My favorite childhood toys were dolls. I spent hours pretending to be a mommy, carefully dressing my "babies," giving them bottles and pretend baby food. I took them for walks in a fancy doll carriage, tucked them in their crib for nap time, and loved them dearly. My favorite book was "The Little Mommy."
Years later, I was in my mid-twenties, married to a terrific guy, had a nice job, and lived in our own house. Just one thing was missing - a baby to love! After trying, unsuccessfully, to conceive after a little over a year, I began to fill our fertility doctor paperwork. Within the next few weeks, we conceived! What a blissful moment it was to see the home pregnancy test stick with a "+"!!! I made an appointment to see an OB (I carefully looked through a list of doctors and found a woman with a very American-sounding name at the "best" hospital. Not my best idea!)
The first appointment was exciting. My husband and I watched as the ultrasound specialist showed us our baby and said I was about 7 weeks along. But then, wait...another baby!!!!! Yes, TWINS! Oh, what a moment!!!! We were as shocked as we were delighted! The next few weeks were a blur...everywhere I looked, I saw twins. My family and friends were thrilled to hear our news. I was going to wait until 12 weeks to "announce" but we were too happy to hold it in. I had plenty of morning sickness, but that was to be expected. The 11-week appointment went just fine and our excitement grew. The next appointment would be really amazing - I would get to hear the twins' heartbeats with the doppler!!
April 23, 2001 was a beautiful sunny day. I wore an adorable ice-blue skirt suit and sipped my French Vanilla Coolatta as I drove my black 2-door Nissan Sentra to my 14-week OB appointment. I sang along with the radio to U2's "Beautiful Day" and Dido's "Here With Me." I happily waited for my turn at the OB office...then came the doppler - time to hear some heartbeats! How exciting!! Too bad my hubby had to miss this - he was taking classes and working on Monday nights. The nurse seemed to have trouble finding my little twins with the doppler, so my OB came in. She spent 15 minutes trying, but eventually told me to sit up. Her face was grim. My heart started to pound. She told me go to down to the basement of the hospital, to the ultrasound room. I wondered why I had to go there, when there was an ultrasound room next door. My palms were sweaty and I walked on shaky legs down to the basement. I waited. And waited. Finally another grim-faced person told me to come in. With the monitor turned away from me, I watched the technician, who worked with a serious face. She didn't offer any hope, just did her job. I went back to the waiting room and waited, and waited. Finally, my OB came to me and said, "I'm sorry. There are no heartbeats. In utero twin demise." What?! I was in shock. I told her, "No" and ran up the stairs. She asked me if she could call someone for me, and I again said, "No" and ran to my car. I passed several very pregnant women on my way through the parking lot. Several other people came carrying flowers and gift - visiting new moms. By the time I got in my car, I was sobbing. I quickly drove across the street to my parents' house. They were an hour away. I called my husband; he was half an hour away. I paced across the kitchen, crying and screaming and shaking - overwhelmed with disbelief and sadness. I called my superiors at work to let them know. Then I sat down and waited for my parents and my husband to arrive. For the next few hours, there was a lot of crying.
Rather than share every painful detail about the procedure of removing my babies from me (my OB stated she wanted "intact specimens"...how vile!!), I will say just a few things: my OB was horrible. The nurse was absolutely amazing and I am sure she was sent by God to help me and my family. The procedure was very painful, both emotionally and physically. When I returned home, I rested. When I awoke, I will never forget looking out the window and seeing my mother on my back hill, sitting on the grass in the sun, her head in her hands, with the yard full of flowers and bushes in bloom. It was so bittersweet. It was a perfect day and my mom was going to spend the next week with me while my husband continued to work. But my twins were gone, and nothing could fill that void. It was sunny for weeks after that. I remember praying that God would let it rain...I wanted heaven to cry with me! Finally the rain came and I felt more at peace.
A few weeks later, after tests were run on my babies, I discovered they were boys. The doctors could find no reason for their death. Although they were sharing one placenta and were in one sac together, there was no indication of twin to twin transfusion or vanishing twin syndrome. I named them Noah Xavier and Christopher Leonard. This is all I know about them. I can't wait to meet them one day.
Here are some lyrics that helped me grieve:
"What of the babies who have never left the womb,
Breathing in the lifeline.
Angels in waiting,
gone before they could be given wings to fly.
Tell me there's a place for these."
- Michael W. Smith
"Noah, hello, good-bye
I'll see you on the other side.
Noah, sweet child of mine
I'll see you on the other side."
- Michael W. Smith
Another step in my grief process was to join a support group. I spent a year crying (and even laughing) with several other mothers who had lost babies. My husband joined me for the first meeting, right before Mother's Day. He chose to let me go on my own after that, and I really began to look forward to those once a month evenings to share and listen. I was also able to share how my belief in Jesus as my Savior helped me through this devastating ordeal. Jeremiah 29:11 was a powerful verse for me: "For I know the plans I have for you...plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future."