Our Story, Our Hearts
As I write Our Story, Our Hearts, it feels to me that I would be dishonoring our precious sons if I did not request from those of you reading our story to try to live your life each day walking in love. Love is what I always try to walk my life in and share with others, as there is no greater feeling then to be loved and love others. Yet, walking your life in love is a great challenge when you are grieving the loss of your precious sons, your dreams, your hopes, and your overwhelming desire to be a sweet mommy and sweet daddy! So if one thing happens from you reading this story, the thing I wish it to be is that you know and feel love! I know that is what our boys felt before they opened their little eyes and saw the face of Jesus.
Our story was once so simple. Our hearts were once so happy. Now our story and hearts are so heavy, filled with so much grief, and constantly yearning to hold our precious sons in our arms again just as we did on September 25, 2014. The day our lives changed forever and our precious sons Wagner John and Myer Jeffrey became Heaven’s little running buddies. This day became our story, our hearts! So sad, yet so beautiful this day truly was.
Prior to September 25, 2014, our lives were beautiful. The day Timmy and I found out we were going to be parents of not just one BIB (baby in my belly as we called it), but that we were going to be parents of two BIBS was one of the most magnificent days of our lives. I will never forget the look on Timmy’s face or the feelings I was having when the ultra sound tech said so gently and quietly to us, “Do you see what is happening?” Of course, I had no idea, but Timmy knew immediately that we were having twins. We were so excited. I screamed and yelled as I listed everyone near and dear to us that was going to be so thrilled. Timmy, being silly as he always is, was in the background showing me how large my belly was going to be. Both of us were in complete shock and completely surprised.
Completely shocked and surprised, we could not wait to tell everyone that we were having twins. That afternoon and evening we visited and called our family and close friends to inform them of the news that lead to conversations of sheer joy to complete astonishment. One of the most memorable conversations of that night for both Timmy and I was telling our closet little buddies and twins themselves, Blake and Dayton, our news. As we arrived to their house, we snuck up on them outside playing basketball. Before we even opened our mouths, the boys said, “Auntie Erin what are you doing here? Are you having twins?” Shocked that they knew why we were there, I told them they had to ask Unkie Tim that question. As we told Blake and Dayton we were having twins and everyone else that night, all Timmy and I could do was smile. Our hearts were so filled with hope and love.
As my pregnancy progressed in the next three months, Timmy and I felt nothing but hope and love. Every day as my belly got bigger and as the BIBS grew, we envisioned what our future was going to look like. Holy smokes! We were going to need two of everything. Two car seats, two cribs, two highchairs, a bigger car, a double jogging stroller . . . Was our house big enough for all of us? As all the questions began to arise, we knew in our hearts no matter what everything would fall into place and our lives would be amazing.
Amazing is the only word I can think of to describe the next few months. Since I was having multiple gestations or twins, I had to be seen by Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) on a weekly basis. I remember clearly after our first visit the doctor saying you are going to get to know us very well. I found this to be so exciting as I knew it meant we were going to get to see our precious little BIBS grow weekly. How amazing is that? As our BIBS quickly began to grow inside of me and develop, our appointments at MFM were somewhat like that of a roller coaster and very scary.
Our first big scare was that Baby B had a cystic hygroma and an increased nuchal translucency. When the doctors informed us of this, our hearts were in complete shock, so worried, and so confused. New to this pregnancy thing, neither of us were aware of what any of this language meant. We went home that day and researched these terms. Much fear was brought into our hearts knowing that one of our precious sons may develop some form of a chromosomal abnormality, as well as, possibly a major congenital heart problem. Although fearful and in complete panic, this news really did not matter to us. We had made a promise to each other prior to conceiving that we didn’t want to do genetic testing, as we vowed no matter how our baby or babies as we were blessed to have developed, we would love them like no other. The only thing we knew to do that evening was pray, and pray is what we did. We quickly called both of our parents and our pastor who initiated many different prayer chains for us. We knew in our hearts our boys were going to be just perfect.
Trying not to stress or worry for the next two weeks, we focused on how perfect we knew our sons were going to be and we prayed. When we returned to the doctor for our next appointment, our prayers were answered. The ultra sound tech joyfully informed us that Baby B’s cystic hygroma and increased nuchal translucency had resolved and were no longer evident. This was a prayer truly answered by God! Our fears and worries drifted away as we heard this news. Our appointments continued each week. It appeared that every other week the doctors presented some new term to us that we needed to be prepared for. The roller coaster continued, yet it all was still so amazing.
Each appointment or ride we had at MFM went from “Oh God why is this happening to our BIBS?” to “Thank you God for answering our prayers!” We were informed of different medical conditions that could possibly occur due to the form of identical twins we were having (mono diamniotic twins). We were prepared for things such as Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, Selective Growth Restriction, a C-Section, possibly an early birth, etc. Through all of this we knew in our hearts our little BIBS were going to be just fine. We felt confident in the care we were given, and we were so blessed to have such a skilled and caring doctor at MFM. We truly felt our doctor was sent to us from God. After each appointment and actually every day, we felt in our souls that our little BIBS were miracles sent to us from above also.
As the weeks passed on, our little miracles from above grew and grew. They presented less worry for us, my belly got bigger and bigger, and I was just starting to feel them move. Their daddy eagerly awaited the day he too would get to feel them move. Our little story, our little hearts, our little life was all developing so wonderfully and beautifully. That wonderful and beautiful life that was unfolding in front of us came to a complete halt on the morning of Thursday, September 25, 2014. The day our lives changed forever.
Earlier in the week, I had some slight spotting. I followed the standard protocols and recommendations of the doctors. On Wednesday, we were seen by our doctor. We saw our BIBS heartbeats, I was told the spotting was from my cervix being friable, and the ultra sound tech performed a complete ultrasound on the boys to ensure they were developing as they should. Later that evening, the doctor called me to indicate that everything was as it should be, and my doctor at MFM would follow up with me at my appointment the next afternoon. That night I had mentally prepared myself that at 22 weeks gestation I would most likely be put on bed rest, and secretly I was looking forward to that idea. I wanted to spend every moment I could doing what needed to be done for our special BIBS to stay in their mommy’s belly as long as they needed to.
Little did I know when I woke up the next morning, our story, our hearts were headed down a new course. I knew as the alarm went off that morning the day would start simple, yet end in great excitement as Thursday’s were the days we always went to MFM. As I sat up in bed, I remember having so much joy in my heart knowing our BIBS were just fine from all the tests the previous day. Walking down the hallway, I thought to myself, “Geez! My legs feel like I just ran a marathon!” Knowing that was not the case, I attributed my achy legs to our dogs Tele and Avy taking up too much space in our bed. I began getting ready for work as I normally would, but with each movement I made something just felt weird. My legs continued to hurt and my belly began to ache. Timmy had left early for work that day knowing we had an appointment in the afternoon so I was home alone. Of course, this was never the case, but it was that day. After a few minutes passed, the pain worsened and I had to use the bathroom multiple times. I decided I needed to call Timmy and the doctor. In my mind, I just thought I caught a stomach virus from one of my students. I had no idea what I was experiencing was labor. The doctor’s office suggested that I come in as soon as possible. Trying to stay calm, I called by boss, my mom, and a few co-workers to let them know that I would not be at work that day. The last conversation I remember was talking to my boss about the notion that I didn’t need to be the hero in this situation. If I needed off, I needed off. Oh, how I wish I was the hero that day.
In a few minutes I heard the hero, my Timmy, walk in the door quickly. If he had not gotten home when he did, I am not sure how either of us would have survived. I walked down the steps and was prepared to go to the doctor to be told I was just sick. As I headed towards the door to leave, I suddenly felt pressure in my stomach. At this point, I told myself I better get to the bathroom in a hurry. I cried out, “Tim! Tim! What is happening? Call 911! I think I just had a baby!” Just like that, Timmy and I became parents. I covered my eyes as I heard my husband calling 911 screaming for help. As the sirens went off and paramedics raced through our house, my hero, my Timmy, and our babies’ daddy held our precious son Wagner in his hands. We were parents! One of our BIBS was born. We were having boys! Within minutes life became a blur. I cried out, “Where is my husband? Where is my baby? What about our pets? What is happening?” A familiar and gentle voice on the ambulance said to me, “Erin, I can’t tell you why this is happening, but we are going to take care of you.” In ours mind, neither Timmy or I had any idea of the severity of the situation. We were in shock.
Shock! I think that is what Timmy and I will always feel when we reflect on that day. Shocked, that as I was pushed down the hallway into the maternity department on a stretcher the nightmare we were experiencing would only worsen. Nurses, doctors, an ultra sound tech, lab techs, our doctor from MFM on the phone, a close friend . . . the look in their eyes, the sadness in their voices, and the pain of their hearts will forever be engrained in our minds. A few minutes after being in the labor and delivery room, we were told that our little Wagner was just too tiny to survive, and that I was going to have to deliver Myer. They told us he too would not survive. In denial, I did what I was told. I delivered our second son. My husband and I were the parents of our two precious BIBS, Wagner John and Myer Jeffrey.
Over the next 24 hours, the hours we spent with our family and close friends holding our precious sons will be hours we will cherish in our hearts forever. Our little BIBS, Wagner and Myer, were so precious, so perfect, and such sweet souls that will forever be our sons. We were so blessed to be able to spend time with our sons and share with them love. Timmy and I held them in our arms, and told them how much their mommy, daddy, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and their pets loved them. We promised them that we would be the best mommy and daddy to them. We promised them we would take them running with us. We promised them we would take them camping with us. We promised them we would spend our lives honoring them and walking our lives in love for them.
As I mentioned previously, walking your life in love is a great challenge when you are grieving the loss of your precious sons, your dreams, your hopes, and your overwhelming desire to be a sweet mommy and sweet daddy! No words can express the anger you feel when the doctors say to you, “You did nothing wrong! You experienced placenta abruption. There is no known cause for the preterm birth of your sons.” It’s an awful feeling to tuck your sons in Heaven’s bed every night from their gravesite. It’s horrific knowing your family, close friends, and even strangers will never hold your sons in their arms again. It’s so difficult knowing every heavy step you walk each day is a step you have to walk in the grieving process to try to heal and to try to honor your sons’ lives whom only had a few short hours to breathe. It’s gut wrenching when someone asks you how many children you have, and you respond, “Two, but our precious sons are Heaven’s little running buddies!” It’s cruel to know that you have made so many great friends through this process as they too have had to experience nightmares similar to yours. It’s hard to have faith and hope in what tomorrow brings, but the one true thing Timmy and I haven’t forgotten to feel through this terrible tragedy is LOVE.
It truly sucks that our story is not as we dreamed, and our hearts are forever burdened. At this point in our lives we don’t have the answers for what we have experienced and we probably never will, we can’t say we have healed from this and most likely we probably won’t, we refuse to tell you that this is fair, we may be smiling on the outside but our hearts are shattered, our lives will never be the same, but our love is what will help us keep on fighting. Our love for each other and our boys is what will help us to continue to run the race. The love we feel from our family, our friends, our pets, our co-workers, our community, our church, our Sweet Grace Ministry Family, our doctors, our nurses, and even strangers is what supports us in finding hope. Yet, most importantly knowing our precious boys Wager John and Myer Jeffrey are sitting in the hands of Jesus is what will help us get through this but never get over it as we walk our lives in love, inspired by our sweet BIBS!