“I’m so sorry you guys. But twin B does not have a heartbeat…”
Those words will haunt me forever. If ever there was a pain so profound, so dark and so terrifying that you could almost feel it physically; that was what I was experiencing, as I laid there in that small and dark ultrasound room. In that moment, everything around me started spinning and I felt what was like my lungs collapsing. I swear I had that poor ultrasound tech double check for a heartbeat about 20 times. She finally put the Doppler down said “I’m sorry” and ran out of the room. I suppose you forget how difficult their job can be on them too, sometimes…
Cause of death: twin-twin transfusion (TTTS). Joshua wasn’t getting his share of nutrients and blood flow to keep him alive. My body seemed to have failed him.
While the events of March 17th 2015 were extremely difficult in nature, it was the reality of my deep dark secret that was starting to torment me. It goes back to the day I found out I was expecting.
On December 5th 2014, I found out that I was pregnant! I was excited that our family would have a new addition. When I went for my very first ultrasound that day, my only intent was to make sure that my baby was healthy and that I was not carrying twins. You see, twins run in both our families and for some reason I had a nagging feeling that I was carrying multiples. I don’t know if that was intuition or paranoia, but I was determined to prove myself wrong. When the doctor told me that I was carrying twins, I didn’t jump for joy. I didn’t cry happy tears. I didn’t feel like I was blessed. Quite honestly, I felt like I was being cursed and that I was living a nightmare.
Here is where my honesty will probably cause you to judge me as a monster. And if that’s the case, it’s okay. I have lived with those silent thoughts of myself for a long time.
When I left the ultrasound room that day, I went to a dark place in my mind. I hated the idea that I was carrying twins. So much so, that I wished this “curse” would go away. For the next month while I lived in my state of shock, I had thoughts and wished that one of the twins would disappear and that I would miraculously only be carrying one child.
How dark and selfish does a person have to be to wish such things in her heart? Maybe it was shock, maybe it was the hormones. I don’t know. But those were my evil thoughts and the state of my heart.
It took about a month for the shock to dissipate and to finally embrace the reality that we would be a family of 5. I started coming around to the idea of having two identical twin boys. Dare I even say I was starting to love the idea! Maybe I would rock this “twin mom” thing and maybe I really DID want these boys! We named them Judah and Joshua. They would be best buds and partners in crime! We started picking out nursery colors and I found myself occasionally singing to them and praying over them. Yes! I was legitimately thrilled at this point about having twins.
But God didn’t forget about those deep dark wishes a month back. He had granted my wish. I guess I had been carrying a deceased little boy in me for over a month and I didn’t find out about it until my next doctor visit on March 17th 2015.
Did my initial wishing the boys away in my heart cause this? Do the power of words really cause death? Is He a terrible and mean God? Does He grant the desires of our heart even if they are wicked desires? Maybe I didn’t know God at all. His character came in to question and I tried to blame everyone and everything for Joshua’s death. The weight of my guilt and shame was something I knew I was going to live with forever. Maybe I really did cause this and the words “there is no heartbeat” would be my punishment to live with forever.
I don’t know how God did it, but He somehow gave my husband Jonathan these incredible gifts of mercy, grace and service to me when we got home that day. He took care of me in my fragile and dark state the same way Jesus would. Honestly, it was like I was literally seeing Jesus through my husband and there wasn’t much denying that perhaps the Father was trying to console me. It brought some relief. Just enough relief to get out of bed and eat a few bites of food and read through the Psalms. For a month straight, I did not leave my house or see any other human beings. I read the bible and listened to the song “Reason to Sing” by All Sons and Daughters on repeat all day every day. It was all I could do to keep from drowning in my pain.
When I finally decided to forgive myself, I realized that I had fallen victim to a lie and fallen into a trap. You see, I am not strong enough in and of myself to talk God into doing anything. I can’t manipulate God into doing anything for me – good or bad. The truth is, He had a purpose for Joshua’s short life and has a purpose for mine. He’s calling me to be an ambassador of truth and to help other find their healing.
You see friend, maybe you have experienced a devastating loss too. Maybe you are carrying guilt and shame like I was. Perhaps you are regretting an abortion from long ago. Or maybe you have lost a child or sibling to illness or accident. Sometimes the pain seals our mouth shut and locks up our hearts so that the hurt slowly kills us inside.
Whatever the cause of your pain, I believe that there is healing for the broken, hope for lost, forgiveness for the sinner and peace for the empty. I’m not quite sure why we as mothers and women don’t talk about our pain and grief. But perhaps if we started the conversation and let ourselves be honest, maybe that’s where we would find our healing.
I didn’t have a good start in my heart with my twins, but I intend to do right by Joshua and carry out his purpose; to invite and unite women into a conversation. To share in our pain, carry each other’s burdens and find freedom together.
This is the purpose of project “Forever my Heartbeat”. To lock arms as women, men and families and purpose ourselves to find health and healing through conversation, so that the words “there is no heartbeat” can no longer haunt us.
The truth is, our sweet babies do have a heartbeat! We’ll carry them forever in our. They will be… Forever, my heartbeat!
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:18-19