Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011- what a year you've been

What a year it's been!  Like everyone else, we've had our share of ups and downs.  One of the best days ever, followed shortly by one of the saddest.  Obviously, having to say good bye to Greta was one of the hardest things I've had to do pretty much ever.  She was not just a dog.  She was not simply our pet.  Greta was all we had for 5 years before we were blessed with the twins.  Greta was a constant companion, the best listener, the most non-judgemental best friend I could ever have had.  She sat with me and witnessed more of my tears and pain than anyone else had, including Jamie.  I miss my first baby - my furry baby - still.  That would be in my top 5 all time worst days. 

This year, super obviously, also held the number 1 spot in my top 5 best days ever - Gabriella and Benjamin's birth day!  These babies mean the whole world to me.  I would be nothing without them, now that I have them.  I have a hard time even remembering what life was like without them.  My sweet little Benjamin and his big open-mouth, gummy smile just melts my heart.  And the way he grips onto my shirt with his tiny fist, like a baby monkey!, is beyond precious.  Oh, and Daddy's girl Gabriella who has a new found love of hearing her own voice shreik and her healthy, squeezy, chubby cheeks that beg to be covered in kisses.  I see so much of myself in her.  She's like a little mini-me personality wise.

So, I'll be ringing in the new year with my little family, making homemade pizza and wearing pajamas.  Hopefully come midnight we'll all be fast asleep!  Now that's living the life.  =)  I couldn't ask for anything more.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas recap

We had a beautiful 1st Christmas as a family of 4!  Christmas Eve we ventured out to mass with my parents, Nick, Brooke, Dominick, Owen, and Nancy (Brooke's mom).  Afterward everyone came back to our house for dinner.  [ham, turkey breast with gravy, cheesey potato casserole, homemade pierogi (by yours truly)cheese and kraut - 2 kinds, not mixed together, corn casserole]  Dessert included fudge, potato chip cookies, Christmas tree spritz, oreo balls, and Brooke made melting moments.  Jamie's family normally is here, too, but his niece had just come down with strep the same day, so we actually still haven't celebrated with them yet. 
me and Gabriella
Jamie and Gabriella

me and Benjamin

Nick and Dominick

Benjamin and Owen

Brooke and Owen

Dominick and the dessert
my mom and Gabriella

Nick, Owen, and my dad



We put out cookies and milk for Santa and some carrots for the reindeer.  Blitzen does not like carrots and when Santa is not looking he spits them out!
Christmas morning was just so nice.  We opened presents with Benjamin and Gabriella who were totally spoiled.  Santa brought Gabriella a holiday Barbie - her first Barbie doll! 

 Jamie and I had been working hard to make fleece blankies for each baby.  We did them full size so that way they'll have them forever.  =)

 Then we headed over by my parents in our jammies.  Holy smokes... these babies seriously must have every single toy made by Fisher Price, Playskool, and VTech.  Present opening over there with the same group from Christmas Eve plus my grandpa took almost 3 hours.  We came home for a bit and normally would have gone by Jamie's side, but since they had germs we went back to my parents and had leftovers. 

I couldn't have asked for a happier day with my little family.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

'amazing' Christmas lights

Best Christmas Lights Display (HD)

Sometimes it just seems like nothing can go my way.  In the last 24 hours, three different Christmas things I ordered were messed up.  Two items were presents and the last one is one of the new stockings I ordered.  It's not the end of the world about my stocking, but it's not how I ordered it.  They are all beautiful and handmade by an etsy seller.  On my stocking, though, she used solid green fabric and gave me a solid green cuff - not what was ordered!  I know she'll fix it, but I just have this picture in my mind how I wanted things to look and it's very disappointing when it doesn't work out.  I'm bummed. 

We're still not finished shopping.  We haven't wrapped a single gift.  Our house isn't clean for Christmas Eve.  I have to bake.  Jamie and I haven't watched a single Christmas movie together yet.  And I frickin love Christmas movies!!!  I've caught bits and pieces of  "Home Alone", "The Polar Express", "National Lampoon's Xmas Vacation", and some Christmas Disney cartoons, but no movies start to finish, and nothing with anyone else, usually just 10 minutes at a time of whatever is on when I'm pumping.  I'm just tired and overwhelmed.

The video above made me smile, though.  It's so neat and definitely worth clicking on!  Thought I'd share.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

lights and sirens for Gabriella

Gabriella's acid reflux was under control for about 6 weeks.  This foolish mommy thought we were past that stage.  I was wrong.  In the last week and a half she had a few episodes - screaming out (it's a different scream than any other sound she makes), arching, white sour smelling acid coming out of her nose and mouth, red face...  I called her pediatrician last week, they adjusted her zantac and prilosec, and said if there wasn't much improvement to call this week and bring her in. 

This morning I woke up with Benjamin around 6:30, fed him, put him back to sleep, pumped, and then was messing around on the computer for a few minutes.  Gabriella screamed.  I ran.

She was deep red, head bent back, arching, white acid streaming from her nose and mouth.  I scooped up her rigid little body and firmly patted her back.  Her eyes went wide open, glazed over, and breathing stopped. 

I started back blows for a few seconds and then felt the need to call 911.  While I was on the line with the call center - after about 10 or 12 seconds -  Gabriella started breathing again.  The paramedics still came out to assess her (she was her normal self and smiling when they arrived) and decided she needed to be checked to make sure she didn't aspirate any fluid into her lungs, which could lead to pneumonia. 

I called my mom; she left school to stay with Benjamin.  Jamie left work to meet us at the hospital.  I got her loaded up in her car seat, which was strapped onto the stretcher, and off we went... lights, sirens, the whole she-bang. 

After not even an hour at the hospital, we were discharged.  Her body did what is considered normal while choking.  Breathing stops to protect itself from aspiration.  While I won't have an itchy trigger finger with the medics, I also won't hesitate if I think a reflux episode is escalating quickly.  One of the paramedics said "time is tissue", meaning the longer one goes without oxygen the more tissue can be damaged. 

We have insurance.  Anything that's not covered we can be billed for.  Just put it on my tab! 

Gabriella spent a lot of the day sleeping.  I think all of the excitement really drained her.  She's doing great now.  We follow up with her pediatrician tomorrow, which also happens to be Benjamin's weight check since we started him on his calorie boosted food.  Who would have thoguht that he'd be our "easy" baby?  It's always something over here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

so random

Like everyone else this time of year, things are crazy busy over here.  Early Intervention is coming out this afternoon to evaluate Benjamin.  We're thinking about getting a puppy soon (since I don't have enough going on).  We haven't even finished decorating for Christmas yet... don't even get me started on the shopping left to do, and nevermind the wrapping.  I just ordered the babies' Christmas cards last Friday; they should be here by this Friday.  I'll address them all Friday night so they can be sent out on Saturday.  So much to do, so little time.  I'll elaborate more (at some point in the near future) about all of our craziness.  Heck, maybe I'll even write a thorough, not so random post!  Here are a couple of smiles for ya, though:

Gabriella - 5 months old

Benjamin - 5 months old

Thursday, December 8, 2011

this time last year

It was one year ago today that I found out I was pregnant.  I waited a couple of days to post it on here because we had family to tell first.  I've cried a few times today when I was looking at Gabriella and Benjamin.  This time last year they were about the size of a poppy seed.  I don't know why I go getting all emotional about it, but the excitement and joy and surprise and disbelief and fear all come flooding back.  I remember the nurse's voicemail.  I remember the drive home when I stopped at Walgreens to get Jamie a Baby Ruth candy bar.  I remember telling Jamie the news and having him listen to the voicemail, too. 

It amazes me how much has happened since this time last year.  It makes me wonder what life will be like at this time next year.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

baby updates

We took Gabriella to the dermatologist this afternoon.  As soon as we unwrapped her bandaged nuggin' the doctor said that there was no need for the laser.  Beyond excited!!!  Her ulceration has been healing beautifully and the hemangioma has also made positive changes.  We were in and out in about twenty minutes. 

News on the Benjamin front- I called Early Intervention and did his background information yesterday.  A developmental therapist, physical therapist, and his case manager will be out next Tuesday to evaluate his development.  Our concerns are with his neck, core, and trunk muscles.  In order to qualify for services, he would have to have a 30% (or greater) delay.  I cried.  I want him to get any and all help that he needs, but shit.  30%  is a lot of percent.  The case manager understood my fear and basically broke it down like this: Although he's 5 months old, we use adjusted age up until he's two for all milestones.  So they'll be looking at him as if her were 3.5 months old.  If there is a delay, we'd rather close the gap sooner than later. 

Just for conversation's sake, let's imagine a 50% delay.  It's less catching up to do for a "3.5" month old to be only reaching milestones like an almost 2 month old than it would be for a 2 year old to be developmentally at a 1 year old level.  Huh... that made me feel better, but I still just want my baby to be ok.  Ultimately it's not about me or my feelings though; it's whatever's best for my little man.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Right now I'm...

Things have been a bit crazy and stressful over here with Gabriella lately.  Her hemangioma ulcerated back when she was at Children's, but it's gotten a lot worse.  My baby girl has been in some serious pain.  We're on the road to recovery now (I think), but Tuesday she's going to have laser treatment done on it.  I've been warned by the doctor that Gabriella will scream while it's happening, but it'll be over quickly.  Jamie is taking the day off (his birthday, by the way) because I'm just not willing to do it on my own. 

I've seen this on a few different blogs and thought it would be an easy, fun post.  So here goes.

Right now I'm...

obsessing over: all kinds of crafts and diy that I started or want to start, brownies from Weber's bakery (hint, hint Jamie), bills

anticipating: Jamie's birthday party this weekend, Gabriella's laser treatment, Santa's arrival

thinking about: decorating the tree, taking the babies' Christmas card picture, all of the Christmas stuff I have to do, how much has changed in a year

working on: making a few Christmas presents, getting the babies on a schedule of sorts (ha!), putting up Christmas decorations, cleaning the house for Saturday

wearing: blue striped pajama pants and one of Jamie's t-shirts (I'm dangerously close to being the frump that wears a "this is my sexy lingerie" nightgown to bed)

wishing:  Gabriella heals quickly, Benjamin gains more weight, Greta was still here, time slows down

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gabriella and the GI

After Gabriella's mega-serious reflux episodes at Children's and then at home with me on November 1st, we were referred out to a GI at my request.  There was a month wait for him so my pediatrician called and they worked us in sooner.  We had the appointment today and lemme tell ya- it was a complete waste of time in my opinion.  He basically kept asking up how we knew it was reflux/ why we thought it was reflux.  Hmmm... let's see... how about because every medical professional that I've spoken with since she was a month old and screamed, arched, turned red, and had white acid coming out of her nose and mouth told me it was acid reflux.  He said if it were reflux we're doing all of the right preventative stuff already.  He really doesn't think the prilosec or zantac or rice cereal to thicken her food really does much    ::cough,cough,bullshit::  He advised us to drop the zantac to once a day for a few weeks and then stop it altogether.  Ummm, yeah, not gonna happen.  It's not that I think I'm smarter than the GI, per say, I just think I'm a very good judge of character, and he didn't float my boat.  Above all else, I know my baby girl better than anyone.  Unless he wants to come hang out with us on a daily basis and deal with her when she refluxes, he can go pound sand.
I learned really fast that as a parent you need to follow your heart and your head and do what you think is right for you and your family.  And that's what I'll continue to do for today, tomorrow, and always.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

pulmonologist appointment

Benjamin had another appointment with his pulmonologist today.  We had taken him on Saturday for chest xrays.  My mom took off of school to stay with Gabriella, so I was on my own with the little man.  We got called back quickly.  Benjamin flipped out on the scale.  He absolutely hates being naked.  I really think it all goes back to the NICU, and he associates being just in his diaper (or even less) with doctors, nurses, and hospitals.  Needless to say, he started retracting really hard after panicking.  Tracheal tugging and all.

The doctor poked his head in and said he was waiting for the radiologist to go over the xray with him.  Well, since I worry about everything and everything, once he closed the door in my head I was like "Why does he have to talk to the radiologist?  What's on the xray?  What's wrong with Benjamin?  Oh my God, please don't let anything be wrong with my baby!"  and so on and so on.  Cue instant stomach cramps.  In less than 3 minutes I was queasy and sweaty and HAD to go to the bathroom.  But then I was like, who'll watch Benjamin if I even attempt to go to the bathroom and be sick.  Do I pack him up and take him with?  Ask a nurse to stay with him?  What's taking the doctor so long?  Then my stupid brain kicks it up a notch- "it must be serious.  Damn it, I wish Jamie was here.  Chill the eff out, girl, Benjamin can sense your stress and you aren't helping him calm down.  Where is the doctor???"  I popped a handful of orange tictacs into my mouth and told myself they were a combination of Tums and Immodium AD.  Yup, that'll calm me down.  ::eye roll::  Seriously- I do think I'm pretty convincing with that kind of stuff.  8-)   (oh, Jamie... you have a killer headache?  here's a Breathsaver that's actually a really super duper powerful  medicine in my warped world)

While he did calm down quite a bit while we waited for the doc, he was still upset.  Everything looked fine on the xrays and his lungs sound clear, but Doctor T saw him retracting and especially noted the tracheal tugging, so he's having us get an esophagram.  THe wants to make sure that it's just a weak esophagus from being a preemie and being intubated for so long and that nothing is compressing or restricting his airway.  So, that's next Wednesday.  He'll have to fast for 3 hours and then drink contrast dye (barium) for the images.  Fingers crossed everything looks normal.

Monday, November 14, 2011


 found  here
I had some time yesterday to mess around on the computer since Jamie was home and playing with the babies.  I was checking out a few new blogs and happened upon this quote.  I read it a couple of times and then just stopped to think.  I was born and raised Catholic, as was Jamie (he even went to Catholic grade school- I went to a private Catholic college).  We go to church, although our attendance has dropped quite a bit since bedrest in June and Gabriella and Benjamin were born in July.  The babies were baptized on October 16, and church and God will continue to be an important part of their lives.  In our house, we heart Jesus! 

All of that being said, when I read this I thought back to my bedtime prayers on Saturday night.  I have so much to be thankful for, and I'll be the first person to recognize that.  I do say prayers of thanksgiving each night, but there's so much more to be thankful for than what I've been aknowledging nightly.  With everything that has happened with my infertility, pregnancy, and my preemies in the summer, I may have fallen into a pattern of asking God for help and giving my worries to him (which I know is all fine and dandy!) and not really, really appreciating all that I've been blessed with.  I know how much I have been blessed.  I just need to make more of a conscious decision to praise God for all he has given me on a daily basis. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

snapshot sunday

Here are a few pictures that I took with my cell phone this week... Enjoy! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

bitten by the craft bug

I love to craft!  Well, I like to think I love to crafts.  I don't have a very good track record, though, and for any betting-types out there the odds are usually pretty high that I won't finish my project in a timely manner, if at all.  That being said... Once again I am super excited to spend money that we don't have, on supplies for projects that I'll never finish start some awesome new projects.  I ran out today and got the supplies after seeing this little beauty and getting directions from theidearoom :

See, see, see, I'm so excited about this one that I jumped right in!

only about another thousand felt circles to cut out and pin down
I already stuck myself really, really hard with a straight pin. 
Who saw that coming???

And, and in this bag (that's just taunting me- It's like they know I won't be done by Christmas.) is stuff for a present that I'm trying to make for Brooke for Christmas:

And, and adorable fleece for no-sew blankies for Gabriella and Benjamin for Christmas:

And I want to make these cute felt hooties:

Never you mind the following evidence that the wreath will never come into contact with my walls:

Our wedding scrapbook.  We'll be married 6 years next month.

half-started, half-completed pages
I really do have the best intentions when I start my projects!

See, the honeymoon pages of Our Wedding scrapbook are all done.  I don't totally suck!

Summer 2010 I decided to re-pursue painting. 
My Bachelor's degree included a double major in studio art and graphic design, minor in art history.

Greta's scrapbook.
Again, the papers and photos and embellishments are laid out, I just have to do it.
Admittedly, once we found out she had cancer, I wanted to spend my free time with her,
not working on a book about her.

And ::sigh:: the baby afghan I've been crocheting for years.
I'll keep you posted as to how all of this craftiness turns out...  stay tuned!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Halloween: better late than never

trick or treating by Auntie Brooke and Uncle Nick's house

cutest little ducky and ladybug ever

Dominick is holding baby Owen (Winnie the Pooh)
Gabriella and Owen were having a shouting contest, but she came up for air!

my parents
yup, that's Benjamin in the duck suit still

fast asleep in pink, black cat jammies from my friend, Sue

still tired the next morning in orange bat/dracula jammies from Sue

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

my belated one year blog-iversary

Because there's not a whole heck of a lot of free time around this joint anymore, I lost track of the days, again.  This post was intended for November 6th, but whatever.  I started this blog on that day!  At the time I was preparing for my 5th transfer after hyperstimulating after my second ivf.  After so many letdowns I anticipated this remaining an infertility blog for who knows how long.  Little did I know that that was the cycle when my prayers would be answered and my dreams and hopes and heart's longing would reach fruition and journey down the path of motherhood. 

As I took a few minutes to click back on the November 2010 posts, my eyes stung with tears.  Even as I watch Gabriella and Benjamin kicking away in their bouncy chairs at this very moment, the memories of what brought them to me make my stomach feel a little upset.  Honestly, before I got pregnant I really thought that the heart-break that infertility brings would just magically melt away through pregnancy and certainly once a baby or two arrived.  I'm sorry to say it doesn't.  Of course that pain has subsided, but every time I read about my cyber-friends' cycles it stirs up my own experiences.  I remember all too well how it feels to have a bfn- I never miscarried or had a chemical pregnancy, so I can not relate to those sorrows.  But trust me, this girl's heart knows pain none-the-less.

All of the worrying and wondering and what-ifs simply shifted forms during pregnancy.  From the get go when Baby A's placenta started to detach, to running to the hospital to be monitored because Baby B who was a wiggleworm hadn't moved in hours and hours, to the fear that my babies were going to be pulled prior to 31 weeks,  to my 34 weekers being in the NICU, watching Benjamin being intubated- seeing him cry but no sound coming out because of the tube.  It continues to this day after seeing Gabriella rescusitated just weeks ago.  The fear of having my dreams shattered, that my babies are just too good to be true, remains. Just over the weekend I had to go get a prescription from the big Walgreen's right by Christ Hospital, and let me tell you, driving that route that I traveled so much for the month after my babies were born still gives me a great big sinking feeling in my chest and some pretty serious anxiety takes over. 

Gabriella and Benjamin are my whole world.  They are everything I've ever wanted and needed.  Years from now my kids won't be able to look back and remember a mommy that had the cleanest house on the block.  I've got days worth of dishes in the sink, at least a week's worth of laundry to do, months of dust stacked up in the living room; I could go on and on, but you get my drift.  My kids will look back and remember a mommy that held them and rocked them and covered them with kisses, a mommy that played with them and read stories to them and loved them more than life itself.