Monday, June 29, 2015

Happy 2nd Birthday!!

It seems that, overnight, my babies have become big boys.  They are two.  I have two-year-olds.  No longer at all babies and officially toddlers.  I'm not entirely sure how to feel about that.

I tiptoed into their room last night to rock each of them in their final minutes of only being one.  Not sure why, but two sounds so much bigger.  Maybe because when they turned one, it was only going from 11 months to one and then on to 13 months.  Still very gradual when talking about their age.  Now, they are two.  And next?  What, two-and-a-half??  Really?  I want to slow the clock down, soak up each and every second of these little men.  And yet my days are still flying by, time keeps going.

This second year of life has brought so many changes.  Last year, though they were turning one, they were still super tiny in their 0-3 month clothes.  They, developmentally when we adjusted for prematurity, were really the equivalent of less than 9 months old.  But, there is something magical about this 2-year mark, when their birth history no longer matters to the medical world, when they aged over 3 months in a matter of seconds.  This moment when, in their weekly therapy reports, they went from 20.75 months on week to 2 years the next.

This second year brought more changes than the first - first words, first steps, and first kisses.  And yet, it was less dramatic than the first.  I got to spend all my nights with you, instead of missing out on the first 3 months.  There were so many fewer doctors visits, fewer things to worry about, no monitors or wires or weight checks.  There were no midnight feedings as you finally learned to sleep through the night. One year ago seems like not that long ago, and yet, you have become little people instead of babies, taking on your own personalities and things that you love.

Warren.  You are not so little anymore, weighing in at 25 pounds!  You love building blocks, trying to figure out exactly how to get them evenly surrounding the entire outside of the table.  You love throwing balls...and trucks, and books, and puzzles and all sorts of things you should no be throwing.  You love to eat - crackers, cheese, tomatoes, grapes, and chicken top your list.  I love watching you enjoy food.  I love watching you entertain a crowd, seeing your face light up when someone claps for you, seeing that little grin when you know you have done something well.  I love listening to you talk, watching you learn new words and phrases so quickly as you work so hard to catch up.  Most of all I love hearing your giggle, laughing as you play peek-a-boo or jump so high.

Warren, 4 days old

Warren, 1st birthday

Dean.  You doubled in weight this year.  It's just amazing to see how much bigger you are than last year.  You love to play in the kitchen, stiring pom poms with your spoon, feeding bear or giraffe in their chairs.  You love puzzles and put them together so quickly.  And you love the park, digging in the dirt.  You also love to eat, waking each morning asking for these things, in this order: crackers, cheese, chicken, dip, peanut butter.  What an interesting breakfast that would make!  I love watching you explore, watching you run through the house, making animal noises.  I love how you remember so much, how your little mind associates things together.  I love reading with you as you can say the next word in the story that you've heard so many times.  I am so excited to see what this next year brings for us!

Dean, 2 days old

Dean, 1st birthday each of my boys, Mommy loves you immeasurably.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


We're having another little girl.  I've had a few days to let that sink in.  We suspected girl from the very beginning.  Everything about this pregnancy felt exactly like Reagan's: unrelenting morning sickness, fatigue, the way I was carrying.  I had a few doubts simply because when I gave birth to boys, there were 2 of them, and I had complications from the beginning.  So maybe that was why that pregnancy felt vastly different.

Anyway, I had fears and dreams before our big reveal that I was going to have another boy.  Not that I wouldn't love another little boy, I would.  And I would cherish every second I got to spend being his mother.  But because my heart still longs so much to do little girl things.  All the things we dreamed of doing with Reagan.  All the hair bows and dresses, tea parties and dolls, pink and purple.  I long to have a child wear Reagan's little things, use her blankets.  Though I know the first time I pull each of those items out it will reopen a wound, cause me to grieve all over again, I hate seeing them hang unused in the closet.  All that to say, I knew I would have another moment of grieving if I was carrying a boy...not because of disappointment over having a boy but because of continued hurt over not having our daughter.  I mentally prepared for blue balloons to come flying out of my box.  I mentally prepared for pink balloons to come flying out of my sister's box.

There was such joy and peace when I first saw my fate: pink.  We celebrated this baby girl and all she means to us.  I'm in a much different place than when I was pregnant with the boys.  Goodness knows I've aged at least 15 years since then!  I know God was incredibly wise to give me boys so close to Reagan's death, knew that I couldn't have handled a girl then.  But I really am excited to have this precious little one home with us, to add some pink into our lives, to teach the boys how to play gentle and how to care for their baby sister.  I am genuinely excited for our daughter and what that will look like for our family.  It doesn't take away the pain, not even a little bit, and will probably bring forth more feelings I've buried deep, but I am okay with that.

So...why fear?  Where does this fear come to play?  Well, it's with being pregnant with another girl.  Not having her, not caring for her, but that my body will fail again.  I'm at 18 weeks.  I have a lot of scary milestones coming up in the next 2 months.  I was just going along, not too nervous (probably because I was still so sick all day) until after we learned I was carrying a girl.  Nothing changed biologically, there was no increased risk at that point over the day before, but I suddenly find myself interpreting everything.  I want to go into the doctor all the time.  I find myself coming up with reasons in my head why things might not be okay.  I went swimming today, maybe now there's an infection.  Warren stepped on me, maybe he squashed her.  Dean kicked me, maybe I'll start bleeding.  Add to that, contractions have started in this past week.  Ugh, the contractions.  I recognize these are not contractions that are causing any sort of labor, Braxton Hicks or irritable uterus or whatever you want to call it.  But it's there, and it's scary.  Carrying a girl, trusting that God will provide, it's scary.  In the back of my mind there's this terrible thought: I can't do it.  My body isn't compatible with girls.  We never really learned what happened with Reagan...what if it happens again.  I feel like I'm holding my breath, waiting to get past 21 weeks and 4 days.  The last day I ever saw Reagan.  The day I went into labor with the boys and doctors didn't think we'd make it through the night.

And yet, I know this is a different pregnancy.  I know God is bigger than this.  I know His plan is good.  I know now, as I sit and write this while being kicked inside, that God has performed miracles before, and He will again.  Trusting in that in my heart is the hard part.  But we're getting there, one day at a time.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

It's a girl!!

This weekend we had the joy of doing a gender reveal with my sister.  How often do sisters get to find out what they're having at the exact same time?  Despite some confusing counting, we both flipped the lids off the box to reveal what we're carrying at the same time.

I learned that Katy and I both hate crafting.  We're not that bad at it, but it doesn't come naturally and causes much frustration.  I love pinning little crafty things, love the idea of handmade tissue paper balls and making the boxes my own, but in actuality...I'd much rather someone else do them.  I have no patience for all things crafty.  That being said, we did a pretty good job I think of getting it all put together, if I do say so myself.  Here's some shots of the party:

Our ultrasound pictures, signed in blue/pink by our dear family based on their guesses

Katy and I.  You'd never know she was 4 weeks ahead of me!  Sigh to baby bumps the 3rd time around.  But totally worth all the changes!

Blue/Pink punch, popcorn, and dip.  Props to Katy for making the streamers

These tissue paper pom poms: harder than they look.

Beautiful flowers

The expectant parents!

Pre balloon release.  These things are huge.  Nearly 45 feet of wrapping paper.  But cutting out letters is a great activity for surgery recovery, just FYI.

It was so special to have ALL of our family there, on all sides.  How often can that happen?  We really appreciate everyone making the trip so we could reveal together.  A little more fun than the text we sent out after our ultrasound with the boys.  So, after Warren and Dean woke up, we headed outside for the results.  I think everyone will have already seen these, but here are some pictures capturing the moment.

And there you have it. Our exciting party, exciting news as we plan to welcome a little girl this fall and my sis prepares for her new baby boy. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015


There's been an ongoing struggle for me through this pregnancy: cerclage or no cerclage.  We discussed with our great docs to possibility before the transfer even happened and had it in our head that would be our plan.  But our specialist said we could also follow the cervix length regularly and wait to see.  Maybe everything went bad last pregnancy simply because it was twins (and at times, triplets with that clot hanging out in there) and my body wasn't ready for all the stretching.  Maybe.  Did we want to chance it?  The cerclage itself wasn't without risk, so which direction should we go?  Ultimately, we were given a 40% chance of needing an emergency cerclage placed later in pregnancy.  That seemed high to me, especially given the success rate of "emergent cerclages" at less than 50%.  Eek.  So, in the end, we opted to go for it.

There is something utterly terrifying about being wide awake in the OR, particularly if you are the one on the table.  Last time I was wide awake in the OR too, but was having 2 babies pulled out of me so somehow that was different, more tolerable.  This time I was nervous, incredibly so, as I was sitting on the OR table waiting for my spinal.  The numbing injection burned, then came the epidural.  Ouch.  I don't remember it hurting that much last time.  Oh wait, says anesthesiologist, that's not going into your spine, I seem to be hitting bone. Eek.  Take 2.  More numbing injections, another epidural, and searing pain shooting down my leg into my toes.  My left leg is all tingly and burning.  Here's the problem, my right leg is fine.  I can move it, I can lift it.  My pelvis, also fine.  Hmm...  Anesthesiologist says Oh wait one more time.  It's not working.  Seriously??  By this point I have tears streaming down my face, for 2 totally different reasons.  First, those spinals HURT.  To have it pierced twice was just too much for me.  Second, I'm not terrified for baby.  We were told the spinal was a better option because there was no risk to baby.  Now, I'm facing general anesthesia, which causes crazy reactions in my body, which I don't metabolize well at all, and which is delivered to baby.  Suddenly the risk seems like too much.  And just as I'm thinking that, I drift off to sleep.

I wake up 2 hours later in recover, convulsing and shaking, oxygen monitors signaling loudly that I'm not breathing.  It takes a team I'm only vaguely familiar of to calm things down.  I hate anesthesia.  But, because I can wiggle my toes so quickly (as the spinal never completely worked) I am quickly taken to a private room to wait it out.  It's nearly 4 hours later before left leg starts working and I can head home.  I now have a raging spinal headache.  Of course.

Fast forward 2 days, and that whole ordeal is worth it.  We get to have another ultrasound of baby, get to watch him/her kicking and scratching and moving all around.  The cerclage is in a great place, the cervix is closed, the baby is healthy.  That is ultimately the goal, and it's accomplished.  All medical efforts have been done to ensure this baby makes it to the 3rd trimester.  But here's the thing, ultimately, it doesn't matter what we do.  (of course it does to some extent, God gives us brains to think with and has enabled for these medical advances.  Such an excuse to just sit by and do nothing...).  Anyway, it doesn't matter what the odds, for or against, because our God is in control.  I know full well how frail my body it, how weak.  Yet, God is strong enough for all of us, and He can carry this child.  Such a comfort.

And, more exciting news, we get to find out TOMORROW what we are having.  Yay!  Pictures and official announcement to come very soon!