You See Two Children, But I Will Always Have Four
Photo Credit: Laura Willgren
Me and my spouse started trying for a baby back in early 2018. After three months, we learned we were expecting. I never thought anything could go wrong. I always thought getting pregnant might be hard but being pregnant would be easy in my mind.
I went for a private checkup when I was six weeks pregnant. Everything was perfect! We were told there was 98% chance that everything would be perfect.
Only a 2% chance for something to go wrong. I was relieved.
Here in Finland, the first public healthcare checkup is around week twelve. We went in then, feeling so happy to see our baby again! We had just told our families and even made cute T-shirts for them. When I saw our baby on the screen I noticed how much "she" had grown. I couldn't hold on to that feeling for very long as the nurse said she needed to call in some help. Another nurse or a doctor (I can't recall) came in and eventually told us there was no heartbeat.
“She” had stopped growing during week nine, I was told.
I can't recall much after that as my mind has blocked it. I know we were offered the choice to stay there longer but we wanted to go home.
I was given the pills needed for my body to start the miscarriage process. That was one of the odd times we did not have our car, as we had decided to use the public transportation instead. We were in such shock that were forgot to buy tickets. Of course, that was the time when they came to check our tickets and we somehow managed to talk ourselves out of a fine.
I took the pills, and that night was the worst night of my life. I was so desperate to see my child that when the miscarriage process started, I remember sitting on the toilet seat holding a strainer in the toilet seat so I could “catch” whatever was coming out. Perhaps I saw "her." I don't know. But I very much wanted to.
We decided we would try again. My first period was a massive one and I thought I would bleed to death. I didn't and we fell pregnant after my first cycle. During week six, just a few days before the booked ultrasound, I started bleeding. I knew what it was. We had lost our second baby. I was so mad, I was so broken, I was so lost. I felt like a mum but my babies weren't there.
We decided we would not use birth control but would also not schedule anything. We seem to be very fertile as we fell pregnant again from my first cycle. That was around September 2018. I booked an ultrasound for week six.
We went in and were told there was no heartbeat. I was sort of expecting to hear that. I was also mad and wanted another opinion too. As we were driving home from our ultrasound I scheduled another one for that same evening. We went in and were told the same thing.
I was transferred to the public healthcare system (which is a very good one here in Finland) and got an appointment for five days later. I went into that appointment alone as I went there only to get the pills for my body to start the miscarriage process.
During the ultrasound they said that they heard something but were not sure what it was. They told me that it could be an echo of my own heartbeat. I got so mad! How could they not know if I was pregnant or not! I also got scared because I thought that I was not pregnant and I had managed my anger/frustration/sadness with some wine and licorice (both on the don't-touch list while pregnant). That was my miscarriage routine. Yes, I had one bottle of dry, white wine, a bag of licorice, and a movie. I was told to wait a week and come back again. That was the longest week of my life.
I went back a week later. Alone again as I went there to get the pills. As soon as the ultrasound started I was told that there was a strong heartbeat. I won’t lie to you—I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t sad. I felt nothing. It felt like a cruel joke. I was told that everything looked perfect. But hold on, I was told the very same thing during my first pregnancy and told that there was only a 2% chance of something going wrong. And wrong it went. So I held on to that—I belonged to the minor group where things would not work out.
Photo Credit: Laura Willgren
Fast forward to June 2019, the 12th to be exact. That is the day my rainbow baby girl arrived via planned c-section. Olivia.
Fast forward again to January 12, 2021. That is when my second and last baby, a girl, came into this world. My second C-section. Lilian.
I have two healthy girls but I will always be a mother of four. In my mind I have three girls and one boy. I never felt contractions with my girls as their delivery was planned, but when I took the pills for the first miscarriage process to start I truly felt them. To me it made my first baby more real.
The two I never got to meet are called Hiekka (sand) and Hippu (nugget). I felt like there was sand in my belly during my first pregnancy and I was so enlightened for the second pregnancy that the baby felt like a little gold nugget to me.
I wrote this for my babies here and beyond. I love you Hiekka, Hippu, Olivia and Lilian.
Thank you, Laura Willgren, for sharing your story and photos. Shared with permission.
Pregnancy and infant loss can leave grieving parents feeling isolated and unsure how to navigate the heartbreaking circumstance of living without their precious baby. Unexpecting delicately helps grieving parents navigate the complexities and heartache of life after loss. Pregnancy after loss can also be full of complex emotions. Find support for PAL in Courageously Expecting.