Exactly one year ago today, Mike and I found out we were going to be the parents of twin daughters. We had known they were twins for 13 weeks but had anticipated this date to know whether they were girls, boys or one of each.
Our lives were changed that day. Changed forever. As I went into the office, I needed to use the restroom. While in the restroom my water broke. I was 20 weeks. After a hurried ultrasound and the tech telling us..."there is one girl"....."and there is another girl"...and after looking over at my husband with tears in his eyes wondering what was going on, we were rushed down to my OB's office and into a back room. "Sarah, I need to tell you that you will likely lose at least one of these babies, if not both." Those were her words. She said it all in one sentence. I wondered to myself if there was something I was missing. Did I misunderstand her? How did she know for sure what was going on?
I remember those moments as if they were yesterday, but they feel as it they were a lifetime ago. I remember the looks on the people's faces as I left the doctor's office crying. I remember the drive to the hospital. I remember calling my pastor to tell him what was going on. I remember checking into the hospital, I remember being wheeled by the nursery. I remember the smell, the sounds, the faces. I remember it all. Why? Because it was the day I found out I was going to be the mother to twin daughters.
The week following would prove to the be the most horrendous and traumatic week of our lives, yet one that was filled with peace, comfort and love and the joy of being parents.
I had developed an infection in Allison's placenta which had caused it to rupture. The hope was that as long as she could stay in my tummy, she would be saving her sister's life and there might be a chance that Emily could be delivered full term or close to it. But, I would have to lose one to save one; possibly carry one that was alive and one that wasn't. Being only 20 weeks at this point, the doctors can't stop labor in anyway because viability isn't possible outside of the womb. And thankfully, labor hadn't started so I was sent home after 3 days in the hospital to be put on bed rest until I was at least 23 weeks. At that point, if the girls made it, I could be checked back into the hospital and would stay there for the duration of my pregnancy. 3 weeks was all we needed to save our girls. I needed to do anything I could do to keep my babies safe.
I was only home for a few days before I went into labor on the morning of September 4th. By that evening the infection had progressed to the point that my life was in danger. As Mike spoke privately with the doctor across the room, I saw him nod his head and glance my way. The labor was increasing in intensity and there was nothing they could do.
Allison Elizabeth and Emily Ann were born shortly after. My babies, my daughters. As we held them in our arms, we took them in; their fingernails, their eyebrows, their ears...Allison even had a little dimple in the middle of her chin like her father.
There are things I will never know about them. I will never know what color their eyes were. I will never know what their cries sounded like or what their laughs sound like. I will never know if Allison would have liked a bat and glove in her hand or preferred a pink tutu. I will never know if Emily liked to sing or would she have rathered play the piano. We will never see them off for their first day of school, their first dates or be there to stand and applaud at their graduation. Mike will never walk his first born daughters down the aisle on their wedding day. It hurts and it's hard.
There are some things that I do know. I know that God is good, even when we don't understand. I know that for every tear I have cried over my daughters, God has cried more. I know that I will get to spend eternity with my daughters. I know that God was there when they were created, He was there when they were born and He was there when they died. He was there, He was there, He was there.
He was in the hospital room. He was with us as Mike and I lay side by side in the hospital bed crying out to Him. He was in the moments we were able to spend with our daughters. He is even in the pictures we have of them. He was at the graveside when we laid their bodies to rest. He is at the cemetery--in the wind that blows the trees that makes the wind chimes sing.
And you know what...He is here. He never went away. He was there all along. He has written the story of their lives. The story of two sweet baby girls in my tummy one moment and in the next moment they were in Jesus' arms. The story of two lives that changed a family from Ohio to Alabama and from California to North Carolina.
I read from someone, who recently lost her child, say, "Because I know Who, I am willfully unconcerned with why." There isn't any explanation for why and there won't be until I meet my sweet Jesus and hold my babies in my arms again. Even then, honestly, I think I will be so filled with joy that it won't even matter.
As this week approaches, I am anticipating moments of remembrance and a hope for heaven that has never been more real.