I still can’t believe this is my story. I’ve had numerous people over the last year tell me how strong I am, how much I’ve helped them with their own journey or struggle, and even that maybe this happened to me for the bigger reason of bringing a voice to 2nd-trimester loss. It certainly helps me to know this — but I don’t want any of this.
I don’t want to be the strong one. I don’t want to be the one this happened to because I have the voice to share it. I don’t want to be the reason for some higher meaning.
I want to be with my babies.
My babies who I think about every day, who I miss every day, who I see in the corner of my beautiful days and wish so badly I could pull into this world, who I wonder how they’d play with their cousins and what people they’d become. Would they have been terrible sleepers? When would they have smiled for the first time? Been good eaters? Would we actually have been able to use cloth diapers on them like we planned, or would everyone had been right in saying we were crazy to even consider it?
Would they have sat well on Santa’s lap for that first picture?
The questions haunt me each day.
There’s a special box under our Christmas tree that holds their ultrasounds, the Do-Not-Open-Until-Christmas card that was going to be their gender reveal, the Congratulations-On-Your-Pregnancy cards from friends and family, small gifts for them that were given to us… and all the sympathy cards we received after they left this world.
This is all I have of them.
One small box.
I knew this day would be hard.
The tears fall easily today, and with great power.
I think back on what happened this day a year ago. We had found out this day that we would become mothers to a daughter and a son. We reveled in the news. A baby boy and a baby girl. Daphne and Theodore, we’d name them. Our family was forming. My pregnancy had been picture perfect for an entire 17 weeks, and there was no sign of anything wrong at the ultrasound that day, this day a year ago, when we learned their sexes.
A few hours later, there was some light pink on my toilet tissue. I called the doctor, and he asked about color, cramps, heaviness. “No need to worry,” he said. “Take it easy tonight. But if it gets worse, come into the hospital.”
We went to bed a couple of hours later, around 8:30. At 11:45, eight hours after we got the joyful news that we’d be having a son and a daughter, I awoke to a gush between my legs that came from deep inside of me. My water had broken.
We rushed to the hospital, and there was suddenly a lot of reason to worry.
We were slowly losing the twins.
As my babies began to lose life inside of me, I listened to a mother down the hall give birth to her child naturally. Her screams went on for hours, and when we finally heard her baby’s first cry, I somehow felt a small bit of peace — that this cruel irony was over, but also that I was witness firsthand to the cycle of life, that even as I was losing my babies, life was real and going on.
As it always does.
As it has for the last 365 days. Even if some of those days I didn’t want it to. Even if some of those days I didn’t get out of bed. Didn’t answer my phone. Didn’t write. Didn’t go to work. Didn’t eat. Didn’t show up to friends’ baby showers. Didn’t say, “I love you.”
One year ago today. I lost them.
Three days later, on Christmas morning, I woke up to swollen and engorged breasts filled with milk for babies that were not in my arms.
This Christmas won’t be their first Christmas.
This Christmas will be our first of many with a special box underneath our tree.
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