2012 … Another Year of Ups and Downs

2012 … Another eventful, unpredictable, crazy year for us. Reflecting on all that has transpired since last January, I feel a little bit exhausted! Still, I remind myself to count my blessings. First and foremost, I am blessed with little ones who we so desperately wanted. Because of my unique fertility challenges (a huge benign tumor that required my ovaries to be deconstructed and then reconstructed, plus stage IV endometriosis), there were no statistics we could rely on to hope that we would ever have children. We were told in 2008 that we should bypass a second round of IVF and try donor eggs. A few years ago, I would have never dreamed that I would have TWO little girls underfoot, and yet here we are. Very lucky!

I so wish, however, that Violet and Layla would have been blessed with a smoother 2012. It was no picnic for me, either, but they were the ones being poked, prodded, and operated on. They have developed medical professional anxiety and have spent way too much time in hospitals. I am counting my blessings to have access to great medical care in our area, but just wish it wouldn’t have been needed!

In the spirit of not being too negative and counting my blessings, I present our highs and lows for this year. I will not be sad to bid this year adieu and am hoping that 2013 leads to much less medical intervention, zero surgeries, and plenty more milestones!

January Highlight: Layla rolled over for the first time!
January Lowlight: Violet had to endure casts for clubfoot treatment and a double tenotomy procedure, her first time under anesthesia.

February Highlights: Both V&L finally started pushing up a little during tummy time! Also, Violet finished the casting process for clubfeet and started wearing a much more comfortable brace.
February Lowlight: Tummy time made them hysterical and made us very nervous worrying that their femurs would fracture underneath their weight.

March Highlight: Six-month birthday!
March Lowlight: Layla was hospitalized for RSV.

April Highlight: Six months fracture-free! First teeth! (They have 12 as of the end of 2012.) First OI clinic. Started showing interest in books!
April Lowlight: Fourth PAM infusion… they are really starting to not like IVs!

May Highlight: Started rolling across the room! Started eating solids and babbling. Violet started wearing her clubfoot brace at nighttime only.
May Lowlight: ??? (The fact that I can’t remember is a good thing!) : )

June Highlight: Lots of walking outside with the stroller in nice weather! Oh-so-close to crawling, and starting to notice more about the world. Violet started sitting up by herself!
June Lowlight: Craniosynostosis diagnosis, Roseola, another round of sickness earlier in the month, and another PAM infusion.

July Highlight: Violet was finally considered strong enough for a regular clubfoot brace. Started pulling up. First swim! Crawling everywhere.
July Lowlight: Started preparing for surgery

August Highlight: Layla pulled up to a standing position on her own for the first time! Watching our baby girl bounce back from major surgery!
August Lowlight: Surgery and everything associated with it.

September Highlight: First birthday!!!!!
September Lowlight: ENT evaluation and plans for Violet’s ear tubes.

October Highlight: First “real” Halloween! (Last year they were six weeks old and had broken bones, so there were clearly no costumes or fun to be had at our house.)
October Lowlight: Violet’s third procedure, ear tubes

November Highlight: Layla started walking!
November Lowlight: A very stressful and exhausting PAM infusion

December Highlight: Violet started standing on her own for a few seconds at a time. Layla started singing to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and Violet started doing hand gestures to Itsy Bitsy Spider. Started climbing up our stairs by themselves (with us hovering closely behind).
December Lowlight: Lots of yucky sickness, but nothing major.

From Two Heartbeats to Two Babies

A year ago today, we gazed upon the two most gorgeous heartbeats ever to grace the earth (in our humble opinions)… : )

I could not believe my luck when I found out that both embryos had made themselves at home in my uterus. And a year later, I am still amazed when I look at them and see bits and pieces of my husband and me in both of them. There are still many “O-m-g-I-can’t-believe-we-really-have-twins” moments that occur in my head on a daily basis. I am not normally a very lucky person, but I obviously won the conception jackpot! Being a mom was what I dreamed about, and here I am. And it is just as incredible as I imagined.

I have so many posts I want to write (and others’ posts that I want to comment on); it’s just a matter of finding the time. Thanks for reading!

Goodbye, 2011. Hello, Rest of My Life

2011… Never before have I experienced a year more full of extreme highs and lows. I was so very blessed with the experience of pregnancy and spending the last three months gazing at my beautiful daughters. As I reminisce the events of this year, I smile as I remember the shock and elation of my first beta, the amazement of seeing those two gorgeous heartbeats at my first ultrasound just before Valentine’s Day, and then thanked my lucky stars daily as my pregnancy continued with no complications. In mid-April, many family members joined us as we found out we were expecting two healthy baby girls–one of the happiest days of our lives.

Then the first rough part of the year commenced. Just before Memorial Day, I fell in the shower and injured myself quite badly–three fractures, two dislocated kneecaps, and subsequent knee surgery while 21 weeks pregnant. My bone condition, dormant for many years except for some knee issues, had returned with a vengeance. It felt like karma had returned to bite me, since I had been so lucky the first few months of the year. I spent eight days in the hospital and the next seven weeks confined to a hospital bed in my living room, requiring a bedside commode (translation: a seat with a bucket that my husband or mom had to clean out–humiliating!). It was quite a circus getting me to my baby showers in a wheelchair, and when I was finally able to use a walker to go very short distances, that actually seemed like an accomplishment. My husband and I went through our first-ever rough patch, as he struggled to work full-time and take care of our house and me (and deal with my mom living with us, because I literally could not care for myself), while I felt frustrated by my injuries and lack of progress, grieved the loss of my independence, and tried to tolerate the pain I was feeling. It was a very, very long summer, to say the least, and feeling the flutters of my babies was just about the only thing that kept me from sinking into a major depression.

Things improved a thousandfold in September, when we welcomed our long-awaited daughters right on schedule. They had no sign of my bone condition (osteogenesis imperfecta type I), and we were on cloud nine. The day after our babies were born, I realized that the pain in my body had lessened in a major way. It seemed that my body, no longer having to devote resources to growing two babies, had accelerated its healing process. Little did I know that I was regaining my independence so that I would be able to care for two babies with one fracture after the other!

You can read the brain dump in my first post on this blog to see how things transpired with our daughters’ bones starting October 7th. It has been another rough time in our lives, but thankfully, my husband and I are handling it as a team and have been able to lean on each other. Thanks to a wonderful parents group on FB, I learned about an OI clinic and a medication that was not available to me as a kid. An OI parent in North Carolina (who is also a physician) helped us to secure a quick appointment with this clinic, and our girls received their first treatment at the end of October. Since then, each baby has only suffered one fracture each–quite an improvement! They are thriving and becoming more interactive with each passing day. I honestly couldn’t ask for anything more and thank the Lord every day for them.

So as I say “good riddance” to my infertility struggles and medical issues for both my babies and myself, I welcome 2012 with open arms. I suspect it will be a year filled with pride watching my girls achieve milestones, and I am so looking forward to seeing what is in store for us. Despite the rough times of this year, I feel like the luckiest girl alive. I am walking pretty much normally again and hope to start walking daily for exercise in the spring, and I have two gorgeous babies who are growing and causing me to love them more with each passing day. I am blessed!

Happy New Year!