A Sad Update

Sunday, October 31, 2010

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Due to too much bleeding in the brain, Sophia Gianna was taken off her respirator and died peacefully in her mother's arms.  Please hold Christina and all of their family in your hearts and prayers as they mourn their beloved daughter.

***
My dear friend E is going through the anticipated loss of her father, who is currently under Hospice.  Please pray for his gentle easing from this world into the next, and that his family will be comforted by and find peace through their memories.

Happy Halloween 2010

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Happy Halloween!!!

Bobby's 1st Halloween, 7w old
Bobby's 2nd Halloween, 13m

Maya's 1st Halloween, 7w old
Maya's 2nd Halloween, 13m











Changes

Saturday, October 30, 2010

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(This post is a scheduled post, as we are currently in the throws of moving into our new home!)

We've had a lot of changes over the last few months.  As I've blogged before, Peter is a scientist who works for a well known pharmaceutical company.  Before we started looking for a house, his company bought another company and there was talk of consolidating departments.  His department was rumored to be safe, so we didnt really worry.  And then, Peter got an email from a former boss who had gone to another large pharmaceutical company, asking if he'd be interested in interviewing there.  And the next day, it hit the fan.  Peter's department was being consolidated... in California.

It was news we weren't expecting.  I'll admit it.  I cried.  What were we going to do?  Move?  We talked about it.  And we decided that we weren't moving.  Peter called his former boss and soon the ball was rolling on a new job.  We decided that, if we were indeed staying, we'd better seriously put down roots and just buy a home instead of renting.  In a matter of weeks, we'd found our home and started working on the paperwork that is buying a house and Peter was offered a promotion at a new, well known pharma co.  We are lucky because we wont lose any pay during the transition, thanks to his severance, and that there was no lag in him getting a new position (although, from what I've heard, he wouldnt have been without a job, he would simply have been in a new department).

But, I'm sad that this phase is coming to an end.  His department was so good to us.  After Nicholas was born and I was on bedrest with Sophia, Peter was home.  His bosses said "Don't worry."  And, we didnt.  They took care of us, like companies of old were expected to do.  After Sophia was born, we came home to a beautiful arrangement of flowers.  And later, a card with a large donation (collected from his department) for our area EMS, in memory of the kids.  And then, so many people from his department came to the Memorial Service.  They mourned with us.  And, when we were pregnant with Alexander, even though it came as a shock because no one found out until a short time before he was born, they were happy and then shocked as I was admitted to the hospital in preterm labor (to which, once again, they told Peter not to worry about his job, no matter how long it took).  When he was born, once again they sent a beautiful arrangement to the house with one of the most thoughtful cards we have ever received.  And, as they had before, several came to the service and mourned with us.

With Bobby and Maya, although I'm sure his coworkers were worried for us, they were nonetheless happy for us and, after the kids were born, were always asking about them.  Several came to their baptism and birthday.  And we have some great friends that Peter met there.

I'm sorry to see that end, even though I know we'll stay friends with people.  It's just sad to be leaving a department that legitimately cared.  Because I know that, if they treated us that way, then they are bound to have treated others with care, too.  And that gives me faith in the human race... That people can come together to care for one another and their families.

We are excited about this new change and what it means for us.  I'm happy for Peter and where this road will take him.  Maybe it will lead him back to his old company or maybe he will move up the ranks of his new company.  I dont know... But we are positive.  And so grateful that, in this current economy, we are able to provide for our family with one parent at home.

But, I'll miss them.  :)  Here's to a great group of scientists (and administrative staff).  I hope that their paths are bright and that they are always shown the same compassion that they showed us.

SETTLEMENT!

Friday, October 29, 2010

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Today, right now, in fact, we are doing our final tour of the house and having settlement on our new home!  This is a scheduled post, since I'll be without wi-fi for the weekend, but I am so excited!!!

EMERGENCY: prayer request

Thursday, October 28, 2010

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Please pray for Christina, whose daughter, Sophia, was born at 23 weeks, weighing 1lb7oz.  Sophia is now bleeding in the brain and lungs.  Prayers and warm thoughts are very appreciated.

I will update when I have more information.

2 Videos

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Once he saw the phone, he came towards me and crashed into Maya, who was in my lap.  So, the video isn't great, but it's awfully cute!  (click here to view)



Maya and Bobby, in the tub, playing...  Enough said. :) (click here to view)

Lasts...

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This week, we've had each of the children's meals... One last time in this house.  It's bittersweet.  So many (all???) of the original meals were in this house.  And now, the last time.

Monday night, we had Bobby & Maya's meal: lasagna, salad, and garlic bread.  One set of their godparents joined us.

Tuesday night, we had Alexander's meal: tuna fish sandwiches and tomato soup.  It's fitting that my calm, peaceful baby had his meal after my yoga class. :)

Wednesday night, we had Nicholas's meal: pork chops, rice & beans, and corn bread.  (Sadly, I couldn't get sweet/ripe plantains).  We invited Peter's parents to dinner.

Thursday night, tonight, we are having Sophia's meal: polish sausage, pierogi, brocolli, and garlic english muffins.  Her godmother, Sarah, is joining us, after our run.

But it isn't just meals.  The entire day, it's been "the last".  Their last breakfast in the house.  Their last morning nap in the house.  Their last lunch... their last bath... their last Kung Fu Panda and last afternoon nap.  Tonight, it will be their last sleep here.  It seems crazy.  A little less than a year ago, we brought them home here for their first night and now, here we are, a few days before Halloween, and it is their last things here.

It's been a good 3+ years.  I started blogging in this house.  I had so many hopes here.  I remember a security guard at our main library telling me "New house, new baby".  How happy I was that she was right.  Sept 14th, we met Dr. Lee; Sept. 15th, we moved in.  And Oct. 27th, we conceived Nicholas and Sophia.  What a gift.  What a wonderful gift.

And so, here we are, my last post in this house...  Good-bye house.  I hope you make another family as happy as you've made us. :)

3 Years Ago

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

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3 years ago, on October 27, 2007, our beautiful, first set of twins became alive.  Nicholas and Sophia were conceived.  With so much love... With so many hopes and dreams.  My life changed forever the moment they came to life within me.  For the beautiful months they grew inside, with each little kick, they made me a better person.  They made my life worthwhile.

They still do. :)

With Deepest Sympathy...

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Remember those we love remain with us, in the whisper of the wind, the soft rain that falls from the heavens, in every sunrise, in every star that shines in the night sky- And in every memory that we hold within our hearts.


Thinking of you, PJ...  I'm so sorry...

It's Strange Being Normal

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Before I got pregnant in 2007, my cycles were up to 2 years apart and there was no rhyme or reason to them.  They were heavy but they might last 2 days or 10 days.  There weren't symptoms or changes in CM that led me to believe my period was on its way.  Nothing.

Life today is SO different.  In some ways, it is nice... feeling like a "real" woman with natural menstrual cycles.  In other ways, it is crazy.  Like I'm trying to learn what's going on, like a teenager (or preteen as it may be in today's world).

After Bobby and Maya were born, I waited but didnt expect a cycle.  By the time I went in for my annual in February, no period had made an appearance and Dr B wrote me a prescription for Provera, with instructions to take pills for ten days every three months, in order to have quarterly periods. So, March 1-10, I took my pills and, magically, my period started 2 days later.  Since then, I have had a monthly cycle,  ranging in 21 to 35 days and averaging about 31 days.  Pretty normal.  (all this without any additional Provera).  I have cramps.  I have PMS (poor Peter).  I have cervical mucus- that changes throughout the cycle.   It's insane.  It's normal.

And then, there is a little bit of sorrow too.  We dont practice NFP or any type of birth control.  We have sex when the mood strikes (sorry Mom!) or when we arent falling over from tiredness, and dont really plan around "fertile" times.  And, when I figure things out afterwards, it's clear that we've been intimate during some fertile windows.  And, as you can assume, I'm not pregnant.

Even with normal cycles and even when I "feel" ovulation, it seems that my "hostile mucus" impedes the normal routes of family building.  And that kind of makes me sad; and it really pisses me off.

Now, lest anyone think I'm nuts, I'm not jonesing to be pregnant.  I mean, I'd be thrilled.  But it's a rollercoaster that I cannot even imagine being on with young children.  I cant even imagine the whole cerclage-PTL-NICU rollercoaster with older children.  But I'd be lying if I said that my heart would love to be pregnant again... would love to feel those kicks...  would love to imagine things like Bradley classes and VBACs and breastfeeding...  would love to try and pretend life could be normal.  My mind even says things like "If you got pregnant without ovulation induction, you'd probably only ovulate one egg and have one baby and MAYBE you wouldnt need bedrest and MAYBE the cerclage would hold until you were full term and MAYBE you could do a VBAC with no drugs and MAYBE you wouldnt even have to step foot near the NICU."  It's funny... Hope and warm fuzzies slip in, even when you realize that, realistically, pregnancy wouldnt be a funtime.  And that loss is always possible.

It's a little sad, isn't it?  How miscarriage and PTL and losing babies changes you and your entire view? How you cant even imagine getting pregnant without realizing, with great hope comes the greatest of risks?  How you know that each ultrasound would be full of fear?  Is there a heartbeat?  Is my cervix short?  Am I dilating?

And yet... It's the hope.  It makes you think "This time could be different..."

I'm 30 years old.  Young in the grand scheme of things, aging older in terms of my fertility.  While I have no designs on returning to Dr. Lee tomorrow, I realize that if we thought of trying again when I was older, we'd be running the risk of simple ovulation induction (even if we pared it with IUI) wouldn't work.  And I can't imagine the heartache of hearing that word "negative" on the other end of the phone again.  I dont want that.  I dont want to cry because I'm not pregnant.  I dont want to worry about Beta numbers rising and doubling and how long it took for this and will there be a heartbeat.  I dont wont to worry about premature dilation and hospital bedrest and preterm labor.

And yet... I'd love to have more children.  I'd love for Bobby and Maya to be a big brother and big sister.  I'd love to have a house full of children running around to love and watch grow.  And, while I believe that to be possible through the joy that adoption is, I'll be honest in saying that I would so love to feel life within my womb again.  And, I think the knowledge that that probably isn't meant to be without some serious Divine intervention, hurts my heart a little.

I'm grateful for the pregnancies I've had and the lives that I can call my children; I dont want to risk losing another child.  But it weighs on you...  It haunts you.  That "what if"... That "what IF".

Why is this coming to mind so much recently?  I think some of it has to do with taking the crib down with our impending move and knowing that it will go in storage and not be put back up.  Some of it has to do with getting rid of baby stuff.  And some of it has to do with us planning a visit to Dr Lee in early November, just to say hi and visit with the staff again (which we do when there aren't patients expected because I remember those feelings and that pain and wouldn't want to inflict that on someone else).

It's there.

I accept that.

And, in some ways, it one of the things I have to move on from.

Not My Shining Moment

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

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Yesterday was NOT my shining moment as a mother.  I mean, really... It was bad.

The morning was normal.  The kids got up, played, had breakfast, and took an hour long nap.  My MIL came over to do morning nap and help out so that I could pack up some things.  Then, the afternoon hit. At lunch time, Bobby gagged himself twice to the point of puking.  I know that it is considered "age appropriate" and is a bid for attention, but it still bothers me to no end!  And, because he knows this, he freaking laughs at me!!!  DRIVES ME BANANAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So, I get them in the tub, Maya gets washed and out so MIL can dry her/dress her, and then Bobby pukes again!  In the tub!  I get him cleaned up and dressed and playing so that I can clean up the mess...  Get that squared away.  As we wind into afternoon nap time, they both fall asleep and I decide to take Maya upstairs.  She slept two whole minutes before she was done and awake.  And she refused to go back to sleep.  Bobby slept fifteen minutes in his bed, but overall, p.m. naptime was a bust.  And it showed.  The late afternoon was nonstop chaos and crying.  By the time Peter got home, I was ready to throw my hands up and cry like they were!  He fed the kids dinner and kept them occupied and I went for a 2.5 mile run with Sarah.  It was so nice to get out in the blissful, fall evening, with the wind in my hair and the smell of impending rain.  We even finished our run with some light kisses from heaven!  Coming home, I was much better.  But OMG- it was a nutball of a day!

Tuesday will be better... Tuesday will be better... Tuesday will be better...

(And, craziness, 3 more days until Settlement!)

Update @ 9am:  Apparently my cries to the Universe went unanswered because Bobby woke up at 3:30am with NO intention of going back to sleep.  Since we didnt fall asleep until 1am, that meant less than 3 hours of sleep.  At one point, I just broke down and cried I was so tired.  Then, at 4:30am, Maya woke up crying (probably because Bobby woke her up).  I climbed into bed with her and she was out in a few minutes.  I heard Peter bring Bobby to his bed, but by that point, I was falling asleep too.  I woke up this morning to Maya's smiling face and Bobby making kiss noises.  So far... So good... They ate breakfast and are watching some Kung Fu Panda before naptime.  Hopefully things will go up!

YAY GIANTS!

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The Giants beat Dallas... and I cant believe I stayed awake for the whole game! I'm going to pay for this...

A Heavy Matter

Monday, October 25, 2010

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So, October 4th, I decided to make a change in my life.  It all started with this post and the outpouring of love and support I received.  I decided that I agree with the sentiment in the chickflick "The Wedding Date": everyone has the exact life they choose.  Yes, my weight changed after my body was hit with PCOS and Hashimoto's.  Yes, my weight is impacted by my grief and my desire to calm the hurt with food.  But the way I live my life is a choice.  Choosing to drink 4 sodas a day because I want to, choosing to eat a big piece of cake (and then snack on the crumbs later), ordering an appetizer, salad, entrĂ©e, and dessert, and eating them all PLUS a glass (or two or three) of wine: these are choices.  I love to cook and boy, do I love to eat... And these are the choices I make.  Choosing to watch another rerun of Law and Order instead of working out or going for a run... Choice.

Being heavy: yes, a burden of issues a can't necessarily control, but also a choice of things I can.  PCOS & Hashimoto's make it easy to gain and hard to lose... But not impossible.

So, I made a new choice.  I decided to choose to do something different.  To make the choice to stop blaming something else- including myself- and start making a difference.  I started a private blog to record my weight (which I'm just emotionally not ready to share) and to write down EVERY.SINGLE.THING that goes in my mouth, along with the calories associated.  I jot down my exercise and then the calories burned.  I do it every meal/workout and I do it religiously.  It may mean going to bed a little later or not being able to do something else because I have to calculate the meal I made for dinner or the snack at the bistro we visited, or because I have to figure out how many calories I burned.  But, I'm doing it.

It's tough to not eat what I want whenever I want it, but it is liberating to talk to myself and say "Hey, You- YOU AREN'T HUNGRY.  GET THE %*#$ OUT OF THE KITCHEN PANTRY!!!".  It's great to fit comfortably into my "fat" pants.  It's nice to watch the scale drop.  And it has...  Since October 4th (so 21 days ago- 3 weeks), I have dropped my BMI by one full point and have lost 6.5lbs (and, actually, 8lbs since my post from 9/27 when I had my little meltdown).  I've fallen off the wagon on some days by enjoying treats that bump my desired intake of 1500 calories a day to well over 3000 calories, but I choose to say "Okay, not a problem, do better tomorrow" instead of beating myself up.  And, I remind myself that, a month ago, I probably easily ate and drank that on a daily basis- if not higher!  (It's amazing to think how many calories we drink away).

So, this is me, today, 3 weeks after that choice, almost 7lbs lighter, and feeling a little bit better about myself. :)  Thanks again for the support.  While I dont plan to constantly discuss weight on here, I want to give periodic/monthly updates, since many of you understood where I was coming from.  One day, when I'm more confident and comfortable in my skin, I'll share my food journal link.  But for today... This is where I am.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. :)

Happy 23m Birthday, Alexander

Saturday, October 23, 2010

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Here we are... The last month before your two year birthday.  The last month I will "record" here, but will always record in my heart.  I love you, Cuddlebug. 23 months ago you were born into this world, and moments letter, you left it, changed for your time here, empty without you.  Forever different.

I miss you.  I love you.  Happy 23 month birthday, Alex.

What People Would NEVER Say...

Friday, October 22, 2010

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I borrowed this from Waiting for Our Miracle.  You can see her full post here.  Interesting thoughts...

***


So, what do you think people would say to you if you were paraplegic instead of infertile?

1. As soon as you buy a wheelchair, I bet you’ll be able to walk again!

2. You can’t use your legs? Boy, I wish I was paralyzed. I get so tired of walking, and if I were paralyzed I wouldn’t have to walk anywhere!

3. My cousin was paralyzed but she started shaving her legs in the other direction and she could walk again. You should try that.

4. I guess God just didn’t mean for you to be able to walk.

5. Oh, I know exactly how you feel, because I have an ingrown toenail.

6. Sorry, we don’t cover treatment for paraplegia, because it’s not a life-threatening illness.

7. So… when are *you* going to start walking?

8. Oh, I have just the opposite problem. I have to walk walk walk – everywhere I go!

9. But don’t you *want* to walk?

10. You’re just trying too hard. Relax and you’ll be able to walk.

11. You’re so lucky… think of the money you save on shoes.

12. I don’t know why you’re being so selfish. You should at least be happy that *I* can walk.

13. I hope you don’t try those anti-paralysis drugs. They sometimes make people run too fast and they get hurt.

14. Look at those people hiking… doesn’t that make you want to hike?

15. Just relax, you’ll be walking in no time.

16. Oh do my legs hurt, I was walking and walking and going up and down the stairs all day.

17. I broke my leg skiing, and was on crutches for weeks, and was worried I’d have a permanent limp, but I’m 100% healed.

18. I’d ask you to be in my wedding party but the wheelchair will look out of place at the altar.

19. You’re being selfish, not coming on the hike with us, and looking at all of my track & field trophies.

20. Don’t complain, you get all the good parking places.

21. If you just lose weight your legs will work again.

22. If you would just have more sex, you could walk!

23. You don’t know how to walk? What’s wrong with you? Here let a real man show you how to walk!

24. You are just trying too hard to walk. Give up, and then you’ll walk.

25. Here, touch my legs, then you’ll walk!

26. Just take a vacation, and the stress-break will be sure to get you walking!

27. When *we* were young we only had to worry about having to walk too much.

28. And I bet a paraplegic going to a bookstore doesn’t find books about paralysis stacked next to all the books on running…

One Week

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We move in ONE WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ByeBye Duckie

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

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We started out bathing the kids in a blue tub that Sarah bought for their baby shower.  Even though it said "infant/toddler", they blew through it and, by 7-8 months old, I was looking for something else.  Enter "The Duckie".

Big enough for one baby at a time, it was soft and the nose quacked!  The kids loved it and they've happily used it for the last few months.  But, sadly, all things come to an end and since Bobby cant sit at the back of it without crunching his knees, we've known it was time to move on.  I'm still not happy with them in the tub sans babygear, so I found some bath chairs.  And, best of all, they can have tubtime together.

They arrived yesterday and, in spite of the Amazon write-up by the manufacturer that says suitable for up to 24months, the box says 10months!  They are huge (for example, Bobby had PLENTY of space to move around) so I dont know what 10 month olds the company had in mind, but I was a little worried using them.  No worries, though.  I tried them out this morning and they were not only stable, but the kids had a blast.  It took me some working to open them with the babies and, in fact, I had to have my MIL hold the kids while I figured out opening them from an overhead angle, but all in all, it was a good experience.

And Bobby and Maya had a great time.  So, without further ado, here is their first bath together!
They were so busy laughing and talking that I couldn't get any good shots of them looking at me.

As for the duck?  He had a fatal accident with a pair of scissors and is now in the duckie grave of the trash bin.  He was so gross on the bottom that even cleaning him with bleach wipes didnt help and I wasnt giving a dirty duckie away!

Single Digits... T-9

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Wow... We are in single digits now.  The move is just slightly over a week away.  I continue to pack, and Peter & I load the POD (not that there is a lot of room), when we can.  We are going appliance shopping on Saturday for our new Fridge and Washer/Dryer. Then, dinner with friends.  But, at that point, we will be less than a week away.  I can't even fathom it!  I emailed with our mortgage person yesterday, and we are done...  There is nothing left to do but finish packing!  I can't believe it.  All the paperwork, etc,- finished.  Freaky!  In   9 days, we'll be first time homeowners! (Well, technically, the bank will be the homeowner, but we are 30 years away!)

Sunday is the annual NICU Halloween party.  Maya is dressing up as a tiger, and Bobby will be a monkey.  Seeing as he is learning how to climb over anything and everything, it's a fitting costume.  Initially, we had thought just PJs, but the ones I bought (his were 18m and hers 12m) didnt fit!  We had to cram them in for this picture!

So, we went to buy larger ones, and saw the costumes instead.  Happy Halloween indeed! :)  And they were half off because we waited to get them.  I can't wait to catch up with the nurses.  I'm also excited to see other parents and NICU babies, both to see how they are doing and to give hope that you baby/babies CAN come home and be healthy to other NICU-newbies.  That was always such a sigh of relief for me.

Well, the monkeys are currently playing in the former dining room/current play room, and, as much as I'd love to catch up more, I am really enjoying playing with them. :)

9 more days... Wow... Can't believe it!

I Know Natalie

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

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For those following her story, Natalie passed away on Saturday, after a beautiful six months of life, spent in the NICU after being born at 33w (and months after her mom pPROMed).  Her family is heartbroken, as you can expect.  Please drop by and give them some love.

What I Should Have

Monday, October 18, 2010

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When I reflect on my children, I often think "I should have a X year old and ..." But really, I shouldn't.  My children shouldn't have been born, according to a 40 week pregnancy, on their birthdays.  Nicholas and Sophia "shouldn't" be going on 3 years old; they should have celebrated a second birthday right after my 30th.  Alexander "shouldn't" be 2 years old next month; he should be nearing the 18 month mark.  And Bobby and Maya "shouldn't" have just celebrated a year; we should be discussing our almost-10 month olds.

And then, that leads to harder questions.  If Nicholas and Sophia were 2 and some-odd months old, would there be an Alexander to celebrate 18 months or 9 month old Bobby & Maya?  If Alexander were 18 months old, there, for sure, would be no Bobby and Maya, since I would have still been pregnant when I conceived them.

Hard questions lead to harder ones.  Which brings me back to what I should have.

And what I dont have.

God knows I'm grateful- so very grateful- that I just held my sleeping daughter for an hour over dinner and that I was led around in circles by my walking son who wanted to show me every toy over and over again. God knows that I'm more thankful than words can say that they are safely here, healthy, growing, and lighting up my life more than I could ever have imagined.  That I can't imagine life without them.  That I can't imagine another life.

But I miss Nicholas and Sophia and Alexander.  I miss knowing if their hair would grow quickly and thick like Bobby's does, or if it it would be more wispy and light colored like Maya's.  If they would have brown eyes or blue ones.  If their skin tones would be olive or fair.  If they would talk up a storm like Maya or not wait to walk like Bobby.  If they would tell me they want to give me a kiss by grabbing my face and burying their open mouth against my cheek like my baby boy does, or if they would gently tap our foreheads before planting a sweet, delicate kiss like my baby girl does.  I miss learning their personalities and their likes, comforting their cries, kissing the boo-boos when they fall down, running my fingers through their hair, kissing them goodnight.  I miss everything I would have known and seen... Everything... Them.  I miss them.

And yet, without them, there would be no me of today, no mother of Bobby and Maya.  I wouldnt know how grateful I truly am.  How much of a gift this is.  And, while sometimes I wish I didnt know the world of losing pregnancies and babies and hopes and dreams and learning to live a life-after-loss, I know that it gives me different eyes.  That they gave me different eyes.  And a bigger heart.  And a hidden patience.  And a love that was unmatched and unparalleled.

In their deaths, they gave me life.

I miss them, but I'd miss them more if they were never here.  And the worst tragedy of that would be that I wouldn't even know it.

T-12

Sunday, October 17, 2010

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12 days until we move.  I alternate between excited, nervous, and plain old sad.  I can't believe we are less than 2 weeks away before settlement.  It's insane around here!

This Little Light Of Mine

Saturday, October 16, 2010

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Last night, after a wonderful yoga class, I came home and rifled around, looking for a candle to light.  Normally a candlegoddess, I found one in the entire house that wasn't a birthday candle.  One.  Everything else is packed up and put away, either in a box in the house or in the POD.  I lit the candle and placed it in front of a statue of the Holy Family.  For a few moments, I just stared, and then, very softly, I sang an Irish blessing.
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rain fall softly on your fields
And until we meet again
May you keep safe in the gentle, loving arms of God.

The wicks flickered and the candle burned brightly into the night, releasing a gentle lavender smell throughout the house.  So gentle and relaxing, in fact, that I fell asleep in the chair in the living room.  And, at 4:30am, I woke up.  The wax was gone, and yet one of the wicks had the tiniest of flames dancing.  No wax, no cotton, nothing left to burn.  But there it was.

Peter had woken me when he brought Bobby downstairs for a drink.  We stood there, the three of us, for a moment, just watching.  "Like our babies," I whispered.  Children who, science says, shouldn't have been able to live, but did.  Like that little wick.  Bobby reached out and, as I took him into my arms, he kissed me, and snuggled against me.  And, for a moment, they were all there.

I dont know when the flame extinguished.  But, in my heart, theirs never will.

Nat'l Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day

Friday, October 15, 2010

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In some ways, I'm preaching to the choir, but today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.  Orphaned parents around the world light candles at 7pm their local time, in the hopes that a candle burning for an hour can create a wave of light that conquers the darkness that the absence of our babies has left behind in our hearts.

It cant, of course, but it can give a bit of brightness and let us know that we aren't alone in our grief.  I ask you, tonight, orphaned parent or not, to light a candle and let it burn.  Let it burn for my babies, for yours, or for the ones of the people who live in your neighborhood that you dont know about, for the babies aborted, for the babies who were lost but loved so very much, for the ones wanted and unwanted, named and unnamed.

Having a living child (or two) doesnt diminish the grief that haunts your every waking moment.  It doesnt take away the broken heart you carry with you.  It doesnt remove the scars you carry in your eyes.  Having a living child does give you back some of the hope that you've lost; it replaces some of the light that was dimmed.  They bring a balm to the open wound that your heart became the moment you heard those words... Those horrible words that your child was gone, that they had died.  That you- their mother or father- even though you tried to move heaven and earth and hell and everything in between, couldnt save them.  That you- who would have given your very life, your very soul- couldnt stop them from transcending time and space.

In the beginning, I couldnt imagine surviving.  I couldnt imagine going through another pregnancy and risking the ultimate loss, be it in the form of a first trimester miscarriage, a second trimester pre-viability birth, or a third trimester stillbirth.  I couldnt imagine another child possibly healing the pain left behind.  I couldnt imagine my life today, or back then, my life at that moment.

Nine.  I could have a nine year old child.
Two and a half.  I could have two and half year old twins.
Two.  I could have three almost two year olds.
Thirteen. I am blessed with two healthy, thirteen month olds.  And really, I cant say that I should have a nine year old or nearly three year old twins, or Alexander and his two miscarried siblings that could be almost two had one of them lived.  I cant wish for one and wish another away.  I have eight children, five of whom I had the privilege of carrying outside of the embryonic stage and whom I had the absolute joy of holding in my arms.  Six of whom were never meant to walk this earth, except as the breeze through the trees, the rain falling gently outside the window, the moonlight that dances in the street or the sunlight that streams through my bedroom window each morning.  And two blessings that do.  That teeter totter as they learn to walk without me holding their hands.  Who give me kisses and rub noses with me.  Who laugh and snuggle and cling to me when they are sad.  Who hold my hand and look to me for the safety to take another step.

I couldnt see this a few years ago.  I cant imagine a different life now.

And, in some ways, that realization hurts.  It hurts so very much.  In some ways, it sounds as though I would pick Bobby and Maya over their siblings.  That I would choose my miscarriages and my preterm deliveries because it brought me here... to this moment... to Bobby and Maya.  While I can't imagine choosing that, I know that I can't choose to not have them.  Any of them.  And, knowing the outcome, knowing what that means, hurts.

But it also gives me pause to breathe.  To truly breathe.

I've had 30 years of living, and if I died tomorrow, I know my mother would tell you that it wasn't enough.  She's had more years than that (don't worry, Mom, I wont tell your age. :) ), but if she died tomorrow, the thirty years she's spent with me and the X years she's had with my grandmother, would be a drop in the bucket.  Because it, too, wouldnt be enough.  It never could be.  It never is for the ones we love.  A minute, an hour, a hundred years.  Whether they die first or we do, time goes on and a whole is forever there, a person forever missed.

I love my children.  I love that they came from that special summerland where the souls lie in wait to be born and chose me to carry them, be it for a minute or for months.    I love that I have memories of each, even if they are bittersweet and short.  I love everything about them.  And about the footprints they left behind on my soul.  They were beautiful and innocent- the measure of all that is perfect in this world.  And, for a few moments for some and for the present lifetime for others, I've been able to be a part of that perfection.  And, for that, I am ever changed, and ever blessed.

There is no Facebook status for us, is there?  For those of us who have been forever changed by the brief lives of people so small that many choose to ignore them completely?  For those of us who have been touched by the whisper of hope and love- true, unconditional love- and have lived to tell the tale long after they have ascended to the Great Spirit?

How do you tell the world that your children have died, but that you are thankful they were- they are- your children?  How do you tell them that the dont need to lower their eyes or tell you how sorry they are, because you are not sorry.

Will lighting a candle on October 15th ever replace lighting a new amount of birthday candles on February 1st... February 16th... November 23rd... and all the days in between that we wont have because those babies didnt have actual "birth" days.

Oh, how I miss them.  How my heart aches for them.  How I wish I could have just one more sweet moment on earth with them.  There will come a day.  I believe that in the depths of my being that I will, one day, hold them in my arms again.

Until then, I will watch Bobby and Maya laugh or speak to their pictures, and know that they know their siblings in a way that I dont.  I will dance in the rain and embrace their kisses.  I will smell them in the fall breeze.  I will feel their warmth in the first winter snowfall.

And, today, I will remember more deeply.  And know that they are always... always... with me.

Pray for Liam

Thursday, October 14, 2010

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One of Sonja's precious babies, Liam, has been hospitalized with RSV.  Please pray for him, and for the other babies, whom it seems have the sniffles!

(If you arent aware, RSV is one of THE most deadly things for preemies.  Bobby and Maya had every-28-day injections from November-April to give them the anitbodies to fight it and we were terrified of those three letters.    Now that they are older and bigger it doesnt give us as much pause, but it is dangerous until around the age of 2 when the risk drops drastically.)

So Sweet

Sunday, October 10, 2010

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The last few days have been tough, and then I opened my inbox and saw this.


Thank you, Tami.  Thank you so much.  We are very touched.

T-21 Days Til the Move

Friday, October 8, 2010

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I'm still here.  Just super busy trying to get packed up and moved.  I don't think October is going to be a heavy posting month.  There is just so much to do and time is winding down.

But we are here.  And doing well.

Tell me- how are YOU doing? :)

Shabby Apple Dress Review

Sunday, October 3, 2010

12 comments
Wow... It seems like these reviews/giveaways come in spurts! :)

Near the middle of September, I was contacted by Shabby Apple, a women's clothing boutique.  They offer  "affordable, hip attire perfect for work or a day to play", and asked if I would be interested in reviewing one of their dresses.  Never one to say no, I agreed and selected one of the dresses from their online catalog.  Unfortunately, I received an email after the order went through stating that the dress was out of stock.  But, never fear, they had selected another frock for me to try.

Now, I have to admit...  When I saw the one they chose, I was really nervous.  I mean REALLY.  It was totally something I never, ever would have even tried on, let alone wear sight-unseen.

Here is what I selected.



Here is what they selected for me.


And, it only goes to show what I know about fashion and dressing myself, because I LOVED IT!  I opened the package and was a little concerned still, but once I put it on...   But I'm jumping ahead of myself.

It arrived and, as I unpacked it to wash, I noticed a tag that noted that, by purchasing this item, I was helping to fund a microloan for a mother in India.  She weaves bamboo and her loan: $87.  Wow.  If you know me in real life, you know that I am a big buyer of fair trade.  The whole idea of microloans, especially to women in underdeveloped countries who, traditionally, have been unable to help financially support their families, really strikes a cord with me.  So, even before I put the dress on, I was in a good mood.

As I stated previously, hand-washing is pretty much lost on me.  I barely have time to hand-wash myself, let alone clothes!  So, I glanced at the "hand wash only" tag and tossed that bad boy in wash on the uber gentle cycle.  I asked Peter to hang dry it while I was getting the kids to bed last night, but when I looked for it this morning, I found it in the dryer...  Oh well!  Happens around here!  I dried his bike pants the other day by accident... don't tell!  Oh- wait- he reads my blog!  Oops!

I took it from the dryer and it looked just as perfect as it had arrived, so I decided to try it on.  I'd already decided to wear it out to dinner in the evening (did I mention we went on a date?)  As I pulled it over my head, I thought "this is NOT going to work".  I mean, there are stripes.   Over my tata's.  I dont want to bring attention to those!  But then I stood in front of the mirror.

And I was really pleasantly surprised.  My hair was dripping wet and I'd just gotten dried from the shower, but I thought I looked pretty darn nice!  I quickly took the dress off (as to not ruin the surprise for Peter) and told him that I was wearing my new dress to dinner!

We dropped the kids at his parents for the evening and went to our favorite Italian place.  And, if I do say so myself, I looked awfully nice.


I absolutely loved the dress.  (I wore it again to church this morning and I still loved it).  It was comfortable, but stylish.  It looked dressy and casual- all at the same time.  I loved the way it hugged my figure without showing my faults.  It washed and wore very well, and fit true to size.  My only complaint is that the black skirt picks up lint easily (but, let's be honest, what black item DOESN'T pick up lint).  I'm not a lint-brush-handy sort of girl, so that can pose a bit of a problem (for example, I had a gray spot on the skirt this morning at church because I didnt lint brush before I left but that's my fault too...)  

Overall, I not only loved the dress, but I think that the company's commitment to women in developing countries is admirable.  I told Peter that, while I've never been a dress lover before, I'm thinking of investing in a few pieces!  It's not too often that I find dresses that fit well, don't make me feel large, and give me a feeling of helping others.  

Guess I'd better convince Peter to let me buy the three dresses in my "shopping cart" already!  Highly recommended!  

Go Giants!

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These two are too cute not to share! :)



Go Eli Manning and the NY Giants!!!  Bobby and Maya send their good wishes!