As I laid in bed last night, wide awake at 1am, I was thinking about how just one year earlier my life was so incredibly different. One year ago last night was the last night that I went to sleep relatively at peace – the night before I began my path to hell.
Perhaps it is slight revisionist history to think that I was sleeping completely peacefully a year ago last night. After all, I was 24 weeks pregnant with the twins, and was finishing up my 8th week of complete bedrest, and was definitely uncomfortable and experiencing a bit of pregnancy insomnia. This was not “try to stay off of your feet if you can” kind of bedrest, it was a full bed bedrest precipitated by other pregnancy issues that created anxiety, but I still felt like everything would work out just fine. After all, it does for 95% of women in that same scenario. So, it was the last night of relatively innocent sleep before that pivotal moment of my water breaking, weeks in the hospital on bedrest, emergency c-section, and those awful NICU days before the end when I joined the sisterhood of babyloss mamas.
I am in a bit of a quandry about how I feel as I come up on the first anniversary of this life changing event. I feel a wide range of emotions:
Anger. Yes, although it isn’t nearly as often, I do still feel somewhat angry at losing the relative innocence I had prior to that day.
Guilt. I have never been one to look back and think about what I would change in my life. Overall, my life has been lived with mistakes made that all bring me to where I am today. And I do not think there is anything I could have done differently to prevent my water from breaking. But that is the pivotal moment in my head. The moment that everything changed (although there were others later on too). I ask myself if I had the power to turn back the clock and do things over, would I have chosen to just never be pregnant vs. losing the twins as we did? And I feel guilt at admiting (if only to myself) that yes, I might have selfishly wished to just skip that whole pregnancy. It is not because I didn’t want my boys with all my heart and soul and being, nor that I wouldn’t have done every.possible.thing to do the best for them, but in the end – I can’t see anything about it that made it “worth it”. I know it sounds so callous, but that pregnancy only brought pain and suffering for them, and heartbreak and trauma for us left behind. So, what was gained?
Sadness. The photo of Quinn and Trace is on my desk and I look at it every day. I am so sad for what I put them through, and for what we lost when they passed. As I think about their upcoming birthday, I feel like there is nothing I can do that would properly memorialize that day. I see these beautiful stories of balloons to heaven, trees planted, names written in the sand – and so far, none of those feel right, and I wonder if anything will feel good enough or right enough to remember them on that day.
Fear and Dread. I have had a knot in my stomach for the past few weeks leading up to this pivotal day (the day my water broke) and what is to come in the next few weeks of anniversaries of their birth day, and the days we lost them. OMG, if I can’t even figure out how I want to deal with this – how in the world will anyone else know what is the right way to deal with me? I truly don’t know whether I want close friends to acknowledge them and this date, or whether I’d rather let it pass quietly. Maybe my brain is fabricating this into something more overwhelming than it needs to be. But I wouldn’t mind fast forwarding through these next few weeks. Not because I don’t want to remember them, but because I fear there will be a lot of reliving of pretty awful moments as I work through these anniversary dates for the first time. But, as my grief therapist says, you can’t skip over it, you just have to slog through it, so slog through it I will doing the best I can.
Love. So, after working through these emotions and thoughts last night, I woke up this morning to the sound of our daughter’s voice over the video baby monitor. She was singing to herself in the crib. Adorable. I went in to pick her up, and she wrapped her arms around me in a sweet hug and laid her head on my shoulder (something she only recently has started doing). My heart was filled with love for this amazing being that has come into our lives and brightened things immeasurably. I am sure that her bright smile and hugs will go a long way towards helping me walk through these tough days ahead.
However, I will say that in my mind, losing the boys and gaining a daughter are separate. I am fighting that cause/effect analogy that some are quick to offer in an effort to find some good that came from this “without losing them she would not be your daughter”. Those paths just feel different to me – she is not a replacement child, but that doesn’t mean I can’t open my heart with incredible love for her – just as adding a child to your family doesn’t diminish your love for the other children.
So, I’ll do my best to be a good, loving and patient mother to her despite my overwhelming desire to run away and hide from the emotions that are inevitable in the upcoming weeks. Wish me luck.