Liat right now is the same age Molly was when the twins died. Just under 18 months.
I’ve been looking at Liat, studying her, trying to remember if Molly was the same as her at that age, but it’s hard to remember. So much of that time is just a blur. Liat, at 18 months, mumbles a few words- like book, ball, more and done. She enunciates very clearly and loudly the words MOMMY and DADDY. Usually too early in the morning. She crawled right on schedule, has been walking for months and runs like a champ. This is all in contrast to Molly. By 18 months she was talking a mile a minute. She was singing Happy Birthday and already telling me what to do. But she was only starting to take a few steps. And she never crawled. Never. Instead she did this butt shuffle thing across the floor, and she could do it at lightning speed. I used to joke that she was too much of a princess to get on her hands and knees and face the floor. Now that she’s four, I realize that wasn’t much of a joke. It was foreshadowing of the truth. She is a princess. A very smart, intuitive princess.
I have this one clear memory of Molly from that time that always sticks with me. When I was pregnant Molly came up to me one day, lifted my shirt, touched my belly and said “baby”. It was so smart and I hadn’t told her that there was a baby in there, but somehow she picked up on it. I remember I was surprised and told Elie and scooped up Molly and kissed her and told her yup! That’s a baby— in fact, it’s babies! My sister had bought her two little baby dolls – ‘twins’ as it were. They were about 10″ long and I remember reading in my baby book that the babies were about that long for my gestational age. I put the dolls on my tummy, sorta spooned together yin-yang style and showed her.
After that, she’d come up to me every day and do that. Lift my shirt and say baby. Pretty soon I got her to do that and kiss my tummy too. I loved it.
Then the babies died.
I had a D&E to remove the babies from my body. I was the first appointment of the morning. I was home by noon. Later that day, I sat on the floor playing with Molly. I was in shock, still completely numb to what had happened. Molly came over to me, lifted my shirt and patted my belly and said “babies.” I looked right at her and said “No more babies” and started to cry. My not yet 18 month old looked up at me with the most intensely understanding and emotional brown eyes. She pulled down my shirt over my tummy, scootched closer to me and wrapped her arms around me. She never pulled up my shirt again after that. Never mentioned the babies.
I thought at the time that she probably understood that something had happened, but I didn’t ever sit her down and explain it. Sometimes I wonder how much she understood, and if she remembers.
When I got pregnant with Liat it took a looong time for me to tell Molly. We both sort of ignored it till maybe my 7th month. It was almost a full year since we’d lost the twins. I eventually started talking about how she would be a big sister, we bought a ‘big sister’ book and slowly, she started to acknowledge my tremendous belly. We put heart stickers on it
and she put her handprint in paint
and I did whatever I could to create positive pregnancy belly thoughts to counteract the negative ones that were somewhere in her baby subconscious. And in my own. I videotaped my tummy dancing up a storm.
Elie and I spent one evening painting my tummy. We used paint and traced the veins that were all over my body. then we added leaves and flowers and called it The Tree Of Life.
I guess I’m feeling sentimental for pregnancy. For the anticipation of every moment. The feeling of a baby living and growing inside of you. Of the twins, who filled my body for 6 months and were a miracle and blessing all their own. Even though they died inside of me and brought me a grief and sadness unlike anything I’d ever known. They also brought me a love, a depth and empathy like I’d never known. We’re not planning to have another baby. The plan was two. From the day we met. The only time I ever wanted more than two was during those six months when I was expecting three. And for about a year and a half after that. And in moments like this at 2 in the morning.
That’s all for now.
Beautiful, poignant and honest. Heartbreaking, tearful and sad. Aodhán was 5 when we lost out baby girl and even though he knew we were pregnant, I do ‘t think we ever told him we weren’t anymore, we just sort of stopped talking about it and I often wonder what his memory if it all is. I know someday when they’re older they’ll ask more about why there is a blue butterfly in between their two flowers on my tattoo…..I dread thàt conversation.
Love you and all your honesty, thank you for writing this.
Thank You Tine. Elie and I had a conversation after the twins died (I mean- right after, like 24 hours…) where we both agreed that Molly and any future children we had wouldn’t know about the twins. It was “weird” to us at the time, the idea that kids would know they have a sibling that wasn’t born alive… we thought it sounded unhealthy and disturbing.
And look at where I am today. Obviously, they will know about their sisters. I kind of look forward to telling them. So much about who I am now is because of all four of my girls, and I want Molly and Liat to know me and I want them to know that they have identical twin sisters. It’s their gift as much as mine.
I loved reading this. It brought a tear to my eye and made me smile all at the same time. (((hugs)))
Thank you Stace. xox
I don’t know what to say Tova except *Hugs* Kids are so intuitive. Its a sad thing that due to society, they lose that as they grow up. Sending you a huge bouquet of virtual crocuses and spring wild flowers.
Thank you suzy! I really hope I can help my girls maintain that as they grow up. intuition, I think, is the best guidance we can have to making the best choices for ourselves.
Flashbacks can be so very bittersweet. I wonder how much Brooke remembers and how much she has learned through talking to me about it since.
Does she remember me crying all the time? Tear stained face mommy? My huge tummy becoming small? Me packing everything away?
Brooke is well aware of her brothers, but nelly isn’t. She wasn’t there when it happened. I wonder if Molly will understand more than liat? Brooke needed reassurance when I was pregnany with nelly that this baby was going to live. Babies arent supposed to die. nelly hasn’t really ever talked about the twins, but from time to time Brooke mentions them, out of the blue.
I love your belly painting! It’s gorgeous.
I think it’s somewhere in Mollys subconscious. I can’t explain why but I do. The girl remembers everything. She remembers her 2 year old birthday cake was red and specific trips to her grandparents from last summer. (the live 6 minutes away… it’s not like a big event to go there) She learns things very quickly and understands how to manipulate information to suit her needs. Even as a tiny infant- a month or two, she would sit and stare intensely at my mouth when I spoke, copying the mouth movements… even then I recognized that she understood and was absorbing information. When she looked up at me and I started crying, she’d never seen me cry and I swear I saw such a mature understanding in her eyes. It was overwhelming.
Molly sounds like an old soul. She sounds and looks precious. You are lucky that she chose you as a mom. That’s what I believe. Children choose us as parents. And sometimes, when they leave us so quickly, they are there to teach us something, although we might never really know what it was, the lesson was there. I think (only my own opinion) that your twins were there to teach you to get back into your muchness, your creativity Tova. Have a great weekend and big hugs from Saskatchewan.
Suzy- I agree. I do think that’s why I was chosen to carry them. Thats’s why I have to make this thing big enough to honor them and the tremendous gift they gave to me. I believe that they are the catalyst that guides me to do what I was made to do.
:”( love u
Your girls are going to be so proud of you as a Mommy and as such an inspiration to so many people. They will never doubt your strength or love. As young women they will have all the confidence in the world to make decisions for themselves and to be thoughtful and kind in all they do, and know that you are there to support them in everything.
With two young boys, I see my part in this, and in them learning about it eventually, is to raise young men who will appreciate, love and respect women like your daughters. With what we have suffered, they will benefit and learn and teach others.
xox Tine… thank you…
Speaking to my heart, as you often do…
I remember when i was just weeks away from having Eve and Mason asked me if we could have two babies. We also hadn’t talked to him much about losing the twins although, like Molly, he is very bright and must have known more than I told him. I just said, not this time…. but oh how that broke me.
I was just thinking these same thoughts last night. My youngest just turned 18 months. I was trying to remember how old my now 4 year old was when we lost our baby (27 weeks). I was counting on my fingers because since losing our little girl I can barely do math in my head. She was 22 months (4 months is not that much older) when I let her know I was going to the hospital to have her baby sister, but she wouldn’t be coming home. What could I say to her? Like Molly, she loved my belly. We would listen to her sister’s heartbeat on the doppler and talk to her.
She came up to the hospital to see me after the delivery. It was such a tough choice to let her see Mandy or not. She kept asking over and over. My husband refused to see Mandy so we couldn’t decide together. I was thinking that she had blue dolls, purple ones even, but would this harm her forevor? I finaly decided to let her see her perfect feet. My sister wrapped Mandy up in a burrito and we let her touch her perfect pink toes. She said baby feet and toes and then she said she wanted to see her leg, her knee, her booty, her hands. She wanted us to give her the baby, but I just couldn’t do it. She cried and said, “My baby, I want to hold baby.” I told her no and my sister wrapped the baby and my husband took my daughter out of the room for a moment and I felt so empty. How could a baby that looked absolutely perfect be gone?
It is rare, but my oldest still mentions her sister. I can hear her tell her baby sister, “First Mommy had me, then Mandy and then you, you are the baby sister.” One day she told me, “I’m the big sister, Leila is the little sister, but Mandy will always be the littlest.” In her own way she understands very well. I think God gave me our 4 in the right order. Only two have made it and I know too well what you mean when you talk about your new normal, your new you. I will never be the carefree, naive girl I was before I had two dead babies either. Hope you find much, much more muchness 🙂
Brandi- Your comment brought me to tears. I wonder if Liat would understand something like that now. I think you gave your oldest a gift. I don’t think it will damage her… it probably helped her process everything. Molly has started saying things about twins and then looking at me funny. But I think that’s got to be because we talk about them kinda just casually… “That was before I got pregnant with the twins” or whatever… She has an amazing memory… It’s gotta be in there somewhere… I kinda hope it is…
Tova, wow….. u make me cry everytime….
sending you love and strength. Great to see u the other day, hope to see you again soon. kisses Eva
Thanks You Eva!!It was great to see you too, I’ve been using your tips from your post-it notes and you’re right! It really works! I need to know how to use it even better for better results! 🙂
G;ad we’ve stayed in touch! Tova