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The three words that changed my life forever

It’s been four months, this is my story…

Wow, those two words “my story”. Never in a million years did I think what I am about to tell you would become a part of my story, but it is.

But before I get to that, let me first rewind and start with the joy of it all because I believe the difficult ending shouldn’t define the whole story.

It was a Monday night in October last year. My husband, Phil was at indoor soccer. After putting my two-year-old daughter Alaia to sleep, I decided to catch up on some trash TV aka Keeping Up With The Kardashians. But before I could make it to the couch I felt an overwhelming sense of tiredness. I had “THAT” feeling.

I texted Phil and asked him to purchase a pregnancy test on the way home. I know he had his reservations given my previous ectopic pregnancy only months before, but I felt sure my mother’s instincts that I was expecting were right. By the time he would get home, I would be fast asleep and it was only around 9pm.

I was asleep by the time he got home, but the next morning I karate-kicked my way out of bed at 5.30am. Literally.

I was so excited to take the pregnancy test because like I said, I just knew. They were the longest two minutes of my life, which I’m sure every mother in the room can relate to. But right there beaming back at me were the two blue lines I had hoped for. I was right.

Automatically the tears streamed down and from that moment, no one could wipe the smile off my face. I called Phil to tell him the news as he was already at work. He was ecstatic to say the least. I remember then running into Alaia’s room, waking her up and dancing around the room with her in my arms – this was pure happiness.

Later that week I visited the doctor to get the official verdict. They called me back on Saturday morning to confirm, I was pregnant! That night was the night of the Housing Awards and while I had to abstain from drinking, I had a bigger secret that was far more rewarding that I couldn’t yet share with the world.

To top it off, my husband would go on to win a building award that night – life really couldn’t get much better than this, or could it?!

Similar to my pregnancy with Alaia, morning sickness would hit once again – only this time, ten times as hard. Again, my mother’s instincts came to play – twins I thought. Soon enough at my six week scan, it would be confirmed, there were two – NOTHING will ever compare to that moment! 

There were odds stacked against me – PCOS, one fallopian tube due to the ecptopic pregnancy, hernia operation just months earlier – and her I was pregnant naturally with my rainbow baby twins. The doctors couldn’t believe it. We cried, we laughed, it was the happily ever after to our fairytale. Soon we would be a family of five, and we couldn’t wait.

Having twins meant we were given somewhat “extra care and attention”, I wasn’t complaining, it meant I got to see our beautiful twins on screen more often than not – and that meant I grew such an incredible connection with them.

As most mothers will tell you, the second pregnancy flies by. Mostly because you are busy chasing around your menacing toddler but I also think it has a lot to do with the fact you are more relaxed.

Before I knew it, I was 20 weeks pregnant and it was time for our BIG scan aka the anatomy scan. There they were, our two little bundles of joy in all their incredibleness – our scan was perfect. All the concerns for twin pregnancies were thrown out the door and the professor was thrilled at the health of the babies and me. Another HUGE tick in the box!

Before we left we asked her to jot down the gender of the babies on a piece of paper. Remember being a kid and being told you couldn’t look at something? That was me, all I wanted to do that night was neatly open the envelope and peak, BUT I refrained.

We never found out Alaia’s gender during pregnancy so this was a new found excitement for us. Given it was twins and the age gap with Alaia was so small, we decided we needed to be prepared.

Tuesday night would come and a handful of our close family and friends came to the gender reveal. Phil held the needle with Alaia and…

POP.

Blue confetti came showering down from one balloon. My head was buried in my hands with tears and our friends and screamed in excitement!

Just as I looked up POP again.

More blue confetti came showering down from the second balloon and the crowd went from excited to mental and I was swamped with hugs and kisses – it was truly one of the best moments of my life – PURE joy would be an understatement!

It wouldn’t have mattered what they were, but that moment and the lead up were just epic. And my mama instincts were right, yet again!

We streamed the reveal live on Instagram and many of our friends filmed it for us. Who knew that our biggest joy would soon become our biggest pain. Those videos would become the unravelling of me…

For the next few weeks, I would spent countless hours buying the cutest matching boys outfits, I really was going a little nuts but living at that point was heaven on earth. Every day I would come home and show Phil and he loved every moment of it. There wasn’t a day that passed that we didn’t speak of our excitement for the boys arrival between each other and to Alaia also, we really couldn’t believe God had picked us for such a blessing.

Friday 9th February. Phil took the day off work and we decided to go buy the boys cots and nursery furniture. We found the most gorgeous grey and timber cots and after Alaia road testing them and giving her tick of approval, we ordered the lot. We were on Cloud 9. Our little family was so happy and it was only going to get happier or so we thought.

Saturday night. 10th of February. My birthday! 32. A birthday I will NEVER forget. Life couldn’t get much better. I told Phil no gifts this year, as I already had mine and we opted for just a dinner instead.

We went to our favourite Italian, followed by a dessert bar and by midnight we would be home. I washed off my makeup put my PJs on and hopped into bed. As soon as my back hit that bed a shooting pain reaped havoc through my body and I jumped up. One of the twins must be sitting on a nerve I thought to myself – I didn’t sense anything more sinister than that. I walked and swayed my way around the house, trying to get them to move.

An hour would pass and the pain had not subsided. I called St John of God Hospital and they suggested I pack a bag and go straight to King Edward Memorial Hosptial, so we did. I remember having to hold myself in the car up by arms, hovering over the car seat as I couldn’t sit flat on my bottom, the pain was unbearable. Through it all, still I didn’t have a bad feeling and thought we would be sent back home in a matter of hours. My instincts had failed me.

The next three words would change the course of my life forever – “You’re already dilating”.

NUMB. ABSOLUTELY NUMB.

I was 22 weeks, how could this be? What did this mean? Would our boys survive? We had entered new territory, the world of the unknown – all of this was new to us, but so quickly we would learn.

After making contact with our obstetrician, we were immediately assigned “The Golden Team” aka the best of the best at King Edward, it was somewhat comforting.

At 2 am a scan would show twin 1 was already protruding out, meaning stitching was out of the question. I was ordered strict bedrest. The doctors were convinced I would birth that night (or should I say morning) or at least within the next 48 hours. Again, my mother’s instincts didn’t agree – maybe it was hope, maybe it was stupidity but I wasn’t ready to give up on my sons. I told them I disagreed and I was prepared to stay on bed rest for the next 6-8 weeks and even Phil agreed. We were so optimistic even though the doctor’s faces would paint a completely different story.

I remember seeing motivational speaker Tony Robbins in Sydney and his words stuck with me, never allow someone to tell you a diagnosis of an ending be it cancer, early birth whatever because as soon as you accept that into your subconscious, you give up. Giving up was the last thing on my mind, I was ready to fight to the very end for my boys and I did.

I prayed, I hoped and I stayed positive.

We were given the most incredible midwife and Phil also pushed me to share what was happening on my social media. I was so against it but in the end I did and within hours hundreds of stories of hope came flooding. The messages of support, our daughter, our midwife and the fantastic team at King Edward were our saving grace during that time.

48 hours would pass and I was still pregnant. The doctors couldn’t believe it. Suddenly the prognosis changed and there was talk of possibly saving twin 2 should twin one come away. But, I still had faith both would survive.

Four days in and the mood was lightened yet again. There was mention of me being shifted to a ward instead of remaining in the delivery suite. I was also heading into the birth “grey area” where they could begin steroid injections in just three days to help strengthen the boys lungs. Things were looking up.

The following day, on the 15 February (my grandma’s birthday) I woke up feeling fine and was mentally prepared for the long haul of living in a hospital. We had a lot of visitors that day which was lovely. Alaia came up also and as always seeing her gave me the strength I needed to fight for her brothers.

But, what a difference a few hours can make – 5pm hit and suddenly I became very ill. What was happening? Suddenly I was vomiting, weak, hunched over, had a temperature and before I knew it doctor and midwives were in and out of the room and they were preparing for what was to come. I had contracted an infection and now my life was at risk. The inevitable was going to occur. They had to bring on my labour to save me but in doing do, my sons would be sacrificed. My whole world came crashing down… only in those moments I knew, I knew the fight was over, I knew my mother’s instincts had failed me, I knew I would lose my sons forever. I was completely broken.

Nothing can prepare you for that – nothing. I don’t think I stopped crying from that moment until long after their birth. It’s as if someone is physically ripping out your heart out. And while every effort was made to make the experience as comfortable as possible, it was something I do not wish on even my worst enemy.

I took every drug under the sun, not because I feared the physical pain but more so the pain on my heart. I wanted to be numb and I was exactly that.

At 11.51pm that night, Leo made his entrance into the world. He was the most beautiful boy I ever did see and had such striking resemblance to his sister. I always wondered how parents loved more than one child the same but there it was, the love gushing from my heart in floods and I finally understood.

I held him for hours, the hardest part was letting him go. But part of me knew grandma was there to take him.

Soon enough at 2.09am Cruz arrived he was equally as gorgeous and bared a striking resemblance to his Nonno, my father in law. Again the unwavering love unleashed – my precious boys, I thought I loved them inside me and that love was only a sliver to what I felt now. 

I don’t know what the hardest part of the whole ordeal was losing them, leaving them, burying them or not having the chance to tell them just how much you love them. I guess they are all equally painful.

For weeks I looked for reasons and blamed myself in more ways than I can count – was it pilates, did I lift something heavy, was it herbal tea, was it making love to my husband which made my cervix open, answers I will never know. The truth is, even medically it remains unexplained.

But, I’ve made a decision to end my suffering. I can continue to focus on the heartache of it all and continue to run myself to the ground or I can focus on those six most incredible months they gave me where I experienced some of the greatest joy I have known. I choose that!

Because although I only had hours in my arms, they are forever imprinted on my heart. I AM a mother of three and I stand proud! I will never forget my sons and will never be embarrassed or ashamed to share their name no matter how confronting that might be to others. I know I will have my days, but I will continue to talk to Alaia about her brothers and will continue to tell their story. I carried them, I fought for them, I held them and I loved them and I will continue fight for them, so that all women who loved and lost don’t give into society and forget their angels but rather speak loudly their names with such pride. Because although they are gone, they will NEVER be forgotten. And although they are not here, doesn’t take away that you are still their mother.

So to all the angel mothers out there, I honour you. What we have endured is a pain like no other, in fact every mother’s worst nightmare. And although you may never be the same, you are better because you had the chance to know them and know a love of that kind. You are allowed to scream, you are allowed to cry, but promise me you will never give up.

And to all the other mamas reading this, grip your loved ones a little tighter tonight because sometimes we take for granted what is right before us. And be KIND, my god be really kind, everyone is fighting a battle you may know nothing about.

And so I leave you with this:

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss in life is what dies inside us while we still live.”

I will not allow myself to die inside, I will continue to live for them.

So, to my precious sons Leo and Cruz – you gave me a love so strong it made saying hello and goodbye in the same day worth all the pain. I love you both more than you will ever know and just like I fought until the end for you, I will continue to fi

 

ght for women and for research in your honour. I promise you I’ll live life to the fullest filled with greater love, greater compassion, greater kindness, greater appreciation, greater presence and greater joy. I hope I make you proud.

All my love, your mama x

Side note: on Sunday, 27 May my husband and I, along with family and friends ran the HBF Run for a Reason in memory of our sons. We raised almost $12,000 for the Women’s and Infants Research Foundation . Any donations can be made via direct to the charity or through the Everyday Hero page set up for the event –