My third child was a twin.
It's taken me 4 1/2 years to say that sentence. It's not something I share, mostly because the loss of Roman's sibling was so traumatic I've kept the experience tucked away in a drawer with the hospital blanket and memory box the nurses provided me.
From the moment I was told I was having twins, we did everything most parents would do. We bought our little twin outfits, twin logo maternity shirts, we even bought a not-so-hot mini van. We were going from a family of four to a family of six. I remember reading the twin baby books with my husband at night and we were so elated at the thought of two more babies. What a miracle, and what a dream. I already endured a horrific loss prior to Roman so I thought this was how I was being blessed, with not just one, but two more.
Around halfway through the pregnancy, the ultrasound was taking longer than expected and I remember the tears gushing down my face. I knew when the sonographer left the room the doctor would be returning with the bad news. My heart left my body and I felt numb. I remember being in this place, getting this type of shocking news before. It was sadly, too familiar. How could this happen again to me? Not now, not me...I pleaded with myself, with God and my husband by my side. I remember begging the doctors to give me some sort of hope for my babies. Turned out that Baby A just died. He simply just died. For no rhyme or reason, he died. Baby B however, was still thriving.
What I didn't know was at this point my body could do one of two things, either recognize the thriving baby and keep going or recognize the death and my body would expel the baby who passed and in turn, I would lose both. I couldn't breath, I was in a state of shock. I was numb, I was sick, I wanted to go in a corner and just cry. Everyone knew I was having twins so I had to let everyone know that my status has now changed. It was a tragic reality I was forced to face.
"At least you have one baby." "So glad you have other healthy children." People generally don't know what to say and nothing could really comfort me. Everyone meant well, but all words hurt my soul. Sure I was grateful for the two at home and the one still alive, but one of my babies died and I had to carry him to term. It was sad, scary, unfortunate and I didn't know how the fragility of my situation would end.
There are no words to describe how it feels to carry one baby who is alive and one baby who is gone. I put my big mommy pants on and had to deal with this. I prayed and really felt in my heart my baby who was gone would now protect Roman through the remainder of this pregnancy. I knew he would just stay put and shield him from anything bad. I tried not to focus on the other baby being gone, but more so staying healthy for Roman to make the next 20 weeks.
I hired someone to drive my car due to my nerves being wrecked. I made it to the end and when I delivered Roman it was one of the biggest exhales I have ever experienced. I melted at the site of my sweet baby B. He was finally here safe and sound. Before they took Roman away, they asked, "Are you ready?" "Ready for what?," I replied. "We have to go in and get the other baby." I forgot for a split second that this is what would happen next. I held onto Roman with a feverishly tight grip, that I inevitably had to let go of and let them get Baby A.
We named him Gabriel.
He wrapped himself in his placenta like a blanket. I had my pastor come into the room where we had a blessing. We decided, with the guidance of my pastor and doctors to donate him to science, to help understand these things better. It was a hard decision, but we felt it was best. I never looked at what was in my memory boxes for baby Gabriel, but I braved through this post and decided to open them and feel these suppressed memories.
I have his ultrasounds and cards from the entire labor and delivery team saying how profoundly sorry they were. I have a blanket and some other items. I would like to make his gold charm into something special, maybe for Roman to wear when he is older. Roman has such the carefree spirit and sometimes I prefer to let him be rather than wrangle him in. I believe he has his own guardian angle, his brother and its comforting. Even though I tell him to always pray and talk to the angels above, the tragic reality that he was a twin would be a bit too much for his brain to wrap itself around. The idea of even having to explain and have a conversation one day is a bit surreal for me. I will know when the time is right...when they are old enough to understand.
When you lose a child during your pregnancy, there is a void that truly hurts your soul. I think thats why I happily welcomed my 4th little surprise. Brody has brought so much joy in completing our family. There will always be a level of sadness if I think about what could have been for Roman, for us, but Bobby and I are moving forward. Its all we can do as parents, is to keep going, pushing each other through these curvy unpaved roads. Roman is now a big brother to baby Brody, a position he is thriving in. I do believe things happen for a reason and if I didn't lose Gabriel, Brody wouldn't be here.
I know there are many others who have been through this heartache. It's not something people talk about. I hope in the community I am creating with my blog I can relate to someone and let them know, they too are not alone. If you too have suffered a twin loss, there is help. Please take a look at twinlesstwins.org and the center for loss in multiple births. I would love to hear from you, comment below.