If you bend your pinky forward notice the length from the edge of your nail to the bend in your finger. This is about the size of Brinly's footprint, my 18 week-stillborn daughter.
Last weekend would have been Jude and Brinly's full twin-term due date so we asked family, friends, and followers to participate in a day of random acts of kindness. Throughout the day my inbox and instagram were filled with awesome, caring, heartfelt acts to honor our sweet babies. In the big
scheme of things, this little day full of small random acts of kindness is no larger than Brinly's footprint in ratio to the world-but I find a small ounce of solace knowing the my daughter and son were able to leave a tiny footprint of love/kindness because of their short existence.
So many thoughtful things were done, to name a few: paying for people's coffee, signing up to donate bone marrow, delivering flowers, bringing a neighbor/friend a treat, sveral different types of donations, handing out homemade burp rags to new moms, volunteering, sponsoring children, paying for people's groceries, large tips, paying for a strangers manicure, giving random gift cards to strangers, handing out free water bottles at swim park, writing appreciation cards to all the teachers at my work (Christian club at the high school I work at did this), giving money, knitting blankets for future mommies that lose their babies and donating them to the labor/delivery, serving people in need, the list goes on and on. My parents made a point to randomly give to a few different expecting moms. My mother and father in law made an adorable basket with J and B's name and filled it with goodies and drove it to the hospital I delivered them in and shared with the staff. A group from the church I grew up in organized a free event for local foster children with over 70 children in attendance.
Here is what we did:
If you have been reading my story for awhile by this point you know the pregnant woman, infants, and twin pregnancies/babies all tug at my heart a bit harder. I am in constant battle to remind myself "it's not her fault she is pregnant and you are not." I am constantly fighting feelings of jealously and even anger that other people get to walk this road so easily and joyfully. Seeing a growing belly or hearing a screaming infant instantly reminds me of what I just lost-flashbacks to how everything went horribly wrong are bound to bounce in my head with so many triggers in a fertile world. It feels so cruel. Boy girl twins are extra painful too because again that selfish inner voice asks "Why me?" To survive I try to stay away from any trigger as every trigger is a constant bitter taste filling my throat and me having to take every ounce of trying to be a good person to swallow hard and smile. It's not their fault this happened to me. It's not their fault they are the lucky 90% that get pregnant within the 3-6 months of trying range and will 100% believe their positive pregnancy test. It's not their fault they finally got pregnant on IVF and that is that, now they get to carry a healthy baby to term. It's not their fault their cervix isn't crappy. Its. not. their. fault. holly.
To fight these negative feelings that have taken a home in my soul, Darren let me take the lead on our random acts of kindness, and I chose to, for the weekend at least, NOT to run in the complete opposite direction when "triggers" popped in my path.
Act #1 We gave 2 different moms of twins a date gift card. For Jude and Brinly
Act #2 I was at Target and I saw a girl around my age walk in with her mom and her little boy (probably 3 months). I bought them a "baby" gift card and then walked back through the store trying to find them. I stopped them and before I knew it I was crying.
Crying in public? This really through me for a loop. I went back to work 2 weeks after holding Jude in my arms and haven't shed a single tear on the job-and I've talked to several co-workers in detail about what went down in the hospital those horrid days and walked away ok. I have mastered the "I'm-okay-in-public" routine so well I must have even deceived myself because starring at the mom with her baby and the desire to tell them why I was stopping them hit a pocket of sadness I didn't realize would surface.
I quickly told them what happened, today would have been the due date, that I wanted to honor them by giving a gift to a mom. They were perfect recipients. They teared up themselves and gave me a hug-it had taken her 2.5 years to have her little son. I had to get out quick-the tears wouldn't stop and I didn't want to lose it all together. I cried the whole way home-tears of sadness I'm not holding J and B today. Tears of injustice. Tears of love-every ounce of my being filled with love that I wanted to give to my babies. On the car ride home I was able to spit out one of the few prayers I have had the strength/courage to ask, "God, Make this right"- Even as I prayed I myself couldn't tell if the tone was an angry command or a heartbroken plea. The gift card-given in love for Jude and Brinly.
Act #3 Latley I've been extra "grr" towards pregnant women. I saw an "update" on facebook, I saw 349093824 at the store. "I HATE them" I said to Darren (both of us knowing that I really don't) and he gave me that knock-it-off-snap-out-of-it-look.
Tonight our young waitress was rocking an adorable baby bump. After she left the table I scowled at Darren, a legit, true, not happy face right at him. It stung. Again. But, just like the cycle I mentioned above, I force myself to tell myself"it's not her fault that you lost your twins, Holly". I knew that I had to fight my ache for my own children mixed with jealously, with love for her and the precious life inside her. We left her a large tip with a note-in honor of Jude and Brinly.
Thank you SO MUCH for every text, every email, every picture, every phone call, every post below. The love and kindness totally helped us get through a very rough day and myself and my family are deeply touched.
Here are a couple more images from March 15th. These ones are extra special to me because they include Jude and Brinly's names. I love that. Stay tuned for the winner of our first "giveaway!" We are working on mixing up names of all the participates and for our last act of kindness will randomly draw and name and give a $50 gift card to your restaurant/store of choice ♥