Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I, honestly, am so happy. Happier than I've ever been. Avery is the most beautiful, funny, amazing baby and I could spend every minute of every day just staring at her.

But in the background, the grief nags at me. The wondering nags at me.

I've been blogging about it a lot actually, but not hitting "publish" because nothing seems to make a lot of sense.

But she looks like them.
And I wonder what it would be like if there were two. Two beautiful babies, one boy, one girl.

I wonder what it would be like if we had one year old twins AND her!?

I feel like I don't love them enough. Or think of them enough.

I feel like I owe it to her to not think of them too much. To not take away from her what I can't give to them.

Having her here makes it all too real. What I really missed out on. What I really lost. What a stupid infection takes away.

I had a c-section and I'm so tired of the comments, "Now you'll never have to know how bad labor/delivery feels!"

The thing is, how do they think they twins got out? I labored, trust me-I labored. I delivered them. The placenta. I had to dilate fully. I did it all. And my babies were immediately whisked away and I couldn't hold them until they were already pretty much dead.

How can I forgot that? I can't. But I guess everyone else can.

But I don't mean everyone else.

My friend T sent me an e-mail saying when she thinks of Avery, she thinks of them, too. I don't think a nicer thing could be said to me. I don't think anything could make me happier.

My friend K got the coolest personalized book for Avery and in it she put Sophie and Aiden's names. I cry when I read it.

My friend J gave us a onesie that says "Little Sister" on it.

I'm so very lucky. So very blessed.

But the nagging feeling is there. The grief recoils and gets ready to strike again-who knows when? Usually when I'm alone and the baby is asleep. I stare at her and I think. Really think. And it hurts so, so much. I hate this hurt. I resent this hurt.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Movie Moment

Ok, this one is kind of a stretch, so hang in there with me.

In real life, I believe we have what I call, "movie moments." You know how in movies there will sometimes be clips where time is going by-or typically where one person is sitting, usually looking out the window of a train or while staring at a photograph-and you can see scenes of their life (their memories) passing through? The viewers see the montage and usually there is some sort of song with profound lyrics playing. Well, I imagine this happening all the time.
When major things happen in my life, I will catch myself having one of these-I all of the sudden and sitting, looking at a photograph, and thinking through my life like it is a series of memories in a movie. When I catch myself, I laugh, and try to think up what song would be playing during this movie moment.
Sometimes the song is what puts me in a movie moment.
I had one of these the other day. We needed groceries really badly, and A hates the grocery store (I think it's the bright lights, even when we put up the canopy thingy on her car seat, she's not a fan) and so B suggested that I go on my own.
Leave the house?
Without A?
This would be the second time in the SAME WEEK. The first and second time since she was born.
I know. Get over it.
So, I went. And I got into the car, and rolled down the windows (which I don't do with the baby) and I cranked the radio WAY up (which I don't do with the baby) and I drove a "little" over the speed limit on the interstate.
And as my hair was blowing like crazy in the wind, a song came on the radio.
It is called, "Wind of Change" by a group called the Scorpions. It's from the early 90s. Do you know it? It's what we like to call a "Power Ballad." :)
Anyway, I bet you're wondering how I can figure that a song about the fall of the Berlin Wall is my movie moment scene song.
And I guess I don't especially know. But I know the words resonated with me as I belted them out, driving with the windows down.

"Taaaaaaaaaake me-to the magic of the moment, on a glory night-where the children of tomorrow, dream away-on the wind of change (the wind of chaaaaange)."

As I whistled along, I thought about change. And how sometimes what happens in just a moment-what the wind brings along in a moment-can change our entire lives.
I mean, when you think of it, grief is this huge wall. It's put up between us and the rest of the world. All we want is to knock it down. And we dream about it-and some of us are able to knock that wall down. But once the wall is down, it doesn't change just.like.that.
I feel sometimes like 17 months out from holding my sweet twins that I have mostly knocked down my wall of grief.

After all, I was singing in my car at the top of my lungs, enjoying the warm air and feeling....light.
But even if it is down, there are residual effects. Things that have changed me. Forever.
I suppose it's like that in Berlin. You can see where the wall used to be. I have a piece of it (well, I was 16 when I visited Berlin and they told me it was a piece of it when I bought it, but, well, you know) and I dug it out last night.

A wall.
A wind of change.
My movie moment.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Sometimes, I feel crazy.
Lately I have been having these nightmares that aren't really nightmares. I'm not really sure if I can explain this well in writing, but I'll try. Do you know how sometimes you wake up-say, in the middle of the night-and the lighting and the shadows are just right, and along with your brain and whatever you were dreaming/thinking about, you can convince yourself that you see something that really isn't there?

I can remember being a young girl and I had a bean bag chair in my room. One night I woke up and there was something sitting just right on top of the chair and in the dark with the shadows I was absolutely convinced that there was a man in my room-staring at me, watching me sleep.

I'm not sure if you know this feeling. But I was paralyzed in my bed. Absolutely could.not.move. Afraid to scream because I thought he'd "get me" then. I kept blinking, trying to see if it was real, but each time I opened my eyes it was still a man. My parents were just in the next room and finally I let out a yell and my mom came running in and flipped on the light. As my eyes adjusted, I could see that the "man" in my room was actually a jacket on top of my backpack on top of the chair.

One of the first nights home from the hospital the baby just wouldn't sleep unless I was holding her. I was SO exhausted that I could barely stand and knew I couldn't stay awake anymore. So I brought her downstairs and sat in the recliner-her on my chest-with pillows on either side of me to prop my arms up so I knew she wouldn't fall, and tried to doze off just a little.

When I woke up, A was gone and my husband was sleeping on the couch instead of upstairs in bed where I had left him. His head was closest to me and down by his feet, just laying there by herself, was A. She wasn't breathing. I was utterly, completely paralyzed. I started crying and went to stand up and then shook myself and took a deep breath. A was completely safe right on my chest and my "husband" on the couch was a blanket, and the baby was a pillow. I felt insane.

I wish this was the only time. A week or so later I woke up to find the baby sleeping in the middle of us on the bed. I was livid that my husband had put her there. I screamed at him to wake up and kept asking why he put the baby there. I could SEE the baby there.

It was the dog.

Again, two nights ago, I fell asleep hugging a pillow, like I normally do. Woke up to thinking I was suffocating the baby by hugging her on the bed.

I feel crazy. I wake up and stare at the angel care monitor blinking.

I don't want A to have a crazy mom. I want to be normal and happy and just enjoy every second of her instead of continuing to think that she is going to die.

I know that fatigue plays a part in this. I'm so ok (mostly-ha) during the day but I never REALLY sleep. I think all moms relate to this. Even when I know my husband is on "duty" I can't fully fall asleep because I think he's going to sleep through her needing something. He sleeps through a lot :) So even though I am extremely lucky because at 5 weeks A can sleep a stretch of 4-5 hours at night when she's first put down, I can't let myself really fall asleep.

I don't know. I hate these nightmares. I hate feeling like a total freak of a person.

We had our 4 year wedding anniversary this week. We waited until A fell asleep for her morning nap and took her with us out to a nice lunch. Then we came home, got into our pjs :) and watched TV shows and talked about the last 4 years and about our future. It was a nice day. I felt "normal." I live for those moments. Feeling like a family.

I think I'm just tired.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

It all worked out.

"See, it all worked out in the end, right?"

Really? It all "worked out?" Because I still have two dead babies. And nightmares. And flashbacks. And two urns. And memories.

And, of course, a beautiful, adorable baby to cuddle-but does that mean that it never happened?

Yesterday I spent lounging around my house in my pjs. Gave A a bath, took a nap while she did, cuddled.

But there, in the back of my mind-the date. August 7th. My due date for the twins. Once I put A in her bassinet for the night, I cried myself to sleep. Thinking; remembering.

Every night we take a walk around the neighborhood. I push A in the stroller, B walks the dog. We talk. We smile. We laugh. We dream.

To someone who doesn't know us, we must look like we have it all. A nice house, good jobs, a cute dog, a sweet baby. Two teachers off in the summer, taking care of their new little one.

"She's beautiful!"
"She's a keeper."
"You must be just so happy."
"I'm so glad it all worked out for you."

And we DO have so much. We ARE so blessed. We pretty much DO have it all. But, there's more. More to that story.

I guess I should have known better. I guess I maybe thought that once she was here I wouldn't have to be afraid of leaving the house for fear of what people would say to me. After the twins were born, I didn't want to talk to anyone. While pregnant with A, I would make my husband go through the line at stores after a while for fear of all the "Is this your first?" questions.

I guess I'm still tender. I guess I'm maybe not as far as I thought in my grieving. I guess it might always be there-the little voice in the back of my head-the bitter one-the one that corrects what everyone says inside my head instead of aloud.

I guess I will admit that I really thought once she was here I would be "cured." I started to believe what my friends told me-that she would fix the pain.

I guess I'm still grieving.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Avery's Birth Story

So, I warn you that it's not that exciting :) Well, to me it was, but to you it won't be.

Avery's due date was July 10th, 2010. I had my 40 week doctor appointment scheduled for Friday the 9th. The week before, I was 3 cm dilated and just a little bit effaced. I asked the doctor how long she would let me stay pregnant before we did anything-mainly because I was SO nervous about going past 40 weeks, and due to the gestational diabetes they have to not let me go too long but not induce me too early. She didn't want to make a plan then, she wanted to wait and see, and I was really sad about this. I work better with a plan!

So by Thursday the 8th, I was going nuts. I was so nervous and anxious and so worried about keeping track of her movements and getting really frustrated that I wasn't having any signs of impending labor. Brian and I were taking 2 or 3 looooooong walks around the neighborhood each day to try to bring on contractions. I'm sure the people in my neighborhood were like, yo, someone help that poor pregnant lady!

Anyway, Thursday morning the phone rings, and it's the hospital. So I pick up, and it's my doctor! She said, "What is going on with you? No contractions yet?" And I just sort of groaned and she says, "We're going to induce you tonight!"

I remember feeling a 500 million pound weight lift off of me. I remember asking if she was for real!? I was in disbelief. Just as more proof of what an amazing person she is, she had the plan in her head the whole time (I was already scheduled into labor and delivery) but didn't want to tell me too early since she was afraid I would develop a lot of anxiety about it. She was so right. I had a TON of anxiety about being back in labor and delivery, about going past the NICU, about just being at the hospital in general. So she told me to meet her at the hospital at 6:00 and she'd get me started since she was on call. The only thing is I had to go to the clinic at noon to have an ultrasound to check her size. One of the main complications of gestational diabetes is that the baby can grow too big, and even though I had been completely diet controlled and my sugars had been great, there was still a possibility.

So we went to the clinic and the ultrasound tech was sort of fumbling around with the equipment because it was new and we were just so glad to see our little girl :) She was moving around a lot and had her hands by her face like usual. It was hard to figure out things on the u/s this time since she was so much bigger, though!

At the end of the scan she told us she would take the biggest of all the measurements and average them so that we'd go on the "biggest case scenario". Well, I have to say that I was COMPETELY shocked when I saw the weight pop up on the screen. Um...NINE pounds TWELVE ounces.

Um, a TEN pound baby? I was terrified. I know most of you wouldn't even bat an eye at this, but I was so scared for a tough delivery because I was scared she would get hurt during it. It had nothing to do with me and my body-just her. And as soon as we were out the door I started to cry hysterically because I had tried SO hard with my stupid diet. I hadn't cheated at ALL-not once-and I had pricked my finger 4 times a day for four months and I had walked after every meal no matter what I was doing and yeah. You get the point.

So the doctor called me back and basically gave me a choice. I could still try the induction. There was a big possibility the weight could be wrong. Of course she could be bigger than the u/s said, too....With an induction, there's already a big chance that I'd need an emergency c-section. With a baby of this size, that chance grew even more. And there was a chance that she just wouldn't fit. That there would be considerable vaginal trauma.
Or I could just schedule a c-section. This surgery has it's risks, too, mostly for the mother. But some for the baby, too.

I didn't need more than a second to decide. I chose to schedule a c-section. With my past, with my post-traumatic stress disorder, with my anxiety, I just couldn't handle having an "emergency" c-section-I knew I couldn't handle the baby getting in distress, having to rush into surgery. With a scheduled one, it would be calm, and planned, and stress free.

So we scheduled for Saturday morning, the 10th, at 8 a.m. We had to be at the hospital at 6. The night before we didn't sleep at all. I could only lay there and think about the fact that the next morning, she'd be here!

When we got to the hospital, I felt good. I felt calm. My mom was coming and Brian would be there. The only part he couldn't be in for was when they gave me the spinal. From 6 until 7:40 I was doing great. And then I literally had a panic attack. I don't know why, really, and it was the first time I had something so---I don't know---real. It happened when the nurse started to shave the area where the surgeon would make the incision. I just started getting really , really scared. I was afraid that the baby wouldn't be ok. That she wouldn't cry when she was born. That something would happen to her. And B was in there, and my mom came, and the doctor came, all people that can calm me, and none of them could. I just wanted to run away. I couldn't do it-it was as if all of the emotions of the past few years were building to an end.

I couldn't stop crying, I honestly felt paralyzed. I honestly didn't want to do it anymore. I wanted them to leave the baby in. But they rolled me into the operating room and started to get me ready for the spinal. I had to lean forward and bunch up my shoulders and there were two anesthesiologists behind me and the nurse was sitting on a stool in front of me with the heart monitor for the baby. She kept moving the monitor, moving moving moving one spot to the next and the sound was on and I couldn't hear a heartbeat at all. I was completely freaking out. I thought, well, I knew it would happen. So I choked out, "Is she dead?" and she just looked at me and was like, what? I guess the sound was on but not the actual heartbeat and the baby was just moving so she had to keep following the heartbeat (perhaps she could have mentioned that to me?). Finally they got done and Brian got to come in. My arms were locked down, which I hated. I could feel a ton of tugging and they told me, "Get ready! She's coming" and I heard the MOST BEAUTIFUL sound I have ever heard in my entire life-she screamed her HEAD OFF! I started sobbing and the doctors laughed and the surgeon said, "Can you just wait? She's not even all the way out yet!"

I saw them pull her out and they brought her up to me and I just couldn't believe it. I wanted to hold her but my dumb arms were locked down, but they held her up to my face and Brian got to hold her and everyone was so happy. It was just so, so different than when Sophie and Aiden were born. I needed it to be so different.

Her blood sugars were great and it turns out she weighed 8 lbs 8 oz. So still a big baby, but not even close to what the ultrasound predicted. I didn't regret anything, though. She was 20 inches and just is totally perfect.

See, told you it was pretty boring :) xoxo