It's been a rough road for my sister Amy and her husband. After getting a little extra help to conceive a child, they got the wonderful news that they were expecting twins! Of course, we were all overjoyed and I even found myself a bit jealous, because isn't two babies even better than one????
Early on in the pregnancy, there were physical signs that Baby B might have some problems. An amniocentesis gave the definitive diagnosis that she had down syndrome. My sister and her husband took it all in stride, a bit grieved, but still bravely embracing these sweet baby girls into their family. Their two older daughters also continued to rejoice in expectation of their new sisters. One even dubbed them "Angel and Butterfly" (for Baby A and Baby B).
Every ultrasound showed that these girls were healthy and strong and that Butterfly so far lacked any of the major issues that can often come with her genetic disorder.
So when I got the phone call, I wasn't prepared... at all.
My sweet sister, still laying on the ultrasound table, choked back the sobs and I knew it was bad.
"Baby B is gone."
What started as a routine ultrasound to check on the girls' growth turned into the day that none of us will ever forget.
The day I would not wish on anyone.
I searched for words through my own tears. Nothing comforting or profound came to me, and I cursed the thousand miles that separates our homes. If we lived even in the same time zone, I would have been in my soccer-mom-mobile in a split second and on my way to her side - speeding tickets be damned!
Because hugging her and crying with her was all that was appropriate at that moment.
She was forced to wear a cloak of grief that I would take for my own wardrobe if I was able.
A handful of weeks have passed and our entire family is tip-toeing past the wave of grief to peek around the corner ahead to our sweet "Angel" who will be in our arms cooing, and smiling and making us laugh in no time. Amy and Terry are decorating her nursery in butterflies to honor her twin who's absence will be painfully obvious.
I was out shopping for a few things the other night and I found myself in baby stores finding adorable baby girl clothes adorned in butterflies.
I spent a ridiculous amount of money on butterfly clothes for her.
But clothes are the last thing that Amy needs. What she needs is something I can't give her.
She needs her daughter back. She needs her twin girls side by side. But from now on at every stage of Baby A's life, we'll be wondering what Baby B would have looked like or acted like.
She will always be missed.
I have mentioned before that the reason I started reading blogs was because someone brought my attention to a child with cancer. And one sick child led to another, and another and another.
Being exposed to people like this, or this, or this has molded me. I have changed into a mom who hugs her kids a little harder than before. I have been made aware of the preciousness of life, how it can change in a single moment and never be the same.
I can't explain away tragedies like this. I can't give my sister or any of these people definitive answers to why they are dealt suffering in this way.
The Bible tells us that trials build character and strengthen faith which is more precious than gold.
If anything, this hurt feels like a scrub brush to my heart. It has left a raw spot that has made life fresh and tender and each morning has a sacredness to it that I want to savor.
Our sweet little Butterfly will not be forgotten. And I know we can't have her back, so I will always be thankful for the open wound she left.
I will love more because of it.