We thought we were in a dream, all the joys and fears at the same time. We got two cribs, two sets of every outfit (but in different colors), two swings, two of everything…except two identical boys.
We lost Jonathan James when he was 7 months (in utero). I was given the choice, but I never held him. I had to carry his identical brother Lewis Jordan, for an additional 7 weeks. He just was not ready to leave his brother until then. We knew about the extreme risks of twin-to-twin transfusion, how our surviving son would likely have severe brain damage as blood shunting causes terrible problems for a developing baby. We prepared ourselves for the very real possibility that our surviving son might not recognizing us, speak or walk.
We were destroyed.
I spent the next 7 weeks in a rocking chair in the nursery with TWO of everything; rubbing baby lotion on my hands and inhaling, trying to stop the sobs and the unearthly sounding wails that came from deep within my heart.
But I had another to worry about. Lewis. During all this turmoil, the grief over Jonathan could not be allowed to hobble me too badly, I could not let it, I had to be ready to care for the child that was alive and waiting to meet his parents.
Thank Christ the doctors were wrong about Lewis’ challenges. He was born by C-section on a cold January day, crying out when they removed him from his space. I know he cried out because they were taking him from his beloved brother, Jonathan. They thought it was because he was cold and the lights were bright. Fools.
His kidneys began to shut down 3 minutes after he was born. As they whisked him away from me, I demanded my husband leave my side and go with our son, to protect him, and promise to bring him back to me, healthy and safe.
The OB asked me if I wanted to see Jonathan, warning me that the body’s natural reaction is reabsorbtion, I asked only one question, “are you sure they were identical?” The doctor replied, “one sac, one placenta.” I replied with a heavy heart while still wide open on the operating table, “no, I already know what he looks like, just like his brother.”
Two hours later, my husband brought back our son, placed him in my arms and kissed my forehead. The doctors had stabilized him, no further medical issues had arisen and today he is a healthy, happy, wickedly intelligent nine-year old boy.
I will forever be happy that our son is healthy.
I also will be forever crushed that he does not have his twin brother.
I wish I could make the ache go away.
I wish that I was not jealous of other twins.
I will always wish that I had been strong enough to bring both of my sons into this world (though I followed every order from the medical establishment, I will always blame myself).
I wish I had my Jonathan.