On The Night You Were Born

By Kate Morrow

“On the night you were born, the moon shone with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, ‘Life will never be the same.’ Because there had never been anyone like you… ever in the world.” – Nancy Tillman

51kBche93SL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_This was the first book I ever bought for my babies. In fact, I purchased it before I even knew they would exist, around the time my husband and I started having trouble getting pregnant. I have always loved this book. The words are so beautiful, and it was my traditional gift to friends and family with new bundles of joy. I bought it to give me hope, to give me joy, and to give me the confidence I would be a mother one day.

When we found out we were pregnant, the book eventually got moved to the room that would become the nursery. It sat alone on an empty dresser for months until we finally started to decorate. The book eventually transitioned into the fashionable diaper bag my mom gave me as a congratulations gift. The diaper bag hung on the hook in their room because it was a part of my “hospital packing list” for the eventual night we would go check in and deliver our babies. I had big plans of a beautiful night with our twins, reading them this book, snuggling and settling in as a new family of four.

Except, it never happened. Or at least not the way I expected. Not the way I had planned.

In August 2017, when I went into labor, the nursery was not complete. The hospital bag was never packed. I was 23 weeks pregnant and it was totally unexpected to be in labor. I went into immediate bedrest and a mentality of “fight for survival”. Things like “what baby book to pack for the hospital” became secondary. They became non-existent.

In fact, when I went into actual labor at 28 weeks, my husband and I raced out of the house. I was in ugly pajamas. Hair had not been washed in three days. Needed a pedicure bad. There was no hospital bag packed full of beautiful clothes for me and my new babies. Because the night they were born, was not a night I could have ever imagined. Not ever.

When we drove to the hospital, I was still in denial that they could come early. I thought this whole thing was far-fetched and I would surely hold out until 35 weeks and I still had time to pack my bag and my book.

After 45 minutes in the Labor and Deliver Unit, they were coming. In a whirlwind. They were raced off to the NICU immediately after taking their first breath. Without Momma getting to hold them. Without Momma really knowing if they were truly okay.

I was wheeled back to my hospital room alone with my husband. I laid there in absolutely shock, awe and terror. “What just happened?” “Were they really just born?” I felt like they had been ripped from inside me and there was nothing I could do to protect them anymore. It was not the night I imagined. Not the night I had planned.

This is where our story truly began. There is so much more to our own personal story of “The Night They Were Born” that I cannot wait to share with you chapter by chapter during this coming year.

But let me spoil the ending. After 76 days in the NICU, Jack and Lilly came home. They came home on the week of Thanksgiving. I got to pack a bag full of their coming home outfits, special blankets, and our very special Nancy Tillman book when we discharged them from the NICU. The day they came home felt like the “Night I was Born” as a Momma.

On that night, we settled in at home. No NICU monitors, no wires. Just us snuggled in our bed. And I finally read to them:

“Jack and Lilly – on the night you were born,  the moon shone with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, ‘Life will never be the same.’ Because there had never been anyone like you… ever in the world.” 

 

When Birds Make Plans

This month, we are introducing our new bloggers not only with their posts, but with a video!

Meet Kate:

By Kate Morrow

It was my very last day of maternity leave and I was determined to make the most of it, soaking up every last minute with my twins Jack and Lilly. I had big plans of reading books, snuggling, taking a walk in the stroller to the park, visiting daddy at work and more. And then I heard it. “Tweet, tweet.”

Our scruffy, lovable Beagle, Atticus, who has a personality large than life just went outside and I forgot to close the door. I shut it quickly thinking I heard the bird from outside. I continued to hear, “Tweet, tweet.” And that’s when I realized…

A bird had flown into the house.

He was thrashing about. Atticus was chasing him. It was absolute chaos. Frightened and panicked, I quickly threw everything into the car, babies in tow, and was prepared to drive up the interstate to my in-laws rather than dealing with the bird. I quickly realized, it’s true—

You make plans, God makes other plans.

You see, this has been the metaphor of my life for the past year.

I planned to get pregnant. A year and three rounds of Clomid later, we were finally expecting.

I planned to have a baby. A six week ultrasound revealed we were expecting twins.

I planned on a normal, healthy pregnancy. I went into pre-term labor at 24 weeks and spent 4 weeks on bedrest.

 I planned to keep my babies inside of my womb as long as I could. I went into for-real-this-time labor and delivered them at 28 weeks, 3 days gestation and we spent 76 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

I planned to live a life as normal as possible when we were discharged. We were discharged a week before the worst influenza season in history and instead spent 120 days in medical isolation.

I planned to return to work. I instead had to resign from my ten-year career to keep my babies at home and safe through the winter.

I planned a countdown out of isolation and breaking free to our finally happy, normal life.  My father unexpectedly passed away at 68 years old just 17 days before isolation would have been complete.

This past year has been hard and tougher in ways than I ever thought possible. It was dark. It was a lonely journey. It was the year that almost broke me. Yet, it was also the year that also defined me. It was the year that I saw more life and death than I ever thought possible and the year that filled me with purpose. It was the year I grew up in more ways than I ever thought possible.

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The only constant during these times was the persistent urge and calling to do more. To help people. To encourage women like me. To make a difference for babies like Jack and Lilly. To leave a legacy. And that’s exactly what I am doing.

I didn’t plan for this, but I have never been happier or more fulfilled.

And I cannot wait to tell you more about it.

A Double Helping of Unsolicited Comments

By: Leah Prescott

Becoming a mom times two totally rocked my world. At my 20-week ultrasound, my husband and I expected to find out the gender of our baby. Instead, we were told that we were going to be parenting TWO babies. To say we were surprised doesn’t begin to cover it. Nearly eight years later, I still feel kind of shocked when I remember that day and everything that came after. Fear, joy, excitement, and a little more fear.

Twins

Since having twins, there have been lots of surprises. Some of those were normal parenting lessons (the bath isn’t a potty-free zone?! When they stay up late, children actually wake up EARLIER?!). One thing that I never anticipated is the public’s reaction to twins. Suddenly, a simple trip to the grocery store was complicated by multiple questions, comments, and sometimes strange anecdotes. At the time, I was so overwhelmed and stressed that I found it frustrating to be approached so often by strangers. But now, I smile when I remember those times. For a while I felt a bit like a celebrity and it was fun getting reactions anywhere we went.

On the other hand, some of the comments could be offensive, annoying or just plain creepy. So, for your amusement and edification, I give you:

9 Things to NEVER say to families with multiples

9) “Who is older?” This question seems relatively benign, and of course it’s fine when coming from a friend or acquaintance. It just becomes very, very tiresome when coming from an utter stranger. Imagine how it feels to be a child who has always been compared to her sister. She’s had to compete for attention, had to share everything, and always been confused for another human being. Now suppose a stranger is rubbing it in to you that,
through some cruel twist of fate, your sister just happened to have been born nearly a whole minute sooner. And the stranger is somehow implying that this is relevant to your life in a way that your family has never taught you. See why it bugs me?

8) “She’s the leader, right?” There are a handful of twin groupies who seem to think they are gifted somehow in labeling a child they have just laid their eyes upon with character qualities or gifts based on arbitrary observations from across the food court. If you bring these comments to me, be prepared to be shut down. Honestly, I will tell you “no” even if you’re sort of right just out of sheer obstinance.

7)  “Which one is the evil twin?” I absolutely cannot believe that was a real question but I swear to you it was. I just…..I can’t….there are NO words. Also, please don’t tell me stories of twins you know with bizarre and frightening medical histories. No one wants to hear those. While we’re on the subject, if you are the lady who approached me in Kmart and told me about one of her twins who was kidnapped from the hospital over twenty five years ago, never to be seen again; I am haunted by your story, but why did you have to tell me about it, WHY?

Beach babies

6) “Do they have the same thoughts?” I have actually gotten this question more than once. At first I thought the asker was joking but then I realized they were serious. Maybe a little too much sci-fi in your life? On that topic, have you noticed that the media nearly always portrays girl twins as either creepy ghost sets or sexy adult pairs. What’s with that?

5) “You do know how that happens, right?” For obvious reasons, I dislike this rhetorical question. I’m going to add to this one any other comments or questions that suggest or allude to any of the reproductive “magic” that occurs behind the scenes to bring a baby into this world. Several times, I’ve had people question the conception circumstances of my children. I mean, they are random people asking me this in the line at the grocery store. I’m really upfront in general, but from a stranger? WOW.

4) “You have your hands full!” I know that this is a really common one for lots of families (since when is three children a “lot” of kids?). Maybe I am just being too sensitive, but somehow it feels like a put down. Am I wrong here?

3) “Are they twins?” This doesn’t bother me, and honestly now it makes perfect sense. The girls are older, not exactly the same height, usually doing different things with their own hairstyle and clothing choices.  It was back when they were sitting side by side, identically dressed in their double stroller when the question really seemed like a display of ignorance. But who am I to judge? I’ve also had folks say they have never met twins before, so I guess it isn’t so weird to have trouble identifying this bizarre sighting out in the real world.

2) “Better you than me.” I guess I understand where these guys are coming from. I mean, we’ve all been there, when we see someone else and think, “I couldn’t do what they are doing.” And I think these folks really have the intention of paying a compliment. I just would prefer to hear, “You are doing a great job.” I will never forget one day I was at Target with the girls when they were still tiny and a little girl came up to marvel out the twins. She turned to her mom and said, “I wish Sarah (obviously her small sister) was a twin.” I thought it was the sweetest comment from a big sister. Her mother gasped, “Oh God, no” and my heart broke for that little girl. What a message to send to your daughter!

1) “Double Trouble.” When it comes down to it, the top comment to NEVER say to families with twins has got to be “double trouble.” Even though each person mentions it with a smirk that tells you he thinks it is the most original comment ever made, it is in fact the single most over-used expression in the history of multiples. I have heard it dozens and dozens of times. It is so hard to react to this one at this point. I used to laugh as if I were amused. Sometimes I would say “double the joy.” Now I just throw up my hands in frustration or nod in agreement, depending on my mood.

Honorable mention goes to “Buy one get one free” or “two for the price of one.” Of course, categorically untrue (I’ll show you the NICU bills) and only a hair less common than “double trouble” but still far less aggravating due to the perceived positive spin. Points for the effort, but we’ve still heard it too many times to count.

So that’s it, my list of the worst comments to say to families with twins. I should add that I have gotten some absolutely lovely comments from people as well. Some beautiful good wishes, kind encouragement and sincere prayers when I really needed them! When in doubt, if you meet a parent of twins and aren’t quite sure what to say, there’s always a great stand-by: “When can I babysit?”

Meet the New Every Woman Bloggers: Leah Prescott

Meet Leah Prescott, a mom of three who is learning to navigate the world of homeschooling and will share her experiments and successes teaching her children.

Hi Columbia! My name is Leah Prescott and I’m beyond thrilled to be a part of the Every Woman Blog community. I’ll be writing about my crazy days and life here in the Midlands of South Carolina, and hopefully meeting and hearing from as many of you as possible. I hope you are ready because I am sometimes an over-sharer.

Don’t say you weren’t warned. Please feel free to share right back. That’s what the comment section is for! I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be writing about, but I do have some ideas….only I’m really indecisive. Any votes?

As for me, I love being married to my husband of ten years. He’s the tall, quiet type, Leahbut he’s always willing to speak the truth. (In fact, sometimes I wish he was a little Iess truthful, but God knows what we need, doesn’t He?) Even 13 years later, he can look at me with those blue eyes of his and it takes me right back to our early days in college. I am so thankful that he has been with me through the ups and downs of the last decade!

Together, we have three of the sweetest, smartest, and most challenging children God ever sent down to earth. Right now, I stay busy homeschooling my seven-year-old twin girls and just trying to keep my energetic 22-month-old son from reaching his ultimate goal: the destruction of my home and sanity. And in the background there is always a barking beagle. Always.

When I’m not combing curls, teaching sight words, or wiping up something off the floor, I enjoy writing, thrifting, creativity in general, coffee, and Pinterest. I’ve really got to tone down my pinning, actually. But maybe you guys can help me sort through some of that also. Want to talk about pin-inspired successes and failures?

Did I mention I’m excited? Not only do I get the chance to share with all of you, but I already met some of the blogging team and what a fantastic, varied group of creative, funny, and skilled ladies! 2014 is sure to be a fabulous year on the Every Woman Blog, so keep your eye on us!