Long Day...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

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It's been a long day. Heck, it's been a long weekend!

Maya's gums are making her quite the irritated peanut! I was out at 11pm on Friday getting some baby orajel, of which I'm not a fan, but nothing was working. By the time I got home, tubes in tow, she had passed out on Peter's chest and, amazingly slept all night. But, right now, she is "talking" up a storm and telling us how pissed off she is.

In happier (and mama-crying) news, Maya took her first supported steps on Saturday. We were in our home library, having some play time, and Peter was holding Bobby. I was holding Maya, who was supporting her own weight (with me there just for balance) and she decided she wanted her brother. So she took 3 steps before her little knees buckled. Wow. They will be 6 months old in 10 days and it just hit me at that moment how big they are getting. And, of course, I cried.
We had a busy weekend, full of a party (yesterday) and company today. Sarah, who moved into a condo in December, had a housewarming/divorce/Sarah2.0 party. The kids seemed to love it too, and eventually took a nightnight on Aunt Sarah's bed with mommy. Today, some friends of my inlaws came to visit the babies. I got to play in the kitchen and it was a good time. But I am crashed. I am so ready for a nap!

I've got a lot on my mind these days and will write about it soon... When there is more time than I have at the moment...

Playing Catch Up

Thursday, February 25, 2010

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So... Before today, I hadnt really blogged in over a week. It was liberating in the sense that I was so busy that I couldnt even think straight, but it was also sad because I missed reading up on everyone. I've missed pregnancy announcements and heartbreaks. When I lamented to Peter that I was missing everyone, he says "Read LFCA, that's like blog cliffnotes..." Not so much, honey, but I was impressed that he knows what LFCA is!

As many of you know, sweet Terri and her family visited for Bobby and Maya's Christening. Terri was my maid of honor and we've been through many ups and downs together. She posted about two of the funniest (and, in one case, scariest) things of the weekend. Read her Mallomars entry first, and then the Rocking Horse one. Oh my goodness... And that was within the first 6 hours of their visit! We'll be visiting Tennessee in June, and I cant wait to see her and her family again.

Things have been crazy here. I missed another weekly gym goal. I'm sad about that, but I had good reasons. People were visiting and in one case, Maya had puked all over Peter, herself, the couch, you name it. So, I changed her and bathed her, and she was fine. But when I went to dress her, she freaked. So, I ended up kangarooing her all night. One night, Bobby was just very clingy and would cry whenever I put him down or gave him to Peter. The teething is taking its toll on both babies. I know it will end soon, but my heart goes out to them.

They are growing like weeds. I have no weight check, but will next week at their (gulp) 6 month appointment. It's going on half a year since they were born... I cant believe it... Bobby is in size 3 diapers, wears size 2 shoes, and is in 6-9 month outfits (and in some cases, 9 month outfits). He's not fat by any means; he's tall and, as his PawPaw says, built like a linebacker. Maya just moved into her size 2 diapers (and I cried because my peanut is growing so fast even though she is growing slower than her brother). She wears 3 month and 3-6 month clothes, although she can still get into some of the bigger sized 0-3's. Her feet are TINY. The newborn shoes fall off her! I have this tiny pair of "prenewborn" shoes that are christening slippers that she can wear. But her cute newborn shoes... too big! But she is tall. Perhaps we have a basketball player on our hands!

I think a lot about our family. As Peter's mom said today, "You always wanted a big family. I know it isnt how you thought it would be, but you have your big, beautiful family." She's right. Not how I pictured it would be, by any stretch of the imagination. But the way it had to be so that it could be so big. I cant imagine life without even one of our sweet little ones...

I met a woman at the gym last night. We were at yoga and were chatting before class started. We were talking about how yoga helps post-pregnancy bodies and she asked if the twins were our only children; I said that they were our only living. She nodded and said that she understood and that she had carried twins but now had a beautiful daughter. One of her twins died. She has two other living children as well, but as we talked, she shared that she had three living children from 8 pregnancies. She went through infertility and so much to have her family; she confessed that she still thinks of more children, but knows that she couldnt go through it again. Her youngest was a 28 weeker, too. It was so liberating to be able to talk about our children and our journeys. It was strange because it came on the heels of another talking instance. Peter and I were at BJs and were leaving, and the post-checkout woman was checking our receipt and commented on the twins. She asked if they were our firsts and I said no, four and five, but that they were our only living children. She nodded and shared that she lost her first daughter at 3 days old, due to rubella exposure. She has one surviving son, born 18 months later. She was able to share and it seemed like she was glad to be able to talk about her daughter, her first born. It's funny how we run into people in the strangest places... How we connect in a world not fashioned for dying babies and the parents they leave behind...

The wrist tendinitis still sucks. :( Some mornings I can barely lift the kids or hold their bottles until I've "worked out" my wrists. This morning was one of those mornings. It sucks. :( In my body's defense, I havent taken daily Advil, as recommended by my GP, so the inflamation is probably getting worse. Better go pop a pill...

For those who have emailed and not gotten a response... I am sorry. My inbox is 2 pages long. I'm working on it- I promise!

New PCOS Study

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Research has linked statins to a lowering of PCOS symptoms.

Illegal Miscarriage

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While I am in full favor of making intentional miscarriages illegal, the idea that a state believes they can prosecute a miscarrying mother for murder really rubs me the wrong way. It's one thing to say that a parent who has themselves beaten to miscarry is guilty of performing an illegal abortion; but it is something else to say that a mother who had a drink or didnt wear a seatbelt for a 2 minute drive to the store or who tripped down the stairs is guilty of murder. The night I went into labor with Alexander, I tripped and fell on my yoga mat. I was walking too quickly to the store in a pair of slippers and fell. Did I recklessly endanger my son by wearing slippers on uneven slate? By rushing to the car? Like the woman who fell down the stairs, could someone have thought I fell on purpose?

I dont live in Utah, but I cannot imagine something like this becoming law. Let the Utah state legislature know that you cant imagine it either, regardless of whether or not you live in the state (or the States). If you have miscarried a child, then you know the pain that comes from that without being investigated for intentionally killing your baby because you breathed in second hand smoke.

I want the preborn to have rights. I oppose abortion. But this is ridiculous. I cant even imagine how they would go about investigating this! What are they going to do, hang out in emergency rooms and, for every woman who miscarries, test her urine, smell her hair, and go through her medicine cabinet (or closet?) and see if she possibly did **something** that could have contributed to her loss. I had a stressful job during our miscarriages. Did I intentionally hurt my children since stress can cause pregnancy loss?

Is this really what Utah should be wasting its money on, when there are problems like teenage pregnancy and pregnant moms without prenatal care?

Were You There...

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Oh little Zoƫ... Sometimes I have to wonder if you were really with us, your time on earth was so short. But when I think back, I know that you were. One year ago, I went in for an hCG beta that came back under 25, which is considered "negative", a "non-viable pregnancy"; Dr L assumed that, although we conceived you, you werent able to implant and slowly slipped away from us. Even writing this, it pains me so much. We only held you inside from the 11th-25th, but those 14 days were worth every moment, just knowing that we had you there. When I began to bleed, I wept for the hugs I wouldnt be able to give you, the kisses I couldnt plant on your forehead, the bedtime stories we wouldnt be able to read you, the pictures I wouldnt be able to cling to in the darkness. Even though I dont have those pictures, the little girl you would have been is firmly implanted in my mind and, if I think hard enough, I can pull you up... long brown hair like your Mimi, gray eyes like your Grandpa, and cute ears, just like Daddy... You'll always be there in my memory, even if I was never able to lay eyes on you in life.

And so now, today, one year later as I listen to your siblings make happy baby noises in their sleep, I realize that you came to us for only a short time so that they could be here with us now. And, while it doesnt mitigate my sadness at losing you, it makes me feel blessed to know that I was able to have you all, even if for such a short time.

Birthdays All Around

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

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I'm still here, but both babies are teething hardcore and I havent had time to breathe. Right now, my MIL is upstairs with them so that I can do some housekeeping, so I'll keep this brief.

Birthday wishes to Sarah! The babies say "Happy Birthday, Aunt Sarah" and send all their love! Cant wait to have your birthday dinner and cake tonight! :)

And, my sweet Alexander, happy 15 month birthday. Mommy and Daddy love you so much. We had your special dinner and dessert last night and I made Uita and I turkey sandwiches, just like you like them!, for lunch today. It's raining and snowing, and I know you are sending us your kisses from heaven.

Two Years...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

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There was a time when I believed that miracles were for other people. But you showed me different, sweet girl. Miracles were for me.

It's been two years, Sophia, since you were born. Two years since you entered this world and slipped ever so gently into your father's arms. Two years since you snuggled against his hands and fell asleep, grasping your brother's hands and meeting God face to face. Two long years. Two short years. Two years...

For two weeks, you held on, in spite of the odds against you. Delayed Interval Delivery... It sounds so, I dont know, like some sort of strange new workout. "I'm taking the Delayed Interval class; how about you?"

I remember the doctors telling us that there was no way we'd walk out of the hospital with you... How, tearfully, I told your daddy that you were an "underdog", like the Giants who were playing in the Super Bowl. Up against odds that no one wanted to take. We told ourselves that, if the Giants won, we'd leave the hospital pregnant. They won. :) And we brought you home, still snug inside my belly. I've never been happier to watch a football game; I've never hung onto each play with bated breath. We call the Giants, "Sophie's Team". We watch their games, like we are somehow holding onto a piece of you in that.

At night, we'd read you stories and feel you swooshing back and forth. At the time, I thought it was you saying hello; as time has passed, I cant help but wonder if you were looking for Nicholas... If you were wondering why there was suddenly so much more room... If you missed him...

But you were my miracle. My miracle baby. You didnt let risks and statistics scare you. You stayed with us. You helped us survive Nicholas's death. You let us know that it was possible to go on. I dont know that we would have realized that had you not been with us. I dont know that we would have been able to understand that life would go on and that you would always be with us... That dying was another part of life... That you would live on in us, as we lived on.

It's snowing. It snowed the day you were born. It snowed on your first birthday. It's snowing now. Daddy and I went outside and felt your kisses from heaven dot our faces. I kissed the snow and remembered kissing your sweet little forehead. My beautiful girl. My precious Sophia. Daddy took a picture of your tree... I stared at this tree as I was being loaded into the ambulance to prepare for the helicopter ride to the hospital. I think of it as yours. It's beautiful in the glow of the night sky.

I love you, Sophia. I always will. I'll always be grateful that you mommied Bobby and Maya when I couldnt be in the NICU with them. I'll always be thankful that you stayed with us those two extra weeks. That you gave me the joy of a hard, natural labor. That you lived through your birth and lived long enough to give your father the joy of delivering a sweet daughter into his arms and feeling you love him and fall into your heavenly rest in his hands. We will never forget you, sweet girl, or the joy that you still bring into our days.

I've picked out outfits for Bobby and Maya to wear to your Mass in a few hours. We're going to go to Doyle's afterwards... They make an omelette with polish sausage and onions; I cant help but think of you whenever I see it on their menu. We'll have cream of wheat, just Daddy and I, but when we have breakfast after your Mass with your grandparents, I'm having that omelette. And I'll smile because I'll remember that polish sausage and pierogi were the first things I craved and ate when we came home with you.

Well, honeybaby, I'm going to bed now. Visit me, sweet girl. Let me fall asleep with you in my arms, smelling your little head, and remembering our time together. And, when I wake up, let me smile in knowing that you are with all the saints in heaven, resting in the arms of the Blessed Mother, playing with Nicholas and Alexander and all the baby saints.

I love you. So much. Forever.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Sophia. Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl.

Christening Video

Monday, February 15, 2010

1 comments
The videos of the Christening have been uploaded to the photoblog as well as to YouTube.

Update on Nadya part 3

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I received the following email from Nadya's father and, yay, she is doing GREAT! Keep those prayers coming! :)

***

Hey Everyone,

Dad Here, We want to thank everyone who has kept our family in your thoughts and prayers. Understandably what Nadya went through last Saturday concerned us quite a bit.

I believe there is no limit to the number or type of situations God can use to strengthen us in our faith and our exclusive reliance on Him and Him alone. Though what happened was definately a challenge physically for Nadya it was by far much more for Glenda and I.

A wise old woman once said, "people say life is like a mountain and yet they expect that journey to be easy, but they seem to overlook the fact that if the mountain was smooth you couldn't climb it".

There is a humorous truth to that statement and its a truth that I think many take for granted. It is the challenges in life that help us grow the most.

On the lighter side, we are very excited to let everyone know that since Saturday, God has done nothing but pour out His rich blessings in unparalleled proportions.

Nadya is off ALL breathing assistance, including not having oxygen or forced air delivered by nasal cannula!

PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


She is not requiring much thermal assistance (heated air, warming blankets, etc). She is doing extremely well maintaining her own body heat and as a result is now wearing clothes most of the time!

GLORY TO GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is more!!!!!!

We have come to the conclusion that part of her problem was the result of vitamin supplements being administered on a relatively empty stomach (which can cause problems for adults too) so we made a request that all supplements since that time be given with her regular feed (breast milk, and high calorie formula). Since then, she has had only 1 very small spit nothing to be concerned about.

HONOR AND PRAISE TO GOD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


** like an info-commercial ** "WE'RE NOT DONE YET ... THERE IS STILL MORE!!

Last update she was being given 28ml over 1.5 hrs / Every 3 hrs via a small feeding tube
but now ....

ITS NEW AND IMPROVED!!

She has tolerated her feeds well and as of today, she is up to 40ml over 30 minutes every 3 hrs. But that's not even the best part
she is now taking a number of those feeds by conventional bottle.

WE ARE STILL NOT DONE

Last night Glenda put Nadya to breast. It was so bitter sweet! Nadya wasn't exactly sure what to do but practiced a little, (then finished feeding from a bottle).

And much to My (Dad) surprise!!! NADYA got her first bath last night!!!

It was fun to help out, but I couldn't help but roll my eyes and grin as I said "there goes the water bill" get her used to long baths now and I will never get her out of the bathroom as a teenager.

GOD IS SO SO SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Im praying now about the water bill)

Thank you again ever so much for your thoughts and prayers and We will keep you up to date as God continues to work in our and our daughters lives and how he helps us grow as a family..

GOD BLESS YOU!!!!

Christening Photos

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Christening photos have been uploaded! I'm still working on the video...

Baby Shower Pictures

I finally uploaded Shower Pictures! We look soooo tired and, looking back, I can see how the weight and bedrest really took a toll on me.

Feb Week 2 Goal...

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...Not Met :(

I knew it would happen at some point... I have a really good excuse (can we say blizzard!!!!) but I probably could have pushed it and hit 3 times last week, but I didnt.

Sun-Mon: Christening stuff and cleaning up from the weekend
Tues-Thurs: Snow made it pretty darn impossible (and, on Thursday, improbable)
Friday- No classes on this day but I could have gone for a swim... Opted to hang out with the babies instead...
Saturday- Slept in and missed my yoga class

Oh well. We win some and we lose some! I skipped yoga yesterday because we were hosting brunch and I'll miss bodyflow tomorrow because I dont do things on the kids' birthdays except be with Peter and the babes. But I plan on pilates tonight, and between Wed and Sat, I have 4 classes, so I have NO reason to not make my week 3 goal. Since I havent cashed in my massage from January, it's not as though I'm suffering, LOL.

Speaking of the Dead

Saturday, February 13, 2010

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All of us have experienced people who either dont understand why parents remember and talk about their dead children or miscarried babies, or who are terribly uncomfortable when confronted with the death of a child. We must ask, is it because we are remembering the dead in general or because our beloved are babies and the mere thought of that alone is what upsets them?

This coming week, we Americans will remember our dead presidents. Last month, we remembered Martin Luther King, Jr with a special holiday. These men are dead (obviously) and yet no one bats an eyelash at celebrating their lives and memorializing their passings. If a wife loses a husband, she continually reminds their children of the father and man he was. Grandparents who have died are remembered in stories so that their grandchildren may know them through the memories of their parents.

But now... Children... Babies... What is it that has orphaned parents who remember labeled as a little freaky? Why are parents told that their grief impedes the parenting of their living children? Why are mothers told to dry their tears so that their family (and especially living children) wont feel inadequate? Why are fathers told to suck up their grief so that their strength can be a pillar for their families? Why are we chastised for remembrance because it brings us both joy and sorrow, yet are asked by society to remember those who died in service to their country, in terrorist attacks, in old age, simply because they were leaders or soldiers or heroes made so by circumstance?

Is it because our children lived short lives, perhaps lives only in the womb? Is it because it is too uncomfortable to think of preborn babies as people? To think of preterm and stillborn babies as really babies? Is it because the site of grief in others is too much to bear? Or because we dont know how to take people who integrate the dead into their lives because, really, death is just another chapter of living.

Some people wonder what you could possibly share about a miscarried baby or a preterm baby whose life was mere minutes or a stillborn child who never lived outside the womb? There arent many memories- weeks in some case, months in others- but there are memories just the same. And, more than that, there are the things we dont know. Do you think Nicholas had my eyes, Sophia your chin, Alexander his grandfather's ears? Do you think they would have liked to read? To play music? It's not just about what we did know- that Sophia liked to dance, that Alexander liked spicy food, that Nicholas was a kicker- but about what we had dreamed of and had hoped to learn... And it is our sharing that has kept us a happy married couple. We grieve differently, yet openly and together with understanding. 16% of bereaved parents divorce, according to studies done by Compassionate Friends, and some reports put the results as high as 70% (although recent studies seem to disprove findings from the 70s and 80s that were so high). In fact, research is seeming to prove otherwise; parents who share their grief tend to stay together because the death can bring couples together. Is it because you share similar memories and experiences? Because, in your pain, there is someone who shares it? Because you can relate to the joy of your children with another whose joy is just as strong?

We'll go to Mass tonight. We'll remember and celebrate the person who born and died as man, who rose from the dead as God, who lives forever in the lives of those touched by Him. We'll tell stories of life before and after Him in the readings from the Old and New Testaments and stories of Him in the Gospels. We will mourn and celebrate in the Psalms and Acclamations. We will remember His death with a meal together, and celebrate the lives we have now and the people we are today, simply because of the impact He has had on us. And, in whatever ways we can, we will pass His legacy onto our children.

Although Nicholas, Sophia, Alexander, and our miscarried little ones will not grow up with their siblings, they are nonetheless part of our nuclear family. We have photographs and memories of them. And Bobby and Maya will know them, through us, as they grow up, just as the surviving parent would make real the other if one of us died. There is nothing odd about this; we do it every day in our civic duties and our religious choices. The difference is that our children were born in the here and now, to us... They arent dignitaries or figures of history, but tiny saints that were born and died in the shortest of periods and the simplest of situations, lost to history except in the minds and hearts of those who loved them and love them still.

It is hard to explain to someone who has never been touched with a grief so deep that life doesnt go on but instead grows in the spaces left behind, that you can, indeed, live a life of joy unceasing and grief neverending. It's hard to explain to someone who has never lost a child that, although that baby is not present in photographs that they are ever present in your mind, loving and growing, yet eternally young and innocent. We try to explain, but can we? Is it impossible? We parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings of dead children can never fully explain to others the depths of our souls. And we dont have to. Some people will want to share with us and others will want to forget. Those who understand will, and those who dont, wont.

Life intertwined with death. Joy mirrored in sadness. Faith and hope made deeper through pain and anguish.

Life. A new form of living perhaps, but life nonetheless.

"No, 4 and 5"

Friday, February 12, 2010

21 comments
As I watch them sleeping, in our bed, I am struck by their serenity... How peace and calm just fills every pore and they rest, gently, beside one another but in their own space. In the mornings, usually around 5:30 or so (depending on their last feeding), they will start to stir and we pick them up and cuddle them. Inevitably, we all fall back to sleep and then, around 7am, start the process of butts & bottles (i.e. changing diapers and talking the not-so-long trek to our washroom waiting area (I really dont know what else to call it, our upstairs bathroom is a three room deal with the shower and toilet in one room, the sink and closets in a second, and then an open space that houses more cabinets, a spare closet rod, my cedar chest, and a small fridge that is perfect for drinks and bottles) to get bottles and warm them in the bathroom sink). Then, they get cuddled some more, fed, burped, and cuddled until we (or sometimes just they) fall asleep. In these morning rituals, they are then placed in our bed (which is a sleep number and creates a perfect little depression around their bodies), buffered with pillows just in case, and lightly covered. And there they take their first nap of day, surrounded by the smells of mommy and daddy and within arms reach of each other. And it is such a beautiful image.

I watch them each morning, sometimes as I do laundry, sometimes after a shower when I am getting dressed, sometimes just sitting and doing nothing but watching them, and I am struck at the simplicity of life. I am grateful for getting this time, this stay at home mom time, where my day consists of taking care of them and, possibly, going out to get groceries or visit or do a mommy-and-me class (or in my case, mommy-and-me-and-her/him). I live in a bubble some days, oblivious to the world around me (yes, I know it snowed in places other than my backyard and that the Olympics are starting, but that is about the extent of my news knowledge right now). At home, it is just me and the kids (and Peter). Bobby and Maya and the feelings and memories of Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander.

As we've been doing since they were little (well, I guess they still are...), we take the kids out to dinner. They sit quietly while we eat and we usually get "Wow, they are so well behaved" by folks. And they are. Last night was no exception. We went to a local place, which was delicious, and people stopped by to say how well behaved the kids were and to ask the usual bevy of questions: are they twins, are they two boys/two girls, how old are they, is he bigger than her, etc. And, usually, are they your first...

"No, they are four and five."

Last night, it was Peter who answered and the woman just chuckled and said that we must have our hands full as she walked on by. Sometimes, I prefer the ignorance of baby death when we are out in public, but I really preferred it last night when I was on the verge of tears the entire evening because, really, in the grand scheme of have and have nots, there was a world where I was the mother of a nine year old. Sometimes, I just dont want to be the mother of the dead babies AND the infant twins. Because sometimes, I just dont want to be so damn different.

But I'm not. We might not talk about babies dying, but just because society ignores it doesnt mean it isnt true. 25% of all pregnancies- and some studies are saying up to 50%- end in miscarriage of the baby prior to 12weeks. (And that doesnt include the abortion statistics; in the U.S. in 2005, 1,206,200 babies were aborted.) Of those surviving pregnancies, 1%-5% end in a second trimester miscarriage and 1 out of every 200 ends in stillbirth. And of those babies that make it to being born alive, in the U.S., over 19,000 babies died EVERY YEAR in their first month of life (and that excludes infant murder). 6 out of every 1000 children dies before the age of a year old. So, it stands to reason that you know someone- several someones- who has lost a child. (edit: when I was compiling links for Sara for her speech, I came across another statistic that put stillbirth worldwide at approx 1 in 200, but in the U.S. at 1 in 115, or a child being born still every 20 minutes...)

My grandmother lost three. Peter's grandmother lost 1. Peter's mother lost an older child. It doesnt skip a generation. There's someone with loss in your life, even if you dont know it. Because, still, we dont talk about it. It makes us uncomfortable. It ruins our illusions: babies dont die.

But they do. And we are left behind to somehow sort through the pieces and create a puzzle that holds together even though it is missing pieces.

I've been introduced as "the woman with twins", with a postscript of "they are really blessings because they had babies die." In another world, I might be offended that this is how I am known, how I will be remembered. But then someone says to me. "Oh, I lost a baby too." and, suddenly, they have someone else who understands. And it strikes me that we are lucky- we have each other. There are so many others who suffer in silence and suffer alone. Who try to forget because no one remembers. Who, in spite of feeling their missing babies in their hearts, choose to not say "4 and 5" but rather "yes" because they cant stand the uncomfortable silence, the words that are stumbled through, the anguish that passes on faces, the sudden needing to go that follows. And somehow, in all of that, we who are aching and lost, make ourselves feel inadequate and perpetuate the same myth that, before our babies died, we all believed.

Last night, mourning the death of a baby who never saw this world through human eyes, never felt our arms around him, never smelled the safety of his parents, we smiled when people commented on our children and how perfect they were, and we all lived in the bubble of an evening out, just a random family of 4. A family with plates at the table missing. A table shy of a few high chairs. Last month, as we went to dinner with two dear friends, we took the babies to a non-child friendly whole in the wall but awesome place. I called ahead and they gave us a seat with a banquette for the carseats (since there was totally no room for a stroller or even high chairs). We went to an early seating to avoid the crowds and the waiter told us how great the kids were (they slept). As we walked in, I saw a woman, her very pregnant belly curled under her black dress, leaving the restroom. I was holding Maya in her carseat, waiting to be seated, and the woman's eyes skimmed the restaurant (which is terribly small) and rested on us before she sat down. She quickly looked away and I thought little of it. Throughout the evening, she stole glances our way, settling on Maya usually and looking away whenever our eyes met.

And it hit me.

Her baby died. I recognized that look. That longing. That pain. Why does she get 2 when I cant have my one? Cant I even go to a restaurant without seeing a baby? Who brings a baby here anyway? God, I miss my baby. The black dress that she pulled around her midsection. The table of friends. The bottle of wine that she kept sipping from. The deep breaths. The glances hidden. The tears she wiped away. The gentle hand her friend placed on her arm, brushing her belly as she leaned in and whispered something, perhaps along the line of it's okay... let's go...

And, it could have been something else completely. But the look on her face... The final stolen glance at Maya as she walked out the door. It was all so much like thoughts I've had, looks I've given, pain I've been crushed under.

Last night, in our small town restaurant, at a place where we didnt run into anyone we know, we were just the family who brought two babies out in the winter evening, who had iced tea in lieu of bringing our own bottle of wine, the couple who shared a dessert.

And it felt wrong to say "4 and 5" and let the woman make her glib comment that we must really have our hands full, when I wanted to say, "Not full enough; our children died."

Because even if they can move beyond it, I cant. I'll always hear "7" even when I ask for a table for 4. I'll always see 5 faces in the pictures that others see 2. They may not see me as the mother of dead children, but I'll always know it. Be that person. And I'm okay with that. I cant stop people from feeling sorry for me or from being shocked and uncomfortable when they find out. But I can respond in a way that, I hope, mitigates it and leaves the door open if they- or someone they know- understands that same pain. On the outside, to a stranger, they might only see the perfect picture we present, but if they look a little deeper... They'll see a card carrying infertile who happens to have a dual membership in the dead baby club. An orphaned mother with living children.

***

As we looked over the dessert menu last night, we were shocked to see one item: Peter's Plate (a selection of freshly baked cookies). It was almost as though he were saying "It's okay, Mommy and Daddy. I'm fine. We're fine."

And they are. And, in our skin, we are, too.

Forgive me...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

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... for taking my sweet time to post about the Christening. You'd think with the snowstorm that I'd have some free time on my hands, but not so much. As Bobby and Maya take fewer naps and are awake more, sometimes my computer collects dust in the office until I can sneak away before I crawl into bed! But I havent forgotten to post an update on Sunday. I really havent!

We actually didnt take any photographs of the actual ceremony with our camera; instead, Sarah recorded the entire thing! Right now, I cant figure out how to upload it, but once I do, it will go to the photo site, and I will link to it here. We had several folks take pictures and, when we have them, those also will go to the other page. But I wanted to share the highlights here, since so many of you emailed your good wishes, sent Bobby and Maya gifts, or shared this day with us in person. Thank you so much!

(For those who aren't Catholic and are looking for information on R.C. baptisms, you can click here, here, or here.)

Because of the weather, the baptism was postponed from Saturday to Sunday, after the 11:30 Mass. Our main church is large and holds about 1000 people+. Our chapel has seating for 70. So, for a more intimate gathering, the baptism was held in the chapel (normally, baptisms are held in the Narthex, at the entrance of the church, where we have a baptismal pool for adults and a font for infants). We filled the chapel and had people standing, so there were approx. 80 people in attendance, including family, friends, and parishioners. Both of Maya's godparents were present, but Bobby's godfather is a policeman and had to work (and couldnt call out due to the storm), so we had a proxy stand in for him. Our priests set up a small table with a bowl and pitcher for the ceremony, and Fr. B., who preached the 11:30 service, expanded on his words with a beautiful homily that tied in nicely to the baptism. The godmothers held the babies through the service aspect and when they were anointed with the first holy oil, then Peter and I held them, surrounded by their godparents, for their actual baptism and second anointing.

Their prayer cards (with the last names of the godparents edited out)

Maya with her godfather, Esteban

Bobby with his godmother, Jody



Bobby being baptized by Fr. Peterson, our pastor


Maya being baptized by Fr. Brownholtz, our parochial vicar

Our twins being held by their priests after their baptisms.

After the ceremony, people made their way through the snow for a luncheon. Maya wore a beautiful green dress that her godmother picked out for her and Bobby wore blue slacks and a red sweater (also a gift from M's godmother and his godfather). They were so cute! They had a busy afternoon of lovings from family, friends, and our church family. Our house was full but not packed, maybe 40-50 people came back, and we fed them (without leftovers!).

I took a picture of the cake, which I hope came out. It said "God Bless Bobby and Maya" in brown, with a cross on either side. At the top, the baker placed three little stars and, at the bottom, three small crosses with halos over them. I just about bawled when I picked it up on Saturday morning. It was really so sweet. I hugged the baker and thanked her. When we first had spoken, because I opted for only 1/4 sheet cake, she planned on being very simple. Yet, the cake was elegant and came together so well. Because I only bought the 1/4, it was all gone!!! (Of course, we also had brownies and cookies, so people werent at a loss for sugar!) We served a variety of finger sandwiches, chips, fried chicken, Spanish rice, shrimp cocktail, crudite, fruit platter, and a bread platter. In addition, we had a coffee station and softdrink station set up. We transformed our kitchen into a buffet and had seating throughout the house. All in all, it was quite a successful get together! I know we have pictures (they just havent been uploaded), so at some point, I will get them on the other site.

***
We had a blast with our friends who visited (which I'll write about in another post). Right now, we are just so happy that so many could share this beautiful day with Bobby and Maya, the newest members of our church!

9

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Nine years ago, we lost our first baby.

We were young. I was 20. Peter was 22. He was unemployed (although would get a job days later) and I was working part time at a library doing acquisitions, making $7/hr. We were barely making ends meet, eating cheap frozen pizza for most meals of the day, surviving... But that baby... He made our world. We were afraid of how we'd make it, but the baby... He gave us hope. Joy. Peace. The end of that dream crushed me. The comments people made (one person actually told us that God "took" our baby because we were Catholic and "worshiped statues") and just the loss of innocence were like weights on my shoulder. I think I stayed in bed, crying for days. I remember leaving on the 14th because I had to go to work and, when I got home, Peter was back from one of his first days of work and had made a special Valentine's Day dinner. Oh, how I cried. How my heart hurt. I still look back on that sweet baby and the joy he brought us in, what otherwise could have been, a very dark time.

I was a different person then. A person who couldnt stand to look back and see the reminders. A person I know I could never be today. The baby book that I had bought, I burned. I gave away any physical reminder of the pregnancy. I just couldnt stand to hold onto those things in my heartache. I deeply regret that now. I have journals for all the babies, but not for our first little one... Back then, I had no idea of the days to come and how, even though it was only for a short time, how I would have loved to have poured over those thoughts and remember.

Today is also the day we conceived the baby that we lost only 2 weeks later, one year ago.

Sweet little one... The little boy we called Peter, after your daddy... Even though it has been nine years since I found out that you werent with us, I still think about you every day. Thank you for your short visit. One day, I'll hold you in my arms and tell you, in person, how much I love you.

5 months...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

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Happy 5 month birthday, Bobby and Maya! You are a day shy of being 22 weeks old. We love you so much!

Quick Update

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

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I havent had a chance to read blogs over the weekend, but I will! I promise!

I'll post a "real" entry soon, but wanted to let everyone know that the Christening was beautiful. We havent uploaded our pics/video yet, but here is one my MIL sent of the babies with our priests. Fr. B, our vicar, baptized Maya and Fr. P, our pastor, baptized Bobby. They are each holding "their" baby. :)

Also, I received an update from Glenda regarding Nadya. Please say an extra prayer for this special little preemie!
Nadya has been doing VERY well. She is up to 3 lbs, 7.25 ozs and is getting 28 ccs of milk every 3 hours. She has been holding her temperature and has been dressed & swaddled for a few days. Her nasal cannula was removed early this week and she has been doing fine, until this morning... At Nadya's 9:30 feed, she decided to spit up her vitamins and couldn't breath. Her heart rate dropped VERY low, the nurse suctioned her (to get all the spit up), but she recovered slowly. They had to "bag" her.She is back on iv fluids (no oral feed) and her nasal cannula. They are checking for infections with a CBC & fluid in the lungs (she may have aspirated) with a follow-up xray in the morning. Please continue to pray for her & us.

Waterfall Babies

Saturday, February 6, 2010

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Thank you so much, Lisa , for such a beautiful tribute to Nicholas and Sophia. Lisa lost her beautiful little boy, Jasper, due to HELLP and IUGR.



BAPTISM RESCHEDULED TO SUNDAY

Friday, February 5, 2010

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For those who planned on making Bobby and Maya's christening on Saturday... Fr. P just called and, due to the threat of snow, has canceled all church events on Saturday. However, there will still be Masses on Sunday and he rescheduled the baptism for Sunday, after the 11:30 Mass (at approximately 12:30pm). We realize that this will conflict with the Super Bowl for our diehard football fans, but we hope that you will be able to celebrate with us and join us for the luncheon at our home afterwards.

As with all things with these two, it looks like plans get waylaid! :)

Now... Time to email folks who dont read my blog and to try and reschedule the catering...

Feb: Week 1 Goal: Met!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

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So, for February, I changed my workout goal a bit. Still 3x/week for the gym, but I added the stipulation that I must have one cardio class/activity a week. That could count as one of my 3 classes/visits to the gym or it could be in addition to. Sooo.... Tonight, I went back to my favorite cardio class, RPM. O-MY-GOODNESS. It kicked my butt!!! I survived, but barely! It's my first cardio class in over 2 years! (I did RPM back in 2007 when my gym first got it, but stopped in October when I got pregnant with Nicholas and Sophia.) I followed it up with my Body Flow class and I was just beat when I got home. Went to the gym 3 times; did 4 classes. Woo Hoo!

Forgive me, but I wont be online for the weekend. With out of town guests coming, finishing up the house, and getting the Christening off the ground, I dont think the laptop and I will be too friendly! :) I'll be thinking of you guys this weekend and will get back on Sunday night or Monday.

5 Month Check-Up

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And the numbers are....

Bobby is 14lbs even. Maya is 9lbs 11oz. I was surprised! I thought she'd hit 10lbs. In 4 weeks, Bobby gained 1lb15oz and Maya gained 1lb7oz (average weight gain for 4 weeks is 1lb - 1lb8oz). They both got 2 shots of Synagis and a dose of Prevnar. And the crying... Oh, it breaks my heart. Those tears just work their way to the depths of my soul! Peter had to work, so my MIL went with me. Bobby went first and I held him until he calmed then passed him to her, so that we could do Maya. Maya cried so hard that sound just wouldnt come out and then, once it did, oh how she told me how upset she way! Once the pain wore off, she was just mad! Boy did she let me have it! She just woke up from her post-appt nap, so I'm off to cuddle!

As Promised... Pictures

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

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For recent pictures of the twins, click here.



For recent pictures of Maya, click here.




For recent pictures of Bobby, click here.


Still Here

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I'm still here. I havent posted in what feels like forever. I have a lot on my plate and on my mind.

***

The Christening is this weekend. This was a day I thought about all the time in the hospital. Would we get to this date? Would the kids be 2 months old or older? As they approach their 5 month birthday (they will be 21 weeks old tomorrow), it is amazing to me that we are at this date. The beautiful Christening wear that my MIL made is washed and ironed. Terri's plane tickets are booked and Peter is bringing down the carseat for her youngest tomorrow. The house has been cleaned top to bottom. Peter's suit is dry cleaned and my dress is clean. Food has been ordered. The cake decorator nixed our initial plan and modified it. RSVPs are in.

And, now, we have snow. With a forecast of more for this weekend.

Of course.

Peter's uncle (and godfather) and aunt arent going to be able to make it :( They live farther south and would basically have snow for their entire 10 hour drive. This is the saddest development of the potential snowstorm. They plan on coming later, but I'm sorry that we wont have Peter's entire immediate family together (one of his aunts is local and his other uncle/aunt are flying in from CA). But, such is life! The best laid plans waylaid by weather. We are still praying that it is the snow that isnt. Recently, we've gotten snow that melts by midday. So, that's fine. Just no major noreaster!

***

Nicholas's birthday started off with his annual Mass. Fr. B., who I just loved, announced the intention for "baby Nicholas". I dont know why it makes a different, but hearing him called baby always warms my heart. It just brings to mind how little he was and how he reached for us. Hearing "Nicholas" makes me think of a 2 year old... Not an itty bitty baby. Peter's parents, Fr. B, and all of us went out for breakfast after, which was nice. Then, Peter and I hung out, took the kids to the park, and waited for the emotions that came. There were tears. Laughter. Our dear friends, the V's, gave Nick a beautiful card, that just touched us in so many ways. We had a card from his siblings as well as one from us.

This year, for Nick and Sophie's birthdays, we donated money to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania's Pastoral Services dept, for the needs of bereaved parents. HUP is where we were rushed for their labors because of the proximity to CHOP, and the chaplain was wonderful.

***

It's no secret that I'm pro-life and that Peter and I chair our Respect Life Committee. I'm having a hard time right now, with several folks I know in blogland contemplating aborting one (and in some cases more) of multiples. As a twin parent who had high risk pregnancies, I understand that carrying more than one child presents challenges; for women with IC, carrying even one baby presents challenges. Obviously people make their own choices; I was told by several folks that I shouldnt get pregnant again after Nicholas and Sophia, and that I was irresponsible for doing so. But, as both an infertile woman and an orphaned mother, reading about abortion, even if it is called "selective reduction" or "selective multifetal reduction", breaks my heart. I am thankful that these women have allowed me to be a part of their journeys and that they have let me say what I felt compelled to say (obviously in a respectful manner). Respectful discussion, I think, is one of the most important things that we can have together, no matter how we disagree or agree. Pray for them and their babies; no matter what side of the line you are on, their decisions are painful ones and arent easy to make. (And for those leaving them nasty messages, I wish they would think about how it makes them look. Four women I know have received really evil comments and emails. It doesnt make you righteous to condemn these moms as vile sinners. Jesus hung out with sinners. I dont think God judges one as worse than others. The tiniest white lie, in my opinion, is just as bad as the worst thing imaginable; they all were the nails that hung Christ on a tree. Okay... Stepping off my soap box...)

***

I have almost 1000 photos to go through. Our new camera is great, but I just havent had the time to go through photos for posting. Right now, Bobby and Maya are napping and I'm hoping to get through (at least some) of them.

***

I watched the Duggar special on TLC the other night. Because of our issues with prematurity, I wanted to see how things played out with baby 19. I was disappointed that more wasnt discussed as it relates to prematurity (and microprematurity to boot).

19 children. Wow. That's a lot of babies. 20 pregnancies in 20 years. In one way, I cant imagine, but I was thinking that we've had 5 pregnancies in 2 years, and 5 birthed babies, 8 biological babies, and, if you could our failed adoptions, almost a family with 10 babies in 11+ years. I guess, in light of that, 20 babies in 20 years isnt that nuts.

I cant imagine having 19 kids, aging infant through adulthood, in the house. My MIL watches the show and we chat about it now and then. She was telling me today how organized they are. I do wish for that in my life! I could use Michelle here to give me some pointers on that!

While our faith is vastly different from theirs, I do respect their commitment to it and that they raise their children with morals and values. I do disagree with some of their teachings, but I hope that we are able to pass on what we believe to Bobby and Maya with some of their successes.

***

I've been thinking a lot about babies these days. As Bobby and Maya grow out of clothes (dont worry, Sonja, I'm saving them for you!!! :) ), I'm reminded that this might be the last time we have infants in the house, the last time we see babies growing on an ultrasound. For us, the second of conception is the beginning of our child. Bringing them into the world is their birth outside of the womb, but they are alive at that first second and we love them, just as we love them once they are born. The ultrasounds and dopplers... I think I will miss those. As we move forward with adopting, we both are drawn to older children, in sibling sets. They will give us new firsts and their "pregnancy" will be filled with photographs instead of u/s shots and paperwork instead of dopplers and TOCOs.

We arent using birth control, so if it is God's will, we may end up with babies again, but, that isnt the statistical probability. As I pack things away, it reinforces the journey to get here, how long it felt (and was), and how quickly this goes by. Peter and I were discussing earlier in the week about what the nursery will be (a bathroom) once the kids outgrow it. And it hit me that the babies will be out of their crib and a bedroom down the hall... In twin size beds.... And the crib will be gone. And, instead of the room where I've rocked them and changed them, will be a bathroom with a tub where I will relax away from them. It was kind of a painful thought!

***
Bobby's Corner: Our little pumpkin is quite the big boy! He is now in his 3-6 month clothes and, I'm guessing, about 13 pounds. (We'll know for sure tomorrow at their 5 month check up.) He loves to eat (whatever we will let him eat!). The other night, we had Peter's parents and aunt over for dinner. Bobby enjoyed cornbread, seemed indifferent to mashed potatoes, and turned his nose up at the red wine I rubbed over his gums. He is teething ALOT. The teething tabs that were highly recommended seem to only take the edge off when the teething isnt terrible, and twice I've succumbed to using orajel at night. He has five different spots, three up top and two on the bottom. Three of the spots feel ragged, and one spot feels like the tooth is about to pop through. And it hurts. Oh how it hurts. When they bother him, nothing will work except a lot of cuddling and singing and gum rubbing. Last night, he used a frozen teether for the first time and liked it until the back gums started to hurt and he couldnt get it far enough back to satisfy him. Then, only Daddy's finger worked!

Maya's Corner: Our chunky monkey is lengthening out! Chunky Monkey might not be a perfect nickname anymore! She fills out her 0-3 months and, in some cases, her 3+ month clothes. She still spits up from time to time, but we havent had a serious vomiting instance in a few weeks. Unlike her brother, who gets stopped up, Maya gives us a good, nasty diaper daily. Even though she started teething first, either she has great pain management or her teeth are growing at a slower rate. She's her daddy's girl and loves napping. But when she is awake, she loves to give kisses (nice, juicy, wet kisses) and now is smiling like there is no tomorrow. She watches you talk to her and pays attention to the world around her. She seems disinterested in TV. Where I have to practically put barricades up in front of Bobby, Maya could be facing the TV and she is more interested in the photos on the wall or what is going on around her. She's about 10lbs and she enjoyed some cornbread, mashed potatoes, and when I put wine on her gums, her face lit up and she tried to eat my fingers! We'll have to keep an eye on this one!

***

Well, Maya just opened her blue eyes and is flashing me "why arent you holding me" dirty looks. Sucker that I am, I have to respond. :)

2 years...

Monday, February 1, 2010

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I cannot believe it has been two years. 730 days. 17,520 hours. You lived for one of those hours.

Oh Nicholas... My sweet boy. Today is your second birthday, a birthday you wont physically celebrate with us here. Instead, there is a pain in my heart, a broken heart, a heart that burst open with a love I didnt even know existed when I looked down and saw you for the first time. I loved you before you were conceived, but when I first saw you... It was a love that I'd never even know existed.

I often thought about how it would be once you were born. How I would hold you and rock you in the rocking chair that held your daddy and your grandpa. How I would wrap you in the blanket your grandma made your daddy. How you'd wear a christening gown, with your sister, that she made with you two in mind. How I would sing you the songs and read you the books that my mom did to me. I knew you would look like your daddy, I knew it from the start, when we pointed to that first ultrasound image- that tiny peanut that was you- and said "Nicholas"... Peter Nicholas, IV... Your daddy's boy... My little boy. You'd look like him but you'd have my eyes. I deeply regret never being able to see you open those beautiful eyes, but it was worth it because I saw you smile instead. I saw your beautiful, tiny mouth curl into a smile. I saw you reach out and hold your daddy's finger. I saw you, my little boy. I gave birth to you. I held you. I will never forget those moments. They will never dull over time. They will never fade or be mitigated by your siblings. That will always be your time. You will always have a sacred space inside my heart.

Two years. A lifetime. Or not so much. Perhaps only 55 minutes is a lifetime. And even if that is the case, those 55 minutes can last forever. And, in my heart, they always will.

I love you, Nicholas. Thank you for choosing me, of all the women in the world, to be your mother. I miss you so much. But, more than anything, I love you.

We love you.