Congratulations and Condolences:

Life and loss with baby #2

15 weeks along: Enjoying cherry blossom season in Seoul while carrying a baby in front and another one on the back!

In the beginning of February, Michal and I found out we were expecting again.

We had just arrived from our long travels through the major cities, beaches and rain forest areas of Malaysia (a country recently added to the CDC’s Zika list). Our first child Sophia had just turned nine months old, and we had just started sleep training her as well as supplementing my breastfeeding with formula. (I didn’t realize the recent decrease in milk production was an early sign of pregnancy.)

In our first sonogram, the technician showed us twins.

About 5 weeks along: I was unknowingly carrying three babies while walking across this suspension bridge in Borneo! I was trying to get Sophia to nap, so I was breastfeeding her while she was in the Ergo carrier on our tour.

Neither Michal nor I have twins or multiples in our families. We were already surprised about the second pregnancy so soon after having Sophia in the midst of our expat lifestyle, so we were really shocked to see those two babies on the screen. What a miracle and another reminder of the theme of our blog here in Seoul – that there is only so much we can control.

19 weeks along: Taking in the serene scenery during our second “babymoon” in Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou, China.

After we found out about the pregnancy and recounted our recent vacation to my obstetrician, the entire family underwent Zika testing. After a couple weeks of information gathering and processing, (thankfully) all tests came out negative.

However, my OB at the time expressed initial concerns with the first sonogram as one baby seemed to be larger than the other. And then at a later appointment and sonogram, the second baby had no heartbeat. We held out hope, praying with close friends and family for the life of both babies.

Eventually, I miscarried the second baby at the end of my first trimester. The medical conclusion was Vanishing Twin Syndrome, more common among women over 30.

I felt a strange juxtaposition of sadness, relief and guilt. To have lost one baby that was a part of me, but to see the other one is healthy and growing, unaffected. To be in awe of the gift of two babies. But to also be overwhelmed with the future of caring for three babies under two years old, all while living abroad away from close friends and family. And then to feel guilt at being relieved of now only having to manage two babies under two years old.

If I’m being completely honest, I feel even more guilt and heartache with knowing many who currently struggle with infertility and/or have experienced pregnancy loss at a later stage.

Now, in the thick of second trimester, I still waver between these moments of grief and joy as we tell more people we are expecting and I stop myself from saying  “two babies” like I said earlier. We are excited in anticipation of our next addition to our family, but also want to always remember the one we lost, who we have named Enoch.

Enoch “walked with God; then he was no more; because God took him.” (Genesis 5:21-24)

Based on a friend’s suggestion, Michal and I took a ceramics class at Dano studio in Seoul to make something that will remind us daily of Enoch. Michal made a mug and I made a flower pot.

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