Cherie Ayrton of New Zealand and her husband were excited to be pregnant for the third time. They hoped to give their two daughters a little brother. At their 14-week scan it was confirmed that Ayrton was expecting not just one boy, but two.
This came as no surprise since twins run in her family, and she had a twin pregnancy with her youngest daughter. Sadly, by eight weeks the heart beat of her daughter's twin could not be detected.
This pregnancy was different. She felt great, and the boys were both growing. Ayrton, owner of Feather Touch Cosmetic Tattoo, decided to announce her twin pregnancy to nearly 30,000 followers on Facebook and Instagram. She wanted to plan and prepare her clients for the twin's arrival. Full of excitement, she reached out to Sarah Simmons of Charlie Horse Photography to capture her pregnancy.
Just two days after Christmas, Ayrton, her husband and two daughters went in to check on their little boys. It was the day of their 5-month scan, but Ayrton had become nervous in the days leading up to this appointment. The sonographer checked each baby separately. The first baby, Tiger, was happy and healthy, but when the sonographer moved on to Johnny a heaviness filled the room that confirmed all of mom's fears. "I'm so sorry," the sonographer said.
Every two weeks following that scan Ayrton was checked to make sure Tiger was still thriving, while she had to watch Johnny fade away with each visit. First his sweet facial features, then his fingers and toes disappeared. She was expected to reach full-term, and at 38-weeks she delivered both boys.
In preparation for newborn photos of Tiger, Simmons asked the family if they would bring Johnny's ashes. Simmons had a vision to capture a photo of both boys for the family to cherish, and she nailed it!
"I love the fact my son’s memory might help other families get through their own journeys. Since losing Johnny, I’ve been trying to raise awareness on my personal Instagram page @cherie_ayrton, and the outcry in other women going through similar experiences is huge. In sharing my son’s story, hopefully, my hurt can help others heal. It’s a lonely journey if no one speaks up," Aryrton writes.
In her own words, Ayrton shares her story of grief and healing here in hopes to help other families on similar journeys.