Friday, December 31, 2010

Good-bye 2010

I have mixed feelings about the year ending. Although it could easily go down as the worst year for my family and I, it can also be said that when you take out the heart-break, the tears, the crushing blows, the good parts of the year were better than other years. There are many times I would say I could have been okay without this year in my life. But then I wouldn't have been blessed with knowing Lucas and Caleb. And putting the pain aside, I think I would rather known them for a short time and lost them, than not known them at all.

I have thought of several ways to present this post. I thought of using pictures, of rambling around here and there. I think I am just going to give the defining event of each month.

January-BFP...big fat positive when least expected due to unpredictable cycles

February-Identical twins! I had never known it was possible to see so many around me so excited!

March-My grandpa passed away. This was so hard, we were so close, and I miss him everyday.

April-Twin boys!!

May-We took Colton and Ethan on a weekend vacation to Branson complete with an indoor water broke a few weeks later, May 29th. We lose Lucas May 31st.

June-June 1st, Lucas and Caleb are pulled into this world via c-section. June 2nd, Caleb joins his brother in Heaven. June 3rd, I go home with empty arms. June 7th, over 100 friends and family join us to honor our precious little babies.

July-I meet Rhonda who is 9 weeks ahead of me in the TTTS journey. If it weren't for her, I would still be lost. I love you, girl!

August-36 week mark and my birthday. We took off camping that weekend and really had a great time. The boys visited me through a dragonfly who rested on my toe.

September-Due date and the first mom who was pregnant with me had her healthy baby boy. And I was able to hold him, and send my boys some love.

October-The first month I truly was able to enjoy and embrace. A wonderful calm came over me and I smiled and enjoyed many memorable moments. Although there was a scare that we might lose grandma to colon cancer. Happy to say she is doing well.

November-The last half of the month was tough. The anticipation of 6 months was excruciating. But it snowed the first snow, and that was peaceful. And my little Ethan turned 3

December-6 months without my Lucas and Caleb. Christmas without Lucas and Caleb. Holiday gatherings without Lucas and Caleb. But I was able to embrace so much with Colton and Ethan and I am eternally grateful for the two healthy boys I have right here with me on Earth.

It's been a tough year full of happy tears and crazy sad tears. But there has also been laughter, love, and an improved relationship with God. And that was my resolution for 2010. To embrace the moments and become closer to God. And I am sure nothing rocks your faith more than losing a child. I feel that despite all the obstacles, I reached my resolutions for 2010...and I find that is something to be proud of.

I am not setting a resolution for 2011. I am just going to eat a bunch of black-eyed peas, and hope and pray for a better, happier year. Maybe one that sees a rainbow in our lives. That would be good.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I am exhausted. There are a million things going on inside. And I just feel drained. Think I am going to just hide away for a couple of days until I feel chipper again.

Christmas was good. It is put away and that is kind of free-ing. Everyone is winding down and I just need to get used to having some down time with little distractions. I already miss being busy.

Be back in a few days....hope everyone is recovering from the holidays well.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Getting the Job Done

The tears fell, they poured down my face. And then came the peace, the serenity, the freedom.

I am no longer a stranger to grief. I know how he works, how he lurks, and I can usually feel him creeping up behind me. And now I know how to call him out from his hiding spot. How to face him, arms in the sky, white flag in my hand. Because once he attacks, he leaves me alone for awhile.

I have been feeling the tension for a week now. I have been feeling the weight of the tears. I have known it was too good to be true to get through Christmas without a meltdown. Yesterday I had a few tough moments, moments where the tears fell, and the anger began to creep back. Last night, I went in to kiss the boys good night, and I found Colton sleeping with his head on Lucas' monkey. My heart ripped open. I cried, talked to Lucas and Caleb's picture, and cried some more. Then when Willy came up to bed, I cried to him.

I woke up this morning knowing that this was the morning to call grief out, deal with him, and make him go away for awhile. I wanted to cry and grieve on my terms. In my own time, how I wanted to.

I fed the boys breakfast, made sure they were busy playing, and pulled out the twins' tote. I first found the prayer shaw that was made for me. I wrapped it around my shoulders and felt the comfort and warmth. I pulled out all the cards we've received and read all the thoughts and prayers that have been sent to us. I pulled out their ultrasound pictures. Pictures of them alive and well, safe in my belly. I opened their memory boxes and found the blood stains on each blanket. Proof that they were here. I cried over these the hardest.

I found shoes they should be wearing right now, cute little navy blue velcro. Caleb's lock of hair and a micro-preemie blood pressure cuff. It barely cuffs around my finger. Then there are the hats they wore and the sleepers they never will. Oh how I wish I would have sent someone to my house to pick them up so we could put the boys in them for a picture.

After 30 minutes or so, I carefully packed it all back, with so much tenderness and love. I kissed their blankets, tied their boxes, and put the lid back on. I dried my tears, hugged the monkeys, and sent my love to Lucas and Caleb. I took a shower to wash away the grief residue. And sent him on his way.

And I feel better. Much better and much lighter. I feel ready to enjoy and embrace all the great times that are coming up quickly. And I know that as I pushed through all this this morning, that I wasn't alone.

Take that, grief!

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Sad Anniversaries of Happy Moments

They are quickly approaching. And it's beginning to hurt again. And they are all around me. Many of the moms who lost their precious babies are also beginning to hit those days that were fantastic last year, but are just another day to remind us of our loss this year. My first day is quickly approaching and I think it is really adding to the sensitivity I have been feeling. The date the twins were conceived. I know this date. I learned I was ovulating, moved around our schedule to make room for a little fun. And as it draws near, the tears also draw nearer to the surface.

I am glad to be past six months. And now I have to spend the next six months dealing with the anniversaries of days that were so special and full of happiness, but now are just another dark day.

Level four meltdown is getting close. Maybe tomorrow.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas program

Colton's school Christmas program was on Thursday. It was great! I was running late, arriving there 30 minutes before the program started. Because of my "tardiness" I was stuck towards the back and really couldn't get very many quality photos. I am bummed, but there were a few that stuck out. They put the pre-K classes up on the choir balconey, so they were even further away, and my flash freaked out everytime the lady in front of me swung her hair around. Lesson learned, next year arrive an hour early.

Colton on the right, and Riley, his girlfriend of a whole year now on in the red to the left.

Colton was feeling bummed because he couldn't find us. Another down side to being late.
Picking at his lip. This is Colton's new hobby and we are trying HARD to break it.

All in all the program was really nice. Some of the younger kids on stage were a total hoot! They put three microphones on the stage this year and what 2 or 3 year old can resist belting it out into a microphone?

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Thursday, December 16, 2010


I saw my OB today for the first time since my 4 week post-op appt. I knew I would run into her at Colton's Christmas program (a post for tomorrow). I had anxiety about it all morning. So I decided to dress great, look great, and hopefully feel good from all the greatness. And it worked. I am so proud of myself. She saw me, gave me a hug, and when she sincerely asked how I was doing I was honest and said, "Really well." Because I am, especially when compared the wreck I was four weeks after their birth. And we talked for a few minutes, she said how it was great to see me and was very genuine. It was a short chat, but one of those humps I had to cross. I have, I didn't cry (though my heart raced and the tears started to build up). I only wish I knew I would be seeing her soon to check on our rainbow baby. But I will continue to be patient, because I've been promised that patience pays off.

I feel a bad day coming. It's slowly building up inside me. The lumps are growing in my throat more often and they are harder to swallow. I feel on the verge of tears with less and less triggers. I knew it was too good to be true to make it to Christmas without a breakdown. I want it to come soon, before Christmas. I wander if I can force it out of it's hiding place. Hmmm....

Oh! And I received my gift from the Holiday Gift Exchange. Lei sent me a beautiful bracelet with a dragonfly charm. Gorgeous! I love it! Thank you, Lei! It brightened my moment and I am sure it will brighten my days. And there's been talk of a gift exchange for Mother's Day.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Plain and Simple

I miss them.

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Cookies, Friends, Family

Our weekend was spectacular! It started with our annual cookies and crafts with Carter and Melanie. We started this last year as a way to get together for the holidays while saving some money. It's a great time! Here are all three boys.

Colton and Carter have been best buds since they were 10 months and 14 months old. They play so well together and we LOVE their parents. And Baby Girl who will be here soon!
All three of them were caught with fingers in their mouths. Totally lovin' the icing!

And here they are playing after cookies. I love how the older boys let Ethan in on their play.
On Sunday, we went to Dru's to decorate her famous Christmas Sugar Cookies! These cookies rock and we wait all year for them. This year some of us got together to decorate them. Great times!
Here's Jamie getting started. I love this girl. Her zest for life is contagious and she always makes me smile. And my boys LOVE her tons!

Colton trying to figure out how to use the icing tube Grandma rigged for him.

Ethan and Baby Bear.

Willy icing the cookies and Ethan putting on sprinkles. A very good plan.
And the finished products. We had so much fun making different characters, animals, and everything in between.

After decorating cookies and eating pizza, we visited some and did a small gift exchange. Willy and I went out and chose candy bars (or packages) that reminded us of each person that was there. It was so much to think of who was what. Everyone loved it and we laughed alot. All in all, it was a great weekend. The boys were so wiped out that they requested to be in bed at 6:30!

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Moments

I am happy! Genuinely happy! I feel great and right. I never in my dreams thought I could ever feel this good again. And I love it. I still have hard moments here and there, but I feel refreshed and just plain good. I even have added a new blog list to the page. It is a list of happiness, stories of rainbow babies on their way or already here. Stories that can give many of us so much hope for things to come. It is to the left, if you are interested and ever need a little extra inspiration.

As many of you know, this time of year can be daunting. In June, I was so worried how Christmas was going to work. This is my absolute favorite time of year. I am a total Christmas nut! And I know if it weren't for Colton and Ethan, it would be canceled this year. The season started out rocky, but now I am fully embracing this, feeling the holiday cheer, and filled with the warmth of it all! So to feel this good, is very much welcome, and such a gift!

In celebrating how great I am feeling, here are some pictures of me having great moments over the last six months. Genuine smiles, genuine fun! Proof that we can laugh again, and smile again. If you are reading this and new to the community, I truly hope you can find inspiration in these pictures.

This was taken after a friends wedding in July. I was laughing so hard and so afraid that Ethan was going to push me into the pond.

This was our first trip to the park in August. I was finally out of the dense fog and learning to truly enjoy the two boys I have here on Earth. Embracing my inner child is a new thing for me. And I am loving it!

This is the camping trip we took on my birthday/36 week mark. This weekend could have been such a disaster, but my friends and family helped me so much! If you look closely, there is a dragonfly on my toe.

My high school reunion. Although many of those moments were enhanced by a glass or two (or three) of wine, it was true fun and I am so grateful I was able to be there. And that Michelle was by my side the entire night.

I love her! She made high school bearable, and I hate that we lost touch for quite some time. But when we reunited, it was like we just picked up where we left off. And now she has found her Willy (actually Craig) and I couldn't be happier for her.

A group shot of friends. Here's some random thoughts:
Jamie-I remember when we were like 9 or so and walk around Southwinds and talk forever
Amanda-I remember sledding down your icy driveway when we were 11.
Michelle-One of my favorite memories is when we were driving back from the mall and were passing the "Elk forest" and started freaking out thinking about "The Blair Witch Project." That was HILARIOUS!!!!!
And all of you were so kind to mention my Lucas and Caleb that night. It melts my heart.

My scrapbooking group. I love these ladies so much. They were all there during all the times, good and bad. The love and compassion this group has blows me away. This was Barb's 70th birthday, a total hoot!

September fun with Colton and Ethan! I love this school playground!

The leaf fight we had one day. This was the best I had felt since the twins were born. The first day I felt total freedom from the weight of grief.

Ethan's birthday party last month. The first time I was in a mixed group of people without really feeling an social anxiety! Whoo Hoo!

The first snowfall. The first family holiday without Lucas and Caleb. And it snowed. I felt them all around me. And it was a great day!

Ethan's birthday. Lovin' the hat and Willy being goofy!

A friend took this at school Carter's birthday party last weekend. Truly a great picture of me. I am holding Miss Morgan. (That's her daddy behind me). She is truly precious and holding her truly warms my heart. Her big sister, Riley, is pretty awesome, too!

I know many of these have been posted before, but I wanted them all in one post, together. I truly love where I am at right now, and if this is the best that it gets (I am sure it gets better) that is alright with me.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

TTTS Awareness Day 2010

Today is TTTS Awareness Day. My Lucas and Caleb were lost very quickly to Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Awareness and Education about TTTS is very important in diagnosing and fighting this disease of the placenta and saving the lives of identical twin babies. Doctors and mommies alike should be aware of this disease, the symptoms, and the different treatments AS SOON AS an identical twin pregnancy with the twins sharing a placenta is found. I will be lighting a candle for Lucas at 5:10pm and one for Caleb at 5:15pm tonight.

I knew about TTTS from February 18, 2010. The day I found out we were having Lucas and Caleb. I came across it in my crazy search about twins. I came across the TTTS site and scanned the information. I saw that a difference in weights and/or amniotic fluid was a symptom to really watch for. I put this in the back of my mind, trusting that my doctor was also watching for this from the beginning.

At each appt, the boys weighed very nearly the same, and the amount of fluid was similar. At my 22 week appt, we learned that BOTH sacs had excess fluid. I searched everywhere and I couldn't find a correlation between both sacs having excess fluid and TTTS. I went to the hospital on May 24th due to Braxton Hicks contractions that had become pretty consistent and were coming every 3-4 minutes. They kept me overnight, and released me the next morning. I had gained some weight pretty fast, but both Lucas and Caleb looked great and there was visually no signs of TTTS.

On Saturday, July 28th, I was taking a nap, rolled over and felt a gush of water. Not like gallons, but more like I may have wet myself. After a few hours, and seeing a little pink, we decided to head to Labor and Delivery to be checked. I will NEVER forget being told that one of my bags had ruptured. But, the babies weighed within 3oz of each other, and there seemed to be plenty of fluid in both sacs. Bedrest for the remainder of my pregnancy was on order. And no mention of TTTS.

On Monday, May 31st, at 7:30 or so, I started having real contractions. They came in to check Lucas and Caleb. They brought in an ultrasound machine to find them. We saw them both, moving, or so we thought. At around 8:30pm, we learned Lucas had gone to Heaven. I was diagnosed with early acute TTTS. The perinatologist said she had NEVER seen TTTS hit so quickly this early in a twin pregnancy. My OB said the same thing over and over again to me throughout the following weeks.

Both babies were born 4 hours later by emergency c-section. Caleb was already "stuck", or shrink wrapped, by his amniotic sac. When he was born, his left leg had been without circulation for some time and his kidneys had already shut down. He also suffered a severe brain bleed. 25 hours after entering this world, he grew his wings and left, taken by TTTS also.

I know I was where I needed to be, Lucas and Caleb were carefully watched, and TTTS still took them. I have had TONS of guilt off and on throughout all this. I often wish I had taken the 15 questions off the TTTS website and asked the Ultrasound techs those questions at every appt, if that would have saved my babies. I know this was out of my hands, but the mommy part of me feels I'm to blame at times. (Not near as often as it used to be) But what keeps me sane is knowing that I was in the right place, being monitored, and there is nothing else I could have done for my sweet Lucas and Caleb.

I have made some really amazing friends through this TTTS journey and the one thing that really sticks out is Awareness and Education. And I know that when I hear of a mommy carrying identical twins with a shared placenta, I will congratulate her, then ask her to check out the TTTS Foundations website. And I will ask her to please take it seriously. I don't want to be Doom and Gloom, I just want her to know how REAL this really is, and how when you beat the 0.4% of conceiving identical twins, the 20% chance of TTTS isn't so large.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Day Out With Colton

I get to spend time with Ethan three days a week while Colton is at school. We shop, play, eat, and have a great time. But I really don't get that one on one time with Colton. So Colton and I spent the day together today. We did some Christmas shopping, and playing. Then off to a birthday party.

One of the changes that has happened since Lucas and Caleb were born is that I am a much better mom. I have so much more fun with Colton and Ethan than I ever did before. Not that I was a bad mom, I just didn't enjoy as much as I should have. But now I enjoy every little moment, I take more time to really savor the fun we are having and their childhood. And I laugh with them all the time.

There is a store in the mall, Earthbound. Ethan avoids it, but Colton loves the HUGE gorilla right inside the doors. Today he wanted to create a scary picture for Daddy.

The birthday party was at the local family center, complete with a pool. Colton would live in the water if I let him. And he spends most the time jumping in and climbing out. This kids gets some major air!

His girlfriend, Riley was there, also. These two decided last spring that they were going to get married one day, and it hasn't changed. They spend a lot of time together during school and we get together with her family when we can outside of school. I love her and her family.
Plus, I got my baby Morgan fix. Riley's little sister is such a sweetie!

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

6 Month Letter

Dear Lucas and Caleb,

I can't believe SIX months have passes since I last held you in my arms. At times it felt like the clock never moved and others the time passed so fast my head seemed to spin. But sitting here today, it seems to have gone by pretty quickly. Six months is a long time, really. But I try to look at it positively. I've survived life without you here in my arms for six months. And I have LIVED. Truly lived.

I was emailing Jacob's and Sawyer's mommies on Tuesday night sending them my warm thoughts and love before heading to bed and shared my motto for your special day.
Eat tons and tons of chocolate
Pray to you in Heaven
and send you all the Love I have for you throughout the day.

I wore your pin yesterday and touched it often. Every time I touched it I sent you my love and smiled. The two of you have touched so many lives, and although I would rather have you here in my arms, I am grateful to have been able to turn the tragedy of losing you into so many wonderful things. Thank you, babies.

I wanted to have a fun day with your brothers yesterday. I know you wouldn't have wanted me to mope around. And if there is one thing about grief that I can count on is that the build-up to milestones is always alot harder than the actual day. Yesterday was good. I woke to many warm wishes from the friends in my life. (Thank you, all of you)

Colton, Ethan, and I decided to make paper snowflakes for the house after spending the morning cuddled under blankets watching Blues Clues on Netflix. Snow reminds me of you and it would really be a fun way to spend the morning. Nothing like pieces of paper and glitter to bring out the smiles. And it was really Ethan's first time using scissors. He is my lefty.

Colton begged and begged to let me let him to put the glitter on his snowflakes. I finally caved. And check out what Ethan is up to behind him.

Oh, that boy is tons of fun!

Here is the finished product. Of course, I forgot that stick glue doesn't hold glitter well, so now there are piles of glitter behind the tv.

Yesterday evening was Life Fellowships annual Ladies Christmas Tea. It was this event last year that brought me to this amazing church. And for the event to be held on your 6 month birthday, well pretty sure it was where I needed to be. I was surrounded by women who love and care for me, and I felt close to the two of you.

So, here's the EATing part of my day. And I went back for seconds and half a thirds. The food was great, the fellowship was wonderful. I am so happy that I was able to make it. I honestly don't know where I would be without my Life Fellowship family.

We also made corn bags.
And the church bought me some flowers. They are beautiful and I am thankful. (Kristan, does the angle work for you?)

All in all, the day was really great. I thought about you often. And I miss you all the time. But I know that you are well in Heaven and watching down on us.

With all my heart,

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