The year was 1965. We had been married a little under two years and already had a four month-old baby girl with red hair like her dad’s. I found out I was pregnant again and was not happy. We loved children and certainly wanted more, just not 11 months apart! My husband was a lineman with the electric company, and although he liked his job, the pay was low and we were barely making it. We lived in a small 2-bedroom apartment where our daughter’s crib took up much of the 2nd bedroom. Where would we put another crib? Both babies would be in diapers (we didn’t have disposable diapers then), and how could I carry two babies and laundry downstairs to the laundry room every day? My husband assured me that we would be okay. He told me we would look for a larger place to live and he would take a second job. Gradually, as the months went by, I began to be excited about the new baby.
One Sunday afternoon after church, we went on a picnic with some friends. I was six months along, but I felt good, so I participated in the outdoor games we played that afternoon. On Monday morning, I felt the first sharp pain. By the time the secretary had located my husband at his work site, I was in a lot of pain. He rushed home and took me to the hospital. I went immediately into the delivery room and knew I had lost the baby.
While I was still in recovery, my doctor came in and told me the devastating news - I had delivered identical twins, but they had not developed enough that he could tell if they were boys or girls. With tears streaming down my face, all I could do was look at him in disbelief. “Don’t worry,” he told me, “you’re fine. You can have more babies.” He patted my arm and walked out of the room. I remember my thoughts, “But I want those babies. Why did this happen? WHY?”
In the 1960s, miscarriages were seldom spoken about in public. One simply recovered and went on with life. The orderly came to take me to my room. “Not the maternity wing,” the nurse whispered to him. “Her room is in the women’s wing.” Life indeed was moving on and taking me with it.
A couple of weeks later, I had physically recovered and decided to attend my ladies Sunday School class party at the church. Our church had been so good to us by bringing meals for a week; but it bothered me that my friends would walk in with their casseroles, smile, and quietly asked how I was feeling but not say a word about the babies I had lost – real human beings created in the image of God with tiny fingers, ears, toes, and hearts that would be beating had they lived.
At the party, someone walked in behind me, took one look at me and said, “I thought you were pregnant.” Before I could answer, the other ladies hushed her up and nothing else was said. Grief hung over me like a cloud. I felt all the things one feels when losing a loved one – guilt, anger, emptiness. I wanted desperately to talk about it; but since it wasn’t the thing to do, my grief stayed locked inside. It was a secret I couldn’t share with anyone, not even my sweet husband who was trying so hard to put our lives back to normal.
Members of my family, including my mom, said, “It’s for the best.” I believe even my husband was somewhat relieved at our loss. I couldn’t be angry with him. The responsibility of providing for a family with three babies had to have been overwhelming. I know now, beyond a doubt, that God in His infinite mercy would have met all our needs; but I don’t know that I believed it then. Although we were both Christians, we were in our early twenties and had a rather shallow, immature faith when it came to trusting the Lord to provide for us.
Happily, as the years went by, we were blessed with three more red-headed children. We became a busy, soccer-playing family; and God provided as He promised. However, as our children grew, my thoughts would often return to my twins; and I knew I needed some closure. It was then that I decided to name my babies.
Since I didn’t know if the twins were boys or girls, I thought of names that could be for either. Proverbs 22:1 says that a good name is to be chosen over riches. The names I chose for my little ones are Jesse or Jessica, meaning “gift;” and Andrew, meaning “manly;” or Andrea, meaning “womanly.” They are good names, I think. I look forward to the day when I see my twins healthy and whole; and how amazing it will be to call them by name.