We had a list of possibles leading up to the big day. There were some that I kept on the list despite Thom's disapproval I thought, 'We'll see on the day, and if I think the name is right, he might be too elated to care'. I'm sneaky, eh?
|much earlier days|
As my readers will know, that day was a tough day for all, but especially for my two little guys. As I laid in the recovery room, numb from the waist down, Thom rushed away to go see them on the Special Care Unit. He reported back with photos of Twin 1 and 2 and we named them. I knew that one had enormous difficulties breathing, while the other had a slightly easier time. One of Thom's photos showed a little body with tubes and needles attached to every limb, hand and foot. The other had less. Assuming that the one with more equipment was the twin who suffered greater injury, I named him Ethan, meaning 'strong'. The other I called Noah, meaning 'comfort'. I wanted the one who suffered to be strong and the other was a great comfort for me and Thom when he was briefly passed to us after delivery. It just seemed right.
It was only later that I discovered Noah was the one who needed strength. In the following weeks, as we battled the tribulations that came to our new little family, I would often blame myself for naming them the wrong way around. I thought, if only I had named Noah differently, he might have lived. I guess I was searching for some reason to why this had happened and grasping at any solution I could think of to make it better.
In naming them I had intended to give them the character of the name. Hoped that something of the meaning of the name would sink into them and carry them through that dark time. Ethan did indeed turn out to be strong. He very quickly started letting the nurses know who was running the show by pulling out his feeding tube and cannulars, as if demanding to be released from hospital. He even urinated all over the consultant's suit as we waited to be discharged.
Despite my initial regret, he did end up with the right name. What I want to share today is that I am starting to think that Noah had the right name, too. Undoubtedly, Noah's death changed us. Although it is impossible to know how we would feel and be if he stayed with us, Thom and I are consistently trying to be in the present in the short time we have together in this life. In those last hours with him, we promised Noah to love Ethan, appreciate life and never forget. Noah taught us so much in his short life.
In the aftermath, as we have tried to figure out what caused the problem that lead to Noah's death, the possibility of a placental abruption has been thrown into doubt. It could be a placental failure or a rare occurrence where the cord becomes trapped and constricted. But in any case, he suffered more, and it seems to me, absorbed a lot of the trauma, leaving Ethan more protected. I felt I knew some of their personalities in the womb. Noah seemed rambuncious, energetic but also caring towards Ethan. Ethan moved less and seemed to prefer to snuggle, curled up at the bottom. But when he did move, Noah responded, like he was playing with his brother.
So, as Ethan moved from strength to strength, fulfilling his name, I also became more aware of how Noah had fulfilled his. Comforting his brother in their most terrible time. Giving us the time he had with us to appreciate his beauty. The lessons he taught about love will continue to give hope and comfort to Thom, Ethan and I. And most comforting is that as long as I carry the love he taught me, he will never be far from my heart.