Happy birthday to you 

Dear Scott and Miles, 

It’s February 11, 2016. A whole year has past since the day I met you. At times, I can’t believe it’s been that long. At times, I can’t believe more time hasn’t past. 
You are one. 

You are crawling, maybe even walking. You’re saying your first words, you have likes and dislikes and they are different from each other’s. You love your older sisters, you learn from them, watch them, play with them. 

You’ve figured out sleeping and eating,  we are working on sippy cups and finger foods. You enjoy being home, you enjoy your play dates, you enjoy us. We enjoy you. We love you. 

You are one. You are everything that comes with being a one year old. You are tiny humans filled with opinions and personalities, ready for the next year of life and adventure. 

You’re learning so much.  You learned to say “mama” and “dada” a few weeks ago. When I walk in the room, you light up and say my name. You always light up. You do. 

You would. 

You would if you were here. 

You’re not here. 

You’re far away somewhere with the other one year olds who could not stay. You play with them and learn from them and you are happy. You watch us, protect us, send us snow. You light up and send me the snow. You do. Each time I see a snow flake I smile and think that your four tiny hands helped form it into the beauty that it is. I want you to know I see you. I see you in those snow flakes and I’m proud of you. 

I’m proud that without you here, me and daddy have leaned to love each other in ways most couples never do. We’ve learned to be healthy and strong. We have learned when our own strength isn’t enough, we have friends to carry us. We’ve learned who friends are. We’ve learned that friends can be hundreds of miles away and yet still touch us everyday. We’ve learned to let our guards down for people who normally wouldn’t be friends, and because of that, we’ve learned that sometimes the benefit outweighs the risk. We’ve learned so much because you are not here. We are so proud of you for what you’ve taught us. 

I am so proud of you. I’m so proud of you tonight.

Tonight we lit candles on cupcakes and wished you a happy birthday. We lit your candles because we know you are lighting up. You are lighting up for us. 

You will always light up. 

Scott and Miles, I love you more than the deepest emotion defined. Happy 1st birthday, my baby boys.

Always and forever, 

Mom. 

  

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It’s still chocolate. 

It’s New Years Eve 2015. I’m sitting in my living room watching our girls play with their newly opened Christmas gifts, thinking about how proud I am that they share so well with each other. One is pushing a baby in a stroller, changing its diaper, and getting it ready for dinner. The other is sitting happily with a new set of Legos, when suddenly, the Legos become food for the baby, and… We have a meltdown.

 A total, “she’s touching my toy” “she’s breathing my air” “GET HER AWAY FROM ME” melt.down. 

I’m a firm believer in letting them work out their battles, so I get up,  get some chocolate cookies, and monitor the situation. Chocolate provides a great distraction, the girls each have a cookie, and we are good. 

I sit watching them play some more, and I can’t help but think of Forest, and his box of chocolates. Life IS like a box of chocolates. One moment you’re boasting with pride and love and the next you’re terrified from the noises your own child can make. 2015 has proven to us that no matter how wonderful that last peice of chocolate was, you truly never know what the next one will taste like. 

We started 2015 with our two girls in our new house, fully in love, newly engaged, and publicly 16 weeks pregnant with identical twins boys. We had plans to “pinterest” every room in the house, we had just begun the set up of the twins nursery. We planned to get married privately at some point, we weren’t sure when. We planned a Disney trip for December, knowing the twins would be old enough to enjoy parts of the trip. We started the year planning  to have a family of 6 in 2015. We ended the year in our completely unorganized, Pinterest fail of a house. We had a beautiful public wedding surrounded by our closest friends and family. We took that trip to Disney World, it was magical, but we didn’t take twins. We didn’t end the year as a family of 6, and we never finished that nursery. We lost not only our twin boys in February, but our “rainbow baby” Penny as well, in September. 

We suffered the most unimaginable pain and grief in 2015, we opened a box of chocolates, and we just kept picking up the awful, stale, undeterminable orange goo filled peices, over and over again. We knew though, that somewhere in that box, there were amazing caramel and nut filled little peices of Heaven, so we kept eating. 

We decided to plan a wedding. We needed happiness, we needed GOOD chocolate. We had our wedding. Our DREAM of a wedding. We changed our plans for a private wedding and threw a party that we will never forget. We ate some damn good chocolate that night. (Or bourbon bread pudding, but you get it…) 

We traveled. We went to Trinidad and stayed in a 5 star hotel. We drank wine, we swam, and even though some of the trip was business, we reconnected as a couple. We grew. The chocolate in Trinidad may have been in the form of specialty drinks, sunburns, and sightseeing, but it was chocolate. Fine, Trinidaian chocolate. We went to Cedar Point to celebrate my ::cough:: 30th birthday, to celebrate anything we could. We went to Florida, we fist bumped Mickey Mouse, had dinner with Cinderella, made magical moments with our 5 year old. We ate chocolate, gooey, warm, delicious Ghirardelli chocolate. 

We both grew in our careers in wonderful ways. We expanded the daycare to a second location and have a wait list to support a third.  I was asked to write an article for a major advertising source on my curriculum. I have reached the point in my career that I am no longer working, and yet I still doubled my income, which gives me more time and money  to enjoy chocolate, all the chocolate. 

Despite all the best chocolate we could find, we kept running into those one-bite peices. We have faced a lengthy legal battle this year that has drained us emotionally and financially, and still, there is no end in sight. It’s a large, soggy mess of stepped on nuget that we just want to spit out, but in life, you have to keep chewing. You don’t get to set aside the hurdles or the heartbreak if you ever want to finish the box. So, we chewed on. 

By chewing, we learned to live. We learned to lean on each other. We learned to listen to each other, and HEAR each other. We learned to slow down. To think, to slowly think about what peice to pick up next. We learned to wait. We learned to wait for the right moment and time to eat that last turtle, filled  with all that silky caramel and crunchy deliciousness. We learned to always have the best waiting because there is no way to tell if it’s really the last.

 We learned to hold on. To hold on to each other, our strength, our sanity, hold on to hope. We learned to hope. 

Without hope, there is only acceptance of presumed inevitably. 

Without hope, there is only the lingering taste of orange or green grainy mush that someone tried to pass as a truffle. 

As I think about my metaphorical box of 2015 chocolate, I choose to learn that for every terrible bit of chocolate, there could be a life changing explosion of flavor sitting right next to it. I choose to be thankful for the tests our relationship has had, without them, we would have never known how much love we have. I choose to look at our two girls dancing in their pajamas, blowing their New Years blowers,  loving life. I choose to look at my husband who I love so much that the word love sounds childish. I chose to remember the laughs and the smiles that 2015 brought us, and remember, but not mourn the tears.

 I choose to keep chewing. I choose to chew. Chew on for the hope of a better box in 2016. I have no resolution for the next year, only hope. A resolution is something that can be easily altered, ignored, forgotten. Hope is permanent, and never lost. 

We will not accept that all hope is lost, ever. We a will always pick up the next peice of chocolate, because we are not the ones who decide what we get, we only decide to hope. We decide to keep eating out of that box, because if life is like a box of chocolates, it can’t be that bad. If life is like a box of chocolates, we will keep eating. We will keep chewing the bad to get to the good, because, chocolate. It’s still all chocolate. 

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2016,filled with fine chocolate!!  

 

THE LOSS OF ALL THINGS 

Today, I am supposed to be 16 weeks, 2 days pregnant with our rainbow baby, Penolope June. After being cleared by our MFM team to try for a rainbow, we waited two weeks, and saw those perfect two lines on the test. There was celebration and joy, but there was much hesitation. We were watched closely by my team from 4 weeks on. Our first ultrasound showed a healthy sac, a second, smaller sac, and within the first sac, *something* else. 

Triplets? We didn’t know. 

At 5 weeks, we saw one sac, it wasn’t growing, and nothing was in it. We were told to prepare for a miscarriage. We were told it was over. We were told to move on. We did. 
We celebrated our commitment to each other in front of our closest friends and family. We would try again. 

At 7 weeks, we went in to schedule at D&C. At the ultrasound, we saw one sac, healthy, one baby, one beating heart,  and *something* else. We were blown away. There was still a baby. We still didn’t know what that *something* was… Maybe it was a twin? Maybe my uterus was so tilted that they couldn’t get a view, but maybe it was a twin. 

8 weeks, 9 weeks, 10 weeks, we saw our healthy baby beating away, happy, growing. We also saw that *something* also growing. 
At 12 weeks, we were referred to a placental specialist for futher review. I sat for hours in an ultrasound room while the top specialist in DC scanned my baby, and her intruder. After much silence and hesitation, the doctor had little answers for me. Maybe, probably, it’s part of the placenta hanging into my babies sac, but it was also growing into my uterine lining. We were giving several outcomes, but most of them ended in a healthy, but very early delivery of our baby girl, Penny. 

I was told to come back in 4 weeks. That would have been tomorrow. 

On Sunday, I was preparing myself for a dinner in which I would tell my clients that I was pregnant. Things were going well. I checked the babies heartbeat at home that morning. It was there. I got dressed, I dryed my hair, I put on makeup. I struggled with the decision to tell Piper, so far, I had not. I asked Robert if we should tell her on the way to dinner, but she ended up watching a movie in the car, so we didn’t. 

We got to dinner. I had put on my favorite top that showed off my perfect little bump. I was excited, but extremely nervous. We walked in. Piper went to play with the other children. The adults grabbed drinks, small talk happened. I was standing in my client’s kitchen holding a diet coke, and then it happened. I felt what I knew all to well was the end of my rainbows journey. My water broke. My pants were wet. I went to the bathroom, and there I confirmed my fear. There, on my underwear,  in my clients house, was the evidence of my body once again giving up on my child. 

I calmly cleaned up, walked back in to the kitchen, and asked Robert to come to the basement with me, where the kids were playing. I sat on the floor and held my client’s child. She had just fallen down, or been pushed, I’m not sure. She was crying, so I held her. I picked her up and I sat on the floor with her and I held her so close. I looked at Piper smiling and playing with another child. I looked at Robert. He had no idea what I was about to tell him. 

I looked at him. I told him. 

My water broke. 

He stopped breathing. 

My water broke. 

His eyes filled with tears. 

I heard the father portion of the crying child coming down the steps. Good. I’m close with him. I feel comfortable with him. I feel comfortable with his wife too, either would have been fine, but there were other people there, so I’m glad it was him. 

I told Robert to tell him what happened and that we needed to leave. 

Robert spoke. 

Jeff, Cait is pregnant. Something just happened and we need to leave. 

Jeff spoke. 

Okay. 

I told Jeff my mom would come pick up Piper and I would update them later. 

I didn’t even say goodbye to Piper. I couldn’t. 

We got in the car. I called me mom. We called my MFM. I took too long for them to call back, so we went to to closest hospital, straight to labor and delivery. 

They told us to go to the ER. 
We left. 
My MFM finally called back. I spoke. 

Call Fairfax Labor and Delivery, I’m not going to the ER. We will be there in 20 minutes. 

She said she’d meet us there. I’d not met this doctor during my time with the group, but that’s okay. She said she’d meet us there. 
We arrived at the hospital. Despite my tears, and my discription of what happened and how far along I was, the security guard said “congratulations” 

I did not hold back my words. I told him what happens to babies this early. 

He started at me. 

We grabbed our pink ticket to labor and delivery that said “rupture of membranes, 16 weeks” and we walked to the elevator. 

Inside labor and delivery I once again explained what happened and why I’m here at 16 weeks to the receptionist. We followed her to triage. There was a lady screaming that she needed to push. Her husband was yelling about insurance problems. She needed to push.
Get her out of here. I can not. I could not listen to her have that baby. Move her.

She was moved. 

They drew blood, they did an exam. I suspected they’d tell me my cervix was closed and that the test was negative for fluid. That’s what often happens. Amniotic fluid and blood both turn ferning test, and often, there isn’t enough amniotic fluid present in an early rupture to change the test. 

The doctor spoke. 

The test is positive for amniotic fluid. Your dilated to 1cm, and your cervix is soft. 

I stopped breathing. 

No. No. No. That’s not true. 

It’s true. I’ll be back with an ultrasound. 

I sat in silence with Robert for a while and then I spoke. 

We will fight. I am not staying at this hospital, but I will fight. I will go home, I will fight for this baby at home. We will make it this time. Robert agreed. 

The ultrasound arrived. She turned it on. She didn’t speak. I could see her face, it was sad. I couldn’t see the screen yet, but her face was sad. She turned the screen to me. 

There is no fluid. 

Ok. The boys had no fluid either, I will fight. 

I looked at the screen, and there I saw my baby. Still. Not moving. Her arms were at her sides, she was still. Motionless. Everything about her had stopped. Even her heart. 

I looked at Robert. I’m not sure he could see or knew what I saw. He was silent. 

I looked at the doctor. I spoke. 

There isn’t a heartbeat? 

No. There isn’t. 

I looked at Robert. His eyes were red. His face was white. 

I closed my eyes. 

I couldn’t fight.

The doctor left to get a better machine. She said she couldn’t see well enough. She said this machine was too old. She said she’d look for the heartbeat on the better machine. She lied. She knew. She needed the better machine because that *something* had grown. It had grown so big that it was crushing my baby. It crushed her. 

Robert and I sat in silence. We hadn’t told many people about this pregnancy. He kept reaching for his phone to tell his parents. He put it away. He took it out. He put it away. I took out my phone and I cried to my friends who did know. I told them what was happening. I told them she was gone. I told my mom. I told my best friend. I told my employees. I told my employees, I had to figure that out. 

I just signed the lease on our second daycare location. It is supposed to open October 1. I have so much to do there. I have to do that still. I can’t take weeks off to grieve. I have to work. I don’t have time for this loss. I don’t have time to grieve. 

The doctor returned. She turned on the machine. A nurse came with her. She had sadness in her eyes. She looked at me and said she was sorry. 

The doctor placed the probe on my stomach and there was Penny. Lifeless. 

She also saw an abruption. The placenta had separated from the uterine wall. This is likely what killed Penny. She was likely knocked out by the weight of the placenta. 

The doctor sat in silence scanning my horrible placenta and my blood filled uterus. 
She spoke. 

You can’t deliver vaginally. There is too much blood. It isn’t safe. You might need a hysterectomy. We will decide tomorrow. We need more doctors. 

I demanded they send me home. I could not go back to the rooms where I lived with viability check lists hung on the walls for weeks. I could not go back to the sweet nurses who kept me up all night for 6 weeks. I could not go back to the walls that I starred at while Miles cord fell from my body and ended his life. I couldn’t. I demanded to go home. 

Reluctantly, they sent us home. They scheduled us for an 8am ultrasound to determine the fate of my uterus and future fertility. They told me I could drink. We went home. We stopped for wine and junk food. We drank. 

We arrived at the hospital at 9, as they needed to move my appointment back. At 10, we were seen by a tech who joyfully asked how far along I was and if this was my first scan. Great. She had no idea. I shot the messenger. I told her, rudely, to get my doctor. She did. She apologized for something she knew nothing about. That poor lady. It wasn’t her fault. 

The doctors came in. First the one from last night. Then my actual Dr. Dr. Khourey. The lead. He told me 4 weeks ago that nothing was going to happen. That I should think of this pregnancy as my pregnancy with Piper. That I should relax. He walked in the room and my blood boiled. 

They stood over me talking under their breath while the tech scanned me. They pointed and whispered and had sad faces. They spoke. 

Your placenta is over your cervix, there is a large bleed, the baby needs to come out manually. You might need a hysterectomy. 

They left. 

Dr. Obey, from the night before came back. She told me that I would have a D&E. That the baby would come out in “fragments” that we wouldn’t get to hold her, or kiss her, or see her face. She told me that we could cremate her. She told me that they had the best doctor coming in, and that he would try to save my uterus. She told us to wait in her office. She left. 

We waited in her office for what seemed like hours. The door opened. It was Dr. King. My sweet, perfect, Dr. King, who had been with me every step of the way with the twins. I hadn’t seen her since their birthday. I had been begging to see her, but it hadn’t happened. She walked through the door. I fell into her arms sobbing. She had tears in her eyes. She hugged Robert. She sat down and we chatted. 

Our conversation was cut short by a nurse coming to take my blood. I left the room, came back, and she was gone. 

Time passed. 

A doctor walked in. He had tears in his eyes. He introduced himself. Dr. Downey. He would do my D&E. The fate of my fertilty was in his hands. He nervously talked me through the operation. He struggled with his words while fighting back tears. He scheduled us for 2pm. 

The time between then and surgery was long. I hadn’t eaten. I hadn’t drank. I was carrying my dead baby. For some reason, we were placed in a public waiting room with people signing in for the hip replacements and knee surgeries while I waited to have my baby ripped to pieces out of my uterus. After almost two hours, Robert made some demands that we were moved to a private area. That surgery would begin, or I would be fed. 

We were taken back. We were prepped. I was poked. I was panicky. I was crying. I demanded the anesthesia tech to numb my hand before inserting my IV. I have hard, tiny veins. I didn’t want them to dig. He was annoyed with me, but he listened. 

I was lightly sedated. I took out my contacts, took off my rings. I gave Robert a kiss. I was rolled out of the room. 

I stared at the bright lights in the OR. The anesthesiologist told me to count to 10. 

 1,2… Mrs. Girard? We’re going to get your husband. 

I have cramps. My arm hurts. I have cramps. Where is my husband. 

We are getting him. Get her some morphine. Take that IV out of her left arm. 

I have cramps. 

Get her some morphine. 

Robert came into the room. 

I couldn’t open my eyes, but I could feel him. 

He held my hand, he kissed my forehead, he placed his hands on my hair. 

I opened my eyes. I had 4 IVs. One in each arm, one in each hand. Something must have happened during surgery. 

I asked Robert.

How long was it. 

About an hour. 

Did they save my uterus. 

Yes.

I closed my eyes. I sobbed. 

Robert sobbed. 

The doctor came in with cookies and water. I ate a bit, I drank. An hour went by. I walked to the bathroom. I passed their tests for alertness. I got dressed. We left.

We left the hospital where my twins died in my arms. We left the hospital where my daughter was ripped to shreds, waiting in a red medical bag for the funeral home to pick her up. 

We stopped for food. We got home. We ate. We had one glass of wine. We watched TV. We lit candles. We went to bed. 

My heart is heavy. My heart is empty. My womb is empty. My house is empty. My house is filled with tasks that need to be done. With Amazon boxes for the new location that need to be set up. With two dogs who need love and care. My house is full of emptiness. 

Penolope June, I carried you as long as I could in my stomach, we will always carry you in our hearts. 

My last picture of my body carrying my sweet girl.  Tears in my eyes knowing she was already sleeping. 

 

PEACE. PROGRESS. PLANNING

With the need for some privacy, I’ve found myself struggling with what to write lately, which after some self reflection, is a good thing, because I haven’t felt to urge to write much at all.

After a storm of shit hitting fans last week, things have settled down, and I’m sitting in a really good place.

We canceled the large memorial we had planned for last Saturday, but were reminded by several friends that they wanted to be there and several people still ended up coming. It was a small gathering of friends, clients, and family, but it was perfect.

The second we made the decision to cancel the event, we were heartbroken. We both felt a rush of grief come over us that we were not prepared for. We wanted a memorial. We wanted to be surrounded by friends and family. We wanted to give Piper a day filled with laughter and love.

The days leading up to the event, we were overwhelmed with one unfortunate event after the other. The final decision came down to our landscapers canceling, and me not being able to get over our unfinished yard. The yard being unfinished for a few friends was one thing, but the thought of having the largest party we will probably ever have, with a half finished rock path, and unmulched flower beds, made me sick. So with that, and the whirlwind of other nonsense from last week, it was best to cancel.

The small gathering that we did have was great. We were able to focus our time on each guest and enjoy catching up. We were relaxed, and we enjoyed ourselves.

On Sunday, I woke up with a feeling of closure. I felt like the memorial was the closing of the “death” portion of our healing and grieving process. From here on out, we will have milestones and memories, but nothing will be related to death. I felt a sense of peace and acceptance that I had not yet felt before the memorial. Sunday started the “new normal” we are adjusting to, and it felt good. We had a quiet morning with our girls, Robert took Hadley back to her mother, I took Piper to my mother, and we went out to lunch.

It was a gorgeous day that needed afternoon wine and a patio, so that’s what we did. We had falafel, wine, and dessert, sat on the restaurants patio, and enjoyed each other. We discussed the long overdue announcement of our engagement, and decided it was time.

Robert proposed in November, The day we got the keys to our house. It was the sweetest, most perfect, private proposal. He stumbled over his words, he dropped the ring, he never actually got on his knee, but he did ask me to marry him, and I of course, said yes. We told immediate friends and family pretty quickly, but we decided to wait on any kind of public announcement. We had plans to announce the pregnancy in December, so announcing the engagement seemed less than important. Neither one of us cared about having an actual wedding or engagement photos, or any of the typical events that follow a proposal. We wanted each other, for the rest of our lives, and it didn’t require a massive public statement.

The weekend after the boys passed, we both decided that a wedding would happen. We decided that we needed something to celebrate this year. We decided that if we were not having a baby shower, babies, and a house full of family members eager to meet them, we needed a wedding.

We visited some wineries that weekend, and fell in love with one of them. We sat at the table, drinking wine, and casually discussed having the wedding there.

Weeks went by, the funeral happened, life happened, the wedding discussion fell to the side. I’m not sure what triggered our phone call to the winery about the wedding, but at some point, we called, then toured, and walked out with a date, a coordinator, a caterer, and a plan.

We have a date… For our wedding…

With a date, comes the need to tell the world our news, so we did. It’s public, and it’s happening. So with a smooch, and a ring shot, we facebooked it up.

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But then the planning started…

I’ve never planned a wedding. My first was tiny, there were 8 people there. It was at a resort in Williamsburg. It was beautiful, it was classy, it was perfect (except for the groom) and it was easy.

This wedding however, is not small, and is not easy to plan. I left the venue with a “squee we are getting married!!!” attitude. We spent the 40 minute drive home deciding on colors, ceremony plans, and food. When we got home, we had all the details worked out. I felt relaxed. Boom. We planned a wedding.

….then there was google, then Pinterest, then my friends, then my mother… And all of a sudden, the wedding wasn’t planned, nothing was done, and everything had to be done immediately. You know, if you expect 100+ people to be at your wedding, you have to tell them about it. In order to tell them about it, you have to have a guest list, and then with the guest list, you have to have addresses, and to those addresses, you have to send Save the Dates… And to send them, you have to buy them. Then once you buy them, you have to address them with proper etiquette, which means research, because, etiquette I do not have…

My kitchen has exploded into “Save the Date Land” there are little strings of hot glue all over the kitchen table, and my eyes are hurting from the amount of time I’ve spent updating address/importing them to excel.

Piper has already planned out exactly how she will walk down the aisle, who will walk with her, and who she will pull in a wagon. She has picked out her dress (you know, every dress we walked by the other day) and she has decided what flowers she will carry. She’s on this shit. I’m exhausted.

Wedding planning is exhausting.

Wedding planning is exhausting, but it’s wedding planning, and wedding planning means I am getting married to Robert. I am marrying the most amazing man I didn’t even know to dream about, because even the best dreams aren’t this good.

I’m marrying the man that has dropped his guard in front of me, learned from me, listened to me, and loved me through all the times, not just the fair weather ones.

I am marrying my best friend, my strongest supporter, and my biggest fan.

I’m marrying Mr. Girard, and I will be come Mrs. Girard, in front of the most important people in our lives.

It’s going to be a crazy, hectic few months of non stop wedding planning, and I am looking forward to every second of it.

PRIVATE

Due to legal reasons outside of my control, some of the blogs content will be set to private indefinitely.

If there is a particular post you are looking for, please email me for a password.

I am sorry for those of you who need or want to see the honest, raw material that is so important to read, however, I need to do what is best for our family right now.

Please know that throughout this entire grieving period, I have been under the care and watchful eye of both a psychiatrist, and a therapist.

I have made absolutely sure that there is care lined up for Piper in the times I have felt too weak to be there for her.

I have said all along, I am strong enough to know when I am weak.

I thank you all for your continued support and love during this time. Unfortunately, it seems like we have a new battle in front of us, and will have to have some privacy as we go through it.

All the love,
Cait

ONE MONTH

It’s 3/11/2015.

It’s been one month since I lost my baby boys.

I do not know what to say about today, but I feel I have to say something.

If they were alive, I would post happy pictures of them in cute little outfits with a sticker on them saying “one month”

I don’t have those stickers, I don’t have those pictures, so I can’t post them.

We launched our video yesterday. We want to tell the world our story, in hopes that we can start to change the way late term loss is viewed. We want people to know what it’s like to have children that no one ever knew, that no one got to hold, but yet, are very much our children. It’s something that I’m realizing no one will ever understand.

We have a memorial celebration planned for next weekend, yet the RSVPs are showing exactly what we feared- no one cares.

To them, I had a miscarriage. To them, I’m overreacting. But yet, I know, that if I was celebrating Piper’s life- if Piper had died- they’d all be here, because, to them, she’s a child.

To us, Scott and Miles were every bit our children as Piper and Hadley will ever be. Not one of them was more than the other, or worth more, or counted more.

The RSVPs are representing what the insurance companies have told us. They didn’t breathe long enough. They don’t matter. Dispose of them.

We are heartbroken that our boys don’t matter. That people do not realize the amount of support we need during this time is no different the the support we would need had we lost one of our girls. To us, it’s the same.

Oh well. Oh fucking well. We can do it alone. We don’t need people to come celebrate with us, we can do it alone. We will plant their trees, release our balloons, and celebrate them alone. It’s fine. We are fine.

We saw them today. We went to their gravesite, spoke to them, stood by them, and wished them a happy one month birthday.

I’ve visited them many times. Sometimes I tell Robert I’m going, sometimes I don’t. I don’t ever want him to feel pressured to come with me, so sometimes, I go alone.

I sit by them.

I tell them, over and over again, that I love them. I tell them how much I wish they were here. I tell them how badly I want them. I tell them about their room, and their stroller, and the plans I had for them. I tell them about Piper and Hadley, and how much fun they would have had together. I tell them I love them, so much.

When we were there today, I looked at the dirt, still freshly placed over their casket, and I wanted to dig.

I wanted to dig up every spec of dirt and hold them. I wanted to open their casket and hold them tightly like I would have if they’d lived this past month. I wanted to kiss their sweet faces, cuddle their bodies, sing to them, and rock them to sleep. I wanted to so badly, but I couldn’t… I don’t think that’s legal.

So instead, I touched the dirt. I put my hand on the dirt that covers their crib and I wished peace for them. I wished that they were resting comfortably. I wished that they were dreaming about me and Robert, about Piper, about Hadley.

I wished that they knew we wanted to take them to the farm in October and to the Christmas Tree lot in December. I wished that they knew we wanted to watch them to destroy the house in February when they started crawling. I wished they knew that we’d have an amazing first birthday party for them.

I wished they knew how much we loved them.

I don’t know if I can pray now, or if I believe my prayers are answered. So I wished.

I wished they were here. I wish they were here.

I wish, more than anything in the world, that this last month has been a dream, I’m going to wake up, and they are going to be here.

I wish them the most peaceful, calm, comfortable sleep they can possibly have.

Sleep tight my baby boys. I love you more than you will ever know.

Happy one month Scott and Miles.

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LOVE, AND NOT BECAUSE OF LUCK

When your children die, I suppose your relationship has two options.

To make it, or break it. You either lean on each other or you don’t. Neither one of you needs more or less support than the other, because as parents, you are both grieving.

Grief, is a state of mind I can not properly explain to anyone that has not been through it, and not just grief over losing a parent, or a grandparent, or friend, but grief of losing a child, or in our case, children. It’s the most horrific pain you could possibly imagine. There is nothing worse. A parent, should never have to bury their child. Never.

We did though, we had to, so now we are here, grieving.

There is no rational thinking anymore, there is no plan, and there is no expectation for what our minds do next.

On Friday night, after my post about medication, wine, and caffeine, I was up all night. I was up, hallucinating. Straight up, seeing things, that were not actually there. Not just the little girl, but everything, was different, nothing was reality.

After putting Piper to bed, we did our typical nightly routine. Wine, time on our respective computers, eventually deciding to go upstairs, crying, and then having sex. Sometime after sex, I went somewhere else. Somewhere I was certain I was, and I could not be convinced otherwise.

I was in the hospital, pregnant, and begging Robert to call the nurse. I was desperately pleading for him to dial “2061” which was the number for my nurse, Robin, who I had had the last day in the hospital. I was BEGGING him to call her, to have her refill my water, so I could fill the babies’ sacs. I was reaching for the nurse call cord behind the bed, I was demanding he help me get dressed, so Robin didn’t see me naked, and I was completely, honestly, convinced I was in the hospital, pregnant, with hope.

At one point, I started calling Robert Ian, who was a very close friend in high school, became more than a friend on a few different occasions after high school, and who, at one point, I very much loved. We’ve since lost our friendship, after the tragic death of our close friend Tommy, exactly a year ago last Friday. We had attended the funeral, and I am only to assume that Ian’s girlfriend was not pleased by our closeness, and asked him to stop communicating with me. I haven’t talked to Ian since that night, until last Friday, when he called to offer his condolences for the boys. We had a brief chat that ended with him telling me it was best if we didn’t speak going forward. Okay, fine.

Robert knows this, he has heard about Ian, and he knows the history, so imagine how it must have felt to hear me screaming, ” I love you Ian” while looking into his eyes.

I eventually calmed down, and somehow, we both fell asleep, for an hour or two.

We woke up, and I could tell something was wrong. We have never woken up angry at each other. We are extremely good at communicating, and typically can resolve confrontations before they start. We woke up, I reached for his hand and a kiss, but he didn’t want either. He got out of bed, brushed his teeth, went down stairs. He didn’t look at me, he didn’t talk to me, he just went down stairs.

I followed. I asked him if he was okay, I asked if we were okay, I asked if I had done something to upset him. He repeated “it doesn’t matter” several times.

We went about our morning, got Piper breakfast, made coffee. It was so strange to have him so quiet. I wasn’t sure if he was just upset about the boys, or if he was upset with me, or what was going on.

At some point, I demanded he tell me. We are such a strong couple because we are honest with each other, at all times, even when the truth hurts. We pride ourselves on our honesty, it’s something we have worked hard at. It’s something neither of us had in our previous marriages, so it’s something we’ve had to learn, but we’ve mastered it, we have.

I looked him in the eye and I told him that whatever was upsetting him, he needed to tell me, right then. I either needed to help him, or apologize to him, and I needed to know which one.

I knew that I had gotten emotional, I remember I had cried, but that’s nothing new. I said I was sorry for getting upset the previous night, I said, I was sorry if I had said something wrong or out of line, but I needed to know what it was.

He told me. He told me I had screamed at him, I had thought I was in the hospital, and I had asked for the nurse.

I was confused, I remembered saying something about the nurse, but that was it. He told me that I spent a while trying to pull a cord that wasn’t there. He said I was pulling a blanket over my face and then yelling that I couldn’t breathe, because something was on my face. He told me I couldn’t control my breathing, I was panicking, I was begging for a nurse. He had reminded me that we were home, and I didn’t understand why. I was convinced I was still pregnant.

All of this, I have no memory of. I stood in the kitchen, looked at him, and knew he wasn’t telling me everything. As much as that must have been obnoxious to deal with, and probably scary, he wouldn’t have been mad at me.

I asked again.

“What do I need to apologize for, just tell me”

He put his coffee down, he looked at me, and he told me about Ian. He said that I had called him Ian for hours. He said I begged “Ian” to leave his current girlfriend, so we could be together. He said I told “Ian” I loved him, repeatedly.

I have, no memory, of that.

I was completely ashamed of myself. I am completely ashamed of myself.

I looked at Robert, and I told him I didn’t know. I told him I didn’t remember it, and I asked him to forgive me. I asked him to let me hug him, and I asked him to stay.

He took a few moments to breathe, and then he came to me.

He stayed.

He walked over to me, hugged me, and told me it was okay. He understood.

He understood?

He understood my completely irrational, fucked up mind, that somehow brought me to another world, for hours, and had me to look him in the eye, call him by the name of an ex-love, and scream at him.

He held me, and he told me he understood.

Well, fuck. I am fucking lucky.

I have always disliked the saying “I’m lucky to have him” because, really, I’m worth more than feeling lucky to be loved. I deserve love, I deserve happiness, I deserve security. I’m not lucky that someone loves me. A dog is lucky when someone adopts them from the pound. A human, should never feel lucky to be loved…we all deserve it.

Well, most of us…

Anyway- I fucking hate that we’ve become a society that feels lucky to be loved, but in that moment, after hearing what he told me, feeling his arms around me, saying it was okay, he understood…I felt lucky to have him. I felt lucky to be loved by him, I felt lucky to be his.

We have talked about luck before, and we agree.

We are lucky to have found each other, that is true. Nothing else about our relationship is luck. We work, because we work hard to make sure we work. That’s not luck, that’s dedication.

We communicate well, because when we first started dating, Robert lied to me, and I mean, a massive lie, to avoid hurting my feelings. I found out the truth, because, I’m a women, and that’s just what we do. We talked about it, talked about why he lied, talked about why he had done what he did, and why he thought for one second it was even okay, much less, okay to lie about it. We talked about ending things, and for a moment, we did. Like, a few moments, maybe 10, before we realized how dumb we were being. We decided to fight for each other, he decided to fight for me. We promised each other then, that we would always be forthcoming, no matter how much it hurt. That’s not luck, that’s honesty.

We get along, because we make a point of telling each other our expectations, all the time. We make sure that we each get down time. We make sure that we each get to do whatever the fuck we want to do, at least for a portion of the weekends. We make sure that if one of us is triggering a pet peeve, we speak up. We try our best to avoid each other’s pet peeves. I hate it when the “these are here for decoration” towels get used over the “these are here to dry your ass” towels, and Robert hates when our cars have less than half a tank of gas. He will tell you less than a quarter, but really, he loses his mind at just under half. Instead of ignoring these stupid little things we each could not give less fucks about, we smile, nod, walk away from the perfectly hung towels, and fill our damn gas tanks. We do that, not because of luck, but because of compromise.

We do it because we love each other enough to do it. We are lucky to have found each other, the rest, is on us.

The rest is because of our dedication, honesty, compromise, and just plan wanting to be together, and willing to work hard enough to stay together.

That’s not fucking luck, I’m not lucky to be loved, but in that moment, when he held me, and told me it was okay that I had screamed another mans name at him, for hours, I felt lucky. I felt damn lucky to be loved, and specifically, to be loved by him. I felt lucky.

I felt lucky that he chose, in the worst of times, to make it, rather than break it. Then even when I lost my fucking mind, he loved me enough to “understand”

I can not tell you why I lost my mind that night, I do not know.

I can not tell you what is normal and not normal about grief, because, I do not know.

I can tell you, that I have stepped away from all medication, other than my already comfortable dose of adderall, and I haven’t gone to crazy town since.

With the help of just Benadryl, a glass of wine, and quiet time with Robert, I’ve been sleeping, soundly. As a bonus, Robert has gotten to sleep too, since he’s not up dealing with my hallucinating ass, or having to talk to me while I can’t sleep, or having to check on noises that aren’t actually happening.

We are lucky to be sleeping, soundly, but we are not lucky to be sleeping together. That’s because of love, not luck.

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Three weeks have come and gone, and each day we get stronger.

I love you very fucking much Mr. Girard. Thank you for being here for all the times, not just the fair weather times. Thank you for for staying awake with me at night, despite having to work the next day. Thank you for loving my little girl as if she is half of you, and showing her what a father is. Thank you for not drying your arm pits with the fancy bathroom towels, or putting the sponge in the sink. Thank you for shoveling the driveway without me asking, and taking out the trash, even when you’re drunk and bust your ass on the ice that you missed while shoveling. Thank you for, after busting your ass, not bleeding on the new carpet.

Thank you for our first date, our second date, and the countless ones since then.

Thank you for asking me to be your wife. Thank you for the rest of our lives, I can’t wait to see where we have yet to go.

I love you, with everything my heart can hold.

DRUGS. WINE. CAFFEINE.

I’m taking drugs. I am drinking wine. I am drinking more caffeine than I am eating. I had three meals yesterday though. Three. That’s progress.

I’ve been on anxiety meds for a while, years. I’ve tried different drugs over the years, some were awful, some were okay, one works perfectly.

After I had Piper, I struggled with anxiety. I struggled for real. I couldn’t breathe if she wasn’t next to me. I couldn’t sleep, if I slept, she’d die. I stared at her, for hours at night. Every sigh, every grunt, every movement, was a sign she was dying. I could literally see the words in her obituary, I could read it, I could see the paper, I could feel it, I saw the words. It was terrifying, it was so real, and no one understood.

My OB “tested” me for postpartum depression. She pulled a standard list of questions from a file, and I checked off boxes.

“Do you want to hurt your baby”

“Do you want to hurt yourself”

“Are you crying often”

“Do you resent your baby”

NO, NO, YES…NO.

She told me I’d be okay, and sent me home.

I went back, I begged for help. She agreed to give me meds.

I tried a few different anti-depressants over the next months and eventually was given Wellbutrin, which was okay. I felt stable at least, so I was okay.

I trudged along in life for the next year or so, and then decided I needed more. I wasn’t functioning like I knew I wanted to. My anxiety wasn’t under control, I was terrified of letting Piper go, I didn’t want to be without her.

I had moved to DC, there are better resources here than in Virginia Beach.

I found a psychiatrist.

I found a psychiatrist who tested me for OCD, for anxiety, for depression, for ADHD. She did a series of complete physiological testing, four hours of intense testing. I waited a few weeks and I went back for the results.

I was the definition of ADHD, inattentive type, and OCD, anxiety based, “checker”.

She explained that when OCD/ADHD combine, your brain acts very much like the brain of someone dealing with depression. So you’re often given antidepressants, which don’t solve the problem.

The OCD tells you to DO IT ALL, NOW, MAKE IT PERFECT.

The ADHD prevents you from seeing a clear picture.

You have a table, on it lays all the tasks for the day, the OCD says pick a task, do it, pick the next, do it, rinse, repeat. The ADHD makes it impossible to pick the first task, there are too many, it’s too overwhelming, so you give up. You start running in a hamster wheel, the OCD doesn’t let you slow down, but the ADHD prevents progress. You run in circles. You pick up a pencil to make a list, but you forget what the first thing should be, so you run back to the table, but on the way, you see something out of place, so you fix it, then you see something else, or you remember you have to pay a bill, so you start to write the check, but you can’t find a stamp, so you go to find one, you see the vacuum, so you start to use it, but there is a blanket that needs to be folded, and the dryer just buzzed, so you run on circles. You never made the list, you never paid the bill, you never vacuumed, you didn’t fold the towel, it’s 5pm, and nothing got done.

It’s fucking exhausting.

She gave me Adderall. She said “let’s try this”

Adderall is a stimulant. You might think that giving a stimulant to someone with anxiety based OCD is a mistake. Not for me.

I took it. 30 minutes later, life made sense. I saw the table, I saw the tasks, I saw the pen, I made the list, and one by one, I completed each task. Rationally, calmly, clearly, I completed the day.

I felt alive. For the first time in fucking years, I felt alive. I was functioning. I never knew life could be so easy. I wish so badly I had known that this little magic pill, could have made high school, college, math, so much easier. I wish the 100s of doctors my kim brought me to in my crazy, somewhat manic teenage years, would have fucking figured this out. I wished they wouldn’t have given me Zoloft. That shit made me want to die more than my own desires. It made me crazy.

I took the Adderall, and life worked.

I saw her once a month, and each month, I had grown, mentally, physically, emotionally. I had straightened out my finances, I had organized my business, I had set goals, and was meeting them.

I was alive, and happy. Even my ex-husband noticed a change in how I was interacting with him. I was nicer, to everyone. I was “me”.

When Robert and I decided to try for a baby, I was scared. He has never seen me without meds. He only knew me with them. I was scared that if he saw me, the checker, the overwhelmed hamster, he wouldn’t love me as much. I told him, I warned him. We talked about it, and we decided to try anyway.

I stopped taking the Adderall the day I found out. I was scared, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I stayed focused for 8 weeks, and then I crashed.

I’ve already explained the anxiety attack I had at my old OBs office. That was the first.

Then it was my mom. She came in my house. I told her I was feeling overwhelmed. I needed space. She didn’t listen, she doesn’t understand the physical pain that my anxiety causes me. I told her I needed space, and she snapped. She said “fine, just let me know when you DO need me” or something along those lines. I fucking lost it. I screamed at her, I lost control of my breathing, I lost control of my words. Robert saw it all. He saw me lose it. He saw, what I had feared he would eventually see.

I ran upstairs, I pulled the covers over my head, and I tried to breathe. I couldn’t. I couldn’t catch my breath. I contemplated telling Robert to call 911, I seriously, could.not.breathe.

My mom was frantically trying to “help” but there was no help at this point. I was gone, I had no control.

Robert asked her to leave. She left.

Robert crawled in bed behind me. He wrapped his body around mine, and he held me. He just held me. He didn’t say anything, he didn’t push me to calm down, he didn’t tell me to relax. He just held me.

I remembered my therapist’s words about the Adderall. It’s a risk/benefit decision. If your life is a risk, your babies are at risk. The low dose of Adderall is going to cause much less damage than my lack of breathing.

I calmed down a bit. I went down stairs, I opened the bottle, I looked at the beautiful orange pill, I knew relief was inside that pill. I put it in my mouth, drank some water, and sat on the couch.

I kept thinking “30 minutes. You just have to wait 30 minutes”

30 minutes later, I was me again. I was functioning, I was breathing. I was calm.

I saw my therapist the next day, we discussed the risks, we decided I’d take it “as needed”, no more than 15mg a day. She asked if I was okay with it, I wasn’t sure, but I knew I needed it.

When I was admitted to the hospital, I discussed it with Dr.King. She flat out told me to take it. Take as much as I needed. She gave me some information on Adderall in pregnancy, there isn’t a lot, but she wasn’t concerned. She stood up, she told me with confidence that my mental health was way more important than the few studies linked to low birth weights in rats.

I’ll never know if the Adderall effected the boys, but what I do know, is that I will never carry guilt for it. I needed it, for me. I had to put my oxygen mask on first, if you will.

We do know, that the pregnancy was fucked from the start. Miles’ placenta never implanted correctly, it wrapped itself around my c-section scar, that’s what caused the abruption, that’s what caused the bleeding, the bleeding caused the rupture, the rupture caused the infection. The infection is written as “cause of death” on his record. That’s what we know, that’s what I know.

So why am I writing about this? Why do I fee this is an important part of my story? Why am I sitting in the new office, not the twins room, on the floor, with the not long enough phone charger, writing about this?

Because it’s important, it’s important that I knew I needed help. It’s important that I acknowledge that possible guilt I have over taking the meds. It’s important that I write the facts about why they died. It’s important, that I knew, I HAD a to ask for more help after they died.

It’s important, the I am strong enough to admit I’m weak without help.

The day we got home from the hospital, I called my physiatrist, I made an appointment with my therapist, for me, and Robert. I made an appointment with my psychiatrist, for me, and for Robert.

It’s important, that this is something to be proud of. That mental health is no fucking joke. It’s important that the world knows it’s okay to need help.

It’s okay.

It’s okay, that I have upped my prescription for the Adderall, I’ve started taking the Wellbutrin again, and I’ve been prescribed medicine to help me sleep. It’s okay, that I need help with this right now. It’s O-fucking-K.

It’s okay, that for the past two weeks, drugs, wine, coffee, and diet coke, have kept me alive. It’s okay, because I am alive…I’m breathing, I’m sometimes functioning, I’m sometimes working for 15 minutes at time.

It’s okay, that drugs and caffeine, allowed me to send my employees their W2s, allowed me to send forms into licensing, allowed me to reorganize our finances.

It’s okay, that wine provides comfort in the evenings that I need. It’s okay that we’ve drank too much a few times. It’s only okay because we are home, without Piper, we aren’t driving, we aren’t doing it every night.

It’s okay, because it just is.

It’s okay that we need help right now.