Changing my perspective….
My husband, Tyler, and I have two (2) amazing boys. When my youngest was nearly three (3), I wanted to try for one more….which really surprised me because I am one of three kids, and I swore I would never have an odd number of children because one kid always seemed to be left out. I just loved being a mom and regardless of having an odd number of kiddos, I wanted more to have more. So, we tried for another and got pregnant!
A few months into my pregnancy, we found out we were having twins! I was shocked! My first thought was “God knew what he was doing, again – I was worried about an odd number of kids and it was never even in the cards for me.”
Tyler and I were not only shocked we were having twins, we found out they were identical twins! So we were either going to have four (4) boys or two (2) boys and two (2) girls. I was happy either way; but, was pulling for girls because we have seven (7) nephews and zero (0) nieces. I knew a lot of our family would be hoping for girls, too, but we planned to wait until they were born to find out their gender!
My pregnancy was good, other than a little nausea. I felt the babies move. I picked out names. I was nervous, but ready.
When I was about 20 weeks pregnant, I went to a specialist for a routine appointment. During the ultrasound, she asked if I wanted to know the sex of the babies and I said no. I even looked over to the side of the room so I would not accidentally see any parts (that is what happened with my 2nd boy!). After a few moments, the doctor got quiet. I eventually looked at her and she was crying. That’s when I knew. Everything changed. Forever.
I was broken and didn’t know how I was going to move forward. They had Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome. The next day, I was in the hospital getting pumped full of Pitocin and various drugs to induce labor. Everyone kept pushing me to have an epidural so I would be more comfortable. I didn’t want an epidural and told them no. I didn’t want it and they still kept asking. I was mad. What they didn’t understand was that, this was the last time I would ever feel my babies. I wanted to feel them even if it was painful. I only had a short time with them and I was going to hold on to every second.
After nearly two (2) days, I delivered identical twin girls. This was my dream. This was NOT how it was supposed to happen though! To make things worse, I hemorrhaged after delivery because my placenta would not detach. So, instead of holding my girls after delivery, I was in surgery.
I remember waking up from surgery and my doctors asking me if I could sit up. I quickly sat up and, also, tried to get up out of the bed because I wanted my babies. They caught me and put me back in the hospital bed. I went back to my room and held my baby girls. The nurses had done their best to wrap up my girls with ripped up blankets. The pastor from my church came and did a naming ceremony for the girls and prayed over us all.
I kept thinking, this was not how I was supposed to meet my baby girls. After a little time, I was expected to just give my babies over to the funeral home employees and lay in the hospital to recover. I got mad. I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to go home. I cried and yelled. After only about three and a half (3 ½) hours after surgery, the hospital let me leave. I know they probably shouldn’t have, but I think they felt sorry for me and wanted to help however they could – and I was grateful.
The next five (5) months were dark. I didn’t do much. I felt empty. I didn’t want to talk about it. I listened to music a lot (specifically Broken Hallelujah by the Afters and Touch the Sky by Hillsong United) to feel close to God because I just couldn’t pray. I was lost. My husband was worried and got me an appointment with a therapist. I didn’t want to go, but I did because I had a family still…. and I couldn’t just quit. Therapy helped but I still felt something missing. I went to a few MEND (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death) meetings, and again, it helped some, but it wasn’t what I was needing.
After some time, I met another mom who had lost her son and she told me about Holy Sews. She was the first one to receive a layette in the DFW area. I thought about Holy Sews and the layettes they provided to hospitals and thought, “Wow, now that is something that would have been amazing to have that day.”
I went with her to a workday at Holy Sews at the DFW Chapter and just took it all in. Something in me changed that day. Now, I could feel myself thinking about the future and the thought of my girls wasn’t quite as painful, because now something good could come out of all of it. God led me to Holy Sews to change my perspective from being an angry statistic to someone who could make a choice. With a lot of nudging from God, I consciously decided to make the choice to use my experience of devastating loss to help others and to teach my boys that life isn’t always perfect or fair. These hard life lessons about trials and tribulations do not determine the course in our lives. For me, it was a choice and I chose to honor my girls and to never let them be forgotten. Holland & Hayden are making a difference in this world – through us.
In honor and sweet memory of Holland Rylee & Hayden Brynlee,