Mother’s Day is a bittersweet day for me and has been for several years now. I’m afraid it’s that way for a lot of moms who’ve lost a child or children too soon. For me, I said goodbye to my babies more than 5 years ago, but I still think of them all of the time, and they still visit me in my dreams.
“I’m not a mother of 2. I’m a mother of 4.”
In December of 2010, my husband proposed. We planned an August wedding, and I found the perfect dress with the help of my mom and sister. Just weeks later, we found out we were pregnant. Excitement was quickly replaced with the stress of moving the wedding date up by 3 months because, well, I was wearing my dress!
Two days before our wedding, we found out we were having conjoined twins. Dicephalus parapagus twins to be precise. They had two spines, two sets of most organs, but they shared a body… and a heart. We spent out wedding day cherishing life and each other, all the while pushing our grief to the backs of minds. We spent our honeymoon coming to terms with our new reality, that our babies’ one heart couldn’t support two sets of organs. We were told that our twins would go into cardiac arrest within days or weeks and had less than a 5% chance of making it to term, a less than 1% chance of surviving more than 24 hours after birth if they made it past 36 weeks.
Mother’s Day this year happens to coincide with our wedding anniversary. This time 6 years ago I was preparing for the surgery that would take my dying twins to a better place. I would never see them or hold them or nurse them or rock them to sleep.
I look at my two children now every Mother’s Day, and I’m torn between absolute awe of the miracles that they are and sadness that I’m a mother of 4, but I can only have 2 of them with me.
This year, we’re also celebrating not only the children we’ve given life, but also the new life arriving in September. I feel this little one rolling and kicking inside me, and I’m in awe all over again. But I’ll never forget about my twins. I’ll never forget that I have 4 children and another on the way.
“They were here. They existed, and they were loved.”
My heart goes out to all the moms today thinking of the little ones they’ve lost. Time doesn’t heal the pain– it always hurts as if it just happened– but it does make it easier to bear.