Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm on my way...

literally right now. I'm currently in the air traveling to our first layover destination. How crazy is it that they have wifi on planes? Leaving the babies and Marcus this morning sucked, but I'm hoping all will go smoothly on both ends, and I'll be home before I even know it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I'm leaving for a conference in Australia in 11 hours. My suitcase it packed (I think) I'm not very organized this trip and the suitcase is surprisingly small so I'm feeling as though I'm forgetting something. Oh well.

I'm conflicted. Marcus and I talked about me applying for this seminar back in August. I went back and forth and decided I would apply and then if I was accepted we would go from there. Then I was accepted and it seemed so off in the future I went ahead with the class.

Now it's here and I'm having a hard time with the prospect of leaving Marcus and the babies for 10 days. I know they will be well cared for, although Marcus, bless him may go a little crazy. I know that when all is said and done I will be grateful for the experience, I'm just a little anxious about everything at this second. Plus, my semester isn't over yet and this is the busiest time of the school year. Finishing the semester from Australia, while attending a conference should be interesting. Although I do have 27 hours of flight time I need to occupy...  

I also still don't feel good.  I had an awful fibromyalgia week and didn't get anything done. *sigh* oh well. Off I go very soon...

(This is really random but I'm too tired to really edit my thoughts or form coherent sentences).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a fairly mellow low-key thanksgiving. We went over to a friend's house and had dinner with them. Nothing too exciting at all.

The babies got high chairs yesterday (so Eli played while we ate).

Then Eli wanted to join the adult table.

Emerson slept through the entire meal.

But woke up in time to play with Dad and watch the cowboys play.

Their first thanksgiving.

The whole family. Thanksgiving 2009.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

haha babies are fun...

Today we left the house early to do some errands before the masses came out. Both babies were fed and happy and we were set. During our shopping trip Eli needed a diaper change so Marcus took the stroller and off they went.

When they returned Marcus was shaking his head, and merely commented, "Eli needs a bath." As he pointed to a smiling, content Eli wearing a pink and yellow outfit that said, "I'm so pretty." Not what he left the house in.

Apparently Mr. Eli had a massive blow out. All over everything, Marcus used every wipe in the diaper bag and then had to resort to using wet paper towels, and then he managed to get Eli's spare change of clothes in the mess too so Eli ended up in Emerson's spare outfit, and he looked lovely.

Haha. I'm glad it was Marcus and not me who opted for that diaper change.

Today I am thankful for my little Emerson...#15

My second born, Baby B
What a silly, crazy, baby she is.
She was always crazy. In utero she never stayed in one spot, and the nurses could never find her on the monitor.
The nurses in the NICU also always commented about her personality, full of spunk even at just 3lbs. She was always ripping out her NG tube, trying to pull off her CPAP. When she was just two days old her little hand got stuck on the tape from her CPAP, she was trying to pull it off and got caught poor baby.
Such a tiny little peanut (this is what we call her).
She laughs all the time.
She laughs when she looks at Eli, she laughs when we talk to her, she laughs when she sees herself in the mirror, she even laughs when we do her physical therapy stretches.
Such a cuddly baby who loves to bury her head in our shoulders.
A wonderful sleeper. We lay her down and she goes right to sleep.
Loves to hold and suck on fabric.
Such a sweet, wonderful little girl.

I am truly blessed with my crazy little peanut girl.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Today i am thankful for my Eli...#14

My baby A
My first born (by a minute but still...)
We Call him Mr Eli (not sure why)
Such a cute smiley boy, who smiles as wide as his mouth will open.
Loves his changing table (who knows why).
Loves to look at and examine things.
Does circles in his sleep.
Screams when he's hungry (he has no patience, when the boy is hungry he wants to eat)...
But then he eats really slowly as though he's savoring every little bit.
Spits up all the time.
Is incredibly ticklish, a slight brush on his torso sends him into giggles
Loves to suck on his thumbs, and often tries to suck on his thumb and eat his bottle at the same time

I love being a mom to my little boy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Today I am grateful for no class this #13

That's all I've got. I'm tired.

But aren't they cute?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I hit a wall and can hardly function...

Friday, I woke up immense pain, aching all over, and I had a massive headache. I suffered through my class in the morning and through a really unpleasant meeting (which is another post) and then came home and crawled into bed. Thank goodness for Marcus who was home, and took care of the babies while I laid in bed all day long in pain. I'm not sick, I don't have a fever, I think it's a combination of things.

I've been over doing it. Taking 5 classes, an internship, plus the babies, and the incredible aching and pain which I've attributed to a particurlary bad fibromyalgia flair up, and it's all finally caught up with me and I'm just exhausted and can't function. My body hurts so much I can barely move, let along pick up the babies, I have way to much work to do before I leave the country, and the thought of leaving makes me want to cry for a variety of reasons.

I'm worried about Marcus and the babies. I know Marcus can handle the babies but 10 days without someone else is a lot, I don't know if I could do it. The thought of the incredibly long plane ride sounds awful (mostly because I'm currently in so much pain that sitting for that amount of time does not sound pleasant). Plus, when I come back from my trip I have a ton more things that have to be attended too, and according to one of my professors who is from Australia I'm going to be loopy when I return.

I have no energy for anything and I just need a break. I know I took on too much this semester. I think part of me felt like I had to prove that I could do it. That I could have twins and still manage the rest of my life, and so far I have, but it hasn't been easy. There are nights when the babies are finally in bed that I just break down because I have hours of homework in front of me and I'm so tired.

It doesn't help that I had a particularly awful conversation with someone today who essentially said I had no place to complain about things (school, twins, intership, pain etc) because it's all self inflicted and I chose it for myself, (yup because it was my choice to have twins, and it's my choice to have chronic pain most days... awesome) so essentially I was told to suck it up and deal with it. Which just made me cry some more.

I know this too will pass. The end of semesters are always hard, I've just never done the end of the semester + twins before and that's a whole different ball game. Thank goodness for Marcus. If I could I would seriously just make Marcus the subject of every single thankful post. I could not do any of this without him.

Today I am grateful for #12.

I love, love, love to travel. Which is a little strange considering I suffer from severe anxiety but I love being abroad, there's something about being a stranger in a new country that I love.

My first trip abroad (I don't count my two trips to Mexico) was my freshman year of college, when I took a trip with the Interfaith Council to Rome, Italy. I was hooked. All the history every where it was amazing and magical, and despite having a man sneeze in my face on the subway, and pretty much only eating Gelato for 7 days (I'm a picky eater) I loved Rome.

This is my absolute favorite picture from Rome.

The next year Marcus and I with some friends took a spring break trip to London and Paris. This trip was even better because Marcus was with me (it was his first time out of the country) and he was such a great travel companion. He put up with me when we went on a ridiculous adventure in an attempt to locate John Wesley's house and chapel (only a Methodist would understand my strange desire to do this). We went to 8 museums in 7 days, took thousands of pictures and oddly enough I think one of Marcus' favorite memories of the trip is when I fell on the underground and couldn't get up because my hands were in my pockets. It was hilarious and he was laughing so hard he had tears running down his face (and the rest of the people on the underground were laughing as well).

 Our last night in London we planned really poorly and ended up sleeping on the floor at the airport (we forgot we would need somewhere stay after getting back to london from paris oops). So much of the trip was so random and we did everything as inexpensivly as possible but we had so much fun.

Of course then there was Zimbabwe. Also an incredible life changing expereince. I went on a work trip to Africa University the summer of 2005 and I don't fully have the words to describe how life changing and transformative the experience was.

Then I spent the summer abroad in Spain in 2006 studying spanish and spanish religious history. So many great memories from my summer abroad, many awkward moments and expereinces with the woman I lived with, but incredible all the same.

That same summer I went to portugal which was beautiful.

And in just a week I'll be traveling to Australia to attend the world parliment of religions confrence.

I adore traveling I hope Marcus and I will be a position that someday we can travel with Eli & Emerson so they too can expereince and enjoy the many wonders of our world.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Today I am grateful for my education...#11.

My entire life I knew I wanted to go to college, and I worked hard to make sure that dream became a reality. I remember stepping onto my undergraduate university for the first time and I just knew that was where I needed to go to school. My undergraduate years were an amazing learning opportunity for me. My eyes were opened to the world and I grew as a person and I was educated in so many different ways. I had amazing professors who supported me and pushed me academically.  I love and miss our life in CA, my school was the absolute best fit for me.

I also really love my graduate school. My graduate school is part of a larger (well known) university but my program is relatively small in the realm of the university. It's a close knit and supportive community. Again, my professors and fellow students push my comfort levels and I am also incredibly challenged academically.

When I graduate in May I'm going to feel a little lost. School is so much a part of who I am and my identity and I love every part of it. I have a feeling that this is probably not the end of my schooling. I just need to take a break and work in the real world for awhile and evaluate what makes sense as the next step.

I also realize my ability and access to education makes me somewhat privileged. Unfortunately, not everyone has equal access and opportunity to obtain degrees of higher education. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend the schools that I have and although I have worked incredibly hard to get myself to and through these institutions it's not something that everyone has the ability to do for a variety of reasons. I hope that Eli & Emerson will have the desire to be educated as they grow and I look forward to trying to pass on my love of learning to them.

Today/Yesterday I am grateful for... my Aunt and Uncle day #10

I'm a day off because I felt awful yesterday (but that's a different post). So... today/yesterday I give thanks for my aunt and uncle. I don't know sometimes how I would survive things without them. My aunt has always been incredibly supportive when I needed her, and she's also pretty honest with me when I need a reality check on things. She listens, gives advice, and I have a really good time with her. I appreciate her more than I could ever really express, particularly these last few years.

I'm also thankful for my uncle. I can still remember the day when my mom told me they were going to get married (I was in the first grade at the time). I was so excited to officially have him as my uncle. I appreciate his sense of humor and his support as well.

I am very grateful and blessed for their role in my life. Plus, their always up to play games (and taught me pinochle) which I also appreciate and enjoy.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My sermon...

 I decided to post the sermon I refrenced Here .  A warning the format is written for the ear not the eye, and reading a sermon is never the same expereince as hearing it, with that said here you go. 

Hannah Why do you Weep? 1 Samuel 1:4-20

In today’s scripture reading we encounter Hannah, a barren woman, who is described as having had her womb closed by the lord.
We encounter Hannah in the midst of her deep, mournful, and extreme pain and grief over her
Not only must she face knowing that she cannot bear children with her husband,
But she lives with Peninnah (pe-nm'nah) her husband second wife who had birthed many children.
Peninnah the second wife torments and provokes Hannah over her barrenness,
Which only compounds Hannah’s pain and grief.
We also encounter in the text Hannah’s husband Elkanah (el-KAY-nuh), who by all accounts loves Hannah, takes care of her, and seems prefers her to his second wife
and yet he too cannot fully grasp and understand the pain that Hannah experiences.
Although well intentioned he, somewhat dismissively asks, “Hannah why do you weep?”
“Why do you not eat?” “Why is your heart sad?” “Am I not more to you than ten sons?”
“Hannah…why do you weep?”
In biblical times the inability to conceive a child was accompanied with a great deal of shame and disgrace and that shame and disgrace was always associated and attributed to the woman.
The primary role and function for women in ancient times was to bear children, particularly male offspring, and this is illustrated several times throughout our scripture.
This importance of heirs is further illustrated in the very fact that in order to have heirs men would take a second wife to fulfill the duty the first could not.
Additionally, as we see with Hannah, described as having her womb closed by the lord,  barrenness was associated with some type of moral deficiency in character, just as many children were a sign of divine blessing, the lack of children was viewed as a sign of divine displeasure.[i]
So the shame and guilt and pain was multilevel, not only were woman like Hannah denied the status and joy that went with motherhood but they were also made to feel as though they had somehow caused the barrenness.[ii]  And this mythology still persists even today, Serene Jones in her book Trauma and Grace Theology in a ruptured world writes, “for women the experience of reproductive loss particularly [in light of] those social myths that lead women to feel that if they cannot produce children, they are not only failed women but are also failed persons” (133-134).[iii]
Hannah why do you weep?
Hannah, weeps for her reproductive loss. Just as many men and women today weep for their own reproductive loss. 
According to the American society for Reproductive medicine, 6.1 million Americans experience infertility, 25% will experience a miscarriage, and one in 8 pregnancies will end in a still birth. 
Hannah knows the pain of infertility.
She is described as deeply distressed, weeping bitterly, bargaining with the lord, crying out… “[God] if only you will look on [my] misery, and remember me, and not forget [me] your servant, but will give [to me] a male child. [If you do God}] I will set him before you until his death as a devoted follower of you Please God remember me”
Hannah is bearing her soul and her grief to God, she is vulnerable and exposed. This is her pain and current reality, and she doesn’t understand why her?
And yet today, despite the pain and the grief associated with reproductive loss we are often guilty of minimalizing and politicizing matters related to reproduction.
Infertility and the medical treatments associated with it are sensationalized by the media with couples like John & Kate plus 8 and the woman from southern California who gave birth to octuplets this last spring, with little education that these cases are the exception not the rule.
Society feels the need to debate and discuss individuals faced with reproductive issues as though they were voiceless, faceless, and void of any sacred value.
The New York Times in an October issue ran a series of articles related to infertility and the reproductive technology used to treat the many medical conditions attributed to infertility, by chronicling the journey of couples who used reproductive medicine to conceive their children.
And the political debates and judgments surrounding the issue of reproductive loss were evident in the several hundred comments left by readers.
            Ann from MI, “If they can’t have children get over it and adopt”
                         “Hannah why do you weep.” v. 8
            Laura from Atlanta writes, “These people are very selfish…”
                         “Am I not more to you than 10 sons?” v. 8
XC from Greenwich writes, “Selfish people. Insurance shouldn't cover any of their egotistical folly. An astronomical waste of resources and money.
            “Why is your heart sad?” v. 8
C.E. from MI, “Perhaps some women just aren't meant to bear children?
            “…The lord had closed her womb.” v. 6
Kathy in FL, “Hard to sympathize with fertility-clinic patrons…”
            “she wept and would not eat…” v. 7
John from NYC “Fertility treatments should be outlawed. It is selfishness. If you can't have a baby without treatments, you weren't meant to have a baby. Grow up and deal with it. You'll just keep passing down the same problems to your kids. Anonymous sperm and egg donations should be outlawed as well. There are too many people in the world.”[iv]
“Hannah why do you weep?” v. 8
You’re selfish, egotistical, not meant to bear children, get over it, grow up, deal with it, maybe it’s God’s way and nature telling you something…”
There were hundreds of comments in regards to the article, with the positive supportive comments coming primarily from those who are part of the 6.1 million who face reproductive loss?
Where is the justice? Where is the mercy? Where is the compassion and care?
Instead it’s a debate about selfishness, greed, money, and egos.
In the realm of the political we lose the personal.
We forget about the very real pain of many facing this kind of loss.
At one point in the text Hannah is praying so ferverently and with such emotion and passion that Eli, the priest suggests that she is drunk. (v. 14). 
Imagine what that type of prayer must look like.
As Hannah, “…pours out [her] soul before the lord.” (v. 15).
            Hannah responds to Eli, “Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.” (v. 16).
            Hannah why do you weep? (v. 8).
We live in a broken world and it’s up to us to work towards justice in an attempt to put some of the pieces back together, using the examples and life of Jesus. Jesus had compassion for women, Jesus had compassion for men, he cared for those on the margins, he reached out and touched those others avoided, looked through or past.  He saw their pain he saw their suffering, he saw their sacredness. And we are called to live into that example, we are called to see the sacredness of each other in our shared humanity, to recognize the pain of others without dismissing or turning into a political debate the very real realities of others.
            It is far too easy to forget there are names and faces and stories attached to the many politicized topics, As we prayed in our prayer of confession today,
Lord indeed forgive us for our ignorance.  As we have not tried to understand or even know about what is happening and what has happened to others.  Yet, we have formed our opinions.  Lord Grant us the willingness to listen to other principals, ideas, and stories. Open are hearts and minds to greater understanding of the many things we would rather not talk aloud.

The church should be a safe place where men, women, families who have experienced this loss are safe.
A space to name that loss, to cry out in pain and anger, at the powerlessness, at the unfairness, a place where as Serene Jones names, “[they can]…in their grief experience the death of hope, the thwarting of an expectation.”
Hannah why do you weep?
            “A husband and wife, sit, silently, in quiet anticipation for the doctor. They receive their diagnosis. They will never have a biological child together. Tears roll down their faces, as they walk silently, clinging to each others hands, digesting this new reality, the loss of their planned future together.”
            Hannah why do you weep?
            “A woman delivers her twins at 23w far to early to survive even with the best medical intervention. One is born still the other lives for only a few minutes…”
            Hannah why do you weep?
            “A same sex couple is denied fertility assistance because the doctor is uncomfortable with their sexuality”
            Hannah why do you weep?
            “A woman experiences her 4th miscarriage …. Yet another loss”[v]
            Hannah why do you weep?
I know why Hannah weeps, the pain, and loss are real and the scars are forever present.
In the case of Hannah, “in due time” she conceives and bears a son whom she names Samuel. The ending is happy, Hannah is finally a mother to her male heir. Just like she prayed.
            Yet, the pain and scars of her infertility mark her forever, she is forever changed. She remembers her promises to the lord those times when she so fervently prayed and she intends to make good on those promises and soon as her son is old enough.
She is forever changed by the experience.
And, today, just as with Hannah many, not all, but many who encounter loss will experience some kind of success, whether they conceive through invitro, IUI, use donor gametes, or chose to adopt or make the decision to remain childless.
But they too are forever marked and changed by the experience.
Returning to serene Jones she comments that, “…there is a failure of the church to speak in theologically pertinent ways to people who have suffered the traumatic loss of a hoped-for child.” (xiv). We miss out on sitting with, and by those who suffer and grieve when we dismiss or politicize the issue.
            The pain is real, the loss is real, and the loss of a child is at the root of our tradition.
            As Jones so beautifully and poignantly describes. God too knows the loss of a child. She writes, “I imagine [God] holding [these men and women], curling her own ruptured body around them and rocking with them. “I know” she says “I know”  For those who have faced this loss, “…there’s a solidarity with this God who has born such loss,… [as together] they grieve the loss not only of a child but also of the entire world. Jones goes on to note that, “What these discussions miss… is a rather ironic fact: the image that most effectively captures the nature of God’s redeeming grace in not an image of mothering, but an image of maternal loss” (150).
            So too should we find the faces, the voices, and the reality of all of those who grieve reproductive loss. Stop politicizing women’s bodies, stop the dismissal, stop the judgments, and allow space for this loss to be experience and expressed.
For God is with us in all our pain whispering silently, “I know, I know…”
 And This. This, is why Hannah weeps.  Amen.

[i]  Davies, Eryl W. The dissenting reader feminist approaches to the Hebrew Bible. Ashgate, 2003. 75
[ii] The dissenting reader 74-75
[iii] Jones, Serene. Trauma and Grace Theology in a Ruptured World. Westminster John Know Press. Louisville, KT, 2009.
[iv] All reader comments from
[v] All stories of loss are true. Names were avoided to protect the identity of those experiencing the loss.

More shots...

I've been so preoccupied with the voting crazyness that I haven't had a chance to update about anything else going on. The babies had the remainder of their 6 month shots on Tuesday plus the first month of their synagis shots. Poor babies in the last week they've had 6 shots, (between the synagis, their regular 6 month shots, and both flu vaccines) plus the oral vaccine. Poor babies.

The babies were hysterical after their synagis shots. Both cried harder than they ever have and I felt just awful, plus the appointment took forever. We've never had to wait longer than 5 min. at our pedi. office and we had to wait close to a half hour just to get some shots.

 Luckily, after the long period spent at the doctor they both came home took a nap and woke up happier than usual. We've been pretty lucky that shots just seem to make the babies sleep better and don't make them too fussy.

I also took the babies to chapel with me on tuesday morning because my friend was giving the sermon. In an attempt to keep the babies away from people I inlisted the help of my friends. We stood in the back with the babies and then I enlisted the husband of a friend to act as a shield after the service was over so people wouldn't touch the babies (dramatic? perhaps. Effective? yes). It was hilarious. At one point the dean of students came over to see the babies and his hand was swatted by a rolled up bulletin, by the babies' bodyguard (all in good fun though, the dean has a great sense of humor and laughed hysterically). The babies did really well in chapel, nice and quiet, and everyone was respectful about keeping their distance.

I leave for Australia in 10 days, but that's another post for another time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Today I am thankful for all the people who voted...#9

I am so astounded by the amount of support we received in the on-line voting. That's about all I can say today I'm exhausted from the non-stop voting from the last few days. No more on-line voting contests for me. I don't want to look at my computer anymore for awhile, my head hurts.

We Won!!! Thanks to all who voted. No more voting for me ever.

If you have a chance please vote as often as you can for #2! We're behind by thousands and voting ends at 5:00EST.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today I am thankful for online communities and friends...#8

There are many in my life who do not understand the appeal of on-line communities, but for me in the past 3 or 4 years the friendships and bonds I have formed with women, whom I have never met has been amazing.

Immediately after out IF diagnosis I sought support from an on-line community of women also going through IF, and through that board we were given a TTTC-sister. Jess  and I were matched up and we began communicating through email as we both began to wade through the IF process. All of it. The grief, disappointment, the struggles and emotions surrounding other peoples pregnancy announcements etc. Of course we have also had cause to celebrate. Jess was the very first person in the entire world to know I was pregnant (even before Marcus), and I happy to say that she just a few weeks ago gave birth to her little miracle daughter Avelyn. I can say without a doubt that Jess is my friend, one of my best friends, despite the fact that we have never met. There's an understanding and a bond that we have as we navigated the murky waters of IF, and my hope is that we will stay in touch forever. I think of what a great gift it will be for Eli, Emerson and Avelyn one day to meet and talk and have someone else with a similar story.  

I also have found support in on-line communities for parenting preemies and also parenting multiples which comes with it's own unique challenges. The shared knowledge and friendships on those boards have been amazing.  I am grateful for the technology that allows for the sharing of stories and the support of one another across and around the globe.

I also really love blogging which is a community onto itself. I don't have a huge readership, but I do appreciate the advice and support that I find here as well.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Today In honor of National Prematurity Awareness day I'm thankful for medical care...Day #7

Because it's National prematurity awareness day I am thankful for my access to some of the best medical facilities in the country. I never intended to move to Connecticut and attend graduate school where I'm currently at.  I intended to have a baby take a year off from school and then apply to law school...

Those plans didn't go so well since it took 3 years to have kids, so here we are, I'm in completely different degree program and we live across the country. In hindsight being here, with access to the this medical care and facilities, is probably what helped my babies make it to 32 weeks and continue to thrive.

My cervix started shortening when I was 21 weeks, and each week, despite all of my best efforts it continued to shorten. At 27 weeks I virtually had no more cervix, had a positive fFN test, was contracting and was admitted to the hospital for the first time, to get the steroid shots, and attempt to stop the contractions. During this time the doctors began talking to us about what it might mean to have babies at 27 weeks and we were terrified. I spent the next 5 weeks on bedrest (all of that in the hospital except a few days).

Those days of bedrest were awful, living in the hospital is not restful or enjoyable, but I knew everyday I could keep them in there was a few less days they would be in the NICU.

At 2:00am in my 32nd week of pregnancy Eli's water broke and they were unable to stop my labor. In an emergency c-section, under general anesthesia my babies were born, and immediately taken to the NICU. It would be 36 hours before I held Eli for the first time and 5 days before I was able to hold Emerson.

As much as the bedrest, delivery, and NICU time sucked, I know that we are some of the lucky ones. I have access to incredible medical insurance and health care. I have access to some of the best doctors in the world and because of that my babies were given some of the very best care before they were even born.

This is a privilege that many do not have, and I feel so blessed and thankful everyday that we live where we live, with the medical facilities that we have, so my babies, born 8 weeks to soon had the very best chance at life. Being a mom to preemies is challenging and presents a whole new set of issues for me that I'm still working through, but in the end my babies are thriving and growing, and for that I am thankful and blessed.

The last and final round Please vote one last time!!

First, thank you all for your support and putting up with this non-stop voting. We have finally reached the last and final round (Thank goodness). This contest is turning out to be more involved than a presidential election, but we made it to the top 10. The winner of this round will determine the winner of the stroller, so it's the last and most important.

Same as always.

2.) Scroll way down to see the top 10 and vote on in the right hand side of the page we're #2 this time around the little nun and priest

You can now vote as many times as possible.

After this round you won't be bothered again.

Thank you so much!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Today I'm thankful for some healing ...#6

Today I am thankful for some healing and moving forward. Our IF is one of the hardest things Marcus and I have had to face as a couple. The diagnosis was devastating and it was a loss we had to deal with, and in many ways will deal with for the rest of our lives, and since our diagnosis in Jan. of 2008 I have been really angry and haven't had a real space or forum to express that anger and sadness and the big ugly grieving process.  Even now with our two beautiful babies the pain is still very real.

This Sunday I preached on 1 Sam 1:1-20 which is the story of Hannah's encounter as she experiences the grief of her own infertility. I structured my sermon on reproductive loss (IF, miscarriage, stillbirth etc). and on the politicalization of IF and the treatments used to treat the IF. The sermon was deeply personal (although I didn't name our story necessarily, it's there but veiled by anonymity). The first few times I practiced the sermon I couldn't get through it without crying. The wounds and the pain of it all are still that fresh, and even Marcus as he listened to me practice could only just say, "It's really sad."

On Sunday as I was preaching I looked into the congregation and saw a man with his head in his hands crying, and I knew, just from looking at him, and his reaction, that he too knew the pain of reproductive loss, and again I had to work to remain my composure. There was a commonality, an unspoken understanding, and I was so glad that I was naming this loss in a public space. It would have been deeply healing and helpful for me to hear such a sermon during our own struggles and even now just for someone to name and recognize the reality of the loss, but unfortunately it's just a topic that's not talked about enough. I suppose unless you've been on the side of some kind of loss it's just hard to know how to approach it.

Afterwards, many people from the church spoke to me about having a new understanding, they thanked me for my words, and I know to at least one person I spoke truth about the pain, grief, anger and sadness about a longed-for child.

Although many didn't know, I was speaking from personal experience. So many commented that I must have done a lot of research, but honestly the research was from my own lived knowledge. I know the pain Hannah felt about her IF, because Marcus and I too have been in that place where we cried, wept, and begged, for a child. Naming that experience out-loud, while incredibly difficult, was also incredibly healing. I am changed because of the IF that is a fact, all I can do now is try to make use of my knowledge and understanding related to reproductive loss, and move forward in a way to be helpful to others who also face that loss, and for that empathy and understanding I am grateful.

I'm debating whether or not to post my sermon here. Reading a sermon isn't nearly as effective as hearing it, since it's written for the ear and not the eye. I guess we'll see.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Today I'm thankful for my in-laws ...#5

All of them, my mother in law, my father in law, and my brothers in laws the aunts, uncles and grandparents too. I'm very lucky to have a good relationship with all of Marcus' family. His brothers are like my brothers (and they without a doubt treat me like their little sister and pick on a lot of the times) but  I also know that if I ever needed anything they would do anything to help, and they're a lot of fun most of the time.

I'm also close to my MIL. We have a lot of common interests appreciate that she takes an interest in our school and our lives She was also very supportive during all of our IF stuff and is someone who can get along with just about anyone which is a skill I appreciate. Plus I really love her cooking. I'm an incredibly picky eater and she is always thoughtful about the meals she makes and they're always so good too. Especially the homemade soups and the twice baked potatoes.

I really enjoy spending time with my IL's and the babies are so very luck to have them for grandparents. I'm looking forward to Christmas so they can meet their Granddad and their uncles for the first time (Marcus' mom came out her in July).

I also really admire how close Marcus is with his parents and his brothers. They all communicate with each other so regularly and often. I am blessed to be a part of their family, and I am thankful everyday for my in-laws.

Christmas last year. (Marcus other brother and his wife are missing plus as a random side note I was 13w pregnant in this picture).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Today I'm thankful for my friends ...#4

I literally could not do the full time grad student/mom of twins thing without them. They were so helpful and supportive to both me and Marcus while I was on bedrest, and when the babies were in the NICU and now that the babies are here they have all been amazing.

They watch my babies for free (and actually fight over who gets to do so I have never had to miss a class since I have many backups), they follow my crazy, strict, hand-washing and sanitizing requests without blinking an eye, and they truly love my babies and I trust them all with the care of my babies. They also bring me food, stop by to visit, stay away when they're sick, offer to watch the babies so Marcus and I can go on dates, and are just really amazing incredible people. I am blessed. They are my grad school family (since our families live a few thousand miles away) and without them I could not have survived the last year (my pregnancy, bedrest, NICU, parenting preemie twins, being a student/intern combo).

The babies love to nap on D & his husband J, the babies pretty much napped on them the whole time we were in Cape Cod and they've offered to watch the babies for a day so marcus and I can go into the city sometime this winter.

Just some of my other friends at my baby shower.

I am blessed and so very thankful.


For the first 6 months we basically let the babies nap where ever they wanted. They wouldn't nap in their cribs so we didn't force the issue, and we quickly found that they napped best in the swing. The problem with this discovery is that we only have one swing. Which resulted in the babies having opposite napping schedules, so I always had a baby awake, and no break ever.

These past few days I've been putting them down for naps in their cribs at the same time, and they are finally figuring it out. As I write they're both asleep, at the same time in their cribs. It's a miracle. I don't even know what to do with myself. Maybe I'll go shower, or do the dishes, or laundry... oh the possibilities.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Today I'm thankful for hand sanitizer ...#3

Yes, I realize this is a completely absurd thing to be thankful for, but I love the stuff. I've always been a big fan of it, but while the babies were in the NICU it became second nature to us to scrub in right as we walked into the NICU, with soap and water, and then use hand sanitizer any time we touched anything, or switched babies.

We continue this ritual at home with constant hand washing and hand sanitizing and have bottles everywhere. I'm especially grateful for it now that it's cold and flu season and I attend a University where people like to cough and sneeze all over everything. (Which just grosses me out to no end).

It's the simple things in life I suppose, but my hand washing and sanitizing efforts have paid off and I haven't been sick since January.

Plus I have one of these...

In my home which us just an added presence for the babies' care providers to wash and sanitize often.

Random I know. I promise I do have deeper and more in depth things that I'm thankful for and I'll get to those, but I really do love the stuff. Especially since caring for my little preemie babies (who also have remained healthy). Plus, I've had kind of a weird, emotionally exhausting day and it was easier to just write about a simple matter.

Round #3- Top 20 Vote for the babies again!!

Yay! Thanks for all your help these last two rounds we successfully made it to the top 20. Now it's time to vote again.

2.) Vote for #3 Our little Nun & Priest
3.) One vote per computer/phone so if you have more than one vote.

Feel free to pass this on. Thanks again for all your help!!

Voting ends Monday the 16th so vote ASAP if you're so inclined!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today I'm thankful for Music ...#2

I love to sing. I'm not the best singer and I'm not the worst singer, I don't sing in public solo, but I really love to sing. And my days with the babies are often filled with songs. Songs I make up, for example I have a song I sing when I dress them:

"Put your feet in your pants and do the happy dance, do the happy dance." repeat (with some happy dancing and wiggling of their feet)
"Put your arms in the sleeves and wiggle for me please" repeat (with some wiggling of the baby's arms)

Obviously I'm a lyrical genius :~) but the babies seem to like it.

I also just sing whatever song happens to be stuck in my head. Because of the nature of the service and sermon I've been working on the songs have been hymns, "Pass me not o gentle savior" and "We'll understand it better by and by"(And don't tell Marcus but I might have also starting singing christmas music, he already has it on at work so he's not a fan of hearing it at home already).

Or Mandy Moore or Michael Jackson (which makes Eli laugh) and country music of all kinds. I'm glad the babies are not yet old enough to protest.

I would also like to add that Marcus creates many of his own songs for the babies, oddly enough they almost all have to do with pickles. Neither of us is really sure where that theme came from.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sleep habits...

The babies haven't shared a crib for several months now and that's mostly because of Eli.

When we lay Emerson down for bed where ever we lay her is where she falls asleep and stays for the duration of the sleep period. No movement at all.

Eli on the other hand literally turns in circles all night long, twists his neck and body in all sorts of shapes. Every-time we go in and check he's in a new position. As Marcus and I like to say Eli sleeps like a wack-a-doodle, and this is said with the love and affection from his mother, who also sleeps in strange positions and moves a lot while she sleeps. Eli takes after me in this sense, and Emerson like her dad goes to bed, falls asleep and stays there.

So because of Eli's movement, which resulted in Emerson getting kicked in the head on more than one occasion they now are tucked into their own cribs each night.

Today I'm thankful for Marcus...#1

On facebook there's a challenge to post in your status what you're thankful for everyday until thanksgiving. I happen to think that's a fantastic idea and lends itself well to blogging. So starting today until thanksgiving one post a day about what I'm thankful for. It's good for ones mental health I think to sometimes focus on the positive.

Today and everyday I am thankful for Marcus. I don't know what I would do without him. He's supportive in all of my goals, dreams and aspirations and even when I don't think I can do it, he pushes me to keep going. He's an amazing dad just like I always knew he would be and I love listening to him talk to and sing to the babies.

 He has the best sense of humor that many don't get to see because he's so shy.

 I admire how hard he works to support us while going to school full time, and he seems to have never ending patience with just about everything and everybody.

(He was doing homework at the hospital while I was there on bedrest).

 He tells me I'm beautiful everyday, he prays on a daily basis (something I just learned about him) and he smiles all the time everyday. He also writes notes in my notebooks for school, so when I open them there's a surprise message from him. He understands my sense of humor, goes along with my many crazy ideas, and laughs all the time. I am eternally and forever grateful and thankful to have him in my life.

(High school homecoming our senior year. It was crazy hair and dress up day or something).
We've already been through so much together and I look forward to the many coming years.

Notes from Physical Therapy (Birth to 3)

These again are mostly for me, but I like to keep a record of what we did and their homework.


Developmental Team Objectives
1.) Head Control/alignment/trunk control
2.) Sitting
3.) Propping on arms on tummy
4.) rolling
5.) Manipulating objects with hands

1.) Sitting with support & reaching
2.) Tummy time
3.) on back, kicking & reaching
4.) neck stretching/righting reactions

Progress since last visit:
Eli's neck motion is improving. He sits with minimal support at the belly. He reaches and grasps objects and just started transferring from one hand to the other and brings objects to his mouth. Tolerates tummy time for 20 min or so. Rolls occasionally from tummy to back.

During visit today:
In sitting, he still needs support at belly and is able to hold his head and shoulders erect fairly well. Neck held typically tilted 20 degrees to his left. He has full passive neck rotation and actively turns his head to the left 60 degrees in sitting position. Neck righting when tipped to right for 20-30 sec. when on tummy. Holds up his head to 60 degrees. Turns his head both directions but better to the right. On back reaches up overhead for objects.

Suggested activities for daily routine:
1.) Daily neck stretching- turning to left, tipping to right. Encourages him to turn his head actively throughout the day in all positions.
2.) Sitting or being held vertically. Tip him slowly left to encourages him to tip his head to the right in order to stay vertical, to strengthen right neck side bending muscles.
3.) Sitting to play with support as needed to stay with erect trunk. Encourages manipulation of objects with hands and head turning, side to side, especially left.
4.) On tummy encourage pushing up onto arms by lifting toys us. Encourage head turning to both sides, especially left. Help him lift his head and roll to back when tired of tummy time.
5.) On back help him find his feet. Encourage grabbing his feet and kicking at toys with them.


Developmental Objectives:
1.) Head/trunk control
2.) Sitting
3.) Propping on arms on tummy
4.) Rolling
5.) Manipulating objects

1.) Tummy time
2.) On back, kicking and reaching
3.) Supported sitting, reaching
4.) Neck rang of motion
5.) Hamstring stretching.

Progress since last visit:
Emerson will roll tummy to back, sometimes and has rolled back to tummy twice. Reaching and grasping objects with either hand and bringing objects to mouth. Full neck range of motion. Tolerates tummy time some.

During today's visit:
Emerson sits with moderate support. She tends to slouch with rounded back and head slumped forward, through not as much as previously. She is able to sit erect briefly with support. She reaches and grasps objects. On Tummy time she lifts her head to 60 degrees for up to 1 min. at a time. Little weight through elbow. Will push up onto hands with lots of helps o back, able to reach overhead for objects with either/both hands.

Suggested activities for daily routine:
1.) Encourage lots of tummy time 30-60 min a day total. Encourage her to lift her head higher and press onto her hands. Keep working on turning her head side to side to follow objects.
2.) Sitting hep her stay erect position when possible by giving support at her trunk. Have her reach for and play with objects.
3.) Add hamstring stretching one leg straight down, bring the other legs straight up until she looks uncomfortable (Not in pain). Try for 30 sec. 3 times a day on each leg. This is to help her be able to sit up straighter.
4.) On back help her find her feet, bring them to her and help her grab onto them. Put noisy toys on her feet to encourage her to kick them around.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Vote for Eli & Emerson Round #2

So we made the top 40 thank you to everyone who voted. Now it's time for round two (sorry we're annoying) This time it's even easier

2.) Scroll down and on the right hand side of the screen is an option to pick the number you want to vote for.
3.) Eli & Emerson are #29, so click #29 submit vote and you're done. 

The little nun & priest!

It's one vote per computer so if you have more than one computer vote that way and spread the word. 

Thanks for you help!

6 month doctor appointment

Both babies are thriving and doing well. Developmentally they're around 4 months which is to be expected because that's their adjusted age, but they are both healthy, big and doing well. The doctors and nurses always praise the ease in which Marcus and I seem to have with the babies (it's an illusion). Well, that and the babies are usually well behaved when other people are around.

And my little preemie babies are getting so big, and continue to grow right on the growth curve.

Weight: 16 lbs 25%
Height: 25.5 in. 10%
Head: 44.5 cm. 75% (the boy continues to have a large head)

Weight: 14lbs 5oz 25%
Height: 24 in. 3%
Head: 40.5 cm 3% (and she continues to have a tiny little head).

They both needed about a million shots today between their regular 6 month shots, synagis, and both flu vaccines and neither I or the doctor were comfortable giving them all at once.

So they each got three shots. The DTaP, regular flu, and H1N1. They'll go back next week for the remainder of the 6 month vaccines and the synagis, plus the oral rotovirus. Poor babies.

Emerson screamed and screamed today it was heartbreaking. Eli on the other hand smiled through the first one, whimpered on the second, and then finally cried a bit for the third.

We're not going to start solids yet because there's really no rush and in my opinion they're not ready, especially Emerson with her still lacking head control and our Pedi. bascially affirmed this decision. It was a good visit, and we'll go again next week for more shots. Poor babies I hate that they have to get so many.

We also asked about Eli's continual non-stop spitting up. Hours after he's eaten, everyday all day long. She said as long as it's not affecting growth or causing discomfort he should grow out of it and it's common with premature babies. I don't know about that something still strikes me as not right, but I guess we'll just hope that he'll outgrow it soon.

Waiting for the doctor
(Marcus thought I was insane for bringing the camera, it's a good way to pass time).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

6 months old!

How did that happen? I can't believe they're already 1/2 a year old it's so crazy to me, especially I think because they should only be 4 months old.  I still definitely have my moments when taking care of twins is just so overwhelming and complicated, but we have survived 6 months and that in itself is an achievement.

Eli at six months:

* Tri-pod sit for a few seconds (all the while grunting and breathing hard from the effort, it's a lot of work for him).
* Pick up toys
* Lays on his back and uses his legs to move in circles (it's hilarious)
* Smiles as big as his mouth can open, and laughs but those are rare and hard to get out.
* Spits up all the time still. Hours after he's done eating. (We're going to address this with the doc. again).
* Sleeps 8-10 hours most nights (not always but pretty often)
* Twists the bottom half of his body in an attempt to roll from back to tummy, but he can't quite get all the way over.
* Find us across the room
* Uses his voice (but he's much quieter than his sister)
* Drools all over the place he's a slimy baby
* Eats 5oz at a time every 3 hours during the day
* Sucks his thumb/chews on his thumbs

Emerson at 6 months
* Laughs all the time especially for her dad
* Loves to look at herself in the mirror
* Pick up things (but prefers quieter rattles, the loud ones startle her)
* Sleeps 10 hours most nights
* Eats 5oz at a time every 3 hours during the day
* Screeches for no reason
* Loves fabric of all kinds, especially to suck and chew on
* Drools all over the place, she's also a slimy baby

I don't really have a lot more to say. But we have survived the first 6 months with twins, that in itself is something to celebrate.

They were both very interested in the paper. It was hard to get them to look up at me.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

One method to get them to calm down...

This toy....

With the lights on...

Gets there attention every time...

Just a few seconds prior they were both crying.
Lights these days have special magical affects.
Both babies are intrigued with anything that lights up,
especially Emerson.


For as long as I can remember I have loved books. I can only hope that this same love of reading and books is something I can pass on to Eli & Emerson.

So we're starting now...

So far it seems to be working.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Things that made me smile today...

1.) Listening to Marcus read nursery rhymes to the babies this morning while I was getting ready in the next room.

2.) Taking the babies for a walk in their cute beanies and jackets.

3.) Marcus' high pitched screech when a spider (a real one) landed on his foot today in the shower (it was priceless he hates spiders).

4.) Eli's giggling to my rendition of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal

and the best one of all

5.) Finding out that the babies were 100% approved for the Synagis through March!!! (after being told they no longer qualified because of 6 hours last week full story here ). I love out pediatrician we owe her a huge thanks for her quick attention and help on this.

Finally another plea to vote for the babies here.

Vote for the babies (if you're so inclined)

We entered the babies halloween costumes in an on-line competition. The first round of voting is easy.

1.) send an email to this address

2.) State that you want to vote for #61 (That's the pic of our babies in their nun and priest outfit)

3.) It's one vote per email address, so if you have more than one email address feel free to vote using each of them.

4.) (here's the link to all the entries if you want to look but obviously our twins are the cutest, but I fully recognize that I'm bias).

This first round of voting only lasts until Nov. 8th at 8:00 EST so vote ASAP.

Thanks for you help.

This is the pic. we entered.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Today, again, I realized just how much I have been impacted by our infertility. I attended an all day seminar day called, "Counseling for Reproductive loss" which involved information on how to effectively counsel men, women, and others who are impacted by reproductive loss in the areas of miscarriage & stillbirth, infertility, adoption loss, abortion, and fetal abnormalities.

I quickly realized that I could be giving the seminar. Through my experiences with IF, and the support network I have found through on-line communications and friends I have real life sources for information, personal experience with the loss, and a knowledge of the technical side of it that the other participants in the room did not seem to have.

There were so many wrong assumptions made that I was constantly working to correct, suggesting different terminology, illustrating the many hurtful ways people try to be helpful, and the different means for support in these situations.

I did not share my story. I never share my story. That story is locked away on my private blog, and known to only a select few. I'm struggling with that aspect of it  I don't want it to be a secret. I have been so profoundly changed and affected by our particular issues in regards to our infertility, my pregnancy, the premature birth and I feel like I can't share it. I suppose a part of me does not feel like it is my story to tell. It's Marcus, Eli and Emerson's story to tell if and when they should choose to share it in the future.

The whole thing is such a huge conflict for me. I want to share, I want to educate, and yet I want to maintain the integrity and personal nature of our story as it impacts my family.

It's something I'll continue to think about and talk through with Marcus.

I guess once again I realized how much the Infertility has totally, completely, altered who I am as a person.

In some ways altered for good, and in other ways not so much.

Monday, November 2, 2009


**Today I was holding Eli in my lap while simultaneously typing a paper for school (a common occurrence these days, I'm getting very good at typing one handed).  Marcus came home during this and started playing peek-a-boo with Eli.

Marcus would hide behind my computer screen and then pop out and say "Peek-A-Boo" which delighted Eli into laughter and huge smiles. Then when Marcus disappeared again, Eli started pouting and tears welled up in his eyes, until Marcus appeared once again,  then more laughs. We repeated a few times until the pouts and welling up of the eyes were just to much to.

It was so adorable and so sad to see his pouting lip every time his dad disappeared. Poor baby doesn't quite fully grasp the concept of peek-a-boo. He didn't want his dad to leave even for a second.

** The other incredibly adorable thing about Eli these days is how much he loves kisses. Anytime we give him a kiss on the cheek or the forehead he smiles as wide as his mouth can possible get. He's definitely a snugly, affectionate little baby.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Into the pumpkin...

I really wanted a picture with the babies in a pumpkin and we waited until last minute to find a pumpkin but we found one. Surprisingly the babies didn't freak out like I thought they would. They both just seemed confused which means no smiles but at least they weren't screaming. 

And since we put the babies in the pumpkins I thought it was only fair that Marcus and I take a turn inside too. I think the babies were way cuter inside.

And pumpkins are surprisingly heavy to hold up on your head, just FYI.

Emerson was in a delightful mood today...

which is great and incredibly unusual for her. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that she got 14 hours of sleep last night. She went to bed at 6:00 pm, woke up at 1:00 am to eat. Went right back to sleep and slept until 8:30 pm. Our little peanut needs sleep or she just doesn't know what to do with herself (it's really unpleasant for everyone, most days she just whines and cries and she's a horrible napper, but a good, long, nights rest did wonders for her. She just smiled, laughed, and "talked" to us all day long. And even took some decent naps, she was like a whole new baby.

"Their arms are too short..."

I bought new jackets for the babies and they came in the mail today. Marcus tried them on while I was over at my school doing some work and sent me this picture on my cell phone.

Then he called and said, "Their arms are too short."

I assumed he meant that sleeves of the jackets were too short, which made me sad since the jackets are so cute.... but turns out he literally meant that our babies arms are too short.  haha

I'm always so amazed at the different ways we communicate. Simply saying the sleeves are too long is so much clearer.

(It also seems Emerson was in the mood to cuddle with her brother... well that or she was just tipping over).