Melissa McSpadden and Her Sons Landon & Gavin

October is National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month.  78 infants are lost each day in the U.S. — 2,474 babies in Texas each year.We were so excited to give our two-year old daughter Camryn a sibling so imagine our shock and joy when we found out we were having twins!

For 4 months the pregnancy progressed normally. We found out they were boys and identical. We started on their nursery; painting it blue, buying the furniture, the bedding, and even several matching outfits.

At around 20 weeks I had tremendous pain and swelling in my belly. My husband took me to the emergency room and the ultrasound revealed that I had excess fluid in the sac where the boys were growing. A specialist would see me the following Monday but that appointment never came.

In the middle of the night I had a “rolling” feeling. “There is no way this could be labor”, I thought. I was only 22 weeks and 5 days along. We sped to the hospital, running red lights and all.

I ran to Labor and Delivery, frantic and crying.  My OB checked me and I could see the horror on her face as she said “Oh Melissa.” At that moment I knew it was all over. My dreams were about to be shattered, my family and heart broken and my world turned upside down.

The physical and emotional pain was becoming so intense that I was given a narcotic for “relaxation” but my body responded by going to sleep.  Early the next morning, I came to from the pressure to push and asked my doctor if my twins would be alive when they were born. She said “no, we have lost their heartbeats.” I felt like I had been socked in the chest.

At 6:14 a.m. Landon was born. He weighed 1 pound 4 ounces and was 11 1/4 inches long. Six minutes later Gavin was born. He weighed 1 pound 2 ounces and was 10.5 inches long. They were so perfect. We held them and cried. Our time spent with our angels was so short. Before I was discharged one of my nurses asked if I wanted a picture of me holding my babies. I told her no and morbidly thought to myself “why would I want to take a picture of them…they are dead?” This is something I would regret for the rest of my life. Thankfully my nurse was well educated in bereavement and went against my wishes; filling an entire roll of film with photos of my babies.

She told me that the camera was mine if I ever wanted to have it developed. She did not want me to regret my decision since there was no going back. I thank God for her and her actions. Those pictures are one of the most precious things I have in my life; one of the few items that validates the existence of my twins.

We chose to have our babies cremated and then placed their ashes in the “Two Together” box from Willow Tree (pictured above). We keep it in our family room so that they can always be with us.

We have honored Landon and Gavin by raising more than $3,000 for prematurity prevention research so far. We also support Hand to Hold as parent mentors. Volunteering to help parents who have experienced a similar loss makes this challenging journey even more meaningful.

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