Archive for Twins

Eliza & Her Angel



Many of you know my younger daughter Elizabeth was once part of a set of twins. I lost one of the babies when my water broke on that sac at 10 weeks. It was a harrowing experience as I was on an airplane, only two hours into a 12-hour flight between Switzerland and the US.

After a tense week, we finally saw Elizabeth’s heart beat, and the other sac collapsed and got out of the way. I had no further complications to her pregnancy, other than the usual stuck position and required c-section.

A few days ago, after taking Elizabeth’s hair out of braids, she said, “I have angel hair!” So we took her picture holding a baby doll, which I later replaced with an image of herself as a baby.

There isn’t a sweeter guardian angel than Emma Hope, Elizabeth’s twin, and no better way to portray them than with a sister who once shared her womb.

This image is available at RedBubble for a keepsake card or a little poster for baby’s room, if you also have a guardian angel who will watch over you or your other children. It includes the very common phrase you will see repeatedly on grief sites, miscarriage tickers, and signatures, “Some people dream of angels…I held one in my arms.”

Book Review: To Full Term

To Full Term: A Mother’s Triumph over Miscarriage by Darci Klein and Mary Stephenson, MD (Berkeley Trade, 2007), is book I recommend primarily for women in the determined phase after their miscarriages, who want to hear a strong, steady voice describing one mother’s search for answers to her recurring losses.

Klein endured multiple heartbreaks. While her first pregnancy ended in a healthy child, she went into labor twelve weeks early and watched her baby’s first weeks from inside the walls of a NICU. Her second and third pregnancies ended in miscarriage, and her fourth pregnancy, twins this time, ended in a heartbreaking preterm labor at 20 weeks.

Her book begins as she finds out she is pregnant for the fifth time, just moving into a new house in a new city, and realizing she rapidly has to find a doctor to prescribe Heparin for Factor V Leiden, a clotting disorder that may have played a role in her losses. She has also been diagnosed with incompetent cervix, which leads to preterm labor.

Interweaved in the story are background facts, statistics about loss, the National Institutes of Health’s woeful funding on miscarriage, and what she feels is the incriminating lack of chromosomal testing on early miscarriages to separate women into those who had “bad luck,” and those who have a problem that can be treated to save pregnancies.

One point Klein and I whole-heartedly agree upon—women should be tested more often to ensure they don’t have one of the easily treatable causes of recurring loss. But even though her book cites the ACOG, the guidelines obstetricians follow in testing for miscarriage, which recommends waiting for two or more miscarriages, I have personally found from the stories of thousands of women who visit this site, that it doesn’t take much to convince the doctor to do some testing even after one loss. I have long advocated that if your doctor is unresponsive or dismissive, it’s time to find a new one.

Klein’s story is passionate and clearly told. She was adamant that she not lose any more babies and demanded medical intervention to save them.

I do think, however, that her mixture of stats and story is not very helpful in the early days following your first loss. It’s hard to feel emotionally involved in her journey when you are constantly being fed facts in an order that might not be what you want to know, when you want to know it. Her writing is very edgy and strong, a voice that might be difficult to relate to during your saddest days.

But for those of you who have had two losses or more, those of you who are determined, frustrated, and maybe still a bit angry at your lack of answers or your care, then this books is well told and solidly researched tale of the journey.

Learn more about the book.

The Flutter of Wings

Sometimes amazing things happen to remind us that we really don’t understand the machinations of our world. I often think of the line to Josh Groban’s song “To Where You Are” that says:

Isn’t faith believing all powers can’t be seen?

Yesterday my almost-five-year-old (countdown to the big day–seven sleeps!) and I attended a baby shower for her preschool teacher.

One of the games involved each of the kids suggesting what Ms. Lindsay should name her baby boy.

The children mainly chose names of male classmates or dads or brothers. A few provided gigglers–Star, Sunshine, Happy Feet. One future class clown offered up “Poo.”

Elizabeth’s turn arrived. She seemed confused about this, and the teacher asked her if she needed more time. She shook her head, stood up, and said, “Matthew.”

My heart seized. She knew no Matthews. No cousins or classmates or friends. The only time she could have heard the name in her brief existence would be in Sunday School, where it would compete with the likes of Mark, Luke, and John.

But Matthew is a very important name to us. When we were told Emily was a boy at her sonogram, we chose Ryan Matthew as her name. Naturally she became Emily later when the high risk doctor told us–that’s an odd name for a girl!

When we got pregnant with Elizabeth, we decided we still liked Ryan Matthew but would prefer it flipped. So we called the baby Matthew early on when we referred to her in the womb, until her sonogram revealed she was also a girl.

But of course, Elizabeth was a twin. Her little sibling died and my water broke when I was only ten weeks pregnant. Elizabeth survived, although we had a week or two of uncertainty that the pregnancy would pull through.

We’ve named her twin Emma Hope, but after this baby shower, maybe we were wrong. Perhaps Elizabeth knows more than we do, and maybe, just maybe, some little presence whispered in her ear that morning, and for the first time, without even knowing it, she uttered a name she’d never before heard–her brother’s.