1. At 25 weeks I found out I was having twins, a boy and a girl. Four blissful days we walked around, telling anyone and everyone our good news. Then came the call, ”There’s a problem with your little girl.” Vivian, we were told, had Trisomy 13, and was not expected to live. The amazing thing is that my love for her grew stronger for her every day. I begged God for a miracle. On Thursday, July 15, 1999 I learned during an ultrasound that she had died. I went into labor the next day, and on July 25, delivered my babies at 39 weeks. Clay weighed 9 lbs., Vivvy weighed just over 2 lbs. She was so tiny, and so frail looking. I wanted to hold her forever.
2. When I remember Vivian… I think of how I waited for her to move each day. When I felt her I was so relieved that she was still alive.
3. The worst part… People asking if I was having twins, then congratulating me, telling me how lucky I was to be having a girl and a boy. Now having to explain why I only have one baby. Also, those people who say, ”Well, at least you have one baby”, as if she didn’t really matter.
4. I have dealt with anger by… Trying to be thankful for my three beautiful, healthy children. I hear others’ stories and think to myself, ”That is worse than losing Vivian.”
5. I still have problems with… Seeing twins and baby girls. I will always have a problem with family members who refuse to talk about her, or say her name. I want to scream, ”SHE DID EXIST!!!”
6. I have learned that… It’s all right to still be crying every day, even if she has been gone for four months. I take my days one at a time. I know it will get easier, but for now it’s still so very hard.
7. I no longer think that… Babies are born healthy, even when you have tried to do everything right. I will never take a healthy baby, or a child’s face for granted again.
8. I remember when… I first found out there were two, I felt like the luckiest woman alive. Also, the feel and smell of Vivian’s sweet little head, and how Clay started to sob when they took her away.
9. My husband and I feel close… When we see a baby girl and can look at each other and feel the other’s pain.
10. The best times to remember Vivian are… When she was still safe inside, moving around with her brother, still needing me and hearing my voice.
11. The worst times to remember Vivian are… One of the last ultrasounds I had, she looked so weak and tired and I knew there was to be no miracle.
12. Sometimes I wish… I could hold her and smell her once more, I wish she had been born alive so that I could have looked into her eyes and told her how very, very much I loved her.
13. When I could handle it again… I would go to the cemetery where her ashes are buried between her cousins’ graves. I’m just not ready to think of her that way yet.
14. If I could choose whether to have twins again… I would if I were younger. At 37 I worry there would be another problem. I don’t ever want to lose another child.
A Year Later…
It has been over a year since our babies were born, and our sweet little Vivian died. I never really thought I would make it to this point. What can I say to those who are so new in their grief; that it gets easier. Does it?
July started off in a bad way. There were just too many reminders. ”That’s where they told me my baby was going to die. That’s where they told me she had died.” It seems that every outing took me past a place that reminded me of my loss. All the while, I had this beautiful baby boy, soon to be a year old. How is it possible to go from total despair, to utter happiness, all in the same hour?
I knew the first birthday would be hard, and I also knew I didn’t want Clay to celebrate alone. I invited my nephew over from California (his birthday is a few weeks before Clay and Vivian’s). We had a cake, which included Hank’s name along with Clay’s. I just could not stand the thought of seeing his name all alone. I was so torn; I wanted this to be a happy day for him, yet the sadness was overwhelming. The girls each made a card for Vivian, and it was placed on the gift table. We also read the poem my daughter, Daryn, wrote for Vivian. We keep it in a frame next to the family photos. We lit a candle, and drank a toast to our sweet baby girl.
What amazed me was the way no one seemed to remember we had had two babies. My sister, who also lost her baby girls, was the only one who acknowledged our loss. Everyone else went on as if Clay had been the only one born. I don’t have to tell you how much this hurt. I would love to say Clay’s first birthday was a day filled with laughter and happiness. I can’t count how many times I cried. I think all those months of watching first steps, and hearing first words, finally caught up to me.
I will say, my public breakdowns are not as frequent as they once were. I no longer cry when I see baby girls; this is reserved only for when I see twins. I really don’t think I will ever pass a set of twins without crying. Just a month after the birthday, we were told that my sister-in-law was expecting triplets. Of course, my husband’s family is just thrilled about this. We found out Vivian might die just days after we were told we were having twins. My husband’s family never even spoke her name after that. To this day, they act as if she never existed. I just cannot “get into” this pregnancy. They speak openly about twins and triplets in front of me, like I never had twins. It hurts so much, yet I keep a straight face. I know they are all watching me, and I will not give them the satisfaction of knowing how much it hurts.
I would like to say there is one bit of happy news I can pass on. We are adopting a baby girl from China. Actually, we had talked about doing this before I found out I was having twins. After 7-1/2 months, our dossier is finally in China, and now we are in the waiting period. We are hoping to receive a referral by April. The girls have named our baby Leigha Grace. She has given me so much to look forward to. Instead of passing up all those cute girl things I would have bought Vivian, I buy them for Leigha. She will never replace Vivian, I think you all understand that. But she does give us hope and happiness, something I thought I had lost. There was nothing I could have done to save Vivian’s life, yet I can offer Leigha a life with us, and it feels so right.
So, to those of you new in your grief, I don’t cry every day, but I still cry. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of our baby girl. I would do anything to have her back with me. The longing to hold her one last time is so overwhelming at times, and yet I manage to get through it.
I wear a necklace with a little girl and boy. Every day I am reminded of the sweet little girl I carried inside of me for nine months, and every day I am reminded that she is no longer with me. She is in my thoughts always, and I love and miss her so very much. I talk about her to Clay. I want him to know he had a twin.
I go on living, but my heart is still broken.