Jordan & Brianna
In February of 1996, I hadn’t been feeling well and thought there was a possibility I was pregnant. My suspicions were right. I was excited and very nervous. My boyfriend, David, and I had only been dating four months. We had a good relationship but I was afraid he wouldn’t be as excited with the news of a baby. I was wrong. The very next day, he presented me with a diamond ring and asked me to marry him. We were married May 18, 1996. A few weeks after the wedding, we had our first ultrasound. I was 16 weeks along and my doctor felt I was “growing too fast.” This was when we found out we were having fraternal twins. Both David and my mother were with me. I was so excited and scared. I felt myself holding back the tears. In the background, I could hear my mother and David playfully arguing about what the sex of the babies would be. All the way home from the hospital I kept slapping David’s arm repeatedly saying, “We are having two babies!” We couldn’t tell our family and friends fast enough. The next several months of the pregnancy were uneventful until I went to my doctor’s appointment at 36 weeks along. It was the first appointment David wasn’t able to attend. He was out of town on business. The doctor was concerned with the elevation in my blood pressure and also the extra 5 lbs. I gained that week. He recommended an amniocentesis. “If the babies’ lungs are developed, you will be a mother tomorrow.” The test revealed the babies’ lungs were mature. Tomorrow was the day we had been waiting for. I called David and he was on his way home.
On October 16, 1996, I delivered two healthy babies via c-section (both babies were breech). Baby A was a 4 lb. 11 oz. boy, Jordan Michael. Baby B was a 5 lb. 5 oz. girl, Brianna Marie. We were so incredibly happy, “the perfect family!” All of my fears of having a multiple pregnancy finally came to rest. My babies were here and they were healthy. Life seemed so perfect.
Jordan and Brianna thrived. They were the center of our universe, it was difficult caring for two babies but the joys outweighed the challenges. I remember Jordan and Brianna’s first encounter. They were about 3-1/2 months old. I was home alone and had each one sitting on my lap facing each other. Their eyes met and both of them began to smile and giggle. This lasted for about ten minutes. It was the sweetest thing I had ever seen. They continued to grow and become the best of friends.
Moving ahead to April 12, 1998…It was Easter Sunday and the children were now a few days lacking 18 months old. We woke up early, as usual. David and I carried Jordan and Brianna into the living room where their Easter baskets were waiting. They were always so much fun to just sit and watch! After breakfast, we got ready for our two-hour trip to my father’s home. We packed up the car and the children and off we went. I remember commenting on how well-behaved the twins were during the long drive. Little did I know, this would turn into the longest, saddest day of our life.
After we ate our Easter dinner, I began helping in the kitchen with clean-up duty. David and my father proceeded to the family room to watch baseball. Jordan and Brianna were playing somewhere in-between. The next thing I remember is yelling to David, “Is Brianna with you?” “No, she’s not!” “Oh God, I can’t find here!” I then began running frantically through the house looking everywhere for her. David immediately ran out on the screened-in back porch. I heard someone scream and I ran as fast as I could. My heart was racing. When I arrived on the porch, David was already holding Brianna’s wet and lifeless body. He had pulled her out of the in-ground swimming pool. She was found lying face-down in seven inches of rain water that had accumulated on the cover. I yelled for someone to call 911 and I immediately initiated CPR (I can still taste her). She was not breathing and her heart had stopped. I remember looking up at Jordan and he was just staring at us, like he knew exactly what had just happened. He stood frozen. I remember thinking, this can’t be happening. Things like this don’t happen to us! When the EMT’s arrived, they took over the CPR. I rode with Brianna in the ambulance. David followed in a police car. I remember praying to God out loud. My entire body was shaking uncontrollably. I remember being more vulnerable than I have ever been in my life. “Please God, just help Brianna pull through this and I’ll do ANYTHING!” Once we arrived at the hospital, they tried for over an hour to revive her. That hour seemed like years. I swear I could write a book about what transpired at the hospital in that hour. A thousand emotions from hope to despair. It was too late, our beautiful daughter had drowned!
It wasn’t until we returned to the house did we know how Brianna got outside. There was a hole in the lower part of the screen door that led right to the pool. Although the yard was fenced in, the pool within the yard was not. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain she endured during the last minutes of her life. I have to stop myself when I try. It just hurts too much!
It has been very difficult for me to write this story and has literally taken me more than six months to put together. I am not very articulate and although writing this has been therapeutic for me, I would rather speak of Brianna in life, not death. She was a beautiful little girl of almost 18 months. Although a fraternal twin to Jordan, they looked a lot alike. She frequently fashioned a smile as big as her face. She had auburn hair and big blue eyes. Family members nicknamed her “Breezy” because she could mess up a room in minutes flat (curiosity at its best). Her favorite toy was Molly, the doll from “The Big Comfy Couch.” She took that doll with her everywhere. Molly was buried with her so they could always be together. Next to Molly, Jordan was Brianna’s closest pal. Not only were they twins, but also the best of friends. I loved to watch them together. Oh how I miss watching them!
I would like to take the time to WARN others of the dangers of full screen doors. They cannot protect children from getting outside. Also, I urge anyone with young children and swimming pools to take extra precautions to prevent such an accident. They now make hard covers that a child could walk on, as well as pool alarms that make a loud annoying sound when something enters the pool. We can never be too careful when it comes to the safety of our children. We learned the hard way and now we must live without our daughter. It has now been over a year since Brianna’s death. I have lived through all of the “firsts” without her, and also the “what ifs.” Not a day goes by without thoughts of her. I miss her so much. I am so thankful for the emotional support I have received from my husband and mother. Jordan has given me the strength to wake up in the morning. I thank him for needing me and I thank God for him! After a tubal reversal in June of 1998, we were fortunate to become pregnant the very next month. On April 28, 1999 (one year and 12 days after Brianna’s death) I gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Carter. He is truly a gift from Brianna, I know he is! It gives me much joy to know Jordan now has a sibling on earth to grow with and also a guardian angel in heaven to watch over him always. I want to thank all of the CLIMBers, especially Pat (Mommie to Donald, his identical twin Daniel, and Robert) who have become a part of my life. Walking down the road of grief is an endless journey and it is comforting to know I am not alone! (Although saddened you must walk beside me!) Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
“One Beautiful Day We Will Be Together Again”
…She has also now given birth to a second daughter.