**Please forgive this break from photos while I share with you my thoughts and emotions about this date.**
One year. 365 days have passed since I gave birth to Rebecca and Maria. How differently I imagined this year passing. But somehow it has passed... And I have continued on, mechanically at first, but eventually able to live and smile with meaning again. This does not mean that I have forgotten or that my love has diminished, but I'm able to live again. I will never be the same girl, but I know now that I don't want to be. My experiences have always shaped me and this is no different. I might be slower to smile or laugh now, perhaps a little more sensitive and easy to bruise, but I'm also more compassionate and nurturing. I've experienced the wonder and joy of the first moment of seeing my children and the boundless love that accompanies it. I wouldn't give that up for anything.
Today, on their first birthday, I'd like to share the moment I first KNEW about our girls. As many of you know, we had a difficult time and looked to ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) to help. Because of this, we were given some amazing insights and extras that wouldn't have occurred with a natural conception. (Such as a picture of them as 8 cell embryos at 3 days old! IVF is truly amazing.) But my favorite memory was our first ultrasound at 7 weeks. Eric was there, holding my hand. We knew we were finally pregnant from the high hcg levels, and we nervous to see the flicker of a heartbeat. The tech started with a traditional ultrasound on the belly and I held my breath as the screen started to show my insides. Then, there it was... TWO little sacks.. but only one faint flicker. Up until that point I had been worried about our chances of multiples, but that was the first moment I realized that I very badly wanted them both to implant. The tech decided for an internal ultrasound and I remember my hands shaking so badly I could hardly change my clothes. Then finally, there on the screen, our two little blobs, this time with two matching fluttering flickering heartbeats. I was unable to see anymore as tears started to obscure my vision. I do remember hearing Eric's breathing change and feeling the pressure of his hand increase. I knew he was feeling the same thing I was. I was in love with them even then...and it only grew stronger as each day passed. My beautiful miracle babies.
I believe that you are never truly gone so long as someone still remembers you. The memories I carry are strong, and the tattoos Eric & I wear proudly declare our love for the world to see. If, at some moment today, you could find the time to pause and remember our girls with us, that they existed, that they are loved, it would mean so much.
Happy First Birthday Rebecca and Maria.