For two days, we were just.happy. The twins were born Monday evening, and after the delivery, we were able to see Deacon first. We were allowed to designate one special person who was able to come into the NICU and see the boys with us, but that person couldn’t change, and of course we chose Leah so she could take pictures for us! They said it was just taking a bit longer to get Shepard’s lines set up (they both were very active), so we used the time to sit and talk about what we were going to name Deacon. It took about an hour to decide and have all three agree. Ha. I didn’t even remember how much I’d liked the name Deacon until halfway through, and from that point on it was just a matter of me convincing the others. After seeing Shepard, we stayed up some more talking, then Derick left to stay at my sisters. I had begun pumping, so I woke up for that a couple of times, but other than that slept really good.
No other family came until the next day, Tuesday, since it was all ready getting pretty late. It was so so good to see our older boys since the last time I’d seen them it had been dropping them off at a good friend’s house while I went for my ultrasound. It’s a hard thing for a mom to tell your kids you’ll be right back and then not be able to actually be right back, especially in times of worry. Thank goodness for good friends and family that they love and feel comfortable with. We spent the second day taking turns visiting the twins (they only allowed two at a time), and pumping. Unfortunately their beds were not side by side, but they were still close to each other. Both sets of grandparents were allowed in and the babies’ immediate family members, so all sorts of different combinations went in/out. We of course got to know the hand washing station pretty well. It was a good day of being able to talk about the surprise and the twins finally with our parents, laughing about five boys, showing the older boys their baby brothers and that mom had actually had two babies in her tummy, and enjoying spreading the news on fb, laughing/chatting with friends and family online.
We still felt very at ease, and even specifically told my mom not to worry because the doctors didn’t even seem worried and said the boys were both doing well. They were active, they were peeing into their miniature diapers, they were both taking some of my breast milk (through the feeding tube into their belly button), they were both needing less and less help from the ventilator. Life was good. Our biggest concern was the fact that we didn’t own a vehicle that would have fit all five kids and us! My parents have kept their 1980s suburban insured that they used to haul us kids around in just for random times they needed a bigger vehicle, and even before the twins came, we had secretly planned to use it until we were in the position to get something nicer, knowing my parents wouldn’t care a bit. One of the first things my dad said when he came to visit (before we’d even told them our plan) was that he thought the suburban would look nice re-painted black. Lol. Tinted windows…oh ya.
Here’s Derick meeting Shepard for the first time. What a cute happy dad of five handsome boys. :) Tuesday night, after lazily watching a movie beside me while I fell asleep, Derick slept in the available parent room for the night by the NICU after stopping to tell the twins goodnight. I had an okay night, just interrupted by pumping was all, which I was happy to do. I was determined to get the twins some healthy stuff. Later in the day on Wednesday, Deacon gave us his first scare. It was actually a big scare, and we quickly began to unravel and have breakdowns, but it was mostly resolved by evening. So though it was a long afternoon, it ended with happy news, and we were put at ease by the doctors. We tried brushing it off that a smaller up and down like that was normal, and we went back to our room deciding to be positive and not let it wipe the grins off our faces and enjoy our little boys’ arrival since it was out of our hands anyways and had been going well enough so far. Clearly we understood from the beginning that our boys were still very little and had a lot of fighting to do, it’s common sense, but generally speaking Derick and I are the type to not overreact, we trust doctors, and we’re enjoy the moment sorta’ people. We were doing our best to just embrace our new situation and take it in stride, and not forget that we had two beautiful blessings in our lives right in front of us.
Derick and Shepard, above and below. We sadly have more pictures of Shepard because we of course had more time with him. His first three days were pretty much spent kicking and arm swinging and then sleeping peacefully. He kept conking out and looked so comfortable. He also was taking more and more breast milk and peeing lots. They put these little felt glasses on them now and then so the lights wouldn’t get uncomfortable on them. They were both so good to hold our fingers with their little hands just like any newborn. It was pretty much the most amazing thing in the whole world. I’m sure all of their lines and contraptions look scary, but they didn’t to us. They were miraculous blessings to us that they could be doing so much for our little boys, and we were so very thankful to have delivered in the Foothills Hospital which is THE hospital for preemies. Had they been delivered anywhere else, they would have been transported via helicopter to Foothills anyways.
We were able to secure a private room finally on the third night where Derick was able to stay with me on a cot. We fell asleep after Derick delivered some more milk to the NICU, said goodnight to the twins and sung them their goodnight lullaby. We sang quietly and talked to them lots just inside their little windows all week. Especially once we realized how much we had to tell them since they were leaving us so soon. It was still pretty tiring for me to get in/out of bed so much and sit in the wheelchair. I was also having lots of nausea from the morphine at first, so moving lots wasn’t ideal. And my incision had an allergic reaction to the cloth bandage that certainly didn’t help. The whole thing felt like it was on.fire Alicia Keys style, and only ice made it feel better. Lovely side effects of a c-section. I was determined to not let it keep me from being completely involved and seeing the twins lots still though, which I was able to do despite the pain so that was good.
Above, Shep. Below, Deacon. The only thing I really disliked was the bandages around their little mouths holding the tubes in. They had to switch their feeding tubes to their mouths at one point which was hard. The boys were about as long as my fingertips to my elbow, and they really were just perfect little copies of their older brothers, and of each other of course. :) They each even gave out one cute little perfect cry when they were delivered. They often had a little plastic “blanket” of sorts around them and sometimes just over top of them. It held in the heat and kept them warm, and was also sterile at the same time. Love loved these hairy little guys, their perfect rows of eyelashes, their wrinkly little faces and he-man finger grips.
Below, me meeting Deacon for the first time. My legs were still getting their feeling back so I was just wheeled around in my bed. One proud mama. I feel an importance in people knowing more of our experience so that maybe they can understand more, not just our pain, but also our infinite love for these two adorable little men in our lives. I also know many close friends and family want to know their story because they know it is important to us, so it’s important to them, but I avoid it a bit because it’s just so physically exhausting and mentally hard and draining for me, so I think this is a good place to meet in the middle. It’s been awhile since I shared any of the real stuff, and even though life has been slowly showing signs of the old me, and I’ve slowly been seeing parts of the old me, I need to talk about some really important new parts of me in order to be able to continue trying to being myself around others instead of feeling stifled a lot, wishing people could know all of who I am now, not just who they remember and who they are seeing in public.
Though it may seem obvious to some, it’s actually surprisingly not to many. Shepard and Deacon are just as much a part of our family as Van, Boston and Baker, and I love each of my five boys equally and in the same ways. It’s hard to explain how you can have the same attachment to two little ones you spent much too little time with in comparison to boys you have spent years with all ready, but not having our two youngest sons with us in our home has felt pretty much right on par with what I would imagine not having any two of our older sons not here with us as well. There would of course also be a million differences about each experience, some better and many worse I am sure, but I just hope to shed a little understanding on the level in which we regard our sweet twins in. Maybe it’s because we all ready had and loved three little boys before the twins that it helps us to know and miss and love Shepard and Deacon deeper this way, but really I think it’s just the most natural feeling in the world, and for some reason or another, I think many easily misunderstand this because of the shortness of time spent together.
It doesn’t matter what our family is doing, Derick and I see and feel two little ones missing. And though imagining our reunion together is all that keeps us moving forward most days, the fact that our children aren’t growing up together, at the same time, as five brothers crushes us. The fun, full little family we were before we were blessed with twins is long gone, and the family dynamic is completely different even though the logistics of it are the exact same. When the three boys are having the time of their lives, I can’t help but think how much more fun they’d be having with five of them. And how the twins will miss out on having Van, Boston and Baker for older brothers growing up with them even if they do still get us as parents. If everyone is yelling, crying and screaming and it’s chaos, I can’t help but wish there were two more little voices that were also crying and screaming to add to the chaos. I can’t describe how small our family feels, how painfully empty the house feels, how old Baker feels and how hard it is to see him sleeping in the twins’ room and in their red crib. How depressing it is to not be driving a 30 year-old rusted-out suburban that’s a heap of junk with no real working ac, heat or music and how I hate the fact that we still fit in our car and truck. How hard it is to do things you know you wouldn’t be doing if the twins were here. How badly I still want to go to the baby section and buy two of everything when I’m looking at things for the older boys. How I know every single one of these feelings will never go away, only change in relation to what ages they would have been as the family grows up to maturity here on earth without them.
Now don’t be too worried, I know how blessed we are, and I know that things will truly be okay. I know that maybe this IS how things should be instead of all the “should have beens” that plague my mind. I know my heart will be made full again, and that the happiness to come is infinite and cannot even be fully comprehended by me or anyone. These beautiful truths still don’t mean things aren’t going to hurt in between sometimes, and I just needed to share that. We love you so much it hurts inside and out Shepard and Deacon, and even if those two happy days were our last true completely happy days on earth, they were worth it. Having you in our eternal family now will always have made it worth it. I know those two days will some day turn into infinity happy days, and our days on earth without you will thankfully feel like only a blink. Love you to infinity.