By Jamie Schenk DeWitt
"For there is no friend like a sister – In calm or stormy weather.” Alexander Muir
Sadly, I have just learned about two couples who suddenly and tragically lost their unborn babies. Both couples were expecting twin boys and both had undergone IVF treatments. I am very close with the first couple. The second couple I do not know, but heard about their story through my multiples club.
The subject of my friend's email was Sad News. As soon as I saw this, I lost my breath. I quickly read the first line: “We have some very sad news to report and while we wish we didn’t have to share it via email, we are not in any shape to talk about it in person yet.”
The rest of his email explained how at 17 weeks, his wife had complications that led to the loss of their twin baby boys. It was sudden and devastating. He explained how they were coping with their grief through the support of their families, but that they were not ready to talk about it with anyone else.
By the end of the email, I was gasping for air and sobbing. Just two weeks prior, I was on the phone with them congratulating them on their pregnancy and hearing all about the details of their IVF journey to parenthood. This was their third try at IVF and they felt so blessed, as we all do, to actually be pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy. They were so excited to share their news with me because I was one of their only friends to have twins through IVF. There was a bond between us and it was amazing to be a part of this with them. I told them that I would tell them all about raising twins and connect them with a multiples group in their city.
In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that this would be the outcome of their story. She was 17 weeks pregnant. She had a CVS and the results came back completely normal. How does this happen to people who sacrifice so much to have a baby/babies?
Days later, I got an email from my multiples group that had in the subject line: Very Sad News. Again, my heart sank. I glanced down the page and started to read: “It is with a sad and heavy heart that I share with you the events of the past few days. Please only read this if you want to know the details of these days.”
This mom’s email continued to explain how over the course of five days she lost both of her baby boys due to premature labor. Her boys were just not developed enough to survive. As I read her email, I felt such inexplicable pain and empathy for this mother, for this woman. She had spent nearly ten years of her life undergoing fertility treatments and now her babies were gone. Yet, she also amazed me because in the midst of her suffering she found the strength to thank all of the people who nurtured and supported her on her journey to motherhood.
In rereading her email, I am still tearful, especially by a sentence that she writes near the end of her email. Her words haunt me to this day. She writes: “I fear that this may end my dream of motherhood.” Her sadness touched my heart as it touched the emotional core of so many women in my multiples group. Emails of condolences poured in from women who wanted to express their love and support.
While all of our expressions of concern cannot bring back her babies, fertility treatments bind us to one another in ways that are meaningful and powerful. We have all shared the pain of failed fertility treatments and the loss that goes with it. With each unsuccessful IUI or IVF cycle we have all experienced a small death. Again, I am not equating experiences, but I do believe that there is a sisterhood that connects all of us. This brings me back to my opening quote.
by Jamie Schenk Dewitt
“For there is no friend like a sister – In calm or stormy weather.” - Alexander Muir
To all of my sisters out there, thank you. Thank you for the love and support that you have shared with me during my journey to motherhood. Thank you for being some of the strongest, most dynamic, loving and beautiful women who have risked everything, body and soul, to be mothers. I am honored to be a part of this community with you. You amaze and inspire me.