Carrie & Ryan’s tragic loss

February 16, 2011

I would like to share Carrie and Ryan’s heartbreaking story of their stillbirth twins at 21 weeks.  I met Carrie online through an infertility support group and we have known one another for almost a year now and have become close through the struggles we have been through.  I think Carrie is an amazingly brave and strong young woman and I admire her determination, hope and faith in God.


By: Carrie Leahy

After being married for 5 years, my husband Ryan and I decided that we were finally ready to start a family.  I always knew that it might take a little time to get pregnant as I did not have a regular cycle, but never in a million years did I think that 5 years later we would still not have a child.  We started fertility treatments in  2007, and started out with some simple treatments thinking that would be all that we needed. Eventually we figured out that the simple treatments were just not working and we needed get serious and do IVF.

I began the injections and meds in Jan 2010 and was so excited when our reproductive endocrinologist retrieved 36 eggs in February.  I ended up getting very sick from ovarian hyperstimulation, which landed me in the hospital for two nights.  Because of this, our cycle was cut short and the embryo transfer was canceled as I was not well enough.  However, we were able to freeze 16 embryos for future use.  On April 29, 2010, I had two perfect little embryos transferred back to me and then I found out the day after Mother’s Day that I was finally going to be a mommy.  After all the fertility treatments, we were finally going to be parents to twins and we were beyond excited!  Unfortunately, that excitement was short lived and on June 10th we found out that our twins no longer had heartbeats.

Ryan and I took some time to heal our hearts and then in September 2010 we were ready to try again with another Frozen Embryo Transfer.  Once again, I became pregnant with twins, but this time I was very cautious to not get too excited until after the first trimester.  The first trimester flew by and I started to get so excited and more laid back about the pregnancy.

We found out that we were going to have a boy and a girl–what a perfect little family we were finally going to have!  Our little babies’ names were going to be Brody William and Harper Grace.  At 18 weeks, we went and registered at Babies R Us.  I was so proud of my baby bump that I was getting and that I was finally one of those pregnant ladies that I had been so jealous of for so many years.  Ryan started putting the cribs together and the nursery was beginning to look just precious.

I had some mild cramps in late December, so at my appointment with my regular OB on December 21st, she decided to check my cervix and everything felt fine.  I had an appointment with my high risk doctor on January 7th for my 20 week anatomy scan, and of course we were excited to see our sweet little babies again.  Every time we went for an ultrasound, Harper would be kicking Brody in the head and both would be sucking their thumbs, so sweet! As soon as I laid down and the ultrasound tech started she said that my cervix looked very bad and I needed to go on bedrest immediately.  My cervix was only 0.5cm (normal is 3-5 cm) long and I was dilated 1 cm with bulging membranes.

Well not only did I need to go on bedrest, I needed a rescue cerclage immediately to help keep my babies in.  There was no guarantee that it would work, but we were going down the right path to try and keep Brody and Harper safe.  I was released from the hospital on January 9th and I was told to only get up to go to the bathroom and take a shower once every 3 days, so it was very strict bedrest.  I was willing to do anything to keep my babies safe even if it meant standing on my head.

On Jan 18th, I felt some Braxton Hicks contractions and I could time them, which I knew I was not supposed to be able to do.  At 10:30 pm we went to the hospital just to give me some peace of mind.  Ryan had just felt Brody move for the first time 3 nights before and I had been feeling both Brody and Harper for about 2 weeks.  We were so attached to them and felt so much love towards them.

When the doctors checked me that night, Brody’s bag was bulging again and there was no way that they could be saved, I had to deliver them right away. The news was devastating and the words that I would hear that night would be the worst thing I had ever heard in my life.  At 21 weeks 3 days, a baby is too small to survive outside of the womb and the hospital does not try to save them until they have reached viability which is at 24 weeks.

Brody William was born on Jan 19th at 7:30 am and weighed 14.8oz and was 10″ long. He was caught in the birth canal for 3 hours so he had already passed by the time he was born.  Harper Grace was born at 11:30 am and weighed 15.6oz and was 11″ long.  We were able to spend 45 minutes with her before she passed away.  All of our family was there and they were able to hold and love on both of them too. I just wish that the time we were able to spend with them could have lasted forever because they were just so precious and perfect.

We know that both of them are in heaven with Jesus, but it is still so hard.  The doctors said that the cause of Brody and Harper coming too soon is not known, it could have been preterm labor and/or incompetent cervix. Either way, we don’t want for others to have to go through this, which is why we are participating in the March of Dimes walk this year with another family that had a premature baby.

The March of Dimes funds go towards programs that help soon-to-be mothers and also help families with babies that are in the NICU.

Want to join Team LOVE in March for Babies? Visit our website at


If you are able, please consider sponsoring Carrie and Ryan in their walk for the March of Dimes.  Also, I’m sure they would welcome any prayers, as they try to deal with their unimaginable loss.  Also, please leave comments for them below, as they will be reading this.

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  • Thanks for sharing their story – so heartbreaking.

  • Thanks for sharing — that is very heart breaking and I’m at a loss for words. really.

  • Kathy Cox

    Ryan and Carrie: This is so heartbreaking to read I cried through the whole thing..please know I am praying for both of you in your losses…Ryan is one of my children from many years of coming over to my house in Parkshore…he is sooo special to me I think of him often…
    Love Mrs. Cox

  • Sue Ausborn

    My prayers are with you both. What wonderful amazing brave people you are! I have no words to offer to take away the loss of your precious babies but I do know that you are blessed to have one another and a strong faith this is truly a gift. My heart is filled with love for you and your family. God bless you!

  • Thank you for sharing their story, it never ceases to surprise me how often preterm labor occurs and how many families like ours lose their babies early. Definitely sending prayers there way. My husband and I lost our daughter at 23wks about 8 months ago and it has been a difficult journey.

  • Nicole E

    I too know Carrie’s story thru our IF forum. Reading this in paragraph form made it even harder to bear. We love Carrie and pray for peace and the ability to one day have a family!


  • Mike Cox

    I cannot express the feeling I have after reading this. I love Ryan like a brother, we shared incredible times together through school. I cried, how could anyone not. Stay in touch Ryan. I wish you and Carrie all the best.

  • Cathy Kelly

    Carrie & Ryan,
    I cried when I read your story. I admire you both for joining Team Love,and participating in the march of dimes walk. I hope it helps your hearts to heal.
    Love you!
    Aunt Cathy

  • HRM’s mom

    Oh this story touched me so. I am also on FF but have never had a chance to “meet” you. I have had several loses myself, 3 to be exact and I can understand your pain. It is such a hard road to go down infertility and lose, it almost sucked the life out of me. But I was finally granted 2 sweet babies and I hope you are able to pick yourself up and try again. I will tell you I wanted to give up and not continue but I am so glad I did. It was on of the hardest things I have ever done but it was the most rewarding in the end. I believe that god had granted me the babies I was suppose to have, if that makes any since. I miss the ones I have lost more than anything but the ones I have are such a blessing. Good luck to you and your DH!

  • niki

    carrie and ryan, i learnt about your story through a friend i met through the ff. as i read your story, i couldn’t help but wonder how almost similar your story is to ours. my dh and i also lost our twin boys at 21 wks, about 3 yrs ago. no proper reason was given, but a friend who gave birth to twins told me that at around 21wks the body is made to believe it’s ready to deliver, because of the double weight. i don’t know how far true that was. anyway, we conceived naturally after about 2 years and got a baby boy. he’s 10 months now. i had my cervix stitched even if i was carrying one baby. the reason i’m writing is to encourage you not to give up. trust in the Lord. He will grant your wish and you will finally share in the joy of child birth. i believe that our faith and prayers played the biggest role in our conceiving. my prayers to you and your angels.

  • Oh wow, this made me cry. How awful. 🙁

  • monica nance

    Carrie and Ryan, This exact same thing happened to my daughter in May 2010. She lost her twin boys Jeremian and Joel. It will be 1 year this week. May 19th 2010. I have been looking on the internet for someone that shared the same story with Katie. She still has a real hard time. This Mothers Day was sooooooooo hard. for she and I. I would love if you could share with her. If you can email me. Thank you, Monica

  • Mandy

    This is so heart breaking! I am glad to hear from carrie’s sister that she is now about to have a healthy baby girl at 37 weeks!