Yesterday was my son's birthday. He is three. I cannot believe that three years have flown by so quickly. I remember, like it was yesterday, him kicking incessantly in my belly. When I was pregnant he often got the hiccups in the middle of the night and kept me up at strange hours. Since I was awake I would talk to him. I loved it. The day he was born was the most amazing moment of my life. Everything went just as I had hoped. He was healthy and perfect. As all parents know, something in you changes when you see that little face and count all ten fingers and ten toes. Life takes on a whole new meaning and suddenly everything is crystal clear. I was a mom. Forever, with all my heart, I was some one's mom.
When I got pregnant with Aubrey and Ellie I instantly became three people's mom. It was amazing. I felt so blessed. So honored. So special. It had already been such a privilege to be my son's mom I could only imagine the joy of raising Aubrey and Ellie. I anticipated the day of seeing their little faces and counting their little toes. Would it be as amazing as the day my son was born? Would I love them more than I already did? I was counting down the days...
And the day came. But it was nothing like I hoped it would be.
My son was born four days before his due date. My girls were born 107 days before theirs. My water never broke during my entire labor with my son. The midwife broke it for me when I was pushing him out. My water did break with my girls, suddenly and prematurely, and that made my labor impossible to stop. I gave birth naturally to my son. No surgery, no medication, no medical intervention, just eight hours of miraculous hard work. My girls were born by emergency classical C-section. The surgery was our best option to save their lives because they were both still breach as they should be so early in gestation. I held my son against my chest the moment he was born. The midwife handed him right to me. He cried and squeaked. It was music to my ears. I was out, completely under anaesthesia, when Aubrey and Ellie emerged into the world. They were handed directly over to strangers; doctors and nurses that swept them away to the NICU. I never saw them until hours later already hooked up to machines and tubes. I had to wait days and days to hold them. I only held each of my girls once, as they left me for heaven. And I never heard my girls make a single noise. I never heard them cry. My son weighed 7 pounds 11 ounces and was 22 inches long. My girls were not even a pound and a half and were only 12 inches long. I nursed my son within a half hour of his birth. I never nursed either of my girls. I took my son home from the hospital two days after he was born. He was beautiful and perfect. I have never been so proud of anything. I never got to take my girls home, and they never left the hospital until the day we put them to rest. But I am still proud of them. I show everyone their pictures. And I miss them terribly.
It is hard to cope with the disappointment I feel in losing Aubrey and Ellie. The whole experience was the exact opposite of what it ought to be, of what it is supposed to be. Their birth, their life, their death, was all a nightmare. The days we had with them were so traumatic. So painful. So scary and uncertain. Yet I am thankful for every second of knowing them. Despite all the pain, I am thankful for those two little girls.
And knowing them and having this experience with them has made me even more thankful for the miracle that was my son's healthy pregnancy and birth. I see now that God blessed me with those hours of labor. That all the tears and sweat were a gift to me. My son is a gift yes, but so is my birth experience with him. It was my honor to endure that pain, not only for his benefit, but for my own, so that I could have one memory, one experience, of what giving birth is like. Of what seeing a healthy baby come into the world feels like. To have something so special and miraculous to reminisce about and hold on to. I guess God knew how much my son's birth would come to mean to me. Having a healthy baby is truly a miracle.
I always assumed that I would get to keep any baby I had. I never thought that a baby of mine would ever die. Certainly not two babies. I still struggle accepting that both of my girls are gone. Why? I just don't understand how my first pregnancy went so perfectly and my next pregnancy went so tragically. It is just one of those things I guess. Just something that happened. Something painful and sad. Something that I can't change no matter what. All I can do is hold on to the good memories. I have my son in my arms and my girls in my heart. And that will have to be enough for me.