Monday, December 18, 2006

A Uterus Half Full

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I am an identical twin. With the exception of a few times when I was a teenager, I have always loved being a twin. My sister and I always had each other there -- a built-in playmate, best friend (and worst enemy); someone who always knew exactly what it was like growing up in our less-than-happy home.

So when I got pregnant with the Cheeto, I hoped with all of my heart that she'd be twins. I'd love for my own children to grow up with that special relationship. However, the Cheeto was just one baby, and that was ok. And once she was born, of course, we were downright grateful that we didn't have two mysterious, screaming creatures to deal with.

With this pregnancy, I didn't really think about the twin thing much. I figured that if I'd had a singleton once, that chances were excellent that I'd have only a single baby this time. And while there was a little part of me that still thought wistfully of how cool twins would be, I was pretty much sure that one baby was all I could handle.

Sure, that is, until this morning, when we went for our first prenatal appointment and ultrasound. The nurse practitioner and I were bantering as it began about my being a twin and how I was ambivalent about the chance that this pregnancy could be twins (for the record, she brought it up -- apparently, my twinhood makes it more likely that I'd have multiples). Then she flipped on the machine, inserted the doohicky, and was silent. After a few beats, she turned the screen so the boy and I could see, and said "Well, you almost had twins."

Apparently, this pregnancy did indeed start out with two babies. At least, two eggs were fertilized and two gestational sacs formed, but somewhere along the way, something went wrong. One of the sacs holds a small, wiggly little baby with a strong heartbeat, but the other is empty.

The annoying thing is that, at the moment, all I can see when I look at those ultrasound photos is the big, empty balloon that used to hold my other baby. It's perfectly ridiculous that I'm feeling this way -- I went into the ultrasound room hoping to see one healthy baby, and that's what I have. And it's not as if the missing baby ever really had a chance -- for all I know, it never even got beyond the egg/sperm stage. But still, I am sad for this little tiny being who I'll never meet.

I shouldn't overstate -- it's not as if I'm prostrate with grief or anything. I'm just sad and a little wistful. It just surprises me that I'm sad at all. After all, I'm still pregnant with one baby that seems perfectly fine. Why can't that be enough? Why do I feel as if I have lost something, even though it was gone before I ever knew it had existed?

Stupid human nature.

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