A letter to my boys

Before your sister arrives….

Dear Andrew and David:

I have been thinking about this letter for a while now. I get choked up even thinking about it. I’m not really sure what to even say, exactly, but THANK YOU.

**Thank you for sticking in my womb when I wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen. It was beyond scary and exciting to know you both were in there.

**Thank you for growing in my womb amazingly the entire 34 weeks we spent intimately together. We didn’t have one major complication besides an early birth.

**Thank you for trusting me (and your daddy) to take care of you in the most scariest days of our life after you were born.

**Thank you for forgiving me when I was suffering from postpartum depression/anxiety and didn’t know if I could do this. Sometimes I still don’t.

**Thank you for teaching me how to overcome some of the hardest and darkest days of my life. I am stronger now because of you.

**Thank you for smiling at me even when I don’t feel like I deserved it.

**Thank you for loving me after I painfully have to discipline you.

**Thank you for your strength and relentless spirits because I know one day those will drive you to reach whatever dreams you have in your life.

**Thank you for being my first babies, my hearts. I will always treasure this time we’ve had together before your sister.

**Thank you for being born together. Watching you together is something magical. A privilege. You will make amazing older brothers.

Thank you for it all. The good, bad, and ugly that has come because of our new adventure as a family. I want you to know that no matter what happens in the next few weeks, you are my boys, my hearts, and the loves of my life. I have learned so much from you in the past 3 years that I ever could have imagined (and we are only beginning).

Just please continue to be patient with me (and your daddy). We have absolutely no idea what we are doing but we know we love you.

 

With all of my heart,

Mommy

The Fear Inside

Although I already have two children, the fear of what life will be like with the next one is very real. When I think about it, it seems silly. I mean, we did start this whole parenthood thing off with a bang by having twins but THEY ARE MY FIRST BORN. Nothing changes that feeling with your first born child(ren). Just like any mother of one child (I’m speculating here because quite honestly, it’s very hard for me to relate to singleton mothers), I do have fears of my own of how we will handle this situation or that situation with a new human in the house.

Many people have told us going from 2 to 3 children is not that bad because we had twins first and in the same breath we have had many others tell us going from 2 to 3 children is the hardest transition. You’re OFFICIALLY OUTNUMBERED – 3 kids and 2 adults. Oh and more recently someone with triplets told us we are having triplets the “hard way” because they (our soon-to-be 3 kids) are so close in age. GREAT!

LONG side note: The only reason I would say that last comment might be legit is because it came out of the mouth of a seasoned triplet mom (hers are 24 years old); however, most of the time, if you don’t ACTUALLY have twins, triplets and beyond, saying that or anything else you deem as helpful to another parent of multiples usually just makes you look ignorant. My favorite comment from when the boys were younger was “Oh, we sort of know what it’s like to have twins. Our kids are 18 months apart.”

NEWSFLASH and PSA: THAT’S NOT EVEN CLOSE TO THE SAME. So, if you have been saying that to parents of multiples, please stop. Most likely you’ve irritated the hell out of them and we proceeded to make fun of you at our club meetings over wine. Okay, so the last part MAY not be true but just STOP. Please.

Okay back on track now.

I honestly have no idea what life will be like adding a little one to this crazy bunch already. But I do know stretching myself that. much. more. scares the sh*t out of me. Will I be adequate enough to meet the boys needs and hers? Will the boys learn to adapt and eventually, welcome their sister? How much longer will I need to live in toddler hell over this? Mentally, I know things will work itself out. Emotionally, that’s hard for me to see and understand. The battle between the heart and the head is so tough right now.

Oddly enough, when I take a step back, I realize that I had the exact same fears (or pretty close) when I was pregnant with the twins. You just don’t really know what exactly will happen and that is scary (especially for someone with OCD tendencies, according to my therapist). However, even though I had these similar fears with the twins, these fears seem so much bigger. When the twins were in utero, it was Nick, me and Dakota. So while I was obsessively reading up on how to transition your dog to new children in the house, this time it effects these little humans we love so dearly. I don’t want to rock their world but I know this little lady will and I think, while I know it will get better, that will hurt my heart in the beginning.

Meanwhile, while we wait for the little miss to make her presence, this week has been especially tough. Since my rendezvous at the hospital on Sunday, I haven’t been feeling very good AT ALL. I feel like an 18 wheeler ran over my body, several times. It’s like having the flu-like symptoms without the fever part. It sucks. I’m literally unable to move for a good chunk of the day. Luckily, the boys are in “summer school” 3 days a week from 9-1:30 and nap when they get home. Luckily my mom can take them and bring them home. Yesterday (Tuesday), my mom picked them up at 11 and they stayed at her house until Nick and I got there for dinner. {INSERT MOM GUILT} I really haven’t seen or interacted much with the boys this week because of their schedule and my total lack of energy. That sucks! My time with only them is dwindling and I feel like POOP. {INSERT THE TERRIBLE MOM COMPARISON} I am not like all these moms I see on social media working out and looking fabulous. I get more “you look tired” read “you look like sh*t then “you look great”. Or my favorite this time around had been “Do the doctors think she’ll come early?” Really?! REALLY! Read instead “you look huge”.

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Honestly, people don’t hardly ever say the right things to pregnant women. And those people should really revisit the whole GOLDEN RULE thing. Seriously.

Back to the mom comparison, I know I shouldn’t compare but it’s just life. I truly wish I could do what some of these moms do like WORKOUT. #fitmomma or #pregnantfitness makes me want to barf these days. It’s only my jealousy and envy about my situation. (Don’t get your panties in a knot about it if it applies to you. I’m genuinely happy you can do what you do. I’m just spewing here.) I wish my body didn’t blow the hell up when I’m pregnant but that’s just not in the cards for me. I’m pregnant EVERYWHERE. It’s just how my body responds. I wish I didn’t have every (small but potentially scary) complication in the book this time. I wish I didn’t deal with pre-partum depression and anxiety but I do. I wish I wasn’t scared shitless of being a complete basket case (read: PPD) after this baby comes (again). And honestly, I wish I enjoyed pregnancy but I don’t. I wish things could be different but they aren’t. That’s not my journey.

Instead my journey seems rough but I know I’m not alone. I know women suffer like me but they suffer in silence. Maybe not about anxiety and depression but maybe so. All I can say to you, the you that understands this but scared to speak up, is to get help. Talk to your spouse or significant other. Talk to your family. And seek out a professional.

I’ve made deliberate steps during this pregnancy to take care of my mental health. It’s not perfect, not even close. Just today, I asked my doctor to be placed back on medication. I haven’t been on anything since we started fertility treatments with this pregnancy and these past weeks have shown me I needed something else. This past week alone, something shifted in me, chemically, and I can’t shake it. I’m WORN OUT. Again, my body is changing rapidly and chemically it’s effecting me. And while I’m more on the anxiety side then the depressed side of things, it’s depressing to literally not be able to move. It’s physically taxing for me to take care of my boys. It’s so terrible. I absolutely 100% hate it! But I know it’s temporary. I know the instant she is born, my body will feel such a sense of relief in some ways – it did the last time. Praise Jesus.

And while I feel all sorts of overwhelming emotions during this tail end of the pregnancy I feel secure that I have put tools in place to help me do this better this time around. Tools I didn’t make time for the first time around. And I should have. Because I needed them. I’ve spent the last 14 months working through junk I needed to while I was pregnant the first time. It’s exhausting but necessary. It’s amazing how my children have reprioritized my life. And even more amazing how much more confidence I have in bouncing back from a fall, whenever it happens. Because it will. Yes, good mental health is good for me but it’s even better for my husband and babies.

So, while I have no idea what the future brings for us, I’ll be okay. I’m as ready as I’m going to be so bring it on.

 

Kicking the fear inside one day at a time,

Rachel

The NICU

Part 2

***Side note: This one is a long one. It’s taken me awhile to write this post because of its vulnerable content. Reliving these moments are bittersweet. But it’s the bitter I hate to be reminded of. I’m reliving it because I need to for myself, for my daughter, for my boys and especially for my husband. I need to get this out because if we have to go through this again, I need to remind myself that we survived. That we are strong. And that we will be okay. We will all be okay.***

The next 12 hours after the boys were born were some of my worst (so I thought at the time). When you have a c-section, they insert a catheter to make sure your bladder empties appropriately. Well, mine wasn’t. All I kept asking for was this thing to be removed so I could see the boys. Now yes, I could have been wheeled down while the catheter was in but it was SO UNCOMFORTABLE! I wanted it out and I wanted to see the boys. And these nurses don’t waste any time teaching you how to pump for your milk. I got no sleep that night. I was up every 2-3 hours pumping away. Nick was checking on the babies. It was crazy. I literally felt like I was in a twilight zone just moving and doing but not really processing what was happening.

My block was wearing off by the early morning so it was getting pretty annoying. My night nurse was really less than helpful. It wasn’t until the morning shift of nurses that they discovered I didn’t have the proper locking on my leg so the catheter was pinched and therefore I couldn’t go. By the time the nurses had discovered this, I had already had 2 bags of IV fluids in me and had drunk a ton of water. My stomach was hurting so bad. I thought it was from my incision but nope – it was my bladder on the verge of bursting. Once they figured this out, I was fine! I could PEE! Praise the Lord!

**Side note: I loved my hospital minus the catheter experience. Who would like that anyway?**

I was so anxious to see the boys. Nick had been going to the NICU all night long, bringing me back pictures, but I needed to see them. I needed to know they were okay with my own eyes. Leaving my hospital room for the first time, headed to the NICU, was when I realized a little more how my birth experience was going to change me. I was surrounded by a bunch of new moms who had their babies in their rooms. I could hear them. The babies. Crying. Being with their mothers and fathers. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, I guess. It’s not like they have a wing dedicated to freshly cut open NICU parents who have no idea what’s going on or what will happen. I envied them and I didn’t know it. I actually hated them if I’m going to be honest. Why did they get to have that experience and I had mine? How was that fair? I may still hate them.

Although the boys were breathing on their own, they were temporarily placed in a level 3 NICU pod. This meant that they were with much sicker babies then they were. Talk about a humbling experience. And slightly scary. Have you ever seen a baby with spina bifida? We did. At the time, that mom looked so strong to me. And I’m sure she was. You have to be in the NICU – there’s not really another choice. But her strength came from a long time of being there. It’s not exactly a strength I wanted if that was the price I paid for it.

 

I was terrified. We were terrified.  We just had two babies that now needed hospital care for, God knows, how long and now we had to make decisions for them, medical decisions for them. The boys were born late Friday evening and the hospital had them on a feeding tube essentially giving them nutrients until my milk came in. By Sunday or Monday (this is a tad hazy) I could tell the boys were HUNGRY. Their calm demeanor shifted and I could tell. I wanted my babies fed and it didn’t matter to me HOW. It never really did matter to me but I was going with the flow (haha no pun intended) and trusting the nurses and doctors knew what they were talking about. There was one thing I knew for sure by Sunday (or Monday) – they were hungry and they had to gain weight to leave the NICU and waiting for my milk to come in wasn’t going to help.

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Something inside of me shifted when the boys became hungry. I could tell something was different with them and with me. That MOM instinct was kicking in. We waited for the doctor team to come to the NICU. Umm wow. Another crazy experience. Here a lead doctor comes in and assesses each baby MEDICALLY. I capitalize this because it was so STERILE and NOT PERSONAL. They don’t come alone either – like 10 other people, doctors in training, join in. It’s a big teaching hospital in the Med Center so I understand but it was nuts. I don’t blame them for their sterility (is that what I mean to say here?) but as a first time parent, fresh into the NICU, it was overwhelming, to say the least. Now, my hospital is great – BREAST IS BEST – BLAH BLAH BLAH. I get it. And it’s great and all. I was pumping and giving them what I could when I could but there’s not time for that shit in the NICU. No time when my babies were hungry. No time to wait. And definitely not a time to be prideful. Every calorie counted. Every ounce of energy the boys wasted on being hungry and upset burned calories. And if you burn calories without getting very many, you lose weight. Not good. **If you disagree with me, fine. I’m not about to get in a boob war with you about it.**

I was still overwhelmed about all that was going on but the NURSE in the pod helped me voice my opinion for the first time. She helped me voice my mothers instinct. What I would have done without that nurse, I do NOT know. Nor am I glad I never found out (I hope that makes sense. My emotions are hard to sift through here). I essentially had to DEMAND them to start feeding the boys formula (GASP!). My boys got put on a feeding regimen and they instantly changed. I still pumped and began producing some milk that I split between them throughout their stay there. But overall, FED IS BEST.

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Nick and I spent as much time as possible with the boys between my medication times and my own check ups. We did kangaroo time as much as we could. The problem with skin-to-skin with a premie is that sometimes it can hurt more than help. In our case, the boys had a hard time regulating their body temperature so initially we couldn’t hold them for long periods of time. **We would go through cycles of this through our time in the NICU.**

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It wasn’t long until the boys were moved to a level 2 NICU room that they shared. This was definitely a privilege for them to share a room. This was one of the reasons we were in the level 3 initially – waiting on a room. I couldn’t imagine spending my days split between rooms. It was hard enough going back and forth between mine and theirs. It was nice to see them together. **They never were actually together (side by side) until their first night home. That was weird for me since they had spent their entire lives to that point in the same location.**

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When you’re in the NICU you learn about all the noises. Oh so many beeps and alarms that sometimes mean scary things and other times it means a lead was dislodged by the baby kicking. It’s absolutely incredible how closely these babies are monitored. And it’s absolutely terrifying hearing all the beeps and alarms (until you become numb to them).

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Then the day came.

I was to be discharged. I don’t think I could have dreaded that day more than the funeral of someone I love dearly. But it came and I couldn’t imagine not being in the same hospital with them and commuting to the hospital daily. I didn’t want to “leave them” at night without being super close by. The nurses were wonderful – they let us stay as long as we possibly could in our room and luckily they didn’t need the room urgently. They knew the hardest thing we were about to do was about to happen. They were kind and thoughtful but we still had to do it. By the late afternoon, we made our last visit to the NICU as residents of the hospital. Even though we were going to return the next day (and however many days following) our hearts smashed in a million pieces when we left that hospital…. childless.

I have never been more sad in my life to leave the hospital without my babies. This was NOT how I pictured it. This is NOT what I wanted. THIS WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. I wasn’t supposed to spend the drive home from the hospital with my husband looking at empty car seats and listening to each other cry. Because we both cried, we both broke that day, we both didn’t know what would happen or how we would manage whatever was to come. We both went numb.

The following days were hard – REALLY DAMN HARD. I would sleep on our couch because I just couldn’t imagine coming to bed – a bed where I spent 34 weeks holding my stomach and feeling them move inside of me. It wasn’t right. I cried a lot in those days. My heart literally ached. I woke up early to pump and I would call the nurses around 6:30am every day (before the shift change) to speak with the night nurse. I would obsessively write down their vitals and weight and then asked whatever questions I needed to that morning. My mom usually came to take me to the hospital (I was on driving restrictions because of the surgery and medication) and I would sit in their room for 10 hours a day or longer. My sister would visit during her lunch hours and spend time learning how to be an aunt. She worked in the Med Center so it was nice to be with family when they could come. Nick would come towards the end of his work day and we would go home together. My heart would leap at the sight of them every morning and shatter every night as we walked to our car. Nick told me one time my demeanor just changed as we walked further away from the NICU and he was right. Every day I relived leaving them. Every day my heart broke. Every day it was mended again. It was a horrible cycle.

Overall, we were lucky – the boys only spent 15 days in the NICU and both came home on the same day. Compared to the other NICU residents, it was a short period of time. Talk to my heart and it shouldn’t have ever happened. We had a few ups and downs. That’s simply how the NICU is – a constant roller coaster. It’s a roller coaster I never want to be on again. It’s a ride I wish NO one would have to take.

But we are stronger for it. In hindsight, I was able to heal much better from the c-section before the boys came home. And when they came home, I needed to be the best I could be since they were premies and TWINS! I learned, we learned, so much about caring for our babies. I knew quite a bit but it helped Nick be a more confident dad as he learned from the nurses. It helped us learn about being a parental team to our boys.

**The nurses. They turn scared parents into confident ones. They are vital to the growth and strength of the moms and dads that walk in and out of that place. They are the reason we can care for our children and continue to do so well after the NICU.**

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Despite the hindsight, I would like for this experience to be my only one. I’m praying this girl stays in a few weeks longer.

 

But if she doesn’t, we will be okay.

 

We will all be okay.

Rachel

 

 

The Boys Birth Story

Part 1

Goodness, where has the summer gone? I feel like this pregnancy is FLYING by so fast and I barely have time to think. Between growing and dealing with all the complications of this pregnancy and trying to survive the twins, I haven’t had much down time. However, when I do reflect I realize all that I truly think about is the week the boys were born and the NICU. That week in my pregnancy is fast approaching and it floods me with good and painful memories.

To give you a little back story, my twin pregnancy was so HARD on my body – I can’t even describe the aches and pains that I went through. But honestly, it was really uncomplicated until the end when the boys decided it was time to meet us. I will never forget that week.

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It was a Monday and I was just over 33 weeks pregnant (see above picture). I taught my classes at Fort Bend Christian (Yes, I was still teaching full-time. Mostly, sitting down.) but I wasn’t feeling great. My swelling in my legs was so terrible and I was starting to get consistent headaches so my doctor had me come in for an unscheduled appointment. I was a little nervous but any extra appointments I had usually resulted in NOTHING. Do you know how frustrating that is? I mean, sure, I was happy nothing was wrong but then how do you fix whatever XYZ was going on. Oh wait, you can’t! Because it’s “JUST PREGNANCY.” I almost slapped a nurse one time when she told me it was “JUST PREGNANCY.” 😡

Anyway, my doctor wasn’t sure about sending me home so in an INSTANT I wasn’t allowed to work anymore and I was sent to the hospital to be monitored. I was there from Monday evening to late Wednesday. The babies were fine but they did give me steroid shots in case they decided to come early. Talk about stressful and scary. My blood pressure was on a roller coaster so I was sent home with instructions to not get worked up, relax as much as possible and check my blood pressure 4X a day. My labs were also clear of signs of being preeclamptic so there wasn’t a HUGE worry for the doctors. But I was having twins and the likelihood of delivering early was high.

It was terrible for me. If you know me, you know that being YANKED out of my routine did not sit well with me. Inside I was FREAKING OUT. I was freaking out about how I left work, what the new sub would be like, and how I was going to cope with semi-bed rest at home. It was not fun.

To make matters worse, on Thursday night, Nick and I woke up to our dog bleeding from her butt. I don’t know how else to say that. It looked like a CSI crime scene in our house. I was so emotional and huge and tired that I just cried and cried. I thought she was dying. Well, that didn’t help my blood pressure. My sister and her boyfriend had to come and calm me down (they live in the Heights) while Nick rushed her to the pet emergency. It was awful! She ended up being fine but the stress from the last few days took a toll on her too! Poor thing.

Needless to say, Nick and I were happy the weekend was upon us and we could just do nothing but rest. Nick got home from work and I was doing my usual peeing for the millionth time that day and complaining about my heartburn. He came in the bathroom and said “Man, I really would like some scotch and do nothing.” I said “That’s great. I think something just came out of me. I think we need to go back to the hospital.” Nick’s reaction to this was COLORFUL. He was so tired and I didn’t blame him – I was tired too! Now this was my first pregnancy so I had NO IDEA what was what. Or what should be coming out or not. LOL! Turns out my mucus plug had come out. I called the nurse and my friend Jane and they both said it could be a few days before anything but I definitely was waiting for labor. GREAT! Well, shortly after that, and I MEAN SHORTLY, my water broke.

Seriously!?! That week we could have made a ton of money on reality TV – you can’t make this up. 

We got ready to go to the hospital and made arrangements for some friends to get our dog. We had no idea what to expect. We were first time parents and we definitely didn’t think we would be having babies THAT DAY! We were so wrong.

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(The picture above is what I took that morning we had the twins). We got to the Labor and Delivery in the hospital and I checked in. I mean I couldn’t even sit down! It was like a typhoon water party in my pants. I was freaking out inside and I felt like we were waiting FOREVER to get taken back in to triage. I mean, I was 34 weeks pregnant – TO THE DAY – and had just been in the hospital earlier that week. It’s a twin pregnancy, pre-term, and my water just broke. I was a first time mom and for all I knew the babies weren’t in their water and suffocating inside of me. Y’all, I was FREAKING OUT! You would think there would be a sense of urgency but whatever. I’m sure the reality was that time was moving so slow for Nick and I because we were scared and had no idea what was actually happening or if the babies were okay.

Once we got back there they tested me for amniotic fluid and sure enough, we got a positive test. The doctor came in and said, “Well, looks like you’re going to be having some babies today.” Ummm excuse me. “TODAY?!” “TONIGHT?!” “LIKE IN THE NEXT 6 HOURS?!” Nick and I were shocked nonetheless. It was 6 weeks early. It was too soon. We weren’t ready. (PS No one is ever ready for a child. Much less twins. Ever.)

We didn’t have much of a choice. The boys were coming. Actually we were already a planned c-section so having a c-section wasn’t bothering me. I had eaten just a little bit before the hospital so we had to WAIT until closer to midnight to have the twins. Well, being that my husband is super intelligent and creative, he asked the doctor if we could have one born on October 2nd and the other born on October 3rd since it would be so close to midnight. Yep. I’m not lying. He totally asked. I actually thought it was funny but would have been so cool. The doctor wasn’t impressed. LOL!

So we waited. And waited. Watched some Criminal Minds or CSI, I can’t really remember.

I got up to pee (AGAIN). And then we waited. Continued Criminal Minds (or CSI) and we were getting really into it until…..

A nurse came in and checked the heart rates of the boys. Baby A’s (Andrew’s) heart had plummeted for too long. What was a calm at 9:30-9:45PM INSTANTLY turned into some of the scariest moments of my life. In a SECOND, I think about 10 people entered my room. One flipped me to my side and got the baby stable, someone through oxygen on my face, another started prepping me for surgery (I HAD NEVER BEEN MORE EXPOSED IN MY LIFE), the anesthesiologist started shoving antacids down my throat between me breathing and no one was really talking to us. I just stared at Nick (who was trying to keep his cool). He did a great job not freaking out in front of me but that moment was terrifying.

Because the boys were stable, they were able to get me to the OR and ready for the surgery. I remember walking into the room and looking at this SKINNY table they wanted me to lay on. I mean, PEOPLE, it looked like they were asking me to lay on a 2 by 4 piece of wood. I was HUGE! And if I did lay on it, I was sure I would have snapped it in half. Once they convinced me the table would hold, Nick was back with me and it felt like forever for the surgery to begin. I was having trouble breathing because of the numbing block they put in my back but I was trying not to freak out. I mean, they were cutting open my guts…. the last thing I needed to do was have a panic attack on the table. Plus, I was worried that if I couldn’t breathe they would knock me out and I wouldn’t hear the boys so I just “remained calm.”

By 10:31PM Andrew James was born (4lbs 6oz) screaming his little booty off. He was NOT happy. He was the reason for all this mess in the first place. By 10:33PM David Edward (5lbs 4oz) was born sleepy. David wasn’t ready to join us. In fact, the doctor had to reach her arm into my uterus to grab him because he wasn’t cooperating. The fact that he wasn’t really crying was scary but it didn’t last long. Both boys were fantastic. We had two teams from the NICU and the lead doctor tell us they were great. They were breathing well on their own but they were definitely headed to the NICU for monitoring. At the time, I didn’t know what that phrase would mean. In fact, I didn’t know how it would change me. But while I was there in the OR, a new parent, sliced open, I, at least, knew they would be safe. I got to see them for a split second to take a photo and that was it. To be honest, right after the procedure, I was having a hard time recovering (my entire body was shaking a lot) that I wouldn’t have been able to hold them right away. So it was a tiny blessing right after surgery. But I mean MICROSCOPIC tiny blessing. In reality, I wouldn’t be able to see my babies for over 12 hours but that’s for my next blog post.

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If you think about it, my entire week was full of trauma. The last 12 hours alone before they were born was enough for one person for their lifetime. So much to process in such little time. My brain was spinning. They were 6 weeks early. I was so lucky to have two healthy babies. We were so lucky. But there are no words to describe the anguish and emotional pain I went through after finally being released to my postpartum room WITHOUT my babies.

What we didn’t realize is that over the next few days and weeks before they were home it would be some of the worst days of our lives and it’s something no one can prepare you for.

 

Rachel

 

 

Independence

Our Country and My Toddlers

For some of you, this weekend means barbecues, family and friend gatherings, lakeside parties and much more. I’ve already seen so many pictures of fun summer activities happening among my virtual friends. We’ve spent some time outdoors but this swollen pregnant lady has been keeping it relatively low-key. There is nothing truly exciting about a holiday weekend since it’s usually coupled with a day or two off work, am I right?! 😊 But this weekend is so much more than that. And I’m pretty sure our Founding Fathers didn’t think this day would be coupled with so many summer activities or that Hobby Lobby would have stocked their shelves way back in March for this weekend. But I do believe they did their fair share of celebrating. I mean, why not celebrate going to war with one of the greatest countries in the world in 1776?!

Most people would mark the beginning of our country with the date of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 – hence the holiday. However, did you know that the Declaration of Independence wasn’t actually signed on July 4th – GASP! It was officially signed a month later on August 2nd. How incredible were these men to help 13 little colonies stand up to Great Britain? Pretty incredible and fearless. Doesn’t all this history of the Declaration make you want to watch Nicholas Cage’s National Treasure movie? I do! I love that movie! Haha!

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Do you remember what the fuss was about anyway? The 13 colonies were under the direction of Great Britain and wanted their INDEPENDENCE from the Mother Country. We went to war with a HUGE, fully stocked with weapons and soldiers, country. Hello! Talk about a death sentence! But these guys were united by the need for freedom against an oppressive motherland. Ummm anyone want to watch Mel Gibson’s The Patriot? Another one of my favorites! It’s much more complicated than that but hopefully that jogs your memory.

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In all seriousness, this holiday is important to me. Not just for my history heart but also for me personally. This year in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the subdivision of Banning Acres, they will be celebrating 50 years of their neighborhood 4th of July parade. I remember going to this parade at least one time, maybe a few times, growing up. My grandparents started this parade in their neighborhood and while my grandfather has recently moved out of the neighborhood and my grandmother is looking down from above, they are still doing the parade. I think that is so awesome. It’s so cool to have been apart of something lasting so long. I’m sure that’s why we, Americans, treasure this weekend. We have been apart of something huge for so long – even if we weren’t even alive. Many of us have ancestors connected to this special day or are here in this amazing country because of this day.

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I do believe it’s important to honor those who made a huge sacrifice for us in 1776 and, even though it might not cross your mind as a day to honor dudes like Thomas Jefferson, it is important to know our country is still growing and changing and figuring out who exactly we are. In the eyes of the world, we are mere toddlers!

For comparison sake and because I love Rome so very much, did you know Roman history dates back to BC which means that Rome has a history lasting over 2500 years old?! American history hasn’t even hit the 250 year mark. Roman history is 10 times older than ours! Just think about that! We are BABIES! Budding toddlers with, at times, an attitude problem. Learning how to voice our opinions and many times being put in time-out.

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Disclaimer: I’m not looking for a political debate nor do I even want to know if you like our current president. I had enough of that during the election.

In many ways, America reminds me of my Twinadoes. Andrew and David are becoming fearless when voicing their thoughts and opinions on things such as food or whether or not they would like to take a nap, go to bed or even share their toys. Many of times this results in screaming, yelling and even crying from them in protest. And we definitely have some time-outs! Our vacation was full of this part of parenting. 😫 Yet, somehow they survive and move on until the next hour when it happens again.

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It’s similar to today in America. Our Amazon, social media, and high-speed internet has brought us into a generation of instant gratification or bust type people. I’m guilty of it just like the next person but seeing it in our younger generation in the classroom might have scared the poop out of me. It’s like we are raising a generation of kids that really need a good spanking. Haha! Seriously! I’m sure the British felt the same way about these Americans in 1776 whining about their much-needed freedom. Why did the Americans need their freedom? Why now? I mean without the Motherland those colonists wouldn’t be there!

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But what does this really boil down to with our 1776 Americans, twinadoes and our current younger generation: INDEPENDENCE. Quite frankly, like the 1776 Americans, my boys are trying to become more independent with every push of the boundary; yet, like the current younger generation in this country, when told NO revert to their baby-self, not quite ready to be in the real world. Not quite ready to face what’s actually out there – which is a lot of NOs, by the way. Even some of our young adults in the real world, don’t get it. They might be too busy looking at all their participation trophies (okay, that was mean but so true) wondering why they can’t get it together or they are completely content with mediocrity (that’s even scarier).

But regardless, this need for independence is just ingrained in us. It’s who we are, not just as Americans, but as people. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (Declaration of Independence, 1776). These rights fuel our need for independence; encroach on that and you’ll see us kicking and screaming in the face of injustice. But we will be okay, we probably just need a nap. 😊

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Want to check out more cool facts that you may not have known about the Declaration of Independence? http://www.history.com/news/9-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-declaration-of-independence

Madison Grace

An update and her name

So since the whole Tulsa fiasco so much has gone on in our house so I will do my best to try to recap quickly! However, pregnant brain is REAL these days so I will do my best to remember! HA!

I will say there have been many highs and lows for sure. The boys are going through the “terrible twos” – I would rather call it “twin nuclear warfare” but it’s really whatever floats your boat. It’s probably the combination of my ever growing belly and the sense of change coming around the house and just GROWING UP, but OH MY GOODNESS I’m in no condition for warfare right now.

Since I last wrote, Nick and I had our first garage sale. That was fun and a long day. We didn’t make a ton but enough and best of all, we got RID of stuff! We donated quite a bit of what we didn’t sell to Goodwill. We will be trying to sell the rest of the stuff that we have at the Fort Bend Parents of Multiples Buy/Sell in August. I know, I know. So close to my due date but you can still dream. 🙂 If you haven’t ever come to the sale, you should! If you are a parent of ANY CHILD looking to not pay for clothes with your arm and leg – this is the place to be! There is so much there for new parents or even seasoned parents. It’s not just for parents of multiples and it’s open to the PUBLIC! Nick and I have gotten so many clothes for the boys there that would cost us HUNDREDS of dollars at any store. So if you want any information about where and when this takes place, LET ME KNOW!

 

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I also had another important doctor’s appointment with the Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists and my OB. It’s usually an exhausting week when I have those appointments – lots of emotions and uncertainty! If you missed my Facebook LIVE after my specialist appointment feel free to check it out! I was a bawling baby but I was so happy to know the sub-chronic hematoma was no longer visible. My last two appointments, I definitely had happy news. The only real thing lingering that won’t go away and could potentially get worse is my marginal cord insertion. However, at this point, the baby girl is growing great despite that!

The boys are also getting really fun. I wish it was not coupled with the nuclear warfare but it is what it is. It’s part of them figuring out what they can do and NOT do. But they are also so funny. I can’t wait to actually understand what they are saying. We are having a lot of conversation about many things, I’m sure.  Many times they say a TON and are super serious about it too. It’s so cute but also so comical. Ha ha!

Along with some major highs, I’ve definitely experienced some major lows. For me, it’s stress related (sometimes tears). I know having a girl growing inside of me has really rocked my world the last few weeks. The emotional roller coaster has been INSANE! I’m sure everyone around me has felt it. So I tried to relax in a bath and that was a disaster. Did you miss that post? Honestly, baths are stupid. I really don’t understand them. I KNOW I am not “doing them right” but how can one mess up bubbles and water? Plus, I’m so huge at this point, that my regular shower tub doesn’t allow for a full submersion that I probably needed. And apparently, I need a bath pillow. What is that anyway? I mean, these days, I sleep with at least 5 king sized pillows and my pregnancy pillow so you would think I would be all in for this bath tub pillow but that just seems weird to me. I tried to have fun (hence the boat picture) and “figure it out” but it didn’t work. I’ll probably try again in 5 years – that’s about how often I attempt these things.

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Next up is vacation! Ladies and gentlemen, that is for an entire blog post on it’s own! So stay tuned for a vacation post soon! I will say I have never been so exhausted from a vacation in my entire life.

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So, let’s get to the point of the point: Madison Grace Webking

Is it a family name? Nope. Unless there is something I don’t know.

How did you come up with the name? Frankly, Madison was named by her daddy. Nick and I had been thinking of names for awhile. Well, let me back up!

We were initially going to WAIT to find out the gender until delivery BUT when we had all the scary stuff happen at 16 weeks, my heart couldn’t take it. I needed to know in case, well, to be honest, in case we had to bury this baby. 

Fast forward. We liked Madison almost instantly. It was like love at first sight. It was awesome. But I was hesitant about liking her name so fast. I don’t know why. There is just one baby (unlike the last time) and so naming HER is so final to me. Nick and I had the names of the boys by mid-pregnancy BUT we didn’t actually name the boys until we saw them. I had an idea of who would take each name but I didn’t have to make that decision until we saw them! So this time it’s so different for me mentally. Anyway, it’s probably silly but it is what it is. Her middle name, Grace, honestly came from Google. Haha! We knew we wanted a shorter middle name because it just sounded better with Madison. We did have an initial list of names from when we were pregnant with the boys and had revisited it several times this pregnancy but nothing really stood out. Madison wasn’t even on the list. We came across Ryan, Kate and Grace and liked them all. We love Ryan for a girl or boy name but just didn’t work well with Madison – we thought. We were left with Kate and Grace. We were loving both. However, Grace was also a practical choice. Almost verbatim Nick says “I think we should pick Grace because we are going to need it when she comes.” So there you have it! Her beautiful name. I can’t wait to meet her.

Here’s to Madison Grace,

Rachel

P.S. Another blog post coming up are my thoughts on the NICU – lately my mind has been fearing the NICU experience again. So stay tuned. It’s coming soon.

While not in Tulsa…

So the week arrived that I was supposed to be heading to Tulsa with my book lady friends…. Can your heart just break into pieces every day and then recover only to do it all over again the next day? That’s sort of been my week. I have my moments of being totally consumed by the house “chores” I’ve lined up for myself and activities with the boys and then a post pops up on my newsfeed – well, let’s be real – it’s a lot of posts throughout the day. 😭 Anyway, I’m not going to lie, I’ve been throwing mini pity parties throughout the day, every day, this week. I don’t think I could be more excited for a Monday to roll around in my life. But then again, I’m sure it will be “at convention this” “at convention that” “I’m so grateful for convention”…. Sense my bitterness? I’m not hiding it – it totally sucks. Oddly enough, last week I had to reschedule my counseling session due to be sick last week…. When was it rescheduled? Oh just on Wednesday, the day I was supposed to BE IN TULSA – coincidence? Probably not. Did it help? Eh, I’m a work in progress. 😉

ANYWAY, while not in Tulsa I spent Wednesday moving furniture (sliding furniture) and creating a new desk area for myself. I was super inspired after my mom got me rolling on some ideas… I basically worked myself into not being able to walk by the end of the evening. I made a ton of progress though 🙌🏻. Creating a desk space was one of the biggest things on my list to check off. It’s pretty much done! It’s not completely what I envisioned BUT it uses the space well and I don’t have to get any new furniture. We converted our NEVER USED dining table and viola, a desk! As you can see, there is still work to do!

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Wednesday was also a day I realized how much I was missed at convention. I got some messages from some book lady friends saying they were thinking of me and wished I was there. It was super sweet. Bittersweet. But it’s nice to be missed. I specifically found it comical that one of them “brought me along with her.” Definitely thoughtful and hilarious. Let’s see where I have been so far….

Summer took me on a flight (from where? I don’t remember where she lives. Whoops.) I registered for convention with her. I hung out during leader day with some of the ladies. I even shopped at the More Store. I ended the night by having an amazing sangria. (CanNOT wait to get one of those in real life 😉). I think it’s super sweet she took the time to think of this. It’s truly touching! And funny! I even gave her some challenges to meet certain people I would have wanted to meet while I was there. Can’t wait to see if she can do it!

Alright so Thursday, I was basically useless. My body HURT from all my Wednesday avoidance activities. So my mom came over and took the boys out of the house for a few hours. 🙌🏻 They had lunch with Mimi and Papa at Chilis while I ran some errands (baby free!), got my nails done (deluxe and extras included) and hit the Jason’s Deli drive thru to eat lunch on the couch. The boys came home and took a 2 hour nap! 👏🏻👏🏻 It was a pretty glorious day.

I will say that the swelling in my legs – specifically in my ankles and feet – are on the rise. It’s pretty painful and tingles every step. I had this issue with the boys and it significantly got worse after a plane ride to Ohio when I was 25 weeks. Now I’m almost 28 weeks and having this issue again with the girl, I’m sort of thankful for avoiding a plane ride or a long drive. Only SORT OF! 😊

TODAY: We decided to take a pool day. We are going on a small mini vacation to Bastrop with the family (instead of the week long one to Gulf Shores) – my dad rearranged everything for us. How awesome is that? Pretty awesome. So, today’s pool day was to see how the boys would do in the water and what they would need to be safe in it. They loved the water but it was a bit overwhelming for everyone – no worries, Mimi was with us.

So despite my roller coaster of pity parties, I’ve had a pretty good week. The house is getting more put together for the arrival of the baby girl and I’ve been spending some good time with the boys. They are getting more and more fun everyday!

So while it completely sucks I’m not in Tulsa getting all the book lady goodness, I’m okay. I’m OKAY. Everyone is OKAY. The world around us is OKAY. Yes, I’m bitter. But I’m OKAY. And ultimately, at this stage of my pregnancy, I wouldn’t have been able to handle that plane ride or drive. HOWEVER, I am excited to get some time away soon.

So I’ve learned, while not in Tulsa, I’m okay. (Do you think I’ve convinced myself of this yet? 😉) There are much more important things going on for us right now. And more important things for me to mentally deal with. So I’m here, trying to enjoy my extra moments I was given with my boys because I know I’ll never get them back. ❤️

Here’s to not being in Tulsa,

Rachel