TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains information about miscarriage.
Less than 1% of the world’s population has Complete Heterochromia, or “Kaleidoscope Eyes” as we call them, as if we needed anymore evidence that either of our daughters’ existence is a complete miracle. But the story behind her eyes is one that is worth telling, because it is a story about our rainbow after the storm, and the story of light after great darkness.
You see, the story behind her eyes is actually his story, Charlie, our sweet baby that makes our dynamic duo a trio, just no longer on this side of heaven.
I carried three beautiful babies for as long as my body allowed me to, but then tragically over Christmas I lost our Charlie. For a lot of people three babies may seem like a lot, and some of you may go as far as to even wonder why this loss hurt, but for my husband and I, we loved all three of our children as soon as we saw them at our very first ultrasound. The chaos that people associate with multiples was a welcomed GIFT after years of silence and empty hallways. We wanted each of our children SO badly, and we still do.
That Christmas was a nightmare, I just remember a lot of bleeding and cramping as I shifted between laying on our bathroom floor in tears, to being forced to put on a “happy face” at certain family festivities. I constantly pleaded with God to intervene, and I was plagued by the fear that I would lose all three of my children. We only let a few people in on what was going on, some family mourned with us, others expected us to parade around like nothing was happening. I have learned with miscarriage that there will always be some people that do not get it, and that’s okay, you do not have to share your journey or your heart with them.
Eventually, the bleeding stopped, and so did my constant sickness and agony. Finally I could stop taking progesterone shots 1-2 times a day, as I had done for 14 weeks. I felt like I could breath for the first time in weeks, but then those breaths were quickly followed by shame. Am I allowed to feel relief that the symptoms of my loss are over? I often wondered if I did something wrong, or if I took on too much stress, or if I should have left my job sooner? Side note, my former co-workers were and are amazing, so the rational side of my brain knows that this was just my way of grieving and coping. I had to find the joy of my pregnancy again, but to take delight in the two babies I still carried was difficult without feeling guilty.
I prayed and prayed for a sign from the Lord that this loss had purpose, that He would show me WHY this had to happen. We didn’t see it at first, but He was going to give us our rainbow, the sign that would show us that His plans were, and are, always for our good. You see, I am not a genetics expert, but I do LOVE to nerd out on research. So when my daughter’s eyes turned into beautiful kaleidoscopes, I had to find out what this was all about. There are several causes of congenital heterochromia, and all of them have been ruled out with her medical team’s help, all except one…
Charlie was right next to Libby in the womb, and he left a very small part of himself with her when God called him home. Why? Because he knew that his sister, and his parents, would need a sign. For you see, had Charlie stayed with us, I would have gone into preterm labor even earlier. I very likely could have lost all three of my children at that point, but praise and glory to God, I will never know. What I do know though is that I would have definitely lost our Libby. Death tried to take our Libby, twice, before she was even a month old…but by God’s graciousness alone, our little warrior conquered each time. God used Charlie to save her, and God used Charlie to save us. We have been freed from self reliance and selfishness in our own might or our parenting skills.
Charlie’s story is worth telling, and his life is worth celebrating. That is why my sweet girls will always know how special their guardian angel is, and how they will get to be triplets again on the other side of heaven.
We don’t always get a rainbow quite as evident or obvious as such a beautiful and remarkable eye condition, but God does give us hope after loss. Take the liberty to celebrate your babies, whether they are earth-side or went straight to heaven, because that is where healing is found. Abide in peace, honor their lives, and do not let anyone shame you for both mourning and loving the child you never got to hold.
Photography by the amazing Deb Evans Photography
I am not ready to write about everything just yet, but you can find more about our NICU experience here A letter from the NICU