Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Happy Birthday my little men!

Wow...where has time gone?  Four years ago right about now I was full of anxiety and tears....so much bittersweet emotion as I prepared to welcome Cameron into this world after a long anticipated arrival while at the same time I prepared to say hello and goodbye to Cole. 
I marvel at where 4 years has brought me.  I have done a lot of looking back over this blog in the last few months as I explore grief and share my findings and thoughts with others on my other blog.  I have come so far and yet the core of me, the real Jodie inside the facade that becomes my outer shell some days, has not truly changed much at all.  (incidentally the outer shell has changed alot... 4 years ago I was pregnant and VERY overweight...now I am a newer, smaller, more dynamo me LOL)
Today I posted this picture that two friends helped me put together....
And I have had a few people send me hugs on what they say must be a bittersweet day.  It got me to thinking about how I feel about this day and about the message in the picture above.
Today is a day to celebrate my miracles...and they both are miracles in so many ways.  Inside my body a miracle was created...what a cool thought.  All children are miracles....inside every woman's body miracles are created when pregnancy begins.  Twinning is just that much more miraculous... especially when it involves the splitting of an egg into two or more babies.  It's almost hard for to comprehend, even now 4.5 years after it happened.  That an egg can split into two identical beings... absolutely amazing.
The miracles that occured inside of my body during the 32 weeks I carried my twin sons amaze me still.  TTTS is not a miracle in my opinion...miracles are positive things and TTTS, in and of itself, is by no means positive.  The fact that it happens in only 15% of mono di twins is a bit of a miracle.  I mean when you think that these two babies share a placenta, are connected to each other via a placenta and in only 15% of these pregnancies does the balance get shifted off and the fluids become unbalanced, the transfer happens between two babies instead of just within each babies connection to the placenta...that is a miracle. 
Then there is the miracle of the lead up to TTTS.  Cole had very little of the placenta to live from and his cord was inserted poorly in the placenta...yet no one knew this because he did not show any signs of any distress because of it...that is a miracle.  A sign might have meant earlier intervention that would have been risky for Cameron.  The ultrasound that detected TTTS...was a miracle.  It wasn't supposed to happen. 
Countless miracles happened after TTTS too... severe fetal anemia was detected almost immediately after we learned Cole was gone and was treated inutero.  No brain or organ damage occured from that or the TTTS and loss of Cole.  My water broke at 26 weeks but I never went into labour... all very miraculous. 
But the physical miracle is not what really sits in my heart as being so absolutely amazing.  No, the truly miraculous part of my twin sons is what they have given me, taught me, done for me and others in their lives..and in Cole's death.  They truly are miraculous in the power of hope, the power of healing and the power of love.  I created two amazing little miracles and they have created miracles with every life they have touched, most especially mine. 
God gave me these two little miracles to change my life and maybe, so that I may change or impact others lives.  Today this song keeps running through my head and I wasn't sure why til I pulled up the words....

"God Gave Me You"

I've been a walking heartache
I've made a mess of me
The person that I've been lately
Ain't who I wanna be

my life was a mess before...heck there are days now that it seems to be too but I know I was shallow, inconsiderate and selfish....I wasn't who I wanted to be

But you stay here right beside me
Watch as the storm blows through
And I need you

Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I've lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it's true
God gave me you
when I question myself as a parent I have this little boy with redish blond hair and hazel eyes who hugs on impulse...offers hugs to all who are willing...who shows me that I am the most important woman in his life.  When I wonder if I spend too much time helping other TTTS families I see the images I have to represent Cole...the picture of him and Cameron together....and I know that sometimes I am the only one who 'gets it' in someone's life and feel him guiding me to keep going...even when I type through tears as I remember him.... God gave me those boys...

There's more here than what were seeing
A divine conspiracy
That you, an angel lovely
Could somehow fall for me
You'll always be love's great martyr
And I'll be the flattered fool
And I need you
Maybe a bit of a romantic verse but the fact is that I feel this was a divine conspiracy.  My twin sons sat with Jesus and knew they job they had to do...and the jobs I had to do.  They fell for me and I for them the moment that I saw them on that ultrasound monitor.  I need them to keep me grounded and to remind of what is important, to help me find hope...
God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I've lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it's true
God gave me you
There were so many times after the loss that I felt like I was lost but just as often as not when I felt this way Cameron would wrap his arms around me or snuggle in and give me the love and life to two boys to keep me going.  Their love redirected me...
On my own I'm only
Half of what I could be
I can't do without you
We are stitched together
And what love has tethered
I pray we never undo
Our entire family is stitched together by the life of these little boys.  We have all learned so much from them.  My kids love Jesus and one reason is because they know Cole is with him.  They know Jesus because crisis, trial and loss lead us back to him. 
Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I've lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it's true
God gave me you, gave me you
He gave me you

Happy Birthday sweet little miracles...I am so glad God gave me you!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Missing what we never had...

A fellow TTTS mom shared this and I thought it captures the feelings of so many of us who have lost a child before ever got to know them.  Whether the loss was of a twin or not, if it was a stillbirth, especially one where death occurred long before delivery then at some point in time we seem to all have felt, and been treated, this way.  I know that I have written a few things that capture parts of this but I want to thank Elaine Harrah for putting it all in one place.  I hope this might help others to understand why we will never be 'over it' and why the fact that we never go to know our children makes it so very hard.

I hate being asked, "It was so long ago. Why aren't you over it yet?" or "Why are you so upset? After all, you never even met her." You never even met her. And that, my friends, is exactly why I am still devastated to this day. . .

My daughter didn't change the world. She wasn't know for her sweet smile or playful personality. She never got the chance to live. Not many people understand this, but those of us who have lost a child to miscarriage or stillbirth know that this is why we grieve so hard for our lost babies. We never even met them.
I never saw my sweet Brielle open her eyes. I never heard her cry or watched her take a breath or felt her heart beat next to mine while we nursed. And that is exactly why I ache for her. I am left with nothing but unanswered questions. Would her eyes be green like Evie's? Would she love puppy dogs or kittens? Would she be sweet and introspective or would she be a mischeivous clown? Would she have loved soccer or ballet? Would she have been a cheerleader or played an instument in the band like her daddy? Would she have been home coming queen or would she have been a goth? Would she have gone to college or traveled the world? Would she have had a big career or settled down to have a family? Would she have been a doctor, a writer, a fitness instructor? I, and my family, will never know the answers to these questions and a million more like them. 

And that is the root of my ache. I had my dreams of raising twins slip through my fingers before I'd even fully grasped those dreams. My dreams of matching dresses, double birthday parties, matching carseats, sleepless nights, toddler tantrums times two, all died with her. And I have nothing but questions as I visit her grave, "Who would Brielle Harrah have been?" The ache is the loss of possibilities, of hope and dreams and aspirations. My future and my world and that of my whole little family was changed irreversibly when our girl left for heaven.

So don't ask me why I'm not over it, because I walk around my life every day, knowing that someone, who can never be replaced, is missing. Someone I never even met. 

So I have nothing of her to mother but her memory. So that is what I do. I mother her memory and carry an enormous and overwhelming love in my heart that can never be returned with snuggles and kisses and "I love you, mommy." All I can do is this. I can proudly say her name and claim her as mine. As long as I draw breath, she will not be forgotten.