Friday, May 13, 2011

I have a photo of him alive, and I'd give anything to go back to that day and try to rewrite the rest of his story.

I know I haven’t been writing a lot lately. I hope to change that. But seriously, I am not dealing well with this. At all. And what’s worse is that everyone THINKS that I AM. So I get to hear, “You are so strong,” and other such nonsense. I am broken. Broken beyond repair. My heart is shattered in a million pieces. I have so many regrets. My pain is too raw for me to even convey with words in a blog. Days like this, I don’t even know what I was thinking starting one.

Thankfully not many friends call. I do not have the energy for chit chat, as most of my energy goes into just making it through the day, or the hour, or the minute. Having a newborn makes it convenient so that when friends do call and say, “What’s wrong? You sound so tired!” I say, “Yeah, Evy kept me up all night. I am really wiped out.” They have no idea how exhausting grief is, that dealing with a newborn who wakes up a few times a night (every night, because she’s teething) and having to work full-time with unruly teenagers is NOTHING compared to how tired I am just from the sheer physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion of grieving this immeasurable loss.

We have two memory boxes underneath Evelyn’s crib in the nursery. One is an Elias box, and one is a box for anything twin-related. All the books on raising multiples, the “Got Twins?” and “Doubly blessed” maternity shirts, etc. Twin-themed items from my shower, “two peas in a pod” napkins and favors and decorations carefully and lovingly chosen by my mother and my sister in celebratory anticipation of the twins’ arrival. It’s all in there. I stumbled across my pregnancy journal, and I crumbled as I opened it up and saw a grainy 3-D ultrasound photo from the specialist. The specialist who deemed Elias healthy but sent me to the hospital for observation, where they agreed that Elias was healthy and sent me home only to find out three days later he had died. The only indication of anything being off was decreased movement, which was why the specialist sent me to L&D for monitoring. But he HAD been moving and scored points on his biophysical profile for trunk movements, his heart rate was healthy and strong, his fluid levels were great, he was practice breathing, he had grown beautifully, and he showed no distress through my contractions. He had completely normal test results.

So I went home, 36 ½ weeks, waiting to go into labor, and my son died inside of me, and I didn’t know it.

I never got to have the special 3D ultrasound photos that some women get. I was on bedrest and not permitted to do anything non-medical. I will regret not having those images for the rest of my life. At the time, I quelled my disappointment by telling myself that I wouldn’t miss the 3D images, that I would have millions of pictures of my precious twins as they grew up together.

The one grainy 3D ultrasound photo I do have from the specialist was from when I was 22 weeks and 6 days along. At the time we had not given the photo much thought, as the quality left much to be desired and we figured I would be going soon to get the nice 3D photos done. We had also been disappointed that the OB only was able to get a shot of one of our twins. So I had thrown it into my pregnancy journal, mostly because attached to it are the photos that read "it's a boy" and "it's a girl", which I thought would be a nice keepsake for their baby albums. Today, I looked at the bottom of the 3D photo and saw "A" typed there. Elias was, and always will be, baby "A" of my twin pregnancy. It was beautiful and heartbreaking to view a photo of my son's face while he had been alive.

* * * * * * * *

After visiting the memory boxes, I found my journal in a drawer. The old-fashioned, just write down your thoughts in a twenty-five cent spiral notebook journal. I used to journal constantly when I was a teenager and in my early twenties, but not so much after. I found a few entries that killed me and think I may periodically share them here. I may also share some entries from my pregnancy journal as well, who knows. I don’t know if that will be healing or not or helpful to others who may someday stumble across this or not. But I just can’t quite put into words this journey of ours. I just typed “mine” – but it isn’t my journey. It’s the journey of how our family came to be. I feel like it’s been so complicated that I can’t even wrap my mind around it. And the religion thing is just going to keep coming up here; it’s inevitable. You see, I clung to faith after my miscarriage. It made me feel closer to God. So now where do I go from here?

I feel like I need to reflect more on the past and where I’ve been before I can truly write about the present or potential future.


  1. First off, (((hugs))). You are SOO right, grief is beyond exhausting & those who haven't gone through it just don't understand it (which makes it harder for us). You are right, just do whatever it takes to get through each minute of the day. It's frustrating when others see us from the outside & think we are doing great. When in reality we are doing all we can to keep it together. I hope you have a friend or 2 in person who can see past that and let you be real & comfort you. 10 months ago today my son died. I can't say the pain lessens, you just learn how to get through your days better. I still have days that revert back to those first few months where I can barely function. That's just how grief is. Prayers for you today & feel free to contact me if you'd like to talk or need a listening ear.

  2. Hey you... thank you for your comment on Nicholas' Touch... I so appreciate it. I am glad that you wrote so that I had an opportunity to catch up on your blog... I find fb so much more convenient these days, but the blogs, wow, they are what counts. I remember Elias every day too... I remember creating his wings and taking the picture.. it turned out so amazingly beautiful... Just from your words and your love for your children I know you are fantastic. "Strong" is such an over used term in this community.... we are just forced to face the strength we never wanted to exist... love to you always.

  3. Thinking of you and wishing you peace. Thanks for sharing your blog on the CLIMB page. I am following and looking forward to more time to read.

  4. I just started reading your blog, and am so sorry for your loss of Elias.
    yes, grief is the most exhausting thing I have ever been through. I never would have believed how spent it leaves you. I couldn't concentrate, my memory was nil, and I just wanted to sleep. And 4 months out, most of those side effects are still with me, but they are getting slightly better I guess. I can't even imaging compounding grief with having a newborn AND working full time. That is a lot to handle all at once.
    And I know what you mean about the pictures. They asked us at the hospital if we wanted to have a professional photographer come in and take pictures of Love, and we declined. We were slightly horrified at the thought. Part of us thought that perhaps it would be easier to "get over" if we didn't have any pictures. How dumb is that??? I did talk my husband into taking a couple of photos that are just OK, but not great. I would give anything to go back in time and take TONS of photos. All I have are the two bad photos Andy took, and the HORRIBLY AWFUL ones the nurses took with the disposable camera. I guess it hadn't sunk in that you can never go back and get more photos when your child is going to die. So we will never have any more photos of our daughter. That thought kills me. I miss her so much.
    Thinking of you and Elias and Evelyn.