Despite the struggles I may have had with my faith over the years, its hard not to fall back into the senseless serenity of such things when life becomes otherwise unexplainable. As angry as I’d be when people suggested that God had a plan for me, I quietly believed that maybe it was true. I had so many different theories: maybe I was meant to have one child, or maybe life was about to reveal some greater challenge right around the corner, maybe I needed to be a better mother to my son and prove myself worthy of another child. None of these ever quite rang true, but I entertained them often when a reason seemed like the only remedy to a mounting pain and disappointment so great it might consume me.
When the spiritual realm failed to offer meaning, I searched the physical. I sought the best doctor I could find, one who’s made national television appearances and defied the odds to bring babies to couples who’d almost given up. I went through testing, waited for results and ruled out any known medical issues preventing me from carrying a full-term, healthy baby. And, at the end of it all, my doctor said, “It’s like being struck by lightening. Sometimes shit happens. In your case, it happened twice.”
I spent many hours considering the stories I’d heard of women who could never conceive, women who lost dozens of babies before succeeding, and women who went to great lengths just to have the opportunity to be a mother and to spend the rest of their lives in sacrifice to a child.
I could try again. Getting pregnant had never been our issue.
And so on mother’s day, Phil and I conceived for the fourth time. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle.
At my six week ultrasound, the technician looked at us and said, “Hmm. Did you know there are two?”
The moments that followed are the kind of moments in life that we wish we could step out of to watch, and step back into time and time again to relive. There’ve been pockets in this past nightmare of a year when joy and hope and love have completely consumed me. That pocket was easily the greatest of them all.
Suddenly it seemed the universe had righted itself. I felt in that moment like a little kid at the shopping mall trying to fumble my way onto an escalator. I’m nervously holding the rail, tapping the edge of each step as it rises from the belt, before planting both feet and taking off.
Clearly, this was God’s plan. Two babies, conceived naturally, with no family history. It took my breath away.
The weeks that followed were amazing. We watched them grow, forming heads and little buds for arms and legs, then knees and elbows, noses and eyes. At each weekly ultrasound my heart would bang inside my chest. I’m certain I’ll never experience anything quite like that again in my life.
We knew we’d never afford them easily. We knew that it would mean a more difficult pregnancy (I started giving myself daily injections of a blood thinner in an effort to thwart another miscarriage). I would need to be monitored closely. There could be all kinds of complications if I didn’t make it to term. But none of this really mattered. They felt protected by the same force in the universe that had brought them to us. And as scared as I was, I felt a sense of calm when I focused on what a miracle they were.
But lightning struck again. Shit happened and just this week we discovered that Baby B had died.
I found myself again, for the third time in 12 months watching the black and white horror movie play out on the ultrasound screen. I watched my tranquil baby lying there inside its sac, only moving with the doctors prods, like a puppet. I desperately wanted him to cut the screen. I knew what had happened.
I’m told that Baby B will likely remain inside my womb, lying next to his or her brother or sister. I may even see fragments of Baby B’s body at delivery, if Baby A proves strong enough to make it there. A thick membrane separates their sacs. I’m told this is a good thing, but I can’t help but wonder if they were still too small to have ever felt each others’ movements. They were supposed to be inseparable. I imagined them one in each of my arms in the delivery room, curled together in the same bassinet in the nursery, side by side in strollers. I wonder if I’ll ever know if Baby B, now my third lost baby, was a girl or a boy. And I wonder most of all what happened to the “plan” I believed in. What is all of this supposed to mean now?