Our Twin Story: Continued

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My oldest daughter, Lane drew this picture for us after we lost the twins. She said it was to help remember them. Her sweet heart never ceases to amaze me. We are so blessed.

Phew! Last week. Man, last week’s post was…it was really just so hard. I literally cried through the whole thing. And then I went upstairs and cried some more. And then I stopped. And then cried again some more. And then stopped…I think you get the picture. This was on and off again for most of the rest of the night. Then I felt it for the next few days. I usually read and re-read and then re-read my posts before publishing them. But I couldn’t do that with last week’s. I was too empty by the end of it. I had used up too much of myself to worry about if anything flowed or made any sense. Some of it doesn’t, by the way. There’s a lot of disjointed things in there. I thought about going back and editing it. But then that’s not real. There’s so much real, raw emotion in that post that I simply cannot fabricate. I know so many of you feel that real, raw pain in your lives. I think I would be shortchanging somebody if I went back and “fixed” it. And so, disjointed and imperfect I’ll leave it. Parts of it may make me crazy, but I honestly think it’s for the best.

I’ve received such an outpouring of love and support since last week. I just want to say thanks to you all for that. I honestly couldn’t walk this road without the people we have surrounding us. God has been so good to us. He has provided such amazing friends and relationships. Thank the Lord we serve such a kind and loving God!

But anyway, back to last week’s post. I could barely even finish it. It jolted my soul for sure. Not in a bad way, but definitely in a hurting kind of way. But also in a healing kind of way. I’ve had brief moments of grief come up out of nowhere this week. Things that I haven’t dealt with all the way yet. I think last week’s post sort of opened up the floodgates for that to happen. I’m certainly glad for that, but it has made for some real, hard moments. Moments in the kitchen where I’m getting some tea after the kids are in bed and I have a memory literally out of nowhere, and start to cry. It’s not like me, but I think it’s really good for me. I’ve only made it so far on this road to healing. I’ve come a long way, but I still have a long way to go. In some ways, I know I will never heal fully, but I am so glad that the Lord is not done with me yet.

Friends, I miss my babies. I miss them every single day. There is never a day that goes by where I don’t think of them. Sometimes it’s hard for me to grasp that I have s-e-v-e-n babies. Seven. That’s a lot of babies. I often wonder what our lives would look like if all seven of them were here. I’m overwhelmingly grateful for my four babies that are earth-side, but I can’t ever help but wonder about all the what-ifs.

That being said, I never let myself wonder long about those what-ifs. That isn’t useful for me. Instead I try to redirect myself to the here and now. How can I use their short little lives to make an impact? How can I use what pain I’ve experienced and turn it into something beautiful? I have to remind myself over and over again that God has a purpose for their lives. There was a reason that they were created. Honestly, and I really hope that I’m not offending anybody when I say this: honestly, sometimes I get really, really angry that I got pregnant with those sweet babies at all. I hate admitting that. I am grateful, only in a different sort of a way. See, it would have been much easier to not have ever been pregnant with them than to have been pregnant with them and lose them the way I did. And so, I have to remind myself that I did get pregnant with them. And there is a reason for that. I carried them in my belly for so long for a purpose. It is not all for naught. There’s a distinctly difficult beauty about that truth. And I’m sitting here still trying to figure out what that is all about. I’m still trying to fight and struggle through it.

So welcome! You get to be my audience through this process. Hopefully I can shed some light for some of you. Hopefully I can let you know that you are not alone. Hopefully I can inspire you to share your own stories. Whether they be baby loss, infertility, or something else entirely. I know I sound like a broken record here, but we cannot do this thing called life alone. We just can’t! We were not created for that. We were created for relationships. We were created to bear one another’s burdens. To rejoice with one another and to weep with one another. I’ve had to learn to live in that kind of a way. It doesn’t always come naturally to me. Sometimes it feels uncomfortable. It certainly felt uncomfortable last week. I kid you not, last week was one of the most vulnerable moments of my life. Maybe that didn’t come across the screen, but, boy oh boy, I sure did feel it sitting here at my desk. I felt it hard. Last week wrecked me. And yet, last week brought me healing that I have long been waiting for.

This journey is long and hard. It’s exhausting. But there are parts of it that are simply inexplicably beautiful. There are things that make it all “worth it.” Thank you so much for sharing in my journey. Thank you for seeing me, and for hearing me. Thank you for not letting me walk alone. I pray mightily that I can do the same for you.

Our Judah Story-Part 2

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From the beginning of my pregnancy I was really sick. But I didn’t care. I knew the joy that it would create, the joy that would follow. I knew how “worth it” all the sickness would be. I had been sick with my first and knew it was normal. People would ask how I was feeling and my answer was always the same, “SO sick! Even more sick than I was with Lane. But it’s ok. It’s going to be worth it.” Over and over and over again, I said those words, I heard myself say those words. At some point, I started to get abnormally sick. I remember looking at myself in the mirror every morning and thinking, “Gosh, I look like death.” I was so pale, and my eyes looked sickly. I couldn’t really pinpoint what it was, but something about me looked “deathlike.” I honestly don’t think I have ever looked worse than I did  during those months that I was pregnant with Judah. However, make up is a beautiful, wonderful thing that covers a multitude of flaws, so most people never actually saw how awful and sick I looked.

One day, when I was probably 13 weeks or so along,  I was going about my day teaching my theatre class. Our insurance had still not been approved, so I hadn’t had the chance to see the doctor yet. I started to notice a familiar pain in my feet. During my pregnancy with Lane, my feet swelled up like balloons. They hurt so bad that entire summer. It was a pain I knew well. I looked closely at my feet, pushed on them, poked them a little bit. Sure enough, they were a teeny bit swollen. It concerned me some, I knew it was too early to be swelling, but even so I tried to brush it off as normal. I asked my mom (who is a nurse) if she thought they seemed swollen to her too. She agreed; it wasn’t just in my head. She told me to bring it up when I did see the doctor. She knew it was a red flag, and tried to convince me it was a big deal without actually scaring me.

The next few weeks happened so quickly and it all seems like a blur. My timeline is probably off, but know everything else that I am about to tell you happened between 13ish-18ish weeks of my pregnancy.

It wasn’t too long after my feet started to swell that our insurance was approved (praise Jesus!). I can’t remember if I saw the doctor or not before I started to get crazy sick. I think it was near the end of my 13th week, and I started to get this weird pain in my upper stomach. It wasn’t constant. I felt it every other step. I was at the mall with one of my good friends, and I just kept telling her that my stomach hurt in a weird kind of way. Every other step. The next day, the pain was worse. It still wasn’t constant, but if I was walking, it was every step. Finally, on day three, it was pretty bad. My mom, Lane, and I went to a local park to play and I couldn’t even focus I was in so much pain. And I had lost my appetite entirely. Mom took me to one of my favorite restaurants downtown in hopes that I would be able to eat something. I took a few bites. I went home and tried to get some rest. That night we were attending a surprise party for a dear friend of ours. His wife had planned the whole thing weeks in advance and we were so excited to go. We went, and I had to leave early because the pain had grown so much. I groaned and cried the whole way home. As soon as we got home, Blake helped me into bed and I called the on-call doctor (of course it was a weekend). I had an appointment the following Thursday morning and I had been hoping that I could hold out until then to figure out what was going on.

By the time the on-call doctor had called back, I could barely even speak, the pain was so intense. She told me the problems I was describing to her were not because I was pregnant. It was impossible that I was experiencing any of those symptoms from my pregnancy because I simply was not far enough along. I was told to maybe go to the urgent care or the ER. I was basically disregarded. The last thing I wanted to do was sit in an uncomfortable chair, writhing and screaming in pain for hours in a crowded room with a bunch of sick people. I have no idea why she gave me that response. When I was 14 weeks pregnant with Lane, I had some serious pain in my lower stomach, and  when I called the on-call doctor to see what was going on, she was afraid it was appendicitis, and told me to come in right away. Turns out it was scar tissue tearing, and I was just fine. But the point is, she told me to come in and see her even though it was not a “pregnancy related problem.”

We decided to stay at home and try to ride it out until Monday morning when my doctor would be in. My mom came over that night with her stethoscope and blood pressure cuff so she could monitor me. My blood pressure was high. The pain was bad. I was miserable. I don’t really remember that weekend.

That Monday was my birthday. I woke up feeling like death itself. My husband was running a job at the mall at that time, just around the corner from us, so Lane and I went to see him, and a few of the guys he worked with. Blake bought me some chick-fil-a and a smoothie (two of my favorite things), hoping I would eat or drink. I couldn’t do either. All three of them told me I looked terrible. I was anxious to go to my appointment so they could tell me what was going on. I kissed Blake goodbye and went to drop Lane off with my mom, who was teaching some classes that day. After I dropped her off, I drove the long drive to my doctor’s office.

When I arrived and told them what had happened over the weekend they asked why I didn’t call. When I told them I did, they asked why I didn’t come in. They were also confused when I told them why I hadn’t come in. They took my blood pressure-which was still way too high. My hormone levels were out the roof, and my doctor told me they thought I might have pregnancy induced hyperthyroidism. I certainly had all the signs.  My doctor told me he wanted to see me again the next day. I told him I had an appointment that Thursday and he said Thursday wasn’t soon enough. Then he sent me downstairs for some testing. I can honestly say it was the worst birthday I have ever had.