Mother to Owen and Avery (fraternal twins)

Born and Passed on Feb 13, 2011

San Jose, CA


My babies are gone. They are not coming back. All the hopes, dreams and plans we had for our future as family and their future as individuals are gone.

On February 13, 2011 at 4:00am my little girl(Avery Elinor)was born. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I just remember crying and saying over and over again, “I can’t.” And the nurse asking me if my epidural was working and if I was in pain. Of course I was in pain, it felt like my heart was literally breaking into two. I just couldn’t bring myself to push, even though the pressure to do so was overwhelming. Finally, Steve took my head in his hands and made me look at him. He said, “I know this is terrible but you are the strongest person I’ve ever known and you can do this.” Tears were running down his cheeks. Without ever looking away from him I did it…I pushed my little girl into the world and she was whisked out of the room.

Owen was up much higher and he was turned sideways but he was so small I would still be able to manage a vaginal delivery. It took almost an hour and a half of me pushing and my doctor pushing him down from the outside before he was born. I was so exhausted at that point. I hadn’t slept in days and had cried more than I ever thought possible. I was at a point of exhaustion. Everything was getting blurry but at that time blurry was needed. I took more meds, not for the pain but for the fogginess they created. I didn’t want anything to be clear. It took almost two more hours of pushing and doctors tugging and pulling to deliver both the placentas.

By now it was day light. I just remember seeing the sunlight and hearing birds chirping and wondering how that was possible? How the world was just carrying on even though in this tiny room Steve and I had just lost our two babies? It didn’t seem plausible and it definitely didn’t seem fair. I knew women in rooms on each side of me were having their babies too. But their babies would get to live. I was literally sick to my stomach over and over again. Finally they gave me an injection of something very powerful and I fell asleep. I didn’t wake for hours. Family members came but I didn’t open my eyes. I didn’t want to open my eyes. I wanted it all to be a terrible nightmare.

It wasn’t though. It is what happened. Now almost exactly 4 months later…just two weeks from when my babies should have been born, I am still here. I am still alive and still breathing somehow. It wasn’t a nightmare but it will always be the worst day off my life. The pain is still there but it is bearable now. I am a different person. Better in some ways and worse off in others; but absolutely not the person I was before. Infertility brought on some of the change but those hours spent pushing my babies into the world knowing they couldn’t stay, those really were the defining moments of the new me.

Right after the losing the babies I started seeing a psychologist who specializes in grief. I know all about the varying stages of grief. Right I am feeling large amounts of guilt. Guilt for not holding them after they were born, the doctors had said they probably wouldn’t survive the delivery at 18 weeks gestation but they both did. I didn’t learn this until later. They were such little fighters. Avery lived for 9 minutes and Owen only for a few but he did have a heartbeat when he was born. I just don’t know if I could have handled it but now I feel massive amounts of guilt for not having tried. The nurses took pictures of both of them and sent those to me but I have never opened the envelope. I just don’t want to remember them that way. I want to remember the babies I saw at all of our ultra-sounds. Due to being IVF babies and all the complications we had during the pregnancy I had 11 ultra-sounds including one 3D elective. I have all those pictures. I look at them all the time. Avery was always flipping and kicking and moving. She always had a higher heart rate, I think it was from all that movement! Owen was so sweet and usually sucking his thumb. He would move but his movements seemed so delicate, so deliberate. I like to think this was indicative of what their personalities might have grown into but now we will never know. Those memories of the promise of what might have been are how I like to remember my babies.

I also feel guilty about the possibility of trying to get pregnant again. The thought of losing another baby is too much to bear; but I also have this huge amount of worry that I will feel horrid knowing my body failed Avery and Owen but it gave another baby a chance at life.   I have removed the fibroid and had a TAC (Transabdominal Cerclage) and I hope this will keep me from losing another baby but I wish it could bring me back the two angels I already lost.

This has become very long. Today I am not pregnant. Today I am a mother but I do not have a baby to hold. Today I am doing my best to believe there has to be goodness in store for Steve and me somewhere down the road. Today I am trying to love and accept the new me.


Millessa can be contacted at

She blogs at

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  1. Shannon says:

    Hi Millessa – I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my second son on February 1st, 2011 at 24 weeks and 2 days. I am interested in having a TAC as well but I’ve read they are given to women who have had 2+ losses and/ or a failed vaginal cerclage. Was this not what you experienced? Thank you for sharing.

    • Millessa says:

      Hi Shannon,

      Yes generally doctors do like* to do them until you have had two losses with or with a failed TVC. That was just unacceptable to me. I refused to go through what I did again – just to prove a point. Maybe it was more than I needed, but maybe it wasn’t…I just couldn’t go into another pregnancy knowing there is something I could have done to prevent another loss and I didn’t do it. I went to Dr. Haney in Chicago and he is a huge advocate for TAC. He explained to me all the pros and cons and to me it was a simple choice. My insurance did initially push back but once they understood the high likelyhood of it happening again or a long term NICU stay they decided it was financially sound decision for them. That is how they think of it, it terms of finance, I think of it in terms of peace of mind.

      The procedure and recovery were easier than I expected and worth a dollar and minute of pain if it keeps me from losing another baby.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions. I am so sorry for your losses.

  2. Thank you for sharing our story, Millessa. I lost my fraternal twins, Aliya and Bennett, last Friday, August 5th, at 14 weeks 2 days. This was our first pregnancy after 3.5 years of infertility and I, too, never imagined I’d be where I’m at today, bleeding and without my precious children in my arms.

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