It’s Election Day! I hope everyone will take the time to get out and VOTE!
Today’s TTTS Tuesday is a story that is very close to my heart. I feel so many of the same emotions and sentiments that Brooke describes in her story. Brooke also lost one of her twins, and when I look at her surviving twin, I feel that it is a glimpse into my future. It saddens me to think of my Tiny in several years when she is old enough to understand what she has lost, what she will never know.
The picture above was taken one day when her son Walker decided he was missing his brother and wanted to go visit him. When I first saw this picture I was so overwrought with grief. But it fuels me to continue to bring awareness and fight so that one day maybe Tiny and Walker and Alisabeth, and all of the other twins who have lost their other half will not have to face this loss any more.
Brooke and I have become friends as we’ve shared about our loss. She has written a very beautiful tribute to her boys. Thank you Brooke for sharing your story and your boys with us!
Seasons of love
This time of year brings me back and always has. Six years seems like yesterday; then again it seems so far away at the same time. I remember walking around at the fair wanting to throw up with all the mixed smells of greasy food. I knew I was pregnant but boy was I in for a surprise. A surprise and events that would change me. Events that would devastate my life while at the same time bring joy into my life. That joy is now a five year old little boy named Walker.
I was in love that fall. We hadn’t really dated that long just since March, but I knew that he was the one. In September I got a ring and a few days later found out I was pregnant. We decided to get married on October 20 the same day as our first ultrasound. We decided just to go to courthouse since it was easier and less expensive. October came with a chill. I thought how I had this wonderful life and would have the most wonderful family. On that day I lay down on that ultrasound table and watched as I saw one baby and she moved it over and there were two! She said ,”It’s twins!” My mom is a twin and Michael’s grandma is a twin. Needless to say we all were over the moon excited. Nothing could bring me down or so I thought. We went to courthouse telling anyone we saw how we just found out we were having twins.
I continued to work and was sick and barely gained any weight. I always asked if this ok and was continuously told that everything was fine. At almost 20 weeks we had an ultrasound and found out they were two boys. I was so happy! I had always wanted a little boy and now I would have two! Michael was happy too. And in that moment I knew that all I wanted was my little boys and I would be complete. Looking back at my records at this ultrasound Willis was already starting to fall behind walker. Why this didn’t raise any concerns (considering they were sharing a placenta) I’ll never know.
On January 3, on a cold dreary day as I recall, I went to the Dr for an ultrasound to measure my cervix to ensure I wasn’t showing signs of going into labor early. That day would change my life. It is by far the worst day I’ve had in my life and I pray everyday I never experience one worse.
I can’t explain it but I had a bad feeling about the ultrasound. I felt something just wasn’t right. After a few minutes the sonographer told me my twin A my precious Willis was gone. He no longer had a heartbeat.
In a moments time my world came crashing down. I went from thinking I had two healthy babies to “one of your babies is gone.” All I could do is cry. I was in shock I had a million whys racing through my head and how.
All I heard that day was twin B no longer has a heartbeat. In the days that followed I started to think about the other half of her sentence that day “the other twin looks fine but I will go get the Dr”. It was hard not having Willis but I had to fight for my little fighter Walker. He was still fighting for me and I had to fight for him. And God was fighting for both of us.
How could they be fine and now one is gone?
I was naive. In years since that day I’ve often wondered why my twins weren’t being watched closer. I just don’t believe it’s right to go four or five weeks in between ultrasounds with twins especially identical an sharing a placenta. And I’ve made it my lifelong mission to make awareness.
I wish someone had told me about the risks involved. It honestly probably wouldn’t have changed my outcome. It was so early on. And although there is a laser surgery that can be performed I had an anterior placenta which would have made it hard. Also Walker was in distress.
Whatever connections they had once Willis passed it didn’t affect Walker anymore thank goodness. I’m not sure we would have qualified for the surgery.
I prayed and prayer and prayed for those babies. I know the God I serve would have given me an opportunity to save them if that had been his will. It doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes get angry that my boys weren’t being watched like they should have. Those were my babies. I wish I had known they were sick.
We were sent to specialist the following day. And in walked this tall black man with Jamaican accent. His name was Dr Bailey and it was instant love at first site. Oh how I love that man to this day. He comforted me and told me it was nothing that I did wrong and he told me Walker looked good.
He told me right off that the boys were identical which is something my regular dr never told me. He explained that identical twins often share connections in the placenta and if they aren’t balanced just right can cause problems or death of one or both twins.
The most heartbreaking thing to me was that thy estimated Willis had been gone for two weeks or so. It broke my heart and I remember feeling weird and sick a few days after Christmas that year and personally I believe that was around the time he passed.
I felt guilty. What kind of mother was I to walk around and not know her son was gone? Of course I realize it wasn’t my fault but I couldn’t help but have those thoughts.
I was sent home and had weekly ultrasounds with my regular OB. It didn’t take long for him to realize Walker was no longer growing like he should. He wasn’t gaining weight anymore. He was diagnosed with IUGR. They did an ultrasound test on him at the hospital. He was barely moving around any.
I got a call that afternoon to come to the hospital with my bags where I would be transferred to Huntsville to stay until delivery. I was sent by ambulance. I still remember how scared I was. I was 28 weeks. I was afraid my Walker wouldn’t survive if taken this early.
Dr Bailey came in that night and prayed with me and my family. He explained what would happen if Walker was born this early and his chances were fairly good. He did an ultrasound and said he would do another one the next day and if Walker didn’t look any better he would take him the next night.
It was a Wednesday night. I know of four or five churches who prayed for us that night. I had friends praying and friends of friends praying. And low and behold when he did that ultrasound the next night Walker was bouncing around all over the place. He said Walker looked like a different baby from the night before. He said we had gained another day. We would continue to be monitored all day and night. He let me off for a shower and that was it.
He did ultrasounds every few days. Days turned into weeks and a few weeks down the road on March 6 he came in to do an ultrasound . He asked how many weeks was I today and I said 32. He said ,”I think we will take them to tonight.” I called Michael at work. Everyone headed up that way. After what seemed like an eternity my precious Walker would come into the world where he could be fed better. And my oh it broke my heart to part with my Willis. In a way I wanted to just carry him around forever with me.
At eleven that night they pushed me back. I was so nervous. Within thirty minutes I was hearing the cries of my Walker. It was the sweetest sound I had ever heard. I was so thankful and still am.
But oh how I wished it was two little baby boys crying. Walker was carried to NICU by Michael. He was breathing on his own. He weighed just under three pounds. They asked did I want to see Willis.
I wasn’t ready yet. The first time I saw my son I wanted it to be our time. I didn’t want all the nurses and drs watching. The next day I was on morphine and felt out of it. I didn’t want to see Willis this way either. I asked for him on that second day. I went to see Walker in NICU and broke down. I told my nurse I want to go back to my room and see my other baby. I remember seeing the people lined up to see their babies as she wheeled me out. I was crying so hard. I never liked crying in front of people but I didn’t care in the moment.
She brought my precious angel to me. He was so beautiful and tiny. He looked just like walker. I loved to hold his little hand. I knew in those moments I spent with him he was with me in that room. I think he’s always with me. That same night me and Michael saw him again together. We dressed him in his little gown and took some pictures. I now regret that we didn’t take more. I don’t think I could have ever took enough of him.
I held him and kissed him and I thought he was just perfect. I thought they both were.
The nurses in the NICU talked about how cute Walker was. When me and Michael walked up beside his bed and he would hear us talking those little eyes would start blinking open. I knew Walker missed his brother. I also think Walker knew how much we all prayed for him. I hated leaving him in the NICU even though he had wonderful nurses. I cried wishing I could be there with him all the time and I cried because I missed his brother.
I hope people realize how very thankful I was and am for Walker but one child does not replace another. We will always feel a void for the son who is not here. Although we do rejoice in the fact that we know he is in peace and is happy. Oh I believe that God and Jesus takes good care of the babies in heaven. I just love the song “Jesus loves the little children.”
I really just like to share my story to raise awareness. I know Drs get busy but every patient should get the care they deserve. I think we need laws setting certain standards of care in OB as far as ultrasounds are concerned. I understand the cost may be one thing involved but I know women who got ultrasound every week or two week because their Dr cared enough to watch those babies.
If one Dr can do it why can’t they all? Once somebody’s child is gone you can’t replace it. My outcome would probably not been any different because of how small Willis was when he passed but there are women out there whose outcome could change according to how the Drs handled their care.
I believe my Willis is happy and if more babies could be saved by our story I know he is so happy about that. Sometimes I feel like Willis is telling me to chill out that its ok. The way Walker does when he says ,”Mom it’s ok.”
I have had two more kids since my twins and I love them very much too. I know for a fact I wouldn’t be the mother I am today if not for all I went through with the twins. I thank God everyday that on that cold January day there was still a heart beat left. That little boy kept me going. He still keeps me going along with Jolie and Cooper. I’m so blessed. To be the mother of four beautiful children.
As I write this tears stream down my face. It was all l so traumatic and at the same time beautiful because it’s the story of my twins, Walker and Willis.
Yes I am still a mother of twins. No i don’t get to dress them up alike and have to try to tell them apart but that does not mean I did not have twins. I’ll never forget the pain of seeing Walker birth certificate where the women’s listed under plurality that it was a single birth. Well she didn’t hear the last from my family. My sister Sarah called for me to question it. I was afraid to call myself because I knew I would get upset on the phone.
A few days before Christmas the year after Walker was born I received an amended birth certificate from Montgomery and it listed Walker as a surviving twin.
I could never have made it through without God.”What a friend we have in Jesus all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.”
It is my goal that there is more awareness and understanding with all types of pregnancy or infant loss. Or just grieving in general.
Also the loss of a twin presents a very unique type of loss because here you are raising a constant reminder of your loss. I wouldn’t have it any other way of course. Of course I am so glad I haven Walker but as he grows and with every milestone it’s a reminder of what I’m missing. It’s bittersweet and can drain you dry.
All pregnancy losses are painful though and I don’t think a woman ever gets past it fully. I was told throughout the rest of pregnancy with Walker to just try and focus on Walker. Can you imagine carrying around your deceased child and being told pretty much that I wasn’t supposed to worry or think about him? He was my son and I wanted him here.
I understand many things said to me was meant in my best interest but sometimes it’s just best not to speak if you’re not sure what to say. This is not something I will ever get over. My family will not be complete until we are in heaven together.
No I’m not a depressed person. I am a grieving mother who will always miss her son. And I do no believe grieving for Willis negatively affects my other children. They need to know its ok to grieve and be upset about their brother. They will hurt and miss him too. I can’t explain how much the support I have gotten has meant. The kinds words and the mention of my sons name means so much.
I used to think if I posted pics of his grave or speak of him people will think I’m wanting attention. Then I decided that if anyone did think that they must not really know me. I speak of him and post pics of him bc he is a part of my family and because I want him remembered. Because I made a promise in a hospital room almost six years ago. It was a dark confusing time and I had to be strong for my survivor but I made Willis a promise that he would NEVER be forgotten and I would make sure of that. I don’t care what anyone else thinks.
And you know what I’ve realized who my friends were. Because I have the most amazing friends who like and comment on his pictures and who are totally accepting of me and Walker and Willis. Friends who give me words of encouragement and who say,”We know it’s hard.” friends who on march 6 wish Walker AND Willis a happy birthday. My dad when asked how many grandkids he has never fails to count Willis. Those are the things that have kept me going in the past six years. That and the sweet little five year old boy who opens the car door for me and who will reach over sometimes out of nowhere and put his hand in mine. And for my other two children who love me and support me.
Seasons mean something different to me since my twins came into my life. In fall I start to remember finding out I was pregnant. In winter I remember finding out I was having boys and in January I found out about my Willis. In march they were born. And that summer I was a new mother and a grieving mother. And my life changed that year and I was no longer the same person.
I thank God for the memories I had with Willis while I did have him. The sweet seasons of love that will help me remember him forever. Some days I’ll always be back in that hospital room holding him for the first time. I’ll be on that ultrasound table finding out I’m having twins. I’ll be in that car on the way home after finding out my Willis was gone.