The amazing Tricia Early and Daniel (2.5). Tricia is also mother to identical twins, Henry and Joey, still born due to complications from Twin-to-twin Transfusion Syndrome in December 2015.
Tricia and her husband tried to have a baby for three years before they put it on the back burner only to be surprised by the conception of their son Daniel. Pregnancy and labor went fairly smoothly with him and while they struggled with latch issues and flat nipples were able to preserve and enjoyed a wonderful breastfeeding relationship for 17 months. Tricia's husband is active duty military and he was deployed just days after Daniel was born. Tricia has always struggled with anxiety, depression, and residual PTSD from childhood trauma and it was a difficult transition to motherhood without the support of her partner at home.
Tricia's next pregnancy also took them a bit by surprise but she was hopeful it would go just as smoothly. She says she couldn't have been more wrong. She learned early on that she was carrying twins and morning sickness was so much more intense. She felt trapped in her house struggling to take care of a toddler while her husband was deployed. Tricia's early ultrasounds began to gave her pause and she soon became worried that Joey was moving a lot less than Henry. She eventually went to see a specialist in Syracuse who diagnosed her with TTTS and wanted her to try amnioreductions in his care to help give her twins a better chance at survival. Looking for more answers Tricia got a referral for Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and says that from there everything is a bit of a blur. Less than two weeks later she was having fetal surgery to try to save her boys while her husband was hopping planes to get home from Afghanistan.
Tricia's boys were Stage II when they intervened and though their surgery was successful their son Joey passed away shortly after. Tricia struggled to grieve while hoping her other baby would survive and after being told by her doctors at home that they would treat her as a singleton pregnancy, decided to relocate to PA six hours away so they were closer to CHOP and could receiving monitoring and deliver there. They learned that Henry had ruptured bowels but weekly ultrasounds showed they were healing which reassured them that everything would be okay.
The morning of Tricia's 32 week appointment she learned that she had lost Henry too. That morning her son Daniel had woke in a panic and she felt Henry moving but at some point in the short hours between those moments and her appointment his legs had become so entangled in his cord that he passed away. Tricia was taken to deliver immediately and says that she found the pain of labor therapeutic. They felt lucky to spend some time with their boys before she was released from the hospital but the weeks that followed, were understandably miserable for them all. They had grown accustomed to the constant coming and going of patients and doctors, other families at Ronald McDonald House and the commute to and from the hospital. As the condolences and well wishes faded, the darkness crept in and she fell into a deep depression with her PTSD flaring considerably. Tricia realized that the more she spoke about Henry and Joey the better she felt even though it almost always brings her to tears. They were able to bury her boys in a plot in Maine near her husband's Grandmother and knowing they are resting safely together has lifted incredible weight.
"I don't have a ton of pictures to share but I do have their memories and it is extremely important to me that they are not forgotten. So many women are left to grieve in silence because society does not handle death well and I want to change that. Our children did exist and we shouldn't be afraid to talk about them. I first learned of this project when my twins were diagnosed with TTTS and found strength in the stories that came before me. Each pregnancy, each journey through motherhood is so unique and yet the core emotions are what unites us all. I wanted to share my story, both the good and the bad so that others who have lost their children might see it and realize they don't have to hide. That it is ok to grieve out loud."