25 July

Maria's picturesI had such an easy first pregnancy and it just didn’t occur to me that anything would go wrong second time around. I was so confident and unphased that I took my two year old son with me to our 12 week scan. My twins had died at 7 and 7.5 weeks. That’s the hardest thing. My beautiful boy saw me fall apart. I had an ERPC the following week, and the most gentle and considered care at Lewisham Hospital. But it doesn’t go away. They are still in my head and my heart.

I explained to a wonderful nurse that I was sure they would be boys. I always felt that I would be a mother of boys. And she said that in that case they probably were. I’m not religious but I imagine that they are with my lovely Grandpa in his greenhouse picking tomatoes. He died when I was pregnant with my son and he loved children so much. It comforts me to think that he’s taking care of them now. When we go to our favourite beach, I imagine them tearing around with their brother and with the little sister who came after them.

My husband and I choose to remember their birthdays (or rather their due date) instead of the day we lost them. And so every year on the 25 July, we have a moment together. Sometimes it’s a long walk, or a hug, or a cake. This year we watched our children running around in the back garden at the end of the first week of the summer holidays. It’s never a big thing, just an acknowledgement that they are part of our family too.

Just after we lost them, I mentioned to my husband that in my head they are like the naughty, fun-filled Twins from the Broons, a Scottish comic strip I used to read as a child. He wrote to the publishers and they sent back this picture of them. So they hang on our bedroom wall with photographs of their brother and sister. The scan photo is tucked away inside the frame with an astonishingly thoughtful letter from the publishers, DC Thomson and Co. The kindness of strangers never fails to amaze me.

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