This is my new badge of honor, my bracelets representing the twins. #twinslife #nicu
This is my new badge of honor, my bracelets representing the twins. These are my tickets of entry into the NICU. At first, I found them completely annoying…getting in the way the first two days after George and Henry were born.
Those first two days after birth, I found myself confined to the certain areas of the sixth floor at Greenville Memorial Hospital, then I decided to walk to get some coffee in the main cafeteria downstairs; and thats when I noticed something was happening.
As I made my way off the elevator, I turned the corner into the main atrium and noticed something…people were looking at my bracelets. I wondered…what made these bracelets special. There are two white bracelets, one for each twin indicating I am the father of both George and Henry. Both had a special number on each of them. Then there is the purple bracelet, our entry ticket into the NICU. It also had special numbers for each of the boys.
As I made my way to the front part of the cafeteria, I spotted the Starbucks on the other side. My mouth watered for a mocha, maybe today I will have two pumps of caramel. Then it happened, as I passed a table…someone said “Congratulations, twins? I hope everything is ok in the NICU.” I perked up and smiled and said thank you.
It is almost father’s day and I am starting to get anxious. I am wondering, will I be able to have all my family in one place. Sarah, Rose, George, and Henry in one room. Rosebud does not have a special bracelet, she can only walk back with Sarah or I since we are the only two with these bracelets. Then, if she walks back to see the twins, she only can visit for no more than fifteen minutes. I am reminded of this sobering notion that life is in a whirlwind.
As I get closer to Starbucks, another person smiles and says “Congrats, hope the twins are doing well!” I thought “yeah, thats me…father to two boys…twin boys!” My little badges of honor, my bracelets, my little family. It dawned on me…I do not want to cut these off. I think I will wear them until they fall off.
Over the course of the next few days, I have noticed more and more people noticed these bracelets. I had to run to CVS to pick-up Sarah post-operation prescriptions. As I walked inside and made my way to the pharmacy, the Pharmacist asked for my ID and retrieved the prescriptions. When he returned…he noticed and said, “OMG…TWINS!” I said yes! He asked if they were boys or girls and I told him twin boys. He was so excited for us…and I was once again reminded of the joy in this special time of our lives.
There are so many stories that happen inside the walls of NICU. Some stories that remind us how lucky we are to have two healthy boys. While walking into the NICU, I met a mother who had twins and had just lost one of them right after birth. I felt so horrible letting my bracelets show, tucking my hand into my pockets…removing the reminder for this mother.
Life is so precious, and as I lay here typing this note…I am reminded of my new friend. I have no idea of the grief she is experiencing balanced with the joy of her new daughter. It brings tears to my eyes thinking of my new friend, tears of grief and sorrow. As I walk into our little NICU room peeking to see George and Henry, tears of thankfulness stream down my cheeks.
Sarah asked me tonight, what do you want for father’s day? All I want is to enjoy my bracelets and have the Rettew Five in one room for a picture. These bracelets are not only indicators of the births of George and Henry, they are reminders of Rosebud, Sarah, and our family. They are also reminders that just because the boys are safe and healthy, many other families have experienced different joys and some sorrows. I am reminded of God’s grace and the peace provided…even within these little bracelets.
As I was walking to the car yesterday, there was a gentleman walking through the dark garage. He was smoking and had a disheveled look about him. I looked at his face and as he glanced at me…I thought he might give me a mean snarl. I was honestly nervous for a second…then his face lit up. He noticed my bracelets…he said, “You have twins? Congrats!” I looked back and he held up his bracelets as well, just like mine. For that moment in time, we share the same story. We look different, dress different, and maybe walk different…but the joy of twins connected us. The tribulation of the NICU with twins provided a context only a few understand. We should be so grateful.