Monday, July 10, 2017

Shadows & Sorrow - Part One

July is a Hard Month for Me

This is part one of a three-part series about the loss of my twins in July 2014. You can read the details about my loss HEREThis three-part series is just my personal reflections on the events and the anniversary of my loss.

It seems like as soon as the calendar changes from June 30th to July 1st the air around me starts to get thick with grief. Just the word “July” conjures up pain. My heart automatically starts to ache. I’m sure a lot of people have this happen to them… there is a time during the year that is your worst, your most painful. Mine is and forever will be, July. 

The Facebook “On  This Day” feature is wonderful, I truly enjoy seeing things I posted in the previous years. But the “On This Day” feature is awful during July. What’s funny is, I don’t avoid it. I still courageously click to see what happened on “whatever” July day it is. And I even read the text or look at the pictures. It’s painful, but I still do it. And after viewing those posts in July 2014, I feel sick, but I still do it the next day. I don’t really understand it. Sure it’s painful, but at the same time they, are my memories.

July 2014 started well. Very well, in fact. I was finally pregnant; pregnant after years of failed infertility treatments. And in July 2014, I was in my second trimester of a miracle IVF pregnancy. And that miracle was twins, one girl and one boy. A miracle couldn’t get any more perfect. The first 15 days of the month were filled with a joy I can’t even describe. A joy that was bursting from me and my husband. We were the very definition of OVERJOYED! We were both working on projects for the babies… his involved redoing a dresser for them and mine involved a lot of sewing. That month we learned the sex of our babies. We also decided their names. I remember I started to feel them kick and punch their way around in my womb. 

Everything was perfection, or so we thought. Because on July 15th something went wrong.

I had never been pregnant before so I didn’t know anything was wrong at first. I remember calling my doctor’s office to complain about the immense pain I was in, but they just said it was normal growing pains… especially with twins. And I didn’t know better. I think back on the moments of those days and feel stupid. Many would say it's not fair to blame myself, but that’s what a mother does… she blames herself for not knowing better, for not having the instinct that something was wrong. By 8 pm that night I was still in a lot of pain and I just knew something wasn’t right and my hunch eventually led us to go to the maternity emergency room. Even there, the doctors and nurses weren’t sure anything was wrong… I was almost sent home. Which would have been even more tragic, but eventually they figured it out. I was in pain because I was in labor. I was only 20 weeks along. 

We lost our girl, Siobhan, on July 16th. And that date is burned into my soul. It’s her birthday, unexpectedly. And it’s the day she died, unexpectedly. It was a day that was supposed to be normal and instead it was the worst day of my life. 

We had to make hard decisions that day in order to give our boy a chance. So even though we lost Siobhan, we still had hope. I remember now that the hope helped me process her death better… I still had to fight. I couldn’t let the grief overwhelm me because I had to stay strong for my tiny boy, still growing in my womb. The next 12 days of July were a roller coaster, emotionally and physically. I was scared to death. I had already lost a child and I didn’t want to lose another. I was in the hospital for almost half of those days and the other days were spent at home, on bed rest, worrying myself sick and being told to relax and not worry. I guess I can say, with all certainty, we tried. We tried so hard to keep him safe. I tried.

We lost our boy, Ronan, on July 28th. And now I had another day burned into my soul. It’s his birthday, again, unexpectedly. And it’s the day he died, also unexpectedly. I was only 22 weeks along. This was the day that the grief of their losses hit me. This was the day I placed my tiny boy into the arms of a mortician. It was the day I left the hospital, with an empty womb… with empty arms… completely empty.

Every year I relive these days. I relive the entire month of July… every single day was an important moment in my life and I relive it in the colorful pain that it was when it was actually happening. It’s amazing how the pain comes rushing back, almost like it’s happening again. I guess it does happen again… every single year.

Check back in two days for part two of this series.

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