Sunday, December 8, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday Gabriel!!


It's hard to believe it's been two years since Gabriel entered the world, and quickly left.  We have all changed so much, I'm not sure I recognize the old me anymore. Gabriel did so many wonderful things for us and our friends/family in his 35 minutes, it's amazing to me the impact he's had on this world. 

Leading up to his birthday was rough.  I wasn't sure how I would be emotionally this year, and honestly there's a large part of me that thinks this year was worse and harder than last year. Perhaps I've realized all that I'm missing out on with him not being here. Perhaps as time goes on I miss him more and more since it's been so long since I've seen him, touched him. 

When Gabriel was born, I kept saying that I wanted to serve Angel Food Cake on his birthday each year. Last year I didn't get to do it so I knew I had to do it this year. The day before his birthday I made Angel Food Cake Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream frosting. It was my first time making Angel Food Cake anything and I don't think they were too bad!  

I worked Saturday night. I should have taken it off, but I didn't.  I knew I would be working through his time of birth as well as his time of death. Work kept me fairly busy, but coincidentally 2:35am - 3:11am was fairly calm.  I spent the entire time thinking of that time two years ago. The moment I held him, kissed him, and loved him.  The moments I could hear him trying to breath and telling him he didn't have to try so hard, it was ok to let go, and we'd be ok.  The hardest thing I ever did was tell my son that I love him, will miss him, and that it's ok to let go if he has to.   

Very shortly after I got to work, I received a text message that would alter the entire night as well as Gabriel's birthday.  There is a mom that I've been talking to, I was put in contact with her through a friend (her cousin).  For the last month she's been due to have her first baby, a son, with a similar Potter's Sequence diagnosis as Gabriel. He had kidneys, but they were not healthy and not functional.  His prognosis was the same as Gabriel's.  Around midnight I received a text message that at nearly 39 weeks she had gone into labor. She was in the hospital and our boys would likely share a birthday.  It took me a little bit to wrap my head around. My initial reaction was exactly this: "Oh God, please not today. Please don't do this to me today. She'll need me, I can't do this." After a short time I realized how special it is that our babies would share such a special day and suddenly I was ok with it. I was able to text her all night long, worry about her, send thoughts and prayers for her, and I seemed ok.  I went to bed in the morning fully expecting to get a message that he had been born, but he hadn't yet. In fact he wasn't born till 3:37 that afternoon. He survived for 40 minutes with his mom and dad before Gabriel took him by the hand.  Gabriel received a very special, but unfortunate, birthday present this year: A new friend.  

Last year his tree was taken along with the solar lights and ornaments. Already this year, when we arrived at the cemetery, we noticed his hook was gone. This hook was placed there before his stone was placed there.  All the other people's hooks and stuff were there, where did his hook go?  I was heartbroken. It was there just last week when I went out to see him... 

His missing hook..... (old photo)

At 6pm a bunch of our friends and family gathered at the cemetery to honor Gabriel  and light his Christmas tree for his birthday. It was bitter cold - maybe 10 degrees.  His stone was buried and had to be cleared of all the snow and ice that had covered its surface. I had my phone plugged in the car on the way there, it had significant battery life. Naturally as soon as we got out there, it died. It was even showing me the symbol to plug it in. I had music selected I was going to play and everything, but with no phone I couldn't do it. Naturally as soon as we got home, it turned on and had 60% life. It was ok, I just didn't have my selected music and couldn't take my own photos.  

I was overwhelmed by how many of our friends and family were there for us this year, what a special blessing to have such wonderful people in our lives who are willing to bear the freezing cold to support us. We served hot chocolate and handed out ornaments for everyone to put on his tree. People were invited to bring an ornament of their choosing if they wanted to - and some did.  My step mom brought flowers that they had put at the church earlier in the day. We waited to light the tree until everyone had a chance to put an ornament on it and his birthday candles were lit. Everyone sang Happy Birthday to Gabriel and we watched the birthday candles burn.  As we left, they were still burning. 

Derrick had brought the candle we had burning in Gabriel's honor at our wedding.  We also placed a little candle in a heart shaped votive for baby Kade who had been born earlier in the day.  After lighting Kade's candle I shared his story, many thoughts and prayers were sent up in that moment for that little boy and his family.  

Kade's Candle

We also collected some toys for Toys for Tots. I'm taking them over to a huge Christmas display tonight and Evelyn will put them in the box just like she did last year.

This will likely be our tradition every year. On his birthday I will invite anyone to join us as we go out, light up his Chrismas tree, light birthday candles on a cupcake, drink hot chocolate, and donate to Toys for Tots.  It's pretty perfect for us. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

10 month update

Our 10 month update comes a week and a half late. Why might you ask? Because life is ChAoS right now. We had an out of town wedding, photos to process from that, working random week nights, thanksgiving week, catch up weekend... It's been insane. Plus the boys have been  going through some sort of separation anxiety  or something. They are not satisfied unless I am holding them, one in each arm. That doesn't leave any arms for laundry, dishes, typing a blog, playing with Evelyn, or any other thing I really should be doing during the day. Heaven forbid I leave the room. Both boys break out in song... Duel melodies of crying and screaming. It's deafening. If I dare sit on the floor I am quickly attacked by two crawling terrors and am tormented with their hair pulling and face grabbing antics (obviously I have no open hands to deter the attack with so I mostly just have to take it). 

Cloth diapering is going great. We have our system down, we're used to it, and the process is so much easier now that we've found our groove. I have to rethink our overnight solution as they have started peeing through them now. Diaper laundry got past me and I ran out of diapers. I went out to the store and bought a $10 pack of 31 disposable diapers. First of all, it took me like 10 minutes just to figure out what size I should be buying and which ones. Those 31 diapers, lasted us just over 2 days. Yikes. If we used only disposable diapers, each month that would cost us upwards of $150! Double yikes! 

Last week I gave up breastfeeding. My supply had tanked dramatically and I was only able to feed them twice a day. Nothing I could do was bringing it back. We supplement with milk I've frozen and formula.  One $15 can of Similac lasts us just under 2 days. Ouch!  If we used only Formula, each month it would cost us about $400! Triple double ouch! But my weight bottomed out at 121, that's 19lbs below my normal and ideal weight. But a week after quitting I had already gained 7lbs back. I think my body is rejoicing.

The boys have now moved into mostly 12 month clothes. 9 month still fit, but some are a bit snug, especially if they are in cloth diapers. It's getting very cold here so I've had to remove most of their 9 month clothes anyways because they were all summer wear.

The last month has been pretty chaotic around here! There was Halloween and thanksgiving.  Both boys have popped through 2 bottom teeth. Logan popped his through at the same time, and a week later Sawyer popped both his through at the same time. Logan started crawling and Sawyer followed suit 2 hours later.  Logan says "mamama" every time he sees me and Sawyer says it just to say it. Logan learned how to wave (just holds his hand up, no actual physical waving included) and Sawyer learned how to clap. A few weeks later Logan figured out how to clap so they started clapping at each other. Logan started walking when you hold his hands and Sawyer started doing it about a week later. This week they both learned to pull up on things and last night they climbed the stairs. 

With Gabriel's birthday coming up, I'm starting to struggle a little bit. His birthday lands on a Sunday which is mighty convenient, we'll gather at the cemetery and light up his Christmas tree. I'm planning to try to make Angel Food Cupcakes and got chocolate for the occasion to celebrate. The part I'm struggling with as his birthday draws near, guilt.  I felt it last year but not as intensely as I am this year.  I think part of it has to do with the added emotions of sweet baby Abigail surviving the very syndrome that took Gabriel from me. But mostly, the boys are here this year. I feel guilty that we "moved on" so quickly, 6 short months after he was pulled from our arms, we were expecting again.  We weren't replacing him, we weren't trying to forget him and all that happened to us. Does he know that? Does he get it? He knows we still love him, right? I can't give him kisses and tell him to his face that I love him, but he has to know... right? He knows these boys aren't here to take his place or to make us forget, I hope.



Monday, November 18, 2013

Missing him.

Someone once told me something after Gabriel was born that I've kept with me throughout our journey. A little piece of wisdom that has stuck with me from the very beginning.  When you are pregnant, you share blood, cells, and other things with your baby. Those things stay in your system for life. So for the rest of my time here on earth I will carry a small part of Gabriel (and all of my kids) with me everywhere I go.

This bit of information, this thought, has carried me through some of the roughest days. As I continue to plow through those rough days with that thought in my mind, I know I can keep going.  I don't know if it's actually a fact.  I don't know if they could even scientifically prove that. But I will live the rest of my days believing that a part of him is still physically with me everywhere I go.

With his birthday coming quick and plans in the works, I struggle daily and think about him with every minute that goes by.  From the outside it may seem that I'm wrapped up in the tantrums and crazy that is a 3 year old, or the chaos that comes when you enter twin territory. But inside I am wrapped up in Gabriel. So as I forget things, seem too busy, ignore your texts and calls; please understand that I might be having a quiet moment to myself dreaming of who he may have become.

One day last week I wondered: Will it always be this tough? Will I ever get to just "move on"? I know from my amazing support group that it doesn't work that way. I will always have moments of sadness that will consume my whole heart. The year he should be starting kindergarden, the year he would be entering high school, driving, graduating... Those anniversary dates will never go away. I just need to feel each day out as it comes and go with it.  Then someone shared with me a story about her grandmother. After she passed away they had found toys in the top drawer of her dresser, toys she kept that belonged to a son she lost... She kept them with her all the days of her life, till there were no more.  That story hit home, I want that to be me. I want my kids to find belongings that were his, for them to always know that I never forgot about him. And so they'll know that after so long, I've finally been reunited with him. I want to be the 90 year old woman who continues to love and honor my son.


I'm going to curse myself by updating with this post...

Last night we received a small blessing.  The boys both slept from 1am till 8am (Sawyer) and 9am (Logan). 7 hours straight, at the same time... I feel like a whole new woman.

I'll post more of an update about the kids in a couple days, when the boys turn TEN MONTHS OLD!

Monday, November 4, 2013


I'm sitting in my van, bored with nothing I can do. Why you ask? Because I really needed to go to the store, when I got there all 3 kids were sleeping, and its cold with rain. I refuse to haul 3 sleeping kids out in the rain... So even though I'm home, I'm trapped in my van and bored. If you're a parent, you know what I'm talking about, I'm sure you've done it too! I do this all the time, where do you think I find time to update my blog?! 

So onto some updates. We're doing good here. As good as we can be with a 3 year old smarty pants and two 9 month old boys who don't sleep through the night, not even close. 

Two weeks ago Logan spiked a 103 fever and the next day popped out two bottom teeth. Ouch. This week it's Sawyer's turn. On Friday he spiked a 102 fever and is pushing through his two bottom teeth. Also on Friday Evelyn was diagnosed with pink eye and put on medication.  It's fun times in our house right now. I will say this though, the last month or so Logan has been a grump. A grouch. A Cranky McCrankerson. But, since popping through those teeth he has found his smile again. It warms my heart and brightens my day. Sawyer has pretty much kept his smile and giggle - little turd.  

Both boys are just on the verge of crawling now, Logan has figured out he can, he just has to get coordinated haha! 

Halloween was chaotic. After dropping daddy off at work I came home to dress the kids up. The boy's bear costumes (that fit last week) didn't fit. Nope, not even close. I got Evelyn ready to go and we went for lunch at daddy's work. While eating I had a thought: if I cut the bear costume in two at the waist, it'll become a sweatshirt... I had sweatpants to match... I knew this would end in disaster. It didn't! It totally worked and the kids looked so cute! We drove 25 minutes to my sisters, 25 minutes to my dad's, 10 minutes to a friend's house, 30 minutes to my grandma's, 15 to pick daddy up from work, stopped by his boss' house and then his mom's. The kids were angry by then and completely over it. I was too. I lugged 3 kids across many miles by myself. They were angry, but I was exhausted.

On Friday I had an emotional time. A dear friend's son (same age as the boys) was seriously injured at daycare. He hit his head and was unresponsive. Mom had a long drive to the hospital where he was airlifted to, unconscious and intubated. My heart stopped. "Oh god, please do not take her baby boy, please do not make her endure that kind of pain, heal him... Please." My stomach was in my throat the entire day, I worried and cried and talked to Gabriel the whole time. "Be there with that sweet boy, if you can heal or comfort him please do. Put your sweet hand on that mommas heart and give her strength. Give her the hug I wish I could give her myself." A bunch of us got together and thought out plans to get supplies to her. A friend of mine from outside of the group thoughtfully picked up and delivered dinner to the hospital for us. I couldn't stop the tears from coming, especially seeing photos and updates. That night, right before I clocked into work, an update was posted that he woke up! Perfect timing and perfect start to my night at work. He's been progressing ever since. 

It was a tough day, knowing her and that her son was so seriously injured was scary, devastating, heartbreaking. I wanted to step away from it, hide my heart from hurting. I couldn't do that though, I needed to continue to pray for him and see how he's doing. I needed to watch for an update, good or bad. 

Breastfeeding: it's coming to an end pretty rapidly. We are supplementing about 50% of the time now. My supply is tanking and nothing I'm doing is helping. I've lost a few more pounds that I worked incredibly hard to put back on. I'm certain they'll be completely weaned before they hit 10 months. Maybe I'll regain some energy! 

Cloth diapers finally caught up to me this week. With Halloween and other things I fell extremely behind on any and all housework. I actually went out and bought sposies because I ran out of cloth... Oops. Derrick was able to catch up on much of the housework and even did the cloth diapers this weekend, thanking my lucky stars for that - my house was a wreck! 

Well, the boys are starting to squirm in their car seats so I better get running again, quite literally. 

Take care!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

9 months old!

The boys turned 9 months old yesterday. Holy moly time is flying by way to fast. I'm not sure what happened, perhaps I blinked? 

I continue to breastfeed the boys, although not as exclusively as I did in the past. We supplement formula for nap times and bedtimes. They eat solid foods 3 times a day and usually nurse before or after, even if its just a little bit.  That leaves me to nurse 3 - 4 times a day and overnights.  I'm hoping to wean them off and onto bottles/formula exclusively now. I have loved breastfeeding them and the challenge it entails.  My body is feeling the wrath of breastfeeding twins and my health has to be just as important at some point. Plus it'd be nice to put a little of my weight back on again. 

Cloth diapering is still going great! In fact I invested a small amount of money in 10 new Alva diapers this month.  We've really nailed a system down now and are confident with the process. I can't believe the money we've saved already by doing cloth diapers. If you figure the average family spends upwards of $1,000 in the first year, that means twins would be upwards of $2,000 we've saved.

They say a lot of mamamamama and mostly dadadadada. But have no idea what they are saying really. Sawyer is more the talker and will babble all day long. 

They are starting to pull and tug on each other and love to watch the other play. Logan especially loves to steal Sawyer's Nuki even though he really has no interest in having one himself.   I can't wait for they day they truly interact with each other. 

It's definitely interesting to watch their personalities because they are SO different. There's very little similarities in their personalities at all.  Sawyer is the happy, giggly, smiley one. He loves eating and has no preferences to solid foods. Logan is very serious, you usually have to force a smile out of him and is pretty quiet most of the time. He isn't as much of a fan of solid foods, is much more picky about what he will actually eat, and usually only wants a few bites.

Evelyn is still the best big sister ever. She loves to play and rough house with them.  She likes to bring them toys and snacks (puffs) and tries to help stop them from crying.  I think she is antsy for the day she can actually PLAY with them, she'll love having little tikes to harass I think. 

Here's some photos and captions to see how the boys are doing!

Both boys are so close to crawling. I suspect any day now, Logan actually propels himself backwards today.
But most off all, they just want to stand. Not alone, you have to be holding them. But they are the happiest
when they are standing with you.

Logan showing off his two little bottom teeth he popped through this week!  

They've both figured out how to drink from cups now.  They won't drink out of a normal sippy though, only straws.

Just being cute.
Swing will have to go soon.  They no longer want to lay in it, and really they are too big, but they still love it!
Playing playing playing!
They love their crunchies and puffs. They serve no nutritional value but hey, they work great as a distraction!
Plus they've gotten really good with picking up small objects and getting food into their mouths!

Just for fun - 9 month photo outtakes

Here are the outtakes from today's attempted photo shoot. Glad my mom was there to lend a hand haha!

This pretty much summarizes my days as well as any photo shoots I try to do... yup.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pregnancy and infant loss awareness day

Another year, another pregnancy and infant loss awareness day is upon us. Many people are reflecting on babies they've lost, or babies lost by their friends or family members.  This year I feel like there's so many more people I know or have heard of that are remembering tiny little beings gone to soon. 

The effect of losing someone so small is dramatic for those touched by the loss. The hopes and dreams these parents had for this baby - this person - are suddenly extinguished. The hopes and dreams these parents had for their lives and families are squashed by the hand of death, so easily smothered and many times as quick as a blink of an eye. 

Tonight, we have been joined by some of our family members for the Remember our Babies walk in a nearby town. Many families gathered to remember their babies during the candle lighting ceremony, it makes your heart ache to think of all these people with such hurt and pain in their lives. 

The spent some time reading the names of the babies each family is missing today. Many heartbreaking stories were shared. I of course shared Gabriel's story.

The walk itself was beautiful. Short, bordered by luminaries, with a stunning view of the town and river. 

The whole event was emotional, it was hard to listen to all the broken hearts telling stories of their little ones they can never hold in their arms. 

Gabriel is thought of by many friends and family members. He is never ever forgotten and always remains a part of our lives.  It's hard to believe that in a few short months we'll "celebrate" his 2nd birthday... 2 years already.

*note* I will be adding more to this tomorrow when I get everything loaded from my memory card, but I wanted this post out today.