Happy Birthday!!!!! and lots of other stuff

Well, it's been a while since I last wrote and we have been busy, busy, busy! We got off to a great start with the arrival of my dad, stepmom, my lovely sister and her boyfriend who flew all the way from Oregon to be with us for the holidays. It was soooo happy they could come, I miss her terribly when she's not here. And the babes just love their Auntie Nomi. We met Garrett for the first time in person which was wonderful. Anyone who is great with my kids and loves my sister will always hold a special place in my heart.

So here's what we've been up to........

Are my babies actually ONE year old? I can't believe it. I've been pretty emotional ever since December 15th - the day a year ago that I was admitted to Northside...thinking I was staying for the weekend so they could "watch" me but instead having the c-section that would bring our three little miracles into the world. I remember only bits and pieces of those 9 nine days and I'm hoping that one day Richard will write a post to fill in my blanks. Or maybe I'm not meant to remember them in detail - the bits and pieces might be all my psyche can handle and my mind has just filtered out just enough for me to understand the sequence of events but maybe I really don't need to know every minute. So, let's see what I remember.....

I remember being told by a nurse in my perinatologist's office that they'd put me up on the high risk floor but instead I was put down on the L&D floor which is basically a dark basement - or so it seemed. I remember a nurse giving me the steroid shot and I was thinking - why are you giving this to me? I had read that you got that shot when you would be delivering the babies within 7 days...but I was going home (or so I thought). I remember the neonatologist coming down to do the consult and scaring us to death. I was sure I wouldn't bring home all three babies and if I did bring home just one she would have severe medical problems. I remember the medication getting my BP under control and when I didn't have to deliver that weekend I DID get a room on the high risk floor which was like a breath of fresh air (with a window). I remember being told I was lucky I had all girls. And I remember that awful beep on the BP machine, I knew when my BP was too high b/c the machine would do an immediate second reading. I remember lying on my left side, listenting to relaxation tapes, trying to will my body to hold the babies in as long as possible. I remember being told that we had to deliver on Wednesday the 20th. I remember feeling like a failure. I remember brushing my teeth at 4am and being wheeled down to get my epidural. I then remember being in the OR and then the recovery room. I thought we were in recovery for like an hour, but Richard says it was more like 5 hours...I'm sure my mom was freaking out!

The next thing I remember is being in a new room on the high risk floor and Richard showing me the first photos of the babies, which didn't really look like babies. So much so that there was no identifying feature for me to tell who was who which made me very sad. I was on what's called a "mag wash" which i think is Magnesium Sulfate (?) in addition to morphine and I was loopy, loopy, loopy for like a day and a half. Richard still kind of shudders when he talks about what I was like while I was on that stuff. I was with it enough to know I wanted to hurry up and get my IV's out so I could go see my girls. They'd let you go even if you had IV's, but I didn't want to go when I felt so incredibly out of it. I wanted to remember seeing my girls for the first time.

So Friday, after lunch Richard and my sister wheeled me to the NICU to meet my babies. I was terrified, and so sad and so scared. They were so tiny, so incredibly tiny. I couldn't imagine then that something that small could grow enough to be an actual baby! Well...that was year ago! Today, I've got Zoe who is 18lbs 4oz and 26" long, Lily who is 15lbs 8oz and 27" long, and Avery who is 17lbs 3oz and 27 3/4" long.....they've come quite a ways since 1lb 4oz, 1lb 6oz, and 1lb 10 oz! I mean they were literally the size of a banana and now they are healthy, happy little girls.

Avery is pulling up and climbing on anything and everything she possibly can, she's got one tooth coming in on the bottom (finally, it seems like she's been teething for months!) She has also entered that mommy separation anxiety phase where she not only needs to be in the same room as me, but must have her hands entwined in my hair at all times. She's been having a few difficulties at night but I'm sure it's because of the teething. She is eating so much these days! She loves a wide variety of foods and drinks her bottles like a real baby! She's immitating words and gestures and facial expressions and is such a ham for the camera.

Lily is working on crawling on her hands and knees instead of her belly and is just starting to pull up...but because of her tendency towards stiffness transitioning from sitting to crawling, crawling to sitting, sitting to standing is a little more difficult for her. We're working on it with her and she's doing great. She's a great solid food eater, still loves her banana yogurt and was the only one of the three who enjoyed eating her birthday cake. She does have some mild sensory processing issues but we'll be getting occupational therapy to work through those issues. Our GI doc wants to see her gain more weight but did not say we had to go back to the feeding tube, so that's good. She and Avery will get to transition to whole milk by mid February and Lily will get Carnation Instant breakfast added to hers for more calories. We will probably get a nutritionist involved as well just to really help with strategies to maximize her caloric intake. She talks and talks and talks...and has this beautiful kind of sing-songy sweet voice. She loves music and any kind of musical instrument we have. Namo (Richard's mom) got them this great little piano for Christmas and Lily plays with it all the time.

Zoe is making huge strides!!! She had to go up on her her oxygen for a little while, but was not in distress, nor did she have increased work of breathing. Now, she's back down to 3/4 of a liter and was even down to a 1/2 today! Her pulmanologist is taking her steroid wean very slowly which I am very happy with. She has been wanting to sit up a lot lately! And she is getting so strong. She has four teeth! And has two more on the bottom that will probably break through in another month. She still loves to laugh and smile and she really wants to be a part of what her sisters are doing. She loves her Baby Neptune DVD (thank you Natali!) which we try to use for distraction during eating. Her eating has not been going too well...she is now allowing only tiny bits of food in her mouth which will then sit there and she won't swallow or it will take her forever to swallow. I'll be asking her GI doc for a referral to the feeding clinic at CHOA. We have a feeding therapist who comes to the house which is great, but I just feel like we could benefit from some additional resources and ideas. I know she will eat eventually, and for now I am thankful she has her g-tube, without it she would not get the nutrition she needs. She'll be going on thursday to have it changed our for a Mic-key button which is flush with the skin instead of the long tube she has now. Her teacher at the Speech School is really pleased with her progress. She is showing a lot of understanding and receptive language skills which her teacher says she sometimes doesn't see for years with kids with hearing loss. We are continuing to test and retest Zoe's hearing because her behaviorial responses still are not matching up with the computerized tests. All three girls will have their 1 year check ups next week.

Their party was a princess theme and was a small family affair. The girls were showered with gifts from friends and family eventhough we couldn't invite everyone (due to RSV season). Daddy made three pink cakes filled with banana pudding (since Mommy said they were to young for anything more sugary than that)...Avery started "patting her cake" (a rhyme we say every day) so everyone laughed which then made her burst into tears. Lily, carefully ate her pink frosting with her pointer fingers and Zoe slept (all the presents made her tired). They got lots of cute clothes, beautiful necklaces, a book that was written and illustrated by a local artist, baby dolls, and their very own baby laptop, to name just a few.

And then....it was Christmas and the gifts just kept coming! Grandma and Grandpa had to leave on Christmas Eve so we opened presents with them and took photos on that day and then on Christmas we opened gifts with Mimi, Nomi, and Garrett. We took all day to do this because the girls only have so long of an attention span and it takes a long time to open gifts for the babies when all they're really interested in is the wrapping paper! It was kind of nice spending the day to get through it all and later, when it was 8pm and the babes were asleep, I realized that we had not opened our gifts. It was then that it really hit me...I don't really want or need anything for myself anymore (sure a new pair of jeans is nice, or a gift certificate for a massage -thanks Richard, Grandma, Grandpa, Nomi, and Garrett) but all I really need is for my girls to be happy and healthy and enjoy life. I really would not have felt like I missed anything if I had not opened one gift for myself. Well, Saturday came and so did Namo and Fig...and so did MORE presents!!! I have to say, our house looks like a toy store and I will definitely start rotating the toys. Maybe next year I'll institute a rule of one gift per baby from each person who wants to give gifts and any money they would have spent on more stuff should go right into their college funds! I can probably get away with this for them for a few years anyway. I know everyone is being super conscious not to "gip" the babies with their b'day and Christmas being so close together but really, we have been so blessed with the generosity of all our friends and family that these girls will never want for anything, this I know for sure!

I'll post a new slideshow and some video in the next couple of days...but first I have to go feed little Lily.


I'm a human after all

Ah, Richard...my one and only, my beloved husband who sticks by me no matter how ornery, stubborn, or just plain crazy I get. He knows exactly how to make me smile...he came home Friday night and said ok, tomorrow you are going shopping with Todd to find something to wear to the RSI holiday party (that night)...here's the cash, go have fun, eat sushi, buy something nice and meet me at 6:30pm. I was stunned...what? I don't have baby duty? I get to go out for an entire afternoon - plus the dinner? I get to see one of my best friends in the whole world? He had already called Todd to make sure he was available and told him to make sure I had fun. I was giddy, I was shocked, I almost felt guilty for being so excited to get out. But then again, when a new friend of mine recently asked if I get to see my friends much...I thought, you know, except for Sondae who works with me, I haven't seen most of my friends in over a year. The last time I saw most of them was at one our baby showers in November of '06! In fact, today, one year ago Dr. Korotkin saved my babies' lives by admitting me to the hospital. A lot has happened in a year...more on that later, let's get back to my day of F-U-N!!!

So I leave the house around lunch time and meet Todd at Phipps (a mall I rarely shopped in ever b/c most of the stores are very nice, I'm usually a Target or Old Navy kind of gal these days) and head straight for Intimacy - the bra fitting specialists. You see, a pregnancy, especially a high order multiple pregnancy wrecks havoc on your body inside and out. I've heard of some high order moms who have to get internal reconstructive surgery to repair damage to their organs. I know when I was pregnant my stomach would growl and it up under my mid ribs on the left. And when the docs would do ultrasounds it always took a while for them to locate my right ovary. Well...let me tell you about the OUTSIDE of the body. It's really not a pretty thing these days. In the 25 weeks I was pregnant I gained 88 pounds - I weighed 198 the day I gave birth. I have stretch marks in places I never thought I'd have stretch marks...my ankles, the backs of my knees, and pretty much my entire torso from my armpits down to my thighs. My previous size 0 body has love handles, saddlebags, and a very saggy belly. Bikinis are definitely a thing of the past. I've had to change the style of clothing I wear because what I used to wear is no longer flattering. This is really hard to accept sometimes...and other times I marvel at what this body did, survived, and overcame. It served me well and it served my girls well...which I guess is why you don't see me pounding the pavement, hitting the stairmaster or even going to a yoga class...while I do complain about my body, I guess I'm not too upset with it. Anyway...the main thing I am upset with is my bustline. I went from a very nice 34 C pre-pregnancy to a 38 F (yes that really is a size) right after my milk came in to a size that I didn't really know. I kept trying bra after bra after bra trying to find something that worked. No luck. So, here was my chance to have the bra fitting specialists figure out what to do with me.

This wonderful older woman named Kathryn helped me, she told me she had twins and her stomach still looks just like mine. She said "the problem dear is that all your volume and weight is down here (pointing rather low), we need to lift the girls up". I adored Kathryn, and she did what she said she would..."it's not just about the fit, it's about the shape" she taught me a few "tricks" to get the "girls" to do what I need them to do to achieve the proper support and lift and she found my current size 32 DDD...WHAT????????????? How in the world is that? Is that really a size? Yes, unfortunately it is.

Well...after finally finding the proper comfortable "foundation garments" it was off to the stores with Todd. For those of you who don't know Todd...I hope you have the chance to meet him one day. He has never met a stranger and can make you laugh harder than you've ever laughed in your life. We go back about 10 years now to my early days at Dilger Gibson when I was fresh out of design school. He and I were the lowest on the totem pole and I think the time we truly bonded was at the end of a very large installation. We had been there for two grueling weeks, the house was still under construction, we were moving in over $1 million dollars worth of furniture and the last 48 hours we didn't sleep...literally, we were at the house for 48 hours straight. Our boss did the walk through with the clients...we made ourselves scarce...and then our boss stormed out of the house and said "we're taking everything out, we're taking it all back" OMG! Todd and I looked at eachother, sat on the front steps and both of us wanted to burst into tears but were too shocked and tired to do anything but stare. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that was the moment that bonded us for life...or maybe it was that rainy Saturday afternoon we spent alphabetizing Elton's books, all 10,000 or so of them....hmmmmm.

So, Todd, also known as Aunt Tab proprietor of Tab's Treasures for your Trailer (not really, he's actually an exceptionally creative and excellent designer) who has been a constant support and source of laughter for me for many years. Today, he played stylist to my very insecure, unsure of my body, don't feel the least bit sexy, usually look pretty frumpy, hardly ever showers self...and he worked magic! i was all intimidated walking through the stores, you see I literally have not been shopping anywhere other than Old Navy, Target, or Baby Gap in over a year...I don't read fashion magazines anymore, I have no idea what's "hot" right now. We were just about to give up and head to Filene's Basement when one dress caught our eye, both of us stopped at the same time...we walked in to Elie Tahari grabbed 4 dresses, some slacks and some shoes...and dress #3 was it!!! I love this dress! I love it I love it I love it!!!! We got two different shoes to go with it that I can also just wear with jeans and then it was off to the makeup counters at Nordstrom. This great little girl did my makeup for me at the Bobbi Brown counter, Todd found earrings for me and since we couldn't bribe the receptionist at Carter Barnes to get someone to iron my hair - Todd said he'd do it. So he left to heat up the iron while I paid for my new makeup - if I'm not buying shoes I'm buying makeup.

I get to his condo and he's got a wonderful Chardonnay poured in the finest of blue Solo cups. I get dressed and Todd starts ironing away...we had so much fun! He even joked that he may get out of decorating and go into hairdressing. Well, let me tell you - I felt like my old self again. I was never terribly chic in my pre-pregnancy days, but I think I had some sense of style...this has all since gone by the wayside...but tonight, I looked like myself again, only a little more grown up, a little more sophisticated version of myself. I looked like the chic mama I always wanted to be. I know some out there will scoff at the idea that such superficial things like hair, makeup, a new dress, etc shouldn't make you happy...but you know what it really was, more than the hair and the makeup? It was spending an afternoon with a really wonderful friend who helped bring out the real me again. Not the me that gets mired in baby poop and spit up and starts to not care that she hasn't showered in three days - but the me who takes pride in my body and in myself.

So...thank you Richard, my darling darling husband for allowing me the time to not worry about the kiddos, thank you Todd for spending a wonderful afternoon with me, and thank you to Mimi, Namo and Shernell for taking care of the babies in the evening so Richard and I could have a night amongst adults. There were some pictures taken, I just have to wait for someone to email one to me and then I'll post it.


Quick update

So, we've been busy around here getting ready for the big FIRST birthday and Christmas. We got our tree last weekend and slowly...every so slowly I am getting the house decorated. This really bothers me that it is taking me so long because I used to get the tree up and decorate in one evening. To have my 6 big boxes of decorations still sitting in the living room is torture. But, I've got lots of other stuff to do to...like address holiday cards, make the girls special first birthday gift, start wrapping presents, figure out who else I need to buy for...oh yeah and play with, love, diaper, feed, clothe, and bathe our three gorgeous little girls!

They are growing up so fast. I remember when they were first born, weighing under 2 pounds with legs the size of my pointer finger and I'd walk by the transition nursery with the big term babies and think "will my babies ever be that big?" Now it seems I've blinked and they're not babies anymore, they are in that transition stage where they aren't babies but they aren't quite toddlers yet. Avery is so independent and wants to walk so badly (mind you she only just started to crawl). She pulls up on anything she can get a grip on (thank you Jason for securing our furniture to the walls) and if you give her your hands and she pulls up she wants to walk all around the house. I was in the nursery with Lily who was taking the last 30 minutes of her nap in my lap. I heard this "clomp, clomp, clomp" coming down the hall and here comes Avery and her Daddy walking in the room...she had this look of sheer excitement on her face and she looked at my as if to say "look at me I'm a big girl". Our nurse this weekend noted that Avery moves with an air of confidence and determination. I hope that will last well into her life! Oh, and she no longer needs PT every week, she is on par with her adjusted age peers so she'll just get evaluated once a month to make sure she isn't developing any bad habits.

Zoe is doing great. We weaned her steroids by 30% (a very big wean)a couple of weeks ago. She's been doing pretty well, maintaining her O2 sats and she is getting so strong. She is now eating in her highchair with Avery and Lily for at least one feeding a day. And we've found, much to Richard's enjoyment, that she loves to watch football while she eats. In fact she eats best when there's a game on the TV! Her "eating" has a way to go, but we are just happy that she'll take anything orally at all, even if it is just 10 cc's 3 times per day. She's been rolling side to side and almost getting all the way over to her tummy, she needs just a little bit of support to get there and she does great on her tummy when we put her up on the exercise ball. Zoe just seems like she is really enjoying life, she is so playful and smiley. And if she doesn't get her naps she doesn't get nearly as cranky as her sisters :)

Lily is combat crawling great so now we're working on loosening up her hips to get her up on all fours, she doesn't appreciate this too much. She's always been our little "stiff baby" as our PT says. We're also going to get her an OT evaluation just to check out her sensory issues. She has always had a few little things that her PT and SLP say are kind of sensory disorders, although mild. We just want to make sure we get therapy for it now. She is so cute, when Avery came into the nursery when Lily woke up, I sat her on the floor in front of her sister and she just started babbling to her. I also took her out with me for a second just to run to the post office and when we came back, Avery looked at her like "hey, where'd you go?" I can't wait to see how their interactions change once Zoe can sit up by herself.

I really can't believe they are almost a year old. I'll write more about that later...this time last year I had no idea I was about to deliver these girls, I was just getting bigger and bigger and bigger and the only shoes I could wear were Richard's flip flops! I couldn't stand up to take a shower and could barely even dress myself...a lot has happened needless to say.

I'll write more later...it's 12:30a.m. time to feed Lily and give Zoe a treatment.

All time favorite video of Zoe!

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Bible verses that comfort me

"Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:8

"Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children....Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them"
~ Mark10:14 & 10:16

"...those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint"~ Isaiah40:31