Thursday, April 18, 2013

6 Years Ago - Remembering Another

6 years ago today I became a Mom for the first time!  My sweet Chloe was born around 5pm after over 30 hours of labour.  I used to remember the exact number of hours - maybe 36?  But somehow it just doesn't seem as important anymore.  So far it has been my hardest, longest labour, and if I knew then what I know now I would have done it all different!  I was induced 2 weeks early for high blood pressure, which actually went back to normal as soon as I was on bed rest.  I should have just stayed in bed for 2 more weeks (and eaten a much healthier diet!).  So she really wasn't ready yet.  If I had waited until she was ready I might have missed out on that first day of intense back pain from her being in the wrong position.  But our God is good and despite my ignorance, our girl was born healthy and strong with only minor jaundice that cleared on it's own.   She was my tiniest baby at 6 pounds 13 ounces.  

But she isn't the only one I remember on this day.  Chloe had a twin.  I have never met her twin, she died at about 10 weeks gestation.  I learned about her life on the day I learned about her death, and it's taken me a long time to talk about it.  So if you know me and are surprised because I've never mentioned this to you, it's because it has been painful for me and something that I have carried very close to my heart.

On the day of Chloe's birth when the doctor was examining the placenta he found physical proof of my other baby that has brought me great comfort - it was a large white spot that covered a large area. It kind of looked like dead skin compared to the rest of the placenta.  When my baby died I didn't experience any symptoms that normally occur with the loss of a baby (except maybe a reduction in extreme emotions, and maybe a lessening in nausea) and the doctor said the baby was reabsorbed by my body.  It was comforting to me that my body had a mark that showed my baby had lived.  It also told me that my baby was most likely an identical twin to Chloe, carried in the same sack.  Knowing this also makes it all the more amazing that I didn't have any complications from the death of one twin.

For a long time I looked at Chloe and wondered how our life would be if she had a sister.  She would've loved it!  She still would.  I watched her in the mirror and cried that the image wasn't real.  I wondered if her sister would have her same temperament and what she would have been like.

For me, the healing really began when I admitted that knowing my baby was dead brought me pain.  Part of me always thought it was silly to feel grief for someone I'd never met when I had a healthy baby with me.  I didn't miscarry a pregnancy, I didn't have to deal with no baby like so many women.  I wondered if I should even feel pain or loss at all, because I still carried Chloe full term and I still held her in my arms.  Once I could admit to myself that it hurt and it was okay to feel pain over my other baby that really helped in healing.   The birth of Benjamin healed me a lot too.  Maybe they weren't twins, but they bonded from day 1 and it was a balm to my heart.  I told Chloe about her twin about a year or so ago when we were looking at her baby pictures.  That also brought me much healing.  She took it so well and matter of factly, it made her a little sad, but she was so happy that her twin was in heaven and that she would get to meet her one day.  

I am so very blessed and thankful for the children God has given me - and I'm beyond thankful that this world is not my home!  My home is being prepared for me and my life here is but temporary.  My griefs and my burdens are just for a moment, and through all these trials God is "growing me up" as my Mom always told me.   (the picture to the right is when Chloe was 1 month old - she was still so tiny!)

It's interesting to look back on the day I became a Mom while another one is being knit within me.  I have never yet carried another baby the same way I carried Chloe - this one feels a lot more like when I carried Benjamin and Kara.  I had a doctor's appt. yesterday for some blood work results and the ultrasound result and everything looks very good and normal.  A lady I know at the clinic asked me how much longer and you know - I couldn't remember!  I had to think about how far along I was! This pregnancy is just zooming by so quickly and between my three kiddos and trying to get our house more "show" ready I find I don't have much time to think about this pregnancy.  It's when I lay down at night and the baby starts dancing that I reflect on this new life and wonder about him/her.   And boy does he/she dance!

What a wonderful gift it is to be a Mom.  When I started this journey 6 years ago I had no idea how much it would change me and my life.  I had no idea how much God would mold me through mothering them.   And I still don't - the ride has only begun!

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