I thought I would explain the story behind our blog name for my first post. “Broods” and “Bible” are pretty easy to figure out to mean family and faith, but the butterflies portion likely isn’t so cut and dry unless you have stood where we do and think along those same lines. First, a little back story to it…..
Last summer I read an article on Facebook about a momma that was advocating for hospitals in the UK to place a purple butterfly sticker on bassinets of babies that were part of a multiple pregnancy in which one or more babies were lost. The butterfly sticker was to alert other parents as well as hospital staff members to a very sensitive matter: the immense grief of losing one (or more) infant while still caring for a living baby as well. I remember we had just found out about our identical twin boys, Luke and Asher, shortly before I read this article and it hit me how terribly sad this situation was, however, the momma written about in the article lost one of her sweet girls to anecephaly, which we knew already our babies did not have. In fact, our little guys were perfectly healthy, so aside from being incredibly heartbroken for this momma and daddy, it wasn’t personal to me because we were already passed that initial “safe zone” and had reached the second trimester with two healthy babies. You see, early loss was a loss that I connected with already and knew could happen to me because it had happened to me; but late loss was a different story. And even more that just a late loss; loss of ONE baby was an entirely different story as well. Again, even though I was carrying twins already, I just kind of assumed that either both babies would make it or both wouldn’t except for the situations like this momma’s where one had an abnormality that was always fatal.
Fast forward to September 27, 2016, I was having contractions. Although they were completely painless for me, I knew they were also very regular and having had two very fast deliveries, I knew I needed to get into the doctor to be seen right away. I had gone in the day before due to a couple of issues, but was eventually sent home as the contractions I was having weren’t doing anything and the other issues weren’t immediately dangerous or needing to be addressed. I honestly thought that I would be sent home this day as well. However, I got settled in and the doctor on call came by and discovered I was dilated to a 5, which meant our babies were on their way that day for certain. I was only 30 weeks and 6 days pregnant, so we knew that meant a long NICU stay for both boys. What we didn’t expect was that only one of our sweet boys would make it out of the operating room alive. All of the issues we’d been having as well as the events of that day are for another post, but suddenly that story I’d read about several months before had become our reality. Having our survivor, Asher, in a big unit full of other LIVING twins was so difficult. Seeing only his name on his bassinet was really hard for me because spread all throughout the NICU were bassinets with “twin A” or “twin B” on them. We should have had two bassinets with babies in them. Instead, we only had one. We are so thankful for that one, but having Asher here didn’t and won’t take away the pain of losing Luke. I longed for Asher’s bassinet to say “twin B” in addition to his name plaque. Or even for a purple butterfly sticker….
So because of this article we’d read previously, the butterfly kind of became our symbol for Luke. I originally chose the butterfly because of the article, but since then it has become so much more for me. I love seeing butterflies out in the world, whether real or otherwise, but we definitely in no way think that Luke has taken the form of a butterfly and come to say hello or even that he has sent them as signs to us. However, I do know that God knows that we have chosen the butterfly as his symbol and believe that He will randomly put them in our lives as a reminder of His love for us and for Luke. When I see a butterfly, I feel God’s love for me despite my pain. I know that He grieves with me for my sweet baby, but I also know that Luke is in heaven; happy and whole with Him. I miss my baby every single day, but it’s truly a help to me knowing these things, so I love seeing butterflies when I’m out and about.
I also like the butterfly as Luke’s symbol not only because of the connection with twin loss, but because I feel like I am very much like the butterfly. Butterflies start out as caterpillars and must go through the process of metamorphosis to change into the beautiful creatures they are. In my opinion, caterpillars aren’t the most majestic or graceful creatures to begin with, but God created them to change who they are through a process that isn’t terribly appealing and probably even a bit painful. I mean, who wants to stop eating, wrap themselves in a casing and hang out (without eating) for weeks, months, or even years while their bodies undergo rapid and massive changes?! Losing Luke has been a continuing point for my transformation from a self-centered, selfish, high-strung momma, wife, friend, and human being into something hopefully much more beautiful than I ever would have become otherwise. It has been a very painful experience to go through this rapid growth and change; but in the end, a caterpillar’s purpose isn’t able to be fulfilled without being transformed into a beautiful butterfly.
(double ribbon for Twinless twin awareness was created by a sweet momma on a Parents of Twinless Twins support group page and is free to use for this cause)