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Today my heart broke...and then I fell in love.

Posted Sep 26 2012 9:58pm
I had the first part of my genetic screening done today, including half of the blood screening and the NT scan.

Here's Baby A, who was crazy active and a bit uncooperative the whole time. Baby kept jumping around and was making hiccup-like motions. I got to see the arms and legs, hands and feet, tiny perfect nose. The ultrasound tech had to do an abdominal and a vaginal ultrasound because the baby did not want to cooperate to let her get the proper measurements. After about an hour, she got everything she needed. 

It's incredible to me the difference in development from 8 weeks to 13. The last scan I couldn't make anything out and today I could see everything. It was incredible. The good news is that my NT scan looked great and Baby A looks great, which is amazing.
The bad news is that Baby B didn't make it and stopped developing sometime around 9 weeks, which is when I had that bright red bleeding and spent the day in the ER. You can see Baby A here and to its left is Baby B's sac with a shadow of the baby. The genetics doctor told me my body will eventually reabsorb the amniotic fluid and tissue in Baby B's sac.

Here's Baby A's hand. So teeny tiny! 
And another view of Baby A. 
I have had a feeling, from the very beginning, that something was off. I kept telling Ryan that something felt off because I felt like I couldn't let myself get too attached to the babies. I couldn't explain it. Then the bleeding started and, looking back, there were other signs. Like why my first few betas showed hcg levels that were in the normal range for a singleton (before we found out they were twins) and why my midwife could find a heartbeat on the left side of my belly (which is where Baby A is) right away but couldn't make much of anything out on the right side.

Then today, during the scan, the tech spent very little time on the right side of my belly and a very long time on the left side, which raised my suspicions. I am very glad I decided to do the NT scan because if not for this, I wouldn't have found out that Baby B didn't make it until my anatomy scan in a few weeks, which would have been worse. I am always  hungry for information and I don't like being left in limbo or not knowing what's going on. The sooner I know what's up, the better I process it and move forward.

At the end of the scan, the tech stepped aside and the geneticist walked in, which I knew couldn't be good. She introduced herself and said there were a few issues she needed to talk to me about. Immediately my heart sank and I prepared for her to tell me they found serious issues with the babies. She didn't beat around the bush and got right to the point, which I appreciated. "Unfortunately, Baby B didn't make it. I'm sorry. But I reviewed your scans and Baby A looks great." I'll be honest, I felt both sadness and relief. Okay, the baby who made it looks good and is doing okay. I don't think the news about Baby B hit me fully until later on today and initially I was just numb. I didn't cry. I just kept asking about Baby A. She said that Baby B won't cause any harm to Baby A and that as Baby A grows, he/she will push against Baby B's sac and eventually push it against the placenta, where my body will reabsorb it.

She said that in most cases, when a baby passes so early in pregnancy, it was the body's natural reaction to expelling an imperfect fetus and that there was probably something genetically or chromosomally wrong with the baby. She will personally do my anatomy scan in a few weeks to check on everything and said I will remain high risk until I'm further along. I guess the techs in genetics are specialized to detect any kind of issues with babies in utero, whereas the techs in radiology do scans of everything (bladder, kidneys, babies, knees, etc). It definitely makes me feel better knowing they're on top of everything. She will also do an echocardiogram on the baby's heart around 21 weeks to make sure everything's okay because of the heart defect Ryan was born with. That makes me happy knowing they're taking everything so seriously and keeping a close eye on everything.

Ryan is devastated as are those who are closest to us. It's times like these where I am most grateful for the people closest to us, who offered us the best kind of support today.

It didn't all really hit me until after we'd come home. Ry took the kids downstairs so I could lay down for a little while. When I woke up it all hit me like a ton of bricks. I looked at old ultrasound pictures and let myself process it all, grieve it all and relented to crying my heart out over a baby I only had the blessing of carrying with me for a little while. A little being whose heart beat I saw and heard just weeks ago. A little angel who will always look over his/her twin brother/sister forever.

Yes, we are sad. Very sad over the loss of our baby's twin. But we're also very grateful for the baby who is still kicking and moving and making me queasy and tired, whose heart is still beating close to mine. Obviously this is another game changer and I won't know more until I meet with my midwife in a few weeks. I'm not sure if I'll still be seen by her and the OBs or how any of that will work.

Ry and I ordered fetal doppler this week, which should get here soon. I think it will be really cool to be able to hear the baby's heart whenever we want and be able to send my sister audio clips so she won't feel so far away and so she'll still be connected even if she can't be here.

I am a firm believer that God will never give us more than we can handle and I have full faith in him now.


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