Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bud's Pal

My son is not turning seven today.

He should be, but he's not. His brother, Bud, is turning seven all by himself.

I don't write very much about my son Pal, Bud's identical twin brother, even though he is never far from my thoughts. But he's been on my mind all day today, the day that should be his seventh birthday but is, instead, the seventh anniversary of his death.

I didn't know him long, but I miss him. And, in his memory - in his honor - I want to tell you a story.

For the first trimester of my pregnancy we believed that our twins were monoamniotic - that they shared a single amniotic sac - and were therefore at high risk of having their tangled umbilical cords cut off their blood supplies. At 16 weeks we were delighted to discover that they shared only a placenta, and each baby had his own amniotic sac.

At 20 weeks, we got the difficult news that Pal had spina bifida, the same condition that had taken our daughter from us a year earlier. But, we were told, his condition was mild and his prognosis was good. The pregnancy was high-risk, but it progressed well.

We were shocked, then, when I went into labor at 38 weeks and during the planned C-section our doctor discovered that Pal had died in utero. We thought we had heard his heartbeat only moments before.

We hadn't. The heartbeat we'd heard had been an echo of Bud's.

In the recovery room we got to spend some time with Pal, to meet him, and to say goodbye. A short time later, the perinatologist joined us to talk about our loss and to speculate about what had happened. In fact, he didn't know what had happened. Pal's death was inexplicable.

But the perinatologist did know this: Because our boys shared a placenta, if Pal had died sooner, before Bud was ready to be born, he would probably have taken Bud with him.

I will never know why Pal couldn't stay. But I do know that for nine months he stayed with Bud, snuggling around him, bouncing against him, helping him grow. And then, when Bud was ready, Pal left.

But he never really left. Not really.

That heartbeat we heard in the hospital, moments before Bud was born? The heartbeat that was an echo of Bud's?

I still hear it every time I put my head against Bud's chest.

23 comments:

Daisy said...

Oh, my. Thank you for sharing this. What an amazing story. You are an amazing woman to cope with all you do.

for what it's worth said...

You have written a beautiful tribute. What a heartwrenching experience to have to endure.
Enjoy some time listening to Bud's heart tonight...I think it has something special to say today.

Kristina Chew said...

Your words bring to life---and keep alive---both beating hearts.

Happy Birthday to your boys, always.

Susan Senator said...

I can really feel how special Pal was, and how Bud is, and also, how you are, as the Mom who nurtured them both. Such mixed emotions on this day. My heart goes out to all of you.

Mamaroo said...

Thanks for telling us this beautiful story. Little Pal had waited just long enough to give you the greatest gift, Bud. You are such a wonderful Mom. Thinking of you in this time to celebrate, remember and always listening to that beautiful sound from Bud's chest.

Alexander's Daddy said...

Mom, thank you for sharing Pal with us. Pal's brief time with Bud surely had something to do with why Bud is such a wonderful human being.

mumkeepingsane said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. Happy birthday to both your very special boys. What a bittersweet day this must be. I agree with spending some extra time listening to bud's heart today. My thoughts are with you.

The 4 J's said...

What a life you have lead. I am so sorry for the loss but I feel as though he was meant to be with Bud and to help him come into this world. You are a strong woman and a caring mother. My heart goes out to you each and every day!

Wendy said...

I met a woman yesterday whose son is autistic, born just a year after her twins died in birth. She wears heart lockets on a charm bracelet in memory of them every day. I can't fathom such pain. I'm sure Pal is reflected in Bud in some way - his smile, his laugh, his eyes. Happy Birthday to both of your boys.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Bud and Pal! I think about Pal often. All my Love xoxox -ND

MOM-NOS said...

ND - I think about baby M all the time, too. I imagine she and Pal were sharing cake yesterday. :)

Mary Beth said...

Happy Birthday Bud! Happy Birthday to Pal who is surely Bud's guardian angel, looking out for him everyday through every minor stumble and every major victory.
My heart goes out to you for your loss. Thanks for helping me "appreciate." just a little more.

KAL said...

You are an amazing woman. My heart aches for you more than I can possibly say. Happy Birthday to Bud. Bud's Pal is most assuredly looking over him. Hugs.

Wade Rankin said...

Thank you so much for a reminder of how precious every life is.

JenF said...

Thank you for sharing Pal with us. And for the reminder of how precious our little ones are, no matter what our circumstances.

Hugs to you today. Bud's a very special guy.

Susan said...

You always put into words what I cannot say. It's hard to find the balance between embracing life and holding on to those losses. I dunno, I had a hard time of accepting my/our losees. There seems to be no lesson to be learned except to enjoy life and to let those around you know how much they mean to you.

Happy birthday Bud and Pal!

Kat said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

kyra said...

mom-nos, what a heartbreakingly beautiful post. i held my hand by my own heart the whole time i was reading it. pal's life was much much too short but oh so extraordinary. i am thinking of you today. happy birthday to both your sons.

SquareGirl said...

I didn't know pal long, but I too miss him...

A haunting and touching post...

Happy birthday to the beautiful Bud and Pal...

Sam I Am said...

Happy birthday to both. So touching. Your strength is amazing, your love is pure. I know this is a late comment, but am still thinking of you and praying. Agape.

MothersVox said...

Wow, Mom-NOS, you are amazing and this post is exquisite. Thank you for telling this story and moving me out of my own quotidian misery to such transformative thinking. Much love to you and your trio of loves.

Aiden's Mommy said...

For all of his Life...I am sure Bud will never be alone.

Happy Birthday to all of you.

Lynanne said...

What a beautiful post. Happy birthday to both your boys. A birthday is a birth-day just the same. My heart goes out to you on this bitter-sweet day. All the best!