Devin & Kayla
My husband and I found out that I was pregnant on February 27, 1999. We were so excited to find out the news. When I was six weeks pregnant, I began spotting a little bit and went in for an ultrasound and we saw a heartbeat (one) and everything looked fine. Around week seven I began getting sick every day. I had never been pregnant before, but I knew it was common for women to experience “morning sickness.” Everyone told me that the sickness would go away and that I would start feeling better during the second trimester. I went in for the monthly check-ups and my doctor always found the heartbeat and told me everything sounded good.
The second trimester arrived and the sickness continued. I went to my doctor at 16 weeks and everything still looked good. I scheduled an ultrasound for 21 weeks and we were so excited about it because we wanted to find out the sex of the baby. During weeks 16-20 I was still getting sick and my stomach seemed to be getting very large. When I complained about it, people would tell me “that’s what happens when you’re pregnant” or “oh, you’re just used to being thin.” During week 20 I began having severe back pain. I wanted to wait to go to the doctor because I had the ultrasound scheduled in a few days anyway. So I waited.
During the middle of the night on the day the ultrasound was scheduled, I began bleeding. I called the doctor’s office and they told me to come in. I figured the doctor would do the ultrasound and maybe put me on bed rest or something. The ultrasound technician started the ultrasound and just kept moving the wand all around my belly. She wouldn’t say anything for the longest time and then she said that she needed to get the doctor. My husband and I knew it couldn’t be good. The doctor came in and looked at the ultrasound screen. The impact of her next words has brought more pain and sorrow than I could ever imagine – “we can’t find the baby’s heartbeat.” How could it be? I thought I would have the ultrasound and be sent home, not be told that I had to go to the hospital to deliver a baby that I knew wouldn’t be crying when it was born.
We walked next door to the hospital where they started inducing me with pitocin. Throughout the day, people were coming to us and asking us to make all kinds of decisions that I never thought I would have to make. Do you want to have a funeral for the baby; do you want the baby to be cremated? What funeral home would you like to use? Do you want genetic testing or an autopsy to be performed? How can someone make those decisions when just a few hours earlier we thought we were having a healthy baby? They said they would take pictures of the baby and wanted to know if we wanted the pictures. At first I didn’t know if I wanted them.
As the day went on, we decided that if anyone was going to take pictures of our baby, surely we wanted them. I am so thankful for our decision. I have spent endless hours looking at all of the pictures that the hospital staff took. We had chosen names for a boy and a girl, but we didn’t know the sex of the baby yet. After 10 hours in labor, our beautiful daughter named Devin Rene was born. We held her and she was so perfect, yet so small. She had everything that healthy babies have. We said our hellos and goodbyes all in such a short period of time. I didn’t realize how precious that time would be to me in the days, months, and years to come. If I had known, surely I would have held her for a much longer period of time.
The doctor showed up after Devin was born and looked at me and saw how big my stomach still was. She asked the nurses if my water had broken. No – nothing. Devin didn’t have any fluid in her sac. The doctor did another ultrasound and that was the first time we found out that I had been carrying twins. They kept the pitocin going. We didn’t know whether or not the second baby was a boy or a girl. Since Devin was the name we had chosen for a girl, we had to think of another girl’s name just in case. Three hours after I had Devin, our second daughter, Kayla Ann, was born. Again, she was so perfect and beautiful. I kept looking at her and saying how she had fingernails, eyebrows, everything!
Two girls, identical twins. We later learned that our girls suffered from Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. I had never heard of it before, but this syndrome has changed our lives forever. One of the heartbreaking things for me to think about is that the babies were normal; it was the placenta that caused all the problems.
It’s been over a year now, and the experiences of those two days in the hospital are still so fresh in my memory. The pain and grief has been overwhelming at times, but somehow we have pulled through. I never could have imagined the sadness that the loss of a baby (babies) could bring. I never knew the love that parents could have for their children until I saw our girls, and by then it was too late, they were already gone.
My days and nights were consumed with thoughts of Devin and Kayla. It was difficult to go back to work where no one spoke much about our loss. It seemed as though people tried to avoid the subject and at the same time it was the only thing I thought about and wanted to talk about. The feeling of isolation was unbearable at times and I wondered if I would ever feel happiness again. I never thought that my faith in God would be shaken, but the experience of losing our twins made me question everything. I spent the first few months in shock and then went through so many stages of grief. It seemed as though everywhere I turned someone else was getting pregnant. I questioned why God didn’t allow us to bring our daughters into this world and for a time, I was downright angry at Him for allowing this to happen to us.
Somehow I worked through my anger and my faith has returned. With God’s help, time has eased the pain a bit. I will always feel great sadness that our daughters aren’t here with us and it will always be a source of heartache for me. I have found many things that have helped me feel close to our girls. I wear a ring with their birthstones and their names are engraved on the inside and we have planted trees that bloom each June, which is the month they were born. A pencil drawing of Devin and Kayla together hangs on our bedroom wall. We will always keep their spirits and memories alive in our hearts, for they will always be our precious daughters.
…Gena gave birth to a subsequent daughter at 35 weeks along in March, 2001 and another daughter in April, 2003.