Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Every First With, is a First Without

So,  I have three posts waiting to be published,  but I needed to get this out. I had intended for this blog to be just posts of sayings by which I find myself living; however,  I might throw in a couple random posts that are like public diary entries.  This will be one of those.

This new normal of mine where behind every smile or laugh is a tear waiting to fall is harder to deal with on days that are momentous.

Decorating for Christmas we got to hang up stockings. When Austin and I married,  we decided on matching stockings of different colors.  When W came around we added a third color.  Last year, we pre-purchased two more stockings of the same color.  This year pulling out five stockings: one white,  one blue,  one purple and two green stockings, and only hanging up four was hard.  One of my dear friends gave me an ornament last year that says,  "two peas in a pod" on it. I will hang it on my tree.  Some people wouldn't.  It is part of M's story.  V was as much anticipated,  prayed for,  loved,  planned on and protected as M, so I can't just write her out of my life or of M's.

Minor things like the first time I unsnap a button on her diaper because she's grown,  the first time I put her in nine month size clothing,  the first time I brush out bed head on the peach fuzz,  the first time I wipe sleep from her eyes...or major things like the first time she rolled over,  sat up,  says a distinguishable word,  crawls,  eats,  or has a birthday are going to be times my feeling of joy will have a shadow of pain or wonder or simply long distance thought.

 It's not something I'm going to "get over" - I hope no one expects that of me. M is a beautiful,  happy,  easy going baby and a reminder of a major part of me that's missing.  I felt her life.  I worked hard to feed her.  I fought to keep her.  I watched her "swim " around.  I heard her heartbeat.  I daydreamed about her.  And while I never called her anything but Baby B, until she was gone,  I had a love so intense for V, that no matter how unfair it is to M,  every first with M will also be a first without V.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Test Test

So this is a pretty heavy Proverb with which to begin (I don't plan for them each to have this tone, nor to have such a long explanation) but here goes:

Proverb According to Stumpe #1-
"Jealous and arrogant: be neither."

Where this originated:
Unlike most 21 year olds celebrating their birthday, I spent mine alone (with thousands of strangers) on a sixty mile walk for breast cancer.  Yep.  Three days spent with complete strangers for a cause.  Avon handed us each a t-shirt for our participation in this walk, which we had to raise $1,500 to complete.  On that shirt is written, "Humankind. Be both."  I've loved that saying ever since.  This is my copycat version.

I am, currently, engulfed in one year anniversaries of a wonderful, awful, anticipating, fearing time in my life.  One year ago, I was pregnant with twins.  One year ago, only my husband, parents, in-laws, sister, and best friend knew this - and each of them were sworn to secrecy.  I had known for about three weeks. One year ago, I was just getting over the shock of my doctor smiling a sly smile at the screen while searching for proof of what Austin and I had been trying to accomplish for 14 months.  That smile was relief to me.  It was true; we were finally pregnant!  Then she turned the screen to me and said, "There is one.  And there is the other."  In half a second, I had a three-minute-long silent conversation with myself. 

Why is she showing me my ovaries?   No one really comes in here to see that, do they?  I guess I can feign interest in that.  What I really want to see is a baby.  We want a baby.  How long do I have to listen to the anatomy lesson as a new patient before she gets to the baby part?   Oh, wait, she probably isn't showing me that.  I've been pregnant before.  She knows this; it is on my chart.  What could it be that she is showing two?  Those are two moving black spots on two wiggly white spots.  Is that a heartbeat?  Are those heartbeats?  That means two babies.  TWO BABIES?

End silent conversation.  Begin audible voice.  "I'm having twins?"  (Smack forehead, start laughing.  Continue laughing, start crying)  Doctor says, "Yes.  You are having twins.  This is a horribly cheap sonogram, so I can't answer what kind, but I'll send you to the high definition one with the perinatologist next door for your next one.  Congratulations!  Get dressed. I'll let you have a couple of minutes to soak this in before I come in to talk about our plan."

I remember telling the first person I saw outside of the office, "I'm having twins," and then started crying.  He was a very tall, pretty husky, young, black man who asked, "You're adopting twins?"  I said, "No, I'm pregnant with twins."  His eyes got wide (I'm sure seeing my short stature and imagining two babies growing inside) and said calmly, "Don't worry.  My girlfriend has twins and she's okay and they are two awesome little dudes."

How strange that the first person I see has twins?  What are the odds?  Funny thing: one year ago, I was thrown into the world of odds. Ended up I was pregnant with mo-di (monochorionic/diamniotic) twins, meaning the girls had one placenta, but were each in their own amniotic sac.  Mo-Di twins occur in only 0.03% of pregnancies.  The percentage of twins who have a Y insertion  or shared placental insertion (meaning my twins shared an umbilical cord for about three inches before it separated into two so each could have their own) is not even really recorded.  It is an anomaly that I could read about on the internet enough to have scared myself silly, but not enough to have any answers.  Spoiler alert: this was not good news and one of my twins ceased to have a heartbeat about halfway through gestation.

Getting to the point, I promise.

Everything I do for the first time with the living daughter from this pregnancy, I have the conscience thought, "I should be (or could have been) doing this with two."

I am good friends with people who have twins.  The church I work with has nine twin sets who actively attend from birth to sixth grade.  The first funeral I attended after hearing of my loss was that of a Sunday School teacher's mother, who was, you guessed it, a twin.  It is kind of like when you get a new car you start noticing how many other (insert make of car here)'s there are on the road.  Surely, they were there before you had that brand, but now you notice it.  I notice twins.  I seem to be surrounded by twins.  TV shows, books and movies seem to be using the names we chose for our twins

After our loss, I joined a loss group online.  I have befriended some women from that group and know I have one friend with whom I will forever be friends and can text or call at any moment of the day because we both shared this unimaginable horror.  Most stories vary tremendously from my own, but each is suffering their own horror with which they are having to "deal".  Reading their stories helps me to understand I am not alone; however, that is not necessarily a comforting thought.  Some women have carried to term multiple times, never to be able to rock their child at home in their own bedroom. Some have had more losses than they have fingers.

And thus comes the proverb.  Being surrounded by twins could lead a different person to be jealous (though I'm not going to pretend I haven't toyed with jealousy at times) of those with two surviving twins but I would never allow myself to "go there" because then I would have to look at the women with more losses than me with arrogance.  Those that get to tuck both twins in at night are not any better than me than I am better than those that don't get to tuck anyone in.

You may not relate to this example (and I pray that you don't) but if no one needed to hear these words then "Thou shalt not covet" would not be one of the Ten Commandments - it's a pretty universal, and timeless, temptation.  So, next time you look at the person who owns that Cadillac CTSV with jealousy then think about looking at the person who owns that beat up jalopy with arrogance.  The next time you look at the popular kid in school with jealousy then think about looking at the outcast with arrogance.  Hopefully you would never entertain the idea of arrogance toward another human being, so why would you waste your energy on jealousy?  Simply be thankful for what you have and/or work towards what you want.

Jealous and arrogant; be neither.