Early in the pregnancy they had agreed not to find out the gender of the baby. There was excitement enough sharing news of the upcoming birth with family and friends. They did enlist family to compile potential names – a list long enough to populate an entire town of newborns.
They finally decided on two names: William for a boy, Rosemary for a girl.
Then came the day when the sonogram showed a need for additional names. Behind the expected embryo was the shadow of a second embryo. Twins! They still insisted they did NOT want to be told gender; their general excitement had itself now doubled.
Two babies! Two bodies intertwined within the womb sharing movement, warmth, love, and thoughts, sharing DNA, parents, life, but, unfortunately, also sharing one heart. The second sonogram showed only one heartbeat. One child’s heart beating for two.
Their choices were three. Keep an eye on the second fetus. It could be absorbed by the first, a phenomenon known as a “vanishing twin”. If the second fetus was not absorbed, if instead it began to become detrimental to its twin, doctors could operate in order to abort the one without harming the other. Third choice? Carry full term, successfully removing both fetuses through Cesarean, greeting a full-term baby and an unviable fetus.
They chose the third and waited.
– – – – – – – –
Holding one child against her breast, she waits beside the tiny grave. The warmth of her husband’s hand on her shoulder anchors her to reality and to the future that will need her.
His other hand holds a garden trowel. Together they kneel at the foot of the grave as he digs a hole and plants a small pot of rosemary whose fragrance fills the air.
Tamping down the dirt at the base of the plant, he gently kisses his fingertips, then places the kiss on the branch of rosemary.
“’Rosemary for remembrance’,” he whispers, as their combined tears water the plant.
“We love you and will never forget,” her head and heart repeat. “Never, ever forget.”