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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week three

IMG_5710.JPG My girls are three weeks old today. Lo and Rhyann have been home a week and it doesn’t even seem real.

They are changing daily and their personalities are already distinguishable. They are eating like champs and finishing their bottles much faster and with a lot more intention than they were in the NICU. Although they came at 34 weeks and were really good at the suck/swallow/breathe task, they had a hard time finishing their bottles before conking out which was a huge concern. But, NOW! my girls chug their milk and enjoy eating! I’ve even increased their feeds and they’re doing an awesome job with taking more milk!

Rhyann and Lo are super sweet and cuddly, but have flipped the script on us! I’ve been earning my title as “new mom” over the last couple of days! The girls used to sleep so. well. and days/nights with them were a breeze!
Now they fight their sleep and wake up crying in between feeds just wanting to be held which they never did before. So, our nights have been kinda long and mama is exhausted. Luckily, we’re all able to catch up on sleep between their morning feedings. They’ve also claimed my chest as their favorite place to relax at the end of the day so we spend a bit of time just lounging together. They don’t quite fit on my chest as comfy as before, but they don’t seem to mind sharing the tight space!

IMG_5708.PNG Even though everything they do just about makes me nervous, I’m starting to relax more and more. I was never afraid of them, I think being a mom makes you hyper sensitive to every possible thing that could possibly go wrong. And, I’m a slight hypochondriac who self diagnoses and WebMD is only a click away, so……………. I’ve had to keep myself same by asking a ton of really ridiculous questions to my sisters. Lol. We laugh and move on.

3 weeks in, 1 real week in the trenches and I’m really enjoying being these little girls’ mama. I’m looking forward to seeing them intentionally smile and hearing their voices & laughter!

These gals make my day every day!

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speechless…

day1I am a mama.
It’s unreal. It’s beautiful. It’s certainly special.

It’s hard to believe that a couple of weeks ago these little girls were in my belly kicking and squirming….. There are moments where I expect to feel a jolt or someone getting comfortable but instead I have moments where these little girls are in my arms squirming and peacefully laying on my chest.

I thank God for my girls daily……
Thank Him for honoring his promises…..
I thank God for blessing us with children I never thought we’d have.
logan2

The past couple of weeks have been so difficult for me. Ten days in the hospital, a kidney infection, sky high blood pressure, and sudden onset of pre-eclampsia really caused me to be very emotional and disappointed about how the last couple of weeks played out. Every time I even began to complain, I was reminded of how God saw to it that when my health began to falter, I’d be in the best place possible to be taken care of. I was reminded how of great of a pregnancy I’d had and how great it was that I’d been able to carry my girls to 34 weeks. My doctor (who is phenomenal) constantly reminded me of how my small frame carried so much for as long as it could…. that my belly was measuring 43 cm at 34w. That my uterus was literally stretched well past that of one carrying a singleton full term and that everything was fine.

A quick little update:
My girls were born by c-section due to pre-eclampia at 34w and 1 day. They weighed 4 lbs 13 oz and 4 lbs 6 oz and are in NICU to basically feed and grow. They are doing a magnificent job and are meeting their milestones and taking all of their adjustments in stride. For our hospital, they are required to meet a few milestones before going home which they seem to be doing a lot faster than I thought they would. logan4
In order to go home, they have to be able to:
a.) maintain their body temps b.) gain and maintain their weight c.) sleep with no apnea d.) suck/swallow/breathe simultaneously.

And, right now they’re able to maintain their body temps and should be transitioning from their incubator to an open crib within the next day or so. Initially, their incubator was heated, covered by a blanket that kept the light out, and they slept on a z-flow which prevented them from moving around so they wouldn’t burn calories and in turn lose weight. They were able to have their lamps turned off a couple of days ago and as of today, they no longer had their z-flow or blanket covering their incubators! Not only that, but their incubator tops will now stay open for 24 hours! If they do well, THEN they will move to an open crib!! Definitely progress and definitely reason to praise God and be ever so grateful that they’re able to maintain their body temps on their own!!!

The girls are sleeping incredibly well (no sleep apnea!!!) and are able to drink their milk from a bottle with no issue. Suck/swallow/breathe – check!!  The nurses are steadily increasing the amount of milk their have and the girls are able to keep up with the increases!! They do tend to fall asleep during feedings, but they are finishing and that’s most important! Logan has a feeding tube that was put in because she was having difficulty finishing her bottles at first. But now, she’s eating like a champ and hasn’t had even a portion of her bottles fed through her tube for the last couple of days! They’ve gained most of the weight they lost after delivery, which is normal, and are ounces from their birth weight.

I was discharged from the hospital today and had to leave my sweet girls which was easier than I thought it would be because I know they’re in great hands. It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but knowing they’re being taken care of and are best where they are makes it less stressful. Plus, I have access to their charts and can call the NICU anytime (which I will before I go to sleep!!) to get updates and check in! logan3

These girls are the sweetest little people…. It’s amazing to see how much they change every day….. It’s so fun to watch them learn and do new things – like smile in their sleep or calm when held skin to skin or cuddled.

All of this feels like a dream. It feels so unreal. I don’t think that these little people are the ones that have been with me for 8 months, that they’re MINE, that they’ll be coming home with us soon has really hit me. I think I’m still in shock that I even got pregnant so to be here taking care of my babies seems impossible, like a fairy tale.

But, I could never be more grateful. Their lives are testaments to God’s goodness and grace, his love and complete affections for us. His fantastic plans that not only blow ours out of the water but bring us more than we could even think, plan, or imagine. This time last year or even January of this year, I would not have imagined that by the end of the year, we would have two beautiful daughters of our very own.

I’m humbled and honored that we would be blessed in such a major way…… Honoring God in my parenting is my ultimate goal; I don’t know of another way to “repay” or show thankfulness other than treating the gifts I’ve been given with the utmost respect and gentleness. The girls’ birth has also challenged me to be more respectful and honoring to my husband, as well. I want them to grow up with a healthy image of relationships – their ups and downs, the amount of work, grace, and forgiveness involved, the benefit of them.

I’m looking forward to this experience more than anything in the world…. but, I’m also looking forward to this “nap” I’m about to take. Why just a nap? Because I’m up every couple hours pumping and taking meds. Woot – woot. lol. Great practice for when the girls get home,right?

More updates coming soon!!!
Thank y’all so much for the notes, gifts, visits, emails, texts, and on and on and on! 🙂 We’ve loved them and they’ve made our last couple of weeks that much more bearable!!

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