Welcome Home

Well, hello there.  It feels strange to be here.  I haven’t forgotten about this place, not at all in fact, but I feel somewhat a stranger coming back here.  Although these are my words.

My life.

My story.

I feel almost unwelcome here.  That these words are from a place I don’t want to visit…a part of my life, if you will, I want documented but don’t wish to truly remember.

But we never forget, do we?

And it’s important to remember.

No matter our desires, our heads and hearts hold onto those memories…clinging to the feelings, like the talons of a bird cling to its prey, because letting go of them means something dies all over again.

If we don’t cling to the memories, we can no longer re-live the experience searching for clues as to why?  As if we’d missed the answer, hidden in the shadows, from the thousands of preceding mental viewings.

Everywhere I’ve looked today has been today’s date…3/24.  Megyn’s birthday.  Tomorrow is Whitney’s birthday and yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of the day we were told our twins had died inside my body.

This year, it’s a difficult 3 days.  I can’t say I’m incredibly sad this year, I’m not joyful, I’m just, melancholy?  Is that the best word?  I found myself worried late last night about their birthday party.  I believe in Heaven and I found myself praying to a God, that I’m still angry with, that someone give them a party.  That they had balloons, cake, candles, that someone sang to them, told them Happy Birthday, that they had a day filled with laughter and celebration.  That someone hugged my girls and told them they were loved.  Wanted.  Some of you may think that sounds absolutely insane, but grief plays itself out so very differently in people.  This was my way of dealing with the grief of losing my two girls this year.  I don’t wish to go on like this…each year has brought dread and sorrow, and truly, I don’t expect that to be the case as time goes on.  As with most other things, time is the great healer.

When I think back to 2 years ago, I don’t really remember it.  I seem to recall a life free from such tragic grief, free from the reality and fears that come with our experience, but I don’t have a clear picture of that life.  I almost don’t recognize myself these days…2 years out.  I CERTAINLY don’t recognize who I am today compared to the person I thought I would be.  I’ve lost weight, I dress differently, I’m a different wife and mother than I’d ever imagined myself to be, my emotions process differently and I carry the weight of the reality that I lost 2 daughters.  None of these things are particularly bad…who wouldn’t want to lose weight?  I feel like I’ve found my own fashion style and it suits me.  I feel better about myself now than I’ve ever felt before.  The way I process emotions may be different, but I have to believe they are more real than ever before.  The weight of reality I carry with me requires me to view life differently.  Life is so much more precious now than ever before, which can be both awesome and so scary at the same time.  My relationship with my husband is both easy and amazing and difficult and mind-boggling.  There are parts that are better than ever and parts that make me feel like we are at square 1.  My personal journey is confusing also.  While I believe I’m meant to serve my family…my children and my husband, I feel there is more I should be doing.  I volunteer, but there’s more.  I don’t know what it is…I’m not even sure when I’d fit more into my schedule, but there’s a piece of me missing.

I was right, a long time ago, when I started writing here.  My story was just beginning.  It’s a journey, that is still very much in the beginning phases.  I’m no closer to knowing how the story ends today than I was 2 years ago and at the same time, I feel like I’ve solved a good chuck of the puzzle just by walking the walk.  Just by getting out of bed each day…especially in the early days.  Just by being willing to say losing the twins was only the beginning, and not the end.

I’d like to come back here more.  I’d like to share more, to catch up and tell you what has happened over the past year, and share with you what my heart desires in the months and years to come.  My avoidance here has been mostly due to time constraints…this year has been busy.  It’s hard enough to find the time to write, even harder to have the peace of mind needed to process my thoughts and emotions and put something here that’s worth reading now and worth remembering years from now.

There’s a part of my that yearns for time here, though.  I’m pulled here, a place to write, to be emotional, to document this life of mine.  A place to chronicle this journey I’m on and a place for people to come that may find some small bit of help here.  Even if only to learn they are not alone in this crazy thing called life.

So I think you’ll see more of me, very soon.

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Tomorrow

Tomorrow is a big day.  Tomorrow, the Hubs and I will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.  We got married young, the summer between our Junior and Senior year in college.  We were both 21.  We felt it fitting to mark our 10 year anniversary with this decision.

The past 10 years have been nothing short of exciting and to say we’ve both grown immensely would be an understatment.  We’ve had opportunities to do some amazing things, we’ve taken some great vacations and we’ve been through some serious rough patches, albeit very recently.  The majority of the past 10 years has been nothing short of amazing.  I don’t really have much to complain about.  But there’s been something missing.  There’s always been something missing.  Tonight, the sun will set on the life we’ve known for the better part of those 10 years.  The sun will go down, for good, on a seemingly predictable and safe future.  The sun will rise tomorrow marking not only a new day, but a whole new life for us.  One that we both believe has been in the works for a very long time, but only began to reveal itself to us over the last 18 months or so.  The Hubs will be resigning his current position which he’s held for close to 4 years.  He’ll be leaving the employer he’s been with for almost 8 years.  It’s a HUGE step.  He has not and will not be accepting a position with another employer.  He will be delving in, full force, going balls to the wall to make his small company a success.  Tomorrow marks the dawn of a new era.  I will continue my role as a stay at home mom, raising our 2 girls until the time is right for me to launch a small business of my own.  We won’t have any income coming in (until he starts making money on his own) and will be living off money that we have saved over the past 3 years.  Money that we couldn’t have saved if it hadn’t been for Dave Ramsey’s class, Financial Peace University, almost 3 years ago which I was firmly against.  I’m so very thankful for my husband’s gentle but firm stance that we needed to attend this class; he was aware of my sensitivity to the subject of money, but never relented.  It has changed the course of our lives.  We didn’t know what we were saving for, we were simply…saving.  There have been several big-ticket items we’ve wanted to purchase recently yet neither of us could pull the trigger.  I’m thankful for gut feelings and discretion and wisdom.  We’ve created and agreed to a budget that will allow this savings to carry us for many months and give him ample time to ramp-up his business.  If, at the end of the agreed upon time, the business is not performing as we desire, he will then seek full-time employment elsewhere.  In the mean-time he’ll be self-employed.

There is, of course, a certain amount of nervousness to all of this.  I keep telling myself there would be something wrong with the person that WASN’T nervous.  If you say it out loud, what we’re doing, it sounds crazy.  Truthfully though, we’ve looked at this every way possible.  Multiple times.  This is not a decision we’ve come to easily nor has the decision been made light-heartedly.  We have also sought the counsel of many people we respect in our lives.  We recognize the many sacrifices it will require.  If we want to make a go at this, this is how it has to be.  All in.  No questions.  One job and only one job.  He can’t make it work on a part-time basis.  Not with his travel schedule and the demands of his current position.  Not to mention he’s been increasingly unhappy in his current position and while he didn’t do anything wrong (it’s on permanent record with the company that he’s in no way violating company policy) by starting a business on the side, his current manager was less than thrilled when she learned about it.  There are also many signs his current division is in trouble.  All signs point to this being the right call.  While the seed for entrepreneurship was planted long, long ago, we started to see its growth while on vacation last summer, after the twins died.  If it hadn’t been for them dying, I’m about 99% sure we wouldn’t be where we are now.

So this is my last post as the wife of a traveling salesman.  As the stay at home mom while my husband brings home the bacon.  Going forward, it will be a joint effort to make this ship sail.  Granted, he’ll do most of the heavy lifting, but I’m sure I’ll be needed somewhere.  And before too long, I’m hoping to start my own thing that’s been in the works.  I know this isn’t true, but this really feels like my first experience with true faith.  I don’t know what’s on the other side…the unknown has always been scary to me.  But there’s something nudging me forward, something telling me to press on and to stay the course, and amidst all the nervousness, I recognize a peaceful feeling telling me this is the right move.  Although it’s often shrouded in the fear.  I’ve accepted the fact that even though this is the right move, it may not turn out how we want, but that’s not for us to decide.  All we can do is act and work our tails off.  To the life I’d grown too comfortable in yet provided me with so much to be thankful for I’d like to say, “Thanks.  It’s been an awesome ride.  I’ve had ups.  I’ve had downs.  I’ve had more ups than I’ve had downs.  I’ve made lots of mistakes, some of which were fun and I’ve grown into a woman who would be unrecognizable to the young bride I was 10 years ago.  I’m thankful, for it all, but I’m ready to move on.  To see what’s on the other side.  I’m ready to close the curtain and see what happens next.”

I’ll see you all on the other side.

xoxo,

B

 WMFlorida 2009 013

I miss blogging.

And I also know nothing lasts forever, so I’m trying to remember that my new baby is only 6 weeks old and the fact that I can’t nail down tons of time each day to blog is really ok.  But I do miss it.  I miss being able to put my thoughts down, to work out what’s on my mind.  Honestly though, there really hasn’t been any new developments as of late, but I’ve got some great pictures I need to share!

Baby C continues to be a generally happy and easy baby.  I can now see why people think babies are adorable, tiny little packages of squishy fun.  She sleeps pretty well, and has lately been stretching her feedings out to around 4 hour stretches.  When she does eat, it’s usually for about 15-20 minutes.  We’ll have the occasional 45 minute nursing session, but they’re so rare I don’t complain.  She’s SOOOOO different from  A.  I was still a wreck at this point with A and right now I’m sitting in bed on Hubs’ laptop while Baby C kicks around happily talking to herself and me in the pack-n-play next to me.  She makes it seem so easy.  Seriously.

A is taking a very rare after preschool nap right now.  She fell asleep on the way home and I just stuck her in bed; I try not to let her nap this late in the day but she’s staying the night with her grandparents so I don’t have to put her to bed tonight.  Hehe.

My 6 week post-partum check-up is tomorrow which means I’ll (almost) be officially done with this pregnancy.  Aside from an appt. to have my IUD put in and a follow-up from that, I should be in the clear for at least another year.  I’m thrilled.  I’ve had enough of my OB’s office for a while.  Not that I don’t love her and her staff, but between the twins and trying to get C here safely, I’ve spent a crazy amount of time in her office.  It will feel great to be “free” so to speak.  6 weeks post-partum also means I’ll be cleared for exercise, so, I suppose I should come up with something along those lines.  I assume I’ll run.  It’s free, and can fit into my schedule whenever.  We canceled our gym membership long ago since neither of us really used it and now isn’t the time to be taking on additional expenses.  Pregnancy is nice to me…I don’t gain much weight.  Breastfeeding is even nicer to me, as I drop a lot of weight quickly.  In order to keep it off though I either have to give up the booze (NOT HAPPENING) or exercise.  So, exercise it will be.  Eventually.  Maybe.  Probably.  The Hubs is thrilled for my 6 week check-up for, er, other reasons.  Because we have all this spare, alone time these days…

The Hubs celebrated his 31st birthday this weekend.  He wanted to spend the day in College Station as the football team was having their annual, open-to-the-public scrimmage.  I thought it sounded crazy, but agreed and we had a great time.  Both girls were great, A had a wonderful time at the game and running on the field afterwards and C was a super baby.  We also decided, for sure, that Hubs is quitting his job to try his side business on a full-time basis.  Right now, for insurance purposes, we’re planning for him to turn in his resignation on June 1, which also happens to be our 10 year anniversary.  Happy anniversary to us.  This whole decision is a huge step of faith (think the Indiana Jones movie where he steps out over the cliff only to set foot on a bridge that wasn’t visible) but I think think it’s the right one.  Please, oh please, let there be a bridge.  Just having him home, not traveling, will be awesome.  And I’m so proud of him and so glad that we have the opportunity for him to try this.  I’m really hoping we’re headed down the road we’re supposed to be on.  In order to stretch our savings as far as it will go, it will mean a change in life style (not that we currently live a super glamorous life or anything) for a temporary period, which has me a little wigged out, but oh well.  I’m really hoping it proves to be worth the sacrifice.

I promise to try to blog more regularly.  And I promise to be back soon with some new pictures to share!

How fast can we run?

Pursue your passions; chase your dreams.

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, or you just found me and have taken some time to read through my past posts, you know that my husband and I have been on quite the journey over the last 12ish months.  I assume we’ve actually been on the journey much longer than that, being prepared for this time, but it feels like we were just brought into the loop, so to speak, only recently.  Baby C will be 1 month old tomorrow.  To say the last 4 weeks have been busy would be an understatement.  Much has happened and we’re getting ready to make some big changes.

Long story short, the Hubs’ current employer and he are not seeing eye to eye.  They haven’t been seeing eye to eye for quite some time, but it only recently got to a breaking point.  While not trying to hide or conceal his side business, he didn’t go around his current employer’s work place promoting it…that would have been in clear conflict with his current position.  His manager stumbled upon his site, and it has been an uphill battle ever since.  She’s a control freak and decided what he was doing on the side was an “obvious” conflict of interest and clearly he should have obtained prior approval before delving into such an endeavour.  I could go on and on about the absurdities that have transpired over the last few weeks, the poor handling of the whole thing and the ridiculousness that is his manager, but that isn’t the point of this post.  The truth is, for a few days, where we truly thought the Hubs was going to be fired for violating company policy, we were a little freaked.  I should probably mention this all unfolded on 3/22.  We were supposed to hear back from his manager and a decision from HR on 3/23 (the anniversary of the day we lost the twins).  We didn’t hear anything and got to sit and think about everything and come up with every possible outcome on 3/24 and 3/25 (the anniversary of their births).  This is all smack-dab in the middle of the 2 weeks he was SUPPOSED to be on vacation/paternity leave.  The timing of this whole ordeal is nothing short of poetic.  We received the decision from the ethics department yesterday, which was totally in our favor.  His side company is in no way a conflict of interest.  There was no reason for him to get approval from his manager and they’ve noted it in his permanent file so it will never have to be discussed again.  His website, that he had taken down a few weeks ago until this was resolved, was put back up last night.  As I write, he’s only moments away from a conference call his manager scheduled this morning to discuss the decision from the Ethics department.  No idea what she wants or how this conversation will end.

We’ve had a lot of time to think and to process over the last few weeks.  Emotions have been running high and we’ve talked ad nauseam about all the possibilities that lie ahead.  The timing is too impossible to ignore.  A year ago we lost the twins.  Almost a year ago the idea for his company started forming.  Last summer the idea for his company, and where we wanted to take our lives was solidified when we went on vacation.  It’s all documented here in my blog and we’re both a little ashamed to admit we haven’t really done much to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves.  The truth is, there is no way Hubs can start a business part-time in his current role.  He’s given it a good effort, but with his travel schedule, he flat-out doesn’t have the time it would take to get his business up and running on a part-time basis.  His dream has been, since childhood, to own his own business.  We’ve been able to spend the last few weeks considering a life style that didn’t include Hubs being gone 3 weeks out of the month.  A life style that included flexibility and the ability to work from home, or Starbucks, or Barnes and Noble.  A life style that allowed Hubs to be present, to make up for lost time in a way.  At the beginning of this whole ordeal, his boss suggested it was probably good he was already on vacation so he could take some time to think about what he really wanted.  That suggestion probably isn’t going to work out in her favor.  She’s called his integrity and commitment into question multiple times over the last few weeks…and he’s just not the type of guy to put up with that; and he shouldn’t have to.

The truth is, we’re currently in a financial position to allow Hubs to quit his job and take a stab at his company on a full-time basis for several months.  And while we have a substantial savings, the idea of him giving up his salary when I don’t work and we have 2 young kids still doesn’t feel like a good choice.  But that certainly doesn’t mean it’s the wrong choice.  In fact, a lot of times, the right decision is the most difficult road to walk.  The decision to leave his current employer has already been made, it’s just a matter of when.  This whole thing has been handled so poorly, and he’s been treated very poorly by his manager with regard to this situation.  It’s not a job he’s willing to stay at when the demands (travel, hours, etc.) are so high.  We’re trying to tie up a few loose ends before he walks away.  The decision of what to do after that is still up in the air.  The options are endless, really, but all boil down to whether or not he looks for another full-time gig or gives his business a go on a full-time basis and see where we end up in a few months.

We’re viewing this as an opportunity.  We’ve been given the opportunity to look at our options and see that yes, he can walk away from his current job and we’ll be ok for “x” amount of time.  We’ve been given the opportunity to think about what could be.  It’s not some far-off dream at this point, but more of an attainable reality.  So.  Are we willing to take the plunge?  Are we willing to take that step of faith?  How fast can we run to chase our dreams?

The Twins – Part IV

There is no end to this story.  There is no conclusion.  You can’t take all the pieces, put them in a box, close it, put a bow on it and call it finished.  No, their story will follow us the rest of our lives, and continue to unfold.  Possibly into further generations, we have no way of knowing.  As I sit here just days away from giving birth to our 4th daughter, and almost a year after their birth, I feel I need to offer some sort of end to their online story.  There are things that happened I haven’t yet written about.  The days immediately following their death and the intense emotional experience we went through just a mere month after the twins died.  This is the final part of their story.

The twins were born on a Thursday and Friday, respectively, and I was released from the hospital on Friday afternoon.  I don’t remember much about the ride home.  It was sunny and warm, I remember that much.  I also remember wanting desperately to see A, to see her smile, to see LIFE.  I slept a lot those first few days home.  Lots of flowers were delivered to our house, which I still find odd.  The last thing I wanted around my house were the living, beautiful floral arrangements to remind me of my dead babies. I know people were just trying to be kind, but I found it repulsive.  We put a sign up outside asking delivery men not to ring the doorbell.  My mom told me later about a conversation the Hubs had with one.  Hubs was asked if we’d just had a baby as he was accepting a flower delivery.  “No,”  he responded, “We just lost 2.”  How does one respond to that question?  It would only be one of many, many awkward conversations we would have.

We had a lot of time in the hospital to discuss what we would do with the twins’ remains.  We knew we would hold them, talk to them, keep them with us for some time, and we chose to have their bodies cremated and then we would take possession of the cremains.  Because the twins died before 20 weeks gestation, our loss was still medically classified as a late miscarriage.  Had they died past 20 weeks, we would have been forced, legally, to either cremate or bury their bodies.  This was my first experience with death.  I’ve lost grandparents, but I was never that close to them so conversations such as these were never had.  I’ve always avoided the casket at wakes and at funerals, but holding the bodies of my dead twins never felt gross or strange to me.  It didn’t matter if they were alive or dead, they were my babies and they had souls and I was going to miss them no matter what.   It was a no-brainer that we would want them home with us in whatever form we could have them.  There is a local funeral home that doesn’t charge a fee to cremate the bodies of stillborn babies.  They picked up their bodies from the hospital morgue on Friday.  We checked, and checked and double-checked with the hospital and funeral home about our 1 request.  We requested the twins’ bodies be kept together.  Cremated together, ashes placed in the same bag and then that single bag was to be placed inside the urn.  As impossible as it was to lose 2 babies, there was some sense of peace they at least had each other.  Because the twins were never alive, they didn’t receive birth or death certificates.  The only paperwork we have that bears their full names printed on it are the consent forms we had to sign for the funeral home to take possession of their bodies.  Those pieces of paper are very important to me.  I’ve read recently about certificates of stillbirth; it’s something I’m going to look in to.  We were anxious to get the twins home.  I left the hospital with a huge lump in my chest that wouldn’t go away.  It’s like I couldn’t breathe.  We’d been given a bunch of literature at the hospital and most of the books referenced this feeling and called it a broken heart.  The lump wouldn’t go away until we were able to collect their remains.

I don’t remember the exact day we got the call we could pick up the twins.  I think it was the following Thursday, a week after Megyn’s birth.  I know A was in school.  I pass by this funeral home a lot these days…it’s right down the street from the hospital.  I remember where we parked and I remember feeling so very sad, lonely and empty as we walked inside.  We agreed to pay $50 to have their remains placed inside an urn instead of a plastic box.  It’s very small, I remember both the Hubs and I being surprised at how small it is.  It’s ivory and gold colored, shaped like a heart and fits in the palm of my hand.  We confirmed again their remains were together inside the plastic bag inside the urn.  I held them close to my chest as we walked out of the funeral home and got back into the truck.  On the way out of the house, I grabbed a blanket given to us at the hospital.  I’m forever grateful to the organization Threads of Love for providing a handmade, crocheted blanket for our girls.  We had nothing for them, and I’ve felt guilty about it ever since.  It never occurred to me to purchase them something, anything.  A blanket, a stuffed animal…something that we could have taken with us that was intended for them.  The nurses took pictures of the girls on this blanket and it’s the only thing we have they actually touched.  As soon as I got into the truck, I wrapped their tiny urn up in this blanket.  “All babies go home wrapped in a blanket,” I explained to my husband.  I remember sitting in the truck, their remains wrapped in a blanket in my lap and taking a deep breath.  For the first time, I could breathe.  The lump was gone.  It finally felt like the longest day of my life had ended and we could attempt to move forward.  The twins’ cremains are in our bedroom.  In those first several weeks and months I would touch them daily, talk to them.  On Mother’s Day last year I held them near my heart and looked at their pictures.  It was important to me to spend time with them on that day.  I haven’t looked at their pictures since then.  I still touch them a lot and tell them I miss them.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think about them in one way or another.  While it may seem odd to some, having them home with us was the right choice.  We talked about burying them, but neither of us feels rooted here and I would have a really hard time moving away and not being physically close to their gravesite.  We may still bury them at some point, but not yet.  In the meantime, they’ll stay with us.  Their urn is small and in our bedroom.  It doesn’t exactly spark a lot of conversation from people visiting our home and the fact we have their remains here at our home is not information we openly share.  The weeks after that are a blur.  There was a lot of crying.  There was a lot of conversation. There were intense conversations about how odd it felt to be straddling life here on Earth and life in Heaven. I’ve never felt like dying, or taking my life, but it’s a strange feeling to suddenly feel like you’re in more of a hurry to get to Heaven. I believe my girls are there and I will meet them one day.  There was almost an immediate shift in life goals and priorities and there were relationship changes with our friends and family.  Family became really important…still is.  Some friends became more important, some friends fell away, and that’s ok.  I appreciated text messages and emails from friends, but I didn’t want anyone around me except my family.  I felt that way for a very long time and I still prefer family almost a year later, though I’m working on being a little more social.  I have a few close girlfriends that I’m constantly in touch with.  I took a year long leave of absence from the volunteer organization I’m a member of, stopped posting on facebook and didn’t return phone calls for months.  I needed some time to re-evaluate my life.  What was important to me and frankly, figure out exactly what I was going to do with this new life I was facing.  Things changed, I changed, my husband changed.  We were visited by a family friend who has had her own life’s battles after we returned from Sea World last April.  Since we’ve been dating, both Hubs and I have looked up to this couple as people we’d like to model our life after.  They don’t have children, they couldn’t because of a cancer diagnosis she got at a young age.  She talked to me about that stage of her life…how it changed her.  How it made her into the person she is today, the one I so respect and admire.  How it did things for her marriage no other experience could do.  She wakes up everyday and if she faces adversity, well, at least she doesn’t have cancer she says.  She wouldn’t trade her experience and I appreciated her visit very much.  It gave validation to what I was feeling, validating the feelings of change I had been experiencing. It also gave validation to the fact the Hubs and I had been discussing the changes in our marriage, how it seemed through tragedy, we actually grew closer, deepening our relationship, and it gave me confidence that losing some friendships was ok…that there would be people that would fall out of our lives because they couldn’t deal with the changes that were happening to us.  We still see those changes and almost a year later, I find it almost overwhelming to reflect upon all the changes in our life. This tragedy of losing the twins will foster positive growth, and something big and great will come out of it. I know it beyond the shadow of a doubt.

As husband and wife, we were doing the things that husbands and wives do about a month after losing the twins. It was that night I discovered a tiny lump, almost like a grain of rice on the Hubs, in a place you don’t ever really want to find a lump. I brought it to his attention, asking him if he’d felt it before. He said no. He was actually scheduled to head out of town that Monday and I was freaked out. I left it up to him, but thankfully, he squeezed in a doctor’s appointment that morning to see our family practitioner.  He was given an exam, and then a prescription for an ultrasound at the hospital as soon as he returned from his business trip. Not the diagnosis I was hoping for. I’m sure he was also hoping to hear it was no big deal, a cyst or maybe some connective tissue. I’ve never felt so panicked and fearful in my whole life. I called my mom in a state of absolute panic who in turn sent my dad to sit with me until she could get here. I was terrified of the Hubs leaving, of me being by myself. It was the first time he’d left town since losing the twins, and he was leaving with the knowledge that we might be facing a diagnosis of testicular cancer upon his return. It was heart-wrenching to think about. Not for one second did I think there was no way he’d be taken away from me. Not for one second did I believe God wouldn’t do that to me, to us. If he’d allowed the twins to die, what’s to stop me from thinking he’d take my husband too? I remember sitting in my den, on my knees, sobbing and begging a God I didn’t really trust anymore not to take my husband away from me, not to take my best friend. It’s a moment that has been seared into my mind. I was helpless, hopeless and broken. I had absolutely no where to turn and I was left to put my trust in a God that, in my mind, had hugely failed me only a month before. I can’t explain the kind of fear and panic I felt. I’ve never experienced it before, and haven’t experienced it since. Between the doctor’s visit and the ultrasound appointment I did as much research I could online. One of the hardest things to read about were the fertility discussions. We had been talking about when to have another baby after losing the twins and when dealing with testicular cancer, based on the diagnosis, future fertility becomes a question. Things like sperm banking and such are real discussions your doctor will have with you. We were both a nervous wreck on the day of the ultrasound. We actually had to check-in at the hospital and hurry up and wait…as is the case with most hospitals. The Hubs chose to have me go with him, for such an awkward appointment, I again, left that decision up to him. I promised him the tech would either be some gnarly dude or a 60+ year old Gerta. I was wrong. The tech that came to get us with 30ish, cute, spunky and had long brown hair pulled back in a ponytail. Looking back now, I feel bad for the guy. At the time, I didn’t care. I’d spent the last month with a doctor’s hand halfway up my vagina…who was I to judge? Even though she isn’t supposed to give results, she identified the mass pretty quickly. After she was done she let us know she was fairly certain the mass was simply a fluid filled cyst. There was good circulation and she didn’t think it was anything to be concerned about. We had to wait until the next day to hear back from the radiologist, but he confirmed the mass was a cyst and only needed further attention if it grew in size. We were relieved, to say the least, but I certainly haven’t forgotten about the whole experience. It left its mark on me; reminded me how precious ALL life is, how important my relationship and friendship is with my husband. How very grateful I am to have him in my life.

Part of me wishes there was a way to wrap all this up and call it finished. But I know that’s not realistic and I think, as I approach the end of my life, I’ll look back and be thankful I was never given a conclusion. It’s an ongoing story/experience for a reason. I’m still struggling with the fear. The fear of something happening to A. To Hubs. To Baby C while she’s still inside me and of course, once she’s born. I don’t believe you have one gut-punch in life and you’ve then somehow paid your dues. I believe there are people who go through life unscathed, and people who go through life experiencing tragedy upon tragedy. Then there are those who fall in the middle of the spectrum somewhere. So, I struggle with the fear. I’ve known loss and I’m terribly afraid of it happening again. I’m also struggling with my relationship with God. I’m finding it difficult to trust Him, find it difficult to pray – to ask for things. However, I do believe what happened to me was intentional…was crafted by God and I believe it was intended to be a blessing in my life – I just haven’t been able to see it yet. I do not believe what happened was a random occurrence, an unintentional chain of events. These are the things I’m currently working on and I’m sure as time goes on I will find other things I’m struggling with and working on. Again, I think it’s a life-long experience. On a Saturday, a few months after the twins had died, I was sitting in a nail salon waiting to get a pedicure. I was at a place I don’t normally go, and I was facing an hour long wait. I decided to stay, A was sleeping, I had no where else to be and found myself sitting next to an elderly lady who had walked in to make a later appointment and was simply waiting for her husband to pick her up. I don’t even know how we got on the subject, but I learned she lost her youngest child, at about 7 months, to SIDS. For the first time, I was able to gather the courage and have the emotional stability to tell her that I lost identical twin girls at 19 weeks. I know it’s not the same as losing a 7 month old, but it’s still losing children. It seemed like such an out-of-body experience as she placed her hand on mine and told me how very sorry she was. She was gone shortly after that. I have no idea who she was. I believe that as I go through life, I will have opportunities, both big and small, to share my story. I’m very open about what happened, about the processes I’ve been through both physically and emotionally and I’m not afraid to tell people what I regret. I’m glad to have started blogging, to have a spot to share my story in hopes that it brings comfort or understanding to someone who is going through something similar. So, that’s where I’m at. I have my ups, I have my downs. I’m not sure I’ve handled this whole experience as well as one can, but I’m doing my best. I’m longing to share my story with others, to let them know the despair they feel will eventually subside, but to also let them know it never truly goes away. To let them know it’s ok to feel how you feel, no matter what. It’s ok to embrace your fear, your anger, your guilt and work through it. Don’t bottle it up or repress it. It’s ok to lose friends and relationships and to tell them you WILL change and that it’s ok. I want to encourage parents to not turn towards bitterness about their experience…to embrace the anger, pain and hurt for a time, but then to try to move forward. To start seeking out a purpose, a reason for the loss. To say I had it all figured out, I’d be a liar. I don’t. But I’m trying and hoping that some answers are coming our way soon.

I’ve seen changes in myself that I never expected. I’m much more conservative (not in a political sense) than I’ve ever been. I’m taking a deeper look into how I spend my time. Taking a closer look at what exactly I’m doing with my time, with my life. Focusing on fostering the relationships that are important to me and letting go of the ones that aren’t benefitting me. I think the Hubs and I are putting in a small garden this year, we’d like to start paying much closer attention to what goes into our bodies – trying to make the move to more organic foods, and trying to eliminate processed food. We’re also tossing around schooling options for A and one thing that has come up is a part-time homeschooling option. These are all things that were incredibly foreign to whoever I was before losing the twins. I hope this, in some way, wraps up our story for you. It’s taken me almost a year to write 4 installments and I feel their story deserved that much time. We will continue to recognize them on special Holidays and will recognize their birthdays on 3/24 and 3/25. We will forever consider Megyn and Whitney a part of our family, and will pay tribute the small but HUGE impact they’ve made in our lives. Although their time with us was short, the changes, decisions and goals we’ve made are substantial and never would have happened without them in our lives. We love you Megs and Whits and we WILL see you again; and until we can tell you in person, thank you for being in our lives, thank you for the changes you have brought about and thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice so that we can go on to fulfill our life purpose and destiny.

I’m starting to believe…

No, not in Tim Tebow.  I was already a believer in Tebow…but I digress.

I’m starting to believe these fortune cookie fortunes are more than just coincidence.  Now, I’m a smart person.  I know these fortunes are mass-produced and randomly stuck into fortune cookies, shipped all over the world and there is no rhyme or reason to who gets what.  But I dunno, I kind of like believing in a higher power that works through something as simple as a fortune cookie to remind people to stay on track; stay the course…to remind them of their goals and dreams.  After my last post about my New Year’s fortune, Hubs finally opened his this weekend.  Now, if you’ve been following along at all, you know that the Hubs and I have some big plans.  That’s why his fortune kind of gave me goosebumps.

fortune 2

If you’re interested…here’s the long version of why this particular fortune is so cool.

I’m feeling somewhat melancholy today.  Hubs’ travel schedule has been fairly light since about Thanksgiving.  He’s traveled some, but not much.  He’s also had quite a bit of time off work and we’ve spent a lot of time together as a family.  He left today on the first trip of MANY over the next month and a half.  I knew it was coming and I understand why he has to put in so much travel right now, but it’s still hard.  It’s always hardest to have him leave when he’s been home for a while.  It takes me some time to re-adjust to being alone.  In addition, I’m feeling slightly anxious about adding a new baby.  I’ve treated this pregnancy as an after thought much of the time.  Partly out of fear, partly out of necessity since I have another child to care for.  We’ve been working like crazy to get A moved into her new room.  It’s coming together but still isn’t done and in the process I’ve completely destroyed the nursery.  Just walking past the room makes me nervous because it’s in SUCH disarray.  Not that Baby C will care what her room looks like, but I’d really like for it to be done before she gets here.

I’m starting to experience some sadness about A not being an only child anymore too.  I don’t think that helps my feelings regarding the heavy travel schedule; it just adds to my desire to have my family home.  Together, and close by.  I keep trying to tell myself giving her a sibling is an awesome gift, but I’m not sure I can fathom life with more than just her.  I’m not worried about loving another child, or having room in my heart for another child, I just find myself unable to grasp the concept of another child in this house.  The logistics are mind-boggling.  It’s been just me and A for so long, I know so much about her and I am able to devote so much of myself to her.  I know that just won’t be possible once Baby C gets here and it makes me sad.  I wish it didn’t, it feels like I’m doing Baby C a disservice and she’s not even here yet.  Makes me want to really dig in and savor these last weeks with just A.

I find myself worrying about silly things.  Getting upset about situations that haven’t even come to fruition.  I’m feeling fearful about the safety of Hubs and A…given the events that play out in my head you’d think I watch too much Lifetime TV, but I don’t.  Not at all actually.  I know it’s the hormones, but it makes me feel like a crazy person.  I’m doing better believing that Baby C will make a safe arrival, but I still have moments of sheer panic that send me running walking quickly usually kind of limping (since my feet and legs constantly fall asleep) for a glass of water or frantically tapping my belly to get some movement out of her.  As we start to make strides towards ACTUALLY getting our home ready for another baby I can’t help but wonder, what if?  I put off doing pretty much anything until after Christmas.  I just wasn’t confident enough to get anything started.  I fully believe tragedy can strike again.  I had such a hard time ordering my glider last week.  The last time I placed an order for furniture, I had to send my mom to the store the next day to un-order said furniture.  To top it all off, I have more contractions each day than I care to admit.  I know they’re normal.  I know they don’t “mean” anything.  But it’s still nerve-wracking.  I never had early contractions with A, so this is fairly new territory.  I plan to mention it to my doc at my appointment on Friday.  I’ll be 32 weeks.  I’m aware that if Baby C were to show up now, her chances of survival are very good, but we’d obviously be dealing with a long stint in the NICU.  I’d like to avoid it and I just keep telling myself, despite the daily contractions, she’s not coming until March.

On a lighter note, since it’s Tuesday, and I pretty much ALWAYS go to Target on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, I had to laugh at my purchases today.  1 box of mac and cheese for A.  1 box of shells and cheese for me.  1 frozen cheese pizza for us to share.  1 box of individual deep dish cheese pizzas for me.  1 bag of sour cream and onion potato chips.  And 1 box of maxi pads for, uh, various reasons.  I was embarrassed as I checked out.  I’m still slightly embarrassed, but only slightly.

Welcome, 2012.

First of all, 29 weeks as of this past Friday.  Hard to believe and if I’m being honest (which I always am here) I’m still not convinced we’re having another baby.  She moves quite a bit these days and is making it very difficult to sleep at night.  Sometimes I get so excited about meeting her and holding her tiny body in my arms I can’t hardly stand it.  I don’t think about it often because I’m still afraid of something going wrong.  But so far, things are going splendid.  Passed my 3-hr glucose test with flying colors and we’re rounding the corner into the home stretch.  Baby C has a place to sleep and a car seat so as long as we swing by the store to pick up diapers on the way home from the hospital, we should be good.  I kid, I kid.  Sort of.

29 weeks

At first glance, 2011 was a truly awful year. I mean, for months I’ve been thinking about how glad I was going to be to see 2011 end. How much relief I would feel to put the year behind me. Upon closer inspection, however, I’m starting to think 2011 may be one of the best years of my life. Not without its hardships and difficulties, of course, but the start of something. Hubs and I have discussed 2011 at length. He says 2011 was full of emotional extremes…I agree. There is no denying it was a year that changed us. Drastically. Forever. You see, there were 2 people who were simply living their lives, unencumbered by tragedy, that died in a hospital room right along with our twins in March. 2 new people were born. 2 people with a new passion. 2 people with a burning desire to change their world. 2 people who were no longer satisfied with saying, “someday” or “what if”. 2 people who were no longer going to simply dream, but were going to DO. 2011 has been a year of reflection. A year of thinking. 2012 will be a year of doing. There is a lot of work ahead of both of us. We each have ideas that have formed in our minds, in our souls, and we share a long-term vision for our life together. We’ve been given an inkling about how to get there. For the Hubs, he formed and founded his own company. It’s small, on the side for now, but has the potential to grow into an enormous beast. I’m not sure how long it will take to get there, but it will eventually be what he does for his living.  I know it like I know the sky is blue.  I’ve got my own little business idea brewing. I’ve had it for a while, but only recently had the courage, mental capability, whatever you want to call it to put my thoughts into action and see where it goes. My husband is fully supportive and actually has a greater vision for my little biz than I do right now. I’ve also taken steps to advance my photography. That’s a totally personal hobby/passion, something I’ve never really spent time on but I’m finding it important. It just feels good to be behind the lens. Once I pick up the camera and start clicking, I can’t stop. It fulfills a place in my soul I didn’t know existed. This little blog here was born out of the tragedy of 2011. I’m not sure where it’s headed either. I love having a place to express my thoughts and share a few of my pictures, but I’m certainly not attracting thousands of readers. I haven’t told anyone in real life, except my husband, that this blog even exists. Maybe someday, but not right now. I just feel like I need to keep writing, need to keep sharing. Hopefully my story, my journey, will help someone else through a difficult time. At the very least, I can read through some of my older posts and see growth, which was really my intention all along.

We rang in the new year last night laying in bed, with me struggling to keep my eyes open until midnight. It’s never been a big party night for us, and last night was no exception. Save the fact we got all the Christmas decorations taken down and put away…that deserves a little celebration, right? Except I think both of us wanted to see 2011 off last night and take a deep breath, look 2012 in the eyes and say, “bring it on.” I’m still not sure where this little life of ours is headed, but I do think 2011 was the start of something big; so it seems wrong to just write of 2011 as a big pile of crap and move on. And I think 2012 holds a lot of potential so long as we’re willing to put in the work. The general fear of failure or fear of the unknown isn’t so great once you experience a loss such as ours. It makes you more willing to take risks, knowing that if you can get through something like losing the twins, you can get through pretty much anything. Teaches you that fear, or not knowing, isn’t a reason not to try. That’s a tough lesson to learn, one I’m not sure I could have learned any other way. So we’ll start 2012 just like any other Sunday. Up early, groaning, as we hear A banging around in her room. We’ll head to church soon and we’re spending the afternoon working on A’s new room so hopefully Baby C will have her own room once she gets here in a few short months. Either way, the Hubs and I head into 2012 with the knowledge that if we work hard enough, if we dig deep enough, if we stay the course, our true purpose and visions will start to become our reality.

I can’t seem to name this baby…

Last Friday did not disappoint in its promise to be filled with emotions.  My inability to stop crying after leaving the doctor’s office with the best possible news was a testament to the pent-up stress and worry I’ve been carrying since July.  The weekend brought with it the stress that one feels when one realizes OH MY GOD WE HAVE A NEW BABY COMING AND I’VE WASTED HALF MY TIME BEING WORRIED AND OH MY GOD HOW AM I GOING TO GET EVERYTHING DONE AND OH HOLY CRAP WE PROBABLY DON’T EVEN HAVE 20 FULL WEEKS BECAUSE A WAS 2 WEEKS EARLY AND THEY SAY THE 2ND (4TH) ONE COMES EARLIER AND I KNOW WE DON’T NEED A TON OF STUFF BUT WE STILL NEED SOME STUFF AND I DON’T WANT TO WAIT UNTIL AFTER SHE’S BORN BECAUSE THEN I’LL BE DOING EVERYTHING WITH A TODDLER AND AN INFANT AND OH MY GOD THERE’S STILL THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS TO DEAL WITH.  So, alas, here I am, 6 days out from my BIG doctor’s appointment and I’m not feeling the magical release I was hoping to feel that would remain for the duration of this pregnancy (I didn’t really expect it to happen, but I was slightly hopeful).  And I can’t seem to name this baby.  Names are important to me, and it is also important to me to have a name quickly so that I/we are able to call this baby by name.  The problem is, the last time we FINALLY decided upon names, our babies died a few days later.  I feel like once I name this little girl I’ve started the beginning of the end.  I suppose she already has a name; I do believe, after all, that God knows us before we are even formed in the womb so it really doesn’t matter that we haven’t decided upon or discovered her name yet.  If she already has one, the act of us actually making a decision isn’t going to affect the outcome of this pregnancy at all.  Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.  If I’m being honest with you, I think she already has a name.  There’s one I tossed out a few days ago and just as easily as A’s name was decided upon, this one went over well and meets all of our requirements.  Hubs liked it and even came back a few days later to tell me he’d been thinking about it, and really liked it.  I think he’s ready to commit, I’m not.

In addition to the naming conundrum…I can’t buy anything.  I want to, badly.  I at least purchased her a tiny sock monkey doll so she’ll have SOMETHING we’ve given her at the hospital.  It was one of my biggest regrets with the twins…to not have anything to give them, to put in their bassinet, that we had purchased for them.  But I don’t feel the joy and excitement one should feel purchasing teeny-tiny baby items and I still feel a lot of fear.  I think my defense mechanisms are working overtime.  If I don’t buy anything, then I won’t get so attached.  I don’t want it to be that way.  I want to go out, happen upon some toy, blanket or piece of clothing and feel that tug to purchase it for MY little girl.  To have that quick mental image of her wearing it or playing with it.  I have a whole list of items I want to purchase and I probably need to start getting at least a few, but I’m just still so scared.  Even though I feel her move daily, it’s not constant.  She’ll have REALLY active days then be fairly quiet for several days which leaves me constantly shaking my belly to wake her or darting to my room for a quick doppler check.  I’m so sad for the loss of innocence about pregnancy.  I would love to go out shopping, blissfully unaware of the potential tragedies that are experienced everyday.  I would love to make purchases lovingly and not make purchases with the thought, “Gosh, I really hope she gets to use this.”

I have an unexpected “day off” today.  Hubs will be out pretty late tonight for a meeting, so he hung around and took A to school.  My mother-in-law called yesterday and wanted to pick her up from school and keep her for a few hours.  So basically, I have until 5ish all to myself and I don’t even have to cook dinner thanks to some yummy left over beef stew in the fridge.  It actually worked out great.  I have several errands to run and a few things to do around the house.  I ordered most of A’s Christmas presents yesterday off Amazon and need to pick up one more thing for her today.  I have NO CLUE what I’m going to do with all the boxes once they arrive.  NO CLUE.  I need to run to the post office, purchase several birthday gifts for parties this weekend and I’m sure I’ll go to Target.  I always go to Target.  Also on my agenda for the day…order baby bedding.

I want the sweet, sweet life…living by the salty sea

We’ve made it back from our family weekend at Sea World. It was an interesting trip that I’ll have to tell you about, but I have a few other things to put out there first. I’ve often been a believer in the fact that one should always possess dreams, visions and goals for themselves. I’ve also heard, and believe, that these should be written down somewhere. A tangible reminder of the things you want and need to do. The Hubs is really good about this. He’s always got a notepad or notebook that he’s making notes in. When we decided to change how we managed our finances a few years ago, we sat down together and wrote down what we wanted. We need to update our list, but for now, we’ve succeeded in our goals.

One of the things the Hubs and I have going for us is that we basically grew up together. We met our sophomore year of high school. During the truly formative years, where one is forming values and morals; the years where for the first time, you’re responsible for making decisions that will affect the rest of your life, we were together. We talked a lot. About everything. And I really think that our foundation as a couple is so strong because of those early years together. We’ve been through so much together. Including, most recently, the tragic loss of children. We chose to allow that experience to deepen our relationship and not come between us. Because of that foundation, and the fact it was just the 2 of us for so long before we made our decision to have A, we have a really hard time letting go of dreams and goals we have. I feel that so often, parents give up on their desires and dreams for the sake of their children. Now, I’m no stranger to giving up something for the sake of my child, but I don’t necessarily think it has to be a way of life. I’ve noticed that things seem to take longer to happen the older I get. Instead of a race car going from 0-60 in under 4 seconds, changes are more like a freight train. They take a while to get going but once they’re moving, almost nothing can stop them. Except the engineer operating the train. I’m not entirely sure when this train started to move. I figure someday, if I think about it hard enough, I can figure it out. So many things have changed since we lost the twins. I have a different perspective; on life, on stuff, on the little things life throws at us. I find myself more fearful of tragedy. I worry about my husband, I worry about my child and I worry about my unborn child. I fear that someday my husband won’t make it home from a business trip. I fear that something terrible will happen to my daughter and I will be powerless to stop it. I fear that this little baby wriggling around inside of me will suddenly die and once again, I will have to deliver a dead baby. Good things have happened too. I’m more committed to my family. I’m more committed to my husband. I’m more committed than ever to delete the unnecessary drama from my life. I’ve started writing. People close to me, especially my dad, have been on my case to write for years. He would be so very proud of all this blogging…perhaps I’ll share it with him someday. The loss of the twins triggered our out-of-the-blue, decided in the hospital room trip to Antigua. That trip was awesome. Looking back though, the most amazing thing about that trip is the story I’m about to tell you. I’m about to write down our dream and our goal that we are currently working towards.

We spent 3 nights in Antigua. Not long enough, but at the time I didn’t think I’d want to be away any longer. We had planned to land in Miami, drive to the Florida Keys for dinner and to look around (we’d never been) and spend the night in Miami before boarding the plane back to DFW the next morning. It took us much longer to get out of Antigua than we had planned and by the time we landed in Miami, it was getting dark. We were both in the mood for some fried shrimp and almost, almost, gave up on heading to the Keys. You cannot appreciate how close I was to calling the whole thing off. Instead, we hopped in the rental and headed out of Miami as the sun was setting. The islands of the Keys stretch from Key Largo down to Key West. Key Largo is about an hour from Miami where Key West is closer to 3 or 3.5. So we used the iPhone to find some fried shrimp in Key Largo and headed off. It was a creepy experience to be heading through the Everglades in the dark. I felt scared. Not sure what I was afraid of, but if we’d had car trouble there was no way I was getting out of the car. Once you pass the Everglades, you’re surrounded by water, but since it was dark we couldn’t see it. We found the restaurant with no problem and headed into a neat little establishment with great service. The food was really good and I just had a good feeling about the place. It doesn’t take me long to decide if I like a place or not. I only need a few moments, my first impression always, always, always lasts. I had a good feeling about the Keys. The restaurant sits on the bay so after dinner, even though it was dark, we decided to take a look at the dock. The dock was an L-shape jutting out over the water and had no hand rails. Just a wooden dock, open on both sides. I refused to walk out on it. I’m a scaredy-cat and particularly fearful of being eaten by a shark. Looking back, I think the fear was supernatural…but that’s a whole different discussion. Just as I think so many things about that couple of hours was supernatural. But the Hubs ventured out, down the dock and around the corner of the L-shape. After a few minutes he yelled to me, “B, you’ve gotta come see this.” My heart was racing, I was convinced I was going to go through the wooden slats or fall off the side, but I went to him. When I got there, it took my breath away. The bay of the Florida Keys is still water. And clear as day. The restaurant had flood lights mounted under the dock so you could see into the water at night. It was like watching a live aquarium. Fish, plant life, coral, rocks, shells, you could see it all. It was beautiful in so many ways. And it was beyond amazing to watch. It hit me almost immediately as I stood there in amazement on the dock that just moments ago I was certain would be the death of me. “I want to live here,” I said to Hubs. “Right here, I want to be able to look at this every night.” And I meant it. Every word. Never in my life have I felt so drawn, connected, to a place (that’s not true, I felt the same way about Texas A&M…and I found a way to make that happen). It was like there was a small candle lit inside of me and in that moment, someone poured a whole bottle of lighter fluid on the flame. It was a roaring fire. It was like finally being home; I could breathe. In those precious moments I spent standing on a dock in the Florida Keys I had affirmation that I knew where I was supposed to be. Months later the Hubs would admit he saw it in me too. He told me he hadn’t seen that kind of passion in me for quite some time. Said it was something in my voice. The truth is, both of us have been drawn to the water for years. No idea why, neither of us spent an extraordinary amount of time near the water as kids. We love the beach, the ocean, the lifestyle. The conversation we had this weekend was about how amazing it is that God put the 2 of us together and gave us the same.exact.vision. If we could each draw a picture of the life we wanted to live, it would be the same. And it would include sand, the ocean, lots of hawaiian shirts and flip-flops. It includes evenings on the patio with sangrias and margaritas and good friends. It would have lots of palm trees and the sound of lapping waves. It also includes a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears to get there because we don’t just want to go, we want to GO.

The other major positive change that has happened is the Hubs’ desire to own his own company. It’s something he’s always wanted to do, and I mean always. Think lemonade stand as a kid always. After going through the loss of the twins, you’re reminded life is too short and you’re more willing to take (calculated) risks. If it doesn’t work…big deal. Chances are, it will work, determination is on your side. After years of me shooting down every idea he’s come up with, I think we’ve finally landed on an idea that’s perfect. It suits him, allows him to operate in his strengths, and can start small and grow completely dependent on how much he wants to put into it. In order for us to make this move, he has to be his own boss. And we’re both willing to put in the work and make the sacrifices to get there. Hubs is still ironing out some details, but I suspect he’ll give this new thing a go within the next couple of months. I foresee it going very well.

So, wow, those are 2 major things we want to accomplish. We want Hubs to own his own business. And we want to move to the beach. And I don’t want to be 50 before it happens. I’m not in a huge hurry to pick our family up and move while A and hopefully Earl are still so young and dependent, but I don’t want to retire at the beach…I want to LIVE at the beach. Like I said, it’s a freight train. It takes a while to get going. But once it starts moving, the only thing that can stop it is the person operating the train. Our train is moving, and we’re picking up steam, and the only thing standing in the way of our dreams, is us.

Social Un-Networking

I curse the day I joined facebook. Really. I do. For the longest time, I had absolutely no desire to have a fb account. In fact, I remember telling people that I flat-out didn’t have the time to be on fb. And I truly didn’t. I had a full-time job that occupied my mind and conversations even when I wasn’t there. I had a social calendar, volunteer work, a husband and honestly, I didn’t care to reconnect with a bunch of people I knew in high school. I didn’t like them then, why would I like them now? Turns out, people change and one shouldn’t base life-long opinions on the actions of a bunch of 16 year olds. But I digress…

Once I had A and started my life as a stay at home mom the idea of fb became rather appealing. And so I joined right up and haven’t looked back. It was a great way to keep up with my former colleagues without having to actually maintain a relationship with them, a great way to stalk the kids I hated in high school and a great way for distant relatives to keep up with the life and times of A. I was a responsible fb user. I didn’t over-do the posting. I tried very hard not to post things that would stir controversy, committed to never, ever, EVER, discussing potty training on fb and would occasionally treat my fb friends to some of my witty comments. I find myself hilarious, by the way. I also tried to keep the bragging to a minimum. Nothing drives me batty like the narcissistic facebook-er. I was a responsible fb user. It never occurred to me NOT to announce my pregnancy with the twins on fb. I mean, I was just one of a TON of my fb friends announcing their pregnancies. There was clearly something in the water. I’m not one to start talking about it at 6 weeks or anything, I mean, geez, I’m smarter than that. You should at least wait until you’re out of the 1st trimester…when things are much, much safer. So after our 3rd sono at 14.5 weeks, I posted the fb status that we were expecting twins. Very exciting stuff. Lots of comments, only a few that required the side-eye. Posting about losing them was MUCH harder than the original announcement. You can imagine this time around my feelings about announcing my pregnancy on fb. There’s about a 99% chance it won’t happen. At all.

After losing the twins I tried to maintain my fb life, but it just didn’t hold the same appeal. I recently (well, actually, not so recently) took the app off my phone and haven’t really missed it. I still access fb several times a day but I rarely post. I’m sure my fb friends are wondering what’s happened to me. Actually, I know for a fact they haven’t noticed. The whole point of fb is to talk about yourself, not care what’s going on in anyone else’s life. I have a Twitter account that I spend more time on these days. I have MUCH less traffic and it just feels safer. I feel like I can say whatever I want. My parents don’t follow me. Relatives don’t follow me. People that know my in-laws don’t follow me on Twitter. It’s just safer.

Part of the reason that fb lost its appeal after losing the twins was this: Things that had never bothered me before all of a sudden PISSED ME OFF. Part of it was hormones. Part of it was grief. Most of it was due to the fact that I had just been sucker-punched into realizing life is too damn short and way too valuable to be dealing with most of the crap on fb. And that most people are incredibly shallow. I mentioned that I was just one of a multitude of girls that were pg and most of them, like I was, are due this month. The same month the twins were due. It’s tough to see them progressing nicely through their pregnancies, getting to glide through without the fear that I now have to feel. There is one in particular that is so care-free I wonder if she even realizes there is any danger at all?! My current favorite (and by favorite I mean the one that makes me want to spit nails) is the one that is on baby #1, has NO IDEA what to expect, and feels the need to regularly update people on how excited she is to give birth naturally, at home. (And she of course feels this is the only and the right way to give birth.) She can’t wait to watch her body respond to the changes (she’s talking about labor) and to watch the relationship between herself and her husband deepen (again, during labor). 😮 I’m of the mindset that until you’ve experienced it PERSONALLY, you can’t talk about it. I don’t care how many videos you’ve watched, how many classes you’ve taken or how well you can breathe deeply. She has NO CLUE what to expect. As one that’s been there twice now, I hate to inform her there is no way you can focus on your body responding to the changes or think deeply about the relationship with your husband. You’re thinking about pain. And getting the pain to stop. And last time I checked labor wasn’t the time to be all lovey-dovey with your mate. That’s what got you into this situation.

Coming in a close second is the one that every week posts her progress from one of the pregnancy calendar websites. I can’t help but feel stabby every time I see it. For some reason I feel like a massive failure each time she posts it. I feel like she specifically thought of me and said, “Hey, let me post this so B can see just how great things are going for me and just how much she screwed up.” Now, realistically I know I don’t enter her thought process at all, but that’s all part of coping with a loss. There’s still a ton of guilt for losing the babies. No matter how many times people tell you it wasn’t your fault, I still feel embarrassed. I feel like I should hang my head. I feel kind of like Hester in The Scarlett Letter; like I’m now labeled somehow as a mother that couldn’t keep her babies alive. It just sucks to be reminded, daily, that there are women out there that will never understand the fear that comes with subsequent pregnancies. It sucks to feel that I am some how “lesser” than a woman who has never lost a child. It just plain sucks to feel kind of like an outcast. Like that’s the only thing that people can see when they look at you. It’s a big part of why I’m refusing to tell a lot of people about this new baby. My close friend knows, Hubs’ boss knows, some of our good friends in another city know (and only because they experienced a loss right after ours and are also currently expecting again) and our parents and sisters know. That’s it. And I plan to keep it that way for a very long time. I just can’t stomach the thought of publicly going through another loss. I can’t imagine the embarrassment I would feel if God-forbid something happens to this baby. I realize it seems a foolish thing to be worried about, but I’m just being honest. I still view losing the twins as partly my fault. My body failed me and it failed my babies. I can’t go through that again in front of a few hundred of my closest (ha!) friends.

I did a lot of reading when I was pregnant with the twins. A lot of reading about how people handled being parents of multiples and several times I came across a statement like, “God chooses only the most special people to parent multiples.” When I was pregnant, I was like, “Yeah, I can get behind that statement. That makes me feel better. If God thinks I can handle it, well, then, by golly I guess I can.” But if that’s true, what does that make those of us that have lost babies? Whether it be 1, 2, 3 or multiple babies? Where do we fall in the spectrum of specialness? Or have we been completely kicked out of the specialness spectrum into some abandoned “screw-you” wasteland?