I'm lucky to have two relatively healthy, happy kids.
My daughter, Emily, has grown into an incredibly artistic and intelligent young lady at 16 years old. My son, Noah, is 11 and already showing glances of the kind, smart young man he will be some day.
Two children - one girl and one boy. A husband. A dog. It's the perfect family.
However, there should have been three children.
I was very sick during both of my pregnancies, and my doctors used ultrasounds at about 13 weeks to see if it was just one little peanut in there making mommy so ill. Emily was the only troublemaker in the womb. Noah, though, had a twin. At this early stage, the amniotic sac was visible for both, but his potential twin was already being absorbed into my body.
Logically, I knew that this was nature's way of saying "this fetus isn't viable". Logically, I knew that having twins would've been a difficult path. But emotionally, it was hard to handle. When we got home from the ultrasound that night, my husband and I lit a candle. He said a prayer for the little spirit that wouldn't be growing inside me. We cried.
And we moved on. We had to - there was still one baby on the way, still a little girl to care for, still life going on all around us.
I think it would've been so much harder had it been a single pregnancy and I'd miscarried. I know so many women who've endured miscarriage, and I know it's something they never fully get over.
I guess what's bringing this up is revisiting some of my ancestry information, and looking over the family history of my husband. There are entries for infants who were born and died on the same day, of children who died so very young. So I have been thinking of the little twin that never was, wondering if it would've been a girl or a boy, what she or he would've been like, how all our lives would've been different. Wondering about this third child is the only thing that ever makes me think, for the briefest of moments, about trying for one more.
Then I consider the fact that our family is pretty complete just the way we are, and I remember how horrible my body responds to pregnancy, and the horrors of postpartum depression and anxiety.
Time mutes the hurt, but I don't think time will ever erase it.