As we count down the days to Heartstrings 10th Annual Walk for Remembrance & Hope, we are excited to share the stories of some of those putting together memorial teams for the Walk. Today we celebrate the Martin family and their team, "Team Matthew & Ryan Martin". Read their story and consider contributing towards their team or creating your own by registering today!
Name: Randy, Sharon, Tyler, Sara, and Rachel Martin
Team Name: Team Matthew & Ryan Martin
Children's Names: Matthew & Ryan Martin
Children's Birth Dates/Ages: 11/11/00. 22 1/2 weekers
Number of Years You’ve Participated in the Walk: Our first year!
How has Heartstrings impacted you? Heartstrings has brought us so much joy in continuing to honor our sons' memory and giving back to other grieving parents. It gives us a place to feel connected in a community that truly understands a loss of this magnitude.
Explain how the Walk is important to you? The walk is one more way to honor Matthew and Ryan. To meet other families and to show our living children that their siblings live on in us forever.
Tell Us Your Story:
Our story with Matthew and Ryan began long before we said hello and goodbye. After Randy and I were married in 1994, we wanted children right away. When that didn't happen, I pursued my Master of Social Work degree, worked for a while in Early Intervention, and then began injectable fertility treatments in 1999.
Prior to that, we had tried Clomid and other ways to increase the chance of conception - to no avail. Our second round of injectable hormones (fun, fun, fun) did the trick! We were finally pregnant. A few weeks later, in an early ultrasound, we found out there were two strong little heartbeats! Twins! We could not contain ourselves. I just knew this was God's way of making up for lost time.
The pregnancy went along very smoothly. When I was about 5 months pregnant, Randy and I decided to take a trip to the beach for the weekend. Kind of a last trip as just a couple before kids trip. We had a great time, but on the way home I began to feel discomfort. By the next morning, I had some spotting and we decided to head to Women's Hospital in Greensboro to get checked out. They did an ultrasound - all was good. Next, they did an internal exam. With a funny look on their faces, they lowered the head rail part of my bed to the floor while. My feet were higher in the air. They left to get the Doctor. The news was not good. I had gone into silent labor and was dilated 5cm. I was admitted and told that the outcome would most definitely be a premature birth. Since I was barely 21 weeks, there was no chance of survival for my babies unless I could get to 24. I was determined to do that and more.
After laying in trendelenberg (feet in air head toward ground) for 11 days of bedrest, I ended up giving birth. Matthew, who was stillborn, was first. Ryan, who lived for a few brief moments in my husband's arms, came a few minutes later. They were perfectly formed - on the outside. We could see some resemblance of us in each of them. Our hearts were broken, our dreams were crushed. How could this happen?
To say we grieved the twins was an understatement. It will be 14 years this year, and both of us can be reduced to tears without warning. We miss them, love them, and think of them everyday. We did realize our dream of a family though the miracle of international adoption. Our son Tyler, age 12, And our daughters Sara and Rachel ages 6 and 5 have brought us so much joy. They know all about their brothers and we often visit them at their gravesite - especially on birthdays. Time helps, but the wound never fully heals. However, our connection with our sons is very strong and we know we will meet again.
When we lost the twins, Heartstrings did not exist. Oh how we wish it had. I can't begin to say how wonderful it is to have an agency devoted to families grieving the loss of a child. It's a pain like no other. Heartstrings has helped me to give back as a support parent to another grieving family. Volunteering helps me to feel like Matthew and Ryan can still make a difference in this world - through us. They will leave their tiny footprints on this world. No life is too short that it does not matter and make an impact.