My TFMR experience
Terminating a pregnancy for medical reasons SUCKS! [ baby loss language + diversity ]
We decided to terminate our twin pregnancy on May 31st.
If you have ever had to terminate a wanted pregnancy for medical reasons, I’m sharing this for you.
If you know of someone who has had to terminate a pregnancy for medical reasons, I’m sharing this for you.
Ours was a natural pregnancy … as in a free sex pregnancy … you know a ‘normal’ pregnancy. It was to be our only one.
At 8 weeks I started to bleed and asked everyone I knew
‘Did you bleed…’
‘Is this normal …’
everyone and I mean everyone said, ‘Don’t worry, it must be implantation bleeding.’
But it got worse and so I went to my doctor who sent me for an ultrasound, which confirmed I was pregnant with identical twins and had a subchorionic hemorrhage.
Cue in Dr. Google and searching for reasons why I had a subchorionic hemorrhage and then add panic and confusion.
My pregnancy changed after that. It was full of medical appointments, ultrasounds, and bad news. At 22 weeks we were told by three specialists that we should strongly think about termination because my life was now at risk, I was leaking a lot of amniotic fluid, we had twin to twin transfusion and my membrane had burst. I don’t think anything else could have gone wrong. honestly, at this point a miscarriage would have been a blessing because what happened next was horrific.
We made the decision to terminate our pregnancy. I felt shame + guilt and overwhelm.
I didn’t think this was going to be my pregnancy journey and that termination was a word I would be using.
We had to wait a week and it seemed a lifetime. I was numb and didn’t do anything to prepare myself emotionally nor physically. I don’t know how you can prepare yourself for something like this. The one thing I do remember is that I kept telling myself that 3 doctors shared the same thing and that this was just meant to be, but it didn’t make it feel better.
The day came. I walked into the clinic’s waiting room hiding my 22 week old belly and wanted to yell -
I don’t want to be here! I want to keep my babies!
We walked into the room and I can still remember the smell, the beige walls, the green floors and the awful butterfly paintings above the bed. The doctor and nurses were there and it looked like it was a long day at the office. I don’t really remember any comforting words or maybe they did say something but I was in shock and tried my best to disassociate from the experience.
I can’t even imagine what my husband was thinking.
This moment with many still haunts me.
The doctor was about to stop our twin’s heartbeat and invited us to watch the monitor before he was going to do it. I have no idea why because I don’t think it was something I wanted to remember … witnessing my babies’ heartbeat stopping on a fucking monitor.
We left and I was told that my D+E* would be in three days.
*[D+E = dilation and evacuation]
I HAVE TO CARRY MY DEAD BABIES FOR THREE DAYS!
I tried everything. I called, begged and spoke to several people but there wasn’t an earlier time. So I went home and stayed in bed for three days eating Chinese food whilst my husband had to go to work. I didn’t tell anyone I was pregnant [ well only close friends and parents] because of it being a clinical and high-risk pregnancy. I didn’t think there was a need. Thus, I was alone with my dead babies and my Chinese noodles.
The day we went in for our D+E I didn’t know what to expect but all I knew was that I wanted it to MOVE FAST. I just wanted it to be over.
I can honestly say that I now regret my decision and wished someone would have said
Jenn, take this moment to pause and think about what you REALLY need. Take this moment to remember your twins and your pregnancy and the time you have spent.
Literally 5 minutes before I was being wheeled into the operating room someone came to see me in my shared room with 4 other women and asked us about funeral arrangements, therapists, footprints, etc. I was in SHOCK and couldn’t hear anything. My husband was so worried about me that he didn’t know what was going on either.
I wish we had a third person that could have advocated for us and who would have made these decisions. I took the books, papers and asked for nothing and this too was another regret I am now living with. I wish we spoke to someone a week before about how to prepare for the grief.
I closed my eyes.
Suddenly, I woke up in a state of panic and started to shake. I asked the nurse for a blanket and she ignored me and then I shouted for my husband. My entire body was shaking and I felt so out of control. It was done.
They placed us back into the same room where other women were experiencing their own traumatic events but again I was so numb that I didn’t take notice.
The nurse gave me cookies and apple juice. WTF - really.
They let us go that day and I went home and ate sweets and junk food to numb and hide my pain that I felt sick and I stayed in bed for a week.
Because I was in bed after a pregnancy [ increase hormones ] and had a d+e, I developed a blood clot and had to be rushed to emergency. As a result, I didn’t really have time to mourn or grieve our precious babies.
I was forced to figure out my health and forgot to grieve or maybe chose not to grieve. Maybe focusing on my health was easier than the pain of grief and realising what I just did.
I didn’t start to really grieve for our twins till we lost Loey at 39 weeks four years later. I was suffering from PTSD without knowing what was going on. I found life to be a massive struggle, I barely could keep myself upright and didn’t understand why I was feeling so anxious all the time. I went back to teaching and fell into a depression that was dark. It took my daughter’s death for me to realise that I needed to heal. I saw a PTSD Psychologist who helped me become aware of how my PTSD was manifesting in my life and how to heal myself. I became a life + loss coach, worked on my trauma and personal growth and turned my pain into purpose. I continue to heal every day and I feel honoured that I can help others do the same.
Baby loss is diverse.
I’m sharing this with you so that we can create awareness about TMFR and the diversity that comes with pregnancy loss. I want to create awareness for our medical professionals that the support they provide will make the difference in our healing.
I’m sharing this with you because I understand and we aren’t alone.
Awareness is key. Support is essential.
You are not alone.