Almost three and a half years ago I was thrown into the world of the grieving parent. At the time, I was in a highly alert state, taking words that were said to me and dissecting them one by one. Sometimes people said things that I found confusing, and maybe even hurtful. I started reading…
2 years ago I had a gender reveal party. Mother’s tuition had told me, weeks before it was confirmed, that I was carrying twins. The dr kept telling us we only had 1 baby, I knew he was wrong. When he saw 2 hearbeats, I smiled, smugly, knowingly. I knew I was carrying a boy and a girl. I’d dreamed of both. I’d seen them both whenever I closed my eyes. So when I was sitting at my parent’s table, surrounded by all our loved ones, waiting to bite into a cupcake to see what color the frosting revealed, I already knew. One would be pink. The other blue.
You know, Mother’s intuition and all.
I took a big bite of my cupcake and saw blue. I turned it to my husband, heard excited murmurs of “boy..” from our family and I fully expected my husband’s cupcake to reveal pink. When I saw his half-eaten cupcake, filled with blue icing, I choked on my own. In that moment I felt shock, fear, and immediately fell into a love I never could have imagined.
Mother’s intuition failed me but mother’s love and protectiveness kicked in full throttle. I was in love.
The following days were filled with ordering cribs, finding bedding for twin boys, coming up with their names. Tucker Harris and Fletcher Thomas.
Though my mother’s intuition was only right on the twin part, my mom’s heart immediately embraced that I was carrying 2 baby boys that I knew would be momma’s boys and would forever have my heart.
Days later when I started cramping, I assumed it was just another bump in the road of twin pregnancy after a complicated IVF process. I never dreamed or imagined how wrong I could be.
I lost my boys 2 years ago. I hate that. I can’t even verbalize how much I hate that being my reality, let alone writing it. My Tucker was born on December 13 and he lived for a few short hours. In those moments I held him, born at 18.5 weeks, I was absolutely amazed to be holding a miracle that looked so much like me. He had my lips. His little hands and feet were perfect. I fell more love than I had ever felt and also more heartache than I had ever imagined possible.
I was told that I would deliver his brother that night. To prepare myself for that. Every sleepless night turned into another morning that his brother had fought the odds and survived, thrived even, in my womb. I’ll never forget the sonogram, both our moms and my husband holding my hand, watching as Fletcher waved to us. I knew, once again with my mother’s intuition, that though we had lost his brother, that Fletcher would survive the odds.
And he did. For 13 days. Christmas Eve morning though, I delivered my second miracle, at only 20 weeks. He lived. He didn’t live as long as I wanted or needed him to, but my baby lived long enough to hold my dad’s finger, to squeeze his Pospie’s hand and know how much he was loved by his parents and grandparents as we held him, loved him and let him go.
Last year, on their birthdays, I felt some arrogant pride that I had made it a year without them and I was strong. A year later, I just feel lost. Heaven has never felt so far away.
I lost my husband this past year; our marriage wasn’t strong enough to survive the loss of two separate births. Two separate deaths. Leaving the hospital on Christmas Day with two memory boxes instead of two babies was a loss neither one of us knew how to navigate.
There’s a quote about not knowing that grief felt so much like fear. I’ve always known of it, when the boys died, I understood it, but now I’m living it in a whole new way and it’s in a profound kind of devastating way.
I remember the days, months, after losing Tucker and Fletcher, going through life as though I were living in a moment I couldn’t get out of. I found myself at the store and had no idea how I got there. I’d be at out and couldn’t understand why my face was wet until I reached up and realized I was crying, often times more concerned that I was unaware of how long the tears had been falling. But it was normal. I was a newly bereaved mother who had lost her twin boys 13 days apart. It was expected, even.
But that was two years ago. Now I’m just a broken mother who is alone. and. just. completely. lost.
I had mother’s intuition; it failed me. And I’ve spent the past two years feeling lost, scared and like I failed at the most important thing I’ve ever been trusted with.
“Is the person you are now bigger than the failure you’re holding onto?”
What’s left of me, I’m honestly not sure. And I hate that I feel like a failure for losing my boys and my husband but I’m being honest here. It’s a failure stronger than anything I’ve ever known. I’ve been running on empty for too long to know the difference. For someone who has so much going on inside my head and heart, to feel I have nothing left to offer breaks me in a whole other way.
I’m a statistic in more ways than I care to think about because it gets me nowhere but deeper into a bottle (case) of wine and conversations with God that leave me just broken.
I know, at least I feel, like there is still so much left inside of me. The dream I had since I was a child to be a mother is still so prevalent I can’t ignore it. But the fact that I’m 36 and will be divorced from my best friend…the daddy to my boys…in the near future leaves me wondering how much of my hopes and dreams are still valid and how much life is left in them.
My mother’s intuition still tells me that this isn’t the end of my baby story but I feel she is a liar. I pray she’s not a liar.
I was at work a few months ago and I had a customer come in with his baby boy, probably 2 years old. The boy, from the moment he came thru the door, was as enamored with me as I was with him. It was kind of eery how when this baby looked at me, he saw me. Please don’t think I’m crazy, we just connected, this chubby toddler and I. Later when he came into my sales office with his daddy, he was walking and holding his dad’s hand but he kept trying to break his dad’s grasp and when he finally broke away, he toddled right over to me. I stopped what I was doing and focused on him. He walked straight up to me and he reached up his arms towards me. I knelt down and he crawled into my arms and he wrapped his chubby little arms around my neck and buried his head into my shoulder and he held me. This little guy who had my heart from the moment he walked in the door was nestled into my arms and completely in my heart and at the moment I thought my heart couldn’t handle anymore, this precious little boy patted my back. He was comforting me.
His dad was confused, his grandmother was crying and I was completely broken and healing at the same time. That little boy gave me more than anyone has been able to give me in the 2 years since my heart was shattered.
He gave me hope. For a brief moment in time, he allowed me to know what it felt to hold a baby that was so connected to my heart in my arms that time actually stopped. I have a dream, over and over, of a baby girl with blue eyes and blond curls. I can’t help but believe that my mother’s intuition is right, it just hasn’t happened yet.
Why does grief feel so like fear? Because that is the only hope that my heart is holding onto. That at some point, life will stop sucking. Loss will be replaced with life. Instead of a heart filled with pain, hurt and regret, it will be replaced with the chubby arms of a baby that will be one who I won’t have to give back to a very weirded out stranger. The arms wrapped around my neck will be the arms of my baby. For more than a moment. I will take them home. Not in a memory box this time.
Grief feels like fear because my heart is desperate for that to be my reality and so far my reality has left a lot to be desired.
Grief feels like fear because we have been in the trenches of heartache. We have survived the loneliest of loss, often times losing more in the process than we ever imagined possible. But the balm that helped my heart that day is what I know at some point will heal it. I’ll feel the arms, of my baby, wrapped around my neck, after they come up to me, their mama, and reach for me, and I’m able to comfort them.
And I can promise, with the dream that’s been in my heart for so long, when that day happens, I’ll never, ever, not for one moment, let go….I won’t quit. My baby boys deserved so much and if all I can give them now is a mom who doesn’t quit, it’ll be something I work towards every day.
My mother’s intuition still tells me that one day I will bring home a baby that I won’t ever have to let go of. And until then, my mother’s heart will forver hold on to the babies I held for as long as I could.
Happy 2nd Birthday Tucker. Happy Birthday, my sweet Fletcher, take care of each other, your mama loves you!