Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Oh that word that still at times can make me wince...
I remember when I first became pregnant and it was terrifying and exhilarating all in the same moment. What would we do... He'd just lost his job, we weren't planning for this... but we'd make it work... Twins? Really?
When the news spread that not only was I pregnant, but with 'twins', the number of babies I was carrying wasn't the only thing that doubled, so did the excitement. And while it felt good to get all that attention, I also- from that moment- decided that I didn't want those babies I was carrying to be identified by that word 'twin' and so if you knew me then, and you know me now you never heard me refer to that first pregnancy as a 'twin' pregnancy but when I carried my "babies"- and later- my "boys".
It took a while for the idea to settle- it was not what I had wanted. I had always imagined myself as a mother with one in her arms, looking into one set of eyes, having one steal my heart... How can you share that love? Split it? I suddenly began to add another to my dreams... and while I didn't know if they were boys, girls, perhaps one of each I did know that I would refer to them as 'the babies', celebrate their differences, raise them as individuals and not split my love but double it.
And so when the babies were born, the boys were born, I remember feeling guilty... I had always dreamed of one... imagined one... were my dreams what was meant to be? Did I somehow 'will' this... by avoiding that word? By taking so long to shape my dreams- add that extra baby?
No. Of course not. Absolutely not. I know that now, but the thought crossed my mind more than once and I do remember moments when I would have it out with God wondering, "Did you think I couldn't handle it? Because I could have! I would have! YOU were wrong!"
And though I didn't have 'twins' (I had babies), that dreaded word that I had avoided even in my 'perfect pregnancy' found me... driving behind a TWIN camry... shopping and seeing TWIN packs of items... The word was everywhere and so were they. When you lose a child, suddenly babies are EVERYWHERE. When you lose a child, suddenly pregnant people are EVERYWHERE. And when you lose a twin... suddenly they're EVERYWHERE too. And so was that damn word.
A word I never used, but I grieved it still. I grieved the very idea of it. An idea that I had to try out... imagine... believe... and now that idea was gone- and not just for me, but for him- that little boy whose eyes looked into mine for the first time. Eyes that found mine as I told him that that little boy he'd spent so long with was gone. His brother. The little boy who he'd played with and kicked- gone. That relationship that I had dreamed of... that could have been... gone.
And that is the danger of it. The unknown- for our dreams can play games with us~ make us think that what we don't have is always 'better'. I imagined what they would have been~ best friends~ but how could I know that? It was after all just my dream.
I was grieving that "Twin" when he contacted me. Told me. He had a twin. And he told me as gently as he could that that dream I had, wasn't his experience. They were brothers sure, but who's to say that that relationship was any deeper than it was with his other siblings. It wasn't.
I often think of those dreams we have. The ones for those babies we lost too soon. For mine are 7 and 2 now and try as I may, I cannot see them clearly. I do not know their laughter and while I feel them dance around me, I cannot make out their eyes. How can I possibly know what it would have been like... I can't.
But I can dream. And I allow myself that. But I have changed it somewhat~ changed it for my babies. Joe and Andrew would have loved each other. They would have played together and been best friends- the same way that Joe is best friends with his sister and his brothers... not because they were twins but because they were family. For to me, family is what we lost~ a piece of who we were- not a piece of who he was.
** And these thoughts came to me because of a recent video going around with two twins babbling... their own secret language. And if you are me~ the mom of a "twinless twin", or just someone grieving babies and this video hurt to see (as I know from hearing from many of you that it did), I want you to know that my twin had that too... a secret language with his younger (by 15 months) sister~ not because he was a 'twin' but because they were babies and close in age and that is what babies do. Be gentle on yourselves. A cute video yes, but a cosmic twin language it is not. Don't let that dream- that word- that idea- rule you (easier said than done).
Wishing you peace tonight.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Right now I have three blogs set up to Network Blogs because I know that some people who read my blogs don't 'follow' through blogger and this way it publishes directly to my facebook(even when I am not 'on facebook') and notifies all my facebook friends. I have decided to take that feature (the automatic publishing) off of my facebook account because I have so many blogs and it seems they fill up my page so quickly (network blogs will still be there and I love that so many of you 'follow'... if you don't you still can!).
Blogger has a new feature where if you'd like you can enter your email you will get a notification (via email) every time I publish a new blog. No need to check in (for those who don't follow) when there is nothing new~ unless you just feel like checking out my 'older' stuff.
Thanks for reading and commenting and following!
I'm publishing this now and seeing if it works... (I'm following my own blog... I even bought the book!) If interested you'll see the new feature on the top right of this blog.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
With every step I felt it... E. E. E. E. E.
I was out, enjoying my walk- the air was crisp- the sky was blue and all I could think about was E. And it was March. It is March.
September I laid on that bed, ready for surgery- a DNC- an abortion. Sure my baby was gone. I knew that. Not only was that heartbeat gone, so was my baby- but still I had hope that somehow this would help us know. Help me know. Why? Who?
There was A (Andrew), B (Jonasen), C (Ali Jane), D (Zach) and E (?). And we had seen that heartbeat. We saw it again... and again... and again... and still I knew something was wrong- but they say that when you see that heartbeat you're 'safe'.
I should have known better.
The heartbeat does not make you 'safe'. Twelve weeks does not make you 'safe'. Full term does not make you 'safe'. But still I held out hope.
And when that heartbeat was gone. That baby was gone. There was one thing I wanted and that was to know why? And because I know that such things rarely have an answer (and when they do ~cord~ it hardly made me feel better), what I really wanted to know was 'who'.
We were driving home after seeing that dark screen that once showed us E's heartbeat and my husband had to pull over. He couldn't drive. It was too much. It was all too much. It had happened again and he looked at me and he said, "We can't even give our baby a name. I don't know why it matters. But it does."
And days later as I lay on that bed- waiting for surgery, I prayed that my baby would have left enough that we would know the answer to our question... boy? girl? We would have our answer and we could give our baby a name.
I cried. I cried for it all. I cried that I wanted this answer so much~ that it meant so much to me. I needed a name. I needed a picture. For he was five about to turn six and I found it a comfort that they were together. They were together and though I had carried that baby -E- for only a few months, I could close my eyes and see their hands together. And that gave me peace. I could see those hands but I couldn't see whose hand he was holding.
I waited on that bed and was soon joined by familiar faces. Faces that have been with me on this journey since he put me on it. Nurses. They came. They cried. They held me. And they listened. They listened as I asked them to pray that somehow I would have the answers that I felt I needed.
And she said, "Laura. You know. You already know who that baby was- who that baby is. It's in there ~it's in you~ and if you don't see it now, you will. But you know. You do know."
There was so much blood. And after my surgery I could tell by the look on my doctor's face that she couldn't give me my answer. And she didn't. E. I would call the baby E. And that is who you were to me. ~E~ How I wish you had left me something...
But then it was March- the month you were to be born and I sat there with my arms on my stomach wishing it was swollen with your life- wishing that I could see that heartbeat once more. I had cried so much that first March. You were gone and so was she. I was getting ready for her funeral- cancer had taken her at such a young age. And I thought of you both two young lives gone- And all I wanted was some hope. Some life. I took a test, folded my hands on my stomach and thanked God that in that moment it could happen- That test showed it could happen- it could grow again. And it did. F (Sean Asher).
E~ you were sent for a reason- for a purpose- and I still wish that somehow I knew~ had the answers I sought- the answers that I seek still. But Sue was right. And I think I know.
I still can sometimes close my eyes and see your hands together, but I zoom out and see you walking (always walking away)- hand in hand with your brother. Your blond pigtails swaying in the golden sun.
Friday, March 11, 2011
It is funny how a child that you hardly know can make you pause- evaluate things. Perhaps that has happened as you've read my words here. Perhaps my Andrew's life or sweet E have changed you in some way... made you look at the world a little different. Made you hug your children a little harder.
It is March and I am reminded of two Marches ago when I wrote of sweet Maddison a wonderful young girl who was taken to heaven after a courageous battle with cancer.
And this March heaven welcomed another child. Little Avery passed away this morning. I first heard Avery's name in late February and not a day has gone by that I haven't thought of him- of his family and prayed.
And while my heart aches for his parents and his young brothers- all his family and friends and those who knew him, I do know that today the little boy that has been confined to a bed, unable to move, is dancing. He's home. He's at peace. He's whole.
When I first lost Andrew, I felt I had failed as a mother. I was supposed to keep him safe, keep him here. I failed. I found myself analyzing everything I did, or what I didn't do and wondering, how could I not know... How could I have not felt it somewhere- in my soul- that he was gone? I wrestled with that for a long time, and while I do not know Avery's parents I imagine that they wish with all their hearts that they could turn back time and somehow change what happened that day in late February when their lives changed in ways they would have never imagined- in ways that they have yet to see...
But for me in those early years, I would go back and wonder and blame myself for not keeping him 'safe'.
But then what is 'safe'?
From the moment Andrew's silent body was pulled from mine, I knew he was 'safe'. I felt it stronger than I have felt anything in this world. In that moment, I knew who held him. I knew he was home with the one who knit him together inside me- with the one who loved him and who loved me enough to give me that peace- to die for me...
For we are but strangers here- we will walk this earth for such a short time- yet we will have an eternity to dance, dance with them, again. And what a sweet reunion that will be. What a sweet, sweet day.
May God bless Avery's family as they remember him and mourn his memory as well as the future that they had dreamt for him. And may you pause tonight, hug those you love, and thank God for all that is good, all that you have, and all that is to come knowing that one day it will be even better.
Click here if you would like to send a message to Avery's family, letting them know that you care. I cannot tell you what this means to a family- if you are thinking of them- tell them. Some of the letters that touched me most over the years, were from people I never met (perhaps you)... I wonder if they will ever know what a comfort they were to me.