Friday, May 31, 2013

Fess Up Friday

I didn't write any of my confessions down ahead of time this week, but I'm sure I could think of a few off the top of my head...

The boys' birthday is next week and I have planned exactly nothing. We have one gift for Cohen, an Elmo t-shirt and that's it!

I put on jeans for the first time in weeks earlier this week.

I have been trying and trying to clean and I usually just end up making bigger messes.

I bit the bullet and got Cohen a backpack/leash and now I want to use it just to walk him down the street so he can walk and I don't have to chase him.

I totally forgot about my own birthday until Danny said something about it the day before. And it was even my golden birthday!

Sounds like I'm going for the worst mother of the week award! Or at least the mother with the least amount of brain cells! 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pregnancy After Loss

Getting pregnant again after a loss, or even a preemie, can be a very difficult and highly personal decision. We have been through almost an entire pregnancy now with our rainbow baby. These are the things that I personally have found helpful in pregnancy after loss.

1. Find a doctor who supports you and will respect your experiences. This is probably the most important thing. If you liked and felt supported by the doctor you had with your loss, it's nice to be able to see them for additional pregnancies because they know what you've been through already.

I mentioned here on the blog the time I went to a new doctor at the same practice I had with the boys. The doctor and I totally didn't connect, I felt judged and unsupported, and I haven't seen this doctor since and I don't feel bad about it. If you have experienced a traumatic pregnancy or birth, whether you lost a baby or had a preemie, there are enough other worries and fears and you need to feel like you have the support of the ones taking care of you and baby.

Your doctor should respect that what you've been through is incredibly difficult and not something that just goes away overnight. There are so many triggers of emotions and memories involved even with going to the same doctor's office. While they should also encourage you and help you see the positive, they should also acknowledge that you will have worries and that you will experience things differently than a "normal" pregnant person.

2. Do what will help you feel the most comfortable and have the least regrets. I have called my doctor's office multiple times over things that I figured were "nothing" but I needed to hear it out loud for the reassurance. If something feels off or you just plain need to know that baby is okay, then do what you need to do.

I was given a doppler by a fellow loss mom and it was a huge help. There are people that don't want to have one in case they aren't able to find the baby's heartbeat or it causes more stress, which is totally understandable. For me, it was the reassurance I needed until I could feel the baby moving.

3. Ask for support. Find a close family member, spouse, or friend that you can go to with your hopes and your fears. Someone that can help you keep perspective but that you can also voice your worries (and your dreams!) to. And do voice them! Anyone who knows what you have been through will understand, to some degree, that this will be a hard, stressful time for you and hopefully support you in that.

4. Take it one day at a time. It's understandably easy to look at the whole pregnancy and to think about what could go wrong and panic. Trust me, I've been there. This quote is one that I repeat to myself often "Worrying does not empty tomorrow of it's troubles, it empties today of it's strength". It's impossible to not ever worry, it's just in our human nature. Go there, voice your worries or write them down, and then focus on the present and getting through that moment.

5. Take things people say with a grain of salt and some forgiveness. Just like when you lost your baby, people will still say silly things that will make you mad, especially in your hormonal state. Don't worry, it won't happen again. Everything is going to be fine, you'll see. These are a few of my least favorites. Our rational brains and some statistics could probably confirm that yes, it is unlikely that it will happen again, but the trauma is there. And really, we don't know that it won't happen again. Our feelings and emotions are forever changed because we've been there and we know what it feels like to love and lose and it is certainly one of my greatest fears that it could happen again.

6. Do your best to connect with baby, even though it's hard. There were many times where I felt like maybe if I just didn't get too attached to the baby that it would be easier if the baby passed away. A friend reminded me to enjoy every day that I was given with the baby, whether it was 2 months or a lifetime.

Pregnancy after a loss is going to be hard no matter what. We bear the scars of something that no one ever imagines going through. We live every day without our children and we know what it feels like and of course we fear that it could happen again. The feelings are very valid and you will experience them. Find people who can support you and help you through. And hopefully, you will get the boring (and exciting in good ways) pregnancy you have always dreamed of!

Anything else you fellow baby loss or preemie parents would add?

Monday, May 27, 2013

37 Weeks - Full Term!

Today is a very special day, you see, we have a FULL TERM baby on our hands (almost)!!! Can I get an Amen and a yahoo!?


We've had a pretty low key weekend around here. We were going to go to the zoo on Saturday but then it just seemed like too much work. My parents ended up taking Cohen up to their little campsite to spend the night. From the pictures I got it looked like he had a blast. He got in some "side" time between the torrential downpours. Danny and I got to have a nice little date night and went out for dinner, frozen yogurt, and spent some time in the sun sitting by the water. I didn't realize how much I needed a break until the opportunity was there. Thanks Mom and Dad!!

{This makes me laugh, the story of our lives - Cohen running off in another direction}

I'm still feeling pretty good, although a little bit like an old lady. Things take me much longer and I grunt and make strange noises a lot more when trying to get out of bed/off the couch/out of the car.

We are very excited to meet this little man whenever he decides to get here. It's such a relief knowing that now it's "safe" for him to come. He acts like he is trying to break out, moving and rolling all over the place. He is a very busy boy, much like his brother. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your prayers, thoughts, support, and stories of your own rainbow babies. We truly appreciate them.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday Song - Worn

I have been listening to this song a lot lately and thought I would share it in case someone else out there needs to hear it.

Some days I truly just do feel so very worn, the burdens of this life just feel so heavy. I love this song because it makes me feel like it's okay to be worn and tired. Life is hard, but it's not the end, we have something to keep on fighting and living for and that someday our struggles will end.

I know there are many of you out there who have been through or are going through some incredible struggles. One of the parts of our journey that I have been so blessed by is having others share their experiences with me. To have people that know what I've been through and to be that person for someone else, while I wish none of us had been there, has been an amazing experience. I'm thankful that people feel more open to sharing when they know someone else has "been there". I think being able to talk about it and not just keeping it inside is such a huge part of the healing process. So please know that you aren't alone.

It's a relief to know that this life isn't all there is and that someday my heart will be made whole when I get to heaven. The pain and sorrows will be gone!

"Worn" - Tenth Avenue North
I’m Tired I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world

And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn

I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life

And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

I know I need to lift my eyes up
But I'm too weak
Life just won’t let up
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

My prayers are wearing thin
Yeah, I’m worn
Even before the day begins
Yeah, I’m worn
I’ve lost my will to fight
I’m worn
So, heaven come and flood my eyes

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause all that’s dead inside will be reborn

Though I’m worn
Yeah I’m worn

Psalm 18:16-19
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Day that was Almost Ruined...

I have nothing to confess this week. Instead I will just tell you how incredibly thankful I am to have the chance to be this guy's mom! Danny took my car to work and also took my set of car keys to his car with him to give to his boss in case of baby so that his boss can meet him wherever he is on his route.

I had our morning all planned that I would take Cohen to the park and let him run around and get outside since we are due for more rain, I even packed a little lunch. I was quite cranky when I discovered we couldn't actually go anywhere. I sat in the car pouting and then decided that we would just go for a walk and end up at the little park by our house. I'm so glad we did.

I let Cohen out of the stroller and we just took a nice, relaxing walk. We stopped to point and yell at construction workers and pick up rocks and sticks along the way. We got to the park and played and had a little snack. We stared at "buggies" and accidentally squished a few trying to pick them up. And then made our way back home.

  It's so easy to let little things get in the way of just enjoying life. Cohen is the light of my life and he brings me so much joy. I can't wait until his brother gets here because I know I will be able to say the same about him too!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and that you get to enjoy the time with your families!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Who We'd Be Today

I have entered the sleepless zone of pregnancy. Most nights I either just stay up late or try to go to bed and end up getting back up again even though I'm tired. As I laid in bed last night trying to sleep, I realized that the boys' birthday is coming up very soon. I don't know if we've just been so busy that I haven't thought about it or if it's a subconscious thing to hold myself together, I'm not sure. Part of me can hardly even believe that it's been two years since the boys were born and our world was forever changed.

A few weeks ago I posted the Kenny Chesney song that I know a lot of baby loss parents have related to, a song called "Who You'd be Today". I frequently think about who Carter would be today if he were here. But I also think about who we as a family would be. I spent part of Mother's Day in my bed crying because things just weren't supposed to be this way. Danny came in to find me and said the words I was thinking, things would be so different if they were both here. 

How would our little family be if we had our twins? I really can only imagine. Would we be struggling to keep up with two rambunctious toddlers? Would we be cheering and celebrating that we had survived our first two years with twins? Would we like the attention from having twins, the questions about having twins, and meeting up with other parents of twins? Would we be complaining to other parents about how busy and tired we were raising two toddlers? We are so very excited for Ezra and we wouldn't trade him for anything, but honestly, we probably wouldn't even be thinking about more kids until the boys were older, if ever.

The truth is, we will never know. It's an experience that we won't get to have, one that we are left to imagine. There is definitely beauty in the ashes, and we would certainly be a different family and different individuals had our situation been different and we were able to raise our twins.

Guess the Date and Weight

Sorry things have been a little quiet over here, I'm having a hard time finding time to blog! Unfortunately today probably won't be much better, Danny has today off and we are going to try and get some things done around the house. Cohen is also starting a sensory play group today at his OT so I'm texcited to see how that goes.

I thought it might be fun to have people guess when they think Ezra will arrive and how much he will weigh. Here are the boys' statistics although they may not help you unless you have some mathematical equation to figure out what they would have been at term.

Cohen - 1 lb 8 oz at birth, around 8 lbs at his due date
Carter - 2 lbs

At our ultrasound 2 weeks ago they were guesstimating Ezra to be about 5 lbs 7 oz.

Alright, GO! What do you think he will weigh and what day do you think he will arrive?? (If you say anything past our June 17 due date or a weight over 9 lbs your comments will be deleted :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Fence Building

We have been wanting to put up a fence for some time now and with baby Ezra arriving soon and Cohen loving to be outside, it was time. I told Danny it needed to be done before Ezra gets here. Now Cohen can play outside where I can see him and not have to worry about him running away or getting in the neighbor's garden.

We invited the boys over, fed them lunch, and put them to work. Thankfully it wasn't raining or too hot out. They got most of it up in a few hours and there are just a few more parts to finish and we are in business. I'm so glad to have it done and I think Danny is too!

The womenfolk got to get a few things done too. We have garbage bags full of scraps from diapers that we were able to sort into piles of scraps we could get more diapers out of, scraps to be cut into squares for baby quilts, and scraps that I will find another project for. Not even our scraps go to waste around here! 

All in all a productive and tiring day, but we are so glad to have the fence up! 

 {The first piece is up!}

{Danny working hard}

{Sorting scraps}

{Cutting scraps into squares for blankets}

{Cohen's contribution was dumping a bag of chips on the ground and then eating them}

 {The boys showing off the fence}

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Little Catch Up

We are still here! I have been working 2 days a week but they didn't need me this week, which has turned out to be a blessing. Cohen started having a high fever on Tuesday and I think it finally broke last night. He is getting better but still not quite himself. He has no other symptoms other than the fever (that I know about) which is kind of strange, but we are glad he seems to be getting better. The little fellow has been quite miserable, although I've been enjoying all the snuggles, even if they are at midnight (and 2 am and 4 am).

I am 35 weeks and counting! I am feeling surprisingly well still. I think this is the best I've felt emotionally and am still feeling pretty good physically. I have days of sore backs and not sleeping well, but overall still feeling good.

My youngest brother John graduated from college this last weekend with a double major in computer engineering and physics. We had been planning on going to his graduation but ended up staying home because I just wasn't sure I could do the 8 hour drive and 4 hour graduation. But, we are still so very proud of him!! He was home for a few days and left this morning for University of Waterloo up in Canada to get his masters.

{Uncle John and the nephews & niece}

This weekend will be a busy one too. We are taking a little road trip to Eastern WA for my cousins bridal shower and my other cousins housewarming party. Sunday we are finally, finally putting up a fence in our yard. I told Danny that I needed it done before the baby comes so he has been working hard figuring out everything we need to get it put up.

(My sister Karen took all these pics :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Messy House

My house is rarely ever all the way clean. I get to parts of it just to have the other parts messed up again by the time I finish another one. Sure, I have the excuse of a 2 year old and working etc. etc.

But the truth is, I like a little bit of a mess. I could do without the clutter, but a shoe here or a toy there, I like it. It makes me feel like we are living in our house.

I will never, ever forget the first time I walked back into our house after being gone for over a month while on hospital bedrest and staying close by Cohen's side in the NICU. It was still our house, but nothing was the same. Everything was, for the most part, exactly as we left it when we walked out that day. But nothing was the same when we came back. It was pieces of our old life that didn't seem to fit with this new life we had.

This may sound strange, but when I turn off the lights and lock the door to leave, I so often think about if something were to happen and we came back to our house as it was, what would it look like to us then? What kind of a picture of our lives would it be that we were coming back to? Would I regret that baby sock hiding under the end table or the lego car in the living room? I don't think I would.

And that's my excuse for being a terrible housekeeper :)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Bittersweet Day

Last Sunday was International Bereaved Mother's Day. I was asked to write something for a link up but never got around to it because we were so busy and sometimes it seems like there is a "day" for everything. I honestly didn't think much about the day. But now I get it. It almost doesn't seem fair for moms who have lost their babies to have to live through Mother's Day. We had plans to go to church this morning but I just wasn't sure I could do it. The thought of having to listen to all of the "Happy" Mother's Day wishes was almost too much to bear.

The day that is supposed to be joyous and reflecting of how wonderful being a mom is and how grateful children are for their own mothers. And yet here we are, with our arms aching to hold our little ones just one more time. To hear their voices, to give them kisses, and to rock them to sleep.

My boys have taught me the true depth of a mother's love. I never knew I could love so deeply until I lost that chance. Of course I love my Carter, but it's not the same. I love him with all my heart but there's nothing physical to match my emotions. He isn't here. I can't parent his pictures and the things he left behind, they aren't him. 

So I will spend my day loving Cohen and being so incredibly grateful to have him here in my arms. But I will also be thinking of Carter, who I long to have here with me. My journey to motherhood has not been what I have expected, but I am thankful to my boys for making me a mom and for teaching me so many valuable lessons. While today will be a joyous and day of celebration for so many, it will also be a bittersweet day for many who are moms but don't get to have their babies here on earth. In your celebrations, please remember the moms of angels and keep them in your prayers.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

23 Months

This is more for me to remember, but you're welcome to read along and be impressed at how many words he knows. He has really started to say a lot more over the last few weeks.

"Buddy" - peanut butter
"Mang" - milk
"side" - outside
Down - down
Down - up
"ing" - Swing
Night Night
"Key" - Kix/cereal
"Thanky" - thankyou

He will also tell you what the kitty, doggy, ducky, horse, and cow say.

He currently loves his stuffed animals and blankets and pretends to go to sleep a lot. When we go to get him up in the morning he just rolls around in his bed and hugs his stuffed animals. He recently inherited 3 Elmo stuffed animals that he snuggles (even though they are totally un-snuggly because they are made to move around).

He loves to be outside and he loves "working", moving things around, transferring them from one container or spot to another, pretending to sweep, playing with the parts on the vacuum.. He loves his kitty who is less than impressed with him and will probably be thankful when there is a baby to distract him. 

He also seems to be doing quite a bit better now that he has his swings and now that the weather has been nice and we can go outside and be out and about more. He doesn't seem to get as frantic and discombobulated as when we were stuck inside all day.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fess Up Friday

One day I was in our living room muttering about how I shouldn't have to clean the house and pick up toys when I'm 12 months pregnant. Then I heard Danny say from the other room "You forgot the part about how I make you bike to work uphill both ways"

We have been using plastic shot glasses to teach Cohen how to drink from a cup and not have to clean up so much spillage.

When I get Cohen's jammies on at night and his feet are filthy from playing sockless in his crocs, I wipe them off with a baby wipe and put socks on and deal with it in the morning.

I accidentally wore Danny's "Proud Preemie Dad" shirt out of the house.

I haven't worn pants in over a week before they are too hard to get on. Thank goodness for skirts!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

34 Weeks: Getting to be "that lady"

Today I got to be that lady. The one that waddles into her doctor's appointment and gets to bring her mom and sister to see the baby at her ultrasound. We got to laugh and make jokes about the baby while they turned on the 3D so we could see his sweet little face. My appointment with my doctor was short because everything was going well.

I got to be the lady that I was always so jealous of at my other appointments where we would sit and wait to see if things were getting worse or better. I wasn't afraid or nervous. I got to talk about normal things like how much the baby weighs while my belly got measured. And then I went on my way out into the sunshine. It felt so good to get to be that lady.

Our little Ezra is looking fine and even a little bit chubby! The ultrasound tech turned on the 3D for us and we got to see his cute little cheeks. He looks similar to the boys but also different. He is guesstimated to currently weigh a whopping 5 lbs 7 oz!!! Sorry these aren't the greatest, they are a picture of the picture, but here he is. Isn't he cute?!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Holding too Tightly

We have a family in our church who lost their adult daughter around 10 years ago. She was martyred as a missionary while serving in another country. This couple came and spoke to our Sunday School class a few weeks ago. As they spoke about their daughter and the legacy she left, they said something that stuck with me.

Don't hold on too tightly.

If this makes you cringe a little bit, it makes me cringe a little too. I have to admit that I have struggled with this, but it just keeps rolling around in my head. I do hold tightly to Cohen. I worry  whether his carseat is in the car correctly. I worry about him being in someone else's care and something happening to him. I worry about something happening during the night and I won't wake up to help him. 

I think considering what we have been through, it probably isn't a huge surprise that I have issues with this fear and anxiety related to Cohen. Everything in me screams: 

How can I NOT hold on too tightly!? Don't you know what we've been through?

 Leaving him alone (with our wonderful nurses) in the hospital for 130 nights, months of worrying about his health, and knowing how fragile life is have left us a little traumatized. I don't look down on or judge any preemie or baby loss parent who has these similar feelings. It's all part of the healing process as we try to recover from the road we have walked.

But, I also know that I can't keep him in a bubble his whole life. I can't keep him from all the dangers of this world. Part of our faith journey is knowing that God has Cohen's days planned. I like to be in control and one of the biggest lessons we have learned over the last two years is that we aren't in control. 

We can still do our best to protect Cohen, to help him grow, to teach him things, and to love him to pieces every day that we get to spend with him. We have to give him a chance to fly, and to fall, to be able to experience life to the fullest. It's still scary and it's going to take me awhile to get to a place where I feel like I'm not clutching on to him, but I hope I can get there. And really, with his personality and drive, I'm not sure we could hold him back if we tried!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Simple Activities: The Dishwasher

Today's activities are brought to you by: the dishwasher.

I'm learning that simpler can be better. Don't get me wrong, I love pinterest as much as the next guy and spend too much time dreaming of all the fancy crafts I'm going to do with my kids and gourmet meals I will cook for the family. But it also makes me feel like a little bit of a failure. So it makes me pretty happy when I discover that Cohen is thrilled to be playing with the silverware container from the dishwasher. He started out playing at the dishwasher and then he discovered he could take the silverware part out.

He spent quite a while putting silverware in and out and back in and back out. And then moving them to the container. And then over to the actual dishwasher and back.

I was equally as thrilled when I put some ice cubes outside on the cement and let him play with them. He really does love to "work" and I'm happy I can find easy, simple things around the house that keep him busy and happy.

I think I'm going to post these ideas to pinterest so I feel like super mom. Just kidding...

{The setup...his "tools"}

{He decided he needed a few more so he got them from the cupboard}

Monday, May 6, 2013

Cinco de Mayo

We have officially started birthday season around here. Actually we started at the end of March with my nephew's birthday and now we are in full swing.

{Working hard on Gramma's birthday card}

Sunday was my mom's birthday so we celebrated with a taco lunch at my sister Karen's. The weather around here has been so nice (and so not normal). Thankfully, they have a nice shady yard in the afternoon because this girl doesn't tolerate the heat well normally and equally not as well while pregnant.

Cohen ate and ate and ate some more, threatened to throw up once, and then continued eating. 

Karen had the slip n slide and little kiddie pool all set up for the kids and they had fun playing in the water. Cohen went in the little pool, fell over and was done although he did tromp through the puddles on the slip n slide later on.

{After lunch nap time for the big boys}

Happy Birthday Gramma, we love you!

{Food time - stolen from Karen} 

{Cohen's first ride in the gator with cousin Josiah - stolen from Karen}

Friday, May 3, 2013

Almost Wordless Friday

How sweet is this not-so-little boy!? I can't take it. I can only imagine what it will be like when his new brother gets here.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

33 Weeks and Nesting?

I don't know if this is what they mean by nesting, but I have definitely been in "get things done" mode. I don't generally actually accomplish much, but I have been at least trying. I cleaned out our junk cabinet, got Ezra a baby book and started filling out what I could, baby laundry is ready, and the hospital bags are half packed.

I am trying to catch up on our scrapbooks before we have another one to start. Looking back at Cohen's pictures from last year is so bittersweet. My baby isn't a baby anymore!! But we also love the stage he is at and how far he has come.

I am feeling better emotionally this week and am starting to feel my 33 weeks physically, especially after two days of work. I have lovely cankles, sock lines on my feet, horrible heartburn and a sore back but am trying to keep things in perspective, it's all worth it. Baby boy is doing less kicking and more rolling. Constant rolling. I keep thinking he must be running out of room but apparently not. Spring has arrived for now and I am starting to be thankful that I won't be pregnant during the summertime :)

No one was around to take my picture so I did the best I could.
{My view...I had to lean over so I could see my toes}

 {And the belly outside}