss my miscarriage without feeling guilty or ashamed. It is still such a sensitive topic. I am so happy this topic has come up recently in social media with more women coming forward and telling their stories. I read a few books, lots of blogs and articles, and started to talk to my loved ones about my story.
It took some time to mentally prepare myself to start “trying” again. What at first seemed like such an easy process now carried such a heavy feeling for me. John was very understanding and let me take my time to get to where I needed to be emotionally. Together, we made it through a very tough situation and came out the other side even stronger.
I took a few pregnancy tests over the next months and they all came back negative. I couldn’t help but think, what if that was my only chance and I blew it? Would God give me another try at pregnancy? I had to remind myself to relax; nothing would happen if I could not calm down and let life take its course. I would follow my ovulation calendar, but beyond that, I couldn’t let getting pregnant take over my life.
It was a Tuesday evening after work that I went and bought a pack of pregnancy tests. I came home from work and took the test. Letting it sit on the counter, I tried not to count the seconds until the status would be ready. I put some dishes away while waiting, pretending I had nothing else going on. After I was done, I went into the bathroom and saw the words “pregnant, 2-3 weeks” and couldn’t control my smile. I looked myself in the mirror and said, “We did it” with such a feeling of relief, but as soon as the excitement came, so did the worry…
Would I lose this pregnancy? What can I do differently this time to make sure my baby lives? But I had to try and banish those thoughts – I was pregnant and couldn’t wait to tell John when he came home from work! I left the test in the bathroom and grabbed it when he came home to show him. He was so excited; we shared a big hug and kiss, but I knew he could tell I was worried.
We didn’t want to tell anyone because of what we had to go through with the last pregnancy. We decided that maybe we should wait a few weeks, get a little bit further along this time, but I knew our families were waiting for this good news as much as we had been, so we decided to share it with them. Our parents and siblings were overjoyed. Lots of happy tears were shed. We all knew not to get ahead of ourselves this time around.
My doctor knew that I would be anxious to have an early checkup, so we scheduled an ultrasound for when I was 8 weeks along. I was so worried every day that I had to remind myself to enjoy this time. John was so supportive.
The day for the appointment finally came and we were brought back to the same room with the same ultrasound technician. All of the memories from the last appointment came flooding back, but I tried as hard as I could to push them out of my brain.
She laid me down and we started. “Ok, there it is, a flicker of a heartbeat in the sac. And it looks like a flicker in the other one as well.”
I thought I misheard her… “I’m sorry, the other what?”
“Yes, there are two sacs in there, both with heartbeats. Looks like its twins.”
And that was how we received the most incredible news of our lives. Not only was I pregnant, I was pregnant with twins!
I looked at John with total shock and his face matched mine! I knew it was still so early in my pregnancy, but getting news like that is life changing! The ironic part of all of this is that I was a nanny for twins. And for 3 sets of twins before that. Twins don’t run in my family, we were not partaking in any fertility treatments or anything special at all. We were just blessed. What I considered my work history was actually me practicing for my future!
My next appointment was not for a few weeks, and I knew the chances of miscarriage were out there. There is also something called “vanishing twin” that can happen. Sometimes, women can be pregnant with twins, but one can vanish before their first ultrasound, so they didn’t even know. And with me having such an early first appointment, I knew this was a high possibility. But again, there were two heartbeats. The big milestone to reach is 12 weeks, and your chances of miscarriage drop drastically after that, though still a possibility. Each appointment after that brought me anxiety, but each time I saw two hearts beating, anxiety gave way to relief and happiness.
Once I finally hit 12 weeks, we decided to make the news official by posting it on Facebook. We traveled back east again and took a picture in front of the chapel that we were married in two years prior. With 2 years of marriage behind us and two little ones ahead of us, we couldn’t be happier to share the news with the world. Friends and family from all over sent us messages of congratulations and encouragement, it was overwhelming. With our little secret finally being public knowledge, I felt such relief. This pregnancy has been about reaching goals, however small or large, and this was a big one!
As I write this, I am a little more than five months pregnant with our two little girls. I look forward to each and every ultrasound. While my fears are still there, they have gotten very small. I love to see how they continue to grow and change at each appointment. I can now feel their movements in my belly, which is a feeling that I have looked forward to for so many weeks now. The girls are due in early February, which means we could expect them anytime in January and beyond. Our little ones are growing bigger and stronger every day and my body is showing that! Every stretch mark and headache that I have is so worth it, I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I have heard stretch marks referred to as a tiger earning her stripes. I am a very proud tiger who has earned every stripe along the way and can’t wait to meet her little cubs.