The Beginning of Complicated

Exactly one year ago today the complications of my pregnancy with the twins became very complicated. It was a traumatic experience and I am very thankful to be here today with two healthy babies. I have been thinking about it a lot lately, since it was exactly one year ago today.

It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It was the beginning of a very long bed rest and being two hours away from my children and family for the first time ever. The medical issues and the helicopter rides and the doctors and the list goes on…

I didn’t write through this period of time. I wish I had. So the following posts are my memories of that experience. It may not be exact in all the details, but it is the exact way I remember it and how I feel about it.

It will be in several posts. I was on bed rest for 6 long and lonely weeks. It was rough. I can’t go through it all at once again. So you will get the story in “bits & pieces.”

To read about when I first found out I was pregnant with twins you can find that post <here>.

***

Brad was cooking barbecue chicken on the grill. He made a straight path that he followed frequently; flip the chicken, through the back door and straight to the tv to check the football game. He stood with his arms crossed in a defensive stance in the doorway, ready to yell or cheer at the tv.

I tried to keep my eyes open as I sunk further into the recliner. They wouldn’t stay open no matter how hard I tried. I have never felt a tired like this except with my pregnancies. The sheer exhaustion and toll on my body from carrying twins was twice as much.

Collin, who just turned one, was hanging on my knees bawling. I couldn’t pick him up. I was not supposed to pick anything up. I rubbed his back the best I could to try to sooth him, but I think I fell asleep sometime in between there.

I woke up to a quiet house. The kids were napping and it must have been a lull in the game because Brad wasn’t yelling. That was the calm before the storm.

I came down the stairs slowly, waddling, holding the weight of my pregnant belly. “I need to go to the hospital right away,” I said.

“You’re kidding me,” Brad said. “Today is the first day of football. This is the first game.”

“We have to leave now,” I said, even though I couldn’t get any emotion or urgency into my tone. “I’m bleeding.” And from there I was on a mission and that mission was to stay calm and get to the ER.

I have never seen him move so fast except for the other two times when I went into labor. But this was record speed. It was September. I wasn’t due until December.

I clenched the steering wheel and drove as fast as I could. I had cramps, but I didn’t think I was having contractions.

“You need to slow down.”

“I need to get there NOW. I just feel it.”

I pressed down on the accelerator as another small wave of cramps spread across my stomach. “Somethings wrong. I just feel that I need to get there because something big is happening. I just feel it. I’m in trouble. This just isn’t right. It’s not bad now but I’m scared.”

I have to say that the ER was ready and on the ball. As soon as I said I was pregnant with twins and bleeding I was whisked away in a wheelchair and straight to Labor and Delivery. It is a route I know well, having had two other children at the same hospital.

I was moved to a hospital bed, which was also familiar, and IVs, monitors, and nurses surrounded me with a million questions. I tried to get comfortable against the cool white sheets.

The monitor said I was having contractions. Why do I never know this? I never knew it with my other two pregnancies either, not until it was really bad.

I don’t remember much after that. It must have been the drugs, good ol’ Magnesium to try to stop the contractions. I was in and out of sleep with blurry faces coming and going.

I remember a nurse who looked like one of my friends said, “I can only get one baby on the monitor. The other keeps moving,” she said as she moved the paddles around, searching for the other baby, her neck craned to see the screen. I wasn’t too worried. They could never get both on at the same time. I fell back asleep. I couldn’t help it.

I remember hearing the nurses say, “Someone is to be with her at all times.” And they never did leave me alone. Every time I would roll over I would see a nurse or Brad.

I remember Brad pulling out the sofa bed. We were here for the night.

Then it hit. I was fully awake with wicked pain. There was no more sun peeking through the blinds.

“Brad! Wake up!” I yelled.

Panic.

Nurse call button. Where was my nurse? It was the first time I was ever left alone.

***Note – now is the time to stop reading if you are uncomfortable around labor and delivery rooms, have a queasy stomach, if blood bothers you, or anything about things that can happen with a complicated pregnancy might scare you or gross you out too much. It gets scary and gross. You have been warned.***

She came through the door in a second.

“It wont stop gushing,” I screamed. I cried. I squirmed. “Make it stop! What is happening to me.” I could feel it pouring out of me. I could feel the pressure.  I could feel substance to it. I could feel it everywhere, spurting out. I tried to look down at my body. The white sheets were bright red, and not just a small spot. I tried not to look after that.

I felt helpless. I felt reality slipping away. “Help me, please,” I cried. “Just make it stop!” I felt like I was delivering spawn. I felt like the Exorcist girl flopping around in bedand tied up with IV lines and wires for monitors. My head already felt like it was spinning.

And it kept pouring out of me, bright red blood thick between my legs.

Screams.

Panic.

I remember her dark eyes and long dark hair through all of this, it was a new nurse. She looked worried but she worked fast and knew what to do. Some code blurred through the hospital speakers. It was for me. 

“Doctor is coming,”  she said.

But it only got worse.

xxx

Happenings Around the House

Bradley got glasses.

Haha! Not those. The ones down below.

These. He is so cute in glasses. Of course, I’m partial because I’m his mother and think he looks cute even at his scariest moments.

Collin is sitting in a big boy chair, sort of. He is sitting half the time, the other half of the time he is on the table. “Collin, get off the table! Sit in your big boy seat,” I say every day at every meal. He will eventually catch on.

He had to give the high chair up to the babies.

And the girls enjoy their baths in the sink.

Elsie has two teeth on the top and bottom. Mallie has no teeth yet, but she has all the hair.

Time flies by so fast. They are all getting so big!

xxx

Cake for Breakfast, a Motorcycle Ride to School, and Easter Eggs in August

“Who wants cake for breakfast?!”

I am so excited I am saying this. I mean, I am such a cool mom!

“No, I don’t want any,” Bradley says. “I just want cereal.”

Collin says no, too.

What the hell is wrong with these kids?! Bewildered, I pour them the same cereal they eat every day. They are well-trained.

My dad comes a half hour later to take Bradley to school. He is carrying a bag of doughnuts. YUM! I’m excited.

“Bradley, you gonna eat a doughnut before you go to school?”

“No thanks.”

“They have sprinkles!” I say, trying to entice him with the sugary goodness.

“No. Just save me one for later, maybe.”

Really? No doughnuts, too? Is he sick or something? At least Collin ate one. I mean, c’mon…who doesn’t want cake or doughnuts for breakfast? Crazy kids.

 When it was time to leave for school Bradley runs in to the kitchen, “Mom, I get to ride the motorcycle to school. This is gonna be soooo fun!” Finally I get some excitement from him.

It’s still hard seeing him off to school. One of these days I will get used to it.

The babies and I got a lot of playing and work done. They played, I worked. To get a few things done in the kitchen I let them play with the plastic Easter eggs.

 Collin wanted to hog the whole bowl for himself. We ended up with Tupperware bowls, spoons, and a variety of other utensils out by the time it was through. It looked like the Easter bunny exploded all over my kitchen floor.

The things I do to keep my kids busy. I crack myself up. They have fun. 🙂

xxx

 

Milestones

August 16, 2011

We have been hitting a lot of milestones, especially today. It’s Collin’s second birthday and Bradley’s first day of kindergarten. <big sigh> I’m trying to hold back the tears.

First day of school –  All over America moms of kindergartners are crying as they watch their little ones go into the very beginning of their school career. And I’m sure some mother’s of older children are cheering, “Yes! They needed to go back to school before they drive me crazy!” Right now, I’m the crying one.

I woke up before all the kids on the first day of school, feeling that old excitement and fear as if I was in grade school again. I wonder who I will sit by? I wonder who will be in my class? I hope my teacher sure is nice? I can smell the new notebooks, glue, and crayons now. I remember when I couldn’t wait to use my new paints, and sport a new outfit and book bag.

Bradley was still fast asleep. I love sleeping children. I didn’t really want to get any of them up, but it is the “big day” and there’s no putting it off any longer.

Ready for the first day of kindergarten.

I studied the photocopied pick up and drop off procedures for Bradley’s school the night before and in the morning before we left. I looked at it through blurry eyes as I tried to push back those big momma tears that always want to spring out and overflow when you send your kid to kindergarten for the first time. I tried to orientate myself with the streets and the map, doing a rehearsal in my head. My brain did not want to cooperate since time and places are so confusing right now. I mean, he’s only a baby! And now I have to pull up, push him out of the car,  and send him into the big brick building all by himself (along with the seventy other something kindergartners)?

And I kept thinking how scary for him, but as we pulled up I smiled and in my most cheery mom voice said, “We’re here! You’re first day of kindergarten! How fun!” Fun for him, not for me – is what I really meant. I’m going to so miss having him home with me during the day. I really thought of holding onto his book bag and giving him a hundred kisses before the teachers had to pull me off, but I restrained myself. I also held back those tears (a.k.a. uncontrollable sobs) that I think all mom’s get that first day. I mean, I didn’t want to scare the poor lil’  fella’.

The thing that drove me crazy is I should have parked and made sure he got in the right line, etc. But I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep a handle on Collin, there wasn’t enough time, and there wasn’t anywhere to park anyway.

I got out anyway and helped him put on his book bag, gave him a kiss, “Have a good day. Mommy will be here in this line when you get out. Look for our car. And make sure you see Mommy in the car (for fear he might get into some other black SUV) before you get in.”

I asked one of the school staff standing there, “Where is he supposed to go?” I couldn’t really leave the car since Collin was in it, and you’re not supposed to park there (drop off only zone).

“Just go and get into the Kindergarten line,” she said motioning over to the hundreds of  lined up kids on the other side of the playground. “We goota keep this line moving. Your teacher will be holding up the Kindergarten sign. Oh wait, you probably can’t read yet. Ummm…” she was clueless. “I guess you could go park.” I looked around, park where? Two blocks away? I doubt we would make it to school on time. Cars were zooming in and out as they dropped off their kids. Movement was everywhere, and I just wanted to stay planted to that spot. “No, don’t go,” but I didn’t say it.

I took control of the situation. “Bradley, do you see that lady standing there in the white pants? See, there are two ladies, one in white and one in black? Go run up and there and ask her where the kindergarten line is.” And I held up the drop off-line while I watched and made sure he reached the ladies and was in place in line. Ticket me. I don’t care.

He was so happy and proud when I picked him up.

My dad was watching the girls, so when Collin and I got back home my dad says, “Happy Birthday, Collin! How old are you? Are you two?”

“Holy crap! I have been so busy running around to be on time this morning I forgot it was his birthday!” I mean, I remembered a week ago, two days ago…but it just slipped my mind this morning. I spoiled him the rest of the day.

He even got balloons and candy delivered from Connie at Miller’s Florist.

And…

He even got to eat the extra vegetables after dinner. (He helped himself.)

Cake and icecream for dessert.

*I forgot to get frosting. Oops. It just makes the cake healthy. ;)* And he’s two, so he doesn’t know any better yet. It also went well with the banana split icecream.

Other milestones, Mallie is crawling and pulling herself up on everything. This girl can get around…and gets into everything. I can tell she is going to be Collin’s partner in crime.

Don't eat the dog food, Mallie!

And Elsie has a tooth! Just one coming in on the top. If she gets the other one, I’m gonna call her Bugs, like Bugs Bunny. “What’s up, Doc?”

Elsie and Mickey

Oh, my sweet girls.

Second day of school – I actually cried more than I did the first day. Bradley jumped out of the car, “Bye, Mom!” as he went running. He forgot my kiss. He ran up to a teacher, “Where’s the kindergarten line?” And he was off.

Tomorrow my dad is taking him to school…on the Harley. Bradley is super excited. He is getting too big! But he will always be my baby.

xxx

Exactly one year ago today…

Exactly one year ago today I found out I was having twins. Needless to say, this was very unexpected, but a moment I will never forget.

All those times that I was so tired, I never thought that I was pregnant, I figured I was so tired because I was finishing up my student teaching and getting ready to graduate.Half the time I felt like I was sinking in quick sand because I had so many deadlines and I was trying to keep up with school work and still take care of my family. I just had Collin, who was about 9 months at the time, and Bradley, 4 years old, with boundless energy, “Mom, let’s read ANOTHER book!” How can you say no to that?! Needless to say, I was extremely busy and never gave it a thought that I was pregnant, especially with twins!

When I was scheduled to go to my first sonogram I told Brad he didn’t need to come. “Don’t worry about it. We just did this (i.e. sonograms, doctors appointments, labor and delivery) not that long ago, you’re not going to miss anything.” Boy, was I wrong and soon to regret that decision.

The sonographer squeezed the warm jelly onto my stomach and as I tried to get comfortable on the all too familiar doctor’s table. I craned my neck to watch the blobs that were supposedly my insides broadcasted on the computer screen. I cradled my head on my arm and lay back to watch the show. Not much really happens this early in the ballgame though. Mostly I see a bunch of black, gray, and white blobbing around this way and that on the screen with a few blips and beeps. I didn’t think much of it, and kinda wished I brought popcorn this time around. Until she swooshed to one spot, then another. Back again, then to the other. This doesn’t ring a bell.

 I was concerned…I don’t remember it taking so long before for a sonogram. I looked at the sonogram lady’s face. She was in deep concentration. “So what do you see?” I tried to pry anything out of her. “It will just be another minute,” she said without bothering to look my way. 

 A million thoughts ran through me at once. Is something wrong? That doesn’t really look like my last sonogram. Are there two in there? Am I having twins? No, impossible. There must be something wrong. Back and forth my mind travelled, my eyes going from the screen to the sonographer’s poker face.

After what seemed like an eternity she finally looked at me. “Do twins run in your family?”

HOLY CRAP!!! I about fell off the table. “I had a feeling that was what you were going to tell me.”

My eyes welled up with tears of shock, panic, joy, and a million other unexplainable emotions. Next thing I knew they were making a puddle around my shoulders and the lady offered me a box of tissues.

“Happy Mother’s Day to me,” is all I could say between sobs.

From this moment on they would remain Baby A and Baby B for the next 35 weeks.

And poor Brad <chuckle, chuckle>… He really thought I was playing some sort of practical joke on him when I showed him the picture. When it finally sunk in that I was telling him the truth, his cheeks turned rosy and I could of swore his eyes looked a little watery.

***small side note*** As soon as I showed Bradley the picture, he said right away, “MOM, there are two in there!” Kids are so smart.

And here they are now… I never would have/could have dreamed of this in a million years.

 Every day I feel so lucky for all four of my little blessings.

I am such a lucky momma.

xxx

Elsie Lorraine

Elsie Lorraine  a.k.a. Elsie Cakes, Tater Cake, Else

When we first brought the girls home I was so scared I would not hear them whimper or cry. They barely had a voice. They  would grunt and groan, which is common for preemies, I guess. When they did cry they sounded like little kittens trying to yowl. If you were in the other room there was a good chance you wouldn’t hear them cry at all. So I stayed real close.

1 week old

 At 3 a.m. one morning I was woken up by an ear-piercing scream. I bolted upright out of bed and was by the girls’ crib in a nanosecond. I was sure I was going to find something horribly wrong with that kind of scream, just what I had no clue. But it was just Elsie. She found her voice. And her voice is a high-pitched scream.

My ears started ringing only after a minute of hearing that kind of cry. I rushed to make her bottle just to shut her up. Ughhhh! is all I could think…and I hoped her voice would change to a regular cry real soon. It hasn’t. But it is amazing what you get used to…even at 3 am.

Strange such an alarming and screeching cry can come from someone so sweet and tiny.

Elsie at 4 months

Check out her happy scream in the recent video below:

It’s funny because it is usually the other way around. Mallie is laughing and making all kinds of noise and Elsie is the quiet one. Today it was Elsie’s day to do all the talking, I guess. Mallie was to focused on the camera. 🙂

I have all kinds of laundry to fold today…before it starts walking itself up the stairs and wanting to be fed.

Have a great day!

xxx

Bradley, Clifford, and the Book Fair

St.Patrick’s Day was a super busy day for us. This is part 3!

Bradley and I went to the book fair at his preschool. There were games, crafts, lots of cool books, and Clifford.

I wanted to take some pictures of Bradley in his Clifford ears we made at the book fair. He insisted on making a video instead. He was super hyper that night, probably because grandparents were around and he knows he never gets in trouble when they are around, most of the time. He also likes to show off. He is still cute in the video, in his own goofy way, even though I’m not sure what he was talking about.

I also took some cute pics. Check ’em out below.

Yep, amazing how much fun you can have with construction paper.

We ended the night reading books and eating Chex Mix.  I think next time we will have to make a play. FUN!

xxx

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

As I washed up the last big pan from supper I was thinking about all of the things I want to get done tomorrow. Finish putting my office together, organize my bookshelves, try to get caught up on laundry/or at least make a dent in it, clean out…WAIT! Sometimes I get so busy thinking about what I am going to get done that I forget to live in the moment and appreciate the day in front of me. But now that it is 9pm…I think I will give thanks to the day I just had. It has been a great day with my kids, family, and friends…and a very busy day! I set down the dish   soap and watched two tiny bubbles from the bottle float up to the kitchen ceiling. I’m tired and my feet are sore, but what a great day…

The girls cuddled and hung out in their crib while I got the boys ready. I had a lot of fun dressing everybody in green…or pink and green, love that color combo. 🙂

Mallie loves watching her hands and Elsie loves eating hers.

 

I love how they are cuddling in this one. Precious.

I absolutely adore putting the twins in dresses. They would wear pretty dresses everyday if I had enough dresses. I will have to learn how to do their hair all cute when they get bigger and get hair. Dresses came from my favorite store…Target.

I just fed her...but she wouldn't let go of that thumb.

 

Today Mallie was photogenic…last time it was Elsie. One of these days it will be both of them at the same time.

It  has been such a busy day and I am one tired momma! I am going to have to put today in two posts. This is the twins’ section of St. Patrick’s Day! Stay tuned for Bradley, Collin, green cookies, and the book fair.

G’night! And don’t let the leprechauns bite.

xxx

STOP…while I kiss these kids.

 The walls in this house are making the rooms much smaller and the kids are getting to be excellent climbers. We really need to get out a little more.

 It used to be so easy to throw a couple kids into the car and go. Now, with four children-and three of these under two- it is a major production to get out of the house (even though I wouldn’t change it for anything). And we especially haven’t gone anywhere this winter with super tiny preemies unless we had to.

But…The weather is getting nicer, the girls are getting bigger, and we are getting spring fever. And sometimes…a girl just needs to get out and have a little fun, even if she does have four kids in tow, and even if it is just to the library (which is pretty exciting to me).

So the other day as I’m guzzling the last of my hot tea, the best part with all the sugar at the bottom, I tell Bradley we are going to have to get a move on so we can go to the store. I’ve been dying to buy a new camera, need one badly, and have been saving my pennies, LOTS of them. I figure, might as well go to Best Buy and get one. Getting this gang ready and out the door is a lot of work, but I’m up for the challenge.

But of course, as soon as I decide this all hell breaks loose…or just lil’ Elsie’s lungs screaming at full blast, and she has a scream like a siren. So I take care of my poor colicky baby and try to get the rest of them ready, and it’s amazing what you can do with baby in arm. By the time I run around and go back and forth, all the kids are clean, hair and teeth brushed, they are all looking cute…and I am a sweaty mess and not even close to being ready. Thank goodness for ponytails and messy buns, otherwise we would never make it out the door.

Two trips to the car…yep, you heard it right, it only takes me two trips and I’m quite proud of this. I carry Collin first, then a car seat on each arm for my last load. It’s getting harder because they are getting bigger, but my arms rock! 

Look out store, here we come!

 But wait and STOP…this is where I kiss my kids… and brag about how well behaved they are at the store.

Bradley holds one of Collin’s hands and I hold the other…and my other arm is carrying two car seats, one resting on my arm and the other in my hand. We are quite a sight as we walk through the parking lot. And really, this is where it could get a little hairy…Collin could take off,  Bradley could refuse to help…but no, they are both angels. In the store, around all these expensive electronics, Bradley leads Collin by the hand and lil’ Collin just trails behind. They are so cute and I manage to make it through the store without the babies waking up and I didn’t loose any kids. Wow.

I am just so proud of my boys. And for that performance I let Bradley pick where we went for lunch, McDonald’s of course.

Our little outing was perfect, except the camera wasn’t in. Now I’m just waiting for it in the mail. I spent the extra six bucks to have it shipped, who knows when we will get out of the house next, so it was worth it.

xxx

p.s. I have a double stroller but it doesn’t fit in my SUV. So we wing it. And you should see me load all the kids in the tiny vehicle, it’s comical. That could be a post all of its own.

Meet the Twins: My November Babies

The girls are 4 months old now. Wow, I just can’t believe it. They have grown so much already. I look back at the pictures of when they were first born and can’t believe how tiny they were. Of course, I couldn’t believe it then either.

Elsie weighed 3 lbs 14oz and Mallie weighed 4 lbs 1 oz. Then, like most preemies, they lost weight and slowly started gaining it back. 

Here are a few pics from the hospital.

Mallie

 

Elsie

When they were first born they had to have special breathing treatments. Their heads were under these plastic domes that looked like a cake cover, kinda like you would see at an old fashioned diner. They had all kinds of tubes, wires, wrappings, and machines that monitored everything and were always beeping about something.Little tiny tubes pumped milk into their little tummies. They weren’t even eating an ounce yet.

All of these machines almost made me scared to touch them. And it was forever (about a week) before I got to hold them and even longer before they were able to be put together in an isolette, which I wanted very badly. It was a rough start but they are little fighters and were doing really good considering they were born at 35 weeks (5 weeks early).

Elsie

Elsie (pink hat) & Mallie (yellow hat)

Mallie

I plan on writing their birth story and all that we went through in getting these babies here as safely as possible, but I’m not quite ready yet. It is a long story as well as very emotional for me; long hospital stay, 911 calls, helicopter rides. One day real soon I will put it all down. But for now I will just focus on bits and pieces here and there.

It was the day before Thanksgiving that I got to bring them home. I had to set my alarm and wake them up every two hours to eat.

Elsie & Mallie

And somehow we managed. I’m not sure how I did it at the beginning with little to no sleep every night and taking care of two other children. I wished Brad was able to stay home but he had to work. My mom had to work also, but would come over on her lunch breaks. We have grown together andhave gotten into a pretty good routine. It is so much easier now that they are older…and I don’t have to wake them up every couple hours to eat.

There were times when I would be so stressed, waking up at 6 am, having only 4 hours of sleep, and trying to feed two crying babies who always seemed to wake up at the same time, along with Collin who still needed his diaper changed. Bradley, my 5-year-old, would try to be extra helpful and would climb on the counters to get the cereal down and try to make breakfast, which ended in more of a mess. Especially when he poured the orange juice. But at least he was trying, what a sweetie.

The boys love their baby sisters. Bradley is super helpful and Collin is always trying to kiss them.

What a good big brother. Mallie (left) & Elsie (right) and their first dolls from Grandma Lorraine

Bradley kissing Mallie

 

Collin & Elsie

Mallie (front) & Elsie (back)

 
Now Elsie weighs 10 lbs 2 oz and Mallie 11 lbs 8 oz.
 
They have changed and grown so much in only four short months, but some things stay the same.
 
Elsie still likes to sleep with one eye open to see what is going on everywhere.
 
Mallie is laid back and just smiles and coos all the time.
 
They still love to snuggle together. At night I put them at opposite sides of the crib and when I wake up they are next to each other. They must have scooted and squirmed to get close. They always say how twins have a special bond, it will be interesting to watch and see how their relationship develops.
 
xxx
 
p.s. They are fraternal twins. I am also so amazed at how they look nothing alike. Elsie is petite and blonde. Mallie is chubby and round with dark hair. Sometimes people say that one looks like me and the other Brad.