Friday, November 9, 2012

My Protector

This is a moment I want to remember forever. I can't believe it's taken me this long to write it down!  A few weeks ago Nathan and I and the kids drove to McAllen to stay for the weekend.  We were going to spend time with our niece so that her parents could have a weekend at the beach.  

One afternoon, we were playing around and rough housing with the kids. They were enjoying it and having a great time.  It didn't take long for Nathan to shift his "attack" to me!  In no time, he had me on a chair and was tickling me.  Around this time I noticed the kids just staring at us.  We of course were laughing because we were, after all, just goofing around.  A second later Nathan hoisted me off of the chair I'd been sitting in and was quickly holding me upside down!  At this, my kids made sounds of protest. They had looks of genuine concern on their faces!  I laughingly threatened Nathan that if he didn't put me down, he'd have to contend with his children.

He put me down right away and said, "See kids? Mom is alright!"  Too little too late for CoBe I suppose.  He looked at his father (who was down on the ground as well now) and moved over to him.  With a grunt of warning, he reached up and pulled his dad's hair!  My hero!  Looks like there's another sheriff in town now honey. You better watch out for this kid, because he sure loves (and protects) his mama!

(CoBe pumping some iron to keep dad in line)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Growing up is hard... for parents

So much of my first days (and months... maybe even the whole first year?) as a mom are a total blur. I do have some vivid recollections though and most of them have to do with crying. Me crying, not the kids.

I cried when we left the hospital, already aware that this meant the kids were "old enough" to be allowed out of the confines of the hospital. "Have four days in the hospital already passed??" I wondered.

A few days after that, Nathan and I were watching t.v. If I remember accurately it was a show on PBS about some animals. I think it was supposed to be touching. Nathan got up to get something and when he returned I had tears streaming down my face. His little heart melted just a little bit for his wife who has a soft spot for animals in her heart. "Honey" ,he said, "are you crying because of the show?" A little knowing smile played at the corner of his mouth.
"What?" I said, coming out of my reverie."No, I wasn't even watching really." I still have tears falling down my face at this point. Now honestly perplexed, my husband inquired why I was crying.

"It's already been a whole week since the kids were born. They are a week old. This is going by too fast!" I believe he chuckled before he hugged me.

A couple of weeks later a similar scene unfolded. This time it had to do with putting the kids down in their cribs, all on their own, for the night. Up until this point we hadn't really used their room for anything other than diaper changing.
As we laid them down(each in their own crib) I realized how incredibly small they looked. How could we just leave them in there all night on their own?? We turned on the monitor and walked out.

We stood in the kitchen and, again, I cried. My hubs wondered if I was going to demand a video monitor for the kids. I said I didn't think so. I asked if we were rushing this whole "on their own" thing. He said we would have to do it at some point and we should just "see how it goes".
"Ok" I said. "But maybe we should say a prayer." He agreed and waited for me to start. I got one word out before I got choked up and couldn't continue. I asked him to pray instead, which he of course did.

I'm sure that's the only reason why nothing disastrous happened to my precious little babies on their first night "alone".

Those moments have certainly become more rare than common at this point, but I so wanted for time to just slow down. That was a total 180 from my sentiments as little as a year before we got pregnant. At that point I just wanted to "hurry up" the whole getting pregnant thing (as if I had control of that at all).

When CoBe started his first appointments with the cleft lip team I also wanted to just hurry things up and fast forward to his lip repair surgery. I wanted to skip the weekly exams, the putting in, taking out and cleaning of his "retainer", and the daily application and removal of his face tape. Yet, when the time for that first surgery was near I very badly wanted time to slow down again. While I knew it was necessary and indeed beneficial for him to have the surgery, I wasn't ready to say goodbye to his sweet little split lip that I had loved from the moment I laid eyes on him.

What is nice though, is to be able to look back on those moments of worry and frustration, the moments of "please just hurry" and "please just slow down" and see how everything worked out. I am a better and stronger person because of those experiences, and I wouldn't think of trading them, even if I could.

(Bonus: A little snippet of that cute face)

Little Helper

Recently I was in my hometown visiting family. The kids and I stayed at my sister in law's place which was great since she has a daughter that is just 3 months younger than Obzy (my daughter) and CoBe (my son). [Author's note: I have been deliberating whether to use my kids' real names or not. I have decided NOT to do so on the blog so anyone commenting, please keep this in mind and use the nicknames if need be].

One of the best things about the trip was seeing all 3 interact with one another. They have come a long way in terms of sharing and cooperating with one another. One little moment that stuck in my mind that I wanted to make sure to remember, deals with Obzy.

I had just finished giving the kids lunch and all were playing in the living room. I picked up Obzy so that she could finish the milk in her sippy cup. I took the pacifier out of her mouth and put the sippy cup in. She finished most of it, but still had some left over. I put her back down to play.

Once I did that, Obzy walked over to her cousin M (who was minding her own business), took out M's pacifier and then shoved her sippy cup into M's mouth. The shoving was due to a lack of coordination, no mal intent. I guess she sees herself as second in command! I very much look forward to more of these "mommy's little helper" moments!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Worst Day

I've said the phrase above hundreds of times as a hyperbole regarding days that just stunk. Today's tale is about the literal worst day of my life so, it's pretty heavy subject matter.

The day was about one week after we found out that one of our twins (our son) was going to be born with a cleft lip. We had received that news at the 20 week ultrasound and handled it really well (in my humble opinion). We knew it was something that wasn't life threatening and was fixable, so while we may have had some worry, overall we were ok with this surprise.

We were referred to a Neonatologist and made an appointment to meet with him. On that day, we did an ultra sound and got all the regular stats from the babies. The doctor came in after he got the ultra sound report to chat with us. I don't recall the exact conversation leading up to the moment that made this the worst day of my life, but I'll do my best to recreate it.

The doctor mentioned that we were there to see him so that he could keep a close eye on our little guy. He mentioned that sometimes a cleft lip is an isolated birth defect but that other times it occurs as a result of a larger problem- a chromosomal abnormality. I asked what that meant. He continued and explained that a chromosomal abnormality meant that there were 3 of one chromosome instead of 2. Trisomy 21, for example, is more commonly known as Down Syndrome. But then there was also the possibility of Trisomy 13;a condition that most often results in a baby's "failure to thrive"... by this he meant failing to live.

I asked "how many fail to thrive?"
Reply: All of them...

At that moment I remember that the ultrasound image was still on the tv screen. I looked at the little being that was my son and all of a sudden I felt terrified that I would lose him.

As the doctor passed me a tissue, he let us know that we could find out for sure if our son had one of these conditions by doing an amnio centisis which he could do right then and there if we chose to do so.

We asked for some time to discuss and as soon as the door closed I crumpled onto my husband and sobbed. The possibility of losing our son, our little baby, who we had wanted for so long was too much. But that wasn't the only thing. I had a recollection of an experience that I'd had long ago. One that I had forgotten over the years of our trying to get pregnant, but in this moment it sprung to mind and took my breath away. I had to tell Nathan... had to tell him that this situation may be my fault.

Years before, as I was praying one night I prayed that we would PLEASE get pregnant. Even if it was a baby,whose time on Earth were to be short, I would accept that and just be grateful for the chance to be a mom.

Is this what was happening now? Did our son have this condition? This death sentence? There was only one way to find out and so we went ahead and did the amnio.

The ensuing week was torture as we waited to hear back. We wondered what we would do if he did have Trisomy 13. We prayed for everything to turn out to be fine but IF NOT and our son did have a condition could it please be Trisomy 21?

After what seemed like an eternity (just over a week) we got the good news that the cleft was an isolated condition, unattached to more serious circumstances. We celebrated- by finally- BREATHING.

*Note: After proofreading this I realize there are still a lot of missing details but I suppose I cannot really go back to the place I was in just yet. Maybe one day I'll feel the need to flesh out a few more details, but at this time, I think that's as much as I need to say. :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I'm what???

Getting pregnant didn't just happen for Nathan and I, though we tried our darndest (wink,wink)... gross. Sorry for all that information. Hahaha.

Anyway that whole journey took us down many paths. Adoption (which we did not go through with), fertility doctor, hormone specialist, voodoo doctor as I lovingly refer to her as and eventually back to a fertility doctor, (though different from the first one).

Once we arrived at that last fertility doctor that was a process as well. Eventually we arrived at in-vitro. That whole saga would best be left to its own post. At any rate, we were able to implant 2 embryos. After doing so I had a reaction called Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome. It was a severe enough case that I wound up in the hospital on 2 separate occasions. The second stay was about a week long.

The thing about going through the in vitro process is that everything is very scheduled and very calculated. From the time you give yourself shots, egg retrieval, implantation, pregnancy test... it is all planned out. I had given up my idea of surprising Nathan with the news we were pregnant. Back in the early days, I imagined him coming home and somehow cleverly revealing to him that he was going to be a dad.

After having given up several notions of how things are "supposed to be" (or not supposed to be) throughout this time in my life, I was blessed to have the ability to still surprise my husband with this news. A little "tender mercy" if you will.

My doctor came to check on me throughout my stay in the hospital. During my second stay he increasingly came to suspect that I was pregnant. I of course held that hope at bay. A coping mechanism to be sure. The fact that my OHSS had not abated was the first clue he had. But on top of that, there were occasions when he came that I was eating only pickles. :)

Now, according to the calendar, I was to have the pregnancy test on a Friday. Exactly two weeks after implanting the embryos. My doctor though, being highly suspicious of a positive result, asked me if I would like to bump up that test by a day. I of course said that I would and he put in the order for the blood work for Thursday morning.

I didn't tell Nathan about the change in plans.

During my week in the hospital I became accustomed to the morning lab work and eventually just slept through it. Not Thursday morning though. I was excited and nervous. Hopeful yet scared. How many countless tests had I taken in the years leading up to this day that all had said "NOPE! Not this month lady"? I'm not sure how I endured the hours until my doctor came in. I think I was on the phone with someone so I had to quickly hang up.

Doctor K:"I got the results from your test and YOU'RE PREGNANT"
Me: (immediately crying) I'm what?!

We continued to talk and celebrate. After he left I wanted to jump out of my skin. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops or at the very least call up my honey at work and tell him. I calmed myself down though and decided that after waiting several years, I could wait until he came to the hospital after work.

Easier said than done. I believe I called my husband asking if he could come over early. I made up a bogus story about having a rough day. He said he'd try his best but most likely he couldn't leave the office until 5. That was 5 hours away at that point.

By the time he walked in to my hospital room at 6:00 (traffic had been awful) he had about a minute to say hello and then needed to be on a conference call. That call lasted an hour. Probably the longest hour of my life. Finally(FINALLY!!) the call ended. It was time to tell him.

He asked how my day was. I said I think I needed a hug.
He hugged me.
I asked him if it felt different. He asked "if what feels different?"
"Hugging a pregnant lady" I replied. He asked if I was serious. I assured him I was.

We laughed and cried and hugged and cried. And then we began making some phone calls.


How I wish that I had been a better journal writer in the time leading up to and since the birth of my twins. I have thought about this quite a bit over the last year or so. I kept going back and forth about which venue I wanted to use as a journal. (pen/paper, blog, private diary website, etc).

In the end the blog won. I find it easier to just open up my computer and type away instead of spending a long time hand writing my entries. I also feel accountable to the blog in some way. Perhaps the thought of an audience. Whatever it is, I'm back.

Monday, April 11, 2011

(little) Things that make me happy

The title, translated, should also read "Things that make me happy, so you should try them too or else your a shmoe"

-Plums, nectarines and peaches. I've been way into fruit for a long time now. It became my go to when I decided to cut down on sugary snacks such as brownies and Nutella. Yummy

-Massages and pedicures. I find it is important NOT to over do either of these to avoid taking their wonderfulness for granted, and becoming spoiled.

-Loving a dog at some point in life. I was going to say pet, but I really don't think other pets are as cool as dogs. I mean, can you really compare a reptile, fish or cat to a cuddly, playful, loyal dog? I think not.

-The smell of sunscreen and chlorine. Not necessarily together either. Individually they are wonderful as well. I've recently gone back to swim workouts. I almost don't want to shower after I get home because then the chlorine smell goes away. (I do shower though,just so we're clear)

-My label maker. Anyone who has known me prior to the last couple of years may be surprised by this. Organization has been something I've had to work on. It took about 3 years of having my own classroom before giving in to going the label maker route, and I haven't looked back since. Since I'm not working full time this year, I've had several projects around the house that have greatly benefited from my use of labels; organizing the garage, pantry, Tupperware drawer and art supplies to name a few.

-My husband's bed head. It is hilarious. I hope he doesn't go bald just for the reason that that would be the end of his crazy just woke up hair.

-Smoothies. Closely related to my fruit addiction listed above.

-Mail/Packages. Of course, by mail I mean the good kind like a letter from a friend, an invitation to something fun, a check or things of that nature. It has been great the last couple of weeks getting unexpected mail and packages from friends and family in preparation for the new members of our family.
There was a time when getting email was also really exciting, but that has died down some since the days of "you've got mail" on AOL. That's because back in those days, when that man's voice told me that I had mail it was from a friend or boy I had a crush on (we're back in jr. high and high school) and those emails are so much better than the SPAM that comes my way these days.

That is all for now. :)
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