There is something to be said for that time of day when you first begin to stir from sleep. That cozy warm feeling spreads over you as the sun wakens you, the dreams of the night before linger and maybe even bring a smile to your face. And sometimes that is how things stay for the day. Sometimes the memories from before you went to sleep can keep you smiling but sometimes the memories rip at your heart and tear at your soul. Sometimes you just wish you could go back to sleep where those realities aren’t and sometimes you are so glad you have awoken because you have just relived the painful times over and over again. There have been a great many mornings that I have awoken with tears on my face and my pillow wet in the months and years since this journey first began.
That very first morning was like this. My whole body hurt from crying so much, my arms ached for the baby I would never hold, my heart ached from the tear that losing one of our twins had put in it and my head ached from the thoughts of all of our shattered dreams. I wanted this nightmare to be over. I wanted to wake up and be back at home on Dec. 11th and none of this to have ever happened.
But what woke me, besides my tears and Geoff’s hand brushing mine as he slept as close to me as his cot would allow was my nurse, Faye, coming in to greet me and make sure everything was okay with me and with baby B. Faye had been there when we arrived back from Sick Kid’s the day before, when the bottom of our world fell out. She couldn’t help put the pieces back together but she did answer a few questions and gave me the biggest, most comforting hug and reassured me with her lilting Jamaican accent that I was in the best hands with Dr. Ryan and his team.
And now she was there to tell me that Dr. Ryan had asked that I come to the ultrasound suite in a little while to have some more tests done to ensure that our little survivor would be okay.
I distinctly remember Dr. Ryan, with his comforting Irish accent stating “Well, lets take a look at this wee lad, shall we,” as he squirted the warm jelly on my stomach and began to run the wand back and forth. Soon an image had popped up and my heart sunk….there was no heart beat on this baby, no movement. I began to tear up but then I looked at Dr. Ryan and then back at the screen as he moved the wand over. And there, moving and alive, was our little survivor. He was alive and he looked great.
Dr. Ryan assured us that he did, indeed look great and then “He looks great, Mom, just great. Now let’s check that MCA and see what he’s really been up to.” Dr. Ryan proceeded to run test after test, scan after scan, checking and rechecking to ensure that his measurements were accurate.
“Well,” he finally said, “His MCA is still high but it’s come down remarkably since last night and I’m pleased with that. I don’t think another transfusion will be necessary,” he paused, “However, I am not going to lie to you and tell you that you are out of the woods yet. I’d like to have you come back for an MRI this week to check to see what damage, if any, has been done to his brain. “
Being alive was the greatest news we could have gotten about our baby B, it was like a bright light shining in the room and was only slightly dimmed by the chances that you might have brain damage. As scared as we were of that prospect we were overjoyed that he had survived the night.
A few hours later we left the hospital, saying a tearful goodbye to Faye believing we’d never see the nurses on 7 South again, knowing that our lives had been forever changed in Mt.
Sinai Hospital. We
would return that week to for testing at Sick Kids and to see Dr. Ryan a few
days after that but none of that would occur in this place that had seen so
many miracles and so many of my tears.
And as we drove into Monkton a few hours later Geoff and I both began to cry. It was unbelievable that our little wonderful town had not changed at all even though our lives had changed so drastically in the 3 days since we had last left our house to go work, naïve, and untouched by the grief that now enveloped us….a grief that we would soon have to share with the other lives who lived in our house.
Children seem to have an amazing resilience to so many things that could shake a strong man to the core. Some think this is because children don’t understand what is happening, that they don’t have the capabilities to comprehend, absorb or even grasp the significance of what they have just been told or have just experienced. I don’t agree, not most of the time or at least not fully. I think when a child is born he remembers where he has come from, he remembers who put him there in the world, remembers who gave him to the world and he can still hear the voices of God and the angels. As children grow it becomes harder and harder to remember God’s voice and easier and easier to be distracted but for a great many years there is still a part of them, deep inside, that hears the voice of our Father in Heaven. And when they learn that someone so loved, so cherished, so deeply wanted here on earth has gone to be with God and Jesus, the child remembers God’s voice, he remembers Heaven. And he knows that he will see and hear that person because sometimes, late at night, in their dreams or when they are so very relaxed, they do hear the voices of angels.
But even though this is my belief, one of the hardest parts of this journey was the conversation Geoff and I had to have that Monday morning. It tore me apart that I would have to tell those amazing big brothers of our dear little twins that the dreams of 2 babies were shattered, that Mommy and Daddy would not be bringing home a baby for each of them, that they now had a wee guardian angel that would be watching over them from Heaven for all of their lives.
Earlier that morning our midwife, Charlotte, had come by with a book for us to share with our boys; ‘We Were Going to have a Baby but we had an Angel Instead’. As wonderful of a book that it was, I could hardly read a page of it without crying. And I was just so pissed off that I had to do this, so angry that I had to prepare myself to explain to a 2 and 5 year old that there mom was carrying a dead baby in her belly, that their would only be one baby coming home from the hospital.
They came running into the house full of noise and excitement. I teared up just watching them walk in…knowing what I was about to say. They were full of stories about what they’d done but Zack seemed to sense that something was up.
We welcomed them home and got them settled in. My mom had brought them home and we asked her if she would stay while we told them because, in all honesty, we just weren’t sure we’d even be able to get through it, that we’d even be able to make ourselves understand as we spoke through our tears, our disbelieve and our sorrow and told them…..
“You know how Grandma told you that Mommy had to go to the hospital and have an operation because the twins were really sick?” I began. “Well, your twin brothers were very sick and the doctors tried their best to help them get better. But one of the twins,” my voice began to crack and the tears poured down my cheeks, “One of the twins, his heart was just too weak and he was just so very tired.”
I stopped, wiped my tears and pulled my boys closer. “One of your twin brothers went to Heaven and he won’t be coming to live in our house after all. “
And then I cried and cried….and I am full of emotions and tears as I write this right now, even 8 years later, as I remember how hard it was, how heartbroken I was. I had wanted so much to be strong for my sons, I wanted to be able to tell them and help them to understand but how could I. I didn’t understand myself. My heart was broken and I had no idea how it would ever be mended.