April 23, 2008

Dear Sweet Zoë and Lennox,

Today is your official due date. It’s the date your daddy and I circled on all of our calendars even though we knew the likelihood of your putting in an appearance well in advance of today. It still gave us a concrete goal to look forward to. I liked the idea that you might have your birthday in the same week as your grandma and your aunt. That it would be spring.

Then, when you arrived so much earlier, that date circled on the calendar took on a whole new meaning. It became the date when you would most likely be able to finally come home. It would be the time we’d say goodbye to the nurses and the doctors of the NICU and leave all those bright lights and loud noises behind to come home and be all together. April 23 seemed so far away in January. I drew a bigger, brighter circle around the day, I erased the countdown of weeks left in my pregnancy and added in a countdown of weeks until Lennox and Zoë came home. Those calendars are packed away now, in a box full of other memories and reminders of hopes and dreams.

I wonder all the time how things would be different. These past few days, I’ve done a lot of wondering. How big would you be? Would you both have hair now? Would it be dark brown like mama’s or more reddish-brown like daddy’s? I have no doubt that your eyes would be brown. Would Zoë’s toes still be funny, like mine? Would Lennox still have that serious, wise look? Would you like to be held lots?

I stand in a small room with lavender walls and white trim. I painted that room for you before I was even pregnant. I knew when we built the house that that room would be a nursery someday and when we painted it last spring, I went ahead and painted it the right color. I hadn’t made up my mind on how to decorate it yet. For a long time, I’d planned using “Where the Wild Things Are” as my theme. It’s one of my favorite stories and many years ago, your daddy bought me a collection of figures of all the wild things and Max, dancing in their wild rumpus that I would have put on the shelf and I’d thought about making some paintings from the book as well. Sometimes, though, I thought I’d just do something simpler, like stripes and dots. After all, I don’t think the two of you would have cared one way or the other. I’d picked out the furniture for your nursery years earlier as well. That’s how I got myself through all those failed attempts…I’d pour over websites and catalogs, making lists, picking out exactly what I wanted for you, when you finally came along. I spent those two weeks in the hospital, mentally placing two cribs, a changing table, a bookshelf, and a rocking chair in that small room, trying to figure out exactly where it all could go. But now, that small lavender room has a sewing table by the window that looks out over the rose bushes. There’s a desk with a shelf that is filled with my bins of watercolor tubes and brushes, pads of paper, rolls of quilt batting, pages and pages of quilt patterns. There’s a stack of storage boxes, things we couldn’t find a place for immediately so we stuck them in this room. I find it hard to be in here now. Before, I sat at my sewing table and worked on my quilts thinking about how, before long, I’d put the sewing machine on the shelf in the closet, take the table apart and put it in the garage, and instead of sitting by the window making quilts to give to other people, I’d be sitting in a rocking chair with you looking out at the pink roses, watching the bunny wiggle under the fence, while the clothes line spun with your diapers and t-shirts. Now, if I have to sew, I make Shannon carry my machine to the kitchen table. I don’t spend much time in the little lavender room. It just doesn’t feel right now. There were supposed to be two white cribs in here. There were two little organic cotton chicken rattles and a turtle and a bunny. There should have been a changing table with its shelves stacked with the cotton diapers. Two hand-knit blankets were supposed to be there, ready to wrap around you, instead of being wrapped in tissue and carefully packed away.

I miss you both so very, very much. Not a day, not an hour goes by that I don’t think of you. I wish you were coming home today. It is exactly the sort of day I imagined bringing you both home on. The irises are all blooming, and they smell so good. It’s nice enough that we just open the windows in the house and the breeze makes the sheer curtains billow. We have two swallows that swoop down over the flower bed at sundown, catching bugs. This is the first spring we’ve had any birds like that. The backyard is full of ladybugs and I’ve started seeing butterflies…little yellow ones, beautiful blue ones…all over. Soon, we’ll have hummingbirds. The sky is clear blue and the air just feels good. This is what I dreamt of. Pulling into the driveway on a day just like this, and bringing Sweet Zoë and Lennox home. Spending hour after hour, lying on our bed with the two of you.

I thought today would be a beginning.

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14 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    michelle said,

    April 29, 2008 @ 1:11 pm

    thinking good thoughts for you

  2. 2

    Sara said,

    May 1, 2008 @ 8:16 am

    Found your website through another link and just wanted to tell you how sorry I am for the loss of your precious twins…. I was in your shoes 6 years ago, our triplets were born at 24 weeks. Our 2 boys lived 2 days and our daughter lived for 2 weeks. It WILL get easier with time, but I still miss them so much! Everyday I wonder what they would have looked like or what their personalities would have been. Please take care of yourself and just live day-by-day. We did have 4 children since then and they are the reason DH and I are happy today, but they will never replace our first children. We will always carry that grief around for the rest of our lives.

  3. 3

    Rachel said,

    May 23, 2008 @ 7:50 am

    I am aware of your story but I’m not sure I’ve stopped by your blog before. When Mel put out the call for hits next Thursday, I marked my calendar and scheduled a post so that my few readers will visit here.

    I am so sorry about the loss of your Zoe and Lennox. It is heartbreaking! I flipped through the gallery pictures and cried for you. I wish there was something, anything I could do to take your pain away. I can’t even imagine what you are going through.

    (I put my blog link in the comment form. I do have a young son, so if it will bother you, I ask that you don’t visit.)

  4. 4

    Trish said,

    May 28, 2008 @ 6:06 pm

    Beautiful Tribute .Words fail me … tears of sadness . I wish I could say something comforting and earnest but I know nothing will ease pain of leaving Zoe and Lennox.
    I am here for a NEW best day ever.

  5. 5

    Brandygirl said,

    May 28, 2008 @ 7:46 pm

    I feel your sadness and I think, I’ve been hit by a truck cuz I feel so sad too.

    I am so sorry but I’d just like to dedicate this poem to you:

    I thought of you and closed my eyes
    And prayed to God today
    I asked “What makes a Mother?”
    And I know I heard him say
    A Mother has a baby
    This we know is true
    But, God, can you be a mother
    When your baby’s not with you?

    Yes, you can he replied
    With confidence in his voice
    I give many women babies
    When they leave it is not their choice
    Some I send for a lifetime
    And others for the day
    And some I send to feel your womb
    But there’s no need to stay.

    I just don’t understand this God
    I want my baby here

    He took a breath
    and cleared his throat
    And then I saw a tear
    I wish I could show you
    What your child is doing today
    If you could see your child smile
    With other children and say
    “We go to earth to learn our lessons
    of love and life and fear
    My mommy loved me so much
    I got to come straight here
    I feel so lucky to have a Mom who had so much love for me
    I learned my lessons very quickly
    My Mommy set me free.

    I miss my Mommy oh so much
    But I visit her each day
    When she goes to sleep
    On her pillows where I lay
    I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
    And whisper in her ear
    Mommy don’t be sad today
    I’m your baby and I am here”

    So you see my dear sweet one
    Your children are okay
    Your babies are here in My home
    And this is where they’ll stay
    They’ll wait for you with Me
    Until your lessons are through
    And on the day you come home
    they’ll be at the gates for you

    So now you see
    What makes a Mother
    It’s the feeling in your heart
    It’s the love you had so much of
    Right from the very start
    Though some on earth
    May not realize
    Until their time is done
    Remember all the love you have
    And know that you are
    A Special Mom.

    I have you in my prayers.

  6. 6

    emily said,

    May 29, 2008 @ 6:33 am

    my heart goes out to you

  7. 7

    Kathy V said,

    May 29, 2008 @ 6:43 am

    Continued hugs for you and your husband as you remember Lennox and zoe.

  8. 8

    Cece said,

    May 29, 2008 @ 6:55 am

    What a wonderful tribute. {hugs}

  9. 9

    Amy said,

    May 29, 2008 @ 9:32 am

    I have no good words just sending you good thoughts for today…it’s a hard one, I know. Thinking of you all.

  10. 10

    Jenni said,

    May 29, 2008 @ 12:03 pm

    I just wanted to say that I got your link from Mel. I have spent the last 3 hours reading through the main blog and then Zoe’s blog. I couldn’t tear myself away. You have a wonderful gift of expression. I am grateful to have had the chance to read it. I am very passionate about the march of dimes as well because of my sister.

    I also just realized that you live in TX, Fort Worth no doubt. Fort Worth is my home (southside) to be exact and then moved to Crowley. I now live in Mississippi on the Gulf Coast. I saw Cook childrens and it blew me away. You see my youngest sister was born at 24 weeks and lived there for 6 months. They were wonderful and the NICU was absolutley great to her. I can remember, even as a worried and scared 6 year old how the nurses were so wonderful to my family. She went thru the ringer and finally got to come home.

    I pray for you and your family. I know this has got to be the worst thing anyone could imagine. I had a miscarriage at 11 weeks and it was horrible but you have sustaned longer. I am in awe of you. You are a hero to many. The work that you are doing on your blog and on this blog for Zoe is amazing. Thank you does not express my feelings for you right now. Please know that there is a community out here that loves you from a distance and some that are closer to you. We are here if you ever need anything. Take care of yourself and Shannon and my prayers are with you.

  11. 11

    Lori said,

    May 29, 2008 @ 2:52 pm

    Zoe…you and your brother and your parents have drawn together an entire community. That’s a lot of good you did in a very short time.


  12. 12

    Joyce said,

    May 29, 2008 @ 5:49 pm

    Hugs to you and your family. I’m sending you good thoughts and prayers.

    take care,

  13. 13

    Brandy said,

    June 28, 2008 @ 11:53 am

    I came across your blog thru another and I have just spent the better part of my morning reading your blog . I was so sad to read about your loss of your beautiful Lennox and Zoe. I will pray your family in my prayers. I hope the future brings you love and peace.


  14. 14

    Audrey said,

    July 10, 2008 @ 3:04 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. A friend of mine referred me to your site because of the similiarities in our situatuions. I also lost my boy/girl twins after my boy pPROMd at 21 weeks. I was on bed rest for 2 weeks and then out of nowhere I went into labour and lost my son a few hours later. The next day my daughter arrived and she passed away shortly after her birth. This happened just a few months ago, May 2008, and the pain is so fresh and so raw that somedays I don’t think I can go on. Your blog has been so fascinating to read for me as I did not get the opportunity to celebrate any milestones with my babies. My due date is approaching soon and I hope that I can handle it as well as you have. I think I will spend it in their fully decorated room and finally open the box of mementos the hospital gave me and think about all the what would have beens.
    I hope you are coping well and managing to live life, although a different one now. Please feel free to contact me if you ever want to talk to someone that knows the pain you are going through and wishes just like you that I had two screaming babies wanting my attention right now but instead I have nothing to do but try and deal with the pain.

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