… one stage down, too many more to go

sweet babies(Rhy is fine…. caught her in the middle of a head turn. lol. No babe was harmed during our morning picture taking sesh!)

My babies will be 3 months old in a matter of days…. and, I’m definitely emotional about it.

Yes, of course, they grow. It’s no surprise.
That shouldn’t be a cause for tears and sadness.
Or, extra snuggles.

But, it’s worth that and more.

If you’ve been around awhile, you may remember quite a bit of this….. but, honestly so much of it has been stuffed so deep, I choose not to go back there.

But, I can’t forget this, and THIS!!!!!!!, and this… and, sadly,  this.
….. and, the years worth of heartache and sadness that came before May 2014…
When I posted this then this…. then, ultimately, this after everything was confirmed.
What a month that was… It’s amazing how quickly (“quickly”) things can change.

littlebitsThe fact that my babies have grown out of their newborn clothes, clothes that were so baggy on them when they came home….
and, their 0-3 month clothes are getting snug.
Their first headbands are getting a bit tight.
Their first shoes have the teensiest room left in the foot.
4oz of milk is becoming quite the joke.

Babies I weren’t supposed to be able to have are here. They are thriving. They are growing so well.
These girls have the best personalities. One’s personality is gigantic and literally comedic. The other more laid back and serious. Her facial expressions and smiles are the sweetest because you know when she smiles, she means it.

I have a couple of sweet friends, specifically, who struggled with me through our experiences of infertility and loss. And, it’s beyond beautiful to see them preparing to welcome their sweet babies.

All mamas are crazy emotional about their babes. All mamas can’t believe they grow so fast and time races as quickly as it does. I’m not minimizing any mamas love for their child. But, as with anything else, when you struggle and struggle and lose and work so very hard for something you want from you core, there’s a different type of appreciation. A different type of emotion that wells up about everything.

shoesBecause it wasn’t supposed to be.
But, God’s plan turned out to be very different and much more amazing than what we could see.
It resounded louder than all that we’d heard.
It redeemed all of the pain we’d felt.

And, how can you not be emotional over such a miracle?

While I’m sad about what’s behind us, I’m so gun shy and timid about what’s in front of us. I almost separate their age/development in 3m intervals. Kinda like their clothes! lol.
While 0-3m was a learning curve for us, I’m somewhat looking forward to investing in more clothing/shoes for them. They have a couple of more pairs of shoes and NB headbands outside of what’s been pictured because I chose not to purchase so much when I knew they wouldn’t be going out much for most of that time span and also they grow so quickly. We didn’t wear a few NB items and a lot of their NB size clothes I was able to donate to another preemie mama friend. Which was really fun. The bonus, I still have another kid’s worth of clothes I will probably donate! Lol.
So, 3-6 months…. We’ll be able to wear spring/summer clothes & shoes which I’m really pumped about. I’m sure they’ll end up with much more clothes/shoes this time!! I’m also anticipating the developments that come with having two 3-6m olds! (I can’t believe I’m saying that!) I’m so ready to see how these girls interact with each other as they grow! Sitting up, crawling, little baby teeth, real food (!!!), more cooing/babbling, more twin interactions, more of everything.

bocobaby
I’ll definitely miss the newness of everything. Over the last couple of weeks, they’ve started to hold on to you when you hold them. They wrap their little baby arms around you while they hold their heads up and look around and it makes me melt. They aren’t limp newbies anymore who aren’t able to actively participate in their world. They are learning to effect and control. The first time they reach their arms out for me I’ll probably burst. I think the little “hugs”, responding to kisses & letting you know they want more,  along with both of them smiling consistently and responsively were my favorite parts of this last stage. Oh, and of course, sleeping longer through the night!

One thing I am a bit undecided about, but at the same time very excited to start in this new stage is feeding these babies real food! We tried giving them a bit of applesauce on a spoon and they totally aren’t ready for a spoon! I’ll give them another few weeks, then see where we are after that! We were gifted a Baby Bullet and I have a good friend who owns Southern Cadence Cuisine that has offered to help me with preparing natural, tasty foods for the girls! She offers lessons in preparing your cuties nutritious meals that are age appropriate. She starts at 5 months, so if your babe is nearing that age, definitely contact her and let her know you’re interested in Cooking for Cuties!! I’m going to start lessons soon so I’ll know what I’m doing when we’re ready for the girls to have food!! (If you visit, tell her Alaina sent you!)

These last three months flew by so insanely fast…….. Can’t wait for the next 3!

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nostalgia

IMG_5486.JPGI have a messy little eater….. My teensiest babe is a little guzzler and leaks milk ev.er.eee.where. Ok? Like all over the place. So, (when her dad feeds her) she usually needs a onesie swap after she eats. Yea, I kinda threw him under the bus there…. Lol.
Anywho.
The girls have been wearing NB sizes and they’ve been baggy. Especially on Rhyann because she’s smaller. WELL. Today! My girl FITS one of the smallest NB onesies she has. And, I just about cried.

Becoming emotional over the girls filling out a onesie or downing their 3oz of milk may seem trivial, but knowing there these girls have come from makes it huge. Just a few weeks ago, they were having trouble finishing 45cc’s (1.5 oz) of milk and would have to have whatever they didn’t finish tubed. They couldn’t maintain their weight – it was constantly up and down, not stabilizing at all. Rhy dropped to a bit over 3lbs at some point and in the two weeks she’s been home, she’s gained three pounds. (!!!!!!!!) Both girls have gained in weight and grown in length since they’ve been home and that makes my heart sing.

I remember how light they were in my arms and how frail & itty bitty they looked. I can hear how soft their cries were and the annoying beeps of the NICU. I won’t ever forget how long the days were and how sad it was to leave them alone at night. How scary it was to meet with the doctors or receive their calls, anxious to hear how they did during the night.

IMG_5960.JPG photo taken by Christin Armstrong

To see them now is to see completely different babies. Babies who scream with intentions of making sure you hear and attend to them. These girls have preferences and the sweetest smiles. They’re so beautiful and changing everyday.

So, I’m proud of them and incredibly grateful for them.

So proud of how God has allowed them to grow and develop as they have and humbled that I’m able to have a front row seat to their lives. I’m looking forward to what God is going to do with these girls and how He’s going to be made known through their lives.

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conscious gratitude

So, I literally don’t have the words to describe my feelings when I’m confronted with this:

IMG_5915.JPG{iPhone photo: Christin Armstrong}
…. and, again, let’s note the “chub”. My girls no longer have loose skin but cheeks and mini-rolls.
Progress, people, sweet progress. 

Disclaimer: I’m a mess and controllably uncontrollably crying so please forgive the mushy, overly emotional ramblings, k? Yes, it’s a real thing. It’s how you cry when you don’t want to freak anyone out but you can’t not cry. See? It’s a thing and you’ve done it before.

My friend Christin came over and captured my sweet ones today for a newborn sesh and we spent most of the session fawning over the girls. Lots of “where’s your phone?!”, “hurry… I gotta get this shot.”, “they peed…”, “ooooh, look!”, and shushing babies happened. And, my heart melted.

I feel that the girls have had a few “defining” moments since they were born…. Moments when I saw them in a new light, moments where my perspectives about them changed and I saw them differently. I think it happens a lot when you’re in love. You’re constantly and arbitrarily taken by what you see.

The first moment was when they were born. My gosh, I saw them above the curtain when my doctor held them high so that I could see them & when they were brought over to me. Their little swollen, peach colored faces were amazing to see. I could hardly breathe.
The second was the first time I saw them in the NICU & held them. So tiny with loose arm skin kept warm in their little incubators.

Then the third, today. This photoshoot.
All “dolled up” in a bow & wrapped in fabric. Or, just lounging diaperless (legs crossed!) on some fabric donning only a headband. They were beautiful and I truly saw it. I saw the greatest blessings.

You would think that everyday I wake up completely overwhelmed at the thought and sight of my girls. But, I don’t. Am I over the moon with them – of course but the novelty of them has kinda worn off. Between poopy diapers, exhaustion, 16 feedings a day, endless consoling of two babies, and life the magic of my girls can be overshadowed by realities and caring for them. I felt that my feelings equated to ungratefulness.

But, today!!! I remembered what it was like to fall in love all over again in a millisecond of a moment. To be so enthralled and taken that you can do nothing but smile and laugh and (for me) cry. And, stare. Lots of staring happened today.

Sometimes I feel that my heart hasn’t quite wrapped itself around what has happened. I hadn’t quite allowed myself to truly fall and believe and accept that this life, these girls, being a mama was real. It’s crazy because I mean, they’re mine but to wholeheartedly  get it with your heart hadn’t happened, you know? You’re stuck and that confusion that happens when you have something so very incredibly amazing you have no idea how you got it, what you did to deserve it, and you’re freaked out because it’s so special you’re terrified and when the thought of losing it sets in and you can do nothing but write run-on sentences and ramble.

My girls will be a whole entire month on Sunday and I’m completely just in love with the reality, idea, and scent (yes, their tasty baby scent) of my girls. Just the fact that my heart finally gets it is even sweeter. I knew that I’d become numb in a lot of ways over the last few years and got very used to the deep lows after great highs. For my sanity, emotionally distancing myself was the best way to go.  After so long, it was very difficult for me to warm up to and embrace any good thing and I felt so guilty and horrible as a new mom loving my girls but not fully allowing myself to love with all of my heart or with any real depth. But, now, sweet Jesus……. I’m so grateful. Not only for them but for the softening of my heart which I’ve been praying for and for the deepest love I feel for them.

Now, scroll back up and swoon over those baby rolls and teensy fingers, k?!

Post Jam: I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You, Ingrid Michaelson
I was reminded of this song by my friend’s Insta and can’t get this version out of my mind! Fits my feelings perfectly, yea? 🙂

 

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