Tuesday, May 3, 2016

So we made it a year....................... some how.

I have written this post about 163 times over the past year.
In my head.
On paper.
In blog drafts.

I can't get it right.
I can't get it right because I can't possibly depict the past year on paper.

But I will try....
So I am sitting down to work on this instead of doing the much needed dishes, laundry and various house cleaning that desperately needs to be done. There is a baby who I hear from his crib, babbling away. As usual, he should be asleep. He is most likely going to wake his brother. I am stressed over it, but I roll my eyes and keep typing. Because if not now.... when? Time truly goes so fast.

We are nearing the one year anniversary of the boys arrival into this world.
I could go through the zillion emotions I am feeling, as most parents feel them at this point.
I am still wondering if this is the first day they are home, because with such little sleep this past year, it feels like one big long day.
Very long days. Yet the quickest year ever.

This year was filled with many, many things. Many firsts, many lasts. A lot of love, a lot of struggle. Many tears and also smiles.
But the majority of this past year was filled with despair.
I almost just erased that sentence.... but I can't.  There is some one out there, who feels the same and if she is reading this - I need to say it.

It was the hardest year of my life.
At 37 years old, I had worked very hard to form my life. To grow and use my experiences and knowledge to bring myself to the point I was at in my life.
When I found out I was pregnant, moved, lost my job, was admitted to the hospital, spent weeks in the NICU and arrived home with two healthy boys -- I felt like a glimmer of the person who I had been a short 7 months before.
I was now going to have to play a role of someone new. Someone I did not know. Someone I was never trained to be.
I suffered severe undiagnosed depression. No new mom should have to go through that. I could get on my health care soapbox right now - but I will spare you.
I suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. Because you do not go through such drastic life changes so suddenly and come out with out your human spirit severely effected.

Finding myself back to "me" was the hardest journey I have ventured.
I knew, in order to be the mom I wanted to be, to be the partner, the daughter, the sister, the friend I wanted to be - I needed to do it. And in doing so I have gained more than I ever knew possible.

To anyone wondering.... there is light at the end of that tunnel. It is dim to start, and it gets brighter as you focus on it. I am here as proof.

I can now talk about the best parts of being a mom of one year old (gasp) twins, because I can see past the grey clouds that fogged my brain for a good portion of a year. I can tell you how it will get better and it will get easier. I didn't believe it. I prayed for it, but I didn't believe it.
But it does. And it doesn't get just a little bit better.... it gets AMAZINGLY better.
I hate to use that phrase because when holding your tiny baby it is hard to imagine it gets "better" than that. I guess my point is, YOU get better. You learn to adjust, you learn your role, you learn these new tiny people in your life, you adapt, you take something less seriously and some things more seriously. It is a growing process for baby and an equally big, if not bigger one for parents. Hang in there, learn the lessons, cut yourself some slack - you are doing a great job. Cut your partner some slack, they are trying to adjust too. And love your babies best you know how - soon enough you will be sitting here on the other side of the first year, two years, 6 months, what ever it takes to get thru.
And your heart will be exploding into a million pieces, just as mine is.

Just to add: The boys are days away from one. ONE YEAR OLD. How?! It is amazing to watch them grow and learn and explore. I am on the verge of having toddlers. I look back at those NICU photos and I am filled with such a mass amount of gratitude for all they have brought to our lives. All they have taught me. All they have given me. There is no way to prepare for this type of experience and there is also no other that can provide what they have provided for this world.
Those 4 pound babies - who were barely given a fighting chance, weigh in today at 24+ pounds each. They are healthy and strong and happy and exhausting. They have shown me that when I am down to my last bit of patience, courage, energy or strength - that there is more to give. They force me to do so and they do by reminding me that they did exactly that to join us in this world.

We have had such amazing support over the past year. Every comment, note, email, smile, understanding look in a store. Every kind word, tolerance of my non-stop photo posting, and bit of joy that has been shared with us on this journey over the past year is beyond appreciated.
We are fortunate to be here, and even on the darkest of days - that is a ray of light to grasp on to.

Let the journey continue...........................

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

saving the world, one 3 a.m. feeding at a time.

Lately, I have this tendency to think I can solve the worlds problems at 3:00am.
I've moved on from thinking I can fix my own, to thinking I can cure cancer. Literally.
I laid here, so beyond infuriated at the idea of not having an answer to fixing this problem. Trying to figure out what we would do if cancer was cured. And got more angry the more I thought about how there is probably a cure out there that we just aren't being told.
Ok enough about my conspiracy theories....

Tonight is no different.
Tonight I lay here in my warm bed, babies waking me at 2am (wasn't this supposed to stop!? I'm awfully tired). I hold Maddox in my arms as I feed him and I pray.
I pray that my kids stay strong.
That they are healthy.
That they are safe.
That they grow into the amazing people I know they are meant to be. I have known it before I met them - they are going to do amazing things. I pray they do.

I pray that they grow to make a difference in this world because God knows we need it.
I pray they don't let fear rule their lives. That they aren't afraid to help a fellow human. That they do what's best for the world, not for just themselves.
I pray they approach every situation with love, kindness and understanding- not judgement, fear and hate.
I pray they are smart, wise and knowledgeable but not scared.

This world is fighting hate with hate. And we are failing miserably. As a race.
It's going downhill so quickly.

I started these thoughts with "how horrible of a person am I to bring babies into this world and subject them to this terrible place?"
That's not the outlook that needs to be had- I was only feeding the monster.

So I prayed for them, that they find beauty and love in this world and spread it like wildfire.That they are the light in the dark, because that is what the world needs.

This is the only way our human race is going to last.
Any other approach will crash and burn.

As you raise your children into this world, show them love for every person they encounter- even if YOU don't feel it.
Teach them the value of life- from a small animal to an old man.
Raise children with open minds, open hearts, free of hate and frustration.

Our world depends on it.
Here is our chance to make sure the future generations get it right. (Not saying our generations didn't get anything right, of course they did).
Don't just tell them, show them through your own acts of kindness & bravery.
Stop judging people based on your own thoughts and see the bigger picture.
Smile at every person you meet. Be thankful in every situation.

It takes very little effort to change the world if we all did these little things. And even less effort if we teach them to our children and those we meet.

**DISCLAIMER: For the record, I am NOT saying "hug a terrorist" I am saying - start where home is, where little people are molded, and maybe there will be less terrorism..... Or at least we can hope.**

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The sun rises.

As a mom of two infants, pulling myself out of bed at any time other than for a feeding/changing seems absurd to me, but this morning I was inspired to catch the sun rise.

As with most things lately, I am kind of a day late. You see, a lot of people were up and focusing on yesterdays sunrise, and I only experienced it through beautiful photos on Facebook.
A fellow Tartan recently passed away. She and I did not directly know each other, as she was much younger than me. I did not have the opportunity to follow her story before she passed, But thru social media I have experienced the way a community can come together. The enormous out pouring of caring, gratitude, hope, and love are popping up in my news feed by the minute. As I learn more with each post, I find what a strong and amazing woman this warrior was. An inspiration.
She advised us all to live life to the fullest. A concept that is often noted, but not often followed through on. We all claim to do it, but do we? She remarks on the sunrise and how it is the most peaceful time of the day, and why it is important to observe it.

My mornings don't include enjoying a sunrise. But - there is no good reason they can't.
After I fed the babies, and rocked them back to sleep this morning, I was excited to crawl back under the covers and catch a few more z's myself. For, it is the one time of day I have the whole bed to myself and no place I need to be. I browsed through Facebook and again these posts popped up of yesterdays beautiful sunrise with the hashtag attached honoring the fellow classmate. As I delved in deeper, I realized I was doing this all wrong. I got up and threw on a pair of sweats, clicked my phone off and ran downstairs, on to the back porch to see if I was too late for the sunrise. I wasn't! I caught a beautiful photo. I started to do my daily chores that I don't typically get to do with the babies awake. I started the laundry, picked up the kitchen and decided now was a great time to take advantage of a shower! I was feeling pretty proud. I got in the shower and began washing my hair (gasp! this doesn't happen often!) YAY! Success.

But was it? It was then I realized that I missed the whole point. As I stood in the shower thinking of how to share my photo that I was inspired to take, I realized that I was actually doing injustice to the cause of honoring her, and life in general. I saw the sunrise, but I did not experience it. I witnessed the light falling across my living room floor as I rushed by with my laundry basket, but I did not honor it. I did the exact opposite.

Needless to say, the sun had risen quite a bit once I got out of the shower and dressed. With my hair soaking wet, I tangled it up in a towel, opened my back door for the second time this morning, and stepped on to the porch. The sun was only a little bit higher in the sky. I stood there watching. I watched as the world woke up. The small animals scavenging through the yard looking for breakfast, the sound of school buses bustling around the neighborhood, the sunlight hitting each surface of my yard, awaking the dewy grass and the sleepy leaves. I breathed in the cool morning air and wondered how I let this moment slip by every morning.

I am what I refer to as a "rusher". I quickly enjoy things, because I am always in a hurry to get on to the next thing. A list of "to do's" a lifetime long. Sitting still is not my strong point, but wishing I had is. It may not be New Year's Eve, but I am due for a resolution. My kids are growing up before my eyes (when people say 'it happens so fast' they aren't lying), my parents are growing older before my eyes, and so am I. Life changes drastically every day, and you never know just what each day will bring. So my resolution, as we head into the busiest time of year, is to slow down. Taste the food I am inhaling for once, smell the new air of fall, touch that first snow fall, notice the little things, not worry about what needs to be done and just be in the moment.

We can all take a lesson from Aimee, if we knew her or not. Life IS precious. Every moment is. Be present. Be in that moment, if it is hard, if it is easy - just be there. It will not last. And I can only imagine, that there is no one out there on their last day on earth wishing they saw less beautiful sunrises.

Monday, August 3, 2015

What did you just say!?!?!

In the twelve weeks since the boys have arrived, I have been trying to get out with them as much as possible. During these outings I am met with the craziest comments and questions I could ever imagine.

Are they twins?
Nope. Same size, same age, same outfit, look exactly alike. 
They are actually four years apart.

Are you nursing?
My response: What is your weight? 
It is an equally personal question. Breastfeeding and all that came with it was one of the most traumatic, guilt and stress inducing event of my life. Thank you complete stranger, I so appreciate discussing my boobs and the choices I have made regarding them, with you.

Are they natural?
What? Huh? No they are robots I built in the garage from a kit I ordered online. 
What the hell does this even mean? My twins were spontaneous but for someone who has undergone medical treatment to become pregnant this would be highly offensive and inappropriate.

Who do you like better?
Followed by "it's okay, you can tell me". And they aren't joking.
I have no comment.

How do you tell them apart?
Considering they are two separate humans with two separate personalities - it isn't too hard.
I usually just respond "he has more hair" and bite my tongue.

Just wait till they get older!
Uh, okay. I'm not in a hurry to find out what you mean. What will happen? Will they turn into giant lizards? Do they roll around the house in a ball of flames?  It gets better? It gets worse? What exactly does this mean?

Better you than me.
Yes. Yes indeed. 

I have two children close in age so it is pretty much the same thing as twins.
Unless you want to be met with the growl of a rabid dog. You don't say this to a twin parent! No. No it is not at all the same thing. Not even close. Now don't get me wrong, every parent has their struggles but having two children is NOT the same as having twins. I can imagine having a toddler and a newborn is a nightmare all it's own. And I don't doubt that parents of singletons go through things I will never understand. None of this is a contest, and it is all fine and well but do NOT try and tell me it is the same. 
It is not. And I can give you a list of reasons why.

My so and so's 5th cousin removed mother in laws sister is a twin.
Great. That is awesome. Twins are amazing. I have 30 seconds to buy this much needed toilet paper and get home before it is time to change and feed these two tiny maniacs but be sure to eat up valuable time telling me all about how you know a twin.

Do twins run in the family?
Yes they do, but that has nothing to do with why I have twins. Science says so. I will gladly talk til I am blue in the face about the twins in my family because they are amazing people, but it has nothing to do with why I have them. And if I look like I am in a hurry, can they please save this question for someone with a nanny.

Does one (fill in the blank) better than the other?
Are you seriously comparing these children to one another? They are twins, not contestants in a cock fight.

You're done now right?
Again, how is my reproductive choices your business, complete stranger?

I always wanted twins.
This is always said by the one person who refuses to come over and help you. 
I always wanted twins too, and I wouldn't change it for anything, but think before you speak. Do not sit there and tell a sleep deprived, hungry person who wishes they had 4 arms you want what they have and not help them.

Are they identical or paternal?
What? Huh?
They are identical (as identical as you can get!) and neither of them are a father yet so I am not sure what you mean by 'paternal'......

They are too cute to be trouble.
Really? REALLY?
How cute is a wolverine? They are adorable, they look like puppies and they will tear you limb from limb before you can even blink.

Twins. Yikes!
Now you think this would be welcomed after some of the above responses... but it isn't. Our kids are not spreading some dangerous disease by walking down the street therefore you should not describe them as scary, to their mother, you perfect stranger.

I would come home day after day with new, shocking comments and questions to share with their dad. I would get all worked up and in an outrage that people have the absolute nerve to say these things! "I understand curiosity and I am an incredibly curious person, and I love people fawning over these miracles BUT have some respect. For the parents. For the twins!" I would say. We would joke and joke about the things people do and how we would love to respond.

(I must sound like such a heartless bitch. I know that is what you are thinking.
I promise you I am not. There is a point to this story - please keep reading.)

I was a very high risk pregnancy. I had a very good chance of leaving that hospital with only one baby. Or even no babies. I can't imagine the heartache a mother feels in that type of situation. What a mother that went through that loss would give to have people approach and ask annoying and inappropriate questions. What she would give to feel the struggle of trying to feed, console, change, manage two babies at once. Or even one. How she would long for sleepless nights spent with her child.  

This is the hardest job I have ever done, and I am not even 3 months in. I can't imagine what the future has in store for me, I can't even imagine what this afternoon will bring. I can barely keep my eyes open and have been writing this post for 6 days due to constant interruption. I haven't taken a decent shower, washed my hair or put on actual clothing in what feels like weeks. There are days I truly wonder who the hell thought making me a twin mom was an acceptable idea and maybe if I died (because I am convinced they are trying to kill me) a step mom will do much, much better than I am.
But there is not a moment, even at the lowest low when I am lying on the floor in a puddle of tears for the 8th time this week, that I am not eternally grateful for this gift. Through every complaint, every joke, every sigh, I am so thankful. I mean, I have TWO babies to love, seriously - that is just incredible.

I had this realization and was immediately transported to a new frame of mind. Everything in this life is about learning. I learned that annoying, disrespectful questions are not the worst thing that can happen and I should enjoy every moment. Life would be much sadder with out them.

So if you see a twin parent out and about, approach them. By all means, approach them. Tell them that they are doing an amazing job. That their kids are lucky to have them. And that it will get easier (even if it is a lie) I guarantee you that the gate to all the questions you have will be opened they will be thrilled to share all their stories with you, should you so want to hear them. 

While you're at it, take a minute and tell a singleton mom, or the parent juggling 5 kids or any parent at all, what a wonderful job they are doing. Because they are. And you have no idea how that tiny, small remark can save a persons whole day. Maybe more

** to the guy(a twin) in Target who looked at me with understanding eyes and wished us all the best.  Thank you.

** to the woman in Target with twins and 3 other children who told me "take it one day at a time, you are doing great." Thank you.

** to every person who stops me to congratulate me, to remark on how strong we are for being out and about so soon, to express love for the miracles that are these twins. Thank you. 

Because although the point of sharing the crazy questions above was to show what I learned about tolerance, there are wonderful and beautiful people out there who shine love upon us every day. 
I am grateful for both the crazy and the loving comments and remarks. We learn something from it all!

Monday, July 6, 2015

8 weeks in....

It is 4:46, p.m. 
I just put the first piece of food into my mouth that I have had all day. 

My hair is filthy, my pants are still somehow too tight, despite all the eating or sitting still I do not do, and my ears are ringing from the screaming. My mascara (I put on while I was at a red light) is streamed down my face, there are more dishes in the sink than in the cabinets, there is puke all over my pants and my house has a faint lingering constant scent of poop. 
I have stopped typing this 12 time already to attend to a scream, a fallen binky, a spit up covered chin or administer another burp. 

So, I know I haven't updated this blog in a little over 8 weeks, but my hands have been a little full. On May 8th, my pregnancy journey ended. At 8:42 and 8:43 a.m. Maddox James and Logan Thomas entered the world as we know it (respectively). They came in weighing well over 4 pounds each and screaming (some things haven't changed). They spent a short 18 days in the NICU at Albany Med and came home, together, on Memorial Day. Considering the circumstances, we could not have asked for a better turn out. Really we are so lucky and blessed. This blessing has had me rather occupied though.

For example - today. 
Today I decided was a good day to try to help their Dad and go to Lowes to get all the items I know he needs to complete our house projects.
Planning ahead, and having learned from the past, I called in their Grandmama for back up. I asked her to meet me at Lowes because it is impossible to push a double stroller and shop. For anything. Ever. And I have learned the horror of one baby becoming upset in a retail setting, and it wasn't pretty. 

I should've called the whole thing (as if going to Lowes should be considered some massive undertaking) off after the first feeding of the day. I say this because the first feeding went surprisingly well. I managed to keep one child at bay while feeding the other and then switched and got through it all without as much as a scratch! This does not pose well for the rest of the day. Mornings are typically the hardest... what did this day have in store with that in mind?

Instead, I went about my morning, singing and thinking we have turned a corner and things were in fact, getting easier! I dressed and redressed my two beautiful, marvelous, (albeit spitting up everywhere) children. Somehow the hours passed faster than I expected and it was time to feed them again. Looking back, the time flew by because it was spent tending to the screaming animals that hours earlier were sweet angels. I fed them lunch and prepared for our trip to Lowes, assuming the car ride would do us all good. We made it to Lowes in one piece, found Grandmama and began knocking off items on the list. 

This is where it got good. And by good, I mean fully entertaining for any twin parent who has been through it to stand back and watch. And by good I also mean a wonderful lesson in birth control for our teen youth. 
We had spitting up, in amounts that could fill buckets. We had pooping through clothing. We had tears. We had screams. We had complete and utter heart break (mine). We had shoes flying off and mittens disappearing. We had adult sized man farts. We had people stopping to ask "are they twins?" for the millionth time. We had gurgles and whimpers and cries. And all of this times two! (Lucky for me I had Grandmama back up. THANK GOD)

We made it through, not completely unscathed, but we made it. Loaded everything, including two animals that resembled my adorable children, into my car. As my mom kissed me goodbye and made me promise to call if I needed further help that afternoon, I saw the pity in her eyes. A feeling I now know only a mother knows. She can't fix it for me as I can't fix it for my boys. We just have to live through it. 

As I drive I am hoping the boys will fall asleep. I'm starving, exhausted and in need of cleaning my house that awaits but I am willing to drive for the next 15 hours if it means they will sleep and be happy again.
They do sleep.
For 8 minutes.
In the 8th minute I look into the mirror to see Logan wide awake and spitting up, again (really though?! What is possibly left in this kids stomach!?!?!) and I steer towards home. 

I unload the babies and place them, with binkies, in to their crib while I make the bottles. Bottle making is done to the tune of their screams. I return to them and from their crib side, choose the child that looks the most inconsolable. This is harder than picking a winning horse at the race track. And a 100% jinx, as it ensures you that the other child will scream for the next 35 minutes until you feed him. Indeed this event went just as so. 
I chose Maddox to eat first. Logan took his binky and quietly binked away during my choosing. I dragged a dining room chair into the nursery and sat next to the crib and silenced feeder #1 with his bottle. I was able to reach over and replace feeder #2’s binky as needed. This worked for about 3/4 of the bottle. Then the screaming began. A scream like no other. And no binky could fix it. I did all I could. All that was with in my power. I took Maddox out to the couch, continued to feed him, and cried. I cried through my prayers of "please make Logan stop crying that heart breaking cry". I cried through my out loud wonders of what lesson I am supposed to be learning. I cried tears of complete and utter heart break at the sound of something I cannot fix. I cried tears of complete exhaustion. I just cried.
Maddox finished eating, and Logan did stop crying (thank you for small miracles!) before he started crying again. But I was now able to feed him while Maddox digested and this is always the easy part. One is fed and one is eating, all is well. Up until today anyway. Today Maddox screamed through Logan's entire bottle. 
As I sat on the floor next to Maddox's seat, feeding Logan, I laughed at every scream he made, stopped and replaced his binky every time he spit it out (prompting his screams) and I just laughed. Not because I was finally completely insane (questionable), not because I was delirious, but because it was downright funny. These kids are a freaking riot. 

Today, amidst the madness that is Twin Momhood, I stopped and realized these things:

I am starving. And I am lucky to be because that means I know what it is like to have food.

My kids had a major meltdown in the middle of a store. For this I am thankful because it means we got out of the house, and we arrived at the store in a car, which means we have our own transportation.

My kid pooped through his clothes.  I am thankful for this because he has clothes to poop through! And his digestive system is working! 

My kids screamed for what now feels like 17 straight hours. They have working vocal cords, for this I am thankful. And it also makes me appreciate the calmness when it does finally come.

I came home to a disaster of a house. I am thankful we have a house. A home I should say. Anyone can have a house, we have a home. 

I had the help of my mom to get me through this particular Lowes disaster. I am thankful for not only her selfless help for me, but her love for my children and the memories we created today.

The boy’s dad was at work for this entire day of craziness, as he often is, perhaps more often than I care for. I am lucky this is the case because it means he has a job. It means when he is home I see what it is like to have a partner in this. That we get to share these crazy moments and we value them more because they are rarely spent together. 

For every minute I am awake in the middle of the night, followed but the entire day of light, I am grateful. I am grateful because these days truly go so fast. Faster than I could have imagined they ever would. And although it feels like the past 8 weeks have been one very, very long day, I know the day will come when the midnight feedings, crying for binkies, impossibility of dual feeding and poopy diapers are gone and I will be thankful to have ever had them.

Today was just another day on the list of long, exhausting, stressful days with two newborns. For this I am thankful in ways words cannot describe. Every moment that I am sure I just can't make it through, that I just can't do this, that God chose wrong in making me a twin mom, is erased when I look at these boys and see them smile. To know they are in good health, and safe and happy. To know they rest well, and have nourishment, and arms to snuggle into when they are scared or sad. To have them surrounded by so much love - from those who have met them and who have not yet. To see how much they are teaching me in such a short amount of time, in ways I never could have planned for. 

And for this, I am forever thankful.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Do we forget about Dad??

When it comes to pregnancy, let's be honest - mom gets all the attention.

When it comes to high risk twin pregnancy with inpatient hospitalization, mom gets even more attention, but not as much as the unborn babies.

No where along the lines, does dad get much attention. I will say, that since my boys were born last week (proud mommy moment, please hold while I gloat...), every one often asks about how dad is doing. BUT with two new babies and a mom who just had major surgery, dad still is at the bottom of the totem pole.

This is common and honestly just the way things are. There isn't going to be some huge revelation that changes it. Men are not going to magically start being able to carry children inside their bodies for 9 months, or breast feed, or experience postpartum hormones, or any of that. So these guys are going to remain at the end of the line when it comes to attention.

This being said, I would like to just take a moment and share my experience as a mom-to-be and now a mom of two - looking at dad.

Dad is the guy who hugged me when I cried when we found out I was pregnant, he did all the research on our very scary situation. Dad filtered the info for me, and only gave me what he knew I could handle. He was the guy that demanded I take a nap when I was sick as a dog in my first trimester. He got me the random food I desired, he took care of dishes, he took care of the house, he shoveled all the snow (and we all know there was a lot) after a 12 hour work day of trudging through that snow. He drove me to every doctor appointment (sometimes twice a week, but always once - 40 miles away), listened intently and made me follow orders. He sacrificed his friends, family and job to be sure myself and the babies were best taken care of. Dad was the one who assured me everything was going to be okay when I lost my job, he was denied FMLA and I panicked about having insurance coverage. Upon me entering my 2 month inpatient hospital stay, Dad was the one who held me while I cried my eyes out in fear. He was the one who traveled to see me every spare second he had. He brought me anything and everything I could want. He spent hours playing games with me to occupy the time. He slept the nights he could stay with me in an uncomfortable chair, so I wouldn't be alone. He skipped meals so he could get to me sooner, and he missed events with family and friends. Dad turned my hospital room into a present haven the day of my birthday and drove back and forth multiple times on Easter. He put up with every weird OCD ritual I created and never once mocked me. Dad reminded me that everything would be okay, on the days I thought I would lose my mind. He marked the days off the count down calendar, asked the nurses every question he could think of and made sure he was there for ultrasounds on days he could get off. Oh wait - on that note, let's back up... in the beginning - he didn't take days off (I later begged and forced him to take one). He did all this while working 6 days a week. Dad, never missed a single day of coming to see me. If he was there for a few hours for 15, he was there every day. Dad showed up in the  middle of his work day, straight from his mail route, a frazzled mess the day we thought we might have to deliver early. He was there the morning of delivery holding my had through 5 ferocious IV attempts, held me thru "the shakes" - which were completely uncontrollable and smiled with me as we watched our babies whisked off to the NICU. He has seen more of me than I have ever seen during that surgery and recovery and I am sure it wasn't pretty. Dad waited with me the long 7 hours we had to wait before we were able to meet our sons, because he couldn't imagine meeting them with out me there. He proudly wheeled me around that hospital the first few days after the surgery, and he hugged me through every hormonal and emotional tear that rolled down my face in those first few days that followed -- and there were many! He did all this and much, much more. I would be here for years if I were to note it all.

I share all of this, not to flaunt the amazing partner I have in this life, but to recognize dads everywhere.
I have never seen someone try so hard, or love so much. His priority, number one, has been me since the day this journey began. I have watched him push himself aside and go with out so I can have. I've watched the calm, centered and stable man I know lose his mind when it comes to the safety and security of myself and our boys.
I've listened to him sing to our sons - from where he thinks I can't hear. I've watched the pride in his eyes at each milestone these boys reach.

Dad is an amazing guy. May we find ways to pay them the credit they deserve when they step up to the plate during a moms pregnancy. I don't think I will ever find a way to repay him for all he has done for me, but I hope these two little faces are a start.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bittersweet Inpatient Adventures

As I returned to my room tonight after walking the love of my life (I know, puke right?) to the elevator to say good night, a weird sensation came over me.

One more week. One more week til the boys are born. 12 more days of living in this hospital.
There was 6 feet of the snow on the ground the day I checked myself in.
It is going to be 81 degrees here on Monday.
Have I really been here that long? Wow.

Pure elation is what I should be feeling at the thought of going home.
  Back home, to my own bed, my own surroundings, my own comfort. Back to reality and having the freedom to go where ever I want and do what ever I care. When I want to see a friend, I can go see a friend instead of silently secretly hoping they show up here. Back to my cat, and my home. Back to not sleeping alone. To going to the store when I need something, to privacy and a washer and dryer! Food that tastes like food, air that is actually fresh, a floor I am not afraid to walk on barefoot!
  Not only the change in surroundings, but the change in my body! After recovery I will have my body back in the sense that I will be able to walk five feet with out becoming out of breath. I will be able to tie my own shoes again. And, I will eventually be able to wear regular clothes! Clothes! Real clothes, not the 5 items I have been rotating for almost 2 months with no mirror to even see what they look like.
  And the greatest part of all (and also the most scary) - two wonderful babies! I finally get to meet the little guys who I have been so closely tracking and monitoring and praying for for months now! All this time and energy and fear and anxiety and anticipation, will be changed when they actually arrive!

I am SO excited for all of these things!!!
(Yes, but...)
   It is hard to believe but.... I am actually sad to leave.

Perhaps I am a prime candidate for postpartum depression, as I can already feel it sinking in.
Perhaps it isn't postpartum at all.
Perhaps it is that this place, as scary and confining as it was when I arrived, has become some what like a home to me.

A lot of factors play into this.
  I have spent 24 hours a day with these people. They have seen me at my worst, when my heart is breaking because it hurts so badly to say good night and good bye to my "partner in crime". They have seen me first thing in the morning after a night of little or no sleep, that was instead spent tossing and turning. They have seen me at my fattest and in very limited or no clothing (and many of them have seen even more than that!) They have seen me terrified, in tears, every time we discuss a risk or a chance of (even earlier) delivery. They have seen my embarrassing extreme OCD rituals. They have met my family and had conversations with them that I don't even have to be a part of. They have seen me breakdown and cry when I don't think I can take one more day, one more test, one more needle, one more scare. We have discussed every gross body function, discussed what it is like to be a parent, talked house redecorating, fashion and just life in general. I have learned about their families, their love lives, their children and more. They have become friends.
  My career has been pretty solo on and off for the past 8 years. I have spent a LOT of time alone, having limited contact with others on a vast rotating schedule. I did not come into an office and share daily routines and activities with anyone. I have not had any consistency like that in YEARS. Since I have been inpatient, I have begun to feel like a part of something. Thanks to HIPAA I am not nearly involved as my nosy self would like to be, but I have learned the staff schedule and their routine. I know what days to look forward to based on who will be working (which is almost every day might I add!) I know who I can say what to and who to ask when I need something. I have met surgeons and doctors and nurses and assistants. I have met social workers, students, cafeteria workers, waitresses at the restaurant across the street (where I shouldn't be). I have met people from the information desk and the girl that brews the coffee at the little coffee stand. From the person who cleans the toilets to the NICU nurses that could save my children's lives... each and every one has played a part in my stay.

  These things have made this place home. I cried my eyes out the day I had to check myself into this hospital. I was relying on the outside world to help me through. My family, my boyfriend and his family and our friends have made it so much easier to be here. I wait every day for my regular visitors arrivals and I enjoy every minute of the few hours we get to spend together.
  But the rest of the hours, when my friends are at work, or just too plain busy with their own lives. The days my family truly has other things to do (which might I add, doesn't happen often - they tend to set it aside to make an appearance here. I can never express my gratitude for that). The days that the sun just doesn't quite reach through my window, I some how know I am not alone. There has become comfort in these halls, a place I have been terrified of my whole life. There has become a friend in faces that 7 weeks ago were strangers. There are hugs from people I once walked past and cowered from, because doctors and nurses were scary.

  Inpatient is on the list of the hardest things I have ever done. Being that I am on the brink of becoming a parent to two, I know this is only the beginning of hard things. But, not only did I find friends here who will have helped me through this 8 week experience, and continue to give me support as we lead up to the scariest part (the actual birth!), I know I have found friends who I can count on long after I am no longer a patient. Long after my babies leave the NICU for home and begin to grow into little boys. Long after I am hauling around this baby weight! And long after postpartum depression is only a memory.

  I am so thankful for my inpatient experience. To every mono/mono mom-to-be out there on the brink of entering the hospital for their stay, I can only say I wish you an experience as wonderful as mine has been. The sleepless nights, the terrible food, the noisiness, the terrifying screams from other rooms, the confinement, the loss of privacy, the stressful monitoring and tests and scans, the need for fresh air, the lonely nights (either alone or staring at your partner sleeping on the even more uncomfortable "dad bed"), all of it. May you experience it all, but may you also experience what I have - a new understanding for the medical profession and exactly what it means to be a part of it. May you find friends in the wonderful people who work 12 hours shifts and often more,  to be sure you and your babies are safe. Those who are paid to do a job, but choose to also be a friend.

  So as this chapter nears it's end (8 more days til delivery!) I remember that sometimes the toughest experiences bring about the biggest joys. In this case, the joy I have received doesn't begin and end with my beautiful babies to be - it involves so much more.
Every time I see those children's faces, I will be reminded of what it took to get them here, and all the people who were involved in supporting us to get them here! And I will (some how) find even more reasons to be thankful.