What Am I Now?

December 23, 2013

Darren and I went away for the weekend with some our free miles.  In the airport I spotted them instantly: boy/girl twins, 7 months old. The parents look so overwhelmed and so so  happy.  It stung.  This is my first time "out in the world" seeing twins.  There had to be at least 150 on the plane.  Guess who sat behind us?

We went to see the famous Santa on 34th Street in NYC.  Not sure the logic we put into that one, but I was in "land of the cutest kids and cutest families" line forever.  It sucked.  I should have a 3 year old by now, we've been trying since I was 27.  It cued a lot of emotions and we had to go back to the hotel for awhile.

I hate the unknown and I'm struggling so much with the shock of what was just ripped out of my heart.  I seriously am missing pieces of my heart; those babies were physically a part of me.  The closest one human being can get to another.  At the hotel, I explained to Darren that women have the curse of ALWAYS being aware and not being able to just "turn thoughts off."  I think about Jude, and Brinly, and miscarriage, and needles, and ivs, and ivf, and transfers, and success rates, and blood, and pain, and fear, and hope, and doctors, and pills, and risks, and money, and what if's, and whens, and hows, and how much and how soon, constantly.  Even when I'm happy, I'm sad because in some form, in some shape, I'm aware of the past and future pain.  That's just the start of it.  Often at night when I try to fall asleep my cruel mind replays the horrendous scenes from the hospital room: when I quit denying when I was in labor and went to the ER, the cord hanging out, the spinal shot, the epidural shot, the first loss in the bathroom, the 2nd loss knowing a live healthy child was going to be killed in the labor process, the look on the doctor's face when she removed my cerclage, the look on the doctor's face when they saw my contraction chart, the fear, the audible sobs of my Dad and Darren and my mom and Darren's mom and dad, and my sister and Darren's sister and me.  The insane amount of I-can't-breathe-cries that fell from my face and came out of my gut those days in the hospital.  Darren and my mom in the room watching helplessly as I slowly drowned. 

On the plane ride home I sat by a woman who looked about the size I would be right now.  She wouldn't stop rubbing her stomach. I tried so hard not to look-not to remember.  Why was I next to her?

Today a friend texted me about someone else that shares my struggle with becoming a mom. This threw me off guard.  I AM a mom.  According to Angela Miller, I am the "mother of all mothers" because I have to love my child in death.  I had to sign papers for the cremation.  I felt their kicks and kissed his face.  I carried my children to the halfway mark and then had to go through ALL the crap normal moms do-I labored and delivered each twin in the labor and delivery ward. 

I don't know why the need to be acknowledged as a mom is so sensitive to me?  Maybe to acknowledge Jude and Brinly were actual little people?  Maybe because I don't want to forget them?  Maybe because I want to remember that I CAN get pregnant and that my embryos CAN implant? It's such a lose-lose situation. People from the outside will most likely assume our delay to reproduction is because we are "focusing on our careers" or something like that.  If people ask "Do you have kids?" I don't want to say no.  How could I? I want to say "I lost twins at birth but we are hoping for the future; but that's heavy.  Why dump that awkwardness on people?  Maybe I haven't quite earned the "mother" title.  I mean, normal moms get to flaunt pictures of their babies.  I have to hide my pictures of Jude's face.  It's death.  It's uncomfortable. To me he is this precious beautiful face but to others? I cannot proudly show off my baby. My best friend was at my house last week and I told her I made a photo book of every picture of Jude.  She asked to see it.  I asked her like 5 times if she was "sure" and I had to do a long disclaimer "don't be scared, he is just miniature, he is small.  His face is bruised because he was breached and had to be pulled out." 

I turned to the page with his beautiful face.  I turned it around slowly.  I felt so vulnerable for some crazy reason.  I felt like I was getting naked in front of a crowd. She is the first to see his little face outside my immediate family (honestly, if roles were reversed, I would pass.  As mentioned a lot, I haven't even looked at Brinly).  She looks. She smiles. "He looks just like Darren," she says.  I feel my body relax; I smile too.  He does look just like his dad.  This is not the normal situation by flaunting pics of newborns. 

Mother's Day will come.  Where do I belong? What am I now?  I am infertile yet I'm a mother.  I'm a mother, yet I'm childless.  I'm trying to conceive.  I'm a grieving mommy.  I'm an empty armed mother.  I'm a working woman with no children.  I am the mom of Jaden and Isaac (although that seems so distant) and the mom  of Jude and Brinly (this seems so unfair). 

I feel like I have just been totally beaten up at war, I've been in a bad battle, I'm injured, but I have no proof.  No scars to show.  I look normal.  No one would ever guess I was holding my dead baby in my arms just a month ago.  No one outside would ever know that I should be 27 weeks pregnant.   I carried and delivered 2 babies in a hospital room.  My stomach is full of loose skin.  My milk came in full force.  Yet I sit her typing in a very clean house.  No little fingerprints on the furniture.  No screaming sounds coming from the backroom. 

I joined a couple of online support groups and someone posted this video.  I felt like I could have written 99% of the content-the shock, the disappoint, the pain that comes with stillborns; simply posting it for awareness and a taste of what this sad event does to a woman.

I don't want this to be a dark and sad post.  I'm truly going to come out of this some day.  We are working it through.  One day at a time.  I believe it will always hurt but I also believe brighter days are ahead.  I don't know why God does what He does but I know He isn't done. 


  1. Holly you are a mother and a wonderful mother at that. You are a mother that is fighting to keep the memories of her little ones a live. My social worker asked me the other day if I wished I could just press pause and stop everything because here I sit in my own emotional war as everyone goes about there day like nothing is wrong. I know this is how you feel. It's hard. I wish I could say it wasn't, but after my past week I know damn well it is. You will survive this and someday you will have a wonderful baby in your arms and they will have Isaac, Jaden, Brinly, and Jude watching over them. You're in my thoughts and my prayers.

  2. It is early still. It is the holiday season. You are entitled to be as sad and upset and pissed off and confused and frustrated and discontented as you want to feel. No one can take the emotions from you. They are real and they are part of processing. As far as what you are? You are a mom. If both of my kids died today (God forbid) I would be no less of a mom than I was yesterday. The same is true for you. You didn't just lose babies, you lost all of your hopes and dreams for those babies. There will be other babies, but it won't take away the loss of these children to your family. You are strong and amazing and in some ways it is a huge blessing that you don't wear your loss on the outside, but it can make you feel so alone that no one knows, too. Try to carve a tiny piece of joy this season, no matter how tiny.

  3. Oh my gosh! I've been faced with the situation of someone asking me something along the lines of are you a mom, do you have kids-- and I always answer yes. If they ask me how old or what not-- I tell them.. "He would have been 9 years old on 1/23". It's your right as A MOTHER to decide if you want or how you want to tell people about your children. You are a mother. Just today I was getting new glasses at a store that I've been going to for years. One of the ladies asked me about my chronic migraines and I told her that I only get them if I'm pregnant and explained to her that I got them in August when I was pregnant and told her that I miscarried. She did look at me like maybe she wouldn't expect someone to share that info but you know what? Even if I was only five weeks pregnant, that was my CHILD to me. And I will never deny that child to be mentioned. Today my son is 8 years old and 11 months.. my heart aches and if it were eight years ago-- I wouldn't be writing this to you.. I'd be drowning. I wouldn't have pure thoughts and be able to put sentences together. While I've cried salty tears today, I keep telling myself that when I light candles at the midnight service at church.. we will be there together, he'll wrap his arms around me, and he'll give me the strength to get through another year.

  4. You are absolutely a mother. I know exactly what you mean about a piece of you missing. Our children are a part of our bodies, literally, and are only supposed to separate slowly. Go from inside, to in our arms. In our arms to crawling. And slowly they would move away until one day they are a phone call away and they have babies of their own. Ours were ripped away from us far too soon. They are still supposed to be a part of us, inside. And barring that, in our arms. Instead they are gone farther than they ever should be. And it just feels so wrong. A piece of us is missing.

    I also am very insistent that I am a mother of two. I do have a living child, but I still need Noah acknowledged just as much as my older son. I think it is perfectly fine to share your children with people who ask. Yes, your story is sad, but they did exist. And you are a mother. Worry about your comfort rather than theirs.

    I have also shared pictures of Noah far and wide. I know not everyone is comfortable with that. But the responses I have gotten have been overwhelmingly positive. I say do what ever makes you feel comfortable.

    Lots of love and comfort this holiday.

  5. I have no words, but I just wanted to leave something. I wanted you to know that I read your post and felt every single word. You are a mom and a very strong and brave one at that.

  6. Regardless of what might happen in the future, you are already a mother! I know you will have the opportunity to hold and raise your babies one day. I'm sure you will hold and raise some siblings in the meantime.

    This post reminded me of a song when you mention you have been in a battle. Here you can find all the lyrics: http://www.thelyricarchive.com/song/3247152-518615/Safe-Harbors

    Here is the beginning of the song:
    There are refugees among us
    That are not from foreign shores;
    And the battles they are waging
    Are from very private wars.
    And there are no correspondents
    Documenting all their grief,
    But these refugees among us all
    Are yearning for relief.

    You have been through so much and that should not be discounted ever. Sending big hugs to you and hoping you can feel God's peace and love. I hope you can find some relief especially during this holiday season. Wishing you a peaceful, loving Christmas!

  7. Holly, thank you for sharing. I want you to know you will always be a mom even after you have children in the future. My mom has lost 7 babies either miscarriages or stillbirths and as a family we chose to remember them, to honor them and to love them. My mom has 11 children and although 7 may not be here they are still a part of our family; they were still a part of my mom. My mom was still a mom to 7 other babies...Even after all of these years it is painful for my mom to talk about.Yes, you are the mother or all mothers because you have loved Brinly & Jude even in death. Also, know that I am praying for you and have cried for you and have tons of other people pray for you as well. Lots of love to you & your husband! Praying for peace, love & joy this Christmas!

  8. I read this beautiful post about grief the other day and it made me think of you: http://www.rebellesociety.com/2013/12/18/5-lies-you-were-told-about-grief/

  9. Holly, I so wish that I could offer words of comfort. The holidays are hard on us all, but I expect this will be the hardest holiday season for you yet. I'm lifting you up and praying for you and Darren... asking the Lord to comfort your hearts. Abiding with you!

  10. I love what you said at the end... "I don't know why God does what He does, but I know He isn't done." Such truth there. Thank you for that. I am so incredibly sorry for what you have been through. I have often thought about how people see me everyday, & have no idea that i am dealing with infertility. A barista said to me the other day, "So you finish your kids christmas shopping yet?!" I said, "me? I don't have any kids." She said, "you don't?! I thought for sure you did!" And the conversation continued but it was painful. I am exhausted of these conversations. How much more painful for you, though. i haven't been through miscarriage or stillbirth, i haven't been pregnant. I am so sorry, Holly. I pray for you often. Lifting you & Darren up in prayer especially this week. xoxo

  11. I just want you to know that you ARE a mommy. A mommy who is strong, inspirational, and beautiful inside and out. Saying prayers for more peace, comfort, and love from the Poppa God who is working on your situation right now...even though you can't see it or feel it...He is working to make ALL things the enemy meant for your harm, for your good. xo

  12. You are most definitely a mother, never forget that. Saying a prayer for you during this holiday season. Much love...

  13. You are one of the best mothers I know. I don't say that lightly. Love to you and your beautiful family.

  14. Just like others have said, you ARE a mom. I'm saying prayers for you, you are on my mind so much even though we barely know each other (friends with Heidi). Don't rush to "get over it," the grieving process is different for everyone and takes time and you can take all the time you need. What you've been through is difficult and no one can understand what you feel and think. Just know that I am supporting you from afar, God bless you and Darren Holly!

  15. From personal experience....
    Question: So, do you have any children (yet)?
    Answer: Well, yes and no. I have mothered 4 babies but they didn't make it. I prefer not to go into any details, but thank you for asking.
    Then comes: Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that.
    Respond: Yeah, me too. So on a lighter note...*insert other generic news*(this keeps it short and minimizes other questions)
    ---I dont know you but have crying with and praying for you. God Bless♥

  16. My heart aches for you.

    I lost my daughter in stillbirth six years ago and I still don't know what to answer to questions about the number of the children I have (I now have two living ones as well). Sometimes I tell it all, sometimes I just let it be and run away from that awkwardness you're describing. And there are always feelings of all kind tied to these situations. Quilt for a lie or betrayal, or shame on being too open (and weak) too soon. I guess it is something that will follow me for a long time to come, if not forever.

    Sending you a lot of warm thoughts <3

  17. You. Are. A. Mother. You are a friend, a mentor, an inspiration.

    1. And crazy enough.... my captcha code was seriously : Strong onez

  18. You are a mother.. Nothing or no one can change that. Thinking of you friend.

  19. There are so many things I want to say.
    You are a mother. You love your children and tried everything humanly possible to save them.
    I am planning to tell people about A and C if they ask whether I have children - but this hasn't happened so far, and I worry the awkwardness will win sometimes, and I will remain quiet. No matter the answer, those questions will be hard.

    I'm so glad for your friend that asked to see Jude's photos. We sent out a birth announcement with their photo, much as we would have had they lived. We got some wonderful and caring replies from some friends, while others remained silent. I'm so glad your friend saw the resemblance to dad.

  20. There is no question that you are a mother. No question at all. That is a wonderful quote that you posted. Hugs to you. xoxo


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