Our first scan

Here we go guys… Time to confirm our twin pregnancy.

I had to wait a while before actually getting the scan, like I mentioned in an earlier post my Dr ideally wanted to wait until the embryo/s would have developed enough to have a beating heart that could be measured. Most Dr’s will advise this because a lot can be said from the regularity and speed of the heart rate of a developing embryo. I think also they know that many mothers find comfort in seeing the heartbeat of their little ones, so they want to make sure they don’t go in too early and become worried when no heartbeat is detected.

So after about 7/8 weeks after my last period we scheduled a “dating” scan at Pacific Radiology. I was so nervous. To be honest it was mainly the anticipation of finding out whether there was one or two babies inside me, but also I just wanted to know if they were okay in there, that everything was normal. I think most woman who find out they are expecting are the same and have the same sense of urgency to “just know”.

Matt and I had tried to keep our news to ourselves as best we could, but it seemed like everyone we knew somehow found out we were expecting. It was incredibly frustrating as usually people wait till the second trimester to announce they’re pregnant. There is a good reason for this. No pregnancy promises a live birth of a child, and its during the first 12 weeks of gestation that woman are most likely to “lose” their babies. A lot of the time the reason for this completely unknown but the creation of life is a complicated process so somehow it makes sense to me that it’s in these first critical weeks something could go wrong. I don’t think it’s fair, or kind, but the reality is over a billion things have to go perfectly right in order for a perfectly healthy baby to be born in 9 months time. There is an even more increased risk when the pregnancy involves multiple babies, simply because there are even more variables to the equation. So of course we weren’t ready for the world to know.

I was angry that the privilege of telling people had been taken away from me. So I decided to ignore every single person who asked me if I was pregnant and it was through that time I learnt to become a lot more private about my life, which was a necessity at the time.

-And here I am now telling the world and all of you my story… how ironic right?

I knew that at the moment I’d see them, that I’d be even more attached than I already was, but I was also still in a place of denial that this was all real. I felt like things had happened so fast and that everything was changing at a moments notice, I really had no idea what this scan had in store for me.

If I have a moment of complete honesty with you, I didn’t want twins. I was told things like “don’t get your hopes up” I just laughed at people who said things like that to me. I was scared enough as it was, I wanted to finish my nursing, I wanted to still have my life while being pregnant and I wanted to be selfish and preserve as much of the way things were without having to change too much. I didn’t want one baby to begin with, let alone two. I was just getting used to the idea that this was all happening, I certainly wasn’t hoping for twins. I know to any mothers reading this, how delusional that must sound but that’s honestly what I wanted. My life plus a baby. I really thought that was possible, but only if there was one.

The day came for the scan. I knew I needed some support there, so I asked my sister and mum to come with me and of course Matt was going to be there too. We met at the clinic and sat in the waiting room for what felt like hours. I went into a state of hyper awareness. I could hear the clock ticking, Matts heavy breath next to me. I was aware of the blood throbbing through my veins and how heavy my bladder was feeling. My sister was sent by God on this day, she knew the anxiety I was feeling and would catch me at a glance, the hit me with the most reassuring look accompanied by a smile that told me everything was going to be okay, without even saying it. I’m really thankful she was there, it meant the world to me.

After a few deep breaths we were heading into the room. The bed lined with paper and the ultrasound equipment looked so ominous. Then the adrenaline hit me, I was ready to know. Mum, my sister and Matt all lingered very close to me as I lay down awaiting the news.

The technician was amazing. She was incredibly calming and her first comment upon putting the probe to my pelvis was on how full my bladder was. She broke the ice and we all giggled and I some how became far more calm. “There is baby” she said, and there he  was… a black little bubble with a white smudge in the center and a distinct white circle attached next to it. This was the gestational sack, the embryo and the yolk sac. I knew immediately that there was only one little baby in that bubble and my anxiety left me completely.  I looked up and stole a look from Matt, he smiled and squeezed my arm.

If you have ever had, or been to, a dating scan, the most amazing part is seeing the tiny heart beat of the baby. At this stage in development, everything is so small that it doesn’t look like what you imagine it will. Most people describe it as a flicker, Matt described it as a twinkle (the most perfect way I have ever heard to illustrate the enchantment of it) That is exactly what it looked like, a sparkle.A tiny area in the center of the smudge that lit up for the briefest moment and then dims again, over and over. It is the proof of life, there is just no denying that to me. This twinkle tells you that there is something living inside you, no matter how small.

It’s magical, and it changed everything.

The moment absolutely captivated me, and we were all so caught up in this tiny life that I never thought to ask many questions. So when the Tech noticed an abnormality next to the gestational sack and explained to us that it looked like a sack full of blood, neither me, Matt or my family really paid it much attention. It looked a deformed bubble next to my little baby. There was lots of white speckles throughout this bubble but no visible smudge.

This indeed was a second gestational sack inside my womb. The sack was smaller in comparison to the other one, and also was shaped slightly more oval and odd. It wasn’t empty, but there was no viable embryo inside. Instead, there was blood and debris. It looked grainy and full of white speckles. The technician lingered on this pocket inside my womb for a while and taking a lot of measurements. She went back to our little flicker and started to measure that sack and the length of that smudge. She told me I was about 7 weeks along and that I was due at the beginning of January.

She told me most likely that pocket would come out on its own some time soon, so not to be too concerned if I had some bleeding. I’m not sure why this didn’t upset me. I was so wrapped up in the wonder of that little baby it didn’t affect me very negatively. I also think part of it was that I felt relieved that there was only one baby? We left Pacific radiology in good spirits. Happy about our decision and happy that we had a healthy baby on the way.

We told the people closest to us that there was only one baby and everyone was happy and excited for us. We never really spoke about that little mysterious little sack afterwards especially to people who weren’t directly involved.

Upon review of my scans and the report that was written up, I was told by my midwife that there was most likely a second embryo in that smaller sack at some stage, but prior to the dating scan I had a miscarriage of only one baby, or that it had never developed past about 4/5 weeks. This is why the sack was a lot smaller in size compared to the other. The white speckles and blood inside this pocket where the remains of what had been produced at the moment of conception, or at the result of a miscarriage when the embryo starts to deteriorate and break down.

Learning this information from my midwife made me feel so sad. It hit me the moment we talked. I felt extreme guilt for only wanting one baby. As if my will had something to do with the tragedy of that lost baby. I’ve at times felt like it was my fault that there was no second baby. I look back and see my happiness at that first scan, how I was so wrapped up in my little smudge that I didn’t feel any sadness at seeing only one magical twinkle. I’m still dealing with that loss in a weird way and I’m trying to find woman who have been through something similar so I can make sense of all of this. I’m not sure anyone else can really understand the feelings, or what its like; especially to feel such immense joy from having a healthy baby to love and to focus on, while also trying to figure out the emptiness I also feel from not having both of them there.

I think this is the point when I started to realise that my experience was a little different from others. That there weren’t many others I could relate to. So now I’m here, trying to get my story out there, because I really wish I had been able to find someone to talk to at that moment. My hope is that I can be that person for someone else. No one has to go through this alone.

-Allie

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One thought on “Our first scan

  1. journeyformybaby says:

    I lost 2 triplets at around 5-6 weeks. The third baby, my son, survived and was healthy. I really didn’t grieve those babies until later. I was so relieved that my one baby was growing and healthy that I just couldn’t process the loss of the other babies until later. I still miss them and I always will. I’m sorry you experienced that. It’s such an odd thing to have happen. 😦

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