Sunday, March 31, 2013

Growing Up

Has anyone seen my baby?? I turned around and there was this little boy in the place of my baby! I still can't believe he is almost two. I think him turning two will be harder on me than one.

I can't handle it. It makes me a blubbering mess. It might be something to do with pregnancy hormones, but I'm not entirely sure. I just want to hold onto him and keep him little forever.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

He is Risen!

Easter has taken on a new depth of meaning for us since our boys were born. Of course we have always been so thankful for what the Lord did on the cross for us, taking the punishment for all of our sins, but the fact that he has overcome death has taken on a new, deeper meaning.

The Lord has taken our sins upon himself and conquered the grave so that we have the hope of heaven. I know without a doubt that Carter is in heaven because of what God has done for us. And we could not be more thankful. And now it is more clear than ever that because of Jesus, death will not seperate us from our baby boy and we will have the hope of reunited in heaven.

We hope you all have a wonderful weekend remembering what God has done for us and the hope and joy that it brings us!

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."

Romans 6:8-11 

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

In Real Life

When you enter the preemie world or the baby loss world, you search to find people who are like you, who "get it". While many of us have great support systems right around us, there is nothing like having someone who has walked in similar shoes and knows how it feels. 

I have found some really wonderful people through this blog and through other avenues online. I am so thankful that resources like this are available now and that we can connect in ways we wouldn't have been able to 10 years ago. Lately, I have found myself wishing I could take a little tour around the United States and meet all my friends. I think it would be so fun to be able to meet the people who have walked this journey with us from afar. I would love to see the faces behind all the messages and support and tears and give some big giant hugs in real life. It would be so fun for our kids to meet or to share pictures of our babies in heaven. Don't you think that would be fun?? Who's in?? :) 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Third Trimester

Oh, hello mysterious third trimester!!

I wasn't sure we'd ever get to meet, but here we are. I'm excited (and a little nervous as I've never been here before) to see what you have to bring me.

I'm sure you will bring days of me sitting on the couch eating bon bons, resting of course, while getting my feet massaged. I'm sure I will also have lots of cute maternity clothes that make me look like one of those cute pregnant people instead of looking like a house. I know Cohen will recognize my condition and be on his best behavior and letting me take lots of naps.

Please keep your cankles and swollen feet to yourself. Also, if you could please make sure baby Ezra stays head down and stops changing position every 3 seconds, that would be awesome. 

I know you will be kind to me and not give me any reasons to worry. Right? Right!? Thanks third trimester, I hope we get along well.


p.s. If any of you have been in the third trimester, please don't ruin my completely reasonable expectations. Thanks!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sick Days

Cohen is still working on getting rid of his cold. He hates the inhaler when we are giving it to him but afterwards will play with it and even put it on his face. We can tell he doesn't feel good but he seems to be handling it pretty well. It's probably harder on us than him as we are evaluating every cough or funny breath. I've gotten out my stethoscope on occasion and listened to his breathing and even pulled up his shirt to watch his breathing. Poor fellow sounds pretty miserable but we are hoping he will kick it soon! Meanwhile, a few pictures of the little sickie. 

{Aw mom, I know I'm sick, but can't I please still play outside??} 


{Getting a little fresh air} 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Another Busy Week

Well, we were waiting for things to slow down a little, but this week wasn't it I guess.

Cohen came down with a cold and has a nasty sounding cough. We decided to give it a few days and see what happened. He's had very minor cold/teething runny noses before, but this is his first chest cold. Pretty amazing if you think about it, we have been incredibly blessed with his health out of the NICU. This morning he woke up and was coughing pretty hard and couldn't quite catch his breath. We decided to take him in to the after hours clinic at his pediatricians office just to make sure everything looked good. My concern wasn't necessarily that he was in distress right now, he has been low(er) energy and working a little harder to breath, but otherwise seemed to be handling it well. My worry is that he won't be able to get rid of it and it will turn into pneumonia or something else. So, in we went. The doctor thought he seemed to be handling it well, but prescribed him in inhaler to use to make sure things are moving out of his lungs and not getting stuck down there and also to use during his little coughing fits. Even though he seems to be doing fine, it's hard to forget all the things taht have been drilled into our heads about his chronic lung disease and how even a basic cold could be something serious for a preemie. We've been enjoying the extra snuggles but are hoping this goes away quickly.

My dad also spent the night in the hospital which was a little scary, but everything seems to be fine so we are very thankful for that.

We had an ultrasound yesterday and baby and cervix both still look good! Boring and normal, just how we like it.

Here's hoping next week settles down a little.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

21 Months

Cohen seems to be in a very sensitive spot right now. He has started to notice when Danny or I leave and cries if we leave him somewhere, even if it's with family. (Pictures all from Karen)

There are some things he is so fearless about and then other times he is literally clinging to our legs over the sound of the rain or a loud noise. I'm sure it's probably just a stage for his age, but it's so different than he normally is. It's hard to know how to reassure him while helping him know that it's okay and we are coming back for him, which I know he doesn't really understand yet.

While it has been a bit challenging, we also love to see how much he is constantly learning. If you ask him what a duck says he will say "quack" and if you ask him what a horse says he will say "neigh". His words of the week are "night night" and "uh oh". His walking is getting better but he is still constantly falling or trying to catch his balance.

He loves sticks and rocks and mud puddles, a true boy. He is starting to show his displeasure a little more because we don't let him live outside. He's earned a few trips to his bed for a little "regroup" time.   We are also working on using a spoon and fork and he loves it although he doesn't usually actually get the food on his spoon without some help. He has also been practicing with a big boy cup, but only when he is in his high chair as it always ends up all over the floor otherwise. He likes to "help" if we are making dinner. He gets out a spatula and a bowl and plays on the floor while we cook.

He keeps me incredibly busy and I'm generally exhausted by the end of the day, but he's so fun.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Who You'd Be Today

I have been in a fair amount of denial that Cohen will soon be turning two. I think this birthday may be harder for me than the first. How can it have been 2 years since our baby boys entered this world? That means it has been two years since I have seen and held and kissed Carter. How is that even possible? I would give anything to be able to hold him again. Will it still feel like this when he should have been turning 5 and 10 and 16? I think a lot about what he would be like right now. If he would look just like Cohen, or like the same foods, or what his little personality would be like. Man, I miss that little boy. It doesn't get easier. It does get "different", but it's still not easy.

Kenny Chesney - Who You'd Be Today
Sunny days seem to hurt the most.
I wear the pain like a heavy coat.
I feel you everywhere I go.
I see your smile, I see your face,
I hear you laughin' in the rain.
I still can't believe you're gone.

It ain't fair: you died too young,
Like the story that had just begun,
But death tore the pages all away.
God knows how I miss you,
All the hell that I've been through,
Just knowin' no-one could take your place.
An' sometimes I wonder,
Who'd you be today?

Would you see the world? Would you chase your dreams?
Settle down with a family,
I wonder what would you name your babies?
Some days the sky's so blue,
I feel like I can talk to you,
An' I know it might sound crazy.

It ain't fair: you died too young,
Like the story that had just begun,
But death tore the pages all away.
God knows how I miss you,
All the hell that I've been through,
Just knowin' no-one could take your place.
An' sometimes I wonder,
Who you'd be today?

Today, today, today.
Today, today, today.

Sunny days seem to hurt the most.
I wear the pain like a heavy coat.
The only thing that gives me hope,
Is I know I'll see you again some day.

Some day, some day, some day.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day Dreaming

Every morning that I go to work (and I've been there a lot lately) I make the walk from the parking garage over to the surgery center. Every time I take that walk, I pass the childbirth center on my way. Sometimes, I allow myself to do a little daydreaming.

I think about what it would be like to drive up the childbirth center in labor at 40 weeks, park the car, and hurry in. We might forget a few things because we are too excited or nervous. It might be the middle of the night and I have my scary hair. We will call our family and tell them "it's time" and maybe this time our voices will be full of excitement instead of fear.

I frequently see people out in the parking lot chatting. I like to think they are family members waiting for the arrival of a new little life. I think about how I want the first moments to be ours as a little family and then to share our boy with the rest of our family and friends. They will get to hold the baby instead of looking at him sprawled out on a bed with lots of wires and tubes and machines. I will hopefully get to hold my baby instead of having to wait to go see him and even then being so out of it that I couldn't really take it in. There will be joy instead of tears (maybe a few happy tears).

Of course right behind the childbirth center is the helicopter. The one that has taken a few of my friends down to Seattle to deliver babies. Thankfully, I never had to ride in it, but I know what it means. Just sitting back there like a little reminder. However, in my daydreams I like to think about how maybe, just maybe, it will go the way that we want. The fears are still there, but sometimes I like to ignore them and think about how happy things could be, at least in my daydreams and hopefully in real life.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

26 Weeks

It feels very strange to say that we are 26 weeks. All the other weeks we've been through and of course 25 weeks is our most familiar. But 26 weeks, we've never been here before!!

I've resigned to the fact that my 2nd trimester energy got lost and will never make it to my house. My limbs are apparently tired too as they fall asleep constantly.

It's also odd to feel this boy move so much. I felt the boys move quite a bit, but since there were two in there I don't think they could flip, roll, and do acrobatics like this little boy. They were head down from early on and never changed. This little fellow is in a different position every time.

While it feels a little bit odd, it feels so very good to be able to do what I need and want to do. I can take Cohen for walks, I can do the laundry, we can go to the park. I don't have to worry about laying in bed and thinking about all the things that I should be doing but can't. One of my greatest fears is/was bedrest. Bedrest is hard and contractions are hard both physically and emotionally. There's just no way I could do it with Cohen and I am incredibly thankful that we haven't had to go there and so far doesn't look like we will!

And here are some pictures of Cohen playing outside over the weekend. The happiest boy in town.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Parents of Preemies Day

March 10 is the annual Parents of Preemies Day. This probably isn't your typical Parents of Preemies Day post, but here goes.

Being a parent of a preemie or a sick child is hard. Many of us know what it's like to watch our child struggle for life, being hooked up to countless machines and monitors, and feeling so helpless. We are proud of ourselves and our babies for beating what seemed like impossible odds, and we should be.

What I've come to realize through having a preemie and losing a child is that our journeys are our own. Whether your preemie was born at 32 weeks or 23 weeks your experience is your experience, no matter how "hard" or "easy" in someone else's eyes. I've definitely been in a place where it completely rubbed me the wrong way for people to talk about how difficult their baby's two day NICU stay was or how "hard" their pregnancy was. I still don't tolerate complaining well, but I also realize that people's feelings are their own and they are valid. If a two day NICU stay is the hardest thing they've ever been through, than who am I to tell them that they don't have a right to their feelings or that it wasn't a hard experience?

I would be very sad if someone told me that what we've been through wasn't "as bad" as someone else. Of course I know that things could have turned out completely differently. There is always someone who has it better or worse, but what I know is our situation and my own feelings. I will do my best to understand other situations, but we can never completely understand someone else's trials and joys because we haven't walked in their exact shoes. We walk similar journeys, but we each have our own unique experiences.

 One of the awesome things about the preemie community is the amount of support parents can lend to each other. We can listen and learn and help each other out, even if we haven't been in that exact situation. But I also think there is a certain amount of comparing in the preemie world, just like in the "regular parent" world. In my opinion, comparing situations is an injustice to everyone involved. Like I said, I will be the first to admit that I've  been there. I've been angry at pregnant people, I've been frustrated with people complaining about how hard their lives are with their baby who has no problems to speak of. But that is a place that I can't and won't stay. My babies don't deserve it and it wasn't doing anyone any good, especially me. I think it's a totally normal thing to go through and even necessary in the healing process, but I found myself becoming increasingly bitter and angry and I knew that it was a place I couldn't stay. The saying "Comparison is the thief of joy" was ringing very true to me. I was too busy deciding how others should or shouldn't feel and I was ignoring the little and big joys of my own life.

Along with our experiences comes a responsibility.  No one plans to be a preemie parent or to have a sick child, but there are certainly a lot of us who have found ourselves tossed into this world. We can try and help others understand our situations. We have a unique perspective because of our children's beginnings. We can choose how we react to the situation we are handed. Taking a step back, not jumping to conclusions, and helping to educate others are things we can do to try and really support each other. We all make our own choices and they may come at different times in our journey. It may take longer to get to that place, and that's okay. We all process things differently in our own time. Parenting is hard and we've all been through a lot, so lets continue to support and encourage each other and help others understand, without comparing, the experiences we have been through.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Busy, Busy

You know those seasons in your life where everything feels crazy busy and you feel like you are just holding on until it slows down? I feel like we are in that place right now.

I have been trying to work a few extra days before baby comes which has coincided strangely with multiple meetings and classes at work as well. We are also taking a weekly class at our church. And then there are the OB appts every two weeks.

That on top of the normal housework, grocery shopping, making diapers and trying to plan meals, things have been a little nuts. We are all feeling it and are excited to get to a place where things slow down a bit. Cohen has been glued to my leg the past few days and I'll admit (and Danny will agree) I've been a little cranky. He even cried when we left him with the babysitter for our class. Usually he's practically running out the door to my sister's house or pushing us out the door for someone new to play with.

We are trying to find the balance of getting things in order for baby, working, and of course family. I will be glad when things slow down a little, even if it's only for a short while.

I'm thankful for little moments like these with my boy(s) in the midst of all the busy-ness.

Friday, March 8, 2013

25 Weeks and FOUR days

I woke up this morning, more pregnant than I've ever been!! 25 weeks and FOUR days...Hooray!

Yesterday we got to see this sweet little man over at our favorite perinatologists office. Don't worry, it was just a routine visit to make me feel better and as my mom says "to have a plan but not plan on it". Everything is looking really good and we couldn't be happier. They tried to get a picture of him with the 3D ultrasound but he was moving around too much, surprise surprise. We did get to see one of part of his face and I think he looks like Danny! Baby Ezra is weighing in around 1 lb 14 oz, right in between his brothers who were born at this gestation (Cohen was 1 lb 8 oz, Carter 2 lbs)

{Look at that little nose!}

Since we were down south, we stopped in to visit some of our friends and got a whole bunch of baby boy clothes. We had some saved from Cohen, but I got rid of a lot more than I thought I did, so now I think we are good to go.

I feel like we are finally starting to relax a little more and just take in this pregnancy. We will slowly keep getting things ready as we go and hopefully by the time baby gets here we will be ready. 40 weeks still seems like a loooooooooong time, but I'm okay with it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

25 Weeks and 3 Days

25 weeks and 3 days. The day our world changed forever. Last time, we were in a labor and delivery room after I earned myself a trip there when my water broke. The second day I was there, my water broke again, or more, I'm not really sure. Doctors filed in and out of our room, doing multiple ultrasounds, trying to see what needed to be done. And then they decided it was time. I don't remember much else other than seeing my doctor walk through the door and being so relieved to see a familiar face.

And then there was the strange calm I felt. At the moment when I should have been the most scared about what was coming, I wasn't. All I can say is that I think the Lord somehow granted me that peace in that time that should have been the worst. Danny said he thought it was the calmest he had seen me since going to the hospital.

I think there's another reason, too. As strange as this may sound to some of you, I knew. I knew we weren't coming home with twins. I can't say how or why I knew, but I did. This is something I have admitted to only two other people. Afterall, how can you ever admit out loud that you think your child may die? And as a mother, how can you even fathom the thought that your child may die? When you are a parent you hope and pray for what is best for your child and that generally doesn't include a life without them. I don't remember the exact day I knew, but I remember the day we put up both cribs. I remember the pit I felt in my stomach and how badly I wanted to believe that we would be bringing home both our boys. We only had a couple of matching outfits because I couldn't bring myself to buy any, and of course we didn't have much time.

The days that people told me "don't worry" and "everything will be fine" were the worst. Because deep down in my heart, I knew they wouldn't be. I felt like a terrible person for even having those thoughts. I wished, hoped and prayed I would be wrong. There were days that I was able to push it out of my mind and convince myself that maybe, just maybe, everything really would be okay. Maybe if I believed hard enough and prayed hard enough it would change the outcome.

That day, when I felt that incredible calm and peace, I think partly it was because I knew we were about to find out the answer. The turmoil of wondering whether my worst fears would come true or not were about to be found out. The torture and guilt for even acknowledging the fact that my son may never come home were about to be over.

From those days in earlier weeks when we had to answer the "what do you want done for your children" question, we had always prayed that if the babies weren't going to make it that it would be a clear decision. And thankfully (thankfully?) it was. Carter was too sick and despite the efforts, he wasn't going to live. Somehow, we were spared having to make the decision to keep him alive, or let him go. The things that I knew deep, deep down in my soul came true. It didn't make it any easier. I argued a lot with myself. I felt guilty for having even listened to those thoughts. Maybe I wasn't strong enough, or didn't have enough faith. I wanted my boys so, so badly, with all of my heart. But for reasons that I don't know or understand, it wasn't what God had planned for us. Of course I wish it was different and I also wish that I wouldn't have known. Maybe there is a reason why that I just don't  know yet, I'm not sure.

So here we are, at this same milestone, but in a very different situation. Everything is going well, there is no reason to think that our little Ezra may not be coming home with us. Yet, that fear is still there. Not like it was with the boys, but just sitting there in the back of my mind. I pray that I will be reminded of God's faithfulness, even when I don't understand this life. And today we will be celebrating 25 weeks and 3 days and we hope for many more.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Who-la?

Danny and I recently met with a doula. I'm not sure I ever really knew what a doula was, but we live near a hippie-ish town with the nickname "Birthingham". So, I've heard about doulas in a moms support group that I am in.

Considering our last experience, I want to do whatever I can to make this a better experience. I've said this before, and often feel a little guilty about it, but the boys' birthday was not the best day of my life.  In fact it was probably the worst. And so, when I heard about a doula and some of the support they can offer, I asked Danny what he thought. He had no idea what a doula was, but wanted me to have what I felt like I needed to have a positive experience.

From my understanding, a doula is basically like a support person. They help make a birth plan and then help remind you (and others) of that plan during labor. As I've mentioned before, we are sort of first time parents even though this isn't our first time. I have no idea what labor is like or what to expect. So, a doula is someone who will have a relationship with us and an understanding of what we hope for during the birth. They can also help out during the actual labor with breathing techniques, positions, etc.

I like the idea of someone I already have an established relationship being there to help out and support us when the baby is born. Since there are no guarantees of who will show up to deliver the baby, it makes me feel more comfortable knowing there will be a familiar face to help me hopefully have the experience we want. I am nervous about the emotional aspect and how many feelings and memories are going to come up. I think it will be beneficial for meI also like the idea that she can be present during a c-section (as long as it isn't an emergency) because I feel like that is the situation where I have the most potential to really struggle emotionally. If Danny left to be with baby, I would still have someone there with me. She can also help to be our voice for things we want like skin to skin right away, or to at least see the baby right away. One of the things I am most nervous about is having another c-section and having the baby taken away and not getting to see him for some reason. I know that will be really hard for me as we never saw or heard anything of our boys when they were born. Hopefully, this time around we will be in a position where we do get to see our baby right away.

Anyway, we are excited about the possibility of having a doula to help us hopefully have the best experience we can. Anyone out there ever had a doula for their birth?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

25 Weeks & A Name!

We have reached our 25 week mark!! It's strange how once you've had a preemie, your mind uses that as a reference for your current experiences.

If we make it to 23 weeks, the baby will be "viable".

If we make it to 25 weeks, we know we can have a preemie that can survive. 

If we make it to 28 weeks that seems pretty "safe". 

If we make it to 30 weeks, that would be amazing!

Obviously, we want a full term baby, there is no question about that. But I guess it's all relative to what we've been through. Danny have talked several times about how if the baby was born at 30 weeks, we feel like we would handle it pretty well. 

It's also strange to me that at this point, our baby boy is inside cooking, but that we know in general what he would look like if he were born right now. How tiny he would be, how thin his skin would be, that he would  require help to breathe, that his eyes would probably still be fused shut, and his sensitivity to lights, sounds, and even his own parents' touch.  

These pictures used to seem so "normal" for me to look at. Of course now I realize they are anything but normal. We are beyond thrilled to still have our baby boy safe and sound, growing on the inside.

Also, I know I said awhile ago that I would post baby's name and then forgot! Baby K3's name will be Ezra Andrew. Danny and I both love the name and decided a few weeks ago that this would be his name. My mom and sister's middle names are both Ann and my dear Gramma's name was Anna, so the Andrew is for them. With the boys, we kept their names a secret from everyone until they were born. I remember telling Danny once things when things were so uncertain that I wanted my babies to have names. At that time though, I wanted it to just be something for us. And I also didn't want to hear about everyone's cousins, sister's, dog's, uncle's who had that name or about the annoying kid in their 3rd grade class with the same name. This time, it feels different. First of all, it is way too unlikely that I would be able to remember to keep it a secret. And secondly, we want to be able to call him by his name. So there you have it!

Ezra Andrew

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fess Up Friday

I have taken to hiding Cohen's shoes and coat because he brings them to me at 7:30 am to go outside and is relentless until we go out, rain, shine, or monsoon.

One morning I woke up and Danny said "Remember that thing you gave to your friend that said 'The bigger the hair the closer to God'...?" Apparently I was very close to God that day.

I like it anytime Cohen snuggles me, even if he is only doing it because he is pooping.

I don't even like beer, but I have found myself saying "I need a beer" multiple times over the last few weeks.

I am planning my day today around getting girl scout cookies.