Sunday, August 5, 2012

We have arrived

I'm here, on the day I worried about for the past twelve months: the anniversary of our babies' deaths and births. So far, knock on wood, it's ok. The astrologer I saw a couple of times in the early summer told me that I was going to be ok on these two days, yesterday and today, and so far, she's right. What a blessing.

The previous week was a little rough. I found myself wiping away hot tears or holding back rogue sobs several different times, never for really obvious reasons (other than the impending obvious). Interestingly, I was transported back somewhat to those very early weeks of grief, when the day of the week, rather than the actual date, held so much significance: the Sunday before (our one and only joyful trip to Babies 'R' Us during the pregnancy); Wednesday (the anniversary of our full ultrasound scan at the hospital to try and get to the bottom of my peach-turned-red mucus discharge, which I now know was a symptom of incompetent cervix).

I expected Thursday (the day Aliya's water broke and our lives turned upside down) and Friday (the day they were born) to be the same, but they weren't. Whew.

Folks had been asking whether we were going to have some sort of memorial service this weekend, and the simple fact is (and it's more complicated, but...) - we're not ready. I can't wrap my mind yet around planning something like that and having everyone around for it. Paul's been battling his demons and is in no position to face an event like that, no matter how big or small. Maybe next year, we'll just have to see.

I was reflecting, though, on our hospital experience, and my heart swells every time I think of the care we received from our three favorite nurses. Paul and I agreed to bring treats to the Family Birth Center - not just for our nurses, but for all of them - on Thursday evening. No, the actual anniversary of our 30-hour ordeal there wasn't until this weekend, but given that everything went down on Thursday and Friday last year, AND given we've run into two of our nurses a few times on our way to our Thursday night support group, we thought we'd chance it. I decided on cupcakes, but the bakery I thought I'd use, which is just down the street from my work, had crappy reviews (I'm sorry, but cupcakes "dry as cornbread" weren't going to cut it for this event!). I was going to give up and make them myself, but my counselor told me about Sweet Charley B's Cupcakery, over by our big farmer's market, and once I learned that the owner opened and named the store in honor of the daughter she lost to a blood infection at age six (Charlotte=Charley), I knew it was the perfect place to buy our cakes. I had made a dozen paper butterfly picks out of pink and blue vellum and scrap book paper, so I popped one into each cake when we got home, and then printed up a sign to tape inside the lid of the box so *everyone* who reached for a cupcake would know why they were there. In the end, our nurses weren't on duty, but the two who took the treats and card were very sweet and appropriately sympathetic. I cried a little as we walked out, but we both felt good about our decision to bring treats.
I imagine these were as tasty as they were beautiful!

Yesterday we decided to hang out in Westport for the day. It was nice. It was supposed to be super hot at home (in the 90s, ick!), so being near the ocean seemed like a good way to beat the heat. Plus, even though we were never there during our pregnancy, we spent time in the sand and crying at the waves in the weeks after we lost the twins, so somehow I feel closest to them there. I see my babies in the sparkles in the sand. I remembered my premonition there last year, and realized Paul was right...not only was the timing off (further off than I ever expected), but there's no way it'll be true next August, either, at least not with a baby the age I saw in my mind's eye. It was actually really hot there, too, over 80 degrees with a stiff breeze. We sat on a log and watched the waves for quite a while (and a couple with their beautiful horse, who they were probably breaking to ride in the dunes), then went back into town for dinner at Bennett's Fish Shack (!). It was a nice day. We both felt pretty at peace, which is amazing. When we came home, there was a lovely flower arrangement waiting on our side porch (Heather B. and Jason, we love you!!!), a very nice surprise. I did have a meltdown in the evening when I realized I'd lost my Aliya and Bennett locket (it's currently chainless so I carried it in my pocket)...but two or three minutes into my angry tearfest, I looked down and saw it on the bathroom floor. Thank you, God!

Twin Harbors State Park - crowded!
Lots of surfers, but few good waves.

We couldn't resist. Pretty tasty!

It's hard to say what today will bring. Our new Scottish Highland cow (well, bred heifer, technically) is coming home today (yay!), and we have to get ready for another week (laundry galore, house cleaning, Costco), so I suspect it will be low key.

And just like that, it'll be over with. We will have survived our first year of grief. That in itself feels like the most amazing accomplishment, something I couldn't imagine getting through months ago. We're looking forward to Tuesday's IVF consultation at University of Washington (so far, both people I've talked to there were fantastic!). We'll see what the future holds for us...but know that our babies will always, always, always be there in our hearts.


  1. HUGS!! I wish I could say or do more, but all I can offer you is some virtual hugs.

  2. ((Loving you)) Where you are today. Deane

  3. I have been feeling especially weepy this 4th and 5th day of the month. Missing Addison and also thinking about how you two have survived the first year of grief. A year without Aliya and Bennett it's amazing to me that any parent can survive the loss of their baby(s) it doesn't seem right and yet we do. We are left to carry out their memory. You and P have done a beautiful job of sharing Aliya and Bennett, keeping their memory alive and reminding the world that they were here, they mattered and they are you children. Love to you all my friend. Xxxooo

  4. Thinking of you! For me the days leading up to the one year (Wed and Thurs for me)were also much harder than the actual date. I think it's so sweet that you took cupcakes to the nurses, I haven't been able to do anything like that.

  5. Thinking of y'all and have been especially the last few days! Glad it's going easy on you. Hoping for a wonderful appt tues!

  6. Sometimes I think the anticipation of anniversaries of loss is harder than the day itself. Taking the cupcakes is a lovely way to mark a year's passage for the journey you've been on, and I know you find ways to honor your children's place in your heart in so many ways, every day.

  7. Happy Angelversary to your precious babies today. My thoughts are with you and your DH as you face this bittersweet day together.

    I think you will be pleasantly surprised when it comes to a close and you can go back to now having the feelings coming back so raw.

  8. I agree with Beth- often the anticipation (dread?) of the anniversaries is far worse than "the" day(s).

    I love that you brought the cupcakes to the hospital, and I love that you bought them from a baby-loss bakery.

    Hope Tuesday brings you fantastic news. xox

  9. (((Hugs))) You are incredibly strong! That is a great idea to bring cupcakes to the hospital. My thoughts are with you & your DH! I hope your appointment goes well.

  10. I know it's the 6th, but know I was thinking of you and your sweet twins and I'm still thinking of them today. Love to you.

  11. Your day sounds peaceful and beautiful. I am sure your favorite nurses got your note and have been thinking of you and your babies too! XO

  12. Such a heartwarming post. I had tears in my eyes for you and really feel that this will propel you forward into the future. You will never leave your babies behind, even though it may feel like it. Your love for them is intense and real and always will be.
    Happy Birthday A & B!

  13. There is something heartbreaking about surviving the first year. For me, I felt the heavy symptoms of grief begin to lift somewhere between 14 and 16 months out. So glad you found that locket. Thinking of you, A & B.


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