Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Due Date Balloon Release

Many people in the baby loss world have several dates that are significant to them regarding their baby. Most celebrate the day their baby was born which is also the day they died. May 3rd and May 4th will always be their special days. The days when my babies were born and became angels… as many in the baby loss world call ‘angelversary’. I know those will be difficult days in the coming years but I want to try and celebrate them…not think of it as the days they died but as the days they joined our family.

I often heard that the expected due date is also a day that people commemorate. I feel like I too want to commemorate that day but I’m struggling to find a date to pin down as their due date. Their official due date, when they would be 40 weeks, is August 30th although at one point it was August 28th. But we never really thought of that as anything significant because we were told that I would be induced at 38 weeks if I hadn’t already delivered them by then, which they expected. Dug and I knew they were going to be early, I was thinking they’d arrive mid to late July, because they were twins and I am so small, so we were getting everything ready. We had bought some preemie clothes and supplies. They were hard to find so whenever we saw them we picked them up thinking we’d rather be over prepared than running around at the last minute trying to find stuff to fit them and figured that if they were too big for the preemie clothes we would donate them to the NICU or multiples association.

So the problem is what day do we commemorate as their due date? I know I don’t need a day because I think of them and honour them everyday but I feel like I need something tangible to hang on to, focus my energy on so that my entire summer for the rest of my life is not a big empty vast space of grieving. I asked Dug what he thought and he had said “Well if you want the date that I expected them to arrive that would be July 15th”. I started to cry. It was already August. I missed it. I felt so awful. How could I have done nothing to commemorate their day?

A week later Natasha came to visit after her appointment with Dr. Donahoe (the psychologist we are both seeing) and she mentioned that Dr. Donahoe asked her if she was going to do anything for Henry’s expected due date, which happens to be August 30th as well. I shared with her that I was so sad because I felt like I had missed the day that we expected them and then gave her ideas as to what people on the message boards had done such as butterfly releases, balloon releases, going to their grave, or just doing something special.

That weekend I went to the store to get some balloons blown up for my friend Amy’s shower. There I saw balloons with Winnie-the-pooh and Eeyore on them. They were so cute and thought to myself ‘those would be great for a balloon release for Cole and Breanna.’ As I drove to Amy’s mom’s house for the shower I started getting emotional, for seemingly no reason (not that it’s that unusual nowadays) but then I thought about it and realized the date. It was August 16th… Cole and Breanna would have been 38 weeks today. I would have been induced today!!! That’s it, today is the day. I figured when I get home from the shower I’ll pick up those balloons and we’ll do a balloon release. I suddenly felt much better. But then I got worried about what if the store closes, so I called Dug and told him my idea and asked him to pick up the balloons while I was at the shower so that we’d have them ready.

Just before the shower started my friend Becky surprised me with the most amazing gift. She had gotten two stars in the Taurus constellation named after Cole and Breanna. I was so touched by such a thoughtful gesture. And it made the day just that much more special to commemorate Cole and Breanna. I knew this was perfect!

When I got home from the shower Dug had the helium balloons ready and we drove to the cemetery. We pulled out our blanket that we keep in Dug’s trunk for when we have picnics at the cemetery with the kids. We sat down and read the information packages that came with the Stars that Becky had gotten named after Cole and Breanna that she had given to me earlier that day. We told Cole and Breanna all about their stars. Then we wrote messages on their balloons took some pictures and released them. It was so windy, they just took off. Dug had tied the two balloons together so they flew away together. Dug and I stood there, holding each other, watching the balloons until they got so high and so small that we could no longer see them. It was perfect!! The weather was perfect and the sky was clear, which is really amazing because this summer has been so rainy and cloudy. Becky’s gift was perfectly timed and to top it all off we were leaving the next day for 2 weeks in Florida. I was so relieved to have done something special that day to commemorate them and the date had significance. It may not be when we expected them or when they actually came but it was the last possible day for them to have been born and I’m thankful that we did something for that.

1 comment:

janesk8 said...

AUdrey-- That is perfect- I am so glad that you did that for Cole and Breanna.
Just as you are reminded of Noah when you see frogs and g-rafs, I am reminded of Cole and Breanna when I see Winnie the Pooh and Eyeore.. and they are everywhere!!!!!

Thinking of you, and your precious little angels! I'm sure they are having fun with their balloons!!!

Jane