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I found out I was carring twins at 18 weeks. The news of two babies was just sinking in when we found out one twin had a Diaphragmatic Hernia. The first time I ever heard those words. Their was a 50/50 survival rate. We tried to stay positive but knew we were in for a fight. The girls were born at 28 weeks because of me having severe HELLP. They told me before my c-section that the Twin with the Hernia would probable die right away. McKenzie was born 2 pounds 2 ounces and Madison was 1 pound 9 ounces. Madison had such fight. We almost lost her at about 10 days old. She fought on and had her repair at about 5 weeks old. She weighed around 2 pounds. She seemed to be doing better and were waiting for her to be bigger for a feeding tube and to get a tracheotomy. She would need to be on oxygen for a long time. She ended up reherniating and developing pneumonia. She lived for 5 months and 2 days in the NICU.
My life with grief was a little different since I still had a baby at home. I constantly hear and still hear at least you still have a baby. I know what they mean but McKenzie does not take the place of Madison. I also had to grieve having twins. It made me feel special and that special feeling was no longer mine. I also had to take care of a little one and could not just grieve Madison. Their are some days she was the only reason i got out of bed. I have since worked through a lot of the grieving process and lately just miss my precious Madison. I have worked through the guilt that I feel over having a baby with the Hernia, and the grief over me developing HELLP. I try not to dwell on the what ifs. I know I am lucky to be alive and to have a Healthy two year old. I am still an active member in a Twin Club and is a healing process for me. I want to be able to help other twin moms who go through long NICU stays, or a baby with a serious illness. It helps me to help others.aa
Thanks for sharing your story. I met a friend through Compassionate Friends who also lost one of her twins. Her daughters are Abigail and Madelyn. Abigail died in utero at @ 28 wks. Madelyn is 5 now. I also have a co-worker whose sister had twin girls last year and one twin died shortly after birth. The surviving sister was named Maribelle, meaning bittersweet.
I personally couldn't imagine going through the process of grieving one child while having to be responsible for caring for another or other children. I know how difficult that first entire year was for me to just exist and maintain a basic level of functioning. Even when I was pg with DD1 (she was born 22 months after DS died) I remember having sobbing fits, missing my precious boy. Pregnancy and grief, a cocktail for tears without a doubt.
There are always so many idiosyncratic issues that come up depending on our situation. I always fear that people will likewise think that "I'm okay now" that I have since had a child since my son died and am pg again. No! My daughter is my daughter. I love her undeniably and unendingly, just as I love my son. I didn't stop loving or missing or wanting my son with me when my daughter was born. We had always planned on having a 2nd child. We didn't want our son to grow up an only child. He was so looking forward to having a little brother or sister. We do believe he chose his beautiful sister and sent her to us. And, now, he's sending us another little girl.
Both of our daughters will know about their awesome big brother Eli. Liv already looks at pics of Eli and says his name. In fact, yesterday, she saw a boy who was about 10, the age Eli would be now, and she said "Hi, Eli! Brother!!" It was very precious. Sadly sweet. I sure wish it was Eli.
I also find myself in such an awkward place having lost my son. My son would have been 10, but to the world I look like a first-time mother, a mother of a toddler, and I have a daughter. In fact, I raised a child until he was 6! And, I know what it's like to raise a son! It's very weird. When I was pg with DD1, I was a mother to 2 children, but I had not one child to 'show' for it. Especially, before I started 'showing.'
Likewise, I am 25 wks pg with DD2 and am now the mother of 3! Yet, I've never held two children in my arms at the same time!! I sit here and wonder what it will be like to have TWO children at once! But, I am a mother of 3! It just messes with your head. I shouldn't have this wonder. I shouldn't not know. I should be wondering what it's like to juggle 3 kids, not to wish all my children were alive!
Yikes. Sorry this got so long. Anyway, I know people mean well and don't realize they are actually saying something that is hurtful, when their intent is to say something comforting. But, it still doesn't make their hurtful comment any less hurtful, even when we understand they don't mean to be insensitive. They have no idea. People say all sorts of crazy things to try to make us feel better.
My SIL told me "Well, at least, you don't have to go through the teenage years of your son hating you." Uh, yeah. I would gladly go through that! She's a great girl. I am very blessed to have her in my family. But, clearly, she just said something without really thinking how horrific it was. Fortunately, I was in a place where I didn't completly lose it or get angry at her. I didn't appreciate her comment in the least, but I just add it to my list of 'really stupid things people say to me about losing my son.' It's definitely in the top 5 of horrible comments.
Anyway, again, thanks for sharing your story. I am sorry you lost your daughter, Madison. It's great that you are a part of the twins group. You will always be a mother of twins. To be in a place where you can offer others help is very admirable and just amazing. Whenever you can and whatever you can do is great, in my book. Take care.
I SOO relate to this. People think the surviving twin makes it all better. I love my Lillian but I truly feel the surviving twin makes grieving harder, not easier. Though i am grateful for not having lost both. I often feel like I am supposed to be sad and happy at the same time, and I inevitably feel guilty no matter which feeling I settle on at the time.
I Don't think I even started grieving until Lillian came home from the nicu a full two months later. I had a breakdown, and admittedly Eddy did most of Lillian's care for the first couple weeks because I was just useless. It hit me all at once.
I also grieve for my twins, I don't feel like I am a mom to a singleton, but I don't feel like I am a mom to twins. And I had so many plans! matching outfits,and pictures. Two cribs, two dressers, two of everything. I still have the matching set to a lot of Lillian's outfits. And I find people will try to change the subject from genevive to Lillian.
The only real twin club is the Multiples forum here on JM, and they said I was still welcome and i was posting updates on Lillian for a while, but over time I just stopped posting there. Most people grazed over my posts, I never got replies and I got the hint that I was probably making them uncomfortable. But I do peek in silently to check on the people I know.
I think i have settled on a good routine now. When I feel the need to really take time for my grief it is either at night or Eddy will take Lillian for me and give me a break, I try to keep them separate, I didn't want Lillian to become a crutch or something I needed for comfort you know. I don't intend to ever hide genevive's death form her, How could I anyhow, there are two babies in all the photos for the first two weeks. But I don't intend to overemphasize it either. I worry about survivors guilt, And frankly although it sound mean, Genevive's death had nothing to do with Lillian. Anyhow now I am rambling.
I also do not feel like a mom to a single baby but yet feel different than a twin mom. My experience was a little different than yours since Kenzie was home for 3 months when Madison passed away. People also try to change the subject when I talk about Madison. I have some close friends and family who let me talk about her all I want.