Many of you may or may not know that I started a forum for mothers of Micro Preemies. When I first started it it was so that I could communicate easier with some of the friends I had made out there in blogsphere that chronicled the lives of their miracle babies. Hard to believe but I now have over 225 members! Members are from all over the world. I hear all the time that this group brings a lot of support to the members and it makes me feel proud that I can help give back. There are quite a few of us on the group who have lost a twin/triplet. A new mom just recently asked the group for support in dealing with the tragic loss of her twin.
I sent this reply to her, but I became so emotional as I wrote it, I felt I should post it here, for others who have lost a twin, or know someone who has lost an angel baby.
I too am so sorry for your loss of your precious angel, and know that she is playing with my daughter Corinne, as well as all of the the other missed and cherished angel babies from this forum. My water broke (PROM) from an amnio at 17 weeks, and my Prom Princess whose water broke grew perfectly fine in utereo but after birth her lungs just weren't helped by the steroid shots and she passed away in my arms 4 hours after her birth. Corinne is my mothers name and I ALWAYS knew I'd have a daughter and would name her Corinne. We hadn't chosen which daughter to give the name Corinne Margaret too. (Margaret is Brian's mothers name) My mother didn't know this. We had to tell her that we had named our first born daughter after her but that she had passed away, as my mother wasn't there for the emergency delivery. My husband felt strongly that our PROM princess needed our strong mothers spirits and we decided at birth to name our first born daughter Corinne Margaret with all the the hope that she will beat the odds.
As a side note, I'm pregnant again, and in a way feel that my daughter can now finally have the sibling she was supposed to have. I've wanted another child (daughter) since the moment we lost Corinne so Kaitlyn could have the sister that she lost. but am a loss as far as names go. Corinne is supposed to be here with us, especially in honor of my mother. I have no idea what we'll do for names. Sometimes, (if it's another daughter) I think of a variation of Corinne's name. Our twin Kaitlyn's name was chosen because it sounded nice together with Corinne. Corinne and Kaitlyn. (We don't know the sex yet, 3 more weeks from today we'll find out)
I had to wait to figure out what I wanted to write you before replying. Here are some of my thoughts:
1. Find others in your community who have lost a twin. It was helpful for me to meet a mom who lost a daughter/twin not long after we came home from the NICU, we went on a walk together, with our surviving twins. I also bonded very closely with a mom who lost a twin and was in the NICU the same time that we were. We became and are still very close. We called our surviving twins "each other's twins" even though he is Chinese and my daughter is as blonde as you can be. We are still very close today and I have a great caring for her son.
2. Join http://www.climb-support.org/ CLIMB stands for Center for Loss of Infant Multiple Birth. They send out a quarterly newsletter that has a lot of stories from parents. on their website they have great suggestions for announcing your children's' birth and ways to memorialize your angel.
3. I have a terrible, terrible time seeing newborn twins in strollers. My heart drops to the bottom of my stomach every time. Still, and my daughters were born 2 years and 5 months ago. I have a terrible time hearing of moms pregnant with twins. I just heard JLo delivered her twins and I feel horrible that I couldn't deliver 2 healthy twins. Older twins don't get that emotion out of me, just infants. I'm actually friends with a LOT of local twin mothers, I still belong to my local twins club. Crazy I know. Sometimes I think I'm torturing myself. But the club was soooo helpful when my water broke, as I imagine any of them could think that it had happened to them. They NEVER EVER told me, "well, be thankful you have one." Twin moms would never, ever say that. And they were so strong in telling me that I'll always be a mother of twins. That really meant a lot to me and I feel comfortable with them. I have made a lot of wonderful supportive friends in the twins group.
4. We had Corinne cremated. Our plan was to spread her ashes on a mountain top with Kaitlyn once Kaitlyn came home from the NICU. I have her small little bit of ashes in an angel keepsake box in her memory box in Kaitlyn's room. It comforts me knowing that they are in the same room together. I remember how I wanted to delay the funeral home picking up Corinne's body from the hospital as I didn't want my daughters to be away from each other. I remember that day so clearly. (wow, I'm really crying as I type this). In her memory box I have her footprints/handprints, some of her hair, her NICU bands, her NICU hat, and a pair of booties that were hand-knit for me (by a fellow prom mom) the specifications of her foot size.
5. As others have said, the pain does get better with time. I know I heard that all the time, and I didn't want to hear it as it didn't help me now at the time. I think all the time of the loss that Kaitlyn will feel over the loss of her sister. I 100% plan on telling her about her sister, in a healthy way. I know for a FACT that Kaitlyn has the most special guardian angel looking out for her. Corinne defied all odds and lasted 10 weeks without amniotic fluid. I now strongly believe that she did this to save her sister. My Mother-in-law made me 2 beautiful plates that we have hanging in Kaitlyn's room. One is of a little girl sitting in flowers (with K's name and birth date on it), the other is of a little girl laying asleep in flowers, with Corinne's' name and birth date on it. I recently have been pointing the plates out to Kaitlyn and say, "this is you" and "this is your sister" She repeats the word sister to me. It breaks my heart. Sometimes I can tell others that I lost a daughter calmly, other times I tear up. I still never know what to answer when asked how many children I have. In the beginning I always said I had 2, and when now asked if this pregnancy is my first child, I say it's my 3rd. But I don't always any more. Sometimes I keep it to myself, as I get tired of the looks of pity and the not-knowing-what-to-say-to-me-look
6. I remember so clearly when I was first able to go back into the NICU 4 days after their birth. I was in the NICU to hold Corinne when she passed away (I was rolled in on the recovery gurney), but then I became very, very ill with a septic blood infection and couldn't leave my hospital room. The first moment I went back in all I could do was look at the empty bay where Corinne was supposed to be. I completely broke down. It was empty. This was so horrible. This wasn't supposed to happen. When I finally looked at Kaitlyn I of course as all of us where, taken aback by how small and sick she looked. I'll be honest, It took me weeks, maybe months of being in the NICU of not being terrified of loosing Kaitlyn also. I felt I wasn't in a very good mental health state to be as supportive to Kaitlyn as I would have liked to be. I always made comments to the nurses about my missing my daughter and they sort of brushed off those comments. I wanted to be validated that I was a mom to twins. It was a very very hard time.
I think I'm going to post this entry to my blog. I think others who read my blog who have lost a twin could benefit from it too. My husband just walked in (he just got off work from the fire department) to find a crying hysterical pregnant wife typing this.
In Memory of all the angel babies playing together and watching over their siblings:
^Corinne Margaret^ loved and missed by her twin sister Kaitlyn Elizabeth (26w6d)
and sadly many, many more that I personally know (via blog or in person):
^Olivia Skye Eble-Schrader^ twin to Hallie Rose Eble-Schrader, 23 weeks, 4 days
^Cameron Reid^ 20 wks
^Noah Allen Silliboy^ Twin to Nathan Laine Silliboy born at 24 weeks and 3 days
^Madilyn Angelia^ (middle name means angel) (21w6d) twin to Caitlin Gean (24weeks)
^Kaleigh Grace^ twin to Braden John born at 24 weeks
^Bailey Renae Grace^ twin to Brooke Lynn Victoria born at 24 weeks
^Georgia^ and ^Livia^ triplets to Nina born at 24 weeks
^Logan William^ (25.1 weeks) twin to Cooper Scott (25.6 wks)
^William Bruin^ (23 weeks) twin to Kathryn born at at 24 weeks
^Lily Grace^, twin to Sophia Bess, born 23 weeks and 6 days.
^Julianne Beth^ (18 weeks) twin to Beth Marie born at 26 weeks
^Braedon Jacob^, twin to Conner Evan born at 23weeks 2days
^Olivia Grace^ (22 weeks 6days) twin to Emma Elizabeth born at 24 weeks
^Rebecca^ (23 weeks) twin to Sarah born at 26 weeks