Wednesday, November 6, 2013

364 Days

It has been 364 days since the boys have come into this world, I can’t help but to think back on just how far we have come and grown together in the past almost year. I can’t help but think about where we were just a year ago, and what the next 48-72-96 hours brought us. To be completely honest, it’s a mixture of emotions. Thankfulness, anxiety, sadness, happiness, pride, humbleness, I could go on and on and on.

I’m so thankful, truly thankful for my MFM with whom I had the appointment with on November 7th.  I honestly know without a doubt in my mind, that had I not been monitored by the team of MFMs that I had last year, that I would be in an entirely different place than I am right now. It’s truly not something I want to dwell on, or really think about. But I am so grateful for them. I’m thankful for the NICU staff that the boys were cared for by, and that at times we were cared for by. I’ve never meet people who were more wonderful than I did during our time in the NICU. It truly takes an amazing person to by a NICU nurse or a neonatologist or a specialist who cares for these tiny babies, and I truly know from the depths of my heart that these people are truly one of the greatest blessings God has given us. I know that our primary NICU nurse was sent to us just by Him. During a time where we had no family nearby to rely on, He sent us her to care for our babies, and care for us. She went above and beyond anything anyone did for us. Reminding us to eat and care for ourselves, to talk with one another, being a shoulder to simply cry on. And calling me out on the bitch of PPD, and when I tried to say “things happen for a reason I suppose” she was the only person who called the BS card. “Things don’t happen for a reason, they just happen and it SUCKS and it isn’t fair but you don’t have a choice, you just get through it. It doesn’t mean its pretty, or that its easy, but you treck on. And it SUCKS” I adored her for saying that, for being honest with us and protecting us all at the same time. She is hands down the reason why H didn’t have brain surgery, without a doubt. Every mL of cerebral fluid she pulled from a lumbar tap prevented what I know my heart couldn’t of handled. Our other Primary nurse was the reason L’s NEC didn’t get far enough to require surgery, and in the early days she just sat with H when I was pumping or getting medicine or with L, and watched his Oxygen levels. Her bluntness, and reassurance and motherness warmed our hearts. If she hadn’t been so adamant on watching his belly measurements with every diaper change, and paying attention to his stool – who knows how long it would of gone before the NEC was discovered.

I still have quite a bit of anxiety thinking about the day the boys were born, the events that occurred, the total 180 that life spun at us. Becoming a parent and making the decision to become a parent never prepares you for this, once that decision has been made your practically handing over your life to the point where you don’t have much control over it and it can do a 180 at any given moment. It can be with a labor and delivery, or it can be when your five year old little boy decides to climb a tree and breaks his arm. Everything is dropped to bring him to the ER and make him feel better. Everything dropped for me that morning during the appointment. A lot of anxiety, I believe, has to do with the fact that everything went from being okay, to hearing “Sometimes babies are safer and grow better on the outside, you did a great job, now we just need to get them out and help them grow.”  Completely panic ridden. I couldn’t even control the tears, I couldn’t bear to look at Erik. I felt like I had failed them, and like I had failed Erik. After changing into my hospital gown, things got a bit – well crazy. I went from hearing, lay on your side, to the MFM being called because the nurses couldn’t find a heartbeat for either baby, to being told that I would receive the steroid shot and another 24 hours later to being told I am going to OR in 5 minutes. It was a lot of confusion, and I honestly believe I just went into shock, my brain shut down. Looking back, I can’t say that I blame it for doing so.

The sadness stems from recovering and not hearing how the boys were doing, just laying there and then being wheeled into the post partum rooms past women who have their babies and here I was with empty arms, listening to the sweet cries at night while I pumped every 3 hours - THAT was torture.  Nothing could of prepared me for the feeling of my heart shattering as we drove away from the hospital with empty arms, no cars eats and no happy family. I literally felt like I was dying, my heart was shattered into millions of tiny pieces. The drive to the NICU was far too long – always, and the phone calls in the middle of the night were never quite helpful enough. BUT happiness and pride overshadows the sadness and anxiety that I feel – at least most days (given PPD doesn’t rear her ugly face).

The day that Hayden came home and joined us brother was the best day. I was so excited to have both boys home and to not have to split my time between the two. Those 5 days were HARD. I wanted to be in the NICU with Hayden but I also wanted to be home with Liam too. Needless to say we had to take turns, but I couldn’t help but be sad that both my babies weren’t home. It was a bit of a blessing though, to have one home and not the other. It gave us a bit of time to find bottles that actually worked and get used to being a parent full time. Bringing Hayden home to join us was amazing, I felt so complete. Seeing them grow from 3lbs to 5lbs and then 10lbs and now 17(ish) is amazing. Watching them reach milestones that I thought they would be more delayed on is truly on of God’s greatest gifts. Seeing them enjoy the food I make warms my heart. Watching them play together and explore their surroundings is by far the best reassurance in the world. It melts my heart watching them giggle while playing together. Being discharged and cleared from Neurosurgery was another great accomplishment. These two little boys have proven to me just how strong, how very, very strong the human spirit is. That no matter how small we are, it doesn’t determine how big the fight we have within us is. They have taught me so much this past year. I’m so proud of their accomplishments – proud of how far they have came. From needing help breathing and eating to walking, babbling and eating everything in sight, all within a year - a whole 365 days. Now, that is nothing short of amazing. I’m so proud of them, and proud of what an amazing father Mr. H is, and how amazing of a husband he is – even when I’m not at my best. This year, has certainly been one for the books that’s for sure.

I’ve been so humbled this past year, with the outpouring support we’ve been given. Mrs. Kathy, our post partum doula has been there for us for so, so much. To simply come and help me care for the boys, bringing over dishes (as well as the amazing parish members who brought us food in the early days too!), to helping fold laundry and helping me understand and grow into my new role of being a mom. To all of our family that has traveled to see us, to the gifts that have been sent for the boys. To all of the prayers, for health for the boys and us, and even the kind gestures from those whom I have never even meet. It’s absolutely humbling and gives me hope that the boys will grow up in a society where they can be humble and kind and giving people without getting walked all over.
When I was told that the first year was the hardest, I believed it – and it was the hardest. There were so many changes, so much newness, so much fear and so many hormones. While I certainly had quite a few bad days, and while things didn’t always go as planned – there was so much happiness. Sure – things take quite a bit more planning and effort now but it is so worth it. When I found out we were expecting twins in May of 2012 I was terrified and full of doubt. But now – I know that God gave me these two precious miracles because he knew I would figure it out and run with it. It hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure, but it has been so rewarding. I wish that someone would of told me that this first year is the hardest – but that it is also the most humbling, amazing year as well.

I’m hoping that tomorrow, while I might shed a few tears – especially when we visit our primary nurse at the NICU – that I will also remember to celebrate. Celebrate how much our family has grown, celebrate how much both Mr. H and I have grown as parents, and to most importantly celebrate how far the boys have come and how much happiness they have brought us.

There are moments that mark your life. Moments when you realize nothing will ever be the same and time is divided into two parts, before this and after this” – Unknown.

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