So, if you’re reading this, you more than likely know that our (hubby and my) life has been absolute chaos on roids riding a bike on fire through your living room, up the stairs, and into the bathroom where you keep all of your precious cosmetics and facial things. Not you? Ok, well, that’s my idea of an absolute struggle.

I’ve got roughly 10 drafts in the chamber (14 now since I started this one in December), documenting my life through this past summer and up until our girls came home. For now, those updates are going to take a back seat to what I’m about to tell you.

First, my cuties’ names are Olivia Mabel (Baby A) and Vivian Pearl (Baby B). I’m a huge fan of Gone With the Wind and also a huge fan of old, unpopular names –  Olivia de Havilland and Vivien (born Vivian) Leigh. During our sonograms, I would always see ‘Twin B’ kicking or hitting ‘Twin A’. Later, Twin B would prove the most difficult to find on the monitors while Baby A rested sweetly in the same position. At that point, I knew my feisty baby would be Vivian and my quiet baby would be Olivia (like the characters from the movie – one feisty and assertive, and the other sweet and quiet). I even made name cards detailing my feisty and my quiet baby. Even nurses agreed! Vivian, for all of her oxygen needs and lung disease, would scream and be heard loud and clear as soon as the doors to her isolette were opened! We were all shook by her wailing and stereotypical baby cries. All the while Olivia quietly had her needs met.

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Vivian is also very expressive. At only a few weeks old, she was not having skin-to-skin. Her oxygen saturation would plummet – a sign that she could not and did not want to handle it. I opted to swaddle her and boy was it amazing. She looked at everything around her with new eyes – her brain, a blank canvas waiting to create a masterpiece. She absolutely loved the world outside her isolette!

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I mean, look at these feisty expressions! Meanwhile…20171008_172129

Little miss Tommy Boy in the other crib, only making a peep when her diaper is wet, steadily gaining some good lbs. Notice the feeding tube? Yeeeeah. As soon as that thing came out – BAM! DIFFERENT BABY!

On the date of their release, Monday, October 30, hubby and I had the perfect plans for our sweet, little angels. They had beautiful ‘going home’ outfits, we were going to leisurely learn how to use our bottle warmers and sterilizer, pre-mix some sodium for Vivian, add vitamins and medications to syringes for quick access later on, and learn how to mix formula. We had our hearts set on seeing their expressions when their eyes met the sun for the first time. None of that happened.

We waited until 9pm for the oxygen company to drop off a portable tank at the hospital, received instructions 7 hours earlier on how to mix formula, instructions 5 hours prior on how and when to administer medicine…all forgotten in the whirlwind mix of getting our girls home.

I even think a nurse warned us, pointing  to Olivia, “I think she is your feisty one.”

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Olivia (left) and Vivian (right)

That morning, we had KSAT come in to do a segment on SIDS. I’ll be surprised if they can use any of it since Olivia wailed the entire time…I should have known.

I believe it was around 9:40 when we finally got in the door at home. It was dark, the girls saw no sunlight, and both Olivia and Vivian were crying. They had not eaten, so they were about 5 hours past-due on their feed. My poor dog looked disheveled, hubby’s hair was looking like Kramer hair from his hands anxiously running through it, and I was frantically trying to unpack meds and food, shakily pouring formula into bottles. (Do you have any idea the anxiety of two, screaming babies that are new to your home as a new parent?! Maybe…)

Finally, around 11PM, both girls were on their way to being changed out of their dresses (which had @#$%^&* buttons, by the way…BUTTONS!), into onesies, and fed.

Bottom line, things aren’t always what they seem. Babies’ personalities change. *Olivia is still our feisty one and Vivian is our nice, good baby…until there’s something she wants. You want to avoid, at all costs, hearing Vivian cry.

*Since this post, they have flip-flopped once more. As of February, Olivia turned into our quiet baby and Vivian our anxiety-inducing rage baby. Both are beautiful and healthy and oh so sweet until the early-evening is upon us.

Also know this…I know I’ve shared pictures of them in the hospital before, but it’s hard every time. Their sweet, tiny bodies endured so much to be what they are today. I even noticed a little scarring on Olivia’s foot today from all of the blood draws, and let’s not forget about the PDA Ligation scar on their backs. I treat them like the special miracle cuties they are and am so so grateful for modern medicine.

Above all, though their scars serve as reminders that they are the NICU Micro-Preemie warriors that they are, I also have their beautiful faces, chubby legs, and soft skin as a reminder of what unconditional love can create.

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Why Babies are Cute

Both of my babies wear helmets to help mold their heads back to a more rounded shape versus having dish pan heads. The girls are growing, but the helmets are not, so appointments need to be fulfilled in order to shave the inside of the helmets to fit their heads. They f$%&ing hate it to say it lightly.

I shuffle the car seats into the room (hubby happened to be on his way home and could meet, so he lugged one in). Both babies are in high spirits; morale is high, smiles are flowing. The guy that adjusts the helmets is new, so they don’t yet know his face (Vivian started screaming as soon as the last guy came in the room). Olivia goes first (in retrospect, this was probably a super smart move). She giggles, starts talking to the guy (I use “talk” lightly here), life seems good. He makes some suggestions and disappears with Olivia’s helmet to make adjustments. Meanwhile, Vivian sits in her car seat with a smile. The anxiety starts to build within me.

The guy returns with Olivia’s helmet. Hubby holds her. On deck we have Vivian, her chubby digits waving about, waiting to be picked up. She does not know her fate, but we do. It’s her witching hour – anything past 4PM with her and everything is horrible. I sit her on my lap and the guy approaches to remove and study her helmet. She begins to scream. It’s an inconsolable, abhorrent, body-rattling scream, and she does it right in his face. He continues to try to hold conversation and I nod as though I can hear what he’s saying. Her body slumps and she refuses to lock her legs to stand, as if in protest of all things helmet. There is nothing I can do.

He leaves with her helmet to make adjustments. She continues to scream. I try walking with her and wander into the next room. I find a mirror and put her face in front of it. I do that excited face that all parents do.

“WOO! What a pretty girl!”

She looks at my face for a split second and begins to wail again. Nothing is working. I see a trash can and a thought crosses my mind. Babies are cute for one reason – so that we as parents *don’t get frustrated and throw them in the trash.

*It’s meant to be funny. Please don’t think I would ever throw either of my babies in the trash. Maybe my husband when he makes me angry (love you!), but I would never throw my cuties in a dumpster.

Here’s the Boring Part of the Story

Shortly after speaking to the surgeon that performed the trachelectomy (probably on a spaceship somewhere just above Houston because that’s what aliens do to abductees probably), we realized that the trek to Houston from San Antonio may no longer be feasible. The “what ifs” started surfacing…We had initially planned on shacking me up in an AirBnB location in Houston at 24 weeks pregnant, but were really concerned with cost and travel at that point of my pregnancy. We also wondered, if my pregnancy was so high risk, what if there’s an emergency and we can’t get to Houston? No one in San Antonio knows us or our case, which could be dangerous! We had no idea just how high risk the pregnancy was…

Dr. Mildred Ramirez, the MFM at Texas Children’s Hospital, was amazing in the short time we met her. I met with nurses, a nutritionist, a geneticist…we just felt so at ease with the standard of care at the hospital. I mean, they house the number one Neonatal Intensive Care Unit specializing in Cardiology. Did I botch that name up? Probably. We voiced our concerns to her, asking for a referral to someone local. She linked us up with Dr. Peter Nielsen at the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, which mirrored their standard of care to Texas Children’s since it was in the Baylor network.

Just a few weeks later (at 17 weeks pregnant), we walked through the doors of Maternal Fetal Medicine office for the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. Dr. Nielsen was not in, so we met with Dr. James Hill (which did not immediately sit well with me since there was a switch made without us knowing). While we waited to meet with a strange, new face, I googled Dr. James Hill. West Point graduate and retired Colonel? Okay, yes. Went back for a MS at Stanford? Yup, right place. (Those aren’t his only credentials, but those are the familiar and quite impressive ones.)

Within seconds of meeting Dr. Hill, we knew we were in the right place. He listened intently as we spoke of our concerns and told our story. He is very methodical, which we appreciated, and also has a dry sense of humor, which was also appreciated. (If you ever see him, do not let his serious demeanor fool you…he’s awesome and can easily make you feel at ease!)

At this appointment, he really said something that drove it home for us. I mentioned our initial intent to stay in Houston at 24 weeks pregnant because we were high risk. His response was, “You’re high risk now“.

Ugh. Wow. 17 weeks pregnant and, to that point, everything was smooth sailing; little-to-no morning sickness (with twins, no less), no issues getting around (except the feeling of being a beached whale while on the couch Netflix and chilling), still going to the gym and walking or doing elliptical with light weights, and I was all belly with two, beefy baby girls. We were so pie in the sky to that point. Any time thereafter I tried to describe the situation, I was met with a look like I had two heads and was making it up that bed rest was needed and that I shouldn’t be driving. You can’t make this situation up and it’s most certainly not a relatable one to the normal baby maker.

We had no idea, but we were in for a wild ride that was yet to come… well, all things considered, our ride was about to turn into an amusement park ride at Cedar Point that hasn’t been considered yet – think Millennium Force meets Demon Drop meets Top Thrill Dragster (which is sinking deeper into the ground, by the way), all of which are combined to make a two-year-long ride. Boy were we happy we made the choice to stay in San Antonio…

Marijuana Isn’t Legal Yet, But We Can Still Make Dessert

Sometimes things happen to me that inspire my inner monologue to start working like a rusted hamster wheel. One afternoon about a month ago, my inner monologue managed to make me burst out laughing. Luckily though, I was in my car. You see, I get in the habit of looking at people while they are driving. Not to judge, of course, but to make sure no one is watching me put on a killer rap concert for myself in my car. This is also how I caught a man knuckle-deep up his nose one day…he slowed down when he realized he was spotted, but I slowed down too to let him know that I thought it was funny because, why not?

Anyway, as I bust out my wicked sweet beats in my Ford Focus, I checked the car next to me to be sure they weren’t taking in a concert for free. This time, the joke was on me. This guy must have been auditioning for a new Cheech and Chong movie because he was DEFINITELY smoking a joint while driving. For once, I was silenced by what I had just seen. I mean, here I was worried that someone would see me dropping serious beats, meanwhile I’ve got an older man partaking in some earthly wares in the car next to me. Is this legal? Not here. Then I continued to fist pump and rock out because, well, this was the best part of the song.

This leads me to give up an easy recipe for a weedless cherry cobbler.

Weedless Crockpot Cherry Cobbler

So Good It’s Illegal?

1 box of vanilla cake mix (funfetti if you’re feeling festive)

1-2 cans of cherries (2 cans if you’re making it for me because I’ll eat all of the cherries)

8 tbsp’s of butter or butter substitute if it makes you feel like you’re eating on the lighter side like me

Turn your crockpot on hot and empty out those cans of cherries, but be sure you shove a spoon into one of the cans to get some cherries because they’re delicious. Next, throw that cake mix all up in there on top and do not stir. Finally, throw your dollops of butter over the top and put your lid on it before you get tempted to try some more of the cherries.

Let this sit for three hours. Once your inner alarm goes off three hours later, don’t wait for it to cool; get some of that in a bowl STAT! If some of the cherries drip down your chin like molten lava, just remember how delicious and easy this recipe is. And it makes your house smell good.

 

Supposedly, when Stephen King wakes from a wacky dream, he writes it down and this is what most of his brilliant works are based on. What if I did the same and used those ideas for books? I think everyone would think I’m crazy, delusional, or just plain weird…if they don’t already.

I’m inspired with these thoughts after a run-in with a wild dream or two last night. Around 1:13AM this morning I awoke myself, my dog, and my hubby by yelling out. In my sleep-induced haze I tried to explain my dream.

“I was looking under the bed expecting to see a monster, but I saw a cat. I’m sorry I woke you.”

If you’re familiar with obscure and ridiculous B-rated horror from the 80s, you may be familiar with one of those Saturday night specials aptly named ‘Rawhead Rex’. Not familiar? Check it out above or watch the full movie on YouTube and imagine expecting that sex on wheels to crawl out from under a bed in your dreams; you’d yell out too. I’m not sure whose bed it was, though, since I’ve tried to shove everything under the sun under my bed…for cleaning purposes (much to the chagrin of my neat and calculating husband), so I couldn’t tell you where I was or why I was dreaming about this. I had also just watched The Walking Dead, so it could have been there. Who knows.

To adjourn this ridiculous and nonsensical post, I will supply you with a recipe for delicious:

Roasted Parmesan Butternut Squash

1 medium-sized butternut squash, diced
Garlic Powder (a light dusting)
Seasoned Salt (to taste)
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

Pre-heat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In bowl, mix diced squash with olive oil and butter. Sprinkle squash onto the pan, careful to keep the pieces separate. Dust the squash with your garlic powder, seasoned salt, parmesan cheese, cayenne, and finish with the juice of the lemon. Place in oven for 25-30 minutes.

Remove and serve!