Nobody tells you that after your babies die, you are not given the special hospital treatment of wheelchair transport from your room on the maternity floor to the front door where an aide will gingerly help you to your car with your newly swaddled babies wrapped up in your arms. Instead, you are discharged, handed your cardboard boxes with every memory of your baby inside, and sent on your way… and so 21 hours after giving birth we walked, for what seemed like forever, through the hospital complex in search of the emergency room parking where we had left our car 27 hours earlier… In the chaos of the day before we had forgotten to move it, and as I slipped into the car holding my 2 babies’ boxes, Eric pulled the parking ticket off the windshield.
28 hours before I had been a naively happy and pregnant ‘mommy to bee’ of twin girls. I was the luckiest person in the world. 27 hours before my waters broke prematurely and I called 9-1-1 repeating over and over: ‘oh God it’s too early…’ 24 hours before I was told my daughters would be born today, and they would not live.
Nobody tells you that you still have thousands of dollars of doctor bills to pay when you give birth to your babies and they die. Nobody tells you of the gut-wrenching pain in the coming weeks when you have to repeat your story over and over ending in: ‘they never got put on our insurance for coverage because they died’ because in error the nursery bills for ‘Baby A’ and ‘Baby B’ never got sent to you and you’re now being sent to collections.
Nobody tells you that your body won’t recognize that the babies have died; that you still have a post-partum phase. That the milk still comes, the hormones still crash, and the weight takes forever to fall off.
Nobody tells you that while your world stops turning, life goes on for everyone else around you. Nobody tells you that the pain remains, well after your body finally heals and the endless tears begin to dry. Nobody tells you how incredibly lonely you will feel…
3 years later, I am now mommy to my beautiful rainbow daughter, Chloe, and I am 34 weeks pregnant with a little boy. He, too, was a twin… we lost that baby early on in the pregnancy. Part of me was very sad for this added loss… but most of me just accepted it. I am no stranger now to the fact that babies die. Ever since Rylie and Avary died, I have prepared myself for another such loss. Nobody tells you that part either – that in pregnancy after loss you now makes plans for both a child if he/she lives, and for a child if he/she dies. I had equal plans for each. Baby A now has a place in Ronan’s baby book, a tree nestled in the garden right between Rylie’s and Avary’s, and a 7-point mint-colored star hanging in our living room that we use to remember and represent her. Nobody tells you that this planning – which would seem morbid to most – is what has continued to get me through my hard days.
3 years later I am a more subdued person than I once was. I do not find joy in many of the things I used to, and my life is a constant balance between the light and the darkness. I struggle with sadness and guilt, but I also find great happiness in many of my days now. I struggle to connect with others – those ‘non-loss’ peers of mine…. I often feel most alone when I’m surrounded by crowds of people who I feel don’t ‘get it’… I often times find myself taking deep breaths, trying to calm my shaking heart. I used to think that this grief process was something I needed to work through and that in the process, when I was ready, I would find ‘me’ again…. I know now that this is me – a different me – a quieter, more introverted me – but, me. This is the ‘me’ after being irreversibly changed by the short lives and deaths of my first daughters. There’s no coming back from that…. and 3 years later I am okay with that.
3 years later I remember the little girls who made me a momma each and every day. I strive to give their short lives purpose and to speak out against the silence and stigma of infant and pregnancy loss to help other loss parents in their honor. We speak their names, make donations in their memory, tend to their memorial garden, and try to live the best life we can without them here. 3 years later, even as others rarely or never mention them, I very much carry them in my heart and soul. They are my children, just as much as Chloe and Ronan and Baby A. 3 years later, I think I am finally finding peace in that. Happy 3rd Birthday in Heaven my sweet girls.