As I attempt to begin blogging I am not sure exactly where to begin. Our family has been transformed in the midst of the past two years. What I knew as "normal" three years ago no longer is "normal" to me anymore. K and I often discuss how we never would have been able to guess the road that the Lord had laid out for us as it is one of many surprises and blessings, but after traveling this road we can't imagine traveling a different path. I am certain that this is true for most people because our future is so unpredictable! Isn't it good having a Sovereign God that leads our way for our good?
I am going to skip down memory lane giving a brief history of our family. K and I met while we were in college. We had mutual friends that naturally allowed us see each other. In time we both grew to respect and appreciate Christ in one another. Although most people in this world would say we did not have much in common, our hearts beat together. We longed for the same things, cherished the same things, and valued the same things. After dating for four years K romantically and elaborately popped the question. If you ever want to hear the longest and most thought out proposal, you will have to ask. It was wonderful! We decided to relocate after the wedding so we quit our jobs and moved 10 days before the wedding. We had a delightful wedding and honeymoon and then started our new life in a new place, together. It is nice being closer to family and we have found a very supportive and God honoring church family here. I began working as a 6th grade teacher and K worked for an Insurance Company. We were just settling in after about a year and a half. We were getting the hang of our new jobs, bought a home, and growing in our marriage when we found out that we were pregnant!! We joyfully took on this new challenge working through how we were going to make it work. We were very excited about having a little baby and began the many preparations. We were wanting to know if we were going to have a boy or a girl so at 18 weeks into the pregnancy we went in to have our first ultra-sound. The technician new immediately that we were having twins. This thought never crossed my mind. The mid-wives that I was working with for the pregnancy told me I was growing a little fast, but that it was nothing to worry about. Me, a mother of twins? There are no multiples in my husbands side of the family or my side as far back as we can look! I began to feel sick to my stomach and I felt like I was going to pass out. I was overwhelmed by our unexpected news. It was not that I was unhappy. I was happy...I was just really surprised! Any time my emotions get high I always cry, so of course tears were running down my cheeks. I began to pray and the Lord reminded me that He gives grace when it is needed and that He would be my source of grace and help in times of need. At this point I began to compose myself and collect my emotions and thoughts. I again looked at the screen of all the continually moving limbs trying to make sense of what I was seeing. It was the first time that I had seen an ultrasound and so I was not sure what I was looking at, but I thought it looked like there were three heads! I quickly told myself that this was not possible and that I must just not be able to tell what I was looking at. (Later I found out that what I was seeing was one head and two bellies) Also at about this time my husband had three boy names run through his mind.
After about five more minutes of the technician looking closely at what she was seeing she came out with...."I believe I see three babies."
K's first response was, "Are you kidding?"
And she responded with the very appropriate, "We don't kid about these things here."
K and I looked at each other in disbelief. We both were in a bit in shock, but mostly just took it in stride at that point. We knew that the Lord was up to something. The only thing that I remember saying was, "What is going on?" The emotions of being overwhelmed had already rushed through me at the thought of twins and the Lord gave me the reminders that I needed at that point: He is my help, He is my strength, He is my God.
After ten more weeks of teaching, I was put on bed rest in the hospital (28 weeks). I have fond memories of those students who helped me through this pregnancy. They were so considerate when I needed to sit down or eat in the middle of class. One student even caught me puking in a trash can in between spelling lessons when I was suffering from extreme morning sickness. I feel like I had to abandon those students very suddenly, but I am confident that they understand that I had three little guys that were quickly running out of room inside of me. The next five weeks were full of anticipation as we waited for the arrival of our three little blessings. Many people seemed to think that bed rest would be such a burden and of course it had its uncomfortable moments, but for the most part, I knew it would be my last time to sit in one place with out the responsibility of three little lives for many years to come. I enjoyed the many visitors and I always looked forward to my husband's visit when he would come after a long day of work. He stayed with me in the hospital night after night, commuting longer to work in the morning, sleeping on a lumpy cot....and never complaining.
We had to see many doctors during this time, many of which had to tell me all the horrible things that could happen due to the very complicated situation that these babies were in. Because the babies are identical, they were all attached to the same placenta (food source). In these incidences, it is common for one baby to take more of the nutrients and for another baby to not get enough. It was possible that we would have to take the babies very early if this ever began to happen. The doctors also had to legally share with us the percentages that our children would have special needs as Cerebral Palsy, Brain Hemorrhages, and blindness to name a few. At 28 weeks the statistics were a very scary. We are grateful that we have the peace of God and His control in our lives. The statistics got better at 30 weeks and began to stabilize at 32 weeks. So that became our goal....32 weeks! We appreciate all of you who joined us in prayer during this time. We had to monitor the babies very closely toward the end as baby C (J) was beginning to show signs of distress. They had to watch the blood flow to his brain and as soon as it began to go negative we knew it was delivery day. J was a fighter from the very beginning and fought to get to 33 weeks.
Monday, January 15th, K and I had not even been married two years yet, and we were about to become parents of three adorably small little boys. Many things still remained unknown as we had no idea of what we were getting into. We were living one day at a time thankful that they had stayed in my womb so long. I should probably have K blog about delivery day as it really is very blurry to me, but what I do remember is that I could not wait to see their three little faces, six little hands, thirty little fingers, six little feet, and thirty little toes. As the doctors worked all I could see was a large blue screen and my husband's reassuring face knowing that it was all going to be ok. One by one the doctors delivered our little miracles: I (4 lb 1 oz), M (3 lb 13 oz), and J (2lb 12 oz). The NICU nurses gave me a quick look, but soon whisked them away to monitor and transfer them to their appropriate stations. They transferred me to my postpartum room where K came to me with a gift wrapped so perfectly. I looked at him with a smile as he always has some surprise that he is holding in, and I gently unwrapped the package. Inside were hand crafted earrings. They had three silver loops hanging down as a delicate chain representing our three little bundles and at the end of each chain was a pearl. K leaned over and whispered in my ear....you are my pearl and kissed me on my cheek.
The boys spent between 4 and 8 weeks in the hospital until they were able to join us at home. We were so thankful when we were able to bring each of them home. Their Grandpa came and stayed with us when I came home. It was so helpful to have extra hands to hold and feed the babies. Their Grammy was sick for a little while, but when she got better there was nothing keeping her away. They both returned to help us when we got to bring J home after 8 weeks. We are so thankful for their help as they love those little guys so much. We could not have survived those early days on our own. The help of family, friends, and our church was the grace that God provided for us. Those days were tiring and honestly, I don't remember too much. We fed the boys every 3-4 hours around the clock for months. It seemed like by the time we finished feeding everyone, pumping, and cleaning, it was time to start the rounds again. Do to exhaustion, I often would wake up frantic thinking that I had lost a baby. One time I even unzipped a pillow looking for a baby inside! I'm glad I never zipped a child up in one of those pillows in my sleep. Looking back, I am so thankful and overwhelmed by the kindness of others and the grace of our Lord. These miracle babies have just turned two years old. I am just now feeling like my head is starting to come out of the clouds so that I can look around a little. Hopefully soon, I can start caring for others in their time of need as I was cared for in mine.