In all of this, I've had one incredible fear. From the moment it was established that my girls would not survive, I was already thinking ahead.
Will I someday punish my baby for not being my girls? Will the next baby just be getting their leftovers?
I don't even know how to phrase that question. My next baby? My next babies? My real children? Surviving child? What do I even call the next pregnancy?
And I also know that doctors probably won't help me get pregnant again until I'm over this question. So do I be honest about this question and risk them not letting me get pregnant again? Do I try to lie and pretend this issue doesn't exist so they'll help me be pregnant again right away?
I'm so afraid that when I'm pregnant again, I'm going to be cold and indifferent. When they do that first ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy and it's a single baby, not twins. I'm going to be so disappointed. And if it turns out to be a little boy. Disappointed again that it's not one of my girls coming back.
How can I do that to a new baby?
I spent much of this pregnancy being somewhat cool towards it. The moment I feel happy, and I believe that I'm going to be a parent, it's taken away from me. That happened at the end of the first IVF attempt. I started to smile, and believe it would work. And the moment I allowed myself that happiness and that belief, my body expelled the eggs prematurely and we had to stop the attempt.
And now it's happened again only so much worse. I kept myself guarded during that first trimester. I knew full well how many children are lost during that time and I protected myself and by extension the girls from turning that corner and believing and being happy. I didn't want to lose one to vanishing twin syndrome so I kept myself guarded from twins until the end of the first trimester.
I knew that the 2 points of no return, when I just could not resist being happy and accepting, would be learning their genders and feeling them move. Once those two things happened, I would not be able to keep my guard up anymore.
And a week before it all happened, we learned they were girls. And every night in bed, I'd lay there with my hands on my belly and question "Was that gurgle the girls? Did that register on the outside in my hands? Or was that just dinner gurgling?" And we always concluded that it was just food gurgling through my system since each one felt familiar and not new.
I don't think I ever felt them move. We certainly saw them dance on the last ultrasound, but never felt them. But they had genders and identities and I just couldn't resist accepting them any longer. I let my guard down, finally. And just days after I let my guard down, once again, my body expelled.
How am I ever going to turn that corner again? I thought I was safe for a short time. After about week 14, I figured we were safe until I started the third trimester and I would have to start being afraid of them being born prematurely. I allowed myself to be happy and to believe and the universe heard that and punished us for it.
So I'm so afraid of how I'll treat the next baby. Will I go through the entire pregnancy totally indifferent? Protect us all from my own happiness? And after a baby is born, there's still a high risk period of 6-12 months from SIDS. Will I lose all that bonding time because I'm afraid that the moment I'm just happy, the child will be randomly taken from me again? After that time passes, will I be so accustomed to giving the baby the cold shoulder that I can't ever be affectionate?
Damned if I do, damned if I don't. If I accept and be happy, it'll be snatched away. If I keep myself guarded and cold, the baby doesn't deserve that coldness.
How can I be disappointed to learn that I have a healthy, single, baby boy? How do I live with being disappointed in my own child for not being my girls? It won't be his fault so how can I be so awful? But how do I not be?
This was my ultimate fantasy. I know you're not supposed to prefer one over the other, "Just as long as it's healthy" and all that. But I had EXACTLY what I always fantasized about. Twin baby girls. I had been dreaming about them. I thought they were fraternal so I wondered if they would look just alike (like the Olsen twins who are fraternal but appear identical) or would they be so different from each other that people would wonder which one I was only babysitting?
And then in the last hours of their lives, not only were they twin girls, they were IDENTICAL twin girls. They would have been so beautiful. K and I are not exactly beautiful people, but neither of us have any really predominant features that would make a babies face look all out of balance. Our features would have blended so well together and created the most beautiful freckle faced, red headed, identical twin girls. The boys would have been clawing at our door in a dozen or so years.
So how can I accept anything less than the fantasy I had?
I feel so guilty for how I might treat another baby that doesn't even exist yet.