Emelia is my own baby, and so I have already shared much of her story under my story. The following is a post I made to facebook sharing the details of Emmy's life and death with our family and friends.
I know I share pictures of baby Evee , with the worlds cutest smile and craziest hair, all the time but I realized this week how little I have shared about her identical twin sister Emmy. I wasn't really ready before and you have all been so kind to give us some time and space to cope. I just wanted to say that it is ok to ask me about her. I really don't mind. And I wanted to share her story.
I am sorry for what is about to be a super long post. I am sure a blog or something would be more appropriate but this is all I have, sorry.
At our 20 week ultrasound both babies were alive and healthy so I was caught completely off guard and was totally heartbroken when at 22 weeks the ultrasound tech told me that "baby b" had no heart beat. We knew that she had an abnormal umbilical cord insertion, something that rarely kills babies but in our case that seemed to be the only explanation. It is the official cause of death listed on her death certificate. The doctor explained that her sister was still doing well and if we could prevent labor that she had a good chance of survival but only if we continued to carry both babies as long as possible.
We were able to carry both babies to 39 weeks, much longer than anyone expected. Evee was born, via c-section, because on top of everything else her sister seemed to have to trapped in a breech position and unable to turn over. She was completely healthy and weighed over 8 lbs despite the constant warnings that she would be premature, tiny, and was at high risk of a list of medical problems because of the situation. 1 minute later Emmy was delivered, measuring 9 inches long and weighing only about 5 ounces (she probably weighed closer to pound when she passed away, but 17 weeks is a long time).
We did get to see her and hold her and spend some time with her. I had seen her almost every week in ultrasound both before and after her death and I am so glad that we got a chance to say a proper goodbye to her in person. She was not very pretty after all of that time, though she was actually in much better shape than I think any of us really expected. Looking at her sister told us exactly how beautiful she would have been and it brought me so much peace and closure to finally hold her.
I had hoped to get some pictures of her hands or feet, or a footprint, or some other little memory but given her physical state we decided against it.
My mother in law knitted her a little dress and my mom sewed one out of material from her wedding dress. The hospital also brought us a donate dress and a blanket for her. I was heartbroken because I felt like we would not be able to use any of them.
A wonderful nurse however, was able to help us find an appropriate way to take some pictures of her and her things. She took Emmy and her dresses/blanket to another room and came back with some beautiful photos where she covered Emmy completely in each of her dresses and then took pictures of her for us.
We were told by other families that had lost a twin that their greatest regret was that there were no pictures of their babies together. So, the nurse also brought us a second donated dress for Evee and took a picture of Emmy, completely covered of course, with Evee next to her in a matching white dress. At first I worried it would feel creepy but now I absolutely treasure that picture.
With the help of a wonderful family friend (thank you Ken Kenyon) we made arrangements to have Emmy cremated and her ashes buried in the Issaquah Cemetery with Michael's grandmother, aunt and brother. We held a graveside dedication with just me, Michael, and the kids.
Evee is now 3 months old and still very happy and healthy. Our older children's are doing well with it all although they still occasionally do things that break my heart. Piper brings home drawings of herself visiting Emmy in the cemetery and announces to strangers in the grocery store that we had two babies, but one died, whenever they ask about her sister. Sam designed the sweetest wall hanging for Evee's room. It is a whole set of family pictures surrounding a mirror that reads "watching from heaven, where I cannot see, is my angel sister Emmy who looks just like me". The mirror was all his idea, and I quote "you know mom, because they are identical."
Our hearts are slowly healing, although I am constantly amazed at how big a hole that tiny little person who I never even really got to knew has left behind. I have come to dread questions like "how many children to you have?" Four, the answer is four. To us she was and always will be our daughter. We are so grateful for eternal families, know that she will be waiting for us, and look forward to the day that we can hold her again. We appreciate so much all of the love, support and prayers of our family and friends as we have worked through what has been the hardest year of our lives. Thank You!!!!