i've been struggling to write this post for quite some time. it's tough to put into words what has happened the last month and a half since i last updated everyone on the baby bump and happenings in our little world of pregnancy.

so i will start from the beginning. 

i had my week 18 check up at 18 weeks 3 days. it was a wednesday. i went in for my cervical length ultrasound and they found the news that i had a short cervix. if you don't know what that means, here's a little run down. a normal cervix is 2.5cm. when you get pregnant, it lengthens anywhere from 3 to 4 cm or more. doctors want pregnant moms to have anything that's above a 3. 

mine measured 1.7 cm. 

after the ultra sound, i went in to the doctors consult where we'd discuss what they found and he informed me in a very professional manner that he thought i had an incompetent cervix. he said that he believed it was a combination from my two LEEP procedures i had done over 10+ years ago, as well as the fact that i was carrying twins.  

what did this mean? 

he wanted to consult the other doctors in his practice on what the next steps would be, and then he'd get back to me the following day. but at the end of our conversation, he said "oh, and you're not going back to work....until you deliver these babies."

GULP. i had no idea what that meant, but he told me to take it easy and not do a lot until they determined the course of action.

the following day, the doctor called and said they all agreed to put in a cerclage. if you aren't sure what this is, it's basically a stitch in your cervix that holds it together and strengthens it until you are ready to deliver. actually, in most cases, they take it out at 36 weeks and then you can deliver at any time.

i was scheduled for an 11 am cerclage appointment at Mount Sinai Hospital on Friday, 2 days after my 18 week check up at the doctor. 

my amazing husband stayed home from work with me the next two days, and supported me while i tried to learn as much as i could from dr. google about the success rates of a cerclage with an 18 weeks 4 days.  lets just say it wasn't always good news, so i was a bit of a mess. 

the surgery day came and went with really no problems at all. other than it being a long day, quite a few try's on the spinal, and the fact that there is no proven record that cerclages prolong gestation in twin pregnancies....the doctors were hopeful and then in turn we were too.

the days following the surgery were scary as i was so worried i was going to go into preterm labor at any moment. i was only 19 weeks pregnant and so it was way too early for these sweet boys to have even a fighting chance to survive. but as a mama, you area already so attached to them you can't even fathom what you would do should something horrific happen. and that is on your mind every minute of every day, with every movement and every ache and pain.

our 20 week anatomy scan came, and we were hopeful that things were going to start looking up. we had prepared ourselves for a shorter cervix....but trusted that we were in good hands and that all had been done for a successful as can be pregnancy. 

we were not prepared for what was coming our way.

the ultrasound came and the babies looked perfect in every way, except that they couldn't see a portion of baby B's brain. they told us that it was his positioning and not to worry that they'd check it again in one week.  we came back the next week, and things got pretty bad pretty quickly.

baby b had significant brain damage and did not make it.

i don't think there are words to describe what this feels like as a mother, or parent. devastating? unbelievable grief? torture? confusion? 

we felt all of those things...and reeled from the news for days. one moment there would be tears and frustration, and the next moment tears of joy that we still had a baby who was thriving and very much alive.  my emotions were everywhere and even though i knew it wasn't my fault, i felt like a failure to all the people who said that we were the perfect parents for twins, and only we would get so lucky. how fitting it was for us to have twins!

all of this was gone now, along with the tiny kicks and jabs on the right side of my belly.  and i had no idea how to tell people, and quite frankly i didn't want to talk about it for a long time.  i knew that it was inevitable that we'd have to eventually let people in...but it wasn't something i wanted to do, and i hated the feeling of people being sad for us. the look in someones eye when you tell them something like this. the sadness and empathy that makes me cry just thinking about it.

but i don't want this story of my first born to be a story about loss and sadness. i want to embrace this precious baby boy inside me and celebrate the life that has been given to us.  i want to be happy when i feel him kick and believe that he has a brother that is watching over him.

our sweet baby boy is now our angel baby.  our angel baby looking over his brother and protecting him as he grows and thrives.  

we have come up with several reasons why this has happened, but truthfully we will probably never know.  what i do know is that it has shaped us in a way that we will be forever changed. forever changed for the better:

i look at my husband with a new found love and support. he is the most important person in my life, and his positive thoughts, encouragement, strength, and love on a daily basis have reminded me of our bond and brought us even closer together. 

i have been amazed at the outpouring of love from all our friends. and reminded that the relationships we have built are the most important things in our lives.

our families are precious and if i can be half as supportive as they have been, then i know i'm doing something right. no matter the distance, no matter the time.

we are dealt with what we can handle. and in the end it makes us who we are.

what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

be grateful for every moment in your life with the people you love.

dear sweet angel baby ...even though we never got to meet you and hold you in our arms, you were with us for 21 weeks and your mama  and dad love you and always will. we will meet someday, and i know that we will smile and laugh and cuddle for all the days we never got. we know you are watching your sweet brother and taking extra special care of him, like a brother would. we love you so much and think of you every day.

and this is a quote that we got from the man's boss. i thought that it summed up so perfectly everything that we have learned throughout this tragic time. 

"to live in this world, you must be able to do three things:
to love what is mortal 
to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it 
and when the time comes, to let it go, to let it go." 
- Mary oliver

thank you to everyone for the support. we would not have made it through without you all.  

{augustus southwood: month 1}

{the bump week 17...and things they don't tell you when you get pregnant}