The Baby Birds
Our story is somewhat long and has been a little complicated at times. This journey involves years of doctors’ visits, tests, and medications; a previous miscarriage at 12 weeks of a baby girl with Down syndrome; several pregnancy attempts afterwards; and even going out of state for further fertility treatment. So needless to say, after all of this, my husband (John) and I were pleasantly surprised to learn last November that we were expecting identical twins. We were guarded at first, but very excited (as well as many family members and friends), to prepare for the future arrival of “the Baby Birds!” Although it was a high-risk pregnancy and we were told to watch out for possible complications, everything was progressing well. However, at a doctor’s appointment on February 7, it was discovered that one feared condition had indeed developed—and twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome was diagnosed. Later that same night, preterm premature rupture of membranes occurred (water broke) while eating dinner in a restaurant. It was a totally unexpected and traumatic event, because in those frantic moments I realized that the fragile lives inside of me would not be able to survive this distress. We rushed to the hospital and I was admitted overnight for observation. The following day, an underlying infection (chorioamnionitis) became apparent. Delivery of non-viable infants became necessary to prevent potential life-threatening complications for me. Our baby boys passed away at only 18 weeks gestation on Wednesday night, February 8, 2017, at 9:28 and 9:38 PM, at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock.
Despite our initial shock and devastation, we found comfort when we were shown our tiny babies in such delicate outfits. Our experience with the entire UAMS bereavement program (Love Lives) was absolutely amazing. This program is led by a compassionate nurse coordinator who assembles many donated keepsakes from various individuals and groups them into an irreplaceable memory box. Your organization’s contributions go above and beyond, as these intricate little bundles of handiwork are very moving. It is definitely much more than just cotton and yarn, stitches and ribbons . . . it is love. Love for those parents who are desperately hurting. Love for the cherished babies who are God’s gift, who should really be considered a gain, and not a loss, as someone shared with me in the initial days following our heartbreak. Our twin sons and their big sister are precious angels in heaven. They are forever with us, and although our arms are empty here on earth, we will always be parents.
John and I would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to all of the hard-working, dedicated volunteers of the Holy Sews ministry. Thank you, Regina, for starting such a wonderful organization. We are grateful that your idea to properly dress micro preemies has made its way all across Arkansas and beyond. Thanks to all of the bereavement programs in the many medical centers that pass on your items to grieving families. We are truly honored that our dearly loved little boys, Johnathan Bobby and Jackson Levi, were dressed in your thoughtfully made attire. We have been blessed and deeply touched by your organization.
An unbelievable six months have already passed since that fateful night. Although the majority of this testimonial was written within the first couple weeks after our loss, I don’t know why it has taken me until now to finally share our story. I suppose it is like sealing an envelope and putting a stamp on it, so to say. This is just one more step, one more thing to mark off my list, in this whole process of trying to move forward. Perhaps my hesitation is because in doing so, it signals the end of something… the end of a painful chapter and the need to begin a new one. The painful reality felt on what would have been the babies’ due date (July 9) was another symbol of finality to me. However, with each passing day and each milestone along the way, healing and grace continues.
Once again, please accept our most sincere and heartfelt gratitude to you all for the impact that you have left on our lives. This mark on our hearts will never be forgotten.
~ Amy Bird
August 8, 2017