I've been getting a lot of looks lately (and comments) from strangers. Now I know that they are unaware of our little miracles, but I sometimes think that I must have a sign on my forehead that says, "please comment!" I've joked with new mothers and told them that once you become pregnant that people think they are free to comment or give any advice they wish. I'm fully aware that the advice givers may be just trying to help or they're just saying . . but really you can't just say anything you wish and follow it with "bless your heart". Can you??? This is all in good humor of course. I laugh most of the time when I recognize that bug-eyed look trying to figure out if all 3 are my children and how close they may be. So, in good fun . .
YOU MIGHT BE A MOM TO SEVERAL LITTLE ONES IF . . .
daily showers have become optional.
you sit down for supper and realize you're having your first sip of drink all day.
you know when someone looks at you and starts out with "you . . ." that they will be following that with "sure have your hands full!"
you have to buy clothes to go on vacation, because you only have "comfy" clothes in your closet.
having only one child on your lap equals a good bathroom experience.
you feel like all you must do is cut nails of children.
you are routinely asked if you're done having children.
you feel like it's a bore to just have one or two children to care for at a time.
you have an assembly line setup for the kid's bathtime.
you aren't used to sitting down at meal time unless there is another adult present.
you have more children than arms.
you sing and dance while doing the dishes to keep the kids occupied until you finish or really any chores you do.
you wish you could get a money tree to grow as well as your dirty laundry pile.
the thought of your kids starting school leaves you feeling afraid of being lonely and bored. Homeschooling is sounding better and better!
you say phrases such as, "no no", "stay in your seat", and "say please" in your sleep.
your social calendar is full of only playdates.
it's cheaper to buy a cow instead of all of those gallons of milk.
your cordless phone is off the hook for 171 minutes everyday, because a child pressed the "talk" button unbenowkst to you.
you get excited because you managed to make it all day without getting any bodily fluid on you.
toilet paper is regularly shredded on the floor of every bathroom in the house.
your kitchen floor is vacuumed atleast 5 times a day, once after every meal and snack.
you call gas a "tooty woot woot" and a rear end "hinney" because the normal words sounds filthy coming out of your toddler's mouth.
bologna is a food staple in your home.
you give your children vitamins daily, becuase you finally come to terms with the fact that you CAN'T make your children eat food they don't want . . . thus after cleaning up vomit after the last failed attempt.
your car cd player is full of children's songs AND you have no clue where your music may be.
you decide to just shower instead of taking a bath because it will take entirely too long to take all the bath toys, kids different shampoos and soaps, and baby bathtub out of your tub (and you really need a good washin' since you haven't done so in a couple of days!)
you find yourself singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in the car . . . and you're ALONE!
you know that baby wipes will clean ANY stain on ANYTHING.
you can shower, do hair and makeup, get kids dressed and fed (including feed the baby a bottle), and out the door in 30 minutes.
you have caught vomit in your hands.
you get a giftcard for your birthday and use it on your children.
you wake up during the night and take a moment to figure out WHICH child is crying!
you and your husband communicate by spelling words, and your childless friends have no clue what you're saying.
you have laughed at most of the above and definitely know I'm for REAL.
you feel like the most blessed woman alive to be able to spend every waking moment with the most precious, God given, blessings and couldn't imagine your life any other way.
Now, I'd love to hear your comments and input too. . .
Thursday, July 29
Tuesday, July 13
Hilton Head Sunset
The grief has been pretty strong lately for me. I'm not sure if it is because July, for Chris and I, has been an exciting month in the past. We found out, with all 5 of our children, that we were expecting them in July. July 4th (2005) for Bradley, July 2nd (2008) for the triplets, and July 14th (2009) for Cameron are the days we got the positive pregnancy test. Am I crazy to remember those things? No, I don't think so- just a mother that treasures every bit of her children and motherhood.
Everyday, I love being a stay at home mom more and more. We love the idea that I can help shape and mold our children into strong Christians and to be good people that help lead others to Christ. However, being home I am a little cut off from the outside world, and it gives me a little more time to think about things which can be good and bad. I really thought that the hole in my heart, that Brayden and Lexi left, would have started to get a little smaller by this July. Why? I'm not sure, because they are our children too and their place in this family can never be filled. I don't want to mislead anyone I do believe that God has his reason and it was his will for Lexi and Brayden to return to Heaven so quickly and we're so truly thankful for our 3 blessings on earth. God has carried us thus far and will continue to do so. Some people might wonder why we aren't a little more past the grief than we are on some days. I still get so upset if I get the feeling that someone is trying to avoid the subject of Lexi and Brayden. From that July 2nd in 2008, the day we got the positive on the pregnancy test, we started to imagine that child's life and what it would entail. We had no idea that we were being blessed with triplets at that point, but we had an idea there was more than one. We were thinking twins. On July 3rd, I got up and took yet another pregnancy test just to reassure myself that the HCG (pregnancy hormone) was still in my system. That pink line was even darker. . . then yes, on July 4th we wanted to share with family that we were expecting so I took yet another test just to reassure myself that this pregnancy wasn't going to end in miscarriage as the one before it did. And, that day the pink line was even darker than the control line! Yeah, that doesn't normally happen that early as I wasn't even four weeks yet. So, we knew that actually I shouldn't even have a positive pregnancy test but we still wanted to share with all of our family that we were pregnant! So, I dressed Bradley in a sweet little shirt that said "Big Brother." The shirt was a little small as we'd had it awhile since we'd been trying so long. And, we just let him wear it around family and that is how they found out! It was cute. Then, that Monday I went to the doctor and when they called with my HCG level they were as surprised as I was because it was very high. On July 14th, we got the surprise of a lifetime. It was too early for the hearts to be beating, but that ultrasound showed 3 babies that looked good! This may be a little too much information for some of you, and I'm sorry but I want this in writing so that I will always remember that special time in our family. Chris had run upstairs to see the ultrasound as he was in orientation for his new job, and we both expected to see 2 because I had high levels on both HCG test. Then, the ultrasonographer moved her little wand around and counted "1 good, 2, good, and what is this??? 3 and it looks good too!" We were amazed by this awesome blessing. Chris had to quickly leave to get back to orientation, but I stuck around and spoke to the staff. Bradley was with me, and he was one of their miracles too, so they always enjoyed seeing him. And, I was shaking so I wanted to calm down before I left the office. My life changed forever that day as from that day on we started to imagine our lives with 4 children and we knew that they would arrive before Bradley's next birthday meaning that we'd have 4 children under 3! Just a couple of weeks later we had another ultrasound that confirmed all 3 children had heartbeats and looked perfect. In September we found out that it was 2 sweet boys and a little girl. Brayden was always so laid back in utero and during ultrasounds. He would give just a small wave to say hello and that he was well. That sweet boy reminded us so much of Bradley, everything from his movements to his looks. Lexi was all over the place, always moving almost like she was dancing. She looked a lot like Bradley too. Now, Austin you never knew what he would be doing. Sometimes he was dancing and other times he was very calm. That description fits that crazy, little boy perfectly now too as you never know what he has planned from moment to moment. So, from the start we imagined our lives with them. We started to learn their personalities and compared their looks to us and Bradley. We planned their lives as all parents do once they learn of their new little blessing. I imagined being home with 4 children and how I was going to do my best to raise them in a strong Christian home. I felt a huge responsibility since God had blessed us with 4 children and thought he must be expecting a lot from me to raise them to know and love God- what faith He had in me! We imagined everything in our lives, everything from simple walks and swimming in our neighborhood pool to to birthday parties, vacations, graduations, and weddings! In July of 2008 we bought a minivan as that was the only way in our minds to cart all 4 children around. So, now when Austin passes a milestone or we're just living everyday life something - 2 things actually- just seem as though they're missing. Life is amazingly good right now. Last year, on the 1 year anniversary of finding out we were expecting "the trips" we found out God had amazingly blessed us with another child! We are certain that Lexi and Brayden had a hand in picking out their beautiful little sister when it came time for God to send Cameron to us. I love that she looks like Bradley, Brayden, and Lexi! Of course, it would be nice to have another one that looks like Austin! :-) (you'll have to stick around for awhile to see if that ever happens only God knows what is in our family's future!) As you can see I go back and forth from thought to thought, some things are not so good but more things are good than bad these days.
While on vacation we saw an amazing sunset (pictured about and the picture doesn't do it justice). The sunset makes us think of Brayden and Lexi. When the sky has that tint of pink we know that they're telling us hello and that they are doing great. We also bought a stepping stone for our flower garden that we hope to one day finish in the backyard. The stepping stone says, "If tears could build a stairway and memories were a lane, I would walk right up to Heaven and bring you back again." So thankful God is taking care of them better than we ever could, but some days we are selfish and just want them here with us.
I recently met a woman, by chance, in the grocery store. By chance, not so much, by God's will I should say. As it turns out she just welcomed a new grandson who was born at 31 weeks. 31 weeks compared to Austin being born at 24 weeks is a big difference, but still scary for this family I'm sure. We told her how well Austin was doing and walked away. As we walked away I thought about those days in the NICU and all the things that go along with day-to-day life there came rushing back. Pumping, NEC, feedings, oxygen, brady's, desats, more alarms, blow by, vents, CPAP, and I could go on and on. Once, Austin was established in the NICU off the vent and more stable it still seemed each day brought something challenging that would often leave us fearful of losing him. Chris and I kept most of it to ourselves as it would have seemed to those who have never walked the NICU path that we would have been "crying wolf" as it was constant. Obviously most things were just false alarms with Austin and he sailed through the NICU if you put into perspective what could have been. I realize that I've stored the memories of this trying time in the back of my mind. The memories can easily be brought to surface, but they're kept in the darkest corners of my mind mostly. I also recently ran into one of Austin's primary nurses, and she asked if I still remember that time. I told her that it was very odd what makes me recall things. One thing is the soap that we used each day before entering the NICU. Chris uses it before leaving work and if I smell this soap on him when he gets home I immediately ask him to wash it off. It makes my stomach turn. I also don't like to talk to Chris or any of my friends while they're working in the hospital where I may hear the alarms over the phone to name just a few things that bring those memories to the surface all too quickly.
What is the point of this post? I'm not sure that is why it has the title above. There is so much I want to say and think of as I write every word, but when I finish a thought the other things are just a big mess that I have trouble translating into words. It does make me feel better to get all of these thoughts off of my chest. God has given me this avenue in life to work through my feelings when they get to too LOUD in my mind.
The woman I met in the store makes me wonder if that God wants me to somehow mentor other families of preemies and those that have lost children. That would be one reason for us going through what we did. We hope to be very active in March of Dimes for the rest of our lives and are open to whatever opportunities arise to help others. Another reason, I think, is to keep us grounded. We constantly strive for a more simple life. We also will NEVER take our children for granted and why we are rarely away from them. Is that the right thing to do? I have no idea, but it feels right and all in God's will.
The kids are taking their naps right now. Hooray, most days all 3 of them are asleep for about an hour! I feel like I won the Mommy Olympics by that accomplishment alone. I try to stay busy during naps, which isn't hard in this home with all the chores that are constantly waiting to be done. Today, though, I just wanted to get everything off of my chest. So, thank you for reading and allowing me to feel better by having this "out"! I'll post all the new whereabouts of the Wickers soon. Cameron goes for her 4 month well visit Thursday, so I'll be sure to post after that. I can't believe how quickly the kids are growing!