Since we are having twins, our doctor wanted us to do the birth classes at our hospital early. So at just 22 weeks, we are in a four week birth class at our hospital.
Our hospital is a large, sprawling campus. It is the hospital that I was born at, that my great-grandmother (and namesake) died at, where they took my dad when he had his stroke, where one of my close friend’s mom passed away and where we went for the D & C when we lost Lily earlier this year. There are so many entrances to this hospital and they are constantly expanding the hospital and building new wings and towers. It’s easy to go there and not enter in the same doors twice.
On our second night in class, Frank and I ventured around the south side of the campus to see the new maternity wing. Our adventure took us past the blue awning of the “Day Surgery” center. The same blue awning that I came out of after our D & C. Frank and I both looked at this awning at the same time. I could hear the air going out of both of our chests as we looked at that sad, sad spot. It was like walking past a grave for us.
I don’t remember what we said to each other, but it was just a gentle acknowledgement of that door. That time in our lives when our hearts were both simultaneously broken.
If Lily had been a healthy little baby, she would’ve been born in late September, likely. We would be getting her ready for her first Christmas. I’d be going back to work in January after my maternity leave.
But Lily was not a healthy little baby. Frank and I have discussed this – not extensively – but in brief conversations about her since March. Things just seemed to be going so slow with her. The doctors were always pushing the due dates back – she always measured small. In a family where we’ve always measured well past the bell curve, this seemed strange – foreign – to us. She was a fighter, though – and she tried really hard. But in the end, she just couldn’t do it. And that’s ok. It’s hard for us to have to wait so long to meet her, but we have peace that she’s with God in heaven.
All we have from losing Lily are a few early ultrasound pictures and a doily they gave us after the D & C to help us remember her by. I put all of these items in a folder and I put them in a filing cabinet in the basement. I’ve looked at that doily and the pictures since then, but only quickly and only to put them in a new location.
But driving by the blue awning of the “Day Surgery” center was a fresh reminder for us of the sweet baby we lost. And in some ways, of the struggles we went through over 18 months in order to get pregnant.
I don’t take anything about this miraculous twin pregnancy for granted. Sometimes I feel like I’m in an out-of-body experience – I see myself looking at baby furniture or picking out a nursery theme – and I can’t believe that it’s me. I can’t believe it because in the either-or experience – either I’m pregnant or I’m not, either the baby is healthy or it’s not, either I’m ovulating or I’m not – I’ve been on the “or not” side with great frequency. I have not had the experience of easily getting and staying pregnant. I have not had the sense that “of course I am pregnant, why wouldn’t I be?” Instead, I feel very frequently how delicate life is.
I read a blog called Moosh in Indy. Casey, the blog author, struggled with infertility for FIVE years. She battled serious depression and tried a lot of medical procedures to resolve her infertility.
And then one day… she was pregnant. Of course, there was so much rejoicing and so much happiness, but as she writes so poignantly about infertility in this blog post – “I can never forget where I came from that got me to this point.”
I also cannot forget all of my friends who are still waiting, hoping and praying to start or expand their family. The notion that because we are pregnant, we can then forget the heartache of losing Lily and struggling with infertility is entirely wrong.
Life is precious.
To all of my friends who are struggling with various forms of loss and infertility, my prayers are constantly with you. I have not forgotten.