Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

Grady is 6 months old.  It's been 6 months....six months since I met and said goodbye to Cullen.

Several of my new friends, like myself, have had the worst year ever.  It's amazing how people in general can complain of how horrible life or even a day can be....Most of the time, those people really don't know how horrible it can get.  Most people don't know what it's like to have their world ripped to shreds. Destroyed in a single moment.

The Allison everyone knew, the one that posted on facebook "it's time" on June 24th at 6am.....IS GONE. FOREVER.  The person I lost.  Never to return.  And as the year is ending tonight, a memory.

I still don't know who I am. I don't know much at all.  I feel at times I have amnesia, and am trying to find myself only to realize I'm having to make a new life....

I'm numb.  Not really sure when the "feeling" will come back, if ever.

I hope 2012 will bring me some peace, some "feeling", some HOPE.  I would love to have faith. Faith in something.  Not really sure if it's God....but maybe just faith in myself.

I need to have that faith in myself for my husband, my beautiful children.  MYSELF.

That is my goal for 2012. My resolution.

I've been afraid to say goodbye to 2011. I feel as if I'm saying goodbye to Cullen. But as my friends remind me, it's not HIM.  It's the PAIN.....goodbye to the anguish I have felt and the blame I have had. The blame I have on myself.  I have felt I caused this.  That I deserved this.  I MUST let it go.....

So 30 minutes from now.....I'm freeing myself from the pain I have caused myself.  I'm letting it go.....because it's NOT my fault.

Friday, November 18, 2011

who am I

It’s been 21 weeks since the boys were born.  21 painful, confusing, stressful, stomach turning, sleepless, tearful weeks.  At the same time it’s been amazing having Grady.  Even though I have the girls, I never knew that the love I have for Grady existed.  I wonder if that makes me a bad mother.  I feel that way.  I’m not the mother I was hoping to be. I’m lost.  I have no patience.  I’m angry.  I’m weak and I’m tired.  I’ve been told I’m so strong. Well, I have no choice. I am the way I am because I have to be.  But I’m not “strong” all the time.  There are times I can’t see my girls’ smiles through my tears.  I cry while I cook. I cry while I drive. I cry changing Grady. I cry in the shower.  I think of Cullen every day. Every hour.  Every Friday I replay the day they were born.  Over and over.  I’m often asked if I’m “seeing someone” if I’m “getting help.” I laugh at it.  The answer is yes. I am in therapy.  Is it helping....yes. Am I on medication. Yes. I can NOT imagine dealing with everyday life without it.  I wish I could get enough to make me numb.  But I know it’s not possible.  Grady makes me smile. I know he’s a miracle. If it weren’t for Cullen making me go into labor, and I KNOW his distress made me....we wouldn’t have Grady.  He’s my sunshine. At times, he’s the reason I can get out of bed.  I’m a twister of emotion.  I hate it.  Most of the time I can’t describe how I feel.  One minute I’m going through my day, the next it hits me like a runaway train and I’m sobbing.  My mind goes a mile a minute ALL the time.  I still think ‘what if’  I will forever think WHAT IF.  Grady likes to laugh at himself in front of the mirror. He should be looking at Cullen.  I should have 2 beautiful faces to make me smile.  But then more guilt.  If I had both of them I would be that twin mom desperate for a break. I’d be the mom saying it was hard. That I got no sleep. I don’t think I’d appreciate what I had.  You often don’t until you don’t have it.  I’d be the mom I now despise.  The one I’m SO jealous of.  So envious of.  This “special club” I’m now  The only other people that truly know what I am going through are amazing. THEY are my therapy. THEY are my saving graces.  THEY  I have never met.  THEY are just like me. THEY have what we call a survivor and and angel.  Without these women....well...I don’t want to know.  I log onto facebook to see how THEY are doing.  See if THEY are having a bad day or a better day.  THEY are all over the world, yet all in my heart.  On my good days, I like to think of all of our angels together “somewhere.”  I don’t like to say Heaven because I’ve had a hard time believing in God.  More so now than ever really.  I WANT to believe, but really struggle. I want to believe in Heaven. That Cullen is being taken care of. That I will see him again.  But I just don’t know how.  If there is a God, why does he let this happen? WHY does he take precious babies?  I’ve heard that God doesn’t give you what you can’t handle.  I can’t handle this. I’m on medication that isn’t ENOUGH to take the pain away.  I can hardly live my life without feeling completely lost and weak.  I feel the weeks are just passing me by and I’m missing out on so much.  How can I be excited for life again.  How do I get through this.  I know I will be told to give it time....but I just can’t see that helping much.  The pain, the hurt.....will ALWAYS hurt this much....that will never change.  It’s just such a lonely road to travel.  A road that everyone experiences slightly different.  During my ‘good’ moments, I know it’ll get HAS too!  But, on my weak moments, which are more often then I’d like to admit.....I feel like it’ll never be ok. That I will be “fake Allison” forever.  That I will never really know myself.  It’s a horrible feeling not knowing yourself.  

Friday, September 9, 2011

I'd like less excitement please.....

August 22 2011

So much has happened in the past few weeks, I've been wanting to write, but for some reason I just haven't had the time....imagine that!

Grady and the trip to the ER- August 9

For a few days prior, Grady had been more fussy, he was spitting up a whole lot more through his nose and it would be curdled. I also noticed that on Tuesday all day long he would fall asleep while eating, which is his favorite past time, and he was pretty lethargic, when he did fall asleep, I could hardly wake him.  I sat on the couch at 8pm holding him rocking him back and forth just crying.  I had this motherly instinct something was just NOT right.  But maybe I was overreacting, maybe I was making it up, maybe I was just paranoid because of Cullen.  I couldn't lose Grady too.   I have GREAT intuition, I hate when I doubt what I feel....but I'm SO worried with Grady....I just don't know what I'm doing anymore.  

Thank goodness Jimmy didn't listen to me.  He called the pediatrician and we waited for a call was about 8:30pm.  Thankfully it was Grady's actual Doctor on call that night....he knew his background (and most importantly, knew how crazy I am!)  He called back and informed me that since Grady was just 6 weeks old, that he was lethargic and that I saw a large difference in his personality I needed to take him to the ER....why did I doubt myself, why did I think they would tell me to just come in tomorrow?!?!  

I took him to the ER and was seen by the pediatric hospitalist within an hour or so from the time I left my house.  Dr. Smith was from Children’s National just like the NICU doctors.  She checked Grady out, agreeing with me that it mostly sounded like reflux, but wanted to take an abdominal x-ray to check things out.  Grady had blood drawn and was also seen by the ER doctor as well.  According to my Facebook status updates, Grady and I were “Hanging out in the ER” at hour later I posted he was being “airlifted to Children’s National in DC.”  Well, the x-ray revealed that he possibly had a blockage in his intestines, and if it was in fact a blockage he needed to be close to a pediatric surgeon.

Once again, thank goodness for good friends.  It was midnight and I was trying to figure out how I was going to get some clothes to me at the hospital before being flown to DC.  One of my good friends had her phone near her while she slept and said she would drive to my house gather my things that Jimmy got together and brought them to me....with about 20 minutes to spare before the transport team got to the hospital.  

As usual for me, everything was surreal.  At the same time, I think I was in denial of it all.  I ACTUALLY thought that I would just drive him to children’s in the morning when Dr. Smith said he needed to be in a facility with a surgeon.  REALLY?!?  Once she told me he was being transported by helicopter it hit me, sort of.  

The Pediatric transport team arrived and prepped Grady for transport.  More blood was taken, an NG tube placed, (mainly so Grady wouldn’t aspirate in flight it also doubles as suction), EKG leads, a temperature monitor, O2 saturated monitor and IV placed.  Oh, and don’t forget about his cute little yellow earmuffs.  He was then swaddled, and placed in the transport incubator.  At this point I thought he’d be crying because he was so hungry....but he slept.  The helicopter ride lasted about 50 minutes, making our arrival to DC at 2:45am.  Talk about a whirlwind experience.

Children’s National is an AMAZING hospital.  The NICU has 54 beds designed as private rooms or ‘pods’ (4 babies in one large room.)  More than 1,300 nurses work at Children’s...Grady’s nurses took care of him and just one other baby per shift.  

The arrival was quite a blur.  I know at some point another x-ray was taken to be compared with the one from earlier that evening.  Surgical rounds started early and they came and looked at Grady and his X-ray.  I was told “you will not be needing my services”  YAY!  

I was so happy to see a familiar face walk in the room after surgical rounds.  Dr. Stone, Grady’s original NICU doctor was there and he was assigned to Grady.  I must say, Dr. Stone is amazing.  Completely down to earth, passionate about what he does, direct and honest.  With all that has happened the past 9 weeks, he’s just been wonderful.  I’ve emailed with him and spoken on the phone and speaking to him is like speaking to an old friend.  To have this relationship with him means the world to me.  

That first full day, Wednesday, Grady was given a blood transfusion and placed on 3 different antibiotics.  His hematocrit was only 21 which explains why he was so sleepy. They did blood cultures Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  He was finally allowed to start eating again that Wednesday evening, he was a happy boy!

SO what the heck happened, right?  Grady’s blood tests showed that once again he was severely anemic.  As when he was born, the blood that he did have went to the major organ systems, Brain, Lungs, Heart and Adrenal glands....his GI slowed down, which is why his stomach wasn’t pushing food through at a normal rate, why he was spitting up curdled milk. His bowels also showed lots of air because they too were moving very slowly.

Overall the treatment and care Grady received at Children’s National was AMAZING.  I am SO thankful for the support I have been given by my family, friends and even strangers.  Once again, I’ve been blown away by all the people who care so much.  Being flown to DC with Grady and holding in all the emotion was difficult...but just knowing how many people cared & were concerned, truly helped me so much.  

Friday Sept 9th...

I’ve been through such lonely times the past 11 weeks, really it’s been a lot longer when you count the pregnancy with the boys.  The past  2 weeks I’ve really been missing Cullen.  
I tried to take some pictures of Grady in the pose that Cullen was in for most of his pictures.  I even brought out Cullen’s little hat from the hospital.  I’ll never know if they are identical for sure....but after taking some pictures...I just know they are. If not, they sure do look so much alike.  

I really like being able to look at the picture of Cullen and compare him to Grady.  Parts of me feel like I should be able to drive to the hospital and just see him again....take a better look at him. See what he looks like and smells like one more time.  I hate that I just feel like I can do that....then I realize I can’t. He’s gone. Gone forever.  

I drive by the funeral home often and all I can see is the chimney stack.  Part of the time I HATE that I agreed to have him cremated.  How could I have done that to him.   I HATE looking at that chimney.  

I belong to 2 groups on Facebook for parents of one surviving TTTS baby.  It’s helped SO much knowing there are others that feel pretty much just like me.  In fact 4 other TTTS  little babies were born 11 weeks ago today.  I hope Cullen has been able to meet Scarlett and Abigail where he is.  I hope they don’t feel pain. I hope they all have been able to open their eyes and see there brother and sisters here on earth.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

so sad

Yesterday I was asked how many children I had.  Who ever knew that question would be so painful to answer.  I said 4.  But was hesitant only because I didn't want to go into detail.  I hate surprising people with the details of Cullen.  No one expects to hear your baby died the same day he was born.  It SUCKS.  

This has been a really difficult week. It's just taken's just been 9 days since the memorial and feels like a lifetime. It's been 6 weeks since I had the boys, it's the longest 6 weeks of my life.  I miss Cullen SO much.  I'm waiting to wake up from this horrible horrible nightmare.  I want to hold him and cuddle him.  I want to kiss his beautiful soft face.  I want to rub his fuzzy head....Grady's hair is just as fuzzy on top now....I couldn't imagine not having him too.

Jimmy and I were out to dinner on Thursday while the girls were at Vacation Bible School....while staring at Grady I just started to cry.  I wonder when it won't hurt as much. I wonder when I just won't start to cry.  I wonder if my new normal will really feel normal.  I love my family, but I hate that part of us is not here.  

I've been told so many times how strong I am. Hearing that makes me feel like a fraud.  I don't feel strong.  In fact I'm a total mess, mentally and emotionally.  I'm trying to fool myself at times.  I really don't think any amount of medication or therapy will ever make me ok.  When asked, How are you?  How do I respond when in fact I have NO IDEA how I am.  <sigh>  

I think that when my mom was here I was purposely letting her have Grady most of the time.  I've been in such a fog that with her or Jimmy feeding or changing him I didn't have to be hit with my reality of it being just Grady. I didn't have to think about only having one baby home. But now that she's gone, and I'm sharing the duties with Jimmy it's forcing me into the new normal....but I can't stop thinking about Cullen.  I feel like I think and live in a cyclone.  I'm in a downward spiral.....and I don't know which way is up, down or sideways.  My feelings and emotions are all over the place.  

As much as I thought I was ready to see my friends and talk. I’m finding it hard to write or call people.  I have friends I was planning on calling and just haven’t.  I feel I don’t have many positive things to say.  I’ve been just anxious. It’s a strange place for me to be in.  I usually thrive on my friendships.  They mean so much to me.  My friends make me happy. But I think with the way my life is right now...nothing can really make me happy.  I struggle with it.  It seems like I’m struggling in SO many ways.  

Friday, July 29, 2011

saying goodnight

Cullen Steiner Veals

Planning a memorial service for your baby SUCKS. No one should ever have to do it.

Sitting in the funeral home yesterday was SO SURREAL. I kept saying to myself, this isn't real, I'm NOT here. Jimmy and I arrived early to set up....setting up the alter for my baby boy....ugh. There was a beautiful plant from the kids' pediatrician's office, a cute blue and white floral arrangement from the Salisbury PD, an adorable yellow and white arrangement from a good friend of my moms and a stunning floral arrangement from one of my best friends and her family. The tears flowed. We brought this statue of a mother and father holding their baby, pictures from the day Cullen had passed done by our new friend, and of course the Robin doll I found on amazon. After all, Cullen will always be Robin from the crime fighting duo.

As 1:30 rolled around people started to show up....needless to say I've been living in Salisbury for just about 9 years now, I have a few really close friends. But I had NO IDEA how many people cared SO MUCH about my husband and I. And yesterday at the Memorial Service for Cullen I was shown exactly the love people had. We believe there were over 60 people that showed up, and we know more would have liked to. All these people there to support Jim and I and the special few that actually got to "meet" Cullen. I can't express into words to convey how OVERWHELMING it have THAT many people was so so so special.

The service began, and to be honest, I didn't know what to expect. We decided on a few songs, songs that would make us smile, Beautiful Boy by John Lennon, Over the rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and Here comes the sun by the Beetles and just one poem I wanted to read....

“These are my footprints, so perfect and so small. These tiny footprints, never touched the ground at all.
Not one tiny footprint, for now I have my wings. These tiny footprints were meant for other things.
You will hear my tiny footprints, in the patter of the rain. Gentle drops like angels tears, of joy and not from pain.
You will see my tiny footprints, in each butterflies' lazy dance. I'll let you know I'm with you, if you give me just a chance.
You will see my tiny footprints, in the rustle of the leaves. I will whisper names into the wind, and call each one that grieves.
Most of all, these tiny footprints, are found in mommy's heart, cause even though I'm gone now, we'll never truly part." - Unknown

I couldn't be more happy with the service. Pastor Johnson, who is also Stella's vice principle, was amazing. Psalm 23 and his explanation of it truly was beautiful.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want 
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 
he refreshes my soul. 
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. 

We learned that we aren't saying goodbye to Cullen.....We are saying Goodnight. Because we will see him one day again. I like thinking that way.....

After the service more of our friends came to give their condolences. Again, SO overwhelming with all those who came. Several people came back to the was really nice. Seeing most of our friends for the first time was something Jimmy and I were afraid of. Can't really say why, but we are SO glad we finally did see them. I guess we were finally ready.

It's back to "normal," my mom left this morning, she was here for 5 weeks. I'm SO glad she was here. She wasn't just here for me, but for Jimmy and the girls. My family needed her just as much as I did.

I can only speak for myself, but I'm ready to feel normal. I'm ready. Not to move on, but to just BE again.
It's the girls' last day of YMCA camp week they have Vacation Bible School....Jimmy and I are going to have 2 hrs each evening to ourselves with Grady. It'll be really nice.'s back to the grind. I better go defrost something for dinner! It's a NEW DAY.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sadness, confusion, anger, happiness, excitement and joy

Monday June 27, 2011

Tomorrow I would have been 36 weeks pregnant, instead, today I sit here in the mother/baby unit at the hospital as the new mother of Grady James Veals.
His twin brother, Cullen Steiner Veals is now in heaven.
It's been the HARDEST most difficult time in my life.

The amount of emotion I've been through is indescribable.

Thursday, June 23rd I had tons of contractions, all over the place, all different strengths and different lengths of time. About 5am on June 24 I noticed I was bleeding, figuring it was my bladder infection (I had forgotten to take some of my meds and just figured it got worse)  I woke Jimmy up, told him I was going to get checked out at L&D, thinking it was not a big deal.

Well, fast forward, I was one centimeter dilated and my cervix was bleeding and my contractions were 5 minutes apart....I was in early labor.

By the time I called Jimmy it was 6am, I tried to call my mom but it took a while to get a hold of her, after all it was 3am in LA.  Thank goodness for GOOD friends taking care of our girls and ME over the next few days....You know who you are.....THANK GOD FOR YOU ALL!

The C-section  (written 7/18/11)
I was originally scheduled for my c-section at 38 weeks (both girls were c-section so the boys would have to be too) ....I was only 35.......I couldn't believe my days of being huge and pregnant with the boys was over.

They rolled me in to the operating room and the anesthesiologist was there....they tried SEVERAL times to get the spinal SHOT down my right leg twice, I screamed in pain (so loud Jimmy heard me as he sat in the recovery room waiting to come in) They actually told Jimmy at one point they were "having a hard time getting the spinal in and they were trying not to have to knock me out"

The nausea and feeling them pushing on my stomach was overwhelming....throwing up on the table while laying on your back and being temporarily paralyzed is HORRIBLE.

Grady was the first born....7:43am, I heard a small cry.  Cullen was born at 7:44am with a quiet smaller cry.

I had no idea anything was wrong.  Before they whisked the boys off to the NICU they showed me each one. All I remember saying was that Grady looked very white and Cullen, very RED.

The next few hours were a blur.  To me, it all felt like it happened within an hour.....It was 5! I was on morphine from the c-section then at some point after seeing and hearing about the boys' conditions I was given xanax to deal.

Twin-twin Transfusion Syndrome 

The boys were labeled from early on in my pregnancy as Di/Di  (Dichorionic/diamniotic)---two separate placentas and two separate amniotic sacs.  "They have the lowest mortality risk of all twins."

TTS NORMALLY happens when you have Monochorionic/diamniotic (ONE placenta, 2 amniotic sacs)

TTS occurs NORMALLY when blood from the placenta is diverted to one twin.  The "Donor" twin becomes smaller and  anemic, the "recipient" becomes larger and Polycythemic (an increase in the total mass of red blood cells)

The boys each had their own placentas, which were on the back wall of my uterus, and they fused.  The fusing can happen, but the pathologist confirmed that a network of blood vessels formed between Grady and Cullen's placentas and that is how Cullen became the recipient and Grady the donor.  I've been told this happens .5% of the time with TTS. So rare that hardly any information on it exists.  They also say this was an ACUTE version.  The chronic version is usually caught over a few weeks by ultrasound.  The acute version can even happen within a few hours.

I believe it was over the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I felt a difference in that had me in L&D a ton. My instincts told me there was just something that wasn't right AND he wasn't moving as much as he used to....but once they found him with the monitors, he looked "good."  Acute TTS  happens normally in the third trimester, the boys looked great on all their ultrasounds, the last one at 34 weeks there was about a 1 lb difference between the two but it was not a 20% difference in which the Dr's would start to be concerned.

THE NICU (this may be difficult to read)

Cullen was brought back to the NICU, intubated & placed on a ventilator and a umbilical catheter was placed for antibiotics.  His umbilical cord was also double the girth of Grady's, it was larger than a silver dollar. Cullen's heart stopped an hour after he was born. He coded for about 3-4 hours. His Doctor, Nurse and respiratory therapist worked non stop.  He had pulmonary hemorrhages, in which they tried to correct the thick amounts of blood in his body.  They also had to give him several doses of epinephrine to maintain his heart rate.  Again, at an hour in he could barely breathe on his own and his eyes were fixed and dilated. He was very very sick.  Children's National Med Center transport team arrived and planned to take him back in the helicopter.  At the time they were going to depart Cullen started to hemorrhage again, backing up into his endotracheal tube.  This was the end.

At some point during all of this, I was taken to the NICU twice....I think I've combined in my head both times...This is what I remember, Jimmy would tell you slightly different.
Jimmy and I were rushed into the NICU from the recovery room. I can't even describe what was going through my mind....I don't think I was even thinking.  I remember nurses praying with me and over me.  I remember being rushed from one end of the hospital to the other.  Being wheeled in the NICU....I remember nurses crying. I remember  seeing a lifeless purple/blue foot on a table and crying out....crying out in disbelief, in pain for my baby.  There were tubes everywhere. Blood on the table and blood coming out of my limp baby's mouth.  I saw the therapist helping my baby boy breathe. I blamed myself. From the get go I didn't want to be pregnant. I didn't think I could raise more children. I wasn't strong enough. I wasn't a good enough mother. And that my boys were here, I KNEW I WANTED THEM. I WANTED THEM and Cullen was being ripped from my arms.....I hadn't even held him yet.  I yelled at myself...I hated myself. I would have done ANYTHING to trade places with my poor sweet innocent baby boy. I sobbed. Jimmy sobbed. The nurses sobbed. 

We spoke to the Dr. at the end. The end being after 4 hours of constant resuscitation, after he started hemorrhaging from his lungs (because of all the extra red blood cells Cullen couldn't clot....he bled from every point on his body they pricked with needles.)  They knew he wouldn't make the transport back to DC.  It was  also said that after a neurological exam it showed he more than likely suffered severe brain injury.  We had them stop.  We decided to let our baby go........ I wanted to be with him on his last breathe. I was there at his first....I NEEDED to be there for his last. It was the least I could do.  He would never learn how much I REALLY DID LOVE AND WANT HIM.....

I held him....I laid in my recovery bed in the NICU and they helped me hold my dying baby.  I could hear him TRYING SO HARD to breathe, but he was leaving me.  He bled from his mouth and nose...I never even saw him move on his own.  I don't even know if he ever opened his eyes.  I saw the flat line on the monitor.....I cried out some more.....he was GONE.  I barely got to say HELLO to my boy and now he was GONE.  We all cried.  They pushed Jimmy and I to hold Grady.  How do you rejoice for the child that is still with you when you are so heartbroken because of the son you just lost?!? 

Grady was placed on a c-pap machine to keep his lungs from collapsing. He also was given a blood transfusion since his hematocrit (% of blood volume occupied by red blood cells)  was so low. He was placed on antibiotics for 7 days as a precaution because of all that happened to Cullen.

We held Grady, as best we could while he was hooked up to all the wires.

I don't remember a whole lot more that day.  Bits and pieces here and there. It all felt very dreamlike.  HOW could this be my REALITY???? Did that ALL just happen?  Did I HAVE 2 baby boys?  


Grady spent 11 days in the NICU.  He was weaned from the Cpap to a nasal cannula the same day he was born. He had his blood transfusion, ended up with jaundice and his GI tract had to be "primed" for food, they call this Trophic feeds.  The blood his body did receive went to his brain, heart and adrenal glands.  He was given supplements I liked to call his Gatorade and his fat milkshake.  On his third day of life he was given breast milk through his feeding tube, a whole 5cc's!

The first time I went to the NICU after Cullen's death I didn't think it would be a big deal.  I was going to see Grady, right. Was I wrong.  Besides it being the first day I had been up walking around after my surgery, I showered for the first time and made the long walk down the hall.  If you've ever had to enter any NICU, you know all about the beeping and alarms....WELL, I don't do well will that stuff anyway, but this was totally out of control.  There must have been over 17 babies there....LOTS OF NOISE!  I could hardly look at the bed Cullen had been it was it was next to Grady's. Needless to say I had a major anxiety attack and was taken back to my room in a wheelchair.

I had several moments very similar to that while in the hospital.  There were twin boys already in the NICU and more twins that were born. Twins born smaller than my boys, healthier than my boys.....WHY did I only have ONE BABY NOW!?!?!? IT WASN'T FAIR!  I would just burst into tears.  THANK GOD for the nursing staff. They were unbelievable.

Grady's IV's had to be changed often because his little veins couldn't handle them for long. One night around midnight I walked into the NICU and Grady on the table screaming, and 2 nurses around him.  They were trying to get another IV in him, 2 they tried already blew. Needless to say, I LOST IT.


These were the scariest the saddest and the loneliest days of my life.  Jimmy was trying to take care of Grady and I all the while dealing with Stella and Georgia at home.....He's amazing.  

What I will also say, is that the nursing staff at the hospital were my mental and emotional saving graces.  I had such an amazing experience with them.  From L&D to Mother/Baby to my NICU nurses.  So many of them would sit and talk to me, hug me, cry with me and just BE with me. Words simply can't describe how much they helped me.  These women met me in my darkest days and were there for me like they had known me forever.  Again....just no words......I will NEVER forget them.

That week, and up until now I have kept most of my friends out of my life.  I've only let a few friends "in."  And those I thank for being so patient.  I keep everything everyone has written me close....I deeply appreciate EVERYTHING.  It's been so hard to feel normal.  I feel this HUGE guilt for trying to feel normal.  It's like if I GO ON, I'm forgetting Cullen...I'm being unfair to him....The internal struggle I have is SO HEAVY.  I may feel ok one moment, then the next I'm questioning myself as to if I looked at Cullen's ears...I don't remember if I looked at his ears!  The emotional roller coaster is crazy and feels like I will never be able to get off.  I want to feel OK.  I know it's a new normal, but I just want to be able to talk, I want to be able to GO BACK!  


I take it day by day.  A lot of times, hr by hr or minute by minute.

Grady is a miracle.  He was saved by Cullen. Cullen will always be Grady's hero.   If I hadn't gone into labor when I did, I would have lost BOTH.  I HAVE to believe Cullen's distress put me into labor.  He was here to bring us Grady.  I have to tell myself that.  Right now, it's the only way I can go on each day.

I'm 32 yrs old, I have an amazing family. A wonderful, caring, sweet husband. A sweet innocent 6 yr old Stella. A smart funny 2 yr old Georgia. A 3 wk old beautiful Grady. And a guardian Angel that I know the name of.  Cullen, Mommy misses you SO MUCH.

I will try to stay positive, it's hard....SO HARD....

What's NEXT?

If you know me, are friends with me and see me getting negative....let me be. Allow me to grieve.  I'm going to grieve the rest of my life.  I will never get over this. I will make my new normal eventually.

I like talking about Cullen. Let me.  Don't ignore the fact that I have twin sons.  I know people don't know what to's OK.  Who would know what to's a horrible thing that happened.  But it did.....

I'm trying to "come out of my shell"  Like most people not knowing what to say....I don't know how to act either.  Like I said before, I feel guilty for trying to be me.

I need my friends to help me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

34 wks of pregnancy

Well, I guess the hopes of my last post SHOWING up is just a dream.  I'm SO angry it disappeared....OH WELL.

SO I'm 34.5 wks.  I'm SO big that have been told not only by several nurses from my Dr.'s office AND L&D nurses AND my own DOCTOR, they don't think my poor belly will stretch anymore!  I have swelling now in my feet and ankles, something I never had with the girls along with pitting edema. I have swelling AND the pitting edema on my lower stomach....EWWWWWW and my face gets puffy. Needless to say I'm DONE.

The babies are measuring 5.11 and 6.11 as of last week.  Let's hope they are OFF a whole lb each.  Although let me tell you, I feel like I have over 11 lbs of baby sitting in front of my body.  My back is killing me.  Something again, I never had while carrying the girls.  My own DOCTORS say they would never want to carry multiples, especially after already having singleton pregnancies.  THAT is when you know you are in trouble!

I'm SO thankful, as usual, for Jimmy.  He's FINALLY on DAY SHIFT!!!!!  He's home at night!!!!  He gets up with G, he wakes up in the morning and she wakes up and has amazing conversations with her Daddy!  I LOVE laying in bed listening to them!  He comes home around 4:30, plays with them, cooks dinner, cleans up, gives baths and puts them to bed.....he's truly FATHER OF THE YEAR.

Oh a few weeks ago I also found out I have gallstones....which was why I was having so much chest and back pain...ugh, hopefully they won't cause problems after my c-section, but I'm thinking I'll have to have my gallbladder out at some point. Of course, it'll be in my spare time!

Well, it's time for me to lay down. I get lightheaded when I sit up and lean back on the couch too long.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I keep meaning to write but I have so much running through my head.

We had a nice Easter, would have been better with some family to celebrate with.  I'm so tired of most holiday's just being US.  I'm grateful and happy with my little family, but I SOOOO want to show up at a family members house with just a side dish.  Preparing brunch AND dinner is exhausting, ESPECIALLY when pregnant AND on Sundays.

Sundays just stink in my house.  My "weekends" are really Fridays with Jimmy staying awake and being completely dead tired by 5pm and Saturdays.  Sundays we get a part day with Jimmy having to sleep part way through so he can stay awake for his shift that night.  I know I'm just complaining, but it's been SO long since we've been "normal."   And really, I know, how many families have normal schedules nowadays.  But I'm just whining and tired and lonely.  I hate being SO far from family.  I miss my friends in CA.  I miss home.  I guess I'm just more sentimental these days, but who wouldn't be.

The past few days I've been having a lot of contractions.  I was in L & D Monday night with sporadic contractions, and I wasn't even sure IF they were contractions.  Everything that relates to this pregnancy is just SO different than my first 2.  Even the Dr. I saw a week ago said that because I'm having the twins for my third pregnancy the pains and difficulties will be much MORE than if they had been my first.....Oh is THAT the truth!
Back to Monday....I got to L&D and waited to be taken back, at least 30 minutes. I was hooked up to all the monitors, (I hate it when they can't find one heartbeat), I sat there, my contractions were confirmed, they did a fFN test, hooked me up to an IV and I waited. The nurse that was taking care of me told me that the Dr said if the fFN came back negative I would be let go, still contracting.....Well, that's what happened and after being there for 2 hrs I came home around 10pm.  Ever since Monday I've been contracting.  The only time I pretty much DON'T is when I lay down and don't do anything.  This will be a GREAT 9 weeks.  I feel HORRIBLE.  Georgia is just being neglected.  All she wants to do is go to the park, go outside, have me pick her up....and I can't do any of it.  She's stop falling asleep on her own, and for the past few days has only been falling asleep with me in my bed.  NOT WINNING!

Adding to the contractions is extreme pain at my c-section scar.  The stress from the weight of my boys is so great I feel like I'm being ripped open. I know total TMI, but again, it just totally sucks.

I'm SO cranky lately I don't even like to be around myself.  I actually told Jimmy this past Friday afternoon that I could "Complain for hours"  Not exactly something ANY husband wants to EVER hear.....But if I keep it in, like I tend to do, I just get mean.  I yell at Stella, Georgia, Jimmy even the darn cat.  The worst part is, I'm BORED.  I should be laying down and resting, but I have just never been so damn bored in my life. I'm tired of TV. I can't just lay in bed either, I must be on either side (which hurts my hips) and it's difficult to read that way.  I try, but I'm just so uncomfortable.  I know there are other moms out there that have been either on bed rest or just at the point in their pregnancy where they JUST CAN'T DEAL anymore....well I'm there. I have 9 1/2 weeks left.  I've been given the date of July 12th 9am for my c-section.  It seems close, yet OH SO FAR AWAY.

Friday, April 22, 2011

what a mom thinks....and feels

As a mom I often wonder if THIS is what I'm supposed to be doing.  Am I doing everything I possibly can to make the lives of my children the best it can be?  I second guess EVERYTHING I do.  I also LOSE it way too easily.  The last thing I want to do is "mess" things up.  Besides being pregnant and exhausted, I was tired and drained BEFORE the existence of Batman and Robin.  The constant questions and repeating a child does, DRAINS YOU.  How many times can a person repeat themselves without getting annoyed?

How do you take time for yourself really, and NOT feel the MOMMY GUILT?  I'm always wanting Jimmy to get some time for himself. After all, he works, out of the home, AT NIGHT!  He deserves it.  YET, when he does go running or something there is STILL that stupid part of me that is angry.  UGH.  I hate it.  WHY do I do this?!?!  He's constantly telling me to go get a pedicure or go get some coffee or just get out. DO I? NO?  WHY? Because of MOMMY GUILT.  Why doesn't anyone warn you about this?  No matter what I do, I think I could be spending this money on XY & Z.....and NOT on me.  Yes, I've been told Oh, you need to take care of yourself before you are able to take care of others.....blah blah blah.  Those people don't know ME! LOL.  I am the QUEEN of guilt.  I've always felt too selfish, that I don't deserve it.  Maybe that explains my high anxiety?!

Speaking of anxiety. Once again, why doesn't anyone ever tell you about how scary it is to have children and "LET GO" at times.  There are so many horrifying stories. Some, like Sarah Foxwell that are just literally, WAY too close to home.  Ever since the disappearance of Sarah and watching the tragedy unfold in our town my anxiety increased. It's never gone away. I check on the girls nightly. I worry constantly.  I feel like I live on edge ALWAYS.  With Jimmy gone at night I can't help but THINK.  Having his past job in law enforcement and his job now....he still gets threats.  I have the angel and devil in my head that argue back and forth about what can possibly happen and what most likely will NEVER HAPPEN.  But as a MOTHER, the *WHAT IF* is very real.

I just go on....with the anxiety, with the THOUGHTS, with the worry.  I tell my girls I love them as much as I can. I feel GUILTY when I lose it and yell. But I ALWAYS HUG THEM and SAY SORRY when I need to.  I try not to rush too much. I try to remember that  this moment I will NEVER get back.  And most of all....I BREATHE...I remember they are innocent, are pure and ALWAYS learning. I'm the one to teach them right and wrong. I just try my best and remember too, I am NOT perfect in anyway AND I too am still learning. I'm learning about me. I learn about my faults, my strengths and my weaknesses.  I try to better myself for myself and my children.  And I guess.....that means taking some time for recharge.  hmmmm, interesting.  :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monday and Tuesday

Monday April 18 2011
My silly girls playing with their pom poms Monday night

So I made a GREAT dinner! Tomato cream sauce and pasta from  I'm not a pasta fan AT ALL, but Jimmy loves pasta.  To the recipe I added a half a can of tomato paste plus sauteed garlic shrimp.  WOW!  YUMMY.  Even the girls ate it up and really enjoyed it!  GO ME!

Georgia had a rough nights sleep Sunday night, she whimpered out a lot and cried at 4am she came walking in my room and said, SLEEP WITH MOMMY. I didn't care, I just wanted her to STOP!
She had a fairly good day, ate a TON!!! Raisin bread, strawberries, blueberries, a HUGE banana, chocolate pudding, havarti cheese, quarter of an apple, a slice of liverwurst, a quarter of a red bell pepper with some ranch, AND hummus and pretzel crisps...ALL BEFORE NOON!
She made me "Cookie soup" and we ate it out of her plastic tea set.  She's SO creative!
She napped, FINALLY at 2pm and woke up when I had gone to pick up Stella from the bus stop.  (I will leave her home when she sleeps while Jimmy sleeps....) Well, she woke up, no biggie, but Jimmy didn't hear her....OH BOY. I walked up the walkway to see her give me the dirtiest look and then she started to cry....UGH, what a shot through my heart!

Tuesday April 19 2011

I'm 26 wks.....12 more weeks....unless I actually go into labor OR persuade one of my doctors to take me sooner. DEAR GOD, I don't think I can make it.  The only way I'm NOT in pain is if I lay down all day and not do anything.....UGH, that doesn't happen very often, if ever.
I just wish sleeping was easier. It hurts. Hip pain, back pain, belly pain....oh my gosh.  AND turning OVER.....let's just say there is a LOT of moaning involved and it's an ugly site! LOL

I went to the OB today and gained 3 more lbs!!!  YAY! It's a 4 lb gain total.  Initially I was hoping to gain 40 lbs...I'll be lucky to make it to 20. I know, most people think WHY do you want to gain, WHY are you worried so much.  Well I've been reading this wonderful book by Dr. Barbara Luke, When you're expecting Twins, Triplets and quads.  I've even been in touch through email with her a bit.  The demands of multiples on your body is just AMAZING. There are SO many things that can go wrong SO QUICKLY.  My goal this pregnancy was to stay as hydrated as I possibly can.  Both with Stella and Georgia I had kidney and bladder problems.  At 26 wks with Stella I had kidney stones and had a scare with pre-term labor.  After the week in the hospital I contracted continuously until I was 38 wks. And with Georgia I was about 32 weeks when I went into L&D due to not feeling well...when I was there I went to the bathroom and there was bright red blood everywhere. I had a severe bladder infection.  As ANY woman who has gone through pregnancy the LAST thing you ever want to see is blood when you go to the bathroom.  I will NEVER forget the feeling of leaving L&D that day with my medication and standing next to my car just sobbing....WHAT A SCARE!  I still tear up just thinking of the emotions of that day, seeing blood and being 32 wks I initially thought G was coming 8 wks early...NOT something I was wanting.

So here I am, drinking my days away,LOL, Doing all I have to do to avoid dehydration.  When I'm not drinking I eat, but man to I get full fast.  Trying to keep positive thoughts for the next 12 wks. I'm just taking it one day at a time.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kids & Pregnancy

Run Stella Run
So my sweetheart Stella came off the bus Friday with her 1st place trophy!  She mentioned she wanted a trophy, and I as most mothers said, "Ok honey, sure" not really *thinking* she'd ACTUALLY win the trophy!!!  Now, I'm pretty sure it's just for her grade, but she originally told me she wanted to run 10 laps, and AGAIN, I said "Ok, honey Sure"  WELL.....14 laps later!!!!  I just can't believe it!  She's AMAZING!

She helped raise over $500 for her school!  I just can't believe ALL of the support she received!  THANKS BUNCHES to everyone!!!

The defiance of this 2 yr old AMAZES me.  The screaming and throwing and just plain yells of "NOOOOOO."   UGH UGH UGH
Now I know we all think our children are smart/above their peers etc....but I swear in certain aspects she really is! LOL.  It amazes me how she's able to manipulate and get her way.  Now yes, I DO give in at times.  She's dealing with the loss of the binky and has replaced it with the comfort of her bed, watching freakin Dora on her DVD player and cuddling with her animals and occasional 'baba' (bottle). But as I speak to her OT, we are just picking our battles.  Her anxiety levels increase drastically at times of distress. It's such a difficult thing to watch and deal with.  I'm hoping in the next week to get her back into seeing her therapist.

PREGNANCY with twins
Let me first say, I figured this pregnancy would be well, different. BUT never in my LIFE would I think I would be in as much pain as I am.  Feeling like you've been hit between the legs with a baseball bat 24/7 is just UN-FREAKIN REAL.
The exhaustion as well is just ridiculous.  I often find myself saying, "I don't know why I'm so tired"  UGH. I guess when you have double the amount of blood, 2 little bodies leaching everything out of you AND the inability to can get tired more often.  BUT I just feel so guilty.  Jimmy sleeps about 6 hrs a day and  then takes care of all of us PLUS cleans up the kitchen every night then goes to work at 11:30.....What a SAINT.  I am SO LUCKY.

This weekend
This was a nice low key weekend. We bought the new Harry Potter and watched it Friday night. At what point will WE (Jimmy & I) be able to watch a movie without stopping it 10 times?!?!  (Last week we watched The Bourne Ultimatum and I kid you not, it took us over 4 hours to watch it!!!!)
We went grocery shopping, I went to Michael's to finish up buying Easter basket trinkets and bought gasoline....I know, my life is SO EXCITING! LOL

This week I have an OB appt. and Stella has a half day Wednesday for the start of Easter vacation....WOW, Easter....I bought my ham today.....guess I should figure out the rest of my menu.....


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ultrasound at 25 wks

I'm now 25 wks and 2 days.

The boys are measuring 27 wks and 2.1lbs and 2.3lbs.  WOW.  No wonder why I pee ALL the time.  This is a picture of their little heads, ON MY BLADDER. Aren't they CLOSE!?  It's just SO amazing.

They are both kicking my ribs/lungs/diaphragm, aren't they nice!  

Baby A, Robin's FOOT

Baby B, Batman's FOOT

Testing pictures and more

I'm trying to figure all this out.  I'm so lame when it comes to this and all the 'foreign' computer language.  This is a picture I took in the car waiting for the bus to pick up Stella a few weeks ago.

So Stella had her performance the other night and was just my shining little star!  She sang, danced and played the bells very well!  It's SO hard to believe her Kindergarten year is coming to a close in just a short time.  

Do any other parents feel old enough to have these little school age kids!?!?  I still feel I'm in high school at times. I mean, I'm going to be 33 this year! WOW!  40 is just around the corner!  My mom was 40 for EVER my head!

Have you seen those T-shirts that say "who are all these kids and why are they calling me mom?" Yea, I totally live that now! I look around at the little house we rent and think all the time, all this crap is ours! OMGosh!  I cook, I clean, I do laundry......HOW DID I GET HERE?!?!?!  

I've been in a LOT of pain as I get bigger and these boys take over more and more. I've really been unable to do most things this week, and it's KILLING me.  I HATE, HATE how my house looks right now.  I've had such a handle on the toys, the papers on the table, the dishes, the laundry...but seriously in just 4 days it's gone to HELL.  I'm AMAZED at how G can destroy a room so quickly.  I can't bend over and just pick stuff up, it hurts and just not a pretty sight.  I've even stopped trying to reach into the washing machine to take out the wet clothes....I physically can't do it without hurting myself.

I've been attempting to follow the FLY LADY. Not religiously, I just wanted to get a start on how to handle everything.  I've wanted a schedule, but have had a difficult time making one on my own.  I LOVE her.  I love the constant reminder that you are NOT BEHIND and that the mess didn't get there in one day, so how are you going to clean it all up in one day.  I've been keeping my bathrooms fairly cleaned, again I do what I can without hurting myself and my kitchen has been amazing with the help of my wonderful husband.  Speaking of Jimmy,  I mentioned to him how keeping the kitchen sink clean and clear of dishes all the time brings peace to me as well as keeping the clutter at bay....OMG, he's TOTALLY a rock star.  He cleans the dishes in the sink every night so when I wake up in the morning it's EMPTY.  I'm SO lucky, he's such a hard worker and helps SO much at home and with the girls.  

OK....I better go do something productive and fold my laundry in the dryer.....MUST keep on top of it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

my first post

I've written and erased 3 times so far.

I'm sitting here watching my children eat their nutritious dinner of fast food (GASP) before we go to Stella's PTF, Parent Teacher Fellowship meeting tonight.  It's the last one of the year and the K5 are performing!  Stella even has a line to say while in front of a mic. Needless to say, she's VERY excited! I've very thankful to our good friends Matt & Anne for watching the little one.

I'm hoping and assuming this will become easier for me to write. I OFTEN have things I think & say when THINKING of writing a blog. I mean, I've been told by several people I should write one....Georgia alone gives me enough ammo to write.  But now being pregnant with TWINS, having G at home all day and a moody 6 yr old....boy oh boy have I seen, heard and really said it all! LOL.  

I was just thinking today how much I MISS Georgia's binky.  It's now been a week and a half since she last had it, and OH MY GOSH, she talks and repeats herself Waaaaaay too much.  I have little patience as it is, but with crazy double the amount of hormones rushing through my body I'm NOT one to tick off.  Thank goodness G will not remember how many times a day I yell at her! 

Ok, that's really all for now...I must go fight Stella in the bathroom while trying to "do" her hair....let's HOPE she allows me to just put a headband on her head with OUT the 6 different colored barrettes as well!