I am finally ready to tell the "rest of the story"...
I needed Friday to be only about celebration, only about joy - I needed to only talk about our Poblano with its beautiful flickering heartbeat and its perfect, right on track, development. I needed one whole day only to talk about how wonderful it was to finally have a baby, our baby, growing inside of me. I needed one day to be about that and that alone.
But there was something else that we saw during our ultrasound on Friday. There was another amniotic sac, one with a yolk sac inside and the tiniest dot of what had been our Poblano's twin, but had stopped growing at some point. We asked the nurse several times if she was sure - if she was really sure there was "nothing" there. And she showed us several times and assured us that she could tell us with certainty that one of the sacs was "empty".
I was not prepared for this. Neither of us were. We thought it would be simple. Either there would be one little pepper or two, or our worst fear - none. But we were totally unprepared to see one thriving and growing, and the other, well - not.
We felt so torn. When left alone in the room we both kept repeating that we didn't know what to feel. We were so happy, thrilled really - to see our little Poblano with its strong little heart just pumping away. But we felt a very real sense of loss and sadness for the one who wasn't.
I have gone through all sorts of emotions about this. I have felt incredibly guilty and broken, wondering if I did something to cause this - wondering why I couldn't support both babies. Was it the day I worked a little too hard in the garden? Or the day I lifted something I shouldn't have?
I have talked to friends and family who have assured me that this happens so often in nature, that it is not my fault. In fact, it may have even happened to someone in my own family. I read statistics online showing that this probably happens in more pregnancies than we realize - maybe as often as 1 in 12 (it is missed because most women aren't even given ultrasounds this early and by the time they are given an ultrasound, the "twin" has "vanished").
I am trying to wrap my mind around a mystery that I cannot explain. I want to find reason and meaning where none is certain.
I am perplexed. I am torn. We have one incredible little pepper growing away - and that in itself is a miracle worthy of celebrating. And I am celebrating. I know. I know how lucky and blessed I am. I know.
But I also cannot stop thinking about "the one who got away". The one who didn't make it. It is a loss, and I am grieving it.
By the next ultrasound, there may be nothing there, nothing to show for the twin that our Poblano will never meet. When this happens it is called a "vanishing twin". It makes it sound so magical and mysterious - "vanishing".
But, I wonder if the image of and the longing for this one will ever really vanish for me. I saw a movie the other night and at the end one of the characters is surprised by having twins. As I saw her holding her two babies, a voice in my head asked, "Why couldn't I have two healthy twins? Why wasn't my body able to support them both?" I was actually shocked by this feeling. It makes me wonder whether I will ever forget that my child started as two. Whether I will always feel this sense of someone who is missing. Or, like so many other losses we experience in life - will the sharp feeling in my chest fade over time? Will it eventually be something we talk about casually in our family? Will the overwhelming joy and love I feel for the one who is growing and thriving overshadow this loss and ultimately wash it away?
Once again I find myself holding a great joy and anticipation, and grieving for what was lost - all at once. This is a strange place to be, an unexpected place to be. But it is a loss I want to grieve. Even as I know that I must let it go......
This is one picture where you can see them both. Next ultrasound, this may all just seem like a dream or a distant memory. There may be nothing left to see of our "Serrano".
Thank you for fighting so hard to implant and grow. Thank you for the short time you were with us. I am so sad that I will never meet you here, that I will never hold you. I do not understand why you had to leave us, and I wish I had been able to stop it somehow. But whatever this means, wherever you are - know that you were and are dearly loved. My love goes with you wherever you have gone.