The 1 in 4: #TwinsTilTheEnd
When I was first approached about writing a blog for Anna’s Grace Foundation, I immediately said yes. What better way to honor my twin boys and give back to an organization that has done so much for me and my family.
However, during the time between my initial response and actually sitting down to put my thoughts on paper I became apprehensive. While reading through the journeys of the other families, with tears in my eyes and my mouth hanging open in anguish, I wondered how my blog would be received. The father’s experience with infant loss will always pale in comparison to the mother’s, at least in my view. I never felt our children kick in my womb or respond to the sound of my voice. I never felt them as a living part of my body.
My wife and I had experienced two perfectly normal pregnancies before we were blessed with our twin boys. Our journey was so different than a lot of the families we’ve come to know through Anna’s Grace. While our story is unique, our path to parenthood has been filled with a lot more joy than grief. However, the thing I’ve learned from each of these families, as well as our friend Monica Alley, is that each family connected with Anna’s Grace is treated with the same dignity, compassion, and respect as the next family, and the one after that, and the one after that. The fathers receive the same offers of support and condolences as the mothers do. So while I undeniably cannot speak to the depths of grief that my wife experienced from the loss of our twin boys, Gabriel and Joseph, I can speak to the unique perspective of the father. In that spirit, and in the spirit of honoring the memory of Gabriel Lee and Joseph Poleman Lockhart, here is my, and their, story…
On November 30th of 2016, my wife and I discovered that we were pregnant for a third time. Our initial reactions were mostly of shock and fear. We had a happy and healthy 23 month old son and 9 month old daughter at home that were keeping us on our toes to say the least! My wife and I try to be planners whenever possible, so we had decided that she would resume birth control after the birth of our daughter to give us some breathing room while we decided if we wanted to continue to try to expand our family. Needless to say, God had other plans!
During the time leading up to the first sonogram, we were able to talk through our initial shock and became excited at the idea of adding another bundle of joy to our family. The first ultrasound showed almost nothing that gave us pause; just one seemingly healthy and happily developing baby. The measurements were a bit off in conjunction to the estimated due date, so we were scheduled for another scan on January 18th. Our experience with the second ultrasound was much different. They discovered two babies! We were having TWINS! At that point the technician stopped and brought in our doctor who told us in a very kind but clearly concerned manner that she was going to schedule us an urgent visit and ultrasound with a different doctor who specialized in pregnancies with complications. Even though she assured us that this was standard procedure for twins, we still left the office that day with more questions and a creeping sense of dread that this experience was going to be decidedly different than our first two pregnancies.