This story is being shared by Krista Zielinski in honor of baby loss awareness month.
It has been just over two years now since the loss of my twins. Other than it being a twin pregnancy, there was nothing abnormal. I discovered that I was carrying twins very early on at a 7 week viability ultrasound. I remember feeling terrified going into that appointment as I had lost my previous pregnancy around 7 weeks. It had been several months since my miscarriage and I was so worried that it would happen again. Within a few minutes of the ultrasound the technician told us the news that there were two babies. My husband and I were both shocked and excited.
The next few months were uneventful. We got an ultrasound at 12 weeks, 16 weeks and again at 20 weeks to track both babies growth. Every time they both looked perfect and healthy. Just shy of 23 weeks I woke up in the morning feeling cramps. I called the on call Obstetrician and he told me to go to Labor and Delivery just to get checked out. Once we were there we discovered that I was having contractions and I had already begun to dialate. Despite our medical team's best efforts they were unable to stop labor and my son and daughter were born at 7pm that evening. They both lived for a short period of time. My husband and I both got to hold them and tell them how much we loved them. They both died in the arms of my husband. We left the hospital the next day with empty arms and broken hearts.
Following the death of my son and daughter I felt hopeless for a long time. I had one living daughter at home, she was 1 and a half at the time. Getting through my days and giving her the attention that she required felt impossible. I felt broken and empty. Having been through a first trimester miscarriage followed by the death of my twins seemed like too much for me to bear. I spent much of my time crying and I avoided leaving the house.
Not long after my loss I decided that I needed help. I found a therapist and my husband and I together started going once a week. I found it helpful, but I was also frustrated at how the therapist would compare our loss to the loss of her parents. I know that losing a parent is awful and heartbreaking, but it is something that almost everyone goes through in their life. Losing a child is unnatural and should never happen to anyone. Other than my husband, I felt like there was nobody else that I could relate to.
A couple of weeks after our loss I received an e-mail from a friend. She had taught our childbirth classes and she recommended that I contact a woman that ran a support group called HOPING. The support group was for parents that had gone through a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss. I was very anxious to go to the group as I had never attended a support group before. I imagined it like a scene in a movie where everyone sits around in a circle crying and looking pathetic, but I was desperate for help. I e-mailed Michelle and she quickly responded to my e-mail with a very kind and compassionate reply. She told me where and when the next meeting would be and my husband and I decided we would both go.
Although I mostly cried through the first meeting it was helpful. There were just two other women at the group and they both shared their stories of loss. Although it was painful to see that other people had to go through this same kind of awful pain it was comforting to know that we were not alone. I continued to attend the meetings and I met other berieved parents. All of our stories were different, but the pain we felt was the same. Over the next two years I became more involved in the group and I am now the co-president. I found HOPING to be such an important part of my healing process that I wanted to be there to help other families that were grieving.
Miscarriage happens in every one out of four pregnancies. Stillbirth occurs in one out of every two hundred and fifty pregnancies. My type of loss from preterm labor or incompetent cervix is not clearly documented, but happens more frequently than it should. These losses happen every day. It is not a statistic that I ever thought I would be a part of, but here I am. I know that I can never go back and change what happened to me. I know that I cannot prevent it from happening to countless other families. Although I can't stop pregnancy and infant loss from happening, I am glad that I can help support other grieving families through the HOPING group.