Reason to Celebrate
If you read my Sunday Sneak Peek last week, then you’ll know I had no idea what I was going to post today. It’s been another long, stressful week, so I wanted to share something that was both hopeful, yet truthful.
I wrote this a little while back, and it was published on Mamalode.
I wanted to share it with you today, while I am volunteering for the March of Dimes.
As I am passing out pamphlets and sharing information, I hope to also be sharing our story, spreading awareness, and raising money to give babies a chance at a healthier start in life. I’m hoping this story will also help.
While my high-risk pregnancy, my twins NICU stay, and the years following were anything but easy, there was always a reason to celebrate. Two very special reasons.
Here is our story. Please feel free to share it with someone who needs a little hope right now.
How it started
The year I was pregnant with my twins was a rough one. Not only was I extremely sick during the first trimester, but we had to move in with my parents.
We had our house up for sale, since we would soon be a family of 5, but it sold a lot faster than we expected. So, between throwing up, I was throwing clothes into garbage bags and running after my 2-year-old, as my husband moved all our furniture into one of those storage pods.
We arrived at my parent’s right before Christmas, December 2011. Needless to say, no one was in the mood to celebrate. We got through the holidays in cramped quarters, right in time for our first trimester screening for the twins. I remember getting the results right around Valentine’s Day.
This screening was the beginning of a horribly complicated identical twin pregnancy. What was first thought to be a genetic defect, instead turned out to be an indication of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome and Selective Intrauterine Growth Restriction (unequal placental share.) This led to bed rest, a high protein diet, and bi-weekly ultrasounds for me. My poor 2-year-old was shuffled between grandparents, and my wonderful, amazing mother took care of me. My husband found us a house and moved us, well, rather himself, in. I moved into the hospital when I hit 24 weeks, the age of viability.
Our Family Grew
I gave birth to my beautiful, miracle boys at just 25 weeks, 5 days. They weighed 1 lb 7 oz and 2 lbs 2 oz, and required a very long stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. 91 and 93 days to be exact. I thought I had cried all my tears out during my pregnancy, but I was wrong. Those three months were some of the hardest I’ve ever had. Every day brought a new challenge for the boys, and we all battled exhaustion, both emotional and physical.
When they finally got healthy enough, strong enough, and big enough to come home, we were all so surprised and scared to really celebrate. We had to now worry about keeping them healthy from the dreaded Flu and RSV, not to mention a germy now 3-year-old brother.
Again, it seemed like a year without real celebrations. We stayed isolated for the twins’ health, with only visits from our nurse and physical therapist. My oldest couldn’t go to play groups or preschool. We didn’t even see family for Christmas. It was lonely and stressful, but it was worth it to keep our boys healthy and home. I don’t think I could have handled being readmitted to the hospital.
A New Year
Finally, spring arrived. We could open the windows, take walks outside, and even see our families again. It really felt like we had something to celebrate. We made it through one of the toughest times in our family’s life, so now it was time to enjoy each other and everything we missed. I felt like I could finally take a breath again.
So, began the year of celebrations.
It started with the twins’ 1st “Nicu-versary” party. We made it a whole year away from the NICU! Friends, family, and even our primary nurse came to celebrate how far my tiny babies had come.
We then were able to have a real birthday party, with other actual kids, for my now 4-year-old. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but it certainly is to a 4-year-old.
For Halloween, we went to a pumpkin patch and trick or treated. Thanksgiving and Christmas was spent with every side of the family. We decorated to the max! We didn’t just have a tree; we had a Christmas tree forest.
There was also a Valentine’s tree, which was pink of course, and then a St. Patty’s tree, a sparkly green with shamrock lights. This was followed lastly by an Easter tree, light blue with eggs, of course.
Not only did the holidays, the decorations and the people make it feel like a year of celebration, but I think we finally felt like we could show how grateful we were to have all survived such a tough, tough time. I know for me, I actually felt like my babies were finally safe, and that I was proving that I could take care of them.
It took me a long time to get to that place, but that just makes all the celebrations that much sweeter.
This was so sweet! Absolutely love it, you all are so strong and I admire your bravery.
Thank you so much 🙂
Wow! Thanks for sharing your story!
Thank you for reading 🙂
Debbie Champagne says
Awesome post! Twin boys……exactly what I had for my first pregnancy. Now they are 24 and miss them being that little.
This was a great story to read and thanks for sharing.
Becky @ Disney in your Day says
You definitely deserved to celebrate after all that! And I think you should continue to do so 🙂
I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been for your whole family – but especially you. You are one tough lady! I’m so happy that your twins were safe and sound!
Dina Farmer says
I admit your strength and to celebrate life like that is truly amazing!!!
I bet you were all SO ready to celebrate everything! All the things. I love that you had a Christmas tree forest 🙂
Autumn @ Stay gold Autumn says
This reminds me of my step-Aunt’s story in having twins. She had them around a similar time and they had micro-premies. The toddlers are so sweet and are such miracles. I’m so glad we have them in our family! I can’t imagine how difficult this experience must have been, but I know you’ll be able to give someone else support because you had it.
Thank you Autumn. I really appreciate that.
I really admire you.. you are a strong woman!!!
Thank you so much Dominika!
Cynthia @craftoflaughter says
What a wonderful year of celebration! Well deserved, for all of you
Thank you! 🙂
Angela @ Setting My Intention says
I love the idea of a nicu-versary! That is indeed a milestone worth celebrating. I also had a 31 weeker and it was one of the hardest times of my life.
I hope your preemie is doing OK now, and that you are too. 🙂
Love your post, you’re sweet and such a brave women, you deserve to Celebrate
Thank you so much!
Daileo Paleo (Meredith Perkins) says
You are an incredibly strong woman, and getting through all of the change and emotional roller coasters, and knowing that your twins are doing well is absolutely worth a celebration! Your first born is a trooper as well. I hope all the best for you and your family!!!
Thank you so much!
Oh I just loved this Shann, you are so incredibly brave.
Thank you so much, Krysten. I really appreciate that 🙂 and you.
Brittany Bergman says
Oh, I love this. I’m so glad you had a year of celebrating after the tough times, and I hope this coming year is another one of celebration!
I am so sorry you had to go through all that. But I am glad you are keeping things in perspective and making up for all the down times. As they say, it can’t rain every single day. Sooner or later the sun will come out and I am glad it has for you and your family.
What a beautiful story!!!
Your posts put such a smile on my face everyday!
Awe. Thank you so much Nicole. I really appreciate that 🙂
What a wonderful way to celebrate after some rough adventures.
Debbie Denny says
Lovely post. Awesome attitude.
Mama to 5 BLessings says
What a sweet photo! Thank you for sharing your story, it is great that in the end you can celebrate.
sharon phillips says
What a great post. You really had it rough. You are a very strong woman to have went through all this. Thanks, for sharing. You have beautiful children.
After all you’ve been through, it was just right to celebrate. Thank you for sharing with us your beautiful story. Your boys are a fighter and you are a very strong woman.
Thank you so much!
Elizabeth O. says
No matter how tough the year was or what you had to go through, the twins are always a blessing. Your family deserves to be happy!
I imagine it was so hard to stay in, especially on the holidays. It’s wonderful that you’re sharing your story and perspective here with others.
Wow, that’s amazing. 25 weeks! I’m so glad that they made it through all that. Remember, from humble beginnings come great things.