Sunday, January 6, 2013

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

December 29th would have (Could have?  Should have?) been Ainsley and Evelyn's second birthday.  It could have been a sad day.  I wasn't sure how I would feel about it, honestly.  I don't see why a particular day has to be sad and I felt like I would be ok but I guess you can never really tell with The Sadness.

Ainsley's First Birthday Party
at Akron Children's Hospital, Reinberger Family Center
The Sadness?  It's random. 

It's rocking Adelle to sleep and noticing how the curve of her fat ass cheek looks just like Ainsley's.  It's putting a shirt on Adelle that Olivia and Ainsley both wore and realizing that my opportunities for these kinds of moments are quickly coming to a close.  It's Olivia in the back seat of the car asking me what "died" means and then saying, "remember Ainsley?  I miss going to see her." 

As The Internet promised, things have gotten...easier?  Or, less hard?  When I think of Ainsley, I rarely think of her last gasps for breath (which haunted me for months, quite honestly).  I think of my favorite thing - leaving a long day of work and peeking my head around the corner of her hospital room to see her see me.  You might think that, seeing so many people all day every day would confuse her, but she knew her mommy and daddy.  Her face LIT UP when we got there.  Even if she was sick she was always happy to see us.

Six days before she died.
There was a group of nurses at her door cracking up at her.
 
It is strange, having some distance from her death.  The trach and vent and g-tube that got to be so common to me now seem so foreign.   I knew she was a very sick girl and we were always pretty realistic about that, but now that I look back at it?  It looks unnatural. 

Which sounds stupid because, duh, it isn't "natural" for your kid to breathe through tubes hooked up to her throat.  But we were so used to it - I would pick her up and play with her and hold her up in the air like Super Ainsley without a second thought.  When I looked at her I only saw her and never noticed the medical stuff.   When I look at her pictures now, I see all the tubing and it makes me feel bad that she had to go through all of it.

When we were in the PICU, one of our nurses came to tell us something that another family told her.  They said that they were coming into the unit for the first time and they were scared out of their minds.  And they looked over as they walked past our room and there was our gap-toothed, chubby, trach-vent baby, splashing in the tub and smiling and laughing.  And even though they had a very sick child, they could not help but pause and smile.

THAT was Ainsley.

Bath time: her favorite.
It was Ainsley and Evelyn's second birthday and my friends decided that it was cause for celebration.  The same friends who came without question when the twins were just born and I didn't want to be alone.  The same friends who organized a fundraiser for us.  The same friends who brought me water at calling hours as we greeted a never-ending line of people who came to remember Ainsley and Evelyn.

They are good people.

On Ainsley and Evelyn's second birthday, I went to a Disco Dance Party.   You cannot watch kids jump around and dance and be sad at the same time.


Happy Woulda/Coulda/Shoulda been second birthday to my twin girls, Ainsley Laura and Evelyn Cecille.  Always celebrated, always missed, and never ever forgotten.

41 comments:

kate said...

Always remembered. Love and light to all of you.

Caroline said...

Beautiful sentiments for beautiful girls. Sending love x

Maddie said...

Beautifully written. I didn't lose both of my boys and I can only imagine the pain you've been through. I do know what it's like to have a birthday for twins that shouldnt have but could have been. My boys are two years and it breaks my heart that it's gotten easier, it's been enough time to go about my daily life without pain....and that's a bit sad, but I know or son is with us always, and I will never forget him and a day has never gone by that I don't think of him. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't envious of the parents who had healthy twins...we never got that. Cheers to great friends and happy birthday to your girls. They are always with you I'm sure of it :)

Superstar said...

I know you only through the computer, but Ainsley's face is forever ingrained in my brain and on my heart. Just through your blog and pictures, I got to experience that chubby, gap-toothed grin. Sending squeezes. Thank your friends for me, too, for helping hold you up.

katherine said...

Thank you for sharing this with us, Jen. I've really been thinking about you and your girls a lot these days and am quite happy to know that The Sad was not too excruciating on the 29th... Happy woulda shoulda coulda birthday sweet little girls. We'll always miss you...

Lyndsey Davis said...

Happy birthday to your girls in heaven where there are no tubes or pain. :)

Vaso said...

Happy second birthday... Beautiful post. {hugs}

Erika said...

(((((hugs)))))) those birthday days are so hard. i am so glad you had an okay day, all things considered. In July it will be the 5th woulda/coulda/shoulda birthday for my twin girls- Vivian and Annemarie. It is very hard going on without them, but what choice do I have? (((hugs)))

Jenna Hatfield said...

Happy second birthday. Thinking of you and yours.

JenM said...

Beautiful. We love you, and we will always remember and celebrate your beautiful girls.

HereWeGoAJen said...

Happy birthday to both your girls! And lots of love to all of you!

Dresden said...

Happy birthday to your girls. And to you. xo

Life said...

happy birthday to your girls! xx

Patty Gomez said...

Happy birthday to your sleeping babies. I cannot imagine your kind of loss. I am thinking of you and your family.

Melissa said...

Happy Birthday Ainsley and Evelyn <3

JP said...

What a terrific post. I still smile when I think of your sweet Ainsley.

Julia said...

Happy birthday, angels. Peace and love to your family.

Amanda said...

Happy birthday, sweet baby girls. You all remain in my thoughts and prayers.

Caroline said...

Happy belated birthday to two of your greatest acconplisments. Thanks for sharing them.

Kelly said...

I miss hearing about them just as much as you miss them. What sweet girls- one who has been taking care of you for two years, and one who has been taking care of you for a few months. You are blessed with two angels, who were disco dancing all day!

Infertile Myrtle said...

Huge fat tears in my eyes reading this post!!! Although I do not know you, I have followed you for a long time. I now have 15-month-old twin girls and feel so sad at the thought of ever losing one or both of them. I don't know how you made it through, and your poise and grace have been amazing. Just know that there are a lot of people out there who are celebrating A&E's second birthday along with you. <3

Emily said...

No words, just big, huge, hugs.

allthesunforyou said...

Happy birthday to your beautiful girls! I still think of you all very often, more often than someone outside the blogging world would think is normal. Your girls are in my heart always... And always will be. They're special. You're special!

areyoukiddingme said...

Happy Birthday to Evelyn and Ainslie...

B. said...

Beautiful, loved girls.

B. Wilson @ Windy {City} Wilsons said...

Lovely tribute post to your girls. A party seems fitting... as it should be.

Thanks for sharing that story of Ainsley splashing. Totally wonderful visual.

mingalen@hotmail.com said...

Happy second birthday to your sweet girls.

Ellie's Mom said...

so well said...
Hugs from the internet.

Allison said...

What a great post to honor your beautiful little girls. Happy second birthday to them and to you, mommy.

alicia said...

happy birthday Ainsley and Evelyn

alison said...

Sweet girls. I think about Ainsley all the time. She did so much good in this world during her very short stay.

jill said...

I'll bet the nurses miss her something awful.

TulsaBelle said...

My daughter was born at 25 weeks and had all of the medical tubes and lines, etc. I never saw them until my hubby got some pictures of her developed. I asked him in a panic when did they put all of those tubes on her (I was really freaking out). He then replied that she always had them. I couldn't believe it. I never saw them. I just saw my beautiful little girl.

You are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing all that you do!

Alison Camarda said...

((((hugs))))


You are such a great mama.

Emily said...

Happy birthday to your beautiful girls.

Elle said...

Happy second birthday to your beautiful twin girls.

Your strength and your ability to find humor through incredibly tough times never ceases to amaze me.

Thinking of you and your family!

~Lisa

Leah said...

Happy second birthday to your beautiful blessings.

lori said...

beautiful, jen. happy 2nd bday to your beautiful angels.

Beverley said...

This post made my heart clench. Honestly, you go through this with so much grace and even though I only know know you through the internet I think of you and all your girls often. Hugs.

Sarah said...

We just lost our son, and a friend sent me to your blog...
Thank you for sharing your story- the honest truth of it. It gives me hope that life can be a balance of moving forward while still remembering.

Elizabeth Granger said...

Jenny,
You managed to turn a short study break into a bawling my eyes out, snot running into my mouth (kind of salty, strangely yummy)half hour. Ainsley is still in my heart, and always will be. She didn't like me SO much, but maybe she loved to not like me? I hope so. Anyways, I miss you and love that this is here so I can get a dose of you.
Take Care,
Not-so-liked Nurse Lizzy