Sunday, August 24, 2014

Week One: Illuminate (telling your story through self-portraiture)

Below is my Week One assignment for the Illuminate photography class I started. I found the letter to my babies hard, but I made it through with some tears to spare.

The idea for the photos came easily... I basically had the maternity photo shoot I was never able to complete while pregnant. Instead of cradling my growing belly, I held my babies urn or their memory boxes. The dress I wore was the very dress I purchased to take my photos in... I bought it just a few weeks before I went in to the hospital for the first time and lost our daughter, Siobhán.

Below are my photos and the letter to my babies.

My bracelet with my babies initials and birthstone.

The memory boxes we were given in the hospital after each baby died.
Me and the babies.
Empty cribs.

Letter to My Babies

Dear Siobhán and Rónán,

Before we knew you, we loved you. Before you were conceived, we loved you. I think the night 11 years ago when your dad and I sat in his truck in front of my apartment talking for hours… talking about all the things we wanted in life, I think we loved you even then.

We tried for years and years to conceive a baby. We did treatment after treatment and we were never successful. Earlier this year we got the opportunity (and the money) to do IVF. I was really positive it was gonna work, and you know what… it did! I think the reason why all those treatments failed years before was because we were waiting for you two. That IVF gave us you two babies. 

I’ll admit, I was a little afraid when the doctor said we were having twins. I was not expecting both embryos to take. Again, it was fate that we were supposed to have two. Your dad was so very excited to have twins. He was pretty much grinning ear to ear for the rest of the pregnancy. I warmed up quickly and started picturing my life with double the babies, double the diapers, double the hugs, double the experiences and double the love.

My pregnancy was joyous! We told everyone probably way too soon, but we were so excited to finally have you. So many people rejoiced at our news of finally expecting. Your aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas and cousins were so excited to come see you in November, when you babies were due. Lots of plans were made to visit Florida.

As soon as I got past the first trimester, I started working on your nursery. I ordered this beautiful fabric for your bedding. Your dad helped me pick out this nature/bug themed fabric. I didn’t know for sure yet, but my instincts told me I was having one boy and one girl. So I started sewing your bedding and creating other nursery projects… one quilt for my boy with bug jars on it and one quilt for my girl with these pretty trees on it. Your dad started working on this old dresser we’ve had for years. He spent many hours stripping it and sanding it down to the wood.

Unfortunately, I never got the chance to finish your nursery and your dad never got the chance to finish your dresser.

I remember how at 20 weeks and 2 days I started to feel you both kicking and moving in my belly. It was the most wonderful feeling!! But the next day, we got bad news.

Tuesday was 20 weeks and 3 days and I had been feeling awful all day. In the evening, I noticed my mucus plug had come undone and eventually I noticed that some of Siobhán’s sack was bulging through my cervix. Terrified, your dad and I rushed to the hospital. There they confirmed that Siobhán was coming too soon. The doctor said I was in preterm labor. He wanted to deliver you that night, but we were in shock and we weren’t ready to lose our babies. We stayed the night in the hospital, but barely slept.

The next morning the doctor visited us in our room. He had an idea. We were still going to lose you, Siobhán, but we might be able to save your brother. We decided to break your sack, deliver you and hope that Rónán could stay in the womb at least until 24 weeks gestation. Your sacrifice, Siobhán, was to possibly save your brother. I’m so sorry baby. We didn’t want to lose either of you, but we were trying to save at least one of you. The doctor broke your sack around 12:30 pm and I labored until around 4:30 when I called the doctor back in… you were coming.

I pushed and pushed and finally you were born at 5:03 pm on July 16, 2014. You were so beautiful, but so tiny. We named you Siobhán Leannán Ashe Aramayo. Your dad and I took turns holding you. Your lungs weren’t developed yet and your heartbeat kept getting slower and slower until you passed away a little after 6:00 pm. You stayed with me all night. I cuddled with you, looked at your sweet face, kissed you and admired your big feet all while I was still able to… while you were still in my arms. In the morning, we said our last goodbyes and let you go to the funeral home.

Rónán, you were so strong. Even though we had delivered your sister, you were staying put. It was a miracle. We missed your sister so much, but we hoped she was able to give you your life. After a few days in the hospital I was sent home to be on strict bed rest in hopes to keep you inside as long as possible. We were sad that we left the hospital without Siobhán, but were hopeful to still have you.

Despite the bed rest, I started to not feel well again. Eventually, at 21 weeks and 5 days, I ended up back in the hospital because I was having contractions. After a checkup, the doctors realized that you were still doing good. They decided to do an emergency surgery to put a cerclage stitch in my cervix… with hopes of keeping you in there longer. After the surgery I did well… but my contractions came back. At 22 weeks and 1 day I was contracting every 5 minutes. In the middle of the night your water broke. And we knew we were losing you too.

The doctor removed the stitch they put in the day before and I labored with you for only about 30 minutes. You were born at 2:20 am on July 28, 2014. We named you Rónán Orlando Grey Aramayo. You were so big compared to your sister and so, so beautiful. You had a little bit on hair on your head and the same big feet your sister had! Just like your sister, your heart slowed until it stopped about an hour later. I held you for a while, but because I was having delivery complications, you passed in your dad’s arms. A few hours later I cuddled with you and kissed you. I looked at how beautiful and big you were until it was time for you too to go to the funeral home.

Later that day, we left the hospital for the last time… this time with empty arms and broken hearts.

I cried through this entire letter to you both. We miss you so badly. We’re completely miserable without you babies. We cry a lot… it sounds so sad I know… but we cry because we love you so much. It’s hard to imagine babies loved more than you two.

We get angry sometimes. Sometimes we feel like life hasn’t been very fair to us because it gave you babies to us and then took you away from us. We will miss you until the end of time, but we are so glad to have had you in our lives. 

I’ve said this before, that being pregnant with you sweet babies was the greatest honor of my life. And even though you two didn’t get to live, I’d do it all over again even knowing how it was going to end.

Mom and dad love you. I know you’re doing well in the Summerlands. I’m glad you have our basset hound, Cy, to play with out there. Pick some flowers for me… and gently catch some bugs for your dad. 

We will kiss you soon!


1 comment:

  1. I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss. I can't begin to imagine what it must have been like for you. You seem a very strong person though so I feel you will get there in the end. I have one child and will have no more. You have helped a complete stranger in more ways than you will know.xx