An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

A week ago today, a horrible thing happened. I went into premature labor and lost my twins. I was 20 weeks and 5 days pregnant. The entire pregnancy had been without incident. At 20 weeks, we thought we were in the clear. I thought about little else besides what the babies were doing, what they looked like, and what we would do once they were born. Then my water broke and I was in the hospital and everything we hoped for disappeared.

I’ve cried everyday since. But my husband and I laugh too. We have to or else I think we’d fall apart. I don’t know what I would do without him.

And of course, I find comfort in books. I had heard about “An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination” on NPR. But I couldn’t bring myself to read it when my husband and I were trying to conceive. And once we got pregnant, I avoided anything negative, as if those thoughts would translate into something harmful to the lives I carried within me. But as soon as I got back from the hospital, I ordered this book. I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone about what I was feeling and I didn’t know anyone else who had been through losing a child like this. I needed to know how someone else dealt with it.

The first few pages took a whole day to get through. I had to stop to cry and to wait until the horrible pains went away. My head throbbed and my right ear felt strange. I could hear my heartbeat, which only made me think of all the times I asked the nurses to hook me up to the machine so I could hear the reassuring thumping of the babies’ heartbeats.

But once that passed, I found myself clinging to every word. Not that she offered any sappy words of wisdom or reassurance. Her tone is almost matter-of-fact but not at all unfeeling. It was exactly what I was thinking. And even though time has passed and she has another child, she hasn’t gotten over losing the first. It’s like a mark.

I’ve decided to make the mark visible and permanent by getting a tattoo. I’ve always wanted to get one but I haven’t been able to think of anything I wanted forever. I want this memory, the good and the bad, to be forever. There are times when the pain is too much and I wish I could go back or just forget. But then I realized that for those 20 weeks, I was the happiest I had ever been. For a little while, I had everything I had ever wanted. A new house, a wonderful husband. Twins, one boy and one girl. Then we were blindsided. This isn’t like a breakup, where the end erases any good feeling or memory you had before your heart was broken. We hadn’t named them yet and I’m glad we didn’t. They will forever be known as Twin A and Twin B. So I will have a mark, an A and a B.