Sunday, January 26, 2014

26 weeks and a brady

I cannot believe my boys will be 7 months old next week.  Craziness.  This time is all going WAY too fast.  And it was just about 1 year ago that we found out we were pregnant.  How is that even possible??  To have 7 month old babies only a year after learning we were pregnant in the first place??  So, I started doing the math.  The nice thing with IVF is, there is absolutely no budging on the due date.  Normally, on may be off by a few days.  Not so with us.  We knew exactly when.  And when I started counting the day, it lined right up...almost.  That's right, my due date was wrong.  I counted it again, confirmed with Andrew, and sure enough - we were told wrong.  Or I heard wrong.  Or it was just put in the computer wrong.  Not real sure exactly as those early weeks are quite a blur.  I had pain with this pregnancy from before we even saw the little guys, so I never had a carefree "normal" ultrasound.  So who knows exactly where I pulled the due date I told the OB/GYN, the one that went down on the boys records.

When they were born, they were 26 weeks and 6 days.  Now, really, this changes nothing.  They were only hours away from being a true 27 weeks.  But as I reflected on how wonderfully they are doing, that extra day makes me even more grateful.  26 weekers don't typically go through an entire NICU stay without any complications.  God was so gracious to us!  But then I was thinking about my pregnancy.  When I went into labor the first time at what we thought was 20 weeks, I was admitted to L&D for a weekend and it was stopped with meds.  Had they known I was only 19 weeks, I would have been admitted to the 7th floor women's center with no meds.  Medically, it would have been a miscarriage and they wouldn't have tried to stop it.  It's crazy that just one day made that much of a difference.  So whoever made the initial error (whether the nurse or my hearing!) I am so appreciative!  They also planned my second set of steroid shots when I hit 27 weeks, and we wouldn't have received those without the error either.  I am just in awe.  Our little miracles became even more miraculous!

We have been trying to get the apnea monitors off W & D for a while now.  I never felt like Dean needed it in the first place, and I am just tired of fussing with the wires, hauling around the monitor when we go out, tripping over cords.  Plus, they have started to play with their wires.  Neither of them have had an episode since October.  OCTOBER!  It just seemed time.  Warren still has major reflux, so I thought we'd keep his for a bit longer just to make sure.  And then, yesterday in the wee hours, it went off.  It took us a second to realize what the alarming noise was as it was the first time that's happened since they've been out of our room.  Warren's heart rate dropped somewhere below 60.  And he was sound asleep but with his face buried in his sleeve.  And our little rolly polly now won't stay on his back for a second.  In that instant, I became so grateful for the monitors and the peace of mind.  It's the only true brady he's had that wasn't when he was spitting up or eating (when we would always be right there and would notice it anyway).  So as I was lying in bed for the next 1.5 hours trying to fall asleep, I realized how much I rely on those monitors, how much better I sleep knowing there will be an alarm if anything happens, and how hard it will be when the doctor officially says they are ready to come off.  Thankfully our doctor is conservative and doesn't seem to be rushing the process.  Just another blessing we have to be thankful for.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

SAHM part 2

Ok, so I was thinking things over last night while I couldn't sleep and I realized how ungrateful I have sounded in my last 2 posts.  Yes, this is hard.  And some days it is harder than others.  But being a stay at home mom is also the best job ever.  I get to see Warren and Dean grow and develop.  I get to watch them learn and try to figure things out.  I am there for them when they cry as they learn they can trust Mommy.  I get to read them stories and rock them to sleep.  I get to tell them about Jesus, the Bible, heaven, and their big sister.  And I get to wake up to these 2 little faces:

How incredible!  The moments when their little faces light up at something goofy we are doing.  Or just because they see me.  So wonderful.

And I was thinking about how much extra time we had with them, just to cuddle, while they were in the NICU.  I didn't get to hold them very often the first 6 weeks of their lives as they were connected to the walls with tubes and lines helping to keep them alive.  But after that, for the next 5-7 weeks (for Dean, then Warren) I got to just enjoy them.  I spent all day at the hospital, often up to 12+ hours, and my only responsibility was to hold them, feed them, and pump.  While I was there, I was only wishing they would come home.  But looking back, what a blessing to have that much time together!  No housework, no cooking, no computers, nothing but me and my boys.  After each pumping session I had a good 1.5 hours of uninterrupted quality time with one before feeding started again.  And the next break time, I could hold the other one.  I could read to them, talk to them, rock them, or just hold them close.  When I had a little help to get them out, I could even hold them together.  And because they were preemies, for the most part they just cuddled up with me and slept.  No crying, just peace.  Their "newborn" stage where they just want to sleep and be held was so much longer than most people get.  How lucky am I??  How many moms get that much time with their newborns?  It was hard to never be alone with them, to not be there for them at night, to wait for them to figure out how to breathe and eat (and then coordinate both at the same time!) but I definitely got more time with them in the NICU than once they came home.  Part of that is because of my decision to breastfeed and their continued struggle with grasping the concept, but part of it is just life - because at home there are meals to prepare, clothes to wash, chores to do.  And at the NICU?  None of that.  So I am extremely grateful for those early months, for the blessing of extra time together, and for the ability to watch them miraculously grow and develop outside of the womb.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Being a stay at home mom is the hardest job ever.  I have complete new respect for my mom who stayed home with all of us throughout our childhood.  I am realizing how many more times I should have said "Thank you" or let her know I appreciate her and all her sacrifices.

Some days are wonderful and I am in awe of God's goodness and mercy, particularly with all he brought the boys thru in their short lives.  I am so grateful that they survived despite the odds and are active and energetic little boys.  I love that.  I love seeing their smiles, hearing their laughs, watching them learn the little tasks, playing with them, and seeing them grow stronger.  It is really an amazing thing to be there and see the day to day of any child, especially preemies.  But then there are days like today.

Today consisted of feeding, screaming, feeding, errand, feeding, screaming, feeding, screaming, baths, feeding, and screaming.  All day long.  No laughs, no smiles, no special little moments.  It didn't matter what I did - held Warren, rocked him, sang to him, read him a story, walked with him, bounced him, etc.  Nothing mattered.  He just screamed and screamed, swatting his arms and slapping me in the face over and over again.  It is the most frustrating thing in the world, to love a child who seems to hate being with you.  To have a child so incredibly unhappy and not be able to console him.  And we typically have 1 or 2 play times like this a day, and I say the next one will be better. never got better. and Andrew had to work super late.  I am trying to transition Dean to his back for sleeping, so he screamed through nap times today too.  I am let feeling completely exhausted nearly 14 hours after the day started with Warren still screaming away in the next room.  With the few moments I had when they were both relatively calm I managed to grab a meal and clean a bathroom.  That's it.  Today, I am mourning the life I once had.  The job I once enjoyed.  The people I once interacted with.  I miss feeling like a productive member of society, stopping by the store on my way home, grabbing coffee with a friend, and reading a good book.  Tomorrow is another day, one which will hopefully and prayerfully involve less screaming and hitting from one little boy.  As I quit writing to go tend to him again, I find myself sighing and feeling utterly conflicted.  The blessings I prayed for consistently for so many years and finally here, home with me as I always dreamed.  And yet, it is so much harder than I thought.  And no matter how hard I work, I feel completely unappreciated by my boys...especially when they don't respond to my efforts.  Or when they respond quicker to Andrew.  Like all my efforts are useless.  I know one day it will get better.  And I have to keep reminding myself that they are essentially 3-month-olds.  Still in that hard stage...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Learning to be content

For the most part, through this journey, I have not really thought of my boys as preemies.  I read about women who were grieving their decreased pregnancy times, their inability to bring a baby home immediately, the NICU time, etc.  And I've had my moments with that, but found them few and far between.  Compared with my last pregnancy, I made it 6 weeks further and my boys survived.  What more could I ask for??  And I was already big and uncomfortable...definitely not missing out on getting even bigger and even more uncomfortable. (though I absolutely would have if it had been an option to keep them healthier)  And I knew long before they were born that I wouldn't be taking them home with me the first time.  The days did begin to drag on, but I never doubted they would make it.

But this weekend, as I'm standing in church surrounded by families, I felt as though I was grieving for the preemie state for the first time.  Sure, I've been frustrated with the feedings and thought things would be easier if they were born later, if I could have had even 1 week into the 3rd trimester.  But this weekend, I really felt the weight of all our family missed out on because of their prematurity.  Because of isolation, there are only a handful of people outside the family who have even met our boys, much less been able to hold them.  I don't get to show my boys off, bring them with me out in public.  We have had so much support from our church family, but it will be another 3-4 months before they will be able to see these blessings that were prayed for so diligently.  When we knew we were having twins, I dreamed of sticking them in our carriers and bringing them to church and small group, putting them in the stroller and heading out to just walk in the mall, just to get out again after all the bedrest.  I always swore I wouldn't be one of those moms who would never do anything or go anywhere, whose child had to sleep in his crib at exactly 9:00 or the world would end.  I wanted my boys to be able to nap in the car on the way up to meet Daddy for lunch in the park, to be able to continue their nap in the stroller while I jogged.  Of course, I completely underestimated the task of breastfeeding multiples.  Absolutely no way to do that discreetly in the park while we nibble on sandwiches!!  But I've still worked hard to try to keep the boys sleeping schedules and such flexible, even though their eating isn't so flexible, and we have no where we can go...

I found it odd that the pain of this, of not just me being housebound but the boys, would hit while I am finally able to attend a church service for the first time in 6 months.  Devil works constantly, tempting me to be discontent after the boys slept for nearly 12 hours at night and had a great morning feed, allowing me to get out of the house.  Church is also still one of the places I feel the pain of losing Reagan the most.  It's the only place we'll still go where she would have come along.  Again, we have some wonderful support from there, but also a lot of hurtful things said to us from those who were once friends from there.  After the sermon, we sang 2 songs.  The first was one I had never heard before and spoke to me about trusting God when we cannot understand.  The second was It is Well with my Soul which is a simply amazing song, but one we sung at Reagan's memorial.  And I couldn't stop the tears from flowing.  (for anyone who doesn't know the story of Spafford and how he wrote the hymn, you can read it here.  So powerful.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Wow, what a year!  I am sitting here reflection on all this year has brought for us as the boys drift off to sleep.  One year ago today, we arrived back home after holiday travels with empty arms and aching hearts.  2012 brought so much pain and heartache as we said goodbye to our precious Reagan.  And yet, I was so grateful for those few precious hours we had together that I could never say it was the worst year.  It was the hardest year for sure, but we welcomed our daughter, our firstborn, into the world.  And no matter how much pain is associated with that, there is still considerable joy.  But on New Years day of 2013, I was still overcome with grief.  And as I looked ahead to the year to come, I had no idea what to expect.  We had already decided when to do our next IVF transfer, had prayed for that and for the unknown results.  There was so much uncertainty - would the transfer take, would I miscarry, would I have another stillborn??  I was terrified.

And things definitely did not go according to plan.  I was counting up in my head the number of times the doctors told me the boys would not make it.  Four.  Four separate times, four separate doctors.  All told me to say goodbye, to prepare myself.  And yet, God is bigger than all that.  Though I sometimes question why my miracle babies had to be "miracles," why things couldn't have gone normally from the very beginning, I am incredibly grateful for where we are now.  Warren and Dean are now 6 months old and growing like crazy, finally passing into double digits for their weights, laughing and playing, and developing their own little personalities.  Two years ago at NYE we threw a party.  Last year we were mourning.  And this year, I didn't even get out of my PJs.  We didn't leave the house.  And we fell asleep by 10:30.  And yet, there was no where else I would rather be than right here at home with all 3 of my boys.

2014 will continue to bring more changes as we work on settling into more of a routine with the boys, as they start crawling, walking and talking.  I am so excited for each of their "firsts" and all the memories associated with that.  So much fun ahead!