It’s been 3 weeks and 1 day since I delivered and said goodbye to Madeline and Holland. Three weeks of emotional turmoil. Three weeks of physical changes. Three weeks of figuring out how to go forward. Each week that passes brings us to another pregnancy milestone that should be cause for celebration but instead just brings questions that can never be answered. What if we had just had the TTTS to deal with and not TAPS? Why couldn’t I have held on a little longer? What if my water had broken at 25 weeks? 26weeks? Today?
One of the greatest pains has been the emptiness and physical confusion of not having a baby to take care of. Simply put, the physical changes just really suck. I dreaded the thought of looking pregnant and having to face any questions about when I was due or if I was having a girl or a boy. Fortunately (or unfortunately) my pregnant stomach was almost gone after that first week so it was never a problem. From the outside you couldn’t tell I’d been pregnant at all…so then I was distraught that the physical evidence of the twins was fading too quickly. The doctors said my milk may not come in which was depressing…but then it did which was painful and so cruel. My body just couldn’t win and I realized I’d be upset no matter what happened.
I’ve also discovered there’s such a thing as “angry sadness”. While the first week was absolutely miserable, it was a sadness others could relate to and understand. The next week brought this new kind of sadness that was frustrating and made it difficult to talk to anyone. I couldn’t handle comfort or share my grief and so much just seemed to piss me off. I’ve learned I have to take some space and go easy on myself when the angry sad times hit.
Happiness comes in small bursts but is always a little painful at first. For me the first moment of happiness was watching my husband and daughter laughing together in the backyard on a beautiful spring evening. It was fun but triggered a horrible sadness of knowing we wouldn’t be able to share that happiness with the girls we lost. I think there will be lots of moments like this. Any kind of “First” is also really difficult. The first time I ventured out of the house outside of necessary errands felt so unnatural and brought a lot of guilt. The first social interaction outside of friends or close family was awkward and brought a lot of anxiety. The first time I walked down the baby aisle at Target, first time I spent a night away from Ryan, first Mother’s Day. Everything seems new and strange, like I’m not sure how to operate myself.
“Bereft of Purpose”. I read this somewhere and it really hit home. Losing a child/pregnancy you lose the plans you had for them…or quite the literally you lose the physical fight for their life. The fight for our girls had consumed me and Ryan and the promise of bringing them home and caring for them is what had moved us forward each day. I’m still working through what I’m supposed to do now that there’s nothing left to fight for. No more plans to make. There are no instructions on how to work through this, but I also don’t think there are any right or wrong answers right now. There have been good days and really awful days and the confusion over how to feel can be overwhelming. I’m trying to be gracious with myself and others as we figure out what works.
One thing for sure is that I’m so very grateful to be a mother and have my sweet daughter to help pick up all the pieces. She is a true lifesaver and I will never take for granted the experience of motherhood that some may never get the chance to have. I’m also very lucky to have an amazing husband to go through this with and great friends and family to help along the way.