The next pregnancy

The issue of subsequent pregnancy… For many of our readers the loss of their twins occurred before or around birth and they find themselves sometime, sooner or later, contemplating the idea of another pregnancy.

Firstly, we want to acknowledge two groups of readers of Hearts & Wings. Those who, sadly, are not in the position to be able to have another baby. Perhaps the twins were conceived with difficulty and now it looks like another pregnancy just won’t be happening. This is a huge grief in itself and requires a turn around in thinking and a re-adjustment of dreams. We won’t talk so much about this here but perhaps those who have been through this loss and grief might like to write and offer their thoughts. Particularly what got them through and how their life has panned out since all their precious babies are in heaven. It doesn’t happen often but another group of readers are those who have had another loss since their twins. I hope the families in these two groups know we are thinking of you and remember you.

So, we find ourselves deciding about another baby. It can be difficult to know when the “right time” is. Some are keen to become pregnant as soon as possible after the loss while others feel the need to give themselves some space to grieve. Either way deciding what feels right for you and your family is important. Sometimes a new pregnancy is a surprise to everyone and it might take time for this to feel right. It may take longer for one of the couple to get used to the idea than the other. Be patient… you have both suffered a lot of grief and while it may seem like a catastrophe to one partner for a time, it usually all works out in the end. Trusting yourself to be able to cope again with all the feelings that come with a new baby, may be the reason why a new baby feels like a negative thing to some. Perhaps a feeling of not wanting to go through the pain again if there is another loss, of feeling unable to cope if it isn’t all perfect this time round. So much to deal with that wasn’t part of the package the first time around! Be gentle with each other and take things slowly, step by step.

Once the baby is on it’s way there can often be more anxiety experienced than in a usual pregnancy. Depending on what went wrong to cause the loss of the twins, depends on what might make you most anxious. Perhaps the baby died unexpectedly at 23 weeks… so you might feel most anxious leading up to and as you pass through that time. Maybe there was a particular condition in the baby who died and until you see those first scan pictures and find it is all fine, you cannot help but worry. Overall, I think, most subsequent pregnancies are more stressful and don’t quite have the same feel as in the days before our loss when we didn’t think anything could go wrong with us! No one’s reassuring words of “It will be okay this time,” are worth anything until we hold a healthy little baby in our arms.

What about having twins again? Most of the mums we’ve ever talked to have all secretly or openly dreamed of having twins again. The feeling is stronger in some than others, sometimes they just think that only if there was a guarantee it would all be okay, would they want twins again, while others are bitterly disappointed when they find “There’s only one”. I know that I had to have a scan earlier on than I should have because I was continually thinking I must be having twins again and so I needed to do that to find out for sure before I went crazy. I came home from the first scan with our new pregnancy after our loss, in tears because there was only one baby. The scan looked oddly lonely with just one baby on the screen and it just didn’t seem right. With a little time I felt better with the idea and continued to enjoy the pregnancy and our new son who arrived 3 years after our twin daughter died. I knew in my heart having twins again was, firstly a long shot… even though their were twins in our family, it was still most unlikely that I would have another set, and secondly it would be a huge undertaking to go through a second twin pregnancy and also to watch one set of twins grow while we still would be grieving for our lost twin. Having another set wouldn’t fix our grief…

Telling others about the new pregnancy can be difficult. A lot of people don’t feel that same rush to let the world know that they did the first time. Perhaps it is the uncertainty of the outcome, maybe in feeling anxious yourself you don’t want lots of fuss from others who mean well but don’t make it feel any better. Maybe it is a little bit like walking on egg-shells for a time and so do whatever feels right for you and tell others when you feel ready… hopefully that is some time before people start looking sideways at your tummy!

Finding a midwife or doctor who will be sensitive to your unique needs and possible fragile state is important. Using the same carer as when you had your loss can be a comfort to some and saves a lot of explanation about your previous loss but sometimes people feel someone new might be help to give a change of feel to the pregnancy or they may have difficulty with the original carer due to the circumstances around the loss. Each person will feel differently and it is important to make a decision that you are happy with even if it means being a little more choosy than you usually are.

Having another baby doesn’t fix the grief of the loss of a baby but it does help to have a happy outcome and a new pleasant focus to your life. For me I tried as best I could to enjoy each moment with this new baby I was carrying. Knowing that life is precious and can be brief means that enjoying each moment, at just that ONE MOMENT, became important to me. As I held my new baby boy during those first few hours after he was born I had a sense that all the pain and distress of pregnancy and labour was still worth it for even just that one moment as I looked at him. Even if he was to leave us that day, as his sister had, it would be still a happy moment just then. I hope you can understand what I mean. As it turns out he is now a bright and happy ten year old who is just wonderful. He was followed by two more boys… it’s a noisy house! I never did get another set of twins nor did I get to have another little girl. I wonder what it would have been like to have another baby girl to hold… sometimes I wonder if having the boys was easier and less emotional but I can’t say…