By Shannon akaMonty on February 13, 2014
I know, I know - you've read this all before.
It is time for the Annual Birthday Post!
My tiny little 1lb babies are 19 today.
I know, right? Some of you have been reading the Birthday Post since they were about 10 or 11.
Time is not just flying, it is traveling at the speed of sound.
I remember a tiny Becca setting her pacifier down in something that had spilled...she picked it up, took a suck, and said, "What the hell is all over this?!" It made me laugh so much that I couldn't even correct her.
I remember one single sentence of absolutely clear speech from Joshua in 19 years...he was sick and angry and yelled, "I WANT MY BOTTLE!" It was astounding and amazing and thank goodness my mother witnessed it or I would have thought my ears were playing tricks on me.
Seems like yesterday, and a hundred years ago.
Much like the lady in the news right now whose husband works for AOL, I also have million-dollar-plus "distressed babies". Six months in NICU adds up quickly, even 19 years ago.
So to those of you who read this faithfully every year - my babies young adult children and I thank you.
Happy 19th, kiddos. Mommy loves you.
(Also? OMG I HAVE 19 YEAR OLD CHILDREN. Pretty soon I'm going to have to stop pretending to be 29. Only not this year, I'm not quite ready for THAT. Baby steps)
THE DUE DATE: June 4th
THE BIRTH DATE: February 14th.
I know, right? These children clearly get their lack of patience from me. They were born at 24 weeks, or about 3 and 1/2 months early. They weighed just over 1 lb. each, and were about a foot long. I'm talkin' teeeeeny tiny. Micro-preemie, I think is what they are called now.
Anyway, this is my boy, at about a month old:
I woke up the morning of February 12th, headed for the bathroom, and after about 5 minutes I called out to the baby daddy, "Either I've lost all control of my body functions or my water broke".
I'll give you a hint - my functions were still under my control.
So natch we rushed to the hospital, where the stupid ass snot face condescending nurse (actually I love nurses in general, but this one? NOT SO MUCH) had me lay on a gurney for an hour and then said that I was fine, no fluid was "leaking" (I know, gross), and the pains in my back and belly were just muscles stretching, NOT CONTRACTIONS...and then she tried to send us home.
Me being me, I caused a scene.Here is my little girl, at about a month old:
Hey, guess who ended up being right about me being in labor?
The doctors tried to stop my labor for 24 hours, but apparently my kids were having none of that. On the 13th of February, my boy arrived in the usual way - of course, I was knocked out for the entire thing. My daughter was still safe and secure in her bedwomb -- the idea was to let her 'cook' a little longer (which would have been weird to have twins with different birthdays, right?). So they were wheeling me into recovery when Miss Contrary's heart rate dropped to zero, and they did a SUPERFAST emergency C-Section to get her out. Evidently she didn't like being alone.
So it was like Twins Two Ways, with extra Mommy Staples.
This is also where I discovered my love of morphine.
Their ears were still folded down (WEIRD! I didn't even know ears did that until my kids were born. It was like puppy ears or something), and their lungs were not completely developed, and their little hearts were working overtime/doubletime.
They struggled for every single breath. They fought to live.
And so they did.
Thank you, God.
Thank you for this little miracle....(my girl at about 2 months)
and this little miracle...(my boy at about 3 1/2 months)
The doctors gave them less than a 50% chance of survival.
Fortunately they got my stubborn genes as well as my temperamental ones, because my kids wouldn't listen to percentages; they were all YOU DON'T KNOW ME! I DO WHAT I WANT!
Their hearts were overworked, their lungs were and are covered in scar tissue, they are cursed with keloid scars as well as scars from perc lines and central lines and a million little junkie scars on arms and feet from being pricked with lancets every hour. They have scarred veins, they had damaging bleeding in their brains, preventing brain growth. And yet...
Becca's first day home from the hospital! Nearly 4 months old and barely 5 lbs. I still have this amazingly tiny dress - I swear it's barely bigger than Barbie size. Those booties she has on? The foot part is less than 2 inches long. Each twin came home attached to oxygen and an apnea monitor - whenever we all went anywhere together it looked as though we were leaving home for a month, so laden were we with electronic equipment, oxygen tanks, diaper bags, strollers...which is partly why I became the hermit I am today. #Lazy
Here they're about 7 or 8 months old, I think (did I ever mention that I am TERRIBLE about labeling pictures? Because I am). Clearly Becca was already trying to wear some sort of tiara:
One morning I discovered that my daughter knew how to climb into her brother's crib.
When Becca was about two, this is what "Go get ready for bed" meant:
Josh had the softest, wispiest hair so I let it grow and grow... until that time I gave him a buzz-cut and he's been sporting a Greg Brady WhiteBoy 'Fro ever since. IT IS OUT OF CONTROL.
There were middle-of-the-night phone calls with doctors on the other end of the line telling me that they didn't think THIS twin or THAT twin would make it through the night- so we'd rush to the hospital to sit and put our hands in the "baby terrarium", as I thought of them, and listen to the beeps and the whooshing of the ventilator and wait for the inevitable.
There were six months in the NICU and 3 or 4 Thanksgivings and Christmases spent in the hospital. For awhile I thought they were going to name a wing of the children's ward after us, or at least keep "our" room in reserve.
There was RDS and BPD and ROP and a bunch of other things with initials that I barely understood.
There were staph infections and even a broken arm that was caused by changing my son's shirt whilst in the NICU - he of the tiny little brittle bones. There were breathing treatments and nebulizers and oxygen tanks and albuteral and constantly changing medications and seizures and paralyzing fear (well, that last thing was *me*).
All that and so, so, so much more...and I continue to be amazed that here we still are, 19 years later.
How could I not believe in a higher power? In miracles?
I love you, my babies. I'm STILL thankful for every breath that you take, every blink of your eyes, every morning that you wake. I love you with everything inside me.
You still make me laugh, you still make me cry, you still make me want to smack you upside your silly little heads.
If all the world was a beach, I would love you more than all the grains of sand added together. Times ten million.
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