October is pregnancy and infant loss month. This is a month that we dedicate to honoring and remembering all the babies gone too soon. Really, I'm certain that we never forget out babies. With permission I am sharing the story of Emmett Joe and Beckett Rae. These are the words from Emmett and Beckett's mother Starrae.
Winnie the Pooh has a quote that says, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”. This quote reminds me of how lucky we felt when we found out we were pregnant with our identical twin boys. We both had so many emotions running through our minds knowing that we will be parents for the first time. When we lost our twins on Aug 14, 2020 at 23 weeks, we knew that this quote meant even more. Saying goodbye to our twins was one of the hardest things that we had to do in our lives. Let us tell you our story on how we became a couple, became parent, the nightmare of losing our sons, and how we are healing.
Daniel and I meet on Aug of 2015. Daniel knew from day one that I was the one for him. This honestly scared me at first, but I still came back the following day. When you hear someone say, “I knew my spouse was the one after day one,” it is very possible to be true. We then got engaged in Jan of 2016. We tied the knot on June 10, 2017. In 2018, Daniel decided that he wanted to go back to school to pursue his dreams on becoming an Engineer. We had talked about pregnancy. We decided that we wanted to enjoy this journey together and chose to wait until the after he was done with school.
We also talked about our fears as a couple to decide if it was safe to have a child. One fear was my genetic condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. This syndrome is a connective tissue disorder. I also have a slight Bicornuate Uterus which is when your uterus is heart shaped. We then discussed the fear of losing a child, delivering a child without being able to take them home, and then making the hardest decision of how we want our child to rest after death. Daniel and I talked everything over and even talked to medical professionals. We decided that we should at least try once because we did not want to have any regrets it in the future about not having any children. Daniel and I decided in January of 2020 why not try for a baby.
Then, of course, Covid came to the United States. Everyone had to stay home, but that helped us try for a child. I found out we were pregnant on April 7,2020. It was honestly so exciting that we were pregnant for the first time. At that time, I contacted my OB, due to Covid, they were not seeing patients until they were about 12 weeks pregnant. Since I have a medical condition that I need to be watched very carefully, I decided to contact my family doctor to get an HCG test done. On April 15, 2020, the test results were in and my levels were 7,767.0. With the test result the doctors guessed that we were 7 weeks pregnant. I personally thought to myself that was not possible. That is when I told Daniel that I think we are pregnant with twins. He thought I was crazy, and I just laughed.
Then on April 22, 2020 we contacted another OB doctor since my original doctor would not see me due to Covid. We then discovered that we were having twins. Since Covid was happening, Daniel had to FaceTime me during the appointment. His reaction was to simply cry and be full of joy. Then I had to tell him “I told you so.” I was mentally prepared for them to tell us that we were having twins, but Daniel’s reaction was just priceless. When we told family about our twins, we were told that twins are generated on both our sides of our families. We found out that Daniel’s great grandmother had two sets of twins. We knew that we needed to get planning for these children, because they will most likely come early. We started to decorate the twin's room, set them up for daycare. Which let me tell you the cheapest place we could find was $1,500 a month. We knew this place was safe, and only 2 minutes away from Daniels work. It was perfect. Then we even picked out a pediatrician for them at my work. We were both mentally and physically prepared for our lives to change
On June 20, 2020 we had our gender reveal. We invited our friends and family to this special event. We had about 7 friends that were pregnant also around the same time as we were. So, we made a special bond. This is when we found out that we were having identical twin boys. This was very special news to the family because on Daniel’s side there are now boys in the family for the fourth generation. We knew that these twins were going to be special. The same day we announced their names.
Our first-born child was going to be named Emmett Joe. We chose this name because Emmett sounded good with Beckett which we wanted the names to be matching since they were going to being identical twins. Joe ended up coming from Daniel and the twins grandmother Pam. Both of their middle names are Joe/Jo so we wanted to keep the tradition going with the first born having the middle name of Joe/Jo. Then our second-born child was going to be Beckett Rae because we fell in love with the song by Walker Hayes called “Beckett.” We imagined both our sons being just like the child in the song. Because the kid in the song was just careless on what people think and just done his own thing and never judged people. Then the Rae came from the end of my first name which we done this because we wanted both our names to be part of the boys.
Our twenty-week appointment came along. We were so excited because we were ready to see our lovely twins. However, we were super nervous that something was going to be wrong, but we wanted to stay positive. They did well for their anatomy scan. We even got to see Emmett wave hi to us. That is when Beckett smacked Emmett to get him out of the photo. We knew then that we would have our hands full with these boys. This gave us so much joy for this challenge of raising identical twin boys. After our anatomy scan, we were told that we needed to visit with the doctor. This is when she advised me that I needed to call my husband because she had some news for us.
I called Daniel and the doctor told us that they found out that our twins had Velamentous Cord Syndrome. This is “when there is an abnormal cord insertion in which the umbilical vessels diverge as they traverse between the amnion and chorion before reaching the placenta”. We were told that Beckett’s vessels were going to both placentas. Emmett’s cord insertion was on a dividing membrane. This means they would be treated as mo/di twins with the risk of Twin to Twin Transfusion. We were advised that this is a rare condition that they will monitor for very closely. After doing research on this condition, we found out that it is estimated to occur in up to 10% of twin pregnancies. We were advised that with twin pregnancies there no treatment options. The doctor was also concerned about Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, and my cervix was starting to shorten, or thin out, at my twenty-week appointment. I was already at 1.5 centimeters.
Personally, my concern was the Velamentous Cord Syndrome because their umbilical cords were not placed in the ideal spots and that their vessels were outside of the cord. The main concern was that the vessels were going to burst. This would cause my water would break and the twins would be born preterm. Daniel was concerned about my cervix shortening because everyone knows that once the cervix starts to shorten you don’t know when they will be here, especially since the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor wouldn’t give me any treatment plans other than resting, no walking long distances, and no sex. My lovely husband became super dad and cooked every dinner, went to the store when need, and then helped me with anything I needed help with.
After hearing that information, I decided that I would do my research because that just my personality. I needed to find a solution to resolve things. After researching, I decided to get a second opinion. On Aug 8, 2020, I saw the second doctor. He did another ultrasound and let us know that we have some very active twins. He wanted to check if my cervix had shortened anymore. Which of course it was even shorter, and I was starting to dilate. I was only 21 weeks, and I was already 1.5 centimeters dilated. Once he said that I instantly started crying because I knew they were coming faster than what we expected or wanted. The doctor then suggested a cervical cerclage which is “a medical procedure in which your doctor places a single stitch around your cervix, the opening to your uterus. The Stitch sews your cervix closed. Doctors perform cerclages to prevent late (second trimester) miscarriages and preterm (early delivery)”. We talked about the risk with the doctor and then talked about the risk together. We felt like this was our best option to save these babies.
We ended up getting the cervical cerclage done that same day. We both were nervous and only holding onto hope because we knew this was our last opportunity to save our twins. We had the procedure done which we were advised would only take about 15 to 20 mins. The surgery ended up taking 45 mins because they could not get me to stop bleeding. The doctor said they normally expect a total of 10ml blood loss, but I lost a total of 75ml. The doctor told Daniel that my surgery was the most difficult surgery he ever had to do. One thing that I was shocked about was that I was completely awake for the whole surgery. I remember that during surgery an instrument dropped into a metal bucket which scared me, and I thought oh my goodness did my water break, or was that Emmett that came out. That surgery was an experience of a lifetime. Just be awake for surgery and then hear all the clinical staff talk and all the sounds of surgery.
We had so much hope that this surgery was going to save our boys. We felt good that we could move forward with growing our twins. Then we had an appointment with the doctor that had done the surgery for a post-surgery follow up appointment that happened at week twenty-one. They did an ultrasound. Yet again, the doctor said we need to contract Daniel. You know that is never good especially when your doctor knows your spouse's name and only met him once. You know he sees several patients a day. That is exactly what we did. He said that he wanted to explain to us what a large subschorionic hematoma is. It is “a rare type of intrauterine hematoma, usually with limited impact of fetuses and pregnant woman. But a massive hematoma can cause significant space occupying effect, affects blood supply of the fetus and finally may lead to fetus demise.” He also explained that subchorionic hematoma increased risk for rupture of membranes and early delivery. After this, he discussed that I had multiple risk factors for early delivery. Currently, we are taking a day by day and week by week approach.
This should have alerted us, but it did not. We were just praying and hoping that the twins would be okay. Then we kept thinking to ourselves that we have several high-risk conditions that are playing a role in this pregnancy. However, we wanted to hold hope and not let the risk factor get into our head. This would only cause us to worry. I kept telling myself that these babies are going to make history in medical books with all the risk factors. The risk factors that we had to battle were Ehlers Danlos, Pots, Emmett having velamentous cord in diving membrane, Beckett with marginal insertion, large subchorionic hematoma, and then my bicornuate uterus. Therefore, with all these risk factors, we wanted to fight even harder for our boys to survive.
Twenty-two weeks came along, and we were so excited that this surgery gave us one more week. Since I had so many risk factors, Daniel would cook supper for us, so I was not on my feet. I truly appreciated that. However, this night I will never forget because Daniel was cooking chicken Alfredo. He did not cook the noodles all the way, so they were still crunchy. We had to toss that whole meal and go out to eat for our favorite Mexican food. Then we came home and got ready for bed. We did our normal routine which involved inserting my medication to possibly make my cervix stay closed. The doctors were doing double duty to keep these babies safe.
However, around 11pm on Aug 13,2020 I was sleeping, and Daniel was about to go to bed, and I felt a burst of water. I, personally, thought “oh no my medication is coming out.” I got out of bed real fast and went to the bathroom. I thought “okay it was just my medication no problem.” That is when I felt a burst of water coming out. I automatically got scared and panicked a little because I knew that the babies were coming. It was way too early to save them. We got dressed and raced to the Woman’s and Children Hospital. Daniel raced into the hospital and yelled “help my wife is 22 weeks and her water broke. Please help her”. They got me a wheelchair and wheeled me back to the room.
Then the nightmare of our lives begins! They started to monitor the babies. They were so active that they could not keep the monitors on them. My husband was watching the monitors and said that he saw Emmett’s heart rate go down. He knew Emmett was gone. This was heartbreaking. I remember asking him why the sad face. I kept asking him and he said “nothing. I am just worried about our boys.” He never told me this until about two weeks after we lost the boys. The only reason why he did not tell me was because he wanted me to keep calm, so that I didn’t put any additional stress on the boys. They did several tests including Strep B. Step B is a bacterium that most pregnant women get, but “most pregnant women who carry group B streptococcus (GBS) bacteria have health babies. But there is a small risk that GBS can pass to the baby during childbirth. Sometimes GBS infection in newborn babies can cause serious complications that can be life threatening, but this is not common”. Due to this risk, they put me on some antibiotics to make sure the twins did not get this bacterium. However, after discharge I found out that I tested positive for GBS.
Then the doctor asked if we would like to talk to me NICU “neonatal Intensive care unit” team just to see what our options are. Then the doctor from the NICU team came in and said “unfortunately since your babies are only 22 weeks, there is nothing we can do to save them at this point. Their lungs are not developed yet.” We still did not know when the babies were coming. He said that if we can get to 23 or 24 weeks, we will need to make some tough decisions. That is all that he could tell us, but after he left Daniel and I talked. We needed to really think about this because, if these babies do survive, they will be in NICU for months. Then we had several friends and family members telling us they can save babies at 22/23 weeks. I know they was just giving us hope, and we truly appreciated all the love and support.
We talked about our fears and our dreams for them. We feared that they will be in the NICU and they would be suffering, or even not survive. Then we ended up thinking what will their living capabilities be. Will they able to do sports, run like any other kid, or will they have any mental or development issues? Then our dream for the boys was to be able to hear them laugh and cry, to be able to rock them sleep, have breakfast on Sunday, and watch them do sports in grade school. One of the things that we really looked forward to being was teaching them to be true gentlemen and teach them nerdy things to make them smarter than everyone in their class.
Then they moved us to our new room and told us that we will be here until the babies come. I thought for as much as I do not want to be in the hospital for about a month or longer that I wanted them to heathy and be with us. I had a gut feeling that I am not going to be here long. They were watching my contractions. They were hoping they would slow down. Unfortunately, they did not slow down throughout the night. A doctor came in around 8:00am on 8/14/2020 and said, “let's remove your cerclage” They were hoping that will loosen or relax my pelvic area and then that would slow down the contractions. I was headed back into to the Operation Room where they gave me another spinal. The removal of the cerclage went smoothly, but I was dilated to 3cm. I was 1.5cm at the time of my first surgery at twenty-one weeks. They wheeled me back to our room, and they just hoped that everything was going to be smooth from there. They hoped that I would not dilate anymore, and my contractions would slow down.
After the surgery, they told me to rest and relax, and having the cerclage removed may slow down the contractions. I tried to rest as much as I could. I also wanted to keep everyone in the loop of everything that was going on and stay positive. Then later that day the nurse came in to check if I was bleeding and to check if was dilated more. Well I was not bleeding which I thought that was good. I told her I can feel my contractions start to get stronger. They asked, “do you want an epidural?” I decided to say yes that I wanted a epidural because I knew at least one child was coming. I did not want to feel the physical pain because I was going to be in emotional pain.
Our lovely OB came into the room and said “honey, I’m so sorry. I will do everything I can for Baby B”. I told her Baby B is our Beckett. She said “okay, let’s try to save Beckett.” They got the room ready for delivery including having the NICU team come down to our room for delivery. They wanted the NICU team to check the babies ages. But before we go into the delivery details, I want remind you that two of my deepest fears are to deliver a baby naturally, and have a baby that isn’t going to be with us for a life time.
Okay back to the delivery details, they had one nurse on one side and my husband on other side of me. The doctor said, “take a deep breath and push until I tell you to stop.” I did a total of 2-3 rounds of pushing in between contractions until our first son, Emmett Joe, was born on Aug 14, 2020 at 3:03pm. He weighed 1lb and 0.6oz and was 10 ¾ inch long but was stillborn. I wanted to be wrong and hope that their ages were incorrect, so that they could save these sweet babies. However, after NICU checked them, they said the age was correct. My OB was looking over at the NICU team to see if the age was correct, and this is when they confirmed. Then they asked, “do you want us to stay to check the second baby to see, if he is the same age?” We both looked at our OB and asked, “if they are identical that means they will be at the same age correct?” And she said “yes.” Then the NICU team left the room.
Then I looked down and saw a gush of water come out. I looked over at Daniel. Honestly seeing the look on Daniel’s face of failure showed how heartbroken he was that we were going to lose both our boys. I knew that these boys were going to be the best of friends because right after Emmett came out, within a couple minutes, Beckett’s water broke. That made me so happy, but sad. I knew that they will be together for a lifetime, but it hurt me while they would not be with us anymore. This thought honestly broke my heart knowing that I had to say my goodbyes within the next couple of days and overcome all my worst fears of pregnancy.
Then the OB checked to see if Beckett was down in the birthing canal. She said, “I am so sorry, but when you feel a contraction again just take a deep breath and just push until I tell you to stop.” She was counting to 10 each time. In between contractions, I pushed about 3-4 times. In between the pushes, Mister Beckett held onto our OB hand/finger. She started crying. She said, “give me your last push so we can meet your lovely Beckett.” So, I pushed. Then our second son, Beckett Rae, was born at 3:33pm. He weighed 1lbs and 2.3oz and was 11.5 inches long.
The OB automatically thought Beckett was stillborn also, just like Emmett. When she put him on my chest after delivery, I told her “umm he is moving.” They checked his heart rate. She said “yes, he is alive. Daniel, why do not you enjoy some time with Beckett while I get the afterbirth and everything out of Starrae’.” While Daniel was holding Beckett, he was crying. This is because he would twitch a little bit every couple of minutes. This made him feel helpless because he could not do anything to help his son. After he had time with Beckett while he was alive, he got to that point that he could not stand to see him suffer. This is when he put Beckett on my chest with Mister Emmett. The nurse said, “let me check his heart rate again.” This is when she told us that he just passed.
Beckett died next to his brother and on his mommy’s chest at 4:25pm. That honestly showed me that these boys did not want to be apart for any reason. When they were in the womb, I always thought they were fighting the whole time. I truly think this was because they were trying to snuggle or get closer to each other. Honestly seeing their bond, that Beckett only wanted to be with Emmett, showed me that these boys were going to melt so many hearts. I knew they would be the best of friends. This hurt me so much more because I would have loved to see their bond while growing up.
Within the last week, I had two surgeries and gave birth to our angels. Things honestly went so fast and was a blur, but at the end they are still together. I learn about things that happened that day that I did not realize happened. While we were in the hospital, they said “you're welcome to have family come to meet they boys.” Their two grandmothers’ (Tina and Pam), great grandmother (Marsha), two aunts (Crystal and Jamie), and their Great Aunt (Jessica) all came up to visit them. When they first walked in, they did not know what to do. I had to tell them to come hold them and give them some love. While they were visiting, a volunteer photographer, Michelle, with Loving Benjamin came in to take photos of the boys and our visit and time with them.
During their visit Aunt Crystal read them a book because that is one of the thousands of things that she was looking forward to actually doing for the boys. Then everyone of course was crying because they were the first set of twins on each sides of the family for at least three generations. These boys were loved more than they would ever know for many reasons. They were the first boys for Daniels side. It was Grandma Tina’s first grandchild, and Crystals first time being an aunt. Crystal is such a child at heart, herself, so I could only imagine how good of an aunt she would have been.
While we were visiting with family, we also were worrying about the funeral that we needed to plan for the boys. This was something that we mentally could not handle especially after just delivering these children. Auntie Crystal took charge of contacting Remembering Rowan Joy Inc. This is an organization that gives you $1000 to help for the funeral service. They let us know which funeral homes would do a free funeral for our angels.
Every newborn child, either alive or passed, must have a bath and a set of clothes. Since Daniel and I wanted to be very hands on and make sure we were their parents while we were with them, we wanted to bathe them and dress them like any normal parents would do. Michelle captured these memories that we had with them. She then took photos of Aunt Crystal reading a book to them, a family photo, and us bathing them. While Michelle was capturing this beautiful time with the boys, the nurses were getting us keepsakes like footprints, handprints, teddy bears, stone mini hearts that stayed with the boys, then a bigger heart that fits into the smaller heart in the middle that will always stay with mommy, then a square stone with a heart that will always stay with daddy, and bracelets that have the boy’s names on them. The hospital did very well to make sure we had several keepsakes and memories to keep us comfortable. This is because they know how much we were struggling with what truly happen.
Our main goal was be with them as much as we could because we will never get this time back. Plus, we did not want reality to hit yet because we knew we had to meet with the cemetery to get plots, plan a funeral, and start thinking about a cemetery stone. We knew that we wanted to put them at the cemetery with us because we wanted to be a family again when we all meet in heaven.
Then the family left. They all said that it was the hardest goodbye they ever had done. This is because everyone had some sort of plan for these boys since they were going to be the first set of twins within three generations After the family left the champ woman come down to baptize the boys. Daniel and I decided that we wanted to baptize them before they leave us that way, we know that they welcome God into their lives. After the long last couple of days Daniel and I started to get ready for bed. Of course, we talked to be boys about our dreams for them even though they will not be on earth with us. We told them that we still want them to grow into strong and amazing gentlemen men up in Heaven. We read them a book before we all went to bed because it was something that we always looked forward to doing as their parents. Then we said a good night prayer with them.
The nurse asked us if we wanted the babies to be in our room throughout the night or to take them away. Without any question, we wanted them with us because we wanted to spend as much time with them as possible. Within one day so much took place including, coming into the hospital, having surgery, delivering the babies, and having the family meet the babies. It was a long and emotional couple of days. We both honestly were ready to just relax because we knew that once we left the hospital, we will have to make several hard decisions. Daniel slept as decently as possible for sleeping on a couch in a hospital. I tried my best to get a decent night sleep just because of all that I have went through within the last couple days.
Unfortunately, I was unable to sleep because I woke up about every hour or every couple of hours just to check up on the boys. When you see a child sleeping your brain just automatically thinks that they need be fed, need their diaper changed, or just hearing them cry. I would check them every couple of hours to make sure they were okay. Then I would remember they were not completely there with us. That honestly made me cry because I would not be able to care for them. After a long night of checking on the boys, I decided that I wanted to wake up early just to be able to enjoy some personal time with the boys. When I woke up, I noticed that the babies were a little darker and colder which was super strange to notice for your children. So, it took me a couple minutes to get used to the changes that happened over the night. I told myself to suck it up because I am not giving up this time with my boys.
I had my time with them. During this time, I talked to them and I let them know “daddy and I know that this is going to be the hardest thing that we have ever done. We know that these are good times with you boys even though the situation is not the best. At least we got to meet you and have time with you. We enjoyed our time that we did have with you.” We both held them as much as we could because we simply wanted to snuggle with them as much as possible. Between snuggling, rocking them, and crying our emotions out, we knew that we needed to soak up the time that we had with them because it will never come back. We did as much as we could to be their parents while they were physically with us. Even though we are their parents for a lifetime, we cannot do the normal parent things like we dreamed about.
Then we had a visitor come in to help us with things. She helped with any questions we had. Our visitor was named Cori McKenzie. I have to say this woman was honestly a breath of fresh air. She told us about how she lost her daughter and what she had done when it came to her funeral and good byes. She gave us the idea to buy extra plots in order to be with the boys when we go. That way we can actually be a family again. I honestly loved that idea. She told me that she was not sure about the family gravestone since she is still young. She has other kids, so I totally understood that. She also told us about all the resources within the community that offered help for things such as the funeral service and the healing process after a loss.
Well, it's finally the time in our story that we needed to say goodbye to our sweet angels because it was time to return home. This honestly was one of several hard things ahead of us that that we had left to do. We told the boys that we loved them and they will always be in our hearts. We also told them that we will never say good bye to them because good bye is forever. We know we will meet again sometime. And plus, they will always be in our hearts and thoughts. We also decided to ask Cori, if we could keep the boys with her when we left the hospital. We knew that she experienced this before, so we felt comfortable knowing that she would keep them comfortable just like we would. I talked to her, after leaving the hospital, and she said that she talked to the boys and sang to them. That made me feel very warm knowing that she did that for them. We knew that they were in good hands when we left them.
We officially left they boys and I am had to be wheeled out to the truck. We got down the hallway and we saw a family that was together because they had just delivered their new born baby. Honestly that hit us hard because we are being discharged without our children coming home with us. That was honestly the worst feeling in the world. However, it prepared us that there will always be those triggers of seeing a baby or a pregnant woman and being reminded that we lost our children. We cried the whole way out of the hospital and all the way home. Unfortunately, we knew this was just the beginning of our journey.
Now that we are home, we were getting several phone calls, text messages, and post on Facebook saying that everyone was sorry for our loss. We were told by several people that they miscarried or lost a child, also. I was honestly shocked by those people that they never shared their story. I learned that Daniel and I were being brave to tell people that we lost our children. But I also learned that I wanted to share our story as much as possible in order to be able to help others and remind people that they’re not alone. Knowing that I was not alone and that I done nothing wrong was my first step of actually starting to heal and forgive myself. After losing the boys, I thought “oh dang, I am the reason for losing these boys. It was my body that was carrying them.” There has to be some type of reason as to why all this happened, but we never got the answer. We do know it could have been several possible reasons. So, know that I did everything I could to help our boys. Fighting to get a second opinion was one of those things. After realizing this, I started to forgive myself for this horrible nightmare.
Another thing that Daniel and I learned is that talking to each other is something that helped us a lot. When one of us would break down, the other one would be strong one and support the other. So, we became a stronger couple throughout this whole process. We never pushed each other apart. However, we did have our times where we showed distance to each other. When this happened, we would sit down and discuss it. We would say “there is distance between us now. We need to simply break this distance and talk about what bothering us.” That honestly helped us through this whole process.
Now that we were out of the hospital, we needed to start the journey of finally putting to rest our children in there forever place. Daniel and I talked. We decided that we wanted the boys buried together because they were identical twins. After delivering them, we knew that they will forever be best friends. We went to the Huntertown Cemetery to looked at plots. We decided to buy three extra plots for a total of four plots. This is so that we can have the whole family buried with the twins. We decided the Huntertown Cemetery because they are extremely close to our home. It’s super close to us so that we can visit them when we are having a bad day. This way we can always come visit them daily, if we wanted too. We were able to take care of the plots. We told each other this was the beginning of this journey that we get to do as their parents.
Step one was complete We contacted the closest funeral home and made an appointment. At 28 and 34 years old, we honestly did not know what to expect when it comes to planning a funeral. We decided to bring someone to help us understand the process and the decisions to be made. We ended up bringing an outfit that we wanted to bury the boys in. This outfit was given to us from the hospital. They called it an angel outfit. We also decided to keep the boys together in one casket. Then we decided that we wanted to have a viewing for friends and families that wanted to stop by because baby funerals are emotional and hard. We had never been to a baby funeral until our sons. They told us we needed a preacher to do the service. Luckily, the funeral home had one in mind for us. They contacted the preacher. This left us waiting for a return call.
The preacher called and said that he wanted to do an interview to get to know us. We thought that was perfect since we never met this preacher. Of course, we wanted the boys’ service to be perfect. When we meet with the preacher, we told him how Daniel and I met, about our family, our pregnancy story, our feelings on having twins, and about our dreams for our twin boys. He also asked if we could write a letter to the boys on what we wanted to tell them for the funeral service. We decided that would be the perfect touch to their service.
We went home and wanted to start on these letters. We knew that it was going to be hard to just sit down and tell them a lifetime of our thoughts. Daniel had his letter done within a couple of hours, but it took me about 6 hours to write what I wanted to tell them. Well, what I wanted to tell them other than that they were perfect angels and that I wish they could have fought harder to keep our family together. This is what we came up with for our letters.
Emmett and Beckett,
We may not have had much time with you both, but I want you to know that I will forever be your mother. Always remember that I did everything I could have to keep you strong and healthy, so you could develop into the young men we dreamed of you becoming. I know that you both were fighters and did everything you could to stay with us. Know that we will never blame you for not fighting hard enough and we will not blame ourselves either. We must always remember that everything happens for a reason. Even if we will never understand what that reason is.
Emmett you were our first born, you loved to give mommy pelvic pressure that hurt daily. I know that it was just your way of showing me that you were there. Maybe it was just your way of trying to escape because you were excited to meet Mommy and Daddy, or you were simply just stubborn like Mommy. We thought of you, Emmy as our quite child at the beginning because you would never show your face during our ultrasounds. At our 20-week appointment you finally showed your face and then gave us a wave which showed me that you were excited to meet us. We called you our “troublemaker” since the 20-week visit because you tried your hardest to escape and meet us even though we wanted you to keep cooking so you could grow into strong and healthy boy.
Beckett you were our second born baby. We hoped so much that you would be okay during delivery, but you fooled us because you came right after your brother. This showed me that you two were inseparable, but we should have known that because you ware identical twin boys. Beckett, I knew that you were our “wild child” because you were so active during the ultrasounds. You were always punching your brother for trying to take your time to shine. This showed me that you both were going to be trouble when you came into this world. It also excited your Daddy and I that we will have our hands-full of you both.
Our lovely boys you both are truly perfect. We honestly have nothing that we would have changed about you other then we wished we could have had more time with you both. There are several things that will always remind us of you two. You both always enjoyed honey crisp apples, chocolate milk, and fruit loops with marshmallows. Every time I eat these things, I will always think of you boys and the kicks you gave me after we had some. I know that we didn’t have very much time together but I want both you boys to know that you both are very special to us and that we will always love you and will never forget you.
Mommy and Daddy want you to know that you are a dream come true and that we knew you would change our lives. You honestly did just that. By being your parents, you made both mommy and daddy stronger people, also making us stronger in our marriage. This challenge of losing you boys is one of the hardest things we have ever dealt with. This is something that is not easy but knowing that we will meet again is what makes things a little better. We will never forget you and you will always be in our hearts. You boys are our pride and joy. Always remember we love you so much and we will never truly say goodbye its until we will meet again.
Love always, Mommy
Your mom and I fell in love with you before you were even born into this world. Those feelings only intensified when we heard your heartbeat and felt your little kicks. I will admit to you both there were times I was scared. I was prepared for one baby but you two turned my world upside down. The fear I felt soon turned into excitement and joy. The joy of getting to know you and take care of you made life feel complete. I looked forward to the cries in the middle of the night and waking up to holding you both. It would have been hard, but I would have loved every minute of it because you would have been here with us. I am sure your first words would have been DaDa, because of all the nights I spoke into your mommy’s tummy saying DaDa. I had so many hopes and dreams for you boys. I could see you playing on the carpet with our pets Leo and Milo. Boys your mommy and I joked about how Milo would have swatted at you while you both played with him and how you would have confused Leo because you are identical. I could see you both running around the house as toddlers getting into trouble and it makes me smile. I dreamed about your first day of day care, dropping you off and picking you up while saying I am here for the Musser boys. You both are my pride and joy; you are my boys. It is hard knowing that Mommy and I will not be able to hold you again in this life. The little time we were able to be such a precious gift, but honestly it was not enough. All Mommy and I wanted was a lifetime with you, but that is the one thing we will never get, and it hurts. I wish so badly that Mommy and I could have raised you and watched you grow into adult hood, to see the men you would have become. I know you are with God; he will take such good care of you and he will guide you, knowing that will help us get through the bad days. Emmett Beckett please take care of each other and one day we will be together again. No one knows when, but you will forever be in our hearts. I miss you Emmett and Beckett you are my two-perfect boy’s. Mommy and Daddy will always love you.
Love you always, Daddy
Now that the letters were written, funeral arrangements were completed, and the plots were purchased, we were just waiting for the hardest day of our life. The day for us was the day of their final rest or their funeral day. That day finally came. We honestly couldn’t sleep that whole night because we knew that we would have to say our final goodbye to our sons. The morning came and Daniel didn’t want to get out of bed. He said “The boys don’t want today to happen.” We both sleep with these white teddy bears that were given to us by the hospital. We keep them close to our hearts since we don’t have the boys to hold.
I finally talked Daniel into getting our of bed, so that we could get this horrible day completed. We had our special notes to put in their caskets with us. When we got to the funeral home, we were asked, if we wanted to see them before letting people into the room. Daniel said “yes, I want to see our boys for the very last time.” We saw the boys. Let me tell you that they looked like young, small, old men. At the same time, it made me cry and laugh because our little angels looked like old men. However, they looked adorable. We told them that we loved them. Then we said a prayer with them, as a family.
The funeral finally started. We had several friends, family members, and co-workers come to show support even though everyone knew how hard a child’s funeral was going to be. However, having all those people come to show their support and love was honestly heartwarming. We had the viewing and service at the funeral home. Then we went to the cemetery. Of course, someone had to carry the boy to the hurst car to travel them to the cemetery. The funeral home asked us, if we wanted to do that. Of course, we wanted to be completely involved because this was our only way that we could be their parents. When we arrived at the cemetery, the cemetery digger asked if we wanted to witness the boys being lowered into the ground. I, personally, thought “oh no, I don’t want to do this because it was hard enough to carry their casket to their grave site.” However, Daniel wanted to witness them being lowered into the ground.
We carried them to the grave site. As their mother, I just looked down at their hole. This is when I busted into tears. I felt like an evil person just dumping these beautiful babies off at this grave site and then leaving them like it was nothing. I had that feeling again of being helpless about the whole situation. Personally, I just wanted to go into that hole with them because I knew this was my last chance to be with them. However, I knew that I had to mentally be strong for them. The whole family just hugged me as I was crying, and I knew I needed to just let go. I know we will meet again and they are watching over us daily.
Then preacher said the final prayer. After that, we all said our final good bye. This is when the cemetery digger just jumped into the hole. Then Daniel handed him the casket with the boys. He laid the boys in their final resting spot. Honestly, just seeing a man jump into a hole and lay a casket in the hole is the worst thing witnessed in the funeral process. However, Daniel wanted to see it and know that they are safe in their final resting spot. Daniel and I have supported each other so very much on everything and we both kept strong during this whole process. We honestly made every decision together and talked through everything together, as a team. We knew that this was hard for both of us. We didn’t want just one of us to make the decisions and then regret something or cause an argument in the future.
Within a month, we went through so much. This included having an anatomy scan, finding all the issues with the twins, the cerclage done with a spinal, finding out that after surgery I developed a large subchorionic hematoma, delivering our twin boys, planning a funeral for them, and not getting answers on why we lost our babies other then there were several things that could of went wrong. The reason could have been the large subschorionic hematoma, cervical shortening, incompetence of cervix, or testing positive for Group B Streptococcal infection. Honestly, this month was the hardest, but fastest, month of our lives. This was something that we feared before becoming pregnant. We thought pregnancy and deliveries happens every day, we should be okay. We heard about miscarriage, or infant loss, especially in the age group that we are in, 28 and 35 years old, but learned that it happens every day. People just don’t talk about it.
We have been through this whole process. Honestly, we never imagined going through this process. One question we had was “how do we heal when it comes to this this nightmare?” Well, we will never heal completely because these babies will always be a part of our lives. We learned that talking to each other about our emotions and crying on each other’s shoulder helped us start the healing process. It made us grow as a couple. We also learned that we both handle healing differently. Daniel is our crier. I am the person that enjoys helping others or looking at our boys’ photos. Those things give me a warm feeling in my heart. However, for Daniel, seeing the boys makes him hurt even more. Another thing we found helpful, was going to visit the boys daily. It helps us so much just to let them know that they are in our thoughts.
Still today with it being two months later, we think about our beautiful boys. We have so many questions and doubts when it comes to God. Our main question we struggle with is why these boys were taken away from us? We just keep thinking to ourselves that our angels were too perfect for this world. Right now, the world is so crazy with Covid and other things going on. This gives us our own reason as to what happened that we will keep in our hearts. We know that we did everything we could to save these babies. These babies were our world. We, still today, dream about being their parents. I had a hard time sleeping for the first month or so. This is because my water broke while I was sleeping and the night of our journey just kept going through in my head. Honestly, it has been a long process for both of us. We are still trying to heal, but we know that no matter what we enjoyed our time with them. We can never erase this nightmare out of our lives. We can only learn to live with is as part of our life.
We have found a few things that helped us get through the healing process. For me, getting my story out there and letting people know that they are not alone has helped. I also wanted to let others know that there are always resources to help you through this process. Unfortunately, this happens daily, but there are people there to help. I also decided that I wanted to help families, like us who have lost their babies. In the future, this is something that I want to get involved with. This not only allows me to keep myself busy with donating items in the memory of the Emmett and Beckett to the hospital, but also allows me to help other families going through a similar experience. When we donate, we have several items from blankets, mini teddy bears, tissues, and small photo books, so that family can look at their angels when they miss them. For Daniel, he has his own process of actually healing by keeping busy with house work and flying his drone to visit the boys!
We keep this quote close to our hearts “Even the smallest one can change the world” by Peter Rabbit. We know that these boys can’t change this world, but their story can change and touch so many peoples’ lives. With us as their parents, we have decided that we wanted everyone to know about our boys, Emmett and Beckett. We want others to know that, if you lost a child you’re not alone. Our mission for our lifetime is to keep the boys’ story and memory alive. They were beautiful angels that had changed us and our vision of life. So, Emmett and Beckett, mommy and daddy love you and miss you daily. I hope you know that we would have done everything to keep you with us today. This is our story of losing our twin boys, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the end of our story. Unfortunately, our life has to move on. However, they are in our thoughts and their footprints will always be with us for a lifetime.
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