The Surprise of a Lifetime

So I’m pregnant. This is something I never saw coming and didn’t think was possible. In fact, Ronnie and I have gone to countless doctors and had numerous specialists tell us that the likelihood of us conceiving on our own was pretty much impossible. For those of you who don’t know our history, we went through Infertility for about 6 years and conceived our twins through In-Vitro Fertilization. It was a last-ditch effort for us after years of other fertility treatments that had been unsuccessful. We were so thankful when we found out we were pregnant with twins! And we actually still have one embryo left that is frozen in a cryobank back in Texas; we plan to use it someday down the road. Waaay down the road :). So when Ronnie and I found out we were pregnant back in March, we were in a state of complete shock. Don’t get me wrong, we were thrilled with the news and happy about it, but we just couldn’t wrap our minds around the fact that we had naturally conceived a baby.

Around the time we discovered the pregnancy, Rory and Reed had been sick with a stomach bug. I figured that I just got whatever they had because I was also feeling under the weather. But then my stomach bug never went away and seemed to be getting worse. I began to have a few other weird symptoms and my jeans began feeling tight whenever I tried to button them. This was especially discouraging because Ronnie and I had just finished an Advocare 24-Day Challenge and I had lost weight, so I was upset that I was seemingly gaining it back. I remember telling Ronnie, “You know, if I didn’t know any better, I would think that I was pregnant. The way I’m feeling is exactly the way I felt when I was newly pregnant with the twins. But since that’s impossible, I just wish I could figure out what is going on with my body.” Well, what was going on with my body was that there was a human being growing inside of it. After my cycle was about a month late (which is not unusual for me), I decided to just pick up a cheap pregnancy test at Target while I was there getting a million other things. I can honestly say that I thought nothing of it when I picked it up and put it in my cart. Anyone who has dealt with Infertility can tell you that after a while you just go through the motions. You buy pregnancy tests, you take them “just to be sure,” they are always negative, and then you throw them away and move on. So when I got home, I casually took the test, set it upside down and nearly forgot about it as I washed my hands and began to walk out the bathroom door. Then I saw it out of the corner or my eye and thought I’d give it a quick glance and just toss it, knowing exactly what it would say. So when I looked at that digital pregnancy test and saw the word “pregnant,” the world seemed to stop turning for a moment. I couldn’t breathe. My heart began to race. I got all shaky. And I just stared and stared and stared at it.

I didn’t know what to do next. I opened the bathroom door where Rory was standing there, greeting me with a smile. So I handed the pregnancy test to him and told him to go give it to Daddy, who was hanging out in the kitchen. Rory decided to listen to me and took it straight over to Ronnie, who gave him a weird look, clearly not recognizing what exactly he was handing to him. When Ronnie finally held it in his hands and he read the same word I had just read a few minutes earlier, he just looked up at me wide-eyed, also in a state of shock. We just stared at each other until he finally said, “What does this mean?” I shook my head and said, “I don’t know. But I think it means I’m pregnant…” We just stared at each other for the longest time and then just began to laugh saying things like “Seriously?” “What?” “Is this actually happening?” “Is this real?” It was so much to take in and we didn’t know how to process all of the emotions we were feeling inside. We sat on the couch while the boys climbed all over us and continued to just stare at each other, not knowing how to react to this news. Of course, we were excited, but we were just so surprised that we didn’t know what to do or say. The rest of the day is kind-of a blur. I had taken the test right before we were supposed to leave the house to go meet up with some friends. Terrible timing, I know, but you don’t think about timing those situations right when you think you know what the outcome will be. So we gathered up the boys and drove to meet up with our friends, kind-of dazed and just floating through the motions. I do remember the drive into town… it was a beautiful chilly, sunny evening and we kept looking over at each other, smiling, and sharing our feelings about the news we had just learned. It was an authentic reaction to overwhelming news, and I love that we just got to share that experience with each other. We confirmed that I was pregnant through some blood work on base the following day and quickly got set up with OB appointments and began to go through all of the motions that pregnant women go through. Even though I ended up getting Pre-Eclampsia in my last pregnancy, for now I am not high risk, so that is definitely something to be thankful for. Although, it was fun to get all of the extra sonograms and special attention from the docs with my twin pregnancy ;). Now I’m just “one of the masses,” which is really quite okay.

We kept our pregnancy a secret for quite a while. Part of the reasoning, for me, is because when you don’t think you can have children naturally, there can be a strong fear that something is going to go wrong. I still struggle with this fear, thinking, “You were never able to get pregnant naturally in the past. Surely something is wrong with your body and something is going to be wrong with the baby, or this might not end well for any of us.” I imagine a lot of previously infertile women struggle with these same thoughts and emotions. Of course, in my heart I know these words are not from the Lord because He does not give us a spirit of fear, but honestly, it’s a daily process to try and drown-out those negative lies. Ronnie and I also just wanted to keep this to ourselves for a while because it felt special to have that secret that only the two of us knew. It was amazing how much closer this pregnancy brought us and helped us to feel so much more connected to each other in the midst of a season where previously we had been experiencing some disconnect. I don’t know, it may have been the whole “parenting twin toddlers” thing… But this has been an exciting new season for us as a couple and as a little family. After a while, we felt like we needed to share our news with our closest friends here in Alaska, because the pregnancy quickly began to take over our lives. I became really sick, really quickly. Like, 10 times more sick than I was with the boys. Like, throwing up 10 to 15 times a day sick. It was difficult to get out of bed and function, much less follow through with commitments, spend time with friends, do play dates, volunteer at church, etc. I was beginning to experience a sort of pre-partum depression because my sickness became all-consuming. I also began to show more quickly than I expected. We decided to share the news with our friends here so we could have some support and also explain our reclusive behavior. The positive and excited reactions we got from all of our friends were more of a blessing than I ever could have hoped for. None of them had walked with us through our previous journey through infertility, and they have only known us as parents. But they did know about our past and were so gracious in sharing this miracle with us. That helped me feel so much more joyful in a time where sickness was really taking its toll on me emotionally, mentally and physically. And thankfully my OB was able to give me some meds that helped me at least function and be a [somewhat] decent Mom to my boys.

I am feeling much better now and only occasionally get sick. It’s amazing how much more alive you feel and how much brighter life becomes when you are not spending your entire day hunched over your toilet. The twins keep me so busy, that I even forget that I’m pregnant some days until I can’t sit in a certain position or get a dizzy spell. As challenging as the beginning of the pregnancy was for me, once I had my first sonogram, I really fell head over heels in love with my baby. That appointment was really a special time for Ronnie and me. He sat next to me and held my hand, and we got to look at our precious little one on the screen for 45 minutes while measurements were taken. There were a lot of smiles and a few tears from both of us. I think it really just hit us that we were becoming parents (again), but in such a miraculous and unexpected way. And yes, there is just ONE baby this time ;). We have our ultrasound picture hanging on our fridge and as I look at it numerous times a day, I am reminded of God’s mercy and abundant blessings in my life.

We were so excited to finally share the news with all of our family and get to see the shock on their faces as well as the excitement they felt for us. This baby is already such a joyful addition to our entire extended family and I know it is dearly loved. Once we shared the news on Facebook, it made my heart almost explode to see how genuinely thrilled everyone was to hear about our news. Thank you to everyone who sent us well-wishes and who has shared in our excitement. We are thrilled and so thankful for this new little one, due to arrive around November 3rd. We find out the gender of the baby at our 20-week ultrasound in less than 2 weeks, so we will be sure to let everyone know. For now, I am just enjoying the daily little kicks and flutters I am beginning to feel in my womb. I am also trying to cherish this time I have with my boys before their entire world changes. I am honestly a little terrified about having 3 children ages 2 and under, but I know that others have done it before, and somehow we will figure out how to survive. I wouldn’t have planned having children this close together, but I am continuing to learn that God’s plans aren’t always our plans. His plans are better and I trust that He has an amazing purpose for this baby’s life and for our family.

And I will leave you all with this Doxology hymn, which floods my heart every time I think about this new little life… “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him all creatures here below; Oh Praise Him, Hallelujah; Praise Him above ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost; Oh Praise Him, Oh Praise Him, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.” 

With Love,

Heather

#yesIwanttotalkaboutleggings

My blog is fairly new. The original goal for this site was to keep my family and friends informed about our lives and happenings. Overall I really wanted to keep my blog lighthearted and family focused, but there is just something that has been on my heart that is causing heaviness, and I just have to share it with you all. I have noticed that with so many blog posts, articles and stories going viral over social media lately, that readers’ comments and view points have gone viral as well. In this country we have numerous rights and freedoms that many countries do not. We have freedom of speech, which encourages many people to say whatever they want to say, whenever they want to say it, to whomever they want to say it to. And I think many of us don’t stop to think that just because we CAN say something, doesn’t necessarily mean that we SHOULD.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding a woman named Veronica Partridge and her blog post, stating why she would no longer choose to wear leggings or yoga pants. She got instant backlash and intense criticism from people, both Christians and non-Christians alike, for her personal stance and viewpoints. One Christian blogger even went as far to write a counter-post in which she talks about how there are much more important topics in the world to be concerned about. She even encouraged people to tweet or post major world issues and problems with the hashtag #butyouwanttotalkaboutleggings. This gets my blood boiling for a number of reasons. Yes, there are major problems out there in the world. Horrible things happening to innocent people every single day. And as Christians, we should be concerned about them. We should talk about them. And we should speak and act against the injustice being done in our world. But we should also be equally concerned with things happening right here, in our own country, to our own family members, friends and neighbors. This includes having a discussion about leggings because it goes SO much deeper than leggings. So. Much. Deeper.

There is an epidemic in our country. It is a disease of the mind, body and soul. It is called lust, and it destroys the men we love from the inside-out. If we think that this is any less important than anything else going on in the world, then we are choosing to be blind to it. We need to stop trying to pretend that this isn’t a major problem in our culture. Yes, I can be saddened about starving children in Africa. And I can be infuriated with terrorists who are burning innocent people alive. And I can be devastated over the thousands of children in our country who are orphans and trapped in the foster care system. I can also be passionate about our husbands, brothers, fathers, sons and friends who feel overtaken by lust and sexual addiction. And whether we want to acknowledge it or not, what we wear and how we act as women either feed or fight that addiction.

If anyone actually took the time to read Ms. Partridge’s original blog post, they would see that she made her decision because she felt convicted that wearing leggings out in public could possibly be a stumbling block for men, particularly men who struggled with lust. She is not insisting that everyone else follow her lead. She is simply stating how she began to feel convicted in this area of her life. She spoke with her husband about his opinion on the matter, and he admitted that it was challenging to look away when he saw women wearing leggings out in public, because they accentuate a woman’s body. And Ms. Partridge didn’t say that she was going to stop wearing leggings completely; she said she would only wear leggings as long as she had a shirt long enough to cover her backside. Speaking as a woman with a husband that struggles with lust, I am thankful that there is at least one other woman in our country that cares about him enough to dress modestly. Yes, men have the choice of whether or not to look at a woman in form-fitting clothing. And yes, we can wear whatever the heck we want to wear. But here is my point… just because we can, doesn’t necessarily mean that we should. After you read this, you can decide whether or not to wear leggings as pants. You live in a free country and are able to make your own choices. But let’s stop crucifying someone over social media because she made a personal choice regarding a personal conviction.

There are a lot of “cans” and “shoulds” in life. Can I let my babies watch Elmo all day? Yes. Should I? Probably not. Can I eat an entire bowl of brownie batter by myself? Yes. Should I? I guess not… But it would be yummy. Can I trash-talk someone on the internet? Yes. Should I? No, although it is okay to respectfully disagree. Can I go see 50 Shades of Grey with my friends for a girls’ movie night and learn more about S&M? Actually, no. My husband says no. Can I publish a cartoon that I know would be incredibly offensive to a particular religion? Yes. Should I? I would argue that it might not be the best idea to blatantly disrespect others’ religious leaders. Can I make a satirical movie about assassinating the President of another country? Yes. Should I? Well, we would be pretty mad if they made a movie about assassinating our President. Can I wear leggings that hug every curve of my body without a longer top to cover up my lady parts? Yes. Should I? …

Last Sunday my Pastor gave a message regarding Honor. It was very convicting to me, as was the “leggings post,” and I took away some great applications that I hope will make a difference in my own life. Ultimately, honor is about love. And I think if we took a little more time to speak value into people and support those who we are walking through life with (especially fellow Christian brothers and sisters), there would be an outbreak of love, which I think our world needs quite a bit more of. Even Jesus showed dignity to the undignified and honor to the dishonorable. So whether you agree or disagree with this post, or the leggings post, or the counter-leggings post, or anything else that anyone else says, let’s show each other a little more honor, a little more grace and little more love. That is something we all can and should do.

I know I am going to be sitting down tonight, thinking about what else I could have written in this post, knowing that I may not have gotten my point across as clearly as I wanted. But hopefully you can extend me some grace and see that I am just trying to share what is on my heart. You may still see me walking around in leggings, hopefully in a somewhat-modest fashion. And if you choose to wear leggings and/or yoga pants out in public, I will not judge you or harbor any ill will towards you. But if nothing else comes from this, I am simply thankful for Ms. Partridge’s post because it opened up conversation about a subject that I feel is important… just as important as other global issues affecting our fellow human beings.

And I leave you with this… “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:3-4

-Heather

*For more information about the post I refer to in my blog, please visit http://www.veronicapartridge.com.

Family Photos

Two years ago was a big day for our little family. We went into the hospital early in the morning and had two of our three thriving embryos transferred into my body. There are no words to describe that experience. You hope and you pray that at least one of your embryos will implant and grow, but just as with everything else in life, there are no guarantees. As I lay on the table after the procedure, Ronnie and I sang and prayed. I still remember the words of the song clearly… “Oh my God, He will not delay. My refuge and strength, Always. I will not fear. His promise is true. My God will come through, Always. Always… I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord.” It was such a peaceful moment and I am thankful for that experience with my husband. At that point we had done all we could do and all that was left was to surrender. We were hopeful that our IVF procedure would work and even took this picture to document our “first family photo”…

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Not many people get to see their babies as embryos, and I am so incredibly thankful that we got to watch our boys grow, literally from the beginning. As those of you who know us can testify, clearly the procedure worked for us and both of our embryos survived, and here we are as a family of four. We still have one embryo that is frozen and waiting for us. We are trying to decide when we will be ready to go through all of this again, continuing to hope and pray for another successful transfer. The entire IVF process just reminded me how fragile life is and what a miracle my boys truly are.

Unfortunately, just the day after our transfer, my Uncle Ken unexpectedly passed away from a massive heart attack. It was a devastating shock to our family and he is missed every single day. However, shortly after he passed away I found out that my IVF procedure worked and we were pregnant with not only one, but two babies. I like to think that God knew my family would need a reason to be joyful in the midst of their sadness, so he blessed us with Reed and Rory. It was interesting to mourn the passing of a loved one, yet rejoicing simultaneously for the conception of our miracle babies. In September of that year the twins were born, and two weeks later, on October 6, my Grandma Mary passed away. This was also a devastating blow to our family and still makes me tear-up every time I think about her. Once again, it was amazing to walk through the grieving process while also reveling in the joy of being a new Mom to my boys. I believe that the timing in both of these scenarios was in no way a coincidence, but that the Lord gave us these children at just the time when our family needed them most. Our boys are such a blessing to us and our extended families. Here is a current family photo…

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Thank you Lord for blessing us with these two babies. You are always faithful in our time of need. Always.

-Heather

That Time I Had Peanut Butter on My Sleeve…

…That was last Thursday. I had fed the boys peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that afternoon, which, of course, turned into a peanut butter nightmare. It was all over my house. And I thought it had even gotten on me during one of the many hugs and kisses my boys gave me during this whole fiasco. But I examined my clothing and couldn’t find it anywhere, so I thought I was good! I went along the rest of the day, welcomed my Huz home from work and headed off to worship practice at church. When I got home, one of the first things Ronnie said to me was, “What is that all over your arm?” It was peanut butter. ALL over the back of my sleeve, just out of my line of sight. No one at worship practice said anything. Maybe they didn’t see it! Or maybe they did. Either way, it doesn’t matter. It’s just peanut butter. And it’s a beautiful picture of my life. I am now someone I never thought I’d have the privilege of being… a Mom 🙂 Which means that sometimes I am going to go out in public with peanut butter on my sleeve. And you know what? That’s okay.

But just as a final side note, I will never ever ever again feed my boys peanut butter and jelly sandwiches unless they are restrained in their highchairs. 😉

-Heather

A Happy New Year

It appears as though I completely forgot about my blog over the Fall and early Winter, so to the 3 people who actually follow this blog, my most sincere apologies. Christmas is over and it is officially 2015. One of my (few) resolutions for the new year is to update my blog on a weekly basis. I don’t know how realistic that is, but it’s a goal I will strive for. I love to write. And at least 1 person told me they enjoy reading my blog and wished I wrote more. So even if it’s just for myself and this 1 other person, I want to put my words out there. I’m hoping that something that I post will make a difference in someone’s life, or at least put a smile on someone’s face.

The twins are now 15 months old and a bundle of joyous energy. They are toddling around everywhere and on the verge of running. As soon as they can figure out how to get their little legs to move faster, they’ll be even more challenging to chase around :). They are also into everything and climbing on top of every piece of furniture that they possibly can. Reed is the more quiet of the 2 boys, but when he speaks (or screams), it is for all to hear. He loves to push buttons and is obsessed with remote controls and phones. He enjoys playing peek-a-boo and keep away, and absolutely loves splashing in the bathtub. Reed has his Daddy’s brown eyes and I melt every time I gaze into them. He and his brother both love to read, which makes me incredibly proud. Rory enjoys making animal noises (particularly quacking like a duck) and he loves to ask for something to eat by calling everything “nana.” He uses baby sign-language for “please,” “more” and “food.” But most of all, Rory keeps us on our toes. Aside from being incredibly accident-prone, he is the biggest baby goofball of all time and loves to tease everyone. He is quite the naughty little boy and loves to get a rise out of people by disobeying and then laughing about it. If I didn’t know any better, it’s as if my sister, Holly’s, mischievous spirit was reincarnated in my son. Regardless of his antics, we love this little guy and all that he adds to our family. Enjoy these pics of my favorite little men…

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Recently we spent Christmas in Northwest with both of our families. We were able to spend some time with my family in Vancouver, Washington, and were able to spend an entire week in Salem, Oregon, with Ronnie’s family. It was so fun to see the twins run around and play with their cousins, some of which they hadn’t seen in over a year! I wish these get-togethers were more frequent, but we will continue to cherish the limited time we have with our families and soak it in as much as possible. We were able to get updated family photos, which hasn’t happened in about 5 years, and I will post those as soon as we get them back from the photographer. We also took the boys to the Salem Riverfront Carousel for their first carousel ride. They were pretty hesitant during the ride and were crying to get off by the end, not to mention Ronnie and I were both sick to our stomachs, so we opted out of a second ride 😉 I still don’t know how I used to ride the Scrambler and the Tilt-a-Whirl over and over as a kid, and now I can’t even go around in a circle without feeling dizzy and nauseous. Anyway, it was great to spend some time in Salem as a little family of 4. The time there was very nostalgic for Ronnie and I, as it had been exactly 10 years since we had gotten engaged. We drove around West Salem looking at Christmas lights and drove past Green Villa Barn, our beautiful wedding reception site, out in Independence. We had some great quality time and conversations with our sisters and brothers-in-law, and were able to spend quite a bit of time loving on our nieces and nephews. During the course of our trip, we drank a lot of coffee, beer and wine, ate a lot of Wallery’s pizza and even enjoyed some delicious cake from Konditorei. One of our favorite nights was an adults-only late-night trip to the Deschutes Brew Pub in downtown Portland. I so love our families and already miss them terribly. But I am thankful for the memories made… those are the things that I will hold close until we can all be together again. Here are some of my pictures from our Christmas vacation…

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I don’t know what exactly this year is going to hold, but I am just enjoying each day as it comes. I just want to be mindful and thankful of the blessings I have been given… I have 2 beautiful babies and a wonderful husband who I truly love more dearly with each passing year. Ronnie and I will be celebrating 10 years of marriage this July, which means that I have spent 1/3 of my life with him. Wow. I am honored to call him my husband and so blessed to be able to spend my life with him. Here is a picture of just us… 🙂

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Happy New Year to you and yours, from me and mine.

-Heather

In the Summertime

Over the Summer we were blessed by many visitors, family and friends alike. Ronnie’s parents and sister were the first to visit and we had some wonderful quality time together. I loved watching my parents-in-law interacting with the Twins, whether reading to them, feeding them a bottle or just plain lovin’ on them 🙂 We took them up the mountain tram at Alyeska for a true “Alaskan” experience and had a reunion with a bunch of their family members who live in Wasilla. They happened to be here during the JBER Air Show, which was definitely a site to see! They were also here to celebrate my 32nd Birthday and treated us to a wonderful dinner at a brewpub in downtown Anchorage. Our time together was so special and, as always, went by much too quickly. Here are some highlights I was able to capture from their visit…

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After the Millers left, we welcomed the Lamberts to Alaska! We enjoyed having Ben, Kelly and their adorable kiddos here for a week. We were able to give the twins some great quality time with their cousins and did quite a few trips to the park so the kids could play. We even enjoyed a date night out (sans children 🙂 with Kelly and Ben at the delicious Glacier Brewhouse, our favorite restaurant. That was one of the most enjoyable evenings we’ve had in a long time and we’re so thankful we got to spend it with family. Here are some photos of their visit…

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After the Lamberts left, we had a few down days then welcomed the Loniewskys! They were here for 10 days and had a lot of adventures and day trips. Amy and I spent a lot of time just sitting and talking (our favorite thing) and even squeezed in a coffee date and pedicure! Ronnie and Rob spent a lot of time fishing and did a deep-sea charter down in Seward. Hooray for a freezer stocked with salmon, halibut and rock fish! Everyone was having so much fun that we didn’t actually get a lot of pictures taken together, but we managed to get a few before they left. I think between them and Ronnie there are many more (hopefully some of Amy and I together…), but for now here are a few I happened to have on my phone…

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Our last expected company (my Mom:) comes next week and will be here for the Twins’ First Birthday! We had a fun and busy Summer, are currently enjoying a beautiful Alaskan Autumn, and we are looking forward to hunkering down for the Winter. Thank you to all of our family friends who made it a priority to visit us! We hope to return the favor soon…

New Blog, New Season, New Joy

Welcome to my new blog, “This Wild Blue Yonder.” I have closed the door on our former blog, “We Have Room,” (at ronnieandheather.blogspot.com) after realizing that it was time to move on. Our old blog detailed a very tumultuous time in our lives and I would like to leave it online to chronicle that challenging season and for memory’s sake. I never want to forget that our former season of life helped us to arrive at our current season: as parents of twin baby boys. Reed and Rory were born on September 21 and September 22, 2013. The last update I had posted on our former blog was about a month before they were born. As you can imagine, a lot has happened since then. But I don’t feel like I can begin to post new updates about our current life without first telling my personal birth story. This is something another twin mama encouraged me to do after the boys were born. How I wish I would have done this months ago, but as you can imagine, life gets busy with twins. Throw in a PCS to Alaska at their 2-month mark and it basically went out the window. Now the boys are 9-months-old, sitting and crawling, exploring everything around them, and I don’t want to let any more time pass without marking their amazing milestones and sharing it with our family and friends.

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The main reason my husband, Ronnie, and I started a blog was to keep family and friends updated about our journey through foster care, which we hoped would turn into adoption. Unfortunately it did not, but we did end up doing In-Vitro Fertilization… a last ditch effort fertility treatment after 5 1/2 years of Infertility. Thankfully our first round was successful and we were blessed with twin boys. Although elated to finally be pregnant, I had a challenging pregnancy, dealing with constant nausea and vomiting. I finally felt good for almost 2 months, then just got huge and terribly uncomfortable. I always told myself that I would never complain if I ever got pregnant because I would just be so happy to get that experience. But I think anyone who has ever had a challenging pregnancy can agree that it’s hard not to complain with everything that is happening to your body. My last blog update was at the 7-month mark of my pregnancy. Right before I reached the 8-month mark, on Thursday, Sept. 19, I went into the hospital for a routine non-stress test. Twice a week I would go in, they would strap monitors on my belly, and each baby’s heart-rate, as well as any contractions I was having (which came much more frequently the closer I got to my due-date). On this particular Thursday the Labor & Delivery ward was busting at the seams. Everybody was going into labor or getting induced because of high blood-pressure. There was a full-moon that night and a low-pressure system was on its way in to San Antonio, and apparently both of those things are said to cause women to go into labor. So I was there thinking, “Wow, I’m glad I’m not going into labor this weekend, there wouldn’t be any room for me!” Soon after comforting myself that I would be in-and-out after an hour so, I witnessed a triage-room verbal brawl.

The girl on the seat next to me (divided by only a curtain) was being very loud and I couldn’t help but hear her entire conversation with her mother, as could the rest of the women in the room, who all happened to be in there waiting to get induced for high blood pressure. The conversation became louder, with the girl saying that she didn’t want her husband’s family to see their baby after it was born until her husband got to see the baby, blah blah blah. Her dad found his way in there and started having an argument with his daughter, berating her for having to deliver that news to the in-laws or something. Their conversation got louder, an argument that really didn’t need to be an argument at all, but I had a feeling that communication was not this family’s strength. A nurse ended up intervening, asking the father to lower his voice, that she had high blood pressure and needed to stay calm for the baby, not to mention the other 5 women in the room who were also suffering from the same thing… He started talking back to the nurse, it became an all-out verbal assault with curse-words and yelling. She had to call for security to come and escort him out, but he ended up leaving on his own, yelling obscenities all the way down the hall. Meanwhile, I am trying to stay calm, secretly afraid that this guy was going to pull out a gun or do something irrational. I glance over at my monitor that is now beeping because my blood pressure began going through the roof. I tried to do some deep-breathing and calm myself down, by I began to get really light-headed and called the nurse over. She came in and I told her I wasn’t feeling well and that the argument had alarmed me. She was apologizing and trying to calm me down and I just started crying. For some reason, that episode really got to me and I just couldn’t calm down. My blood pressure was spiking and she stayed close-by, trying to keep me calm. Eventually they moved the girl out of the room because I think her ongoing discussion with her mother and her overall presence was making everyone uncomfortable. I continued to do my deep breathing and my high-risk doctor came into observe me. She was concerned that my blood pressure was spiking and told me she would like to keep me there for the next couple of hours to observe me. I regained my composure, called Ronnie and work, and told him that he needed to come to the hospital.

While Ronnie was definitely concerned for me, he was also excited that things might be progressing toward a possible induction. We were both SO ready for the pregnancy-portion to be over and for the boys to finally be here. He arrived at the hospital about an hour later with some Burger King for us to eat. In hindsight, I’m so thankful because that would be my last meal for the next 4 days. Yes. I said 4 days. We’ll get to that. Over the next few hours, my blood pressure continued to rise. What the numbers were, I couldn’t tell you now, which is why I probably should posted half-a-year ago, when all of this information was still retained in my memory. My doctor was concerned and wanted to admit me to the antipartum unit to observe me and have me to a 24-hour urine protein test, to see whether or not I had developed Pre-Eclampsia. Ronnie, of course, was a trooper, keeping me company and trying to make me laugh :).

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I was admitted, hooked up to more monitors, drank a lot of water, was put on a liquid diet and did the 24-hour test. Aside from my high blood pressure, another concern was the pitting edema I had in my legs. My legs had retained so much water over the last month of my pregnancy, they had swollen to the point where they could hardly be squeezed into my pants and my feet could no longer fit into any shoes. I had one pair of flip-flops that were 2 sizes too-big so that I could actually squeeze my ballooning feet. Doctors continued to monitor me and finally came in Friday evening to deliver the news: I had very high levels of protein in my urine and had developed Severe Pre-Eclampsia. And I was going to be induced that night. Ronnie began to smile and I began to cry. He was excited because the day had finally come, and he knew how miserable the last month of pregnancy had been. I had such a mix of emotions ranging from fear to excitement to nervousness to anticipation to dread. I knew what was ahead of me and I knew it was going to be difficult and painful. I also knew that it could be dangerous. Pre-Eclampsia, if left unassisted, could lead to Eclampsia, which could be life-threatening for both mother and baby. The biggest threat, I was told, were seizures. So they immediately hooked me up to a Magnesium drip, which proved to be the most challenging part of the labor process. While on that medication you are unable to eat. Anything. Only small sips of water and chewing ice chips. Oh, and this medication also makes you very sick to your stomach. So I had that going for me as well.

They wheeled me from the Antipartum unit to the Labor & Delivery Unit. I had to wait a little while because, like I mentioned before, they were overflowing with women having babies. They were even moving them to the Postpartum unit as quickly as they could to free up more room for women in labor. As soon as I was in my room the process began. I had various doctors and nurses coming in to explain the process to me, but honestly it’s now kind of a big blur from that point forward. Here is what I do remember… the Magnesium was already making me sick. I had to keep numerous sick bags nearby because I was throwing up so often. The induction process was much more painful than I expected. For those who want details, read on. For those who don’t, skip ahead to the next paragraph. They had to insert that would eventually inflate to the size of a tennis ball on the inside of my (closed) cervix and one on the outside of my (still closed) cervix. It was so painful, I cried to Ronnie, “I don’t think I can do this. I don’t think I can do this. It hurts so bad. I don’t think I can do this.” He just looked at me with sympathy and said, “You have to do this. You are the only one who can do this.” After a while the pain lessened. I got used to it and it slowly began to dilate my cervix. I honestly don’t remember the timeline of any of this. I remember that our dear friend, Melissa, came by to visit me on Friday evening and came back again on Saturday as well. She acted as my doula and I was so thankful to have her there as part of the process.

I didn’t get much sleep that night because the contractions were really kicking in. The pain got so great that I had no problem asking for an epidural. Unfortunately, they told me I had to be dilated to 4 cm before they would give one to me and I seemed to be stuck at 3. Finally I progressed to 4 cm and they brought in someone to administer the epidural. The hospital where I had the twins is a military teaching hospital, so I found out he was a resident in Anesthesia. I know that they have to learn somehow, but I was honestly nervous about being used as a practice round with a high-risk pregnancy. After the epidural was in and I was able to lay down and relax, I noticed that I was numb on one side, but that I still felt quite a bit of pain on the left side of my body. Turns out that the epidural was not in properly and was only affecting half of my body. The other half was in painful labor. They weren’t able to come back to fix it for many hours, so I was thankful I had Melissa there to help. It was frightening going through the process and not knowing what to expect, and she really helped keep me calm and focused, giving Ronnie instructions on how to apply counter pressure on my lower back and help with the contractions as much as possible. Melissa talked me through each contraction and helped me visualize my body dilating and opening up and the babies moving down the birth canal, preparing to be born. It may sound a bit strange if you’ve never experienced labor, but it was incredibly helpful and soothing. I was still incredibly sick, chewing on ice chips as if they held the key to life and continuing to throw up every 5-10 minutes. Finally they came back to fix the epidural. The pain was so great that they decided to do a full spinal block. My body didn’t handle the block well and I bottomed out, my blood pressure dropping and needing an oxygen mask to help me breath. I was one of the scariest parts of my labor, but they knew exactly what to do and took great care of me. After a while, my body became regulated and I even rested a little bit as the medication set in and numbed my body. The only bad thing about Spinal Blocks are that you can only have one and once it wears off, it’s back to full-on labor pains. They didn’t want to risk doing anything more to me, so I just suffered through the labor. Again, Melissa, Ronnie and the nurses all took great care of me as I continued the labor process. I listened to the “Double Push Mix” I had created on my iphone and was so thankful for music in that moment. Just as I was closing my eyes, listening to Hillsong United’s “Inside Out,” (very fitting, I thought… “from the inside out, Lord my soul cries out…”) and as the doctor checked, she said, “You’re dilated to 10! You’re ready! Let’s go! That was the best news I had heard in days. I was so ready.

When giving birth to twins, my hospital requires everyone to deliver in the Operating Room in case they need to do an Emergency C-Section. So they wheeled me back to the room, got Ronnie into his scrubs so he could join me, and prepared me for childbirth. I had to get another IV in case they needed to administer more medication for a possible surgery. Some people say that getting and IV is the most painful part of childbirth. I disagree. I think the entire childbirth process is the most painful part of childbirth. But aside from the pain, it was the audience in the operating room that was also somewhat concerning. Again, this is a teaching hospital, so including Ronnie and myself, there were 17 people in the room. Yes, as in 1-7. I had my high risk doctor who came in the middle of the night, especially for my delivery (how special am i?!), a 4th year OB Resident, who I had seen many times and trusted, a 1st year Resident, my Anesthesiologist, and 2 whole teams of people, 1 for each baby. They all just stood there and stared at me as I laid on the delivery table, wide-legged and throwing caution to the wind. I had to forget that they were staring (and whispering about..) my lady parts and just focus on the task at hand. Ronnie stayed right next to me the entire time. He was so amazing, encouraging me quietly in my ear as I gave birth. I am so thankful that I got to go through that entire experience with him.

I wish I could say that I was a rock-star and popped those babies out. But it took me a really.long.time. I headed back into the room around 10:00pm. Baby A, Reed, was born at 11:32pm. Pushing a baby out, whether medicated or not, is kind-of an out-of-body experience. You are pushing so hard, are so light-headed, so focused, so excited and in so much pain all at once. By the time he arrived I was just plain exhausted. It was a lot of pushing. He came out, I caught a glimpse of him, and then they took his limp little body to his station. Apparently he was having trouble breathing and I began to panic. All I wanted to do was see him and hold him. They assured me he was doing fine, that they were going to take him to the NICU and everything would be all right. He was stable. Then they yelled, “Okay, push!” And I said, “I can’t! I’m too tired!” And they said, “You have to!” So I began pushing. And pushing. And pushing. I was so exhausted that I honestly don’t remember much of that process. All I know is that an hour-and-a-half later, Rory arrived. He was happy having some alone time in my womb and didn’t really want to make his arrival, but eventually I won :). He arrived at 12:55am. Yes, my twins have separate birthdays. I realized after Reed was born that there was no way I was going to be able to push another baby out in 20 minutes. I love that although they will have to share so many things over the course of their lives, at least they each have their own special day.

The post-labor process was incredibly painful. I had a bad Grade-2 tear from the inside-out and it took them 45 minutes to stitch me up. I was screaming out in pain so much that finally the Anesthesiologist came over and immediately administered some morphine into my fresh IV because I had so many other medications pumping into my other one. Praise the Lord for that guy. I don’t remember much after that, but Ronnie said I was just laying there, semi-passed out while he went over and met little Rory. I began to come-to as they finished cleaning me up and preparing me to go back to my L&D room. It was in the early hours of Sunday morning, I was drugged, emotional, exhausted, and still sick from the Magnesium drip, but I was so thankful to have the birthing process over-with. I laid in my room, fading in and out while Ronnie and a nurse gave Rory his first bath. They brought Reed into my room after a while and quickly took him back to the NICU after realizing he was having trouble regulating his blood sugar. I was so out of it that I really didn’t care. I just wanted to sleep, but realized I had yet to hold either of my sons. One of the things that makes me sad is that they didn’t hand the babies to me after they were born. I realize that it was a high-risk scenario and they needed to make sure they were okay. But I wish more than anything that I could have had a few moments with them. Ronnie brought Rory over to me so that I could finally hold him. Ronnie got a few pictures, took him back and I fell asleep, for how long I will never know.

They had to keep me in the L&D unit for an extra 24-hours to monitor me while still on the Magnesium drip. My body didn’t seem to have any lasting effects from the Pre-Eclampsia, but you have to stay on the drip for 24 hours after you give birth, which meant that I still couldn’t eat anything for another day. I was SO hungry and SO sick all at once. Ice chips were my lifeline and I kept chewing them down in the absence of any other option. I spent Sunday discovering my new son, Rory, however saddened that I wasn’t allowed to visit my other son, Reed, in the NICU until I was off the Mag. drip. I was so sad that I yet to hold my firstborn, but tried to be joyful that Rory was doing well. He was so tiny. Born at 4 pounds, 11 ounces, he was a little larger than Reed, who was only 4 pounds, 3 ounces. But so perfect and delicate. I looked at him amazed that God helped Ronnie and I create this little person. They encouraged me to give him Formula because breastfeeding was difficult (my milk hadn’t come in yet). The lactation specialist helped me get as much Colostrum as possible to give to both of the boys, but supplement with formula. Breastfeeding was risky because they were both struggling with low blood sugar and they didn’t want Rory to burn too many calories trying to feed; he needed as many calories as possible.

Sunday was challenging with such a mix of emotions. I was so thankful to have 2 healthy baby boys who were doing quite well, despite being premature and born at 35 weeks and 5 days. But I was also completely exhausted, starving, and continually sick from the magnesium drip. I missed Reed and was so sad that I wasn’t able to go see him in the NICU and hold him. Luckily Ronnie went in a few times that day and had special one-on-one time with him, so I was incredibly thankful for that. My mom ended up flying in that morning and Melissa picked her up from the airport and brought her straight to the hospital. It was so wonderful to see her and introduce her to her twin grandsons. She had been praying for us to have children for so many years, crying right along with me, so to see her hold Rory for the first time felt so redemptive. She and Ronnie eventually went into the NICU so she could see Reed. I was so glad to have my Mom there for so many reasons. The Lord has blessed me with such a wonderful family and amazing friends. 

In the wee hours of Monday morning the time finally came to remove my Magnesium drip. My blood pressure was being constantly monitored and the nurses had done a lot of blood work to ensure that I was ready. They wheeled me to the Postpartum unit around 3:00am and it felt like I had arrived in a hospital hotel. It was so quiet and peaceful and calm, much different from the L&D ward, which was still constantly busy with women in labor at all hours of the day and night. They brought Rory with us, who was sound asleep and encouraged me to try and get some sleep before going to visit Reed in the NICU. My heart was torn, but realized that I desperately needed to sleep. So after a couple of hours, a nurse brought Rory back from getting some blood work done. I knew I couldn’t go back to sleep without seeing my other son, so Ronnie stayed with Rory and a nurse wheeled me to the NICU.

Walking into that room was an experience that will forever be burned in my memory. I could instantly hear a high-pitched squeaky little cry and just knew that it was my Reed. They had just hooked him back up to his little station so he was irritated, but they assured me that he was a very calm baby overall. Seeing him laying there, incredibly tiny and hooked up to wires broke my heart. I couldn’t keep the tears from coming as I looked at him, helpless, leaving it up to others to care for him in the first 24 hours of his life. Through tears I told him that I was his Mommy and I was sorry it took me so long to come and see him and that I loved him and his brother more than anything else on this earth. The NICU nurse carefully handed him to me and there I was, weeping and holding my firstborn son for the first time. He quickly calmed down and stopped crying, somehow knowing that I was his Mommy and that everything was going to be okay. I fed him a bottle and rocked him back to sleep. I hated to leave but the new day was dawning and I had to have a myriad of people come and check on me back in Postpartum. I said good-bye to my tiny little love and wheeled back to my room. I ordered breakfast, which was the most thrilling decision I could imagine making that day. It was hospital food, but food nonetheless, so I scarfed it down and immediately became sick to my stomach. It looked like it was going to take some time for my body to figure out how to digest food again, since it had been 4 days since I had eaten anything.

That Monday involved a lot of hospital traffic. The Resident Doctor who delivered my twins came to check on me (do they ever get to go home and sleep, by the way?) and my stitches were doing okay, the lactation consultant helped me learn how to pump, another doctor came to press on my stomach and do post-childbirth stuff, baby doctors came in to check on Rory, a NICU nurse came to share the news that Reed would probably be ready to join us that evening, and a variety of other people came in for a variety of other things. Then I had my postpartum nurse giving me a hard time for not sleeping, to which I responded, when am I going to sleep??? Literally, EVERY time I tried to sleep, someone else would come into my room to wake me up for something. My mom came to the hospital and again, it was just so nice just to have her there. Aside from her, the only other person that I allowed to come to the hospital and visit was Melissa, especially since she played such an integral role in my labor process. I wanted her to have the chance to meet the twins as soon as possible. After my experience, I honestly understand why people would want hospital visitors after giving birth. I know that not everyone has a difficult or traumatizing birth experience, but I do know that with all of the other people you have coming into your room at all hours of the day and night, as well as just getting to know your new babies, it would just be too stressful to feel like you then have to entertain guests as well. Maybe it doesn’t bother the multitude of people reading this, but I know that I will probably skip the hospital visits from now on and wait to meet people’s babies until they are home from the hospital, settled and ready for visitors. I’m sorry if declining to have hospital visitors offended any of my San Antonio friends, but I honestly just was not up for it. I was glad to see so many of you when you brought us meals and then others when we attended church for the first time 2 weeks later. We had such an amazing support system at our church and I was so excited to finally introduce them to our miracle babies.

That Monday night in the hospital was wonderful. I got to eat lunch AND dinner, but most importantly, Reed finally was discharged from the NICU and got to join the rest of his family in our postpartum room. Getting to hold both of my baby boys for the first time was an experience I had only ever dreamed of, and one I will never forget. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

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I had a great first evening and first night with my boys. Unfortunately, early the next morning, Reed’s blood work showed that he had high levels of bilirubin (aka he was “jaundiced”), so they kept in our room and hooked him up to a bili-light therapy bed. We were supposed to be discharged that day, Tuesday, because Rory and I were both doing well and they needed the room for one of the many women who had just given birth. I attended the discharge class with Ronnie and the boys, showered for the first time in days (which was amazing and painful all at once) and packed up to go home. Sadly, Reed’s bilirubin levels were just not lowering as much as the doctor would have liked, so was back to the NICU for the third time to receive more light treatments. Having to wheel my sweet baby boy back to the NICU, knowing I would be leaving him there and going home, was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. Aside from the hormonal imbalance I was experiencing, it is just plain sad to have to be away from your newborn baby. I knew he was in good hands and I am incredibly thankful that we were in a hospital with such a great NICU, which gave me a sense of peace.

We were discharged, headed home, got Olive Garden takeout and a Redbox DVD to take home. We had a great first night home with Rory and I am thankful for that special time with him. The most challenging thing about life post-delivery was the sleep deprivation and the pain of recovery. I don’t think anyone could have prepared me for the sheer pain. But eventually I did heal, just as my friend Jennifer promised I would. And you know what? I’d do it again in a heartbeat. The next morning (Wednesday) as we were getting ready to go visit Reed in the NICU, they called and told us that he was actually doing very well and was actually going to be ready to come home later that morning! I cried out of sheer thankfulness and couldn’t wait to go get my little boy. We picked Reed up at the hospital and had BOTH of our little boys with us, a complete family, together at last, and finally headed home. How did I ever get so lucky?

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My boys bring me unspeakable joy. However, I have such mixed feelings about sharing my joy with the world. There are those out there who are still longing for biological children, just as I did for over 5 years. And I know that my joy reminds them of their pain. I know because I remember un-following one blog in particular after that infertile woman had a miraculous pregnancy after 7 years and finally had a baby. I should have been happy for her. I should have rejoiced that God finally gave her the desire of her heart. But honestly, it was too difficult for me to see. All it did was remind me that one more person had a baby, while my womb was still empty. I could relate to her when she was infertile, but then she became a mom and all of her posts became about her baby, and I could no longer relate. Another person had graduated with a degree in Mommy-Hood and I was stuck in Barren University, possibly for the rest of my life. I am ashamed to admit that I had those feelings, but I know that many of you reading this right now can relate. And I know because of those feelings and because of your pain, you can no longer follow my blog. And that’s okay. I understand. I just hope that somehow, in some way, God will bring you comfort as you continue to navigate your way on the painful road that is Infertility. And if you happen to stumble back on this page in the future and want to keep in touch, I will welcome you back with open arms.

Thank you for sharing our life with us and for reading the.longest.blogpost.ever. If you had to take breaks and come back to it over a period of hours or even days, I understand :). I (kind-of) promise my future posts won’t be this lengthy. My goal is just to share my musings and our happenings. I want for those of you who desire to be able to watch the boys grow and feel as though you are very-much a part of our lives. I hope to remain a part of yours as well. So, this was MY birth-story, and I’m sticking to it :).

-Heather