On losing one twin

I found out I was pregnant on my 9th wedding anniversary, September 2nd, 1998. It was our first pregnancy and we were very excited. My excitement turned to severe sickness within a couple of weeks. I could not even stand up without vomiting. I visited my doctor at 9 weeks and she suspected that the illness might be caused by twins. That thought made me endure my sickness with a new-found strength. I had always wanted to have twins and talked about it with my husband many times.

At 11 weeks I had an ultrasound that revealed I was carrying twins. We were shocked, excited, and scared, all at once. I started making plans and dreaming about what it was going to be like to have these two babies. The pregnancy progressed well until 17 weeks when I ended up in the Operating Room because of an abcessed Gall Bladder. The surgeon had never operated on a pregnant woman before, and I felt more than a little nervous. I recovered after couple of weeks and felt fairly good. I was seeing a Perinatologist who specialized in high risk pregnancy. He placed me on bed rest at about 22 weeks.

On Monday, March 8th I saw the specialist for my weekly appointment, I was 31 weeks pregnant. I was extremely uncomfortable and he suspected I was having contractions. I was admitted to the hospital and my membranes ruptured just minutes after getting into my room, I was 2 centimeters dilated. I spent the night in Labor and Delivery so they could monitor the babies. I could not rest because I felt something was not right. I was so upset that the nurse called my doctor at 5:00 am and he did an ultrasound that confirmed that twin A no longer had a heartbeat. Apparently they had been monitoring the heartbeat of only one baby for a couple of hours and did not realize it. I was so shocked and sad that I could not even cry. I felt numb. Even though I knew something was wrong I just kept telling myself that everything would be OK. I prayed constantly. I delivered my baby girl twin A at 2:20 pm on Tuesday March 9th. We called her Gabrielle Rose. They suspected her death was caused by a prolapsed cord, so they delivered baby girl twin B by cesarean section at 2:40 pm. We named her Erin Elizabeth and she is now 5 years old. I was happy and sad all at the same time. The confusion and loss took over my whole being.

We held Gabrielle Rose for a while and the tears came and did not stop for days. I just kept thinking that I should have done something differently. The grief from losing one twin was unimaginable. I missed her so very much and yet I had to pull myself together and take care of my new baby. Erin spent 6 agonizing weeks in the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit. She weighed only 3 pounds and 8 ounces and she needed time to grow and gain strength.

We always talk about her identical twin sister. We wanted Gabrielle to always be apart of Erin’s life. They share a special bond and she asks about her frequently. We cry together as Erin asks why her sister had to die. I have no real answers for her. I am still consumed by grief and guilt at times, but Erin and my 3 year old son Colin are the joy of my life.

Tracey, Canada

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