Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Despite Our Best Intentions

We recently replaced a very aged Mac and doing so gave me occasion to look through our photo collection as I ported the library of photos over to the new machine. Because I love photography, I couldn't help but pour over the photos. As I moved backward through time marked in images, I anticipated seeing our precious few photographs of Eva. But I didn't get that far because it is a photo that was taken after her death that gave me pause.


I didn't take the girls' survival for granted. Before entering the hospital at 24 weeks, I bought 2 preemie outfits to bring them home in. That's it. With MoMo twins, you can't help but be aware that there are no guarantees. Even at viability, even when you're being monitored, losses can happen. Throwing a heart defect into the mix of my already cautious nature and let's just say that I was, at a minimum, guarding against hubris. All this sounds so strange and foreign to me now, but I felt that humility and pragmatism and well-managed expectations required me to wait on the exuberant pink spending orgy.

Nevertheless, during those eleven weeks in a hospital room I had a little time on my hands. In addition to a love of terrible-yet-entertaining VH1 shows, I found a great deal on Craig's List for a double snap n' go and 2 Snug.Ride infant seats. All for $100! That's pragmatic, right? I wasn't tempting anything, was I? It wasn't even pink. My dear friend went and picked up the gear for me.

The day my surviving daughter was discharged from the NICU we brought one of the car seats to the hospital and found that although she met the weight minimum, the straps were nonetheless too loose even at their tightest setting. Par for the NICU course, they sent us on our way in late afternoon and told us that our daughter was discharged and they would not keep her another night. Nor would they let us take her home in our Snug.Ride. We spent that evening going from one store to another until we found a seat that would accommodate her puniness. At that point, we had no fewer than 4 infant seats.

So, when the reality that we would not be needing our double snap n go set in, we paid the deal forward. I took this photo for the post.

A woman brought her young daughter, pregnant with twins, to look at the gear. D handled the transaction, while I sat out of sight, but within earshot, nursing (and you'd be right to wonder what, exactly). Grandma asked why we were selling the gear. Silence, hushed tones and shortly thereafter, I could hear her asking if she could give us more money. It was one of those bewildering/well-meaning/clueless interactions. Seeing the picture brought back a complicated set of emotions (pain... guilt... hopelessness) and the memory of one of those surreal moments -- a clear moment like a splinter in the fog of early grief.


  1. Here from Still Life 365. Thank you for sharing your beautiful poem for Eva over there.

    ' . .a clear moment like a splinter in the fog of early grief.' The description is almost piercingly accurate.

    I also, somehow, felt a-okay about buying a double buggy, ours was grey. Our twins weren't momo twins but we were told of a minor heart defect at our 20 week scan so I also felt cautious about a full on pink extravaganza.

    I asked my BIL to sell ours at the same twin club sale where we bought it. Ours were the second set of twins in the family. I often wonder if the family we bought it from saw its return and asked what happened. Or if people asked why he was selling it as his own twins were still small enough to use it back then.

  2. loving the poem, again. The discipline of the sestina is something I can't manage. I'm having trouble with discipline. More so than usual. I am in awe that you take it and make it do what you want it to do.

    The site of twin strollers or twin gear of any kind will throw me into a melancholy far deeper than anyone else's baby drool or lovely bump on someone else that isn't me.

    There are two huge boxes, unopened. Wedged behind the door of the "spare bedroom" Two sets of gorgeous crib bedding. Unreturnable, of course, because it was a helluva deal. The boxes arrived just a day after we came home from the hospital without the girls.

    Some days I can't bear the site of those boxes. Other days I don't know what I would do without them. If I give them away, it somehow means I am giving up.