I am obsessed with photographs. Yes, I love taking pictures but really, where my passion sits is looking at them. When I go home to my parents house within the hour I will be lying on my childhood bed, on my stomach flipping through old photo albums. Photo albums with pictures that my dad took of me as an infant and child as well as books and boxes of pictures that I took through high school, college and beyond. I am fascinated with comparing what I looked like at five to what Hannah looks like today. I love the nostalgia that each picture from my younger years brings. I love remembering the magazine editorial that inspired my outfit. Remembering what made me fall for that guy with his arm around me (what was his name anyway?). Remembering who I’m looking at over the picture taker’s head. I love putting myself back on that field hockey team, remembering the thrill of playing on that field. I love recalling the bonds I had with my high school friends and blushing just recalling some of the embarrassing things we did. I could spend HOURS at a time going through these photographs. Just remembering.
And normally, the picture reminds me of how I FELT when that photo was taken. I recall the reason for the big smile. What happened to make me look worried. The love that I thought I felt. That’s what pictures are for. To bring you back. Help you relive that moment. And feel the same way. Even if, for just a moment.
Rarely do you pick up a picture and when you look at it, you have a completely different feeling than you had when the picture was taken.
Rewind to September 6, 2007. It was my first visit to the Reproductive Endocrinologist’s (aka Fertility specialist) office after my pregnancy blood test came back positive. I should have been thrilled. Jumping for joy. Giddy beyond belief. But I wasn’t. I was scared. Worried. Cynical even. Because this was my fifth positive result I had gotten in my 18 months of trying to become pregnant with my second baby. The first three ended in miscarriage at 8 weeks. The last ended up an ectopic pregnancy also resulting in “not pregnant”. So I was reserving my excitement for AFTER this doctor’s visit. The visit where I’d hear a heart beat. The visit where the doctor would say, “Take a deep breath Becca. This one is real.”
Tim and I walked hand in hand into the RE’s penthouse office in midtown Manhattan. We weren’t speaking. Tim knew I didn’t want to talk. When I’m worried I like, no I NEED, quiet. My hand in his was the only communication I could bare. We were called into the small, brightly lit office where I disrobed and lay cold on the chair, legs in the stirrups, ready for the drill I had come all too familiar with. The doctor came in and said, “OK, you ready?”
“Mmm Hmm”, I meekly responded and held my breath as he performed the internal ultrasound. All I could think as I lay with my eyes closed for a moment was, “Please let this have worked. Please let the hundreds of fertility drug injections, bruises from the needles, IVF procedures and emotional roller coasters have been WORTH it.”
I turned to look at the screen. Knowing what I Should see if things were going according to “plan”. I saw this:
I looked at Tim who was glancing with his head cocked to the side at the screen.
“Is that what I think it is?”, Tim asked.
“Yes, you’ve got two there!” the doctor excitedly told us.
“Oh. My. God.” I said. I was nauseous. I was supposed to be Ecstatic. But I felt sick. THIS was not the plan! Two? Twins? How the fuck was I going to do that? What about Hannah? How would I be able to give HER any attention with TWINS to look after? Where would they sleep? What kind of car would I need? Twins? Fuck.
Tim was so excited. And I put on a good face. Of course “happy” that it worked out and that it looked like I was going to have a baby but… I walked out of the office, clutching that picture in my hand, holding back the tears. Shaking. Trying to make sense of it all. Imagining what my life was going to be like.
I spent three more weeks in this numb state, trying to fit Twins into my brain. And wondering how they’d fit into my life. How I’d EVER make it work. And then, at 8 weeks I was told that one of them didn’t make it. It wasn’t as strong. Wasn’t as healthy. Wasn’t growing at the right speed. Was gone.
And, shamefully, I was relieved. I could focus again. I could imagine how this would work. Things were NOW going according to “plan”. I could breathe. I’m embarrassed to admit all of this, but I needed to be able to picture “manageable” and twins didn’t fit that picture. Surprisingly, I was the one consoling Tim.
Fast forward to yesterday. I found this picture. This picture of my Twins. This picture of not one miracle but two. This picture of what could have been. This picture of Luke’s twin, maybe his best friend, maybe his missing piece. I wonder if it’s a girl or a boy. If it would have looked like Luke or more like me and Hannah. I wonder if it also would have loved dancing and blueberries. If it also would have been slow speaking but as fast as lightning. I wonder. And I got choked up. I grasped the picture in that same fist I had on that beautiful September day in 2007, and this time, felt a totally different kind of sadness.
Over the span of two and a half year, this picture completely changed in meaning for me. This memory means something totally different than it had. I fought sadness when it was taken because I was petrified and unhappy with how what I saw would turn my world upside down. And yesterday, I felt tears well up because of how wonderful I believe life would have been had that twin lived. My memory of how I felt when that picture was taken did not match it’s meaning today. And that is an odd feeling. A surprising feeling. One that I’m not used to feeling as I flip through old pictures.
I like to reminisce with fondness. Fondness that I looked happy. Or fondness that I got over whatever made me look unhappy. I don’t like to be disappointed by memories. So, this memory, I’d like to do over. I’d like to pretend I was overjoyed on September 6, 2007. Overcome with emotion that not one but TWO babies were to be mine. And I’d like to now admit my sadness, not relief, that one did not make it and say it would have been wonderful. We would have been happy…
Maybe not sane. But happy.
This has been part three of Five For Ten with Momalom. The topic for this “installment” is Memory. Please click on over to Momalom to read the other wonderful posts.