Today, instead of writing out my own thoughts and stories I’d like to use this space to share something very close to my heart: the 2nd annual William and Oliver Turza Fundraiser, in memory of my friend Rachael’s twin boys.
I met Rachael when our sons joined the same preschool class in 2015. My son is a fiery kid who is very sweet underneath and her son is a total sweetheart with a fiery streak (both super cute, I may add). The two of them got on right away (though they were not without their battles on the playground, some days) and I immediately liked Rachael – she’s very warm and approachable with a big, open smile. It was clear from day one that she was an amazing mom and beyond that, a good person. We kept in touch after the kids graduated to kindergarten and I was thrilled when she shared that she was pregnant with twins.
I saw Rachael at a mutual friend’s house in November 2016 and she looked great – happy, relaxed, the picture of a joyful mom-to-be. I remember asking how she was doing and she said felt really good, even six months into a twin pregnancy. By then, she knew she was expecting two more boys and we laughed about how wonderful and crazy her life was going to be. I was glad to see her and happy that she was doing so well.
A few short weeks later, everything had changed. On December 5th, Rachael announced that her twin boys, William and Oliver, had died at 28 weeks gestation. Everyone who knew the family was shocked and devastated – the pregnancy had been completely uneventful and Rachael had seemed so healthy and happy. No one could have seen the loss coming, least of all Rachael and her husband, Chris, who were happily preparing for the arrival of their twins, or their son Ben, who was so excited to welcome two little brothers.
Rachael’s loss is heartbreaking, but she has channeled her grief into a way to support other families while keeping her twins’ memory alive. Please read her story below and consider donating to her fundraiser for McMaster Children’s Hospital in William and Oliver’s name. (Link below and here, too.)
Thank you, Rachael and Chris, for turning your tragic loss into something beautiful. Your boys will be loved and remembered always. xo.
The following was written by Rachael.
All my life I dreamed of being a mummy. I knew from early childhood that I was going to have a family. Chris and I met when we were still in high school. We didn’t date right away but became friends and began to date at the end of high school. We got engaged, travelled the world together while studying, and got married in a beautiful ceremony on a beach in Mexico. Life was amazing.
We found out we were expecting in the fall of 2011. Unfortunately, we lost the baby on Halloween night. We were 8 weeks along. I was devastated. We didn’t let that stop us though. We found out we were pregnant again only 4 months later. Again we were overjoyed. Our son Benjamin was our little Christmas baby born on December 20th, 2012. I felt that I was really in the place that I was meant to be. Motherhood came so naturally to me and I enjoyed every minute of it. Except maybe those 3am screaming moments where nothing seemed to work!
Life was a little tougher when he was between the ages of 2 and 3 but I knew that it was as stage and as with all stages, it would soon pass. I also knew our family wasn’t complete. We began thinking about having another baby. It took us longer to fall pregnant this time around but we were beyond excited to find out not only were we pregnant but we were expecting twins!
The summer of 2016 was one of my best summers. I was the happiest anyone could ever be. How could I not be? We were so incredibly blessed. In the fall of 2016 we learned that were were going to have 3 boys running around our house. I will admit it, part of that scared me but made me so excited about our future at the same time. What fun we were going to have.
In December 2016 at 28 weeks pregnant, my life came crashing down around me. After my work Christmas party on a Saturday night, I told Chris I wasn’t feeling very well and said that if I still didn’t feel great the next day I wanted to get checked out just to be sure the boys were doing ok. I went to bed that night feeling sick but felt like I could sleep it off. An hour into sleep I felt a pop and thought my water broke. Off we rushed to McMaster Children’s Hospital. I knew it was too early and I knew it wasn’t good but I stayed positive and felt like it was all going to work out. That night at 2am I heard the life-altering news that we had lost both of our precious babies. Time stopped around me. Survival mode kicked in and I gave birth to two perfect (yet small) babies. William and Oliver came into this world sleeping on December 4th at 10:01pm and December 5th at 12:01am.
We were able to spend as much time as we wanted and needed with our babies. The hospital staff were amazing. Everyone from the doctors, nurses, social workers and everyone else we encountered was loving, kind and unbelievable gentle with my broken heart and broken body. The outcome was not what we wanted but they made the situation the best it could possibly be.
It turned out that I was also quite sick during the stay at the hospital. I had suffered a massive placenta abruption. The doctor I spoke to told me it was one of the biggest he had ever seen. Basically, the placenta that was keeping the boys nourished tore away from my body causing them to loose all oxygen and for me to have internal bleeding. My body lost so much blood that I needed 8 bags of donor blood, along with bags and bags of other fluids to keep me alive. I never once thought of my health through the whole ordeal. It wasn’t until weeks later that it dawned on me that my family almost lost me as well as our babies.
My life changed the day I lost those boys. It took me a long time to heal both mentally and physically. But I knew that I had to change the world for the better to honour them. They came into our family for a reason and I was, and still am, determined to keep their memories alive by giving back. I decided to start a yearly fundraiser to give money back to McMaster Hospital. I want to be able to support other families dealing with loss but also help he babies that are fighting for their lives in the Nicu and Picu. The first annual William and Oliver fundraiser raised over $6000 last year.
This year our family was blessed again with our little rainbow baby. Baby girl Makaelyn was born on August 4th, 2018, and we are so incredibly happy to have her in our lives. It’s a hard thing to think about – we wouldn’t have her if we hadn’t lost our boys, and I wouldn’t give up Makaelyn for anything, but I feel guilty because if I could have our boys with us, I would. But this is what our life is. And I can’t change it. She is our special rainbow. And you only see rainbows after storms.
This year’s fundraiser is an online auction. We have so many wonderful local shops, restaurants, and small and large companies that have donated prizes of all shapes and sizes. We have gift certificates, baskets, toys, and so much more that will be auctioned of online starting December 1st. All items will be posted with a starting bid. People can bid for the item and keep checking back and re bidding if they are out bid. The highest bidder will win the prize when the auction closes at 9pm on December 10th. All money raised will go directly to McMaster Children’s Hospital.
My life was shattered into a million pieces the day we lost William and Oliver. If I can help mend one tiny crack in the hearts of other families dealing with loss, it will help heal my broken heart, too.
I want to thank everyone in my life that has helped us over the past few years, family, friends, colleagues, doctors, nurses, support staff and every person that has donated, and helped in our fundraisers. I could not have survived without each and every one of you.
You can find the auction online at: www.facebook.com/turzatwins.
Any monetary donations can be directly donated through http://www.hamiltonhealth.ca/turzatwinsfundraiser