Thursday, December 20, 2007

Six Years Old.

Tomorrow is the sixth birthday of our twins, Rainey and Grace. To think that they would be halfway through their first year of school...

Both Chris and I have been having a difficult time with it lately. We just miss them so terribly, and this time of year will always be painful. They were born and died just four days before Christmas. Their funeral was right after the holiday. There was snow on the ground the day of the funeral and I had to wear a pair of my mother's sandals because my feet were too swollen to fit in any of my shoes or sandals. I was a mess physically which made it so much harder for me. On top of the insane swelling, I was having all of the normal physical aftereffects of giving birth....pain, bleeding, exhaustion...but it was when my milk came in that I hit my lowest point. How cruel was it to have to milk come in with no babies to feed....I had to wear an ace bandage to their funeral.

I had to go Christmas shopping the day after I got out of the hospital (Christmas Eve) because I didn't have a gift for Chris yet. I know it was ridiculous of me but for some reason it was desperately important to me. Walking into the mall just days after giving birth to two little girls and holding them as they passed away....just days before they would be buried...was sickening. And the day after Christmas we had to go to a doll shop to buy dresses for them to be buried in. The preemie clothes were too large. That, above all else, was the most terrible experience and the one that still makes me feel physically ill when I think of it. There were dolls everywhere....ultra realistic dolls laying in bassinets and sitting in high chairs, staring at us...modeling the clothing that our daughters would wear for their funeral. I will never go into another doll shop again.

Since I had been very large due to carrying twins and having too much amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios...the condition that ultimately caused me to go into labor) I looked like I was full term. So when I saw people after having them they were excited and exclaimed, "oh, you had your babies!!! Congratulations!!" Sometimes I gently told them that yes, I had, but that they had passed away....othertimes I just quietly said 'thank you' and moved on. That happened over and over for many months.

I remember too vividly the feeling of my stomach suddenly collapsing when my water broke during delivery. Because there had been SO much extra fluid it was like a water balloon exploding...one huge surge of water which made a nauseating sound as it hit the floor in the delivery room. My stomach collapsed instantly and the wind was literally knocked out of me for a moment due to the force. Of course figuratively the wind was knocked out of me for months and months. And sometimes it still is. Like today.

The nurses were very kind to us. As they handed Rainey and Grace to us to hold they were gentle when they told us to not be startled if Grace moved...that she was still alive. They were so warm. And so tiny. And their skin so soft when I kissed them. Hours later, we asked the nurse to bring them back in so we could hold then one more time. I wasn't prepared for how cold they would be.
The nurses took their photographs and put them in little tiny handmade white gowns. They made casts of their tiny feet, and gave us a box with their hospital bracelets, photos, footprints, the handmade blanket they had laid them on, and various other little items. If there is ever a fire I will get Libby and Amelia out first, and then their box. I would risk my life to get their things out safely. I would be devestated to lose the only physical things I have of my daughters'. I have to be able to look at their feet...every tiny wrinkle of their feet are visible.

We have been struggling. We saw a story on the news about sextuplets who survived and are in fair health. They were about the same size at birth as our girls. Although we are always happy for mothers with healthy twins or of tiny preemies who survive....it stings every time. Libby's two best girlfriends are five year old twins. It is lovely to see them, but difficult at the same time.

Libby talks about her big sisters in heaven often. I told her that the angel ornaments on the Christmas tree are to remind us of Rainey and Grace.... and she now periodically tells me that all of the ornaments are so beautiful and that they all remind her of Rainey and Grace, and 'Gramps' (my father who passed away three years ago). Last week Chris told the girls that he is so lucky to have two awesome daughters....Libby corrected him and said that he has four daughters. It makes me happy that she so clearly understands that her two big sisters are still in our family and around us every day....and that she has big sisters who are angels who watch over her and Amelia.

Happy birthday, Rainey and Grace. We miss you. We love you.

3 comments:

Sue said...

Reb,

My heart aches for you. I know how difficult this day is for you. I am sending you much love and hugs,for what it's worth.

Sue

Jan said...

Reb,

I had no idea you'd been through this! I love how the girls think of the twins as their big sisters. Thanks for sharing such a personal, painful story. ((HUGS))

Jan from ILP

Darlene said...

Rebecca, I had no idea that you and Chris had gone through this, I was crying as I read this as I was thinking of how strong the two of you are and all that you have been through.