‘NO HEARTBEAT, NO BABY.’ This was the devastating sentence Anna wrote on a well-known baby website’s messaging board back in 2013. The 26-year old psychiatric nurse had written that she’d become pregnant 10 weeks before her wedding, only to start bleeding three days before the marriage. An ultrasound revealed a beating heart, and the ceremony went on. Anna had posted that when she returned from the honeymoon, a checkup revealed an empty sac the first scan had missed. She had actually been carrying twins, and one twin had died. Now the other one was gone too. ‘It’s all over,’ she wrote, and more than 30 women on the message board chimed in to offer their sympathy.
As Anna grieved, the pregnancy-loss forum became a kind of therapist’s couch. ‘There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about my angels,’ she wrote. She solicited advice on how to honour her twins – she named them Charles and Tyler. ‘I want ornaments in memory of our boys,’ she wrote. ‘I don’t want them forgotten on Christmas.’
Anna struck a chord with women on the forum who had gone through miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of an infant. ‘I would absolutely get your babies an ornament or a gift,’ one woman wrote. ‘They were real, living peo