Archive for October, 2008

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Please take a moment to remember Cole and Lina, and all the babies who never got to open their eyes to see the world or to leave the hospital, or to take their first steps, or to grow up and be the people they were supposed to be. Please send a prayer or a positive thought to all their families who miss them so much.


Happy Birthday, Little Ones.

“Happy” Birthday is weird of course. I should be planning a birthday party today. Not “trying to keep busy” so that I can remain functional for Annika. I don’t know what to say here today. I just wanted to acknowledge it.

A friend of mine recently sent me this beautiful quote. So I’ll share it:

We shall find peace.
We shall hear angels.
We shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.
-Anton Chekov

One year.

Here it goes. The one year “anniversaries” (though that word sounds much too cheerful to me) of the worst days of my life. I don’t know why 365 days (or I guess 366 in this case) should be more significant somehow than anything else – 137 days or 592 days… I’ve even tried not to really think about it in those terms but as the dates have approached, I’ve found myself crying more, feeling more anxious…and dreading it all.

Today marks one year since I got sick. I remember it so clearly. I woke up around 4 am, sick to my stomach. Not just nauseous, but this weird pain right below my diaphragm. I got up and ate a pickle. Yes, I know, probably not the best choice, but somehow it made sense at 4 am. Before long I got up and puked. I killed time until my OB’s office opened and then called to talk to the nurse. I told her I had taken some Tums, but it wasn’t really helping. She told me to try taking more Tums, and if I didn’t feel better by around 4 pm, to call back. I told her I had an appointment with my perinatologist that afternoon, and she said “Oh, well that makes me feel better. Definitely mention it to her.”. There was really no sense of urgency, so I was not all that concerned. The same thing had happened a week before, and I had called and left a message with my OB’s office and nobody even called me back. Even though I mentioned in my message that I was concerned because I was being watched for pre-e. I felt better by around noon, so I never followed up and I figured this would be the same.

I went in the afternoon to see my peri. The appointment was uneventful. My blood pressure was fine. My ankles weren’t swollen. I hadn’t gained any weight. Both babies had grown proportionally, but Lina was still much smaller than Cole. After the ultrasound I mentioned the nausea (it had more or less subsided). She listened, raised an eyebrow, and said she was a little concerned and wanted to have some bloodwork done. She asked for it to be returned STAT, which should have alarmed me more than it did. I don’t know why I refused to believe that anything could REALLY go wrong. I walked out of her office and paused for a few minutes to look at the beautiful newborns in the nursery across the hall. Walked downstairs to give my blood and went home.

When I got home, I called a friend, and told her what happened. I said I gave some blood but assumed everything would be OK. While I was on the phone, I heard another call, but let the machine get it (for some reason, adulthood has made me incapable of such technical tasks as answering call-waiting, something I was quite skilled at in high school and college). As soon as I was off, I got the message that Dr Bond wanted me to come back to the hospital. Still, no panic.

But when I got there…I got what I wish had been the worst news of my life. Sadly, it was only the beginning. I had HELLP Syndrome. A serious and life-threatening form of pre-eclampsia. I would be transferred to Columbia Presbeterian by ambulance as soon as they could confirm that NICU beds would be available. The babies would be delivered in 24 hours. Still. I was convinced that that was the worst of it. That everything was going to be OK. I still.can.not.believe. what followed.

October 2nd still plays in my memory just like a movie.

Everyone told me the first year is the hardest. I can only hope so. I still have a few months before “the first year” is officially over. I’ll just have to take “their” word for it. Because it still feels like hell.

Yes, I am *that* mom.

Yesterday I took Annika to the park. And there was a mom there with her twins. I thought to myself what I always think when I see moms with twins in my town. “You don’t think you know me, but you probably do. I’m that mom whose babies died last year. You probably prayed for Lina when she got so sick and we were still hoping she’d be OK. You may have cried for us when you learned that she died. You surely hugged your babies extra close that night. Maybe you even left a bag of groceries or a meal on our doorstep the next couple of weeks.”

I joined my local Mothers of Multiples (MOMs) club when I was on bedrest, a week, maybe two, before Cole & Lina were born. i even signed up for a playgroup for Annika, so I could meet local MOMs and get their good advice. After they were born, I didn’t reach out to the group…out of a kind of paralysis, I guess. But a sweet friend, another mom of twins from far away, reached out to them for me. I think it was after Cole had died actually, and they put me in touch with another beautiful mom who had lost one of her sweet baby girls. We met for coffee and talked about how hard it was to mourn for one baby and still maintain hope and strength (and joy) for the other. She was inspiring.

Then when Lina got sick, she organized meals for us. She posted on our MOMs bulletin board, and I received so many words of support. I know Lina and Cole deeply touched peoples’ hearts. And I know many would remember me.

And every time I see a mom with twins, I want to tell her “I have twins too”. I want to compare stories. But of course, my story is so horrible…it would only make the other mom sad. So I just smile. And I don’t say anything. My MOMs club membership is expiring any day now. I won’t renew it. Although I am and always be a mom of twins, I don’t feel like I belong in “the club”. I don’t want to read the messages about the best stroller for two. It’s too hard to get the reminders about the tag sales. I would love to bring Annika to the Halloween parties, the picnics…but those are for the twins. Of course, nobody would turn me away…but seeing all the twins. That would be hard. And maybe people would secretly wonder what I was doing there.

Giving up that dream has been hard. Hard.

About Me

I'm a grieving mom. I have one beautiful daughter, Annika, who's 3 years old now (born 12/28/04). I also had twins, Lina and Cole, on 10/04/07, born at just 26 weeks. We lost Cole after just 23 days due to complications related to his prematurity. Fiesty little Lina overcame so much and just when she was getting ready to come home with us, suddenly had a complication unrelated to her prematurity and passed away on January 11, 2008. This blog is about getting through it. More...