I’d like to thank the wonderful Kathy from Yinyang Mother for providing a safe place for us to share our stories of infertility and loss.
I can remember looking up at my Doctor in the middle of a contraction, asking if I was losing our babies. I remember her face, she never said a word, just squeezed my hand before ordering more painkillers from the nurse. That was the moment I knew. I knew we would be meeting our son and daughter that day and I knew that at only 20 weeks at four days gestation they would not be with us for long.
I can remember holding our daughter close during the precious little time she was with us, our midwife asking us what her name was, and the distraught, confused looks my husband and I exchanged, unprepared for the decision. I remember the midwife gently pulling back her blanket and telling us she had passed away. I remember her being carefully taken from me, as my body prepared to birth her brother. I remember asking, begging them to stop my labour, in the hope our son could stay safe inside me. I remember being told he had been born sleeping, before he was placed along with his sister in my arms.
I remember being wobbly on my feet as I walked to the shower. Sitting in the chair as the hot water poured over me, not comprehending what had just happened. I remember our babies being wheeled into my room, wrapped in handmade blankets, wearing tiny outfits and woollen shawls – little details that were so important and meant the world to us. I remember undressing each of them, washing them and trying to absorb every single detail of their bodies. I remember being obsessed with keeping them warm, wrapping and re-wrapping them in blankets. I remember lying in bed that first night, instinctively putting my hand on my belly where less than 24 hours ago I was feeling movement and kicks. I remember not wanting to leave the hospital, not being able to say good bye when I was discharged the next day. I remember telling myself I was leaving, but not being able to tear myself away.
I remember walking into our house and being struck by how big and empty it felt. I remember being too scared to walk into the room we had already decided would belong to our babies. I remember not wanting my husband to leave my side, scare that I would lose him too.
I remember returning to the hospital the following day, watching smiling and happy pregnant ladies and bursting into tears. I remember cuddling our son and daughter together, then separately, holding them both in my arms and telling them how much we loved them. I remember again washing and dressing them, and wrapping them tightly in special blankets I had bought from home.
I remember going to the cemetery, discussing plots, caskets, and headstones. I remember the lovely celebrant who married us visiting us at home and planning a service for our babies.
I remember the night before their funeral, my husband and I dressing up to go and visit our babies for one last time. I remember posing for photos, wanting them to be perfect. I remember sitting on the couch in the viewing room, overwhelmed with grief. I remember gently placing our babies side by side in their coffin, tucking them in with a blanket my Great Nan had made for me as a baby, slipping in photos of my husband and I alongside their teddies.
I remember the morning of their funeral, feeling numb and removed from what was happening. I remember being led to their graveside, seeing their tiny white coffin on top of the table, surrounded by flowers. I remember the songs we played, You are My Sunshine and Twinkle Twinkle and the tears falling. I remember our close family saying their goodbyes and walking away as my husband and I watched the casket being lowered into the ground. I remember walking back to the car, feeling empty and lost. I remember my husband and I taking the long way home, just needing some time alone with our thoughts.
I remember parts of the days that followed, our families beginning to fly back home until it was just my husband I left. I remember the sleepless nights where I would haunted by the ‘what if’. I remember my attempts to distract myself from the movements I swore I could still feel in my belly.
I remember returning to work, around the time I should have been starting maternity leave and just a handful of people acknowledging what I had been through, and most people avoiding me. I remember the days and weeks rolling by, undergoing countless blood tests, scans and two surgeries to resolve the medical issues I had after their birth. I remember with each further complication diagnosed the feelings of suffocation that the nightmare would never end. I remember in my darkest hours telling my husband he should find someone else, someone who could conceive, carry and protect his children.
I remember feeling a sense of relief, when three months after their birth we were able to start an IVF cycle. I needed the direction, the purpose starting a new cycle gave us. I remember sitting in the IVF clinic waiting to have a perfect little embryo transferred, the week we should have been meeting our babies. I remember seeing two pink lines appear on the pregnancy test and smiling and crying at the same time.
My heart aches for our babies every single day. The hurt, sadness and despair is always there, it has become part of our lives and I have learnt to live with it, that’s the only way I can function in my roles as a Mum, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend and Woman. As the years have passed and our family has grown, it’s becoming more important to remember our babies and keep their memory alive – it’s important to remember.