When I plunged the needles into my body and wiped away the excess ooze, I did it for you. I did it for us. When the doctor retrieved my eggs and placed them in a petri dish, and I watched as twenty eggs became five embryos, became four, became three, I waited anxiously, and I prayed for you. And on day six, when the doctor said, “you have two,” I knew it was you.
“Two!” we said later as I rested in bed. “Holy crap, can you imagine two?”
They say twins can feel each other’s pain; hear each other’s thoughts. But cells have no feeling, have no thought. And that’s all you ever became: a small cluster of cells that multiplied beyond numeration, until you stopped, unexpectedly, and began instead to disintegrate. You melted back into me, your atoms joining with mine.
Six months later, your brother was born in a flood of blood and a quick cut through the womb, eager to enter this world before his time. He was only three pounds.
Bec Sparrow and Mia Freedman speak about dealing with the very personal circumstances of miscarriage. Post continues.
Did you know, in the way only a twin does? Did you feel his discomfort inside? Did you hear his thoughts, impatient to emerge, and know that if there were two, neither would survive? Did you sacrifice yourself to save your twin?
Is it okay to mourn the child that never was? That seeped into my blood without me even noticing?
Let me be clear. You did not bleed from my uterus or cause my gut to churn in agony. There were no fingernails, soft upon the fingertips. There was no skin, iridescent across the body. There was no body at all. No “he’s the size of a peach this week.” All you ever were was some cells. I have a picture of you. You weren’t very pretty. Just circles — bubbles under a magnifying glass. Elevated numbers on a blood test. No real proof even, that you latched on next to your brother. Just the intuition of a mother.