Saturday, February 19, 2011

5 Years and 5 Million Memories

 (From January 2009)

Most of you know what time it is… January. The month the babies were born…. I love to write and journal a lot around this time and I like to send it out in hopes that it will do just a tiny bit for you as it’s done so much for me. Maybe it will light the way in a darker world, maybe it will allow you to go back to those times when so few things mattered- where we just celebrated life and each other, maybe it will inspire you to reach for a dream that you thought unrealistic. Brennon, Juliana and Gavin have encouraged me to do all those things (as well as take a long vacation alone one day!) and I thought I’d share a bit of that today! ==========================================================

January 2008

It’s hard to even imagine what sort of memories would have been made in the last 5 years. Clearly many more than I could count.

5 years ago, this week, I checked in to the antepartum/antenatal wing of the hospital at 21 weeks pregnant. I parked there for an indefinite amount of time. My due date to deliver the twins was May 11th. As far as the doctor was concerned, I wouldn’t be leaving that hospital pregnant to try to *relax* at home, I would be there until I delivered the twins, be it the next day or May 11th.

3 weeks later, at 24 weeks gestation my sweet tiny tiny babies arrived, tipping the scales at a little over a pound each. They weren’t concerned with time, or lack of time they spent growing. They weren’t concerned with the obvious effort I had put out trying to keep them where they needed to be. They weren’t concerned with the small fortune it would take to keep them alive. Seems, after all, no one told them how hard it would be. There isn’t a direct line of communication when you’re dealing with babies, seems they are doing exactly what it is that they do- keep you guessing.

It wasn’t mentioned to them they would age their parents like millions of hours of hard labor and millions of hours in the sun- all overnight. No one told them that for 4 months in the hospital after being born they would break many hearts, pick up the pieces and mend those hearts all together again with unexpected successes. Someone forgot to mention that they would hold the hearts of those same two people (known as Mom and Dad), in the palms of their tiny hands. I don’t think they knew what those two people felt for them, or what their arrival made those two people feel for each other. They never anticipated what those two people would feel like when they got *the call*.

No one mentioned how hard it would be. Juliana and Gavin had no clue. They just did what they needed to do.

But I had a different idea; I knew how hard it would be. I was prepared for round 2 of the extended NICU tour as I just did it with Brennon 4 years prior. BUT- I had done it once, and told myself I could do it again. Or could I? Surely the second time around would be easier. It was not, the two experiences didn’t compare. Where Brennon had major issues the babies sailed through. Where we had no worries with Brennon, the twins seems to pick up the slack, just so we could experience EVERYTHING that there was to experience with extreme preemies. It wasn’t the worry that typical twin parents have with the parenting two children part, but wondering if those two would ever come home for us to be parents to- there were a few too many times we were told “It doesn’t look good.” We wondered day after day if they were growing normal, if their brains were functioning correctly, if the future was a bright one, or a bleak one. There was nothing *hard* about giving two babies a bath, even alone. There was nothing brilliant about feeding two babies at two am. I never got kudos for managing a last minute grocery store trip. THAT was quite easy in comparison.

5 years later I am not sure it is any easier. I think in talking to other twin moms with older twins, they told me it would get better *around 3* to make sure I wouldn’t throw in the towel and run. It was a possibility after all. Today it’s crazy, funny, sad and scary- but not hard in *that* way. What’s hard is looking back at where they’ve come from, and wondering did I do everything I possibly could? Did the doctors take all the precautions they were supposed to?

It would be naïve to say yes or no, either way. I like to try to focus on what I do know, for sure- I love these kids. I love that when Gavin gets out of bed, he likes to sit at the top of the stairs and rub his ear for a few minutes before joining the family- every morning. I love that as soon as I step in the kitchen I can as sure as the sun rises turn around to see Juliana in her chef’s hat ready to help me do whatever it was that I came into the kitchen to do. I love that Gavin only calls Juliana sissy when he tells her he loves her. I love that Juliana has to tell him she loves him back in a quiet voice. I love that they think we don’t see them hug, all the time, and pretend to be pushing each other as soon as they notice we noticed! I love that when Juliana is in trouble she gives the biggest grin you’ve ever seen. I love that Gavin puts himself in a time out whenever his brother or sister is in one- he’s all about equal treatment. I love that when Juliana is tired she says “I wanna lay on you body.” And I love that when Gavin is tired he asks if I can rub his “big back”. I love that Juliana has a preference of what she’s called, today it’s Irene, her middle name.

The last 5 years has been filled with some memories I never thought I’d be fortunate enough to have, and have often. It only gets better by the day. There are some days I am ready to check out, and I even go to the extent of pricing the tickets and carefully choosing my tropical destination based on how quickly someone could come pull me out of there- the more difficult the better! Somehow I wake up the next morning and wonder what I was thinking. There is an alternative to all this- it would be NOT having them. That is something I can’t imagine. They make me real, humble and most of all, they make me realize that I was chosen, (hand picked!) to be their mom. It’s not a coincidence that I have the 3 kids I do. It’s not a coincidence that I am doing all this along side of one of the greatest people I’ve ever known. But somehow that doesn’t make everyday easy, matter of fact, I can count the easy days on a few hands. We have to look back and honor ourselves and realize we never signed up for prematurity, autism, pre cancerous conditions, chromosomal abnormalities, developmental delays and a mom with a forever broken body from it all- we signed up for the *typical* kid stuff! This isn’t typical and to think there are those who’ve suffered more, much more.... Yet, somehow or another it was truly meant to be and I appreciate who I am today because of it.

“When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: Either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.” - Edward Teller

We’re thankful that we received both lessons, we know when there isn’t a strong base to stand on we need to rise above, flutter and flap our wings during the time in question, keep our eyes on what and who’s above and wait patiently for the time to pass, then land softly on our solid base once again. There is one thing we know for sure, whether it’s bad or good, it will change. We hold on to the one thing we know that won’t, our family commitment to each other.

I’ve said it before, it’s about 5 people that bring something different to the table, and that is table I am proud to sit at my entire life. Today is about life, the life we were given by them being able to continue theirs and not leaving us too soon. It was close at times, a little too close for me- but 5 years later we’re all here, standing taller than ever and realizing that maybe it wasn’t that hard after all!

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