We spent last weekend celebrating Violet’s 3rd birthday. In true form, she was funny, sweet, charming (always charming!), and had such a good time with her friends. Give the girl some music and room to spin and she is in heaven!
While I love watching her move through life with JOY (so much JOY!), I can’t help but think about her twin who isn’t with us.
Violet is a twin.
Our first ultrasound confirmed there were indeed two babies. Both had strong heartbeats and looked to be progressing just fine. Josh and I were ecstatic.
We spent a few weeks in shock. Giddy joyful shock. I spent hours upon hours daydreaming about our life ahead. Would we have a boy and a girl? Two boys? Two girls? I couldn’t wait to find out. The enormity of two babies was also weighing on me. Two cribs. Two car seats. Two college tuitions. It was a lot to process.
We had ultrasounds every 2 weeks and watched the embryos grow. Everything was as it should be.
Then came the appointment I will never forget. The tech started the ultrasound before my doctor came in. She was staring at her screen, taking measurements. She quietly excused herself and said the doctor would be right with us. Looking back, it didn’t even register with me that anything could be wrong.
My doctor came in the tiny cramped room, continued the ultrasound and looked at me heavily, with dark, sad eyes, and said, “I’m so sorry. There is no heartbeat for one of the babies. It’s stopped growing. Your other baby is perfectly fine. Strong heartbeat. Please get dressed and I’ll meet you in my office”. My head was reeling.
Could we please go back to yesterday when I was blissfully pregnant with two babies?
When we met in his office, my doctor asked if I had any questions or if I wanted to get a second opinion.
“You mean…..there’s a possibility that my baby is alive?”, not even sure if I had said it out loud.
“No, there’s not, but a lot of women prefer to have another physician’s opinion.”
“Why?” I wondered. Unless another doctor could bring my baby back, I didn’t need a second opinion.
In retrospect, I realize that this doctor is a professional and that’s what professionals do. I’m sure a a lot of hormonal women have passed through his doors and in some cases, this offer gives them some sort of hope. Aside from his professional responsibilities, he has learned to offer the second opinion as a type of comfort, as ridiculous as it sounded to me at the time.
As Violet grew, the other baby began to be absorbed by my body. I felt the loss every single day, both physically and mentally. The only way I can describe it is being pregnant and having the flu on top of it. I was so tired. I didn’t want to move.
I didn’t want to be awake at all.
In hindsight, I don’t know if it was entirely physical or if what I was really feeling was grief. I lay in bed for days, sleeping, crying, not eating. Josh was my rock. He tended to me, brushed my hair off my face, loved on me. He grieved both with me and away from me, shut off from everyone else in his office. He was just as connected to this baby as I was, and he was devastated.
With each new appointment, we’d have an ultrasound to see the healthy baby- and there was the baby who was no longer alive, slowly fading away, increasingly smaller as time wore on. It was agony to walk away with those ultrasound pictures, showing two distinct babies, joyful about the healthy “Baby A” but grieving the slow disappearance of “Baby B”.
But I keep those pictures to remember. Those are the only pictures I will ever have of my sweet baby.
Eventually Violet was big enough, and her sibling small enough, that we no longer saw two babies in the pictures.
Violet flourished and was delivered on time at 7 pounds, 7 ounces. She had white blonde hair and bright blue eyes and was nothing like what I had pictured, yet everything I had ever dreamed of.
She still is.
I can’t help but think of her brother or sister in heaven. Likely my Grandpa is rocking him or her and they’re watching Andy Griffith reruns and sharing a Little Debbie star crunch. Maybe even showing him or her how to tend tomatoes in the garden or how to crack two pecans in his palm. He was good like that.
I wonder what that baby would have looked like? Dark hair like mine or Josh’s? Blonde like Violet? Would he or she be quiet and introverted or exuberant and charismatic like Violet?
One day we will meet, and all of this I’ll know for sure.
I worry about Violet instinctively knowing she is a twin and feeling like something is missing. Will she carry a grief that she can’t fully comprehend or even know where it is coming from? Will she struggle with a feeling of loss she can’t explain? Or will she shine, reflecting all that her twin is and more? Will she excel at various things and live life like it’s the one chance she will get? Will she live with joy in her heart and a twinkle in her eye?
I say yes. At 3 years old, she is living each day grandly, many days proclaiming “I am so happy!“.
I like to think before her twin left, he or she expressed how much they loved little V and handed her everything they were and every emotion they felt and everything they wanted out of life and said ‘do it for both of us!’.
Violet lives with passion and joy and so much love. She gives SO much love! I can only hope it is a reflection of the love she receives.
So, I want to say to both my babies that just turned 3 years old, I love you intensely and you make me so much more of a person. A person I never thought I could be.
Thank you for making me your Mommy. xoxo
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