Before we found out that the babies were conjoined, my sister-in-law began planning a shower for us for the Saturday following spring break. When we found out that they were conjoined it was two weeks prior to the proposed shower date. I texted my sister and told her that we were having boys, but to put the shower plans on hold because there were some pretty major concerns with the babies. At the time, Dave and I had no idea what we were going to do concerning the twins, and we needed time to think things through. We kept the the twins' condition quiet and only told a select few of our family members. Once we had determined to terminate the pregnancy, we needed time and privacy to mourn for our children, and we were planning to tell our families that we had lost the babies after the procedure.
However, after the doctors encouraged us, and they took the time to show us that our sweet little ones were good candidates for separation surgery, my sister was one of the first of the family to find out that we would indeed be having the twins, though I couldn't see how a shower would be necessary. What would I register for when the boys would be in the hospital for up to a year, and how does one explain to people that there is still the possibility that one or both twins may not survive, and what does one do with the gifts if one or both twin doesn't survive? I cried as I talked through the logistics of the shower. My sister, though, having such a genuine and kind heart, told me not to worry about any of that - we would have a celebration of life for the boys. We could visit our family in Arkansas whom we had not seen in several months, and we would not necessarily worry about gifts - if they wanted to give something, money or small gifts would be appropriate, but not expected. I agreed to this. I was ready to have a celebration for my boys! After we had the MRI, and were presented with what I believe to be the best gift a momma can be given, we called family and close friends to spread the news that we were having conjoined identical twin boys.
The shower was a gathering of my closest family, and it was a successful celebration! I was able to share with some of those I hold the most dear the joy and hope that I had for the twins as well as my fears for their little lives, and their future. All of which I could not do without more tears.
These are the occasions that make me grateful for the love and support that I find in my family - beginning with my husband, who has been my mouth when I can't speak, and my support when my knees wouldn't hold me up, and the one who carries my baggage when its too heavy; my mom, my dad and step-mom, my aunt, my sister-in-law and nieces, my mammow, and all the ones that could not be there to celebrate. But thankfully, not only do I have MY family, I have my 'other family,' too. Dave's mom and dad have helped us both as we worked through all of these difficult decisions and circumstances. They have always provided love, support, and advice when we most needed it, and for this I can't show my appreciation enough.
In addition, our extended family, and friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and friends that we haven't met or made yet, thank you for your prayers, and love, and support, and words of encouragement, and emails, and facebook messages, and text messages, and all the ways that you find to show that you are thinking about us. These are what help me get through the day when all I can do is cry, or when I am fearful, or when I can't sleep at night from worry. God has control, and everyone else I feel he uses as His gentle guidance to hold me up when I need it the most.