Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Two Years Ago Today

I remember this day like it was yesterday. I can remember everything I did. Probably because I have been over it a million times in my head thinking about what I could/would/should have done differently. Two years ago today I found out I was having twins. I also found out that I was in labor, and was dialated to 4. I was 23 weeks and 6 days into my pregnancy.

I spent the next four days in the hospital on magnesuim sulfate to stop the contractions. I can clearly remember how I felt. I was so uncomfortable and hot. Not just normal hot, HOT. It was probably 65 degrees in the room, and everyone else was wearing jackets and shivering. I was asking my mom and John to lay rags soaked in ice water on my head and chest. I remember feeling like my pillow was on fire. Every time I closed my eyes I saw redness and flames swirling around. I kept having the strangest dreams.

To make myself relax, in hopes of slowing the contractions, I visualized my cervix closing. I kept an image of two little girl mermaids swimming around in ice cold crystal blue water. I still remember that image.

On the fourth day, the day that would be the girls' birthday, I woke up from a dream having one very long, very hard contraction. I suppose that was the contraction that brought me to 10. Shortly after that I began feeling pressure and hoped that I had to go to the bathroom. The doctor insisted on checking me, and of course I was fully dilated.

I remember the entire birth. I remember the kind, old man who was my anesthesiologist talking in my ear as he gave me the epidural. He had such a soothing voice that sounded just like Morgan Freeman. I remember the tears that rolled down John's face as they delivered the first baby, baby A, Holland. We were so scared. We heard her squeaking cry, and got a tiny peek at her as they rushed her to the table to be put on the ventilator. At the same time, they were delivering baby B, Eden. Eden's bed was down by my feet, so I didn't really see her until later in the NICU.

It was such a strange day. How do you act? What do you say? Do people congratulate you on the birth of your babies, or offer sympathy regarding the circumstances? We wanted so much to be happy that we had two beautiful babies who were ALIVE. But it was very hard to be happy. The best way I can think to describe that day is bittersweet.

Now, as we approach the second anniversary of their birth, it still feels the same way...bittersweet. We will not be celebrating their birth. Their birth was much too painful. Instead, we will be celebrating their lives. THAT is something worth celebrating.


Allison said...

Amazing that it has been two years and not only are your girls living, you have survived. Some how, some way, you have made it through the past two years. I am sure that this is not where you would have thought your life would be at this point. Nevertheless, you are bery blessed! I want to see those girls again some day. Are you going to the reunion?

Kacy Jean said...

What a beautiful and touching post Billie. We have all followed the girls progress over the past two years and feel blessed just knowing their story. Happy Birthday Girls!!!

Shannon said...

You are such a poignant writer, Billy. Congratulations on two years of life, girls!!!

Kate Giovinco Photography said...

Billy that was beautiful!

I can not believe the girls are 2 years!

Tertia said...

Beautifully written.

And I totally can relate.

Jennifer said...

hey. i saw the pic of eden in her seat, and there is a problem with how you buckled her. dont mean to be rude, this is for the safety of your kids. i am not talking about the clip the clicks into a piece on the bottom, but another clip thats is either square or oval. that is supposed to go up to her chest. looks like on that seat it is either white or gray. it oges across the harness.

Anonymous said...

That is an amazing thing to celebrate. Well - Congratulations on two amazing children... and Congratulations to two amazing parents.

Anonymous said...

Kim and I (Alma) are here!! It was thrilling to read your review of their birth!!!! Thanks!!
I like your word 'bittersweet' because it sure does apply and we don't use it much -- you did sime good thinking!!! Kim is saying you gals had them shopping and they were hilarious!! So I'm glad you have some FUN times!! :):):):)
Soon they'll be celebrating birthday #2 -- have FUN !!!!

Love, Alma :):):):):)

Anonymous said...

In 2000 I had surgery at St. Joseph Hospital and the anesthesiologist sounded like Morgan Freeman. When I told him I liked the sound of his voice, he asked me who he sounded like. He said then that many had told him that. I wonder if it was the same man. He was a gracious kind man and I felt safe in his care. Two years have passed and I still marvel at how wonderfully your daughters have progressed. There are more achievements ahead and you and John will be great with Holland and Eden just as you have been in the past. God bless you. Connie W.

Anonymous said...

Mitch says Eden looks "so grown up in those glasses"

Anonymous said...

I haven't cried nearly enough when it comes to my own circumstances... but reading this post brings forward so many similar feelings; I find myself needing to go get a kleenex. Thank you for sharing your reflections - not only do I enjoy following your stories (the ups and the downs), but they also prompt reflections of my own! Thank you.

M said...

You couldn't have said it any better. I describe my firstborn's birthday at 32 weeks as "the best and worst day of my life". However you look at it, you sure have a lot to celebrate. Happy almost-birthday to the girls.

Anonymous said...

Love you all....

Anonymous said...

Billie, I agree. When I had Marley and she was so sick. It wasn't the best day of my life filled with joy, excitement and a smile from ear to ear like most people experience. It was the most shocking and scariest day of my life filled with a c-section, your baby very sick in the NICU and pumped with a lot of drugs I think to help numb the pain of having a sick baby not the c-section. But that day is in the past and now we have to celebrate everyday, every month, and every year of their precious little lives because we wouldn't trade them for the world. They are our world and they are just perfect the way they are even if society wouldn't say so. That's why we were chosen to be their parents. God knew you would be amazing that's why he sent you two of his angels. Holland, Eden and Marley are little fighters up against BIG obstacles and they are doing AWESOME! I can't believe they are turning 2! Every year is gonna be a better year for all of you filled with more love, smiles, laughs, and many accomplishments. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANGELS! We love Heather, Jeremy and Marley

Mete said...

Beautiful. Your girls have inspired more people in their first two years than some people do in their whole lives.

You're very right. Now is not a time to dwell on the scary things you went through. Now is a time to celebrate and eat lots of cake!

Anonymous said...

I know today is not their Birthday, but it seems a good day to reflect on how much Joy your girls have brought to all our lives. We are continuously inspired by each of their accomplishments and spirits. You and John were blessed with to unique daughters, and we are all soooo lucky to be able to share in their lives. Can't wait to celebrate their Birthday with you guys!! Luv Liz

Anonymous said... sure have a way with words my dear. i appreciate your sharing. it's important for you and for us (the readers) - your family, friends, and even strangers. you inspire many. i love you guys. can't wait to see you.

happy-almost-birthday girlies. you both look bee-yoo-tee-ful.

Jen said...

I really can't imagine how you felt...feel.
I also remember that Mag Sulfate feeling well. It was the worst feeling ever.
I had completely different circumstances, but a very difficult delivery my 2nd time around. He celebrated his first birthday in Jan, and I wasn't expecting it to be so hard.
I relieved the entire day hour by hour. I even had my medical records out so I could see what was going on at what time of day.
I cried many many tears that day.
I hope that you give yourself time to be sad on their birthday, but also give yourself permission to look forward, not backwards.
You and your husband are amazing.
I sat and read your entire blog the other night.
I'm sticking around here, hope you don't mind!

Amy said...

You do have a way with words. I have tried to explain to people that the day my babies were born was not a happy occasion because I was so scared and knew it was too early and they were too small. You did it perfectly.

I like what one commenter said about them touching/inspiring more people in two years than some do in a lifetime. How true.

Enjoy your celebration of their lives.

Maggie (Sarah's mom) said...

What a pertinent post! The day of Sarah's birth is not something I see as joyful. I really wanted her to hold out further.

I honestly feel bad sometimes when I say this but the best day of my life is when she came home! I'm sure some will say that's callous but it's true. It's like our 'real' life together started then. We actually had more people at the anniversary of her homecoming get together than her 'real' birthday.

Mandy said...

Wow! We just celebrated Maddy and Morgan's first birthday! That is exactly how I felt, bittersweet.

liz.mccarthy said...

B- Your post prompted me to write a more detailed accounting of "my July 26th"..

Here's a link to my post:

It continues to amaze me how much we have in common: July 26th being such a horrible day, we are both Virgos with August birthdays, we are both from Michigan, and of course both gave birth to twin daughters way too early. I'm so glad I got to meet you and your family this month.

Thank you for sharing, I know the H & E's birthday is around the corner.....and I all to well understand how bittersweet it will be.

All my love for these difficult days for you and your family. Liz

Anonymous said...

Happy 2nd Birthday Both of you girls. I know I dont Know you But you girls have come a long way.

Anonymous said...

Happy, Happy Birthday Holland & Eden!!!!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday girls!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Ohh how you have grown you beautiful, fun-loving, amazing, super-sweet and bootie-kickin' darlings!!! Happy, happy birthday to you both. We can't wait to see you this weekend to do some birthday celebrating!!!!!!! Much love, Jessie, Dave, Aidan and Cam