(The following letter was written by Kelli Gruen, mama of Monochorionic Monoamniotic twins Ashlyn & Brielle. The girls were born at 31 weeks, 4 days. Ashlyn spent 80 days in the NICU while Brielle spent 55 days there. This letter was written a month before they were born...) To my sweet miracle girls, Ashlyn & Brielle:
I wanted to write to you in hopes that some day we can look back at this crazy journey and you girls can have a better understanding of who you are and how much you are loved.
By the time you read this you will already know how special you two are, but it goes far beyond you two being a rare set of identical twins..
I’ll start with saying you two are everything your daddy and I have ever wanted. You haven’t even made your entrance into this world yet and our lives already revolve around you. You are our everythings.
At this exact moment I am sitting in my hospital room (your daddy’s at work). I’ve been here for 22 days already and have another 36 to go till your scheduled appearance on September 10th.
I wanted to explain a couple things to you girls, and I want you to carry this with you your entire lives:
You are loved: From the moment we found out about you two (February 25th 2014) we loved you. Everyone in your family loves you beyond words. Your grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and entire extended family is deeply in love with you, and will be forever. When you love someone you often make sacrifices for them. Daddy and I are happy to sacrifice for you, but we aren’t alone. The entire family has made adjustments just for you. Your Grammy and Grampy have taken in daddy, Philbert and Norman (the pugs). This helps daddy have the ability to spend more time with me at the hospital. As well as help with everything while you girls are in the nicu. Auntie Lisa and the entire Jones family comes to visit us often and is always there for me and daddy. Everyone in the family has been so understanding and kind and going out of their way to help us prepare for you two. I know Papa, Mimi, auntie Heather& uncle Steve, uncle Aaron and all your cousins wish they were closer but they love you girls so much. Never forget that.
I’m sorry: For the last 11 weeks I’ve tried to come to terms with the reality of this pregnancy (we found out you were Momos at 16 weeks, I’m now 27). It’s high risk, bottom line, and in all honesty I spent the majority of this pregnancy being scared.
I’m sorry that I robbed your daddy and myself of having a happy, enjoyable pregnancy because I was so afraid that something bad was going to happen. We didn’t set up your nursery and I didn’t have a shower because I was too afraid of the unknown (I will say that I’m okay with this. You will be brought home to a beautiful nursery and mommy is having a baby shower, these things are just happening after you both arrive). Pregnancy isn’t the most pleasant experience but with the risk that you girls faced, made it all the more harder on me and daddy. One day someone said something that really resonated in me, and started to give me a different outlook on things. The truth is with this pregnancy that things are out of my control. There was nothing I could do to prevent something from happening, but there was also nothing I could do to make something happen. I didn’t have to choose to have a certain procedure, or take a certain medicine to make sure the outcome was good. This pregnancy was completely up to fate. So it’s by no accident that you girls have made it this far, and at 27 weeks there is no doubt that our story will have a happy ending. Your daddy and I couldn’t be more grateful.
I’m also sorry that the first couple months of your lives are going to be spent in the hospital. Filled with tubes, shots and medical intervention. I’m sorry that after 8 months of being so close to one another, you two will suddenly be forced to be apart. I’m sorry that you two will face struggles that other babies won’t endure and that you might walk and talk months after babies your age. I’m sorry that your lives will begin with the greatest struggle you might ever face. We are intentionally delivering you two 2 months before your due date. I know that this needs to be done, but it still breaks my heart. You will be super preemies, and I am so sorry for that.
With all that being said…
You are fighters: You will begin your lives as fighters. The second you both take your first breath is the moment our next chapter begins. Please carry this with you. When you grow up and face a battle or personal struggle just remember where you started. You will be fighting for your lives the very moment you get here. There is nothing else in life you won’t be able to overcome. When you feel defeated or like you just want to give up, remember that you can accomplish the world.. You will have already accomplished it before. As a family we will also fight and overcome all obstacles, and I have no doubt that in a few years our lives will be as normal as can be. I won’t rush this though. I will embrace and and be grateful for every moment we have together.
My hopes for you: My hope for you both is that you go through life knowing how special you are, and how incredibly loved you are. I’ve wanted to be a mommy for longer than I can remember and I am honored and proud that I was chosen to be your mom, a mother of multiples. Twice the blessings, twice the love. I have many hopes for you, it’s impossible for me to list them all here. One hope I do want to mention is that I hope you find a love like that of your daddy and me. Your father is an incredible man. I’ve always known that, but throughout this pregnancy I have fallen even more in love with him. Seeing how excited and in love he is with you two already, makes my heart melt. We are so lucky to have such an incredible man in our lives, and my hope is that you both experience the same love yourselves.
Even after this stressful, scary, high risk pregnancy I would do it all again. We will do anything for you two. I know we won’t be able to protect you from all the hurt and pain life might throw your way, but daddy and I will always be here for you and do whatever we can. We will help you go through life gracefully and purposefully.
You are our lives, you always will be, and we love you with every piece of our hearts.