Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Really? I have no idea what I'm doing.

I realized this about a month ago and had a little HOLY CRAP moment. It's like I woke up one day and all of a sudden was responsible for two little people, who probably expect some sort of competency from me.

Before the babies came, I thought I was totally prepared. I had my cloth diapers washed and folded. My Dr. Sears Baby Book was ready and waiting in the living room. I had even read it.

And then the babies were here.

The diapers got dirty.

And Dr. Sears wasn't here to help at 3am.

Sometimes it seems like perhaps I'm better suited to just getting really crazy good at Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook.

But you know what? I think these babies kind of like me.

And maybe I don't need to know what I'm doing all the time. Maybe that's not even all that important.

This is my family. I get to figure it out.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Things We've Tried

Going into this whole baby thing, I was a wee bit unprepared for the challenges of nighttime. I imagined that bedtime in more competently run households would look something like this:

"Oh goodness gracious. It's 5pm. Time for bed." Loving mother picks up sweet and smiling baby, who definitely does not have a huge explosion of poop in his diaper, and brings him into his beautiful nursery. Lullabies fill the air, which smells like baby powder and cookies. She places her sleepy baby, who has not made a peep aside from contented coos which accompany his smile, into his crib, where he gently sighs and goes to sleep. Mother kisses baby's forehead and goes into the dining room. Of course, her dashingly handsome husband has made dinner, lit the candles, and decantered a bottle of perfectly aged Cabernet.

So in the beginning, thinking myself at least slightly competent, I was a bit surprised as I became acquainted with the realities of nighttime with babies. Picture it: Eleven PM. One baby is methodically tearing off my right nipple while the other smooshes poop with his foot while my dashingly handsome husband wrestles with a cloth diaper. Instead of a warm dinner with the perfect wine, I'm scooping frosting out of the can with my finger and drinking a beer. No one sleeps.

Five months in, we've refined this routine a bit. We've set a more reasonable bedtime (which is kind of more a goal than a reality most days. Like winning the lottery.) Our main dilemma seems to be that we cannot figure out who should sleep where. Short of trying out the crib ourselves, we've tried just about everything. Rather than cry about it (although I DO - usually at 2am) or swear about it (that comes at 3am, trucker-style), it seems most prudent to simply laugh. Just not while crying and swearing. That's when they send you away.

The things we've tried.
In some semblance of chronological order.
(Please note that in the below scenarios, the term "sleep" is used lightly. Unless noted otherwise, the term "sleep" refers to 1-2 hour stretches of sleep followed by voracious nursing.)

1. Babies in the crib (co-sleeper style, next to the bed). Parents in the bed. Result: 0 sleep. Babies hate the crib. Make bizarre, slightly humorous, slightly terrifying, chirping noises. This setup leads to...

2. Each parent sleeps with a baby on his/her chest. Sitting up. All night long. Result: Babies sleep beautifully. Parents do not sleep. Develop back/neck/shoulder issues. This setup leads to...

3. Again, each parent sleeps with a baby on his/her chest. Sitting up. All night long. Result: Babies sleep beautifully. Parents sleep beautifully too. Because now we're too exhausted to let a little "sitting up" ruin the potential for sleep. This setup continues until babies discover they prefer to sleep with their faces wedged in an armpit. Safety issue...on to the next setup.

4. Daddy sleeps in bed like a normal person. Mommy wedges herself as close to daddy as possible. This leaves half the bed open for babies, who are now in the bed sleeping parallel to one another and perpendicular to mommy, who wraps her arms around the two of them like a big mommy-arm baby gate. Result: Everyone sleeps. This continues until babies get too long to safely fit perpendicular to mommy and threaten to tumble off the bed.

5. Daddy sleeps on an air mattress on the floor next to the crib and the bed. Mommy continues with babies as in setup 4. Result: Everyone sleeps. Mommy feels tremendous guilt over daddy sleeping on the air mattress. Invites him back into bed under the conditions that...

6. Daddy sleeps at the foot of the bed, perpendicular to mommy. Mommy and daddy are forming an L. Babies continue to sleep in mommy's arm-gate. Result: Mommy kicks daddy. Daddy kicks mommy. Babies sleep. Did I mention Daddy is 6'6"? Sleeping sideways on a queen size bed?

7. Mommy and daddy switch positions. (This is sounding like a creepy, TMI, "how babies are made" type story at this point). Babies remain in mommy-gate. Result: Mommy kicks daddy. Daddy kicks mommy. Babies sleep.

8. Mommy and Daddy decide to try the Pack N' Play in place of the crib. Result: 0 sleep. Babies hate the Pack N' Play. Return of the bizarre, slightly humorous, slightly terrifying, chirping noises.

9. Everyone in the bed. Laying in the traditional direction. Result: Beautiful, blissful sleep. For all.

10. Mommy gets nervous babies will get smothered in the bed. Mommy and daddy attempt to teach the babies to love the crib. Result: Tears had by all. Except maybe daddy. 0 sleep. Repeat this for many, many, many nights.

11. Same as scenario 10, except for that Rhys is in the car seat in the crib, Quin is just regular ol' in the crib. Result: Rhys sleeps beautifully. For 4-7 hour stretches. Tears had by everyone else. Ok, just mommy and Quin.

12. Mommy sleeps on a futon mattress on the floor with Quin. Rhys sleeps in his car seat in the crib. Daddy sleeps in the bed alone. Result: Sleep is had for all. Especially daddy. Mommy develops severe back pain. Chiropractic bills are mounting.

13. Daddy in the bed. Mommy in the bed. Quin in the bed. Rhys in the car seat in the crib. Result: Everybody sleeps. Mommy feels tremendous guilt that Rhys is alone in the crib.

Oh, where will our travels lead us next? I'm not sure, although I'm willing to bet it will involve more tremendous guilt and the chiropractor.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Slaying the pink elephants

There are big, clumsy, pink elephants in the room of my subconscious. They are postpartum depression pink elephants. I'm ready for them to leave.

The more I've tried to convince myself that I will not think about pink elephants, the harder they've grown to ignore. It's time for a new game plan.

I desperately longed for my babies for years. I will not allow POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION to take this time from me. I accept that I cannot control what comes my way. But I am a mother, a wife. I am me. It's my move.

So I'm getting down to the dirty business of dealing with IT.

I'm choking down disgusting fish oil and getting out of the house. I'm talking about it when I want to and not talking about it when I don't. I'm acknowledging intrusive thoughts.

I'm blogging about it because terrible things happen because of POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION. Because it seems like something that happens to other people and because we're altogether far too dishonest with ourselves and with each other.

And if ignoring the pink elephants makes them stronger, I will use that to my advantage. I'm outing them. I am owning up.

Infertility did not define me. POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION does not define me. I am me. I am wife mother sister daughter friend niece granddaughter cousin neighbor blogger.

I am me.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Naughty Mommy

I had a frappe.  A big, delicious, foamy vanilla frappe.

Rhys and Quin spent the next two days blowing chunks.  I would use the more refined term "spitting up," but that gives the impression of something almost delicate, and definitely watery.  The yellow curds and clumps that spurted from their poor little mouths were not delicate, nor were they watery.

Dairy allergy?  Confirmed.

Interesting, because I asked our doctor at the last visit if there was any test that could be performed to confirm such an allergy, and she said no.  Apparently what she meant is that there is no humane test.  But inhumane, weak-willed mother tests?  Totally exist.

It is my sincere hope that the memory of my sweet babes bathed in vomit will last me through the summer and its wistful ice cream season, and that this memory will dissuade me from another weak moment where I gorge myself on the evil delights of dairy.

I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, I am supremely excited to say that I HAVE found some worthy alternatives to delicious food that I now cannot eat.  The most heavenly and amazing of these alternatives is Pure Decadence Coconut Milk Soy Free and Dairy Free Frozen Dessert.  Or, in more succinct terms, coconut milk ice cream.  Holy Wow.  I don't care if you're allowed all the ice cream you can stomach.  Try this stuff.  It is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  I would eat it even if I were allowed dairy.  It's that good.  And I am not a "substitutions" kinda girl.  Margarine?  Sucks (and, it just so happens, is not any healthier than butter.)  Sugar substitutes?  I spit on you.     Tofurky?  You're not fooling me.  Give me the damn bird.  But Pure Decadence?  Pure, and decadent.

In addition to my rapidly growing addiction to coconut milk ice cream, I've also managed to develop quite the palate for lactation cookies.  These call for butter, which I'm now substituting with coconut oil.  Coconuts kind of rock my world these days.  If you are a person who is currently lactating, thinking of lactating, or not lactating at all, I HIGHLY recommend these cookies.  They are delicious.  And kind of healthy.  And I ate 15 today.  Really.  Actually maybe more.

Because I know you're wondering, let me quench your thirst for more knowledge about these intriguing morsels:

Yes, they increase milk supply.

No, you will not develop breasts or miraculous lactation just by eating them.  Ask my husband.

If you're going to make them, and I highly suggest it, don't cook them for more than 8 minutes.  They should look kind of raw and puffy when they come out of the oven.  They'll set up.

I'm searching for a good closing line.  Maybe a little wisdom to impart.  But really?  I'm drinking a Guinness and thinking about food.  That's my wisdom for now.  Guinness and food.

And I should mention.  I'm writing this post in advance for future publishing.  So if it's time stamped something like 9AM, please try to convince yourself that I have not yet resorted to pouring Guinness on my morning granola.  Although I think that would be pretty heavenly.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


A couple of years ago, in a rare moment of infertility-induced hysterical clarity, I pulled into a tattoo parlor on my way home from work and had them stamp the word "Acceptance" on my back.  Courier new, font size twenty.

I should have had this stamped on my forehead.

People who see this tattoo might think I'm bragging about my ability to roll with life's punches.  And sometimes they probably think I'm a recovered meth addict.  Neither happen to be true.

It's simply a reminder.  A reminder that might serve me better if I had really committed the first time around and slapped it on my face rather than between my shoulder blades, where, incidentally, I rarely look.

I thought infertility was life's lesson to me in acceptance.  I got it.  I gave myself over.  I let go.

It only seemed logical that in my happily-ever-after, life would always be easy to accept because I GET IT NOW and people who GET IT don't have to get spanked by life's little lessons.

I have these two perfect little beings.  I waited and waited for them.  They are here and I cannot stop being acutely aware.  Aware of my love for them, my amazement that they're real, the absolute miracle of it all.

Aware that I feel resentful at anything and everything in my life that takes me away.

I don't know if I want to acquiesce to that.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I will help you, April Purinton

I caved.

At first, the whole idea of being a TV-free family seemed quite hip. I had visions of us sitting around at night, listening to classical music, enjoying stimulating conversation, and sipping our tea. After about a month, this vision was replaced by the reality that has taken over our evenings: running back and forth into our room to calm a baby that has decided for the sixth time that it really isn't yet bedtime. Where the classical music should be is instead the constant hum and static of the baby monitor. Instead of tea, we're sipping beer. Stimulating conversation is anything that doesn't involve the words "poop" or "spit up."

I don't know what I had envisioned for my TV-free daytime hours. I think it involved a picnic blanket, butterflies, and leisurely naps under a tree with the babies. Ticks, mosquitoes, and the "no sunblock for six months" rule put a damper on that. My days without TV started looking an awful lot like the same four walls of my living room, a perilous addiction to all things internet, and a soundtrack I like to call "looooooook at the fuzzy bunny! Seeeeee the fuzzy bunny? The fuzzy bunny's gonna get yooooooooooou!" At least TV gives the semblance of adult conversation, albeit in a totally one-sided and voyeuristic manner. But hell, I'll take it.

So on Friday I called my friends over at DirectTV for the start of what I like to call, "Mission: Just give me some damn TV already!"

I explained my predicament to the tentative customer service rep who answered. I skipped the parts about the butterflies and the beer. "Oh." She said. "You'll need to speak to somebody in programming then. Let me transfer you." I seemed to be headed in the right direction. The rep from programming picked up the line. It seems the first rep neglected to share any of my rather lengthy story explaining why I was calling. No matter. TV - beautiful, sweet TV was getting closer by the second. So I explained again. "Oh. You need to speak to someone in our re-connections department." Really? They have a specific department solely dedicated to the plight of wayward customers like myself? The rep picked up the line. "Hola. Gracias por llamar DirectTV." Small problem here. Considering that my best second language is pig latin. I apologized in a polite and somewhat embarrassed manner. Explained that I don't speak Spanish. The rep continued. In Spanish. I waited for a pause and repeated our language dilemma. He continued. In Spanish. Repeat. And again. I finally interjected with a frustrated: "I CAN'T UNDERSTAND YOU!!" "Oh." He said. He switched to English.

I now need to pause my rather lengthy story for a quick disclaimer before continuing: I respect and admire the many varied cultures and languages from around the world. I follow the instructions of the bumper sticker and Celebrate Diversity. I think we'd all be better off if we were bi- or tri-lingual. I find accents to be intriguing, mysterious, and generally cool. And wish that I had one myself, aside from the not-so-cool, "wicked awesome" New England accent that I may or may not possess.

So my third rep had switched to English. I explained why I was calling, and he responded. Only I couldn't understand him. He was speaking English, but with a healthy smattering of Spanish mixed in. What to do? At first I tried the subtle, "I'm sorry sir. Could you repeat that?" to no avail. Repeat or not, I couldn't compute. I decided that there was no reason why I couldn't get politely and delicately assertive. "I'm so, so sorry, but I am having a hard time understanding you. Is there somebody else I could speak with?" He responded with a less friendly, "No" and continued. I repeated my request. He repeated his "no," this time adding on, "I will help you, April Purinton. I will help you. Listen harder." I listened. I really did. I wanted to understand him. I did not want to call back, to speak to three more reps. I just wanted my TV back. I wanted Oprah and Ellen to be my friends again. "Please, sir. I'm trying, I really am. And I'm sorry. But I REALLY cannot understand you. Can I PLEASE speak to somebody else?" His response? "I will help you, April Purinton. Listen harder!" We went back and forth like this for several minutes. Exasperated, desperate, and on the verge of tears, I cut in: "I'm hanging up now. I'm sorry. But I'm hanging up and calling back."

And so I did.

Two calls and six transfers later, I succeeded in scheduling a re-installation of my service.

I really should also mention that the guy who came to do the install made some crack about how he "followed the banjo music" all the way into town (which I do believe is an insult toward my place of residence), and later, while using my telephone without permission, commented to his boss that "this phone really bites."

Screw it all. Mission: Just give me some damn TV already? Accomplished.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

About that swaddle...

So I realized in re-reading my swaddling post that perhaps I should clarify one important point:

The swaddle is perfected.  Sleep? Not so much.

Swaddling seems to have convinced the babies that their crib is NOT the devil.  Convincing them that a full night of sleep would be far more satisfying than a night spent chowing down at the boob-buffet seems to be a different story entirely.

I feel the need to point this out so that when I go back to blaming all of my bizarre behavior on my lack of sleep, nobody calls the validity of that excuse into question.

In short?  Swaddle = crib.  And "something" = sleep.

I just have no idea what that "something" is.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Swaddle, perfected.

It only took four months, which translates into about 120 attempts at creating The. Perfect. Swaddle.

And now I've done it.  If someone could put a gold star next to my name on the Fantastic Mothering oak tag (remember oak tag?) chart, I'm ready to take on the next challenge that mothering sends my way.

Why post about swaddling?  Who cares?

A few weeks ago, I would not have cared much about swaddling.  I had lost perspective of the all encompassing, super important purpose of swaddling.  Our nights had turned into some form of insane mayhem that involved 3-ish hours of sleep, a dismaying amount of spit up, and two babies with zero concept of bed time, night time, day time, or nap time.  Really because I was approaching mothering, specifically the mothering of twins, with a sort of "I'm unconventional and will allow my children to approach their days in a non-rigid and abstract manner" attitude.

Well.  Bring on the rigid, or at least the slightly stable.  Bring on the concrete.  For the LOVE OF GOD, bring on a schedule.  A beautiful, shiny, sleep-including schedule.

With a little (okay A LOT) of help and support from my local maternal wellness center, Nini Bambini (which I will not stop blogging about.  Because I love them and they are HELPING me and they are struggling to stay afloat because nobody supports small business - so support small business and visit them), I have been slowly converting the babies to a fantabulous and gentle schedule which includes naps, baths, and an actual bedtime. Nothing crazy, but all fairly decent ideas.

We also have a bedtime routine.  Which is where my newly perfected swaddle comes in.  The first step in The. Perfect. Swaddle. includes using the perfect swaddling blanket.  So I bought the perfect swaddling blanket, two of them in fact.  But my swaddles kept un-swaddling.  The rapid un-swaddling was partly due to user error (mine) and partly due to the babies resisting.  If the physical act of my attempting to swaddle my babies were put into conversational form, it would go something like this:

Me: I can see you're fussy.  Let me swaddle you.  You may not realize this, but you're actually craving structure, and a womb-like experience.

Babies: Oooh!  A shadow!  Must thrash with wild abandon!

And so on and so forth.  Until the day that I discovered perfection.

It is at this point that I realize I've created a build up far bigger than any amazing point I have to share about swaddling.  Unless I'm about to reveal that the secret to world peace somehow was hidden beneath the folds of our very chic Aden and Anais  swaddling blankets, I've amped this up just a tad much.

But I suppose I'm now inclined to make the big reveal.  So here it is.  My swaddling tips.  To create Perfection.

(And if you've never swaddled a baby, this will make zero sense at all.  Even better).

Fold the first corner down over baby's shoulder.  Tuck under baby's body.  Here's the magic in this step: brace one hand against baby's side while pulling and tightening the remaining side of the swaddle.

Next, fold the bottom up over baby's feet and tuck under baby's body.  The magic here?  Make sure you leave enough length for baby's legs to be fully outstretched.

And then the final and most magical step: gather all remaining material into your hand like a pony tail.  Wrap around baby's opposite shoulder, under the back, and then pull and tighten on the opposite side.  Tighten and tuck into the front folds.

If you were hoping for a bigger thrill, go have a margarita.  Use really good tequila.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My milkshake...

...contains no milk. At least no cow's milk. And now no soy milk either. And coming soon to a breast near you? No wheat, nuts, or eggs.

Turns out what I thought was a harmless bout of baby acne on Rhys' face is actually a raging food allergy rash. Seeing as though my scathing letter to infant GERD has yielded zero results in the miraculous reflux-healing department, on Friday we carted ourselves off to the doctor for some professional assistance.

Here's what she said:

"Get yourselves to a good pediatric gastroenterologist."

"No more delicious food." (I'm paraphrasing here. It sounded something more like, "No dairy. No soy. We may need to look at cutting out wheat, nuts, and eggs.")

And then she said this:

"You have postpartum depression."

Ah what? Me? Me.

And I do. And I knew it and didn't want to know it.

Ignoring it? Didn't make it go away. Made it worse. Made it bigger and stronger until one day WHAM! it hit me in the face like a brick.

A few risk factors for postpartum depression: history of infertility. Traumatic childbirth experience. Premature delivery.

In the first month or so after the babies were born, I felt like I'd pulled the wool over the sly little eyes of PPD.

I was so proud to be okay.

Looking back, I can tell you that more than anything, I was just in shock. Shock that my babies were born two months early. That I had real, live, beautiful babies that were mine.

And god how I love those babies. Their sweet soft skin. The way they clasp their little hands in front of their bellies. That they look at me with big toothless grins and love and adoration.

I'm trying to figure out words to paint this picture - to show that for me, postpartum depression doesn't mean rejecting my babies or feeling disconnected - just the opposite. And to show that I know that it will pass and I will be okay and they will be okay - that I know that even now I AM okay and they ARE okay. And that I hate to put labels on everything and maybe this is just a part of life - of going from zero to sixty in no time at all - of going from the abstract idea of babies in my belly to real, living, breathing, loving babies in my arms.

But I don't know how to paint that way.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Knitter No More

I am a decent amateur knitter.  I chose the word "decent" because that can be interpreted in many ways.  Interpret as you will.  A few clues to guide your interpretation are that I never follow directions (if men don't have to follow directions when putting together their child's first bicycle, then I really should not have to follow directions when assembling a child's sweater), and that the bulk of my knitting "projects" consist of half finished creations all knotted and tangled in my knitting basket.

For years, I've considered myself a knitter.  I love wool.  I love yarn.  I love the beautiful colors and textures and fuzziness.  The whole concept seems so friggen wholesome.  I feel like knitting will make my house smell like cinnamon and make my hair grow in thick, luscious and wavy.

But I've also always felt this pressure.  The pressure to finish one of the ten half-completed projects in my knitting basket.  The pressure to create something beautiful.  The pressure to not get bored halfway through my newest inspiration.  The pressure not to notice that I can stitch like a mad woman and after three hours have half an inch of product to show for it.  The pressure to untangle the twenty balls of mohair I inherited from my grandmother and make something befitting of it.

After years of this pressure, I have decided that enough is enough.  I am not a knitter.  My house does not smell like cinnamon.  I have crappy hair.

I'm listing the mohair on eBay.  And I feel better already.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A few follow ups to recent posts because you're obviously hanging on the edge of your seat in wonder.

I finished the jar of frosting I was working on, although it took me a little longer than expected. Incidentally, I still have three Cherry Dr. Pepper's in the fridge.

I ran my 5K. Neither of my breasts dislodged from their home on my chest, and nobody got me confused with Pam Anderson. I held a solid 12 minute mile for a total time of 35 minutes and 26 seconds. I scowled at all of the 90 year old ballerina gazelles who beat me. The beer was smooth, malty, and really everything I'd hoped for.

My house has moved up from dump status. I'd now probably classify it as a pig sty. I did, however, throw away the box of used wipes containing the dried poop particles, and that felt pretty uplifting. On the downside, there is a bag of rotting shrimp (raw, mind you) in my garbage. Does. Not. Smell. Good. Yet do you see me taking out the trash? Or writing a post?

I miss my TV. I totally miss it. And probably called that one a bit early, since it had been gone for about two seconds when I erringly bragged about being all wholesome and not missing it.

The babies are even more beautiful every single day.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Scathing Letter to Infant GERD

Dear Infant GERD,

We haven't spoken in a while. This is my fault as much as yours. I have been busy cleaning up projectile vomit and attempting to soothe my hysterical four month old, who seems to dislike your presence as much as myself.

This breakdown in communication is frankly unhealthy. I would appreciate some form of advance notice before you decide to make my child's life a living hell. Your drop in visits at 3am are pretty passive aggressive, and attacking a sleeping baby is totally unconscionable. My attempts to discreetly send you on your way have gone unnoticed. I douse you with Zantac, with Chamomilla, and yet you persist. Something needs to change.

Perhaps you're unaware of who you're messing with. This mama can get scrappy. Because seriously, GERD, I'm on like zero sleep and way too much sugar for me to take this any longer. Let me start by getting all up in your face with a little verbal assault.

GERD, you are a humongous asshole. When I finally get my exhausted hands on you, I will poke you in the eyeball with a splintered toothpick. Your whole family is ugly. You think you're so cool, but every time you leave the room everyone laughs at you. You know all that puking you cause my son to do? I'm saving that puke. In a plastic baggie tied up with an elastic band. And when I catch you, you're gonna drink it. And smile. You'll have no choice because I'll be holding a large meat cleaver to your head.

Meditate on that for a while, GERD. But keep coming on over, really. I look forward to the opportunity to put my splintered toothpicks to good use.

In the meantime, I suppose it's time to call the doctor.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Some days I have a lot to say.

Today I don't.

Only that motherhood is really, really, hard.

And I feel like I should qualify that statement by reiterating my love for being a mom. And I feel like the fact that I went through infertility somehow means that I'm held to a higher standard with all of it - that I can't complain about the lack of sleep or the days of incessant crying or the guilt that I feel when I don't do it perfectly.

I'm less than perfect at this. And crazy as it sounds, I'm taking that realization really hard.

Monday, June 1, 2009


I didn't hold my babies the night they were born.

I didn't get to stare at their sweet little faces.

I don't remember the first time I held them, or even who I held first.

Four months after their birth, I'm working on fitting these facts into the fabric of our history together, my babies and I.

When we got to the hospital, I was covered in blood from the placental abruption I didn't know I had.

When the nurse put the fetal monitor on, I waited for her to tell me both babies were dead.

When they took my babies away to the NICU, I was certain they would be down in my room, sleeping next to me by morning.

I have accepted that the birth wasn't what I had expected.  I am thankful that we all just made it out alive.  But things aren't so simple as to start and stop there.

I wish the doctor had told me to go to the hospital immediately when I called half an hour before my water broke, complaining of severe pain.

I wish the doctor had told me to call 9-1-1 when I called her with my broken water and told her I was surrounded by blood.

I wish my babies could have been placed into my long awaiting arms when they were pulled from my body.

When I think of what the birth was like for the babies, my heart breaks. I imagine their warm and safe environment fading around them.  I worry they felt fear.  I think of how scared and cold and alone they must have felt being suddenly pulled into the world, stuck with needles, connected to machines, and surrounded by bright lights and loud noises.  It is not what I would have chosen for my children.

There are people whose babies die.  People whose babies live but are not "okay."  Mothers who do not survive.

My babies are healthy.  I am healthy.  We've connected.

Not a day goes by that I don't look at them with awe, fascination, and something so beyond love that it breaks my heart.  I am amazed by the sheer stupid luck of it all, and don't know whether to feel guilty or grateful.

And I wait for this to all fall together, into a cohesive something that I know what to do with.