Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Extraordinary Day

Today, an extraordinary event happened: Caedance, my own little touch-me-not, just crawled up on my lap for a cuddle. I didn't have to chase her. I didn't have to coax her. Nor did a bribe have to be uttered (or an ultimatum for that matter). Just a sweet little girl, still little enough to know it IS in fact cool to climb up on your mama's lap for a snuggle. You are never too old for that.

And so I find myself gathering moments like these; precious and few. Hording them in the recess of my mind, diligently storing them where I can retrieve them later. My heart still catches a bit when I think of them being 6. All too soon, 6 will turn to 7, which will inevitably lead to 8. And from 8, well, it's not more than a breath away before The Kraken (else wise known as Hormones) will be released. At that point, perhaps my little gifts will not recognize me, or perhaps I won't recognize them; either way, the relationship will bend and change, prayerfully for the better.

I love every moment of the Present that we've been blessed with. Each new activity and new ability. Each shared thought and each stored memory. It's all golden. Every bit of it. But I still have a small garden of Past that I tend personally; keeping each bit of planted fragility cared for and watched over. On days when my little sweet wonders don't visit me for a cuddle, I visit my garden of memories to remember the days when one or both of them were constantly in my arms.

And even as they grow up and become more and more the women we continue to pray that they'll be; developing flowers that are beautiful in every way, I cherish the memories we've made and the memories yet to be made. And I'm forever thankful for each and every single day we have. Each and every one.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy Birthday!

I'm sitting on the couch in the living room, shrouded by memories of a very different night, 6 years ago. October 13, 2004 found me in a hospital bed. Waiting. I'd been doing a lot of that by that time: waiting. I was 34 weeks pregnant. Had pre-eclampsia, and was daily adding more symptoms to my list of slowly spreading damage being done by it.

My pregnancy with the girls was not easy. My blood pressure was the first traitor to Team Amanda. Before the end of my first trimester, I was on blood pressure meds to keep it to a reasonable level, which was high regardless. Next came issues with the girls. First it appeared that both had Downs Syndrome, which led to several weeks of waiting. When that panned out to be untrue, we spent 3 terrifying months unsure if they were conjoined, in which case we faced a very dangerous pregnancy & delivery indeed. When they were finally deemed "separate", it was then decided that they were in the same sack (mono amniotic/mono chorionic or mo-mo twins), which was presented to us in a  package neatly delivered with a 50% fetal mortality rate. On one or both babies. Several more weeks of near constant fetal monitoring brought us up to my 26th birthday. I got the best gift ever when they finally saw the world's thinnest membrane separating the sacks; they were not mo-mo twins. BUT (yes, that's right, there's more!), they did seem to show inconsistencies in growth in relation to each other, which put us at risk of Twin-To-Twin-Transfusion-Syndrome (TTTS). Several more weeks of monitoring were spent making sure that the structure of each umbilical cord was correct, and was sending nutrients to each girl equally. (In the end, we were fortunate not to have had any issues with TTTS. It's an incredibly dangerous and potentially fatal condition for the multiples that experience it).
All THAT having been navigated, things started "calming down" around 28 weeks. Sure, my blood pressure was still sky high (on meds),but after that obstacle course, I could handle it. Picture my frame of mind; after months of near constant worry about very legitimate and real problems, my girls had finally been cleared. We were on our way. My only task was to get to the magical 37 weeks and I'd be home free.
And then I went into pre-term labor. At 30 weeks. Thankfully, I was at one of my still several-time-weekly check ups when they saw the contractions that I didn't realize I was having. 5 days in the hospital and a new-found hatred of the demon that is "Magnesium Sulfate" later and I was back at home. Contraction free and sequestered to the couch. But I still had my freedom. Ha! They couldn't take that away from me! No more injustices could be done, AND I got to wear my underwear. So that THAT, hospital.
Exactly 30 hours later I was being wheeled right back into that place. This time to the Perinatal ward, which would be my home for the unforeseen future. It was there that I was diagnosed with Pre-eclampsia. My blood pressure continued to spike. I was on 6 large dose pills a day. I was spilling proteins like a float throwing candy at a parade. Every single joint in my body was filled with fluid. I had fluid accumulating around my spine and in my neck. Every day my coloring got a bit grayer and I felt a lot sicker. Sick from the inside. And somehow I was still supposed to grow these babies and keep them safe in an environment that was becoming more and more toxic.
After biding my time in the hospital bed, October 13th rolled around. Cue water break. Enter Labor. (Call for the epidural! Hey, I made it to 5cm before I went for the drugs). A nice night of sleeping. (Sigh. Thank you blessed drugs). 
On October 14th, 2004, my life changed. For the better. 
At 8:29am Caedance appeared, followed by Ashlyn at 8:36. I wish I could say that it was an easy delivery with no complications, but that would be a lie. I'll save THAT story for another entry though. Too many words have already been written.
My life has been made better by these two precious creatures that I call my own. They are constant blessings that I have the joy of counting every day. 

Happy Birthday, Ashlyn & Caedance!