Steph, wife to Haley, shares her experiences of life after the loss of Emerson and Harper. I’m so touched by the love expressed in this post, it’s truly beautiful. You can read more about Emerson and Harper, here.
October 7, 2015: It’s approximately 5:30 PM, we spent the last almost 48 hours in this hospital and now I’m taking my wife home with a broken heart. I don’t know what the next few days will look like, but I know that they will be some of the hardest our lives. I wheel my wife out of the hospital, help her into the car and are driven home by her parents to their house for the next week. We are exhausted, we are in a fog, we are wounded and vulnerable. When we arrive at the house we are greeted by the rest the family and shortly after my daughter, Haley‘s step-daughter arrives. She doesn’t know everything that has happened, she doesn’t know her sisters are no longer with us and we have the daunting task of speaking to her and explaining this information to her. We take her downstairs, sit her down and explain the circumstances. We’re all crying and she is telling us that she doesn’t want to be alone. We make a promise to her in that moment that we will keep trying to give her siblings here on earth. We go to sleep that night in each others arms after being up for almost 48 hours and we cry and weep together. So begins the journey of life after loss.
There are so many vivid memories leading up to the birth of the twins, however those memories are mine and what I will concentrate on is life beyond those days. After almost a week of being at Haley‘s parents house we went home to our house and it felt empty and unfamiliar. We took the next three months together to try and understand and heal a bit from the events that took place. We chose to go to therapy together which helped immensely and we spent our days together just trying to cope with the loss of our children. What I’ve come to realize is that you never get over an event like this; you just learn how to live with this reality. You also have to realize people don’t always know what to say to you and they will say things that don’t make sense and that will sometimes hurts however we have to realize that it is not their fault and that they are just trying to console the best they can.
Haley and I decided to talk about future children and made a decision to try for another child soon after the passing of the twins. I admit that I left most of that decision-making to Haley as I wanted to make sure it was her idea and that she was ready to start trying again. We knew we were not replacing the twins, but that we were trying to fulfill this dream to have children together. We understood that the twins gave us a road map so that we could potentially bring another child into the world. With all the planning and organizing of having another child, it did calm some of the grief that I had been experiencing. It gave us new hope; something to look forward to and something that we could make anew. We chose a new donor for our new experience and again with our road map in hand. We were very fortunate to get pregnant quickly however the stress that came with this pregnancy would be great and almost at times would be consuming.
However with stress mounting we ensured that we took the time to revel in the pregnancy and enjoy the moments as we understood they could be fleeting and few.
We had a different appreciation for what lied ahead and so we tried, even though we were still heartbroken, to enjoy all the little moments. We allowed ourselves to dream, to pick names and to think about the future with this little person inside.
The day I found out I was having a son, my heart filled up with love. I heard his heart beating and I saw him moving and I went with tears of joy. We spent the rest of Haley‘s pregnancy for our son on pins and needles. We wanted so badly to bring him home and change the experience we had already filled and lived. After many weeks, after many ultrasounds and after much stress, the moment arrived for our son to meet us. It was an emotional day shared by our whole family and documented by our lovely friend and photographer who helped us cherish all the unspoken moments of that day. Through the guidance of our doctor all the staff nurses, September 12, 2016 our son Harrison was born. As I watch my wife pull out this perfect little person, I knew in that moment I was staring at the person I now know as my hero, my wife. Her strength and determination brought us our son. Although she shared with me along the way her intimate feelings, stresses and worries, I know it was nothing compared to the moment she got to hold and meet our son for the first time. Her strength and will are barely something that I can explain. I don’t know how she did it again, I don’t know how she let herself be that vulnerable, except to say, the one thing in life that will take us to that moment is love.
When I see Haley and Harrison together: I hear them laughing, I see them cuddling, I see her holding him close – I know that it was worth it. We don’t forget. We could never forget. Our twins are our babies – they will always be the loves of our lives and no one can take that from us. We think of them daily and we try to remember them through the life we give our children here on earth. We know that they are watching over us and we have to try and take comfort and solace in this notion.
My wife told me that she dreamt about being in the field with them; laughing with them all together, in white dresses, enjoying the sun, enjoying the moment. I believe that is exactly how I want to picture them and I know that she will get that moment again with them many, many years from now.
Life after loss is not about living in the past, it’s about honoring, moving forward and keeping those moments alive.
This post is shared as part of the #LGBTBabyLoss Blog Series. To read more, or to submit your own experiences, visit the LGBT Baby Loss Blog Series homepage here.