Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fish Bowl

Okay...a blog that promises to not make you cry. I thought I would add a little "fun" into the mixture because, yes, I can have fun.

20 Totally Random Facts About Me

1. I married the first man I fell in love with.

2. Do NOT get between me and my Kevin Bacon movie collection.

3. I once laughed so hard in high school that I literally peed my pants.

4. There is no way I can fall asleep with no covers on me. I like to feel the weight of the blankets. Even if it's hot.

5. I would love to live in a loft in Downtown Manhattan. I like the idea of having no walls.

6. I never use nail clippers to cut my toenails. I use my hands. I love it.

7. I don't like to read much but I love going to the bookstore.

8. I believe all pets should be indoor pets. Outside dogs make me feel sad.

9. My first car was a 1988 Chevy Spectrum. Hatchback.

10. I do not carry around any pictures in my wallet.

11. There cannot be any open bottles of any kind in the shower before I get in. If I see it, I will get out of the shower, close the lid, then get back in.

12. I think my daughters are prettier than any other child I have ever seen.

13. I truly admire anyone who adopts children or rescues animals.

14. When I was in seventh grade I had walking pneumonia. My brother and mom brought me a 90210 pillow and New Kids on the Block dolls. I felt way better.

15. I am afraid of seeing triplets one day. Even seeing the word "triplets" makes me feel sad.

16. I know a lot of people but have less than 5 friends.

17. I can't leave the house without fixing my hair. And that means flat-ironing.

18. I have a slight phobia of midgets. I will literally get weak in the knees when faced with one in person.

19. My dream job is to be a mortician.

20. I make the best meatloaf in the world. Even better than my grandma.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


So today is the 28th of the month. It is the day that brings two very strong emotions out in me. Betsy is 17 months old today. Grace has been gone 17 months. Olivia would have been 17 months. I rejoice because I think about how far Betsy has come. It still amazes me every day and every time she does something new. I wonder what Grace and Olivia would be like. I imagine it. When Grace was born she had so much dark hair. So naturally I picture her to be this tiny beauty with the most beautiful locks in the world. I picture Olivia to be the spitting image of Betsy (they looked very similar) only a little chunky. (I always wanted a fat baby named Olivia).

So that is how I go through life. "Imagining" what my children would look like. "Imagining" what they would sound like and "imaganing" how they would play. Kinda sad really. To never know what my own babies would be like. I can't dwell on it though. I have this amazing little princess who helps me hold it together and boy, oh boy, is she a wonder. Still, every day as I watch her play, I can't help but imagine how it would be with all three of them.

I can't believe it's been 17 months. So close to being two years. Sometimes it seems like it's been that long, but mostly just seems like yesterday. I've heard the saying "Time heals all wounds" but when you lose a child does this really apply? I cannot imagine my wounds EVER being healed. Someone once told me after the year mark things seem to get a little easier. Yes, that was somewhat true. Every month builds up to that one year anniversary that all parents must dread. But then time just keeps on ticking. And I find myself every month thinking, 'Well, it must get easier next month'. It never does.

It's not like I am wanting Grace and Olivia's memory to fade, that is far from the truth. But I do wish I could get to a point that I could talk about them or even think about them without crying buckets. Yet, it breaks my heart when NO ONE talks about them but at the same time I think, 'Please don't bring it up, I can't handle it". But please don't get me wrong, I LOVE talking about my girls. It is just so hard.

Betsy is my rock. She literally keeps me on the ground. She has so much of her sisters in her and it's very easy for me to imagine Grace and Olivia because I know they would have a little of her in them. So I just imagine what they are doing up in Heaven. I imagine them together, playing, and hopefully they can see their sweet little sister and be so proud of her. I miss them so much.

Next month it will get easier...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, January 25, 2010

In the Midst of a Storm

“The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn't been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.”- Pablo Casals

Betsy, also known as "B", was my second born triplet. She was literally born a fighter. Fighting for her life. I think back and wonder just how on Earth this tiny, fragile infant had that much will. To literally be born into this world 16 weeks early, not even fully developed, eyes still completely fused shut, yet have the will to fight to survive. Amazing. If she is not a miracle, then there is no such thing.

Betsy was 1 lb 9 oz and 12 inches long. She weighed as much as a loaf of bread and was as long as a Barbie. I will never forget the first time I got to see her and Olivia. It was the next day after their birth. Friday. (Please remember Olivia is still alive at this time. Many of these feelings also relate to her but I am just concentrating on Betsy's story right now. By no means am I "forgetting" to mention her.)

So tiny. Wires everywhere. Tubes down mouth. IVs coming out of every part of her body. But she was alive. That was all that mattered to me.

The first time I held Betsy was one of the best days ever. She was almost two weeks old and her eyes were finally open. They had been fused her first week of life. It was a really big deal for me to hold her because of everything connected to her. It took them about 20 minutes just to transfer her over to me. Then...pure Heaven...

Betsy did fairly well in the NICU. She wasn't considered "stable" by any means but she was thriving and that was good. She was able to fight off all infections that came her way so that was even better. She had many blood transfusions but got her daddy's blood so that really helped her. Her lungs looked pretty good and it wasn't long before she got rid of the breathing tube and was able to have CPAP. She was 30 days old.

Then came Olivia's death. I often wondered if Betsy knew. She was in the same room as Olivia but not in the same area. There was a baby that seperated them. I wondered if Betsy or Olivia knew their sister was right there. So close. Or did they even know they had a sister, much less two of them. The day Olivia died we asked them to move Betsy out of that room so we wouldn't have to go back there. They did. We didn't see Betsy at all the day of Olivia's death and I'm sorry for that. I regretted not going and telling Betsy what had happened. Silly, I know. She wouldn't have known but I still feel like I owed it to Olivia to let her sister know she was gone.

The next day was like a breath of fresh air. And I don't mean that disrespectfully. It's not like we didn't hurt or we didn't miss our girl. Poor Olivia was so sick and always in such a critical state that it was almost like a huge weight was off our shoulders knowing she was okay and that she would never hurt again. Our family was such a ball of stress. On pins and needles 24/7. I was so devastated to lose Olivia but thankful to the Lord for relieving her of her suffering.

We visited Betsy and she was in her new room. It was such a joy to see her and to see her doing so well after what we just experienced. We got to give her a bath for the first time and the nurse took off her CPAP mask just long enough for us to see her face for the first time ever. We also took this opportunity to get to pick her up and snatch a few family pictures!

By the end of October she was off of CPAP and was on the nasal cannula. She was 2 months old and finally weighed over 3 pounds. Which means she gets to be "dressed and wrapped" and finally, finally, finally, finally I can put little clothes on my baby! However, she was still way too small for preemie clothes and so she just got booties and caps!

And I got to hold her like a "normal" baby and not naked against my bare skin. I could actually look down and see her face. This was big for me.

Now..I can't move on without showing you Betsy's first Halloween. Finding a costume was no problem. We went straight to the Build A Bear Workshop and bought her an outfit meant for a teddy bear. She was Snow White.

So time seemed to go by so slow for us. It seemed as though Betsy was getting so big and we were very anxious to get her home. Shortly after Halloween. When Betsy was 34 weeks gestation (a little over 2 months old) we got to try bottle feeding her. At this point, all Betsy had to do was learn to eat from a bottle and she could come home. This is her bottle. It had only 5 mL of milk. That's like a tablespoon.

It took the poor girl over 20 minutes before she completely choked out and we had to stop. Kinda makes you realize just how much she had to learn to do. Most babies are born and BAM they just go right to eating. Not mine. She had to wait and learn how to suck, swallow and breath.

Now we are into November. Betsy gets sick. Really sick. She gets a pretty dangerous infection AND she has a rather large, discolored stomach. This resembles a bowel perforation and we get very worried. After undergoing many x-rays and procedures, all with no good outcome, Betsy has to have surgery on her bowels. This was pretty scary for us, but I don't think I was so worried. By this point I had learned to rely on my faith and to just put things in God's hands. It didn't make it completely easier, but it helped. Betsy made it through surgery just fine. The recovery was messy, as we were warned it would be and expected it would be. Betsy had trouble breathing and had to be put on the oscillator. That horrible, mean, "death machine" is what I called it. This is what Olivia was on. It's loud. It shakes. I absolutely hate hearing those things. It scared the bejeezus out of me to see her on it. I cried for the entire day. Even worse when Betsy started to swell up (a side effect of the oscillator). I just knew we were going to lose Betsy now. She is 11 weeks old.

So, obviously Betsy gets better. She is able to completely fight off this bad infection and is able to stabilze from surgery enough to come off the oscillator and back on regular nasal cannula. This girl is absolutely amazing.

Here we are at Thanksgiving. Betsy is 3 months old. She weighs 4 pounds.

Betsy's only challenge at this point is learning to suck her bottle. She will start out just fine but will either fall asleep (nice, right!) or she will choke out and just can't finish. This was a very big challenge for her. Yes, given all she went through, the sweet girl can't even suck a bottle! Our goal was to get her home for Christmas. After weeks and weeks and weeks of wondering if she will ever learn to eat her bottle, she just magically "got it" and started eating like a champ!

Here she is at 14 weeks old...just soooooo close to getting to come home!

Now, the best day of all. December 18, 2008. Two days after her original due date, at 16 weeks old, 112 days in the NICU, Betsy FINALLY gets to come home. She now weighs 5 pounds 8 ounces. I have to say it was a little bittersweet. Here we are first time parents, bringing home a 4-month-old really. This hospital was our second home. We were there all day. The nurses were our friends. We knew everyone. We were comfortable. It was a little scary bringing home our baby after so long of having this "hospital routine". I often wonder if parents of a full-term baby have the same anxiety.

Betsy, busting out of the doors of the NICU with her very, very proud daddy!

And our favorite picture. It looks like Betsy is screaming "I'M GOING HOME!"

That was so much of the I feel like I should tell you about Betsy NOW. She is 16 months old. She weighs 19 pounds and 13-1/2 ounces. She is 30 inches tall. She is a miracle. She has absolutely no health issues. Knock on wood. She has absolutely perfect eyesight and hearing, a total shocker for a micropreemie. She is thriving and such a happy baby. She never crys (we are lucky) and she is so easy. We kept her hospital routine so she has a pretty strict schedule and I think this has made her care much easier, especially for her since she never has to get out of her routine. I have to add, because it's a big deal, that she has never been sickly either. Another small miracle for micropreemie. Tony and I enjoy every single second we have with her and count our many blessings every day. Praise to the Lord for giving us this angel and for completing our lives in a way we never thought possible.

"If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

That's Life

Here lately I have been reflecting alot over our journey and where we are now. I'm going to share my thoughts. I don't hold back. I will say exactly what I am feeling and believe me, my emotions are raw. I don't care. This is like therapy for me and I'm anxious to get going. Let me start from the beginning...

Tony and I married June 5, 2004 after dating for 9 months. We were friends first so it wasn't like a whirlwind romance or anything like that. I actually "chased" him for a while before he actually agreed to go out with me. Needless to say, I was one cool chick because he fell in love with me.

We decided to try to start a family after our first year of marriage. Well, we actually didn't wait until exactly a year but more like 10 months. We just couldn't wait! What a journey this decision would turn out to be. I'm so envious of people who can just decide to get pregnant and then the very next month have a bun in the oven. However, I think what we went through makes us a little more appreciative of what we have.

After years of trying different fertility treatments, we ended up having to do in-vitro fertilization (IVF). It was tough. It was expensive. It was painful. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Two weeks later I had my blood test. I was pregnant. With very high HCG levels. Possibly more than one baby. Dear Lord, please let me have twins. I think this is every infertile's prayer.

Two weeks later was the ultrasound. Triplets. Holy cow.

My pregnancy went great. I felt wonderful. I was getting big. I was so happy. At 22 weeks we had our "big" ultrasound. This is the ultrasound we were most looking forward to. We would find out the sexes of our babies. This is the ultrasound that changed our lives.

Baby A was low. Very low. It's a girl. Baby B was stretched out along my right side. Feet pushing ribs. It's a girl. Baby C was balled up on my left side and very high, spinning and wiggling all the time. It's a girl. But wait..something is wrong. The ultrasound technician left the room for a while. Tony and I were on cloud nine. "I'm sorry you aren't getting a boy", I joked. We thought that was pretty funny. The technician instructed me to go see one of the nurses. My doctor was in a delivery. "Do you know what is going on?" asked the nurse. "Okay, we think you have a cord prolapse. We aren't for sure but if so this is very dangerous. We need to admit you to labor and delivery right away". I guess I was still so oblivious to anything. I wasn't worried. I don't know why.

I went to labor and delivery. I was put in a bed with my feet in the air. So uncomfortable. My doctor came over. This was the worst news ever. Baby A had a cord prolapse. A baby cannot, I repeat, cannot be born vaginally with a prolapse. The cord comes out before the baby and cuts off all oxygen. A prolapsed baby has to be delivered by Caesarean section. Not an option for me since I am only 22 weeks pregnant and obviously carrying more than one baby. I won't go into every tiny detail here but the next day we attempted a cerclage to stitch my cervix closed so the babies would not be born. However, the cord would not go back in and a cerclage was out of the question. I would be in the hospital until the babies were born and we were hoping this would be at least 8 weeks. Baby A was now called Grace. She was hanging in there by the grace of God. And I was on complete hospital bedrest. That means bed baths and catheters. Oh joy.

Two weeks later, I went into labor. I knew this was not good. I was only 24 weeks and one day pregnant. August 27, 2008. I didn't see Grace when she was born. She was handed over to the awaiting NICU team. My doctor got between me and them and was comforting me. Tony was on my right side. I just stared at Tony. I was trying to see if my baby was alive. Tony shook his head. Nope. Nope. Nope. I remember hearing him say that. Nope. I was handed my baby. Oh my goodness. She was so cute. She was so tiny. I can't believe that I am holding my baby in my arms and she is not alive. She doesn't even know her mommy is here. She doesn't even know. I can't believe this. We just heard her heartbeat minutes before her birth. This is too surreal. I have a stillborn.

The next day I slept alot. Alot. I remember my hospital room looked different to me. Even though it was the same room. Weird. It was like everything was different. That afternoon my water broke. The babies were coming. It's too soon. I'm going to have three dead babies. I can't handle this.

August 28, 2008. That evening baby B was born. Betsy. I didn't see her get handed to the NICU team. She was on my left side. So was the nurse and she was blocking my view. I watched Tony again. Please, I thought, please tell me she is okay. Tony nodded his head. Yes. Seven minutes later Olivia came. I saw her. They took her to my right. I could see past Tony. I could see them working on her. Everything was happening so fast. By the time I looked back to my left, they were whisking Betsy out of the room. Olivia was soon to follow. They stopped and let me see her briefly. Her eyes were open. They were the brighest blue I have ever seen. She was looking right at me.

Betsy weighed 1 lb 9 oz and was 12 inches long.

Olivia was 1 lb 14 oz and 14-1/2 inches long.

I am going to seriously fast forward here...
Olivia was sick from day one. She had a perforated bowel. She had NEC. She had infections. Her lungs were in bad shape and she was on the oscillator which made her very edematous. Plus she quit using the bathroom which made her even more edematous. Looking back on things now, I know this poor baby never stood a chance. She was so sick but she was so strong. She never gave up. She was going to be so stubborn I just knew it. Our turning point came when Olivia got an infection in her arm that was so bad it nearly killed her. Either she isn't going to survive or she has to lose the arm. Okay. Surgery for Olivia. Very dangerous. She isn't stable at all and if she makes it through surgery and through her amputation, it isn't going to guarantee her survival. What a trooper. She made it through surgery and I remember thinking she was the cutest thing I have every seen with only one tiny arm.

After 37 days of life, Olivia was not getting better. Things were looking very grim for her. Tony and I prayed for her and just wanted her to be at peace. On October 4, 2008, we took Olivia off all support and held her privately until she passed into the arms of Jesus.

I know this is long and I know I may have skipped a lot or left things out. The truth is, this was such a journey and such a hard experience. There was so much going on all at once that it was amazing Tony and I held it together like we did. I just want everyone to know my background and exactly what happened to our little family. We had so many friends, family and even total strangers praying for us at all times and so this is something to keep people "in the know". To let people know what is going on in our little lives as we try to pick up the pieces and move on without two of our daughters. My next blog will be all about Betsy and her NICU journey. I will catch everyone up with what we are doing now and how little Miss Betsy is growing. God Bless you all and thanks for taking the time to read about our story.