Before giving birth to Hunter and Skylar in August of 2020, Kristen Clarke and her husband Matt suffered multiple pregnancy losses. Kristen shares the trials and triumphs of her journey and tells us how she held on to hope amid heartache.
After four losses, we started IVF, had retrieved five precious embryos frozen. We were excited and very hopeful about our first transfer. We were pregnant! We saw the heartbeat, and we were amazed, in love, and so grateful. We had never gotten this far in pregnancy before.
Unfortunately, bleeding led to the discovery of a subchorionic hematoma. This is usually not an issue, but mine was more than twice my gestational sac size. We went in for my nine weeks scan, and the heartbeat had stopped. We had lost another baby again. We were devastated. This was supposed to be it. We were supposed to get a baby! How could this happen?
A Sweet Surprise
It took some time to recover emotionally and financially to do another transfer, but we eventually got there. On December 12, we decided to transfer two embryos hoping one would stick and give us that baby we had prayed for. During the first ultrasound, the doctors found one gestational sack and a fetal pole! We were pregnant!
We were cautiously excited this time around. Of course, we were happy to have one embryo make it and sad because we still had lost an embryo. On the second ultrasound, our doctor measured a heartbeat—what a beautiful sound. But wait – there’s a second heartbeat! What?! Twins?! Both made it! Could this be true? It was!
My family and friends knew we were pregnant after the first ultrasound with just one baby, so we decided to keep it a secret that we had two! We had a gender reveal, but it was a twin reveal to everyone else!
The twins were born on August 12, 2020. The moment the nurses placed both babies in my arms was unexplainable. I couldn’t stop crying. They were perfect. They were here. They were our babies! I told my doctor and husband I was ready to do it again! It was indeed the best experience of my life. We had finally had our miracles we had for prayed so long.
The first day after giving birth was amazing and sad at the same time. I finally had my babies. Seeing my husband interact with them made me fall in love with him even more. My mother instinct kicked right in. I felt like I knew what to do. Although I had to perfect and learn some techniques, I was so excited to breastfeed. Hearing those baby noises and cries, looking at their sweet faces, hands, and toes — I was wondering if it was a dream. I was exhausted, but all I wanted to do was hold them.
The only thing I would have changed was I wish I could have had visitors. I remember visiting my cousins and nieces in the hospital, and I wish my family and friends could have come to visit and meet my miracles. I was so proud of them and wanted to share them with everyone.
Having so many losses was hard, and it was even harder to see my husband so heartbroken. Why was my body failing me, my babies, and my husband?
The things that helped me get through these losses were time, prayer (and I prayed even if I was angry), and a community. I was a part of a few Facebook groups that were very helpful, but most importantly, I had friends that were all in the same struggle with infertility.
We encouraged one another. We offered each other a shoulder to lean on during hard times. We knew we were not alone. Having a support system was a significant part of continuing the fight to achieve our dreams of sweet babies in our arms.
Photos by Brittney Dyche of Pink Owl Studios