In April 2018, we discovered that we were expecting our 2nd child. I cannot tell you how excited we were, planning for our December 2018 baby to arrive. Jocelyn would no longer be an only child, and I’d finally get to hold another precious baby in my arms. However, on May 29th, at our 9 week sonogram, we were hit with the shock of our lives. I was carrying twins! There were 2 little embryos on the screen. They looked like gummy bears with tiny arms and legs. I couldn’t believe it- twins! We were still trying to process this news when the doctor added a horrible blow. “I’m sorry sweetie the babies don’t have a heart beat.” My world stopped. I realized there was no galloping sounds, no flickering lights where their hearts should be. They were just floating there in the darkness, not moving at all. My heart sank, Jason grew quiet, and Jocelyn (yes, we brought her with us) began to cry. Our babies were dead. They had died inside of me the day before the sonogram.
I have never cried so long and hard in my entire life. I wanted to die too. Why, oh why, did this happen? I wanted to lay on my couch and wait for my body to do it’s thing. However, it was the last week of school. I needed to see my daughter walk across the stage on Awards Day. I couldn’t miss that. I needed to be there for my students to say goodbye on the last day of school. So I did the impossible. I got up each day and went to work, carrying my dead babies, and crying every hour. The pain of it all was indescribable. A week later, my body still had not passed the babies. I was then diagnosed with a missed miscarriage- meaning the babies were dead but the body hadn’t terminated the pregnancy. My doctor recommended a D&C. “Twins are tricky,” she said. “Your babies are fraternal. You have 2 sacs, 2 babies, 2 placentas. Therefore, your body may not pass everything and you risk infection. A D&C is best.” So on Monday, June 4th, 2018. I had surgery to remove our twins.
The surgery went well. But emotionally, I was awful, horrible, and later physically in pain when the meds wore off. At one point in time, I lay on the bathroom floor on my hands and knees. The doctor didn’t tell me that having a bowel movement after a D&C surgery would be excruciating. I took hydrocodone and kept going, hiding my inner turmoil, trying to be super mommy for our 7 year old Jocelyn. I didn’t want her to see me this way- destroyed, devastated. I put on a brave face, and tried to keep my regular routine. But when Jocelyn and Jason were asleep at night, I cried and cried, and bled and bled.
At my 2 week check up, my uterus had returned to it’s normal size, but I was still bleeding. The doctor had run tests to see if the twins were abnormal. To her surprise, the tests was in conclusive. They don’t know what went wrong. They couldn’t even tell me the gender of my babies because my body had begun to reabsorb their fetal tissue. I will never know if we had twin sons, twin daughters, or one of each gender. They’ll forever be “Baby A” and “Baby B”. It was like a punch in the face and a kick in the gut, all at once. I had an emotional break down in the doctor’s office, sobbing uncontrollably, when she broke the news to me. And you guessed it….the bleeding doubled instead of stopping. I bled even more, losing large black clots of blood each time I cried. It slowly turned into spotting by the end of June. However, one Sunday, an older sister in my congregation reached out and touched my belly. Are you expecting? “Not any more,” I told her. Then I can to the bathroom and cried. The bleeding returned in full force.
When July 10th arrived, a month later, I was STILL BLEEDING. Would it ever stop?? Jason gathered us together and we boarded a plane for Hawaii. On our 1st day in Hawaii we visited Laniaki Beach. I wanted to go into the water, but I couldn’t go while I bled. So I found a spot on the beach and just sat there. I watched my husband and daughter play in the sand, felt the warm breeze on my skin, and took in the blue sky. I’ll never forget the sound of the ocean on that day. I sat there alone and silent, just listening and praying. And in that moment I realized two things: 1) We would eventually be okay. 2) I’ll get too see my twins one day. And I’ll name them, and hold them, and love them the way I wanted to. (Revelation 21: 3, 4) For the first time in weeks I felt like I could breath. That’s the day I stopped bleeding.
That night, Jason drove us to Wakiki for dinner and shopping. We casually walked into the Louis Vuitton store just to look. Jason turned to me and said, “I wanted to get you a bag as a push present when you had the baby. You still gave birth, just not the way you wanted too, so you still get a bag. Go ahead. Pick one.” So that’s how I ended up getting my 1st Louis Vuitton Bag. Jason took Jocelyn to get ice cream while I looked around the Louis Vuitton Boutique.
A year ago, in Paris, I saw the Turenne MM in Monogram. That’s the bag I planned on getting, but the Siena MM in Damier Ebene also caught my attention. Both bags are elegant. I love the shape, size, and pleated details. Which one should I get and which size? Small or medium?George, the young sales assistant, fetched both bags for me. I stood in the mirror comparing them.
“This is going to be a hard choice. You can’t just pick one bag. You need to get both bags sweetheart!” he said, handing them to me.
“No. Nobody needs a thousand dollar bag. I could buy a bag at Target or Kohls for so much less. This is just a want.”
He just looked at me. I went back to looking in the mirror.
“I feel like you want the smaller size,” George said, after a minute.
“I actually like the medium sized one,” I objected. “It’s a good size for the workday.”
“Oh yes, you’re right. Where do you work?”
“I’m a 2nd grade teacher at an elementary school,” I explained.
“Oh no! You don’t take a Louis Vuitton to school,” he huffed. “It’s too special.”
“You’re right. The bag is special, but not simply because it’s a Louis Vuitton. I’m not going to buy any bag that I cannot use,” I explained, handing both bags back to him. You should have seen his face. It was priceless. We sized each other up for a moment. I think he realized that I wasn’t your average customer.
“So what brings you in today? Is there a special reason for your purchase?” he kindly asked. To my surprise, I told this perfect stranger how I had lost my babies 6 weeks ago and how this bag was a “push present” from my husband. George morphed from a snooty sales assistant into a caring human being. He hugged me, stopped being pushy, and listened. He answered my thousand questions and taught me more about Louis Vuitton than I ever wanted to know. Afterwards, I decided to purchase the Turenne MM in Monogram. To my surprise, he took me upstairs to have my photo taken in front of the original Louis Vuitton luggage trunks. Some date back to the 1870s. What a treat!When we got back to our Air BnB, I placed the Louis Vuitton bag on my dresser and stared at it- ALL WEEK LONG. With the bleeding gone, I was finally able to swim and hike around beautiful Hawaii. We visited old friends, strolled on the beach hand in hand, and gazed at sea turtles that came on shore. Each day I felt better. Each day I found a reason to smile. Hawaii was just what we all needed.
After the week had passed, Jason laughed at me. “You know, you don’t really want that bag,” he said. “It’s not practical for your needs. You haven’t touched it once or did that girly thing you do in the mirror.”
He was right. I was scared of the Turenne bag. It was too pretty to touch. The vachette was almost white and so delicate. I was afraid of getting water spots on it. I didn’t want it to overly darken from the oils on my hands. I didn’t want Jocelyn to touch it, ever, which is impossible. I didn’t want to risk messing it up, just as I had done with my twins. “It was my fault my babies died. It’s my fault because I waited too long to conceive them. I’m too old. Or maybe I ate something bad that day. Maybe I was too tired during Field Day. I should have gotten a sub. Maybe I didn’t take my vitamins right. That’s why I lost my babies,” I reasoned. I realized that I couldn’t keep that bag.
A few hours before boarding our flight to return home, Jason took me back to the Louis Vuitton Store, and exchanged the Turenne MM for the Siena MM. I love the pleats and red interior. Sienna is the best choice for a busy mom, like myself. It’s carefree and functional. With my decision made, I boarded the plane with a huge Louis Vuitton bag as my carry on.
However, when I arrived back in Texas, I began to have second thoughts. “Why did you do that, silly woman?” “See Jennifer,” the voice within snapped. “You’re so afraid of everything. It was fear of the unknown that kept you from trying to have a 2nd child years ago. Fear that your house is too small. Fear that the grandparents are too old to babysit while you’re at work. Fear of so many things. If you would have tried sooner then maybe you would not have lost your babies! Stop being afraid! You really did like the Turenne bag better than the Siena, you should have kept it. Who cares if it will patina? Who cares if it will not look the same in a few years. Why did you exchange it?”
So, you guessed it, under unreasonable emotional distress, I went back to the Louis Vuitton Store and exchanged the bag once again. This time, I didn’t just stare at the Turenne. I took it along with me on a photo-shoot and then gently placed it back in it’s dust cover.
The next weekend, all of us moms got together to take our girls for mani-pedis. We had so much fun, but in the midst of all of our antics, my heart began to burn. I went to the restroom with tears streaming down my face. All of my friends have two children and I only have my one precious girl. If things were as they should be, I would soon be the mother of 3. Can you imagine going from an only child to 3 children? How difficult, how overwhelming?! But, oh, how wonderful! I missed the babies I never knew. I wish they could have lasted. I wish I did not feel like a failure. The one thing I am designed to do, reproduce, I cannot do. A miscarriage is truly horrible. I would not wish it on my worst enemy.
When I got home, I was a cry baby mess- and for once I didn’t hold back. I didn’t try to be brave or strong. I just let the tears come. Jason held me and let me cry. I so needed to cry. Flowers, cards, and cookies came to our house almost daily. A few friends brought us dinner and others took us out to eat. One friend took Jocelyn and let her play with her kids, knowing that I just needed some time alone. We recieved a shepherding call from kind brothers in our congregation. I have never felt so loved and lost all at once. A few girlfriends individally shared their stories of miscarriage with me. I had no idea this had happened to them too! So many of us have endured this awful loss. Most of those ladies went on to have healthy babies…..and this gave me hope.
I pulled myself together. I took time to think it over, instead of making a last minute decision. I wanted the bag that’s the most practical, like my husband said. The bag that I’m not afraid to use on a day to day basis. The bag that will last year after year, the way I wish my twins would have lasted. I quietly drove back to the Louis Vuitton store one Sunday morning, returned the Turenne MM, and picked up the Siena MM in Damier Ebene. It is the exact same bag that flew home with me from Hawaii. The Fort Worth Louis Vuitton Sales Associate had saved it for me. She knew that I’d be back for it. “Sentimental purchases like this are my favorite,” she explained to me, “They’re meaningful. It’s not just a bag anymore, but a symbol-a memory.”
She’s right. My little brown bag will forever remind me of our family trip to Hawaii, my husbands’ love, and our lost twins. Maybe one day, I will get pregnant again, and this time it won’t end in sadness. Maybe next time, I’ll get what my heart longs for: a sibling for Jocelyn, a healthy baby, a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy birth. One day….I just have to hold on.