Monday, August 20, 2012

Important People

We've all heard it..."I can't imagine my life without you in it". We've all said it...." I can't remember my life before I met you". Most of us have felt this about at least one person who has entered our life whether temporarily during a crisis or permanently as a life-long friend or partner. We consider ourselves lucky to have met them. We believe our lives are better because of them. On special days we take a moment to thank them for entering our meager existence, buy them gifts to say thank you and send them cards letting them know we love and appreciate them. And for most of us we live the other days of the year still loving and appreciating them while sometimes forgetting the initial impact that caused us to love them in the first place. We don't mean to. We don't appreciate them less. Life just gets in the way.

I have been incredibly blessed to have more than one of these people to think about, love, appreciate and be thankful for. Not just on special dates or holidays. Everyday. And while life often does get in the way there is never a day that passes without at least a thought of these people finding its way into my heart. These people are the reason my children still have a mother. They are the reason I was devastated but not defeated. They are quite honestly, along with God-the glue that continues to mend the shattered pieces of the person I once was.

Five years ago in the space occupied by mere seconds an entire future was erased. Two futures. Years of planned dreams and preconceived notions about the two souls who would have owned those futures were erased. So was the person I had been for 39 years 9 months and 25 days. The person who left that doctor's office that day was not the same one that had entered only 90 minutes before. She was different. She was changed. Forever. She would have been destroyed if not for the presence of others, known and unknown at the time who managed to save her from that abyss. This is my thank you to them.

There is the brilliant,amazing and HUMAN doctor who cancels his next appointment, holds your hand, cries because he cannot find a heartbeat no matter how hard he tries and hands you his cell phone to call your mother. This doctor put my needs,my emotions and my pain ahead of everything else that morning. This doctor made two choices that day that I will forever be grateful for. Two choices I believe saved me in that moment and continue to save me now.

To be told your grandchildren have died over the phone cannot be an easy call to endure. But she did it. She did it the same way she does everything else. My mother cried with me, she prayed with me and I believe I heard her heart breaking with mine through the phone line. And then she rearranged her life to drive an hour to the nearest airport, get on a plane and come hold my hand as I delivered two perfect and beautiful little girls. She kept me grounded when I wanted to give in because she knew how important it was to me to be there, awake for each and every agonizing moment of their birth. She greeted her granddaughters the same as all the others-with tears,kisses,soft touches and talking to them.......she called them by name and cooed at their tiny perfect fingers and toes. She compared their features to each other and their siblings. And she stood at my side when I was able to hold them to say my goodbyes. She cried with me then and has cried with me since. She lost something that day,too. She lost her granddaughters, she lost their future and she lost the daughter she had known for so long.

There are things that need taken care of, arrangements to be made that you can't process when you are preparing ( is it even possible to really prepare?) to admit yourself to the hospital to give birth to two babies who you already know will never make a sound and will never leave that place with you. There are little girls who don't understand why mommy is crying so much or why the house seems sad and they need someone to help them escape for the day. Because I was blessed with a co-worker who became an even better and more valuable friend (and had herself experienced child loss) I didn't have to worry about them or their day. She showed up at my house early in the morning, picked up my daughters and took them - all day- for girl time. They shopped. They laughed. They did their nails. Most importantly-they smiled and laughed and forgot for that day that their mommy was in too much pain to be their mommy just then.

When you walk into the labor and delivery area of the hospital you wonder how you'll be treated. You hope the nurses won't be cold and clinical. You pray they'll be compassionate and accommodating. What you don't imagine is a nurse who goes above and beyond any of your greatest hopes. This nurse hugs you when you meet,she cries along with you, she holds your hand when you need it , calls your children by name as they enter the world and takes amazing pictures of them.....especially their tiny baby feet and toes. This nurse makes it her mission to remember all the tiny details when you speak so that she knows which baby to dress in which color before placing them gingerly in your arms. And this nurse stays well after the end of her own shift to print the photos she has taken of your precious angels and hand deliver them to you because she knows how desperately you will cling to those photos when you can no longer cling to their bodies. This nurse does not forget you when you leave her hospital. This nurse helps you survive the most devastating moment of your life and continues to help you survive it as time passes by always remembering your daughters and letting you know that she does so. This nurse becomes family in a way few people can.

In the days and years since leaving that place without my daughters I have met some of the most amazing women. You think in that moment that you're alone. You believe that no other woman has ever had to endure the pain you are enduring. You are broken. You are devastated. You are alone. But you're not. Alone. If you are blessed,as I am-you fall into the most incredible bond of sisterhood with the most incredible,strongest,bravest women you will ever meet. Women you never imagined existed. Women just like you. In the space of time it takes to tell one of these women your story and to listen to hers you forge a bond of sisterhood and friendship deeper than those you have known a lifetime. These women will pick you up when you fall, cry with you and for you, teach you that laughter is not betrayal and most importantly will never forget your loss. They will allow you to talk without judgement. They will give you permission to feel. They will understand your walk because they are on the same journey.

Today is one of those special days to remember. Today I will remember each second of a day five years ago when I lay in the hospital waiting to meet my daughters. Today I will relive every excruciatingly beautiful second of their arrival and departure into the world,into my arms and out of this life. Today,while I celebrate the brief moments of their existence in my life I will remember the people who have since become the reason for my own continued existence. Today.......everyday.....I will thank them for willingly walking into a place few would ever wander and refusing to let its darkness overcome me.

Happy fifth birthday my precious Chloe Danielle and Zoe Grace. You are loved and missed daily by so many.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dear Diary

The last time August 15th fell on a Wednesday it was 2007. It will happen again tomorrow. In just over an hour to be exact. And like every August since that one I will remember. This year,however....I will remember a little more vividly if that is even possible. Because the days and dates are both aligning this year.....the fifth year since then.

Five years ago on this very night I was struggling to find sleep. The days leading up to this one had been quite stressful and I chalked my insomnia up to the aftermath of that stress. By midnight I decided to berate myself a bit. "You're being silly you know. Nothing is wrong. The girls are back home safe and sound. The boys are all set to go off to college. And in 8 hours you'll get to see the babies moving around and kicking and playing as usual and you'll see......everything is ok. What could be wrong?" Little did I know. And with my little speech to myself I drifted off to sleep. But not before writing, as I often did, in my journal. This is the first time I have read my entries from that time......

" Aug. 14th,2007-Tuesday, 12:08 am
            Is dark a feeling? If it is-I have it. A dark's like a pall lying on my shoulders right now. I've been trying for almost 2 hours now to fall asleep and can't. It's as if something......not sure what......but something important just isn't as it should be. I can't seem to shake it and I know it's silly. Seriously. How blessed am I? 
            Exactly two weeks ago I got to bring my girls back home where they belong. I thought that ordeal would break me. But it didn't. It's almost funny now to think back to the start of it, sitting at the table in the conference room,hyperventilating and thinking that I just might fall apart and never recover. I did. I recovered and became even stronger. And I fought. Hard. But then any mother would fight with her very soul if it meant saving her child. And that's exactly what I did...I fought and thanks to some incredible people and the grace of God I saved my children. And now they're here. With me. 
            I know there is nothing wrong because the absence of the girls was the only dark cloud still hanging over my life. And that's gone now. So I need to take a deep breath....relax.......and give myself permission. Permission to enjoy my life. Finally! I have six amazing,healthy and incredibly children. And they are all here with me. And soon.....I will have eight!! Two more precious little girls that will fill this house with their squeals of joy as they realize just how spoiled they are at the hands of their siblings. 
            Did I mention just how excited Ceara and Cidney are about Chloe and Zoe? They were so cute. They went with me to "meet" them two weeks ago. I had an appointment the day after the girls got home and rather than reschedule I thought it would be a great welcome home to them to take them along and let them see the girls. Their faces were something I will never forget!! The sheer love and instant attachment to their baby sisters was truly radiated from their faces. I cannot wait to watch them when they get to actually hold the girls!! Who am I kidding......I can't wait til I can hold them! head is STILL processing it. Twins. At 40. LOL.
              Anyway......I am rambling because I can't sleep, I feel nervous for some reason only not really nervous. It's an odd feeling and I can't quite explain it. So. Off to bed I go. And I WILL go to sleep. There's no reason not to. In 8 hours I will go to the doctor, as I do every Wednesday. And I will lie on the table and listen to the strong whooshing of their hearts as I do every week. And I will watch them play,flip and kick as I do every week ------ completely in awe of the miracles housed within my body and totally and incomprehensibly in love with them both. "

How many times I have wondered since then.....what if I had trusted my feelings? What if I had called the doctor? What if........but then I know the answer already. The process may have differed...the timeline may have changed.....but the outcome would not have. And so tonight I go to bed.....remembering with bittersweet tears and an aching heart that it was exactly five years ago at this time, on this day that I felt my precious little girls making their presence known inside of me for the last time. And it was at this time on this day five years ago that my perfect,beautiful and incredible little girls and I went to sleep......together.......for the very last time.