Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dear Ethan

Dear Ethan,

You came into this world in a hurry one month ago, but like your brother, you became a part of me so much sooner. The time since I discovered that you were one of a pair seems to have passed in a blink of an eye, but I will hold you in my heart for an eternity.

It was such a surprise learning that I was pregnant with twins. I had secretly hoped maybe and Daddy was sure it was twins, telling everyone who as in the know about our IVF cycle once we found out I was pregnant. Of course it wasn’t confirmed for two more weeks, but he was sure.  And I am so glad he was right!

Since you and your brother were discovered that opened the door to more ultrasounds for monthly check ins. I loved going every month to see you. You were always moving, slightly stubborn and always in my heart. I thought I would burst with love every chance I had to hear your heartbeat and see you via ultrasound.

Unlike your brother, I was sure you were a boy. I am not sure why, but I am glad I was correct. And I know Daddy was excited. He was terrified of having even one little girl so he was over the moon when he opened the gift bags I bought after the 20 week scan and they both contained blue hats.

You were definitely your own self and made your presence very known once you were big enough for me to feel you move. I could feel you pressing and pushing high and to the right side of my belly. Since you were easier to feel, I enjoyed giving a push or a poke to encourage your twists, turns and kicks. My apologies if it bothered you, but how could I resist? It was so miraculous feeling you bump around inside of me. First thing in the morning after I woke up, I would lay there for a few extra minutes just to feel you.

As you got bigger you became the “alien bump.” I did not necessarily feel many kicks but I definitely could feel and see you push out against the top of my belly. I have no idea if it was your bum or your feet or some other part of you making that bizarre bulge, but I loved it! To be honest I loved it when you would slide down into my ribs on the right side, no matter how uncomfortable it was. Just as your brother did, you would squirm and wiggle when Daddy spoke to my belly. Oh how you loved to move. I have a feeling you would have been the one we would have to chase all over the place had you been able to live that long.

It breaks my heart that you had to come into this world too soon, but you were a fighter. You showed us your strength with all of your moving early on and again with how you struggled to stay with us even if it was for only a day.

You were as active the day you were born as you ever were. Of course I tried to let people feel you at the baby shower, but the stubborn streak popped up and you were still whenever anyone touched my belly. We were all so excited to celebrate you and your brother. So many friends and family ready to love you on December 4th.

After the shower, when my water broke I was terrified. You and your brother were in separate sacks but I am sure you knew something was going on. I am so very sorry that you were not able to stay safe, warm and comfortable in side of me. More than anything, that is where I wish you still could be.  But you are a mover and after your brother was born you would not be left behind.  The doctor insisted we try to keep you in as long as we could so the second NICU team could get there and set up, but you really wanted none of that. If your brother was out, you were coming out too. Without me even trying to push (and trying very hard not to) out you came and the doctor barely caught you. You entered this world feet first, probably ready to hit the ground running. You were a bit bigger and stronger than your brother even though you arrived at 23 weeks 6 days which is far too early. Your heart stayed true and with breathing assistance you stayed with us. You became our hope.

It felt like an eternity before I was able to see you. They second NICU team had set up in the room next to mine and much needed to be done to stabilize you and get you ready for transport to the higher level of care NICU a few hours away. Please know I would have done anything to see you right away and that time was not wasted since I got time to say good bye to your brother and the NICU team helped you so much.

When I finally did get to see you I was amazed by the strength in that tiny little body. I was allowed to touch you ever so gently and melted when I touched your palm with my finger and your fingers curled around mine.  I remember telling you I loved you but so much needed to be done still to care for you. I let the team take over again but knew I would see you one more time before you would head out to the other hospital. As promised, they wheeled you in for me to see you one more time before left in a giant incubator. Daddy snapped a picture and you can barely be seen inside that huge contraption.

It was heartbreaking knowing that we could not be with you in the ambulance but we knew you were in good hands. The night took forever to pass by and I think I may have slept, but before I could Daddy and I needed to give you a name. We kept going over and over our short list of names and few seemed right (I still fought hard for Elliot or Oliver, but Daddy wouldn’t agree). Ethan was one of the ones we both agreed on and we said it over and over. I can’t remember if it was me or Daddy that said “I think Ethan is the one” but once it was said we knew it was right. Your middle name was easy…Thomas is your Daddy’s middle name and your Grandpa F’s first name (you would have called him the Chinese word for paternal grandfather but I am not sure what that is).

The most important thing I can remember from that night was sadness for the death of your brother, but such hope that you would make it. And you did, if only for a day.

We got to the other NICU hospital as soon as we could with Papa and Grammie. Aunties Kaylia and Kim could not be put off and made the trip up to the hospital as well…despite the horrible snow. Daddy and I spent a great deal of time by your side. Later in the day Daddy brought Grammie in and then I brought Papa in. Grammie took some great pictures of you. I treasure them for they are when hope was still alive and so were you. We also brought your Aunties in to see you. Aunt Jolyn is very sad to not have been able to see you, bought we thought she would see you the next day.

Please forgive us for leaving you that night. You were doing so well and we were overly confident that we would see you in the morning. If I could change any moment of that day I would have stayed. It breaks my heart to know we were not there when you died. I am so glad that the wonderful nurses took care of you and held you and blessed you when I could not. We went back as fast as we could to get the chance to finally hold you, even though you were already gone.

Ethan, you are so loved and terribly missed. When you died, all hope that I held on to died as well. It is impossible for me to use the word and not think of you. It is a big burden to put on you, all of our hope. But you were strong and a fighter and I am sure you understand why we had such hope.

You are my second little sweet pea, my sweet little son, my second born who also made me a mother. But second doesn’t mean second best by any means. I hold you close to my heart with a small token, your initial that I can hold and kiss. I would give anything to have you to hold and kiss instead.

I love you with all of my heart and think of you every day.

Love, Mommy


  1. Another beautiful letter, to another loved son. My my second-born, Bella, befriend Ethan. And may they team up against Oscar and William.

  2. These letters to your sons had me in tears, they are so beautiful and heartfelt. I didn't realize that you & I had our babies a week apart, my Lily was 22wks 6 days. It truly is amazing that Ethan did so well after he was born.
    You will be in my thoughts as you return to work this week, I know it's so hard to go back to a place that held so much hope and happy memories of what was to come. I hope the meeting with the social worker was beneficial and she provided you with guidance on how to handle questions from the kids. Hoping you find the strength you need for those first days back ((hugs))

  3. I'm so very sorry for your losses. I read both of your letters to your boys, and they are both so very beautiful. My heart goes out to you and your husband.

  4. Your letters are beautiful and tear-wrenching. I am so very sorry you lost your little boys. I lost my little girl at 25 weeks and the pain is huge, ugly and immeasurable, and you've got that pain twice. My heart breaks for you.

  5. So beautiful and I'm so sorry.