To think I left home one afternoon to go for a scan. And two weeks later, here we are.
Coming home and being out of that stifling hospital was like leaving prison. It really felt like that.
Coming home with one baby was the harshest of realities.
It's the milestones that hurt. We can function fine, and then something will set us off - like the two mobiles that are hanging above the cot. Or the fact Seb was one week old yesterday. Or the fact that Molly had the same hair and mouth and nose as Seb, and I wonder how she would've looked this week.
And while we find ourselves in the around-the-clock feeding cycle (sheesh it's brutal - I am both awed and astounded at how new mum's actually do this. The sleep deprivation is something else), I still wonder what it would've been like with my two. My pair. The twins I carried for over 8 months.
After That Scan, I was admitted into hospital to monitor the other twin.
We still decided not to find out the sex of the babies. This would mean more emotional attachment.
For a week I was hooked up to a monitoring machine, one that shows his heartbeat. This machine was both my best friend and my nemesis - I'd watch it like a hawk for reassurance that Twin 1 was OK, and I'd prod and poke my stomach all day and night to ensure it was kicking me. If it's heartbeat dropped, I'd panic and call the midwives.
The advice I got from the group of obstetricians was to strike a careful balance. Hold on until 36 weeks to have the twins, so that Twin 1 had better chance of survival and had the healthiest start.
Of course, as we had no idea why Twin 2 had died, they didn't want me to wait for longer than that in case the same happened to Twin 1.
It was nervewracking.
I also opted for a natural birth. Suddenly all my priorities had changed. I wanted what was best for the baby, not me anymore. Natural birth meant the fluid in its lungs would be squeezed out, meaning less chance of it going to special care as a premature baby.
In the end I almost did give natural birth. Until Seb got stuck and I had to have an emergency c-section. I can say I've done it all now. And it sucked; going through 18 hours of labour only to have surgery anyway.
But during the week preceding the birth, we had to deal with the fact that I'd be giving birth to two babies, and taking only one home.
It was the darkest time of our lives. I wanted to give birth, but at the same time I didn't want to let go. Molly was still with me; and I could still talk to her. I could still be with her.
Here are some of my thoughts I wrote down, summed up, during that week. For anyone that has gone through a similar experience, perhaps you can identify.
Why give it to us only to take it away?
There are meant to be two. We were chosen to embark on a unique parental experience. They are meant to be together, to look after each other, to always have one another.
Now its on its own, and we have an empty space. My heart is so heavy. I don't want to let go. Having it here is both comforting and hindering. I imagine what it must look like or where it is. Or if there's an afterlife and we will ever meet it one day. If it knows how much I love it and no matter what they are as important to me as the alive twin. My little fighter; my alive feisty twin. It must never stop kicking me. It can hurt and punish me I don't care.
How will it know how special it is, and how special its life would've been with a twin at its rightful side? That its been robbed not only from us but from him/her. How will we ever fill the gap, how will we ensure that it is part of our family and is acknowledged and never forgotten - not by us but by its sibling and the world. I carried twins for 35+ weeks. No one will know. Now we are just like everyone else, no one knows our story or our excitement. I want to turn back the clock. When did its heart stop and when did its soul move? Was I awake? Was I shouting at the time, crying, happy, aware?
Was it when I cried and didn't know why? What will become of all of us? How will we move on. I don't believe I'll ever stop thinking about what was to be, or who it was. The dread of the days to come when its taken from me finally. And how we will say goodbye and have a few memories or tokens, just tokens to prove it was part of us. It was a twin. I had towns. I have twins.
The sadness just moves and I need to feel it, to feel the tears. Being distracted by visitors just irritates me. It means less time thinking about and connecting with the twin that will soon go forever. Giving it the time it deserves as its time was so short. Names. Significance. Does it know. Does anyone know. Or do they think just focusing on one twin will make this all better. They make me angry.
Will I meet it someday. Can I talk to it?
- - - - - -
If it was me, or anything that I did to make this happen, then I am endlessly sorry. I may never know. I may never grasp. I love you and your twin more than life itself and am sorry you'll never get to experience life. I'm sorry its been stolen from you before it began.
My angel, it won't be long until you have to leave me. But you're in my heart. And will remain there for as long as I live and beyond. I will never forget you. You'll never be forgotten, it will be my life's pledge to ensure that. While nurturing and loving your twin with all our hearts.
I'm scared. I'm the worst kind of scared for the pain of this birth and I feel guilty because I really should be more fearful of seeing you and having to let you go. I am. The thought kills me.
I will wonder if you know that. And if you know what a hole you're leaving in my life, in our lives. I'm your mum. We were ready for you. We were excited, scared but excited. You were with us for 8 months. You were meant to be like me and your sibling like your dad. I don't know where we got that from, but you were my little small one.
Now your sibling is what we are trying to focus on, so we can heal and fill its life with love.
The deathly silence, void, ghostly nothingness that I can't feel you is difficult. That your sibling is so active and you never were - or at least I didn't feel you much - makes the contrast even stronger.
Thank God your sibling moves and squirms so much. Thank goodness.
I love you always and endlessly, my precious daughter.
I love you always and endlessly, my precious daughter.