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Thankful Reflections

It’s quite simple really… being in the NICU sucks… but in light of Thanksgiving this weekend I have decided to take the much needed time to be thankful and reflect on these last 23 days of our life.

We often say that right now we feel like “part time parents”. Just visiting our babies, only to say goodbye at the end of the day. We feel like it is Groundhog day, we have no idea what day it is anymore, our life is basically on repeat. There have been a lot of tears, a lot of “I don’t want to do this anymore”, a lot of “I just want to bring them home”, and “I’m so over this.” It’s so easy to lose sight of what is important and to remain thankful. But… we have two beautiful baby boys, that have completely stollen our hearts from the second they were born, and someday we will get to bring them home. We are so thankful, and feel so blessed to be Hunter and Harrison’s parents, and that God has given us the special gift of parenthood. Even though days are difficult and challenging we have never not been thankful for these precious boys. We are so thankful that our babies are doing so well, and are healthy. Every day we have had positive news, and very little set backs. Often times I feel guilty complaining about what we are going through as I know so many people have had more difficult roads than we have, and I know that this is not forever, it’s just a matter of time. Through this journey we are so thankful for a loving God to turn to in prayer and for strength. We are thankful for the support of family and friends near and far. For the little notes of encouragement that keep our heads up and keep us strong to face another day.

 

 

What makes the NICU bearable? Knowing that our babies are receiving the best care. We have been so blessed with wonderful nurses during our stay in the NICU. Nurses who are so supportive, encouraging, and helpful. We are truly thankful for them and the phenomenal care they give to our boys. They take the time out of their busy days to teach us things, give us advice, and encourage us as we begin to try new things, like nursing! They have been with us from the beginning, and these days would be a lot more challenging and discouraging without them.

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Another thing I am thankful for is my husband! We have been through a lot together in the last 23 days, from the crazy and traumatic birth of our boys, to my recovery, to living the NICU life, he has had to endure a lot; we both have. Joel has always been a supportive husband, but over these last 23 days he has gone above and beyond what I ever expected him to do. He has been so supportive through this whole journey from taking care of me in the hospital, to even getting up with me through the night to keep me company as I pump. The running joke in our family is that Joel is the “milk man”, keeping an eye on the clock when it’s time to pump, filling out the labels for the milk containers, etc. Not to mention he has been my comic relief when days are unbearable, he has been my shoulder to cry on when I am an emotional wreck, and the person who keeps me company on the long days spent in the hospital (and for the record, Joel is a diaper changing champ). I am so thankful that Joel has a job where he has been able to take the time off needed to help with the boys, as we support each other through this time.

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When all is said and done as much as the NICU sucks, and days are hard and challenging I truly am thankful for all of it. The time Joel and I are spending together, and the struggles we are facing together is only strengthening our relationship. The boys being in the NICU, although difficult, it has given me the much needed time to heal, after two back-to-back surgeries, that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. It has strengthened our relationship with new friends as we have had to lean on them for support and learn to except help. It has taught us to really find the good in bad, frustrating, or challenging situations. It has forced us to really rely on God to get us through.

I encourage you to find the good in every day, no matter what you are going through, and to do some reflecting of your own this Thanksgiving. In a world that is so focused on the bad, we need to rely more and more on the good. I think the good can start with everything that we are thankful for.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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The Day My Life Changed Forever

It was Wednesday September 13th, 2017. I was exactly 34 weeks pregnant with our twin boys, and although we were all hoping to make it a little further in this pregnancy God and my little boys had a different plan. They were coming! The doctors were concerned about Baby A’s size and fluid levels and thought it best to get things rolling, I was also already 2cm dilated, and was induced that morning.

I will spare you all the gory details of my delivery as it was quite gruesome. Things happened very quickly, too quickly for drugs. I had my water broken with Baby A at around 2:30pm and little Hunter entered the world by natural delivery at 4:58pm. Hunter weighed 3 pounds 14 ounces (which was a wonderful surprise to us all- as he was the one we were concerned about) and 16 3/4 inches long. I was overwhelmed when they showed him to me, although I new I was not done as there was still one more baby!  Little Baby B had a more challenging delivery as he ended up sideways in my belly and they were unable to turn him which meant an emergency c-section. I had to be put to sleep and I did know that Baby B was in distress with a low pulse before I was put under. The next thing I remember was waking up in the recovery room and the first thing I asked was “Is baby B ok?” He was! Little Harrison was born at 5:13pm weighing 4 pounds 2 ounces, and 17 1/4 inches long. He was a little fighter! Joel went with the babies to the NICU and Hunter was fine, they were worried Harrison (due to his traumatic entrance into the world) was going to need oxygen but he didn’t he fought through it and both boys have been breathing on their own! Pictured below Hunter Daniel and Harrison Bradley!

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Finally, I was alert enough to see my babies! The nurse wheeled me into the NICU, where both babies will be living for the time being. They were PERFECT! My heart was just melting, there were no words to express the amount of love I had for these boys, or the amount of thankfulness that they were ok! I have always wanted to be a mom, and at that moment I finally felt like my life finally had purpose, and these boys have given me the most precious gift ever to be their mom! Pictured below the first time I got to hold my boys! 21740339_10155305429097740_2115137565129255452_n

Surviving the NICU is not easy. We are basically taking everything one day at a time. At this point there is very little we can do for our boys, besides love them. Days are long and hard, but we have a wonderful support system, and fantastic nurses to get us through! Right now both boys are being tube fed every 3 hours. We hope and pray that they will gain weight quickly so our stay in the NICU will not be too long. We have been told by the nurses and their doctor to use their due date of October 25th as a guide. We pray they will gain quickly, and that their breathing and heart rates will remain as steady as they have been and continue to strengthen every day!

We are already learning things about our boys and it has only been one week! Hunter loves to be cozy, the tighter he is all swaddled up the better. He does not like having is diaper changed and we think this is because he has to get all uncovered! Harrison is the opposite although he likes to be covered he would rather have an arm out and usually wiggles out of his swaddle! Harrison is already making noises and funny faces and he likes to touch his face. Pictured below are both of the boys exactly one week old! We can’t believe how much they have changed already! (Harrison is in the blue hat, Hunter in green)

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Some days are an emotional rollercoaster…

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I will start today’s blog with the happy news!

I am very happy to report that as of yesterday we have made it to 32 weeks in this pregnancy! This is a big milestone in twin pregnancies and I thank God that we have been able to make it this far.  Babies that are born at 32 weeks have a 90% chance survival rate, lung development is much better, although there is still a lot of growing left to do.

Now for my life feeling like an emotional rollercoaster… and some disappointing news after feeling so excited yesterday.

The last ultrasound I had there was some concern about the growth of the babies, it was decided by my doctor to look into this further. Yesterday, I had another ultrasound that my doctor was going to go over with me at the hospital today.  So, this morning Joel and I made our way into the hospital for a stress test to make sure the babies heart rates are still where they should be, and to meet with the doctor to get my ultrasound results.

The stress test took about 20 minutes to make sure there was a good read of both hearts, and of course one baby was not cooperating and kept moving so we would lose his heart beat altogether, so I was left to hold the monitor down on my stomach for 20 minutes. When the time was up my hand was a permanent claw and my arm felt like jello. Joel told me I shouldn’t have stopped lifting weights (always so supportive!)

Finally, my doctor came in and gave us the news… which isn’t terrible, just not what you want to hear.

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He said from the ultrasound I had yesterday the babies seem to have stopped growing, “their growth has trailed off”, were his exact words. Which obviously isn’t ideal, we want them to grow as much as they can before they are ready to come out. He said they are about 2 weeks behind in their growth, which isn’t terrible, but again we want them to grow! All of my fluid levels for the babies are still where they need to be, which is good because once those drop- if they do drop- then babies have to come out. They need those fluid levels. What does all of this mean? Well it means that the babies are under a little bit of stress, I will be finishing this week at work, and then I will be off, which I had originally planned to go another two weeks. It means a whole lot of monitoring the babies. two stress tests a week, another ultrasound in two weeks, and then another trip to the hospital to see what’s up- this will bring us to the 34 week mark.

So all in all, as of right now we are all still okay. If you are the praying kind- please pray that by the grace of God my boys will grow a little more and continue to develop the things they need to make their lives easier on the outside. Pray for piece of mind for Joel and I, knowing that God is in control of all that is to come. Pray that we can continue to make it through this pregnancy without any further complications or stress on the babies.

Thank you for reading, and praying for us! Hopefully my next blog will be less of a dear diary entry to cure my emotions!

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We’re in the home stretch now!!!

I am writing this post from somewhere new today… the unfinished nursery! However, there is a very comfortable chair and it is nice and peaceful. Sometimes I just come in here and sit and think about all the exciting moments we are going to have in this room! Here is a little sneak peak of our nursery!

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I know I have said it before, and I am going to say it again… time is FLYING! Today I hit the 30 week mark, I can’t believe that in just a matter of weeks we are going to get to meet our boys!

How am I doing? I know a lot of you are wondering/asking and the truth is I am still doing really well. Although, I am convinced now more than ever that I am running out of room for these little men! I do have moments where I am quite uncomfortable, I have two little sets of feet digging into my ribs, and sometimes it feels like one of the babies is going to explode out of my stomach from the amount of pressure I feel, but I wouldn’t trade these feelings for the world. I have certainly slowed down and things that I used to have no problem doing are now almost impossible (like cleaning the bathtub). It’s almost time for Joel to step up to the plate!!!  I have about 4.5 (22 days- but who’s counting) weeks of work left and I am just trying to focus on getting through one day at time. I am also quite exhausted, between the amount of times I have to get up to use the bathroom (an average of 4 times per night), the boys kicking and wiggling, and hot flashes it’s hard to get a good nights sleep!

What’s next as we continue to prepare for our little bundles of joy? Well some of the things that I have to start thinking about are a little intimidating! Like it’s time to get my hospital bag packed! Just in case, realistically these babies could come at any moment so now is the time to have my hospital bag packed and ready in case we need to make a run for it.

We need to make a shopping list. Figure out what the most important items to have upfront and ready to go for either home, or hospital for the babies. I would say we have done very well and the majority of our larger items are taken care of, now it’s just the smaller items that you don’t think of until someone (my mother) reminds me that it might be a good idea to have!

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Try to take some ME time! Although this is proving to be a little difficult with working full time, I am enjoying my quiet evenings at home, reading before bed, taking long showers. And next weekend Joel and I are going away overnight with friends to Winnipeg, it will be our last getaway, and is also the first time we leave our sweet Rosie in a kennel!

Lastly, we patiently wait for babies and for Grammie and Grampie Little to arrive at the end of September, hopefully before babies are born! We already have a list started of what we need help with! Dad is so great at putting things together, because he has the patience of job! And mom, well I need her to organize my life- or the babies lives! She will help me get everything set up so perfectly!

This has probably been my most uneventful blog post since I started blogging, but I promise you there are certainly going to be some exciting days to come in the near future!

 

 

 

 

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Celebrating the bump

Maternity Pictures… to get them done, or not get them done, that is the question.

If you had of asked me a year ago if I would ever get Maternity Pictures done the answer would have been no. Not because I don’t like the idea of them, I think they are beautiful pictures, but mostly because I didn’t really see a need to spend money on remembering being pregnant and how I looked with a baby bump.

What changed my mind? There were a few factors that contributed to this. One was when it was time to find out the genders of the babies- I wanted a way to “surprise” everyone back home- since we live so far from our friends and family we didn’t want to have a party. I started looking on good ol’ Pinterest for ideas and found the gender reveal pictures and kind of fell in love with them. The other reason was I have learned that I LOVE being pregnant! I don’t know if I really love being pregnant in the heat of the summer with 40 degree days in the prairie heat and sun, but being pregnant in general has just been amazing! I have been happy, I haven’t been sick at all, I have still been able to do things that I love, and I haven’t had any health issues so far- and God willing it will stay that way! Joel says this is a good thing or he wouldn’t be able to handle it!!! Another thing that changed my mind was our photographer- Stacey Gabriel. I had done some work with her through the shop I work at, she has photographed a lot of our brides, she was a customer, and she is just a beautiful person who I knew would be able to capture the vision that I wanted for these pictures, and she did!

Do I regret getting maternity pictures done? Not one bit! In fact I would encourage everyone to get maternity pictures done! Although, if I was ever to do it again I probably wouldn’t make Joel go through it- he hates pictures but was such a good sport and did it for me, and I am so thankful that we have these wonderful family pictures of our growing family, Rosie (our dog) included! Being pregnant is a very special thing, why wouldn’t you want to remember every little detail about your family dynamic changing. It’s a beautiful thing- both Joel and I are so excited about our boys, we are so happy to be having children and getting these pictures done was a way of celebrating this for our family!

There were a lot of pictures taken! I selected a few to share with you all, and I hope you enjoy them and celebrate the coming of our two boys with us! And yes, there will be Newborn pictures of the boys to follow!!!

View More: http://staceylucephotography.pass.us/goodwinmaternityView More: http://staceylucephotography.pass.us/goodwinmaternityView More: http://staceylucephotography.pass.us/goodwinmaternityView More: http://staceylucephotography.pass.us/goodwinmaternityView More: http://staceylucephotography.pass.us/goodwinmaternityView More: http://staceylucephotography.pass.us/goodwinmaternityView More: http://staceylucephotography.pass.us/goodwinmaternityView More: http://staceylucephotography.pass.us/goodwinmaternityView More: http://staceylucephotography.pass.us/goodwinmaternityView More: http://staceylucephotography.pass.us/goodwinmaternity

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Time keeps marching on…

As I looked at the calendar today I realized just how quickly time is really moving! Tomorrow I will be 26 weeks pregnant! Which leaves only 11 more weeks until these babies can “safely” arrive into the world (as you may know most twin pregnancies do not last the full 40 weeks, so I personally am aiming for 37 weeks- God willing!)  Today also marks only 8 more weeks of work to get through before I have decided to go on maternity leave. Again I am aiming to keep working until mid September- but anything could happen!

To think about “not working” is a very weird feeling. We grow up being taught that you go to school to learn, go to University or College to prepare yourself for your future- which of course involves getting a job. You need to work to survive. I have always been a hard worker, even working two jobs at once for 3 years, which averaged out to about 60 hours a week. I love the jobI have now- working at the Bridal Shop has been amazing, it has brought me a lot of happiness, new experiences, and I have learned a lot about myself being thrown into such a new role of Assistant Manager of the shop. I have been given responsibilities and had to face challenges that I never expected. I am really going to miss this job, however, I know the role that I have coming up will be the most important, fulfilling, rewarding job of my life- a mom!

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I remember in grade 12 graduating from high school when everyone asked the famous question, “what’s next?” “what are your career plans?” When I graduated I honestly had no idea what I wanted to do, I thought I wanted to be a teacher, but I never felt the desire to truly follow that path. I remember someone asking me “what are you passionate about?” The only thing that I could come up with was helping people- with what? No idea! I also remember digging deep with a Youth Leader and coming to the conclusion that the only thing that made sense to me, the only thing that made me really happy when I thought about my future was being a mom, even more than that- a stay at home mom (time will tell with that one).

As I prepare myself for the biggest “job” of my life, of course I have about a million questions running through my mind. What if I am not good at this “job”? What if I don’t like it? What if I can’t do it? What if I don’t know what to do? Of course I can hear some of you already moms out there laughing- because I know, even now, that no one is really good at this job- you grow into it and learn- just like any job, and there will be many mistakes made. I know there will be parts over the years that I won’t exactly like, same thing as feeling like I can’t do it, or that I don’t know what to do. The scary part it there is no manual, no step by step guide to figuring this job out and climbing the ladder of success. The only “guide” or “manual” we have is trial and error, and thankfully, by the example, help, and advice of our parents and friends around us.
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Am I ready? Not at all! Am I excited? Definitely! Am I scared? Absolutely! Deep down do I think I can do this? Yes, with the help of those around me, lots of prayers, and a wonderful partner by my side- there is not a doubt in my mind!

Life update: Joel is home from England, and we are working on trying to get the babies room organized and set up little by little! There is still so much to do! But one of these blog posts will be dedicated to the babies nursery! We had some pictures taken (maternity and gender reveal) we brought our sweet Rosie with us and can’t wait to see all the great shots! For those of you who missed our announcement we are having TWO BOYS and we are thrilled with this news!19959128_10155121424942740_1581539642724780259_n

 

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Expect the Unexpected

This blog post has taken me a while to write because, well to put it simply, I needed to get over the shock of this unexpected news! Here is my story on the day we found out we were having not one, but TWO babies!

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May 24th, 2017- the day our lives REALLY changed forever! I had my first ultrasound- supposed to be my 20 week ultrasound although someone wrote my dates down wrong and they had me there at 17 weeks. I didn’t really know what to expect, although I did know that the technician could not tell me anything about the baby- gender, health, etc. I was excited as this was going to be the first time I got to see my baby wiggling around! Joel was getting ready to head to England at this time and was unable to come to the appointment with me, so I was there alone.  The room had dim lighting and was very warm from the machines, I remember just laying there on the bed staring at the ceiling listening to the whirring of the machine and just feeling happy to see my baby once the technician was done her exam. I seemed to be laying there forever and was starting to feel tired I looked at the clock and I had already been there for 30 minutes, she hadn’t said a word to me. I started wondering if everything was ok with the baby and started to feel a little worried, as there was no sign of her being done soon. I started praying “God please let this baby be healthy, please don’t let there be anything wrong” The ultrasound tech asked me if I was ok and I responded that I was fine, she said she was almost done. I tried looking at her face to see if she had any sort of expression at all that could hint to what was going on- but nothing, she had a wonderful poker face. Finally she stopped and said “okay, I’m finished the exam, sorry it took me so long, it’s because there are two babies”…

I sat up, looked at her and said “WHAT?!?” (I may have said it a little too sternly). She laughed and said again “Yes, there are two babies, you’re having two babies.” I then proceeded to tell her “No, I’m not, you’re wrong” she laughed again (I’m happy someone was amused) and she responded “Look! Here is Baby A ,and over here is Baby B.” She gave me a minute to process this shocking information- I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t do anything I literally just froze and watched my TWO babies. She proceeded to show me some things in the ultrasound like a beating heart, how one babies bottom was in the other babies face. The only thing I could say was “I can’t believe it” as I was shaking my head and so wishing that Joel was there to see this.

Something you should know about Joel. He has thought it was twins from the very beginning, Even before we started trying to have a baby he thought we would have twins- what did I do with this- completely blew it off. I didn’t think there was any way having twins was possible for us- even though there are twins in his family.

The ultrasound tech asked if i was okay, I lied and said I was fine. She told me to go and get changed and meet her by the chairs and she would get me some pictures. While waiting I could feel the tears coming but I held it back. As she is showing me the pictures and trying to explain them I wasn’t listening- I did hear the lady beside me say “oh, how wonderful!” I left the hospital in a complete daze, went to pay to get out of the parking lot and dropped change EVERYWHERE, I probably would have left it there if it wasn’t for the nice man that started picking it up for me. Finally I reached my car and I got in and I just balled. I didn’t even know why I was crying… was I happy? Was I scared? I didn’t know. I tried calling Joel but he didn’t answer, I just needed to talk to someone. I Facetimed (thank you technology) my parents and thankfully there were around and answered. I was a mess, and could hardly talk but managed to blurt out that there were two babies. My mom just had this look of shock on her face and couldn’t speak, and my dad was there beside her just grinning ready to get up and do a happy dance, I believe his response was something like “Wow! This is wonderful news! Two babies! Can we tell everyone?” Both my mom and I immediately say “NO!” I wasn’t ready to accept it myself let alone tell EVERYONE. We came to the conclusion that was I was feeling was complete and utter shock- I was completely overwhelmed by this unexpected news. I sat in the Hospital parking lot for almost 30 minutes- and also knew that I had to get back to work, but I also had to compose myself.

I finally got a hold of Joel and told him the news- his response “I knew it! That’s awesome” I Facetimed my Mother in Law as well and told her, her response was somewhere in between my mom and my dad’s- but probably closer to my mothers.

I finally made it back to work, and I must have had this look on my face because I walked in the door and immediately my boss asked “is everything ok?” I told her “I think so, there’s just two babies”. The more I started saying it the more I started to believe it. The more I started to believe it the more the shock started to go away.

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Learning that I was expecting twins brought about 4 different emotions:

1.Guilt- I couldn’t help but think of all the people I know who have struggled having children, or haven’t been able to have children at all, and here I am having two babies. Why was I chosen to have two babies, when some people can’t even have one? I learned quickly that I couldn’t think like this. I had someone tell me that God chose me to be the mom of these two babies. Those words helped a lot. It was at that point that the guilt went away and I just felt  so blessed.

2. Blessed- This emotion is something that will never go away- it will be with me whole life whenever I look at my babies that God has so graciously blessed me with. I can’t wait to meet them, and watch them grow up into teens, and adults.

3. Panic- At my ultrasound I learned that I was actually a week further along than originally thought, and I knew with twins I won’t make it the full 40 weeks. Joel and I had not bought one thing for these babies, and it was stressing me out, and I HAD to do something about it. That’s when I found the cribs we wanted on sale at Wayfair- my new favourite place to shop- it’s dangerous! So, I bought TWO cribs, and that was a major “this is really happening” moment, but helped settle my nerves! Nothing better than a little retail therapy!

4. Pure Excitement and Joy- We have known for about a month now that we are having Twins! For Joel the excitement was there right away, it took me a little while to catch up, but it is here now in full force! I just can’t wait! I have been focusing on buying things for the nursery and starting to get things set up, and I’m just so excited to be a family of four!

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Baby A and Baby B’s first pictures! 

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Thank you for joining me on this amazing, and exciting journey! I have really been enjoying sharing my story with all of you!