The ‘T Word’
Guest Post by Megan Skaggs
We don’t say it much. Twins. And when we do say it, it still cuts me to the core sometimes. I don’t think I was ever more excited and happy than the day we saw two heartbeats on that sonogram screen. When I was in college and dating my now husband I used to dream that we’d have twin boys, one named after him, William Glen IV, and one named after my father, Michael Joseph. I would think about how much fun it would be to have two football players to raise, and how I would laugh that my boys were taller than me. (My husband played college football and is 6’3, while I am only 5’3).
Then we tried for many, many months to have a baby. Then we saw two pink lines and I started spotting and miscarriage was brought up. At only eight weeks gestation, we saw them: two little perfect heartbeats. And I bought two of everything.
I was more than ready to become a mother to twins, I was ecstatic. And when they said our twins were identical boys, they already had names. My father cried when we asked him if we could name Baby Boy B after him. And when we found out that Baby Boy B was to born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) and would only have a 50% chance of survival, I didn’t listen. I thought to myself, ‘Not my son, he will be stronger, and he will survive.’ I heard the doctors say he might die, but I didn’t listen to them. And my belly grew and grew, and grew, and grew. At 36 weeks my water broke and the next day, after 26 hours of labor, my twins were born via c-section. They each weighed exactly 6lbs, and were 21 inches long.
And then the doctors said MJ wouldn’t make it through the night. And he did. And then he had his first surgery, and then another. And again they said he wouldn’t make it through the day. And he did. And then he had another surgery. And the doctors told us it was time to let go. And we did. We were no longer doing things for MJ, but we were doing things to MJ. And at 8:15 pm on August 29, 2009 he died in my arms. And I was still a mother to twins, but I wasn’t all at the same time.
The next morning I laid in bed, holding Will, and I sobbed as I listened to my husband and my mother pack up MJ’s bouncer, bassinet, swing, and car seat. That afternoon my mother and father returned all of those items because I couldn’t bare the thought of having them in our house. The week after his funeral my husband and I put away his crib and the double stroller, and went through all of their clothes and packed up MJ’s set of every outfit we had. We returned what we could the next day. I broke down and completely lost it at Baby Gap when they said we missed the return deadline. I felt like every time I saw two of something fate was laughing in my face.
And we stopped saying it. Twins. Every time we heard it, or even worse, saw a set of twins, it cut a little more. My sister started nannying for twin girls and that gutted me. I was so jealous she would experience twindom and I wouldn’t. We were watching Sunday Football the next Fall, and saw one of the broadcasters had his twin boys on. I silently begged God to not let anyone say anything. And my mother in law exclaimed, ‘Oh look at how adorable those twins are!’ I couldn’t believe how that word didn’t cut people the way it cut me. My husband and I one day talked about how we never said it anymore because it hurt too much. We started saying the ‘T Word’ instead. It felt better to say, and rolled off our tongues that much easier.
Even now, almost four years later, I can’t say it and it still guts me. We have twins, but we don’t, and I hate that knowledge. Every time I see a set of twins I feel like I am gawking because I have no clue what it’s like to have twins. I can laugh about how big I got, or talk about how they kicked me all the time while pregnant. But the knowledge of what it means to raise twins eludes me. I want and I ache for that knowledge. I want to know what it’s like to have two screaming babies. I’m jealous. I’m envious. And I run from anyone who has twins. I want to know and at the same time I don’t.
The ‘T Word’. It’s much easier to stomach.