Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tightrope Walk

This isn't a rainbow baby blog.  I remember being in raw grief and reading loss blogs that had turned into rainbow blogs, and in that raw grief it was just something I really couldn't handle.
So I rarely post here about William.  Or Evelyn, for that matter, except to share the complicated balance of raising a single twin.  My surviving children get plenty of love and attention on Facebook, so this is Elias's space, and a space for me to share my grief.  Anyone who believes I am "stuck" in my grief because this blog doesn't mention William or Evelyn often, well, they must not be people who know me very well, because I am batsh*t crazy over all of my children.  (They also must not understand how much of a trigger photos of babies can be for women who are in raw grief.)

Obviously then, I don't post photos here often.  In fact I barely have time to post here at all.  I maintain many of my relationships, connections, friendships, etc. via real life and Facebook. 
And the fact that life pulls me away from this space is a reassuring thing for me and my grief journey.

However, this relates to Elias.

Oh how alike these two look.  So much that people in public start to comment. 
And it makes my heart sing, and it makes my heart sob.

We will never know what Elias would have looked like at eight months old, as William is in this photo.  Evelyn and Elias were obviously fraternal twins, and many fraternal twins look nothing alike.  But those two certainly did at birth.  The fact that Will shared their features at his birth as well and is turning out to resemble his sister as he grows is something that just really pulls at my heartstrings. 

I know, I KNOW, that William is his own separate person.  His own amazing unique individual self.  Just as Evelyn is, just as Elias had been (and still is). 

And so here it is, another balancing act for me.  Catching glimpses of what might have been, what could have been, and by any outside accounts we have that "perfect family!" of one boy one girl.

Yesterday a nurse said, "You're so lucky" after asking what genders our children are.  (She didn't know our history at that point.  I wonder if she would have said that, knowing?)

We are lucky.  Even with the missing, and the grief, and all of it, we are lucky.  I know that.  But as time goes on, I realize more how complicated this life will continue to be as we perform these daily balancing acts, hopefully improving in our grace and agility to maintain our equilibrium.  Living the life that is while sometimes straying to thoughts of what could have been.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

So Much on my Mind and Heart

I don't even know where to begin.  This is going to be a mess of a post, because my heart is just so heavy, and it could be for many different reasons.
I feel for so many of my friends and their hardships right now. 
THAT is first and foremost, surely.

My high school friend whose baby girl just had surgery to remove a tumor, and they just found out it was a neuroblastoma.  I know it's good that they caught it so early (they are thinking stage I), but she is only ten months old, and it just breaks my heart that she is going through all of this right now.

And I'd be lying if I didn't admit that my mind goes to my own baby, my sweet second son, and how much I just want HIM to be okay, how terrifying it is to remember that it isn't just miscarriage and stillbirth that potentially threatens our sweet children.  The second he was delivered healthy and screaming I let out the biggest sigh of relief I've ever breathed in my life, and yet the worry is still there.  It's not the same as the fear of stillbirth, but it's there.  I feel my anxiety creeping up.  I want to just tuck my surviving children away into a bubble and protect them, but I know that's not healthy, nor is it possible.

I feel for a friend in the loss community who has already suffered a stillbirth near term with one of her multiples and now faces the seeming imminent  premature delivery of her rainbow baby, as her water has broken at 27 weeks. 
When I found out, the first feeling I had was anger.  Just pure anger.  I haven't felt angry like this in a long time.  Why can't those of us who have had traumatic losses be protected somehow from experiencing problems, hardships, or losses in subsequent pregnancies?

I haven't prayed much lately, but God, here goes nothing.

Please let my friend's sweet baby girl be cancer-free.  Let there be no more tumors wreaking havoc on her innocent little body.

Please let my friend's pregnancy last at least a few more weeks (she's hoping six!) so that her precious baby won't have to suffer any negative effects of prematurity.

From the bottom of my heart, I am just really sad.  My personal problems will have to wait for another post, because they shy so in comparison to what these families are going through.  And right now, my heart is heavy for them.

I keep telling myself something my therapist wrote on a piece of paper the last time I saw her, which was probably about seven months ago:

There is no such thing as absolute certainty, but there is assurance sufficient for the purposes of human life.
~ John Stuart Mill

Monday, September 2, 2013

Epiphany, Perspective, and Freedom.

I'm still here.  Not writing as much as I'd like to be or keeping up with blogs like I'd love to be, but I'm here.  Life happens.  Things are really nuts for me with starting a new position job-wise.  It feels amazing to walk into a building where I was NEVER pregnant.  To walk halls without specific grief triggers.  To be amongst new coworkers who don't know me well, who may have heard through the grapevine that I lost a child but don't know the details, who weren't directly involved in my life during the time of my loss. 
To know I am being treated as I am for who I am, not for what I've been through.
I feel more readily able to compartmentalize personal from professional, keep my heart from being worn on my sleeve, keep my work from following me home too much, and I think this new environment is the reason for it.  And, well, as a mom to one twin in my arms and one twin in my heart, the art of compartmentalization is something I've become particularly skilled at.

It's just a really nice change having a new position. 

I may have said this before, but I'll say it again.  After baby loss, most people do something drastic.  To maybe mark what happened.  To maybe "deal" with what happened.  To try and survive what happened.

Take an exotic vacation (but we have no $ to do that). 
Move to a new city (but we LOVE where we live - the people, the city, the weather). 
Have an affair or get a divorce (but we still love each other, so no thanks). 
Have another baby right away (  For so many reasons, I couldn't do that right away.)
Get a tattoo (which is what my husband did). 
Make all new friends and let go of the old ones (Okay, so I've done a little of that, deleted 300 people off of FB and am much more selective about who I let "in" to my real life, but I still have a few of my old friends, the real ones who care to invest the time and energy into getting to know the new me.  They are few and far between, but they're gold, and they know who they are).
Get a new job (Ding ding ding ding ding!!!  Winner winner, chicken dinner!).

(Loss moms am I forgetting anything on this list???)

So I'm not sure how much attention I can give this space as I enter this new chapter of my life.  But I can't bring myself to shut it down.  I still need it.  Yes, need.  And that's what keeps it here.

* * * * *

People have been asking me how I've been doing with the whole neighbor-who-has-twins-thing.  I feel so blessed to have people who care enough to read something on my blog and check in with me in real life (although most of the people in my real life don't know this space even exists, which is mostly just how I like it). 

Amazingly, or not-so-amazingly, I'm kind of okay.  I say not-so-amazingly because really it shouldn't bother me so much to see twins.  I mean they are everywhere.  I have twins in my family, I have friends that are twins, I have friends that have twins, I have students that are twins, and I will never forget that I am a mother to twins, even if society doesn't consider that to be the case.

I will admit that it helped immensely to find out that the babies in that candy-apple-red stroller are twin boys and not boy / girl twins.  I can't tell you enough how much that just helped me "cope", if you can even call it that.  I had my initial freak-out when I saw the woman with that double stroller, I had my angry and bitter moments when I kept seeing her repeatedly, and then I had the rational realization that since I live right by the park this was bound to happen and not something that God / The Fates / The Universe was plotting against me.

I don't want her babies.  I just miss my Elias.
And honestly, I miss him so much more than I miss that "twin experience". 
He is so much more than double strollers and matchy outfits and "built in best friends" and all the other things that society pushes on our culture about twins.  To even have fixated on any of that stuff, even for a minute, just seems to lessen his worth somehow or cheapen his wonderful individual soul that I never got the privilege of getting to know outside of gestating him.  I hope he can forgive me for that, because I'm having trouble forgiving myself.  All this time I have been celebrating Evelyn's individuality while still grieving the loss of "twins", not realizing that I should have just been grieving Elias, that the other stuff really doesn't even matter when you really think about it.

I'm getting there.