One phenomenol heartbeat, that’s what the ultrastenographer said. Not two, though. Twin A did not grow past six weeks’ size, so three days longer than when I heard its heart beating very quietly two weeks ago. It looked very small in the ultrasound image on the screen compared to the Twin B embryo measuring 8 weeks 4 days, which is exactly the size of a healthy embryo at this stage.
Steve was sad, but I think I was more prepared. I knew the size discrepency last time was not always a good sign, and I had had bad cramping nearly all day a week ago, and last night I was bleeding. And morning sickness had begun and then stopped last week, which made me wonder if my hormone levels had plateaued. All these together did not give me assurance.
At this point there is only a 3% chance that the remaining embryo will miscarry. I am not left with nothing.
And there is no fault in Twin A turning from an embryo into just tissue that my body will eventually absorb. If it had been the only embryo they put in, it would have happened anyway (it’s not Twin B’s fault for stealing more nutrients or anything.) Imagine if they only put in one embryo, how sad I could be right now. And it wasn’t my fault, because Twin B clearly shows me that I’m doing an okay job. It was just a miscarriage, a chromosomal abnormality, which happens after some say 50% of implantations.
And I don’t feel like the twins had much time to know one another, I don’t feel that Twin B takes it as a loss. There was no handholding, as Steve said. Not even Twin B has hands yet. Twin B, who looks on the screen like the size of a hamburger, so enormous compared to the dead Twin A, but which is actually the size of one-third of my pinky finger. All this fuss over something smaller than a grape.
The first thing Steve thought when he heard that there was only one heart beating: at least we don’t have to buy an SUV. The first thing Rosie said when I told her after school: That’s good, right? It’s easier that way. She was surprised I was remotely sad. I was grateful for her logic. Because it’s true, I didn’t want to do the double-football hold while nursing, and I couldn’t picture myself holding two newborns at once downtown in a huge kangaroo pouch. I couldn’t even picture where two babies would stay, and two cribs won’t fit in our bedroom and not even two dogs fit in our bed.
I don’t feel special anymore, though, for some reason. I don’t get to eat for three anymore. The belly I’m carrying around is not now comprised of two growing embryos and a bunch of leftover cysts from the surgery — it’s now mostly cysts and a dead embryo, plus one growing one. I don’t feel like I get to be extra tired or extra hungry or have a greater excuse for why I can’t seem to walk up the stairs when the other pregnant women seem to do it just fine.
It’s a different feeling now. More normal. This is the sadness speaking, because most of me is fine. Twin B looks more like a human than two weeks ago. A whole human. They could measure from crown to rump like they do, and I could see what they meant, where the crown is, where the rump is, and where the legs are poking out. That’s pretty cool.