We Made It.

A year ago today, I was laying in a hospital bed with my arms wrapped around my belly. The contractions were coming every 10 minutes and I knew today would be the day. I was unusually calm. I had seen enough moms roll through the Antepartum Unit, and I remember that feeling of panic that would overtake the room as their babies would come too soon. I had spoken to the neonatologists – the experts, who went through with me all that it would mean for my babies to be born at this time – all that they would need to survive. No expectations were given, only odds, as these babies all have a mind of their own. A lot of unknown. But, here I was, calm. As I hugged my belly, I leaned down and told them, “if you’re ready to meet me… I’m all in.” I knew my body was no longer the place for them. They needed more, something I couldn’t give.

Fast forward to today, and here we are, a family of 6. As I write this, my babies are tucked up in their beds, having their morning naps. Completely content and asleep, they are telling me they are happy, and have everything they need. There is nothing more comforting in this world. It has been a wild ride to say the least, but as I look back, I know how blessed we have been through the whole thing.

The missing pieces of our family’s puzzle have arrived, and they’ve let us know it.

Our Henry – born at 1:35pm on this day last year, weighing only 2 lbs. 15 oz.

Henry

Our Henry – now, weighing 15 lbs. 4 oz.

Henry

Henry is a firecracker. With piercing blue eyes and 4 adorable teeth, he’s a heart-melter. Although, the last thing he feels the need to be, is a heart-melter. Our busiest baby, Henry is much too busy to snuggle up and flirt – he’d much rather flash you a toothy-smile from across the room. He’s always on a mission, places to go people to climb. Our explorer, Hailey calls him, out to conquer the world. He has been meeting his milestones all ahead of schedule, and before his brother – something we weren’t sure would happen after his PVL diagnosis (see article here: Periventricular Leukomalacia). This is still something “on the table”, to see how or if it will affect him, and he will be followed closely until about age 3. But, there’s no arguing, he’s perfect.

Our Ethan – born at 1:45 pm on this day last year, weighing 3 lbs. 7 oz.

Ethan

Our Ethan – now, weighing 14 lbs. 12 oz.

Ethan

Ethan is our soft-hearted soul. Taken along for the ride after Henry’s water broke, we maintain that Ethan would have been much happier staying inside my belly for as long as he could. “The serious one”, Ethan has heart-wrenching hazel eyes, and the same 4 teeth as his brother (although, his smiles are still “gummier” than his brothers… gotta love them gummy smiles). He is mama’s boy – and I’m so thankful for that. Our resident “ham”, he will stare at you – waiting for eye contact, and then proceed to either play peekaboo or tilt his head to the side in an attempt to “look cute”… anything he can do to get you to smile. The bulk of his first year has been spent by my side, perfectly content to be within my line of sight, with a hand on my knee or an arms length away. It’s been just recently he’s started venturing out with his brother, the two of them becoming quite the pair – if Ethan’s not with me, he’s with Henry.

My boys

Today, I’m a mom of 1 year old twin boys… a mom of 4 beautiful children. Wow. How lucky am I?

Parenting is the strangest phenomenon. To feel THIS much love for something … it’s overwhelming… and to feel THIS much love for 4 somethings – it’s unreal. I have to pinch myself everyday. Being a mom has been the biggest challenge of my life. But I can’t think of a challenge more  rewarding than this. If I’m going to sacrifice anything in this life, let it be for them, my kids. Then I know it will be worth it.

I am so thankful to have been chosen to be the mother of these two amazing boys. They have taught me so much about strength, perseverance, sacrifice and love in SUCH a short year. I am anxious and excited to see what’s in store for them next, hopeful to be along for the ride for as long as I am able.

Here’s a song that I heard on the radio the other day, and basically burst into tears as I instantly pinned it to my love for my kids… It sums up everything that I feel about them. As a mama, we choose to put our kids first, whether we realize it or not, it’s actually a choice. A choice I would make any day of the week. I’m NOT perfect and my kids will know this. But I’m here, looking to learn from my mistakes. I know I’m unprepared for what the future holds, but I’m willing to take it as it comes in the best way that I can. When my children think of me when they’re all grown up with children of their own – whether I’m around or not – I want them to think of love. Above all else, I want to leave a “lifelong love letter” to my kids.. and not just the hug/kiss, tell them I love them kind of love… the hard kind – the doing what’s best for them as much as it hurts me kind of love.

Happy birthday my smart boys!

I love you more than you or I will EVER be able to understand!

Want to read our story from the beginning? Start here: pProm with Twins

Week 26

Nobody minds having what is too good for them. – Mansfield Park.

Today is my husbands birthday – so in honour of that, I’ve decided to embarrass him with a terrible display of affection, and reveal 10 of the most intimate reasons as to what makes him so special.

Why I Love My Husband:

1. He’s my voice of reason.

No matter what, I can talk to him about anything and expect an honest answer in return. He doesn’t have the capacity to be a phony. He will always tell it like it is… which occasionally drives me crazy, but I can appreciate it most days (if not in the moment, I’m always thanking him after the fact)!

2. He works so hard.

A dedicated husband, father and an amazing friend, he busts his bottom for the people he loves. He is constantly putting his needs/wants on the back burner. This year has been a big one with the arrival of our baby boys, and I can’t imagine the challenge of having to balance his time between his work and his family.

3. He knows me and still loves me.

I am not perfect and he knows it. He loves me for my imperfections. He knows the ins and outs of me more than anyone else on this planet. From my worst habits to my best features; my hopes, dreams and worries. He accepts me for everything that I am, which is more than I can even say for myself.

4. He takes out the garbage.

Which is not something I enjoy. One of my most favourite sights to behold, is my husband getting rid of the garbage. That, and him washing the dishes. And he washes a MEAN dish.

5. He’s passionate about our family.

We are his everything, and he lets it show. A beaming, proud father and a doting husband. After a hard day where I’m left questioning both my purpose and my sanity, he will walk into the door and embrace our chaos with a huge smile and open arms. Instantly, I’m refocused. His passion is contagious.

6. He’s neat.

This is a big one – I don’t know if we would survive as a family without this one. And I don’t mean neat in the 1950’s way of saying he’s a “neat” guy. He’s neat and tidy. He likes things a certain way and definitely has a standard. Although, four children and a very messy wife is messing with that standard and blurring the lines of what is acceptable. I am the exact opposite of neat, borderline unbearable, so I am thankful everyday for his neatness.

7. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty.

This one kind of goes along with #4 and taking out the trash, but whatever it is, he’s game. Diapers, dishes, laundry, putting babies to sleep, changing sheets, cleaning up vomit — you name it, he’s done it. And I love watching him do it. He is an amazing hands-on dad. He leaves me wondering on a daily basis, HOW DOES HE DO IT?!

8. He’s a human jungle gym. 

Yes my husband is a big kid. As much as that CAN send me off  the deep-end… I am thankful for it. Being silly with him is the funnest part of having him around. Hanging out as a family, it doesn’t keep much to be entertained. He’ll throw our kids in the air, twirl them upside down or chase them up and down the street… and he’ll make it look easy.

9. He’s darn cute.

What can I say… we all know where babies come from. We have had this undeniable chemistry since we met… and it doesn’t seem to be going away (4 kids later). He still gives me butterflies in my tummy.

10. He wants me to be happy – whatever that means. 

He is more in tune with what I need than I even am. He encourages me to live passionately and to seek out my interests. He wants me to be “me” first… whether that be an extra long shower, an annoying blog I spend way too much time writing on, or a day trip in Banff with a girlfriend to “let off steam”. He lets me pick what TV show we watch after the kids are in bed, he gives me the good pillow to sleep with, he makes me coffee, he lets me hide in our bedroom to read my novel on a Saturday afternoon… He never questions me whenever I go a little overboard at the mall and never buys himself anything… He loves me. He doesn’t expect anything – which is so much more than I will ever deserve.

…did I mention he’s darn cute? 

Thanks for being you, my dear husband – this thing we call life would be so dull without you by my side…

Happy Birthday!

Week 4

If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. – Emma

Another quote from her novel, “Emma”. This time – these words belong to Mr. Knightley, as he is finally declaring his love for Emma.

I know this is true for me. When I feel passionately about something or someone, I have a hard time expressing myself -perhaps out of fear:  fear of rejection, fear of judgement, fear of  the repercussions that may follow; perhaps it boils down to genetics or its just something I’ve unintentionally learned to do, picking it up along the way.

Even worse, when my passion involves a circumstance that is difficult to handle or understand, “talking about it” can be downright out of the question, making me way too vulnerable for my taste.

Communicating these difficult moments goes against our very human nature. We live in this world of instant gratification – we are looking to feel good, right now and stay that way. We stuff the difficult down and ignore it – hoping to forget and carry on feeling good, as we were.  Unfortunately for us, at least for me, NOT communicating is only a short-term solution. There is something to all this “talking”. So, what is it for me?

Well, the inside of my head looks a little like rush-hour traffic.  At any given moment, I have 4 or 5 different thoughts starting and stopping. You have the emergency vehicles who need to get through – the thoughts that take precedence – our kids needs, the to-do lists and the grocery lists. The thoughts that are left behind – trapped in the far left-hand lane with no exit in sight – are usually the ones I don’t want to think about.

The appeal to communicate these thoughts for me is this: forcing them out and letting them be my focus for more than a fleeting second, my thoughts tend to organize themselves a lot better. Because of that, I usually gain a new perspective on the subject. Feeling a little more enlightened – I can most definitely learn to deal. Also, it gives to whoever I am communicating a new perspective on me. This is usually my lovingly wonderful husband – who let’s face it, is not a mindreader. Forcing myself to communicate my feelings on a particular subject almost always helps him to better understand where I’m coming from – keeping us on the same page (note: I said, almost always).

Let’s face it, life is not fair. We are all going to experience a time where we feel completely disconnected from the life we had thought we were going to have. But, “it is what it is.” – This became my mantra as we faced each day in the NICU. And it has stuck. We need to understand that as much as we don’t like it, the circumstances won’t change (9 times out of 10). Being able to face it, talk about it, get it out there, will ultimately help us somewhere down the road. I stand firm on this point. If it hasn’t helped you, hold on, keep waiting, God isn’t finished yet. Focus on the little victories while you wait … look for them, they’re everywhere, and there are more of them than you think.

I hope you all have a great week – don’t stop loving, if anything, love harder – let’s just work on talking more.