Joshua & Maria

After four months of trying, we found out I was pregnant on January 4, 1997. The morning sickness and general tiredness was much longer than my previous pregnancy, but things were going well. It was at our routine sonogram, 19 weeks and 1 day, that we found out we were having twins. That was April 19, 1997. The technician looked at the display and said ‘There’s two in here!’ It was a wonderful shock. Paul’s first reaction was to make sure everything was fine with both babies, then he relaxed. We were both ecstatic and had a lot of fun telling our family the news. One boy, Joshua Matthew, and one girl, Maria Nicole.

At 27 weeks I started to have contractions, so my doctor limited my activity. I was no longer allowed out of the house. Approximately 5 days later I was in the hospital with more contractions and had started to dilate. This prompted bed rest, medication to stop the contractions, and uterine monitoring four times a day. My mother came up from California to help us out with our 1-year-old son, Tony. It was going to be a long 8 weeks, but only a minor inconvenience to make sure my babies were born healthy. I kept having contractions and continued to dilate. But we hit the 35-week mark and I was taken off the bed rest, medicine and monitoring. At that point I was 3 cm. dilated and was sure that the babies would be coming at any time. The next night I went into labor but after about 6 hours it stopped. I was at the hospital a couple more times with false labor and the babies were still doing just fine.

My doctor and I decided that if I was still pregnant at 38 weeks then I would be induced. It was scheduled for Wednesday, August 27, 1997. That Monday my doctor appointment went just fine and I waited anxiously. We went in to the hospital on Wednesday around 12:30 p.m., fully expecting to be bringing two beautiful babies home with us. My doctor broke my water, where Joshua was, and the nurses hooked me up to the fetal monitor. They could find Maria’s heartbeat just fine, but were having trouble finding Joshua’s. They brought in an old ultrasound machine, which was kept on the floor, to help locate where his heart was and thought they found it. Still the fetal monitor wasn’t picking up a heartbeat. They then hooked up a sensor to his head and the readings were jumping all over the place. My doctor had the nurse get a newer ultrasound machine from the radiology department to help us out. I was sure that I had felt Joshua move that morning, so I was sure that this was just a problem with the equipment. My husband was standing back behind the doctor looking at the image from the ultrasound. It wasn’t until I saw the look on his face that I knew something was wrong. Then my doctor looked at me and told me there was no heartbeat. I never thought I could feel that much pain. To make sure that Maria was delivered safely and quickly, I was given a spinal and then rushed in for an emergency c-section. I knew when they delivered Joshua because someone said, ‘2:48’ and then it was quiet. Maria came a minute later, her cry being the most wonderful thing I have ever heard and also the most painful. Joshua was 6 lb. 13 oz and 19+ inches long. Maria was 5 lb. 11 oz. and 17+ inches long.

That Saturday we had a memorial service for him and he was buried in the Garden of Angels. The amount of support we got from our family and friends was amazing, you’d think they all knew Joshua personally.

It is now four months later, and I still can’t believe how much it hurts. I thought time would make it easier, but it hasn’t, I’ve just found more ways to keep myself busy. I found a person to touch up a photo of Joshua and I have it on my dresser. It makes me smile to see him because looks like he is only sleeping. There is so much I wanted to do for him, to show him and tell him. I miss him. We found out that Joshua had died on that Tuesday, the 26th, it was a cord accident. If only I had gone into labor days earlier…

Well, now we are concentrating on trying to keep things good for Tony and Maria. We got through the holidays and I am very glad they are over. We did decide that since Joshua actually died on the 26th of August, we would remember him on that day, and the 27th would be to celebrate Maria’s birth. I guess we’ll just have to take things as they come. Garth Brooks sings a song called ‘The Dance’. It is about a relationship that ended painfully, but they did have a beautiful dance together. He sings that if he had known it would have ended badly he could have done things differently and avoided all the pain. He thinks things are better left to chance because he wouldn’t have wanted to miss the dance, regardless of the pain. The song reminds me of Joshua and I think of my pregnancy as our dance together. It was a very special time we had together where we did get to know him and be with him. I am very thankful for that.