The Invisible Family

“An apology: it is all true.” Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock

Tonight, my daughter had more severe night terrors than usual. I talked with her for a solid 45 minutes, and it was worth it because finally she shared with me her greatest fear: spiders. And she shared with me her tokens that she hoped would keep spiders away: a virtual sibling family of three sisters and one brother.

My daughter only has one brother. Yet somehow she knows there were three other siblings she is owed.

How on earth does she know that? She’s right, of course. But I have only publicly owned up to two losses. And tbat’s not the truth.

When I was first pronounced pregnant with twins, I wasn’t honest with you. The truth is my RE saw three sacs during the ultrasound. But during subsequent ultrasounds, he never saw a heartbeat in that third sac, whereas he saw heartbeats in the other two sacs. It was a perilous, terrifying time for me.

One of the main ways I released anxiety during that awful, fearful first trimester was to walk the famous beautiful hills of San Franciso. I was within blocks of the famous vistas you see in countless movies and TV shows. Those views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Transamerica pyramid were soothing. So imagine my shock and shame and fear when I suddenly felt a slickness and heaviness in my underwear as I gazed out onto my beautiful city. I hurried home.

What I found I will not describe, but I was certain that the third sac was empty for good. And somehow, I knew the twins were fine: I still felt the extreme nausea that had permeated my early pregnancy. I didn’t call my ObGyn or my husband or my parents. In fact, I have only told one person this story: someone who needed to hear it.

And I have rarely thought about this sorry, until today, when I was confronted by my daughter’s token family. And astonished at its size and accuracy.

All three of the babies I have lost? You have never been forgotten. You will never be forgotten. Somehow, my daughter guessed your number accurately, though I have never discussed you with her. You are felt by all of us. We love you. And we always will.

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13 Comments

Filed under Miscarriage, Sad

13 responses to “The Invisible Family

  1. I am so sorry to hear of baby #3. Thank you for sharing your story of him/her.

    Your daughter is an old soul. I think she just knows things, without asking. It’s amazing, really!

  2. Oh, J. You’ve taken my breath away. It’s astonishing how some children just know things. My son guessed something, too … he feels the losses as I do, though he would never number them. I wish I could wrap you up in the hug I want to send right now. Grieving your losses with you, and abiding with you today.

  3. Oh wow. I am so sorry to hear about baby #3. It is spooky but wonderful that your daughter counted correctly; Like Courtney said, I think she’s an old soul.

  4. Oh my gosh, this story brought me goosebumps. Sometimes it’s amazing what we intuitively know. Thank you for sharing, I’m so sorry for your losses.

  5. Oh, jjiraffe, I’m so sorry you went through this.

    But I’m glad your daughter has this family to help her with her fear.

  6. Sad is such an appropriate tag for this post. “Token family” is a term that can bring an infertile to her knees.

    Abiding with you, JJiraffe, sharing the Sad.

  7. Dh’s cousin has twins — but the pregnancy began with triplets — she lost the third baby about two months before the other two were born — and in fact there was a fourth empty sac at her first ultrasound as well. I don’t know how much, if anything, she has told her boys. They are 10 years old now. (((hugs)))

  8. That’s an amazing story. I feel honored that you would share this with us.

  9. St. Elsewhere

    What an uncanny sense your daughter has. I am glad she gave you the opportunity to ‘come out loud’.

    To your kids on earth and the three in heaven — > ❤

  10. Oh wow, I’m so sorry for your losses. What a scary, scary time that must have been for you. What an amazing girl you have, picking it up like that. Sending hugs.

  11. I realized I never commented on this and now I feel like a shit.

    What a beautifully heartbreaking post. So much loss, I don’t know how you bear it. I’m glad you have your twins to bouy you up, though I know they don’t take away the pain.

    Abiding with you.

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