Monday, February 18, 2013

Six Months Later

Tomorrow marks the six month anniversary of the birth and death of my twins.  I am searching for the words to explain how I feel, but I am at a loss.  I think the biggest things I am feeling at this point are sadness and disbelief.  It has been just long enough now that when I first wake up in the morning the memory of them almost seems like a dream.  While I am so glad that I have started to pick up the pieces and move forward with my life, part of me is sad that as the time passes the memory becomes less real.  I can no longer picture with vivid detail the tiny fingers, wet hair, and beautiful faces.  It's more like a blur.  I have pictures to remind me, but they don't do James and Penelope justice.  They were truly beautiful babies.

Although my mind has pushed some of the details to the side, there are things I will never forget.  I will never forget the look on the Doctor's face as she told me that "Things don't look good".  I will never forget those five minutes of lying in the hospital bed alone waiting for Micah and Gwenevere to return from their walk around the hospital.  I didn't cry.  I just stared at the TV playing an old episode of "The Andy Griffith Show" as I tried to find the words to tell my husband that we might be losing our son and daughter.  When he opened the door to my room I just looked and him and began to weep.  He nodded and said that he would go call my parents to pick up Gwenevere to take her home.  At that moment I didn't know that my babies were going to die, but I felt it.

I will never forget the feelings of intense love I had the moment I met my babies.  I was shocked that it was just as intense as the moment I first met Gwenevere.  I knew they were going to die, but at that moment all that mattered was that I was their Mom and I loved them more than anything else in the world.  I cherished every minute I had with them repeatedly telling both of them how much I loved them and how sorry I was.  After snuggling each of them I reluctantly handed them over to Micah so they could meet their Dad.  He cried over their tiny bodies and whispered how much he loved them.  With each of them, the moment they passed he looked me in the eye and said they were gone.

It is true what everyone says, it gets better with time.  Sometimes though, time is painfully slow.  I remember those early days after their death.  I was in a fog.  I cried often and violently.  My body shook and I made noises that I didn't know I could make.  I just felt such despair, I didn't know what to do.  My eyes practically swelled shut a few times and I would lay with ice packs on my face to reduce the swelling.  I wasn't really a mother to Gwenevere or a wife to Micah during those first few weeks, I was just trying to survive. I didn't like leaving the house.  The only people I saw were people that came to our house to visit or bring us meals.  I really don't remember that time, only that I was lost.

I am now slowly starting to get my life back.  I am engaged and playful with Gwenevere, laughing with Micah, exercising daily, going to a weekly yoga class, hanging out with friends, shopping and cooking.  There is still pain, quite a bit in fact.  Sometimes it hits me like a wave and almost takes my breath away.  Penelope and James are my children and I miss them both so much.  But, I am starting to come to terms with the fact that they are gone.  With their short life and death they have given me a gift.  I have a new sense of appreciation for life.  Gwenevere is my daughter and she is here.  She is strong.  She survived a whole nine months of pregnancy and was born into this world and crying, healthy baby.  She is my miracle.  Two of my children may be gone, but I am so lucky to have one amazing child here with me.  I think that James and Penelope have other gifts that they have given to me and others, I just haven't discovered what they are yet.  Their lives may have been short, but they were not meaningless.  I know as time continues to pass I will continue to heal.  But I will never forget my precious angels.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Several months before the death of my son & daughter, I was sure I would never be pregnant again.  I remember vividly being 8 weeks pregnant with the twins, before I even knew I was having twins.  I was so nauseated and tired that at night I would cry to Micah.  I was excited to pregnant again, but I felt so awful that I would swear to my husband that "No matter what happens with this pregnancy, this is it.  I can't go through this again!".  At that time, it didn't matter to me if I gave birth to a healthy baby or not.  I was unwilling to even entertain the possibility of putting myself through the torture of pregnancy sickness ever again.  I remember thinking to myself that I already had one healthy child, that could be enough.

Not long after delivering James and Penelope I had a follow up appointment with my OB.  She talked to me about how I was physically and emotionally recovering and went over my birth control options.  Then she asked me a question that shocked me.  She asked me how long I wanted to wait before trying to become pregnant again.  I stammered to find an answer, and I replied that I didn't plan on getting pregnant again.  She smiled at me and told me that I didn't have to make any decisions now.  As I drove home from my appointment I felt angry.  How could she assume that I would want to get pregnant again?  How could I even think about having another child while I was in the wake of grief?

As the months have gone by my feelings have slowly shifted.  I have begun to be more open to the idea of someday trying again.  Am I ready to try again right now?  Absolutely not.  My husband and I have agreed to give ourselves time to grieve and heal from our tremendous loss.  We set an arbitrary time line of sixteen months before we even entertain the idea of TTC.  Until today, I wasn't even sure that I would ever desire another pregnancy.

Yesterday I got the crazy idea in my head that I could possibly be pregnant.  Once the crazy seed was planted it bloomed into a full blown freak out tree that had me imagining going in for an ultrasound and discovering that I was indeed pregnant with triplets.  To ease my mind I stopped at Walgreen's on my way home from my yoga class and I bought a three pack of pregnancy tests.  I bought three tests under the assumption that this would not be the only time that I would need assurance that I was not pregnant.  Before going to bed I set out one test next to the toilet so I would remember to take it in the morning.

This morning I woke up a little earlier than usual.  Because I was now convinced that I was surely pregnant I sprang out of bed to take the test.  I set the stick down on the counter and laid back in bed to wait for the required two minutes for it to process.  As I laid there a shocking thought popped into my head.  I hoped it was positive.  I couldn't believe what I was thinking.  I came to my senses and reminded myself that I am not ready yet.  I walked back into the bathroom and glaring back at me were the words "Not Pregnant".  I felt a sense of relief and disappointment wash over me.  My conflicting emotions left me feeling confused.

As the day has gone on I have had time to process my thoughts.  I don't really want to be pregnant right now.  I do want to have another child, someday.  My surprising reaction this morning was just a glimmer of my desire to bring home another healthy baby.  For now I will continue to enjoy all of the one-on -one time with my amazing daughter.  I will continue my journey through grief and allow my spirit and body to heal.  I will enjoy the quality time with my husband.  I will remember and honor the life and death of my son and daughter.  I will settle into my new role of a mother to one living child and two children that are no longer with me.  I will be open to the possibility of one day braving the treacherous 40 weeks, but not yet.