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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sleep (Or Lack Thereof)

Sleep. It's one of those things that parents tend to obsess about. "How are they sleeping?" "Are you getting any sleep?" "Sleep while the baby sleeps!" Sleep schedules, sleep training, co-sleeping... Are you overwhelmed yet?

G and A have always been decent sleepers. The only "complaint" that I have these days (and it really isn't that big of a complaint, most nights) is that if they do wake, they are pretty much garunteed to end up in our bed. It starts by whisking the whimpering baby out of his/her bed before the cries reach a point that would threaten to wake their neighbor - one baby is managable in the middle of the night, two can quickly tip the scales into Crazy Town. Usually there is some bopping around the living room or snuggles on the couch, but most of the time my sleepy, lazy parenting skills kick in and we head straight back to the Big Bed. "Just until they fall back asleep," is what I usually whisper to the grumbling husband lump beside me, but it never fails that just until they fall back asleep ends the next morning when all three of us wake up in a tangle of legs and arms and blankets and pacis.

Like I said, it's easy to get overwhelmed with sleep (or lack thereof). Early this morning though, as I was removing Audrey's foot from my kidney and replacing her paci for the 748th time, I was struck with a thought - there was a time when I would have given anything to wake up to a crying baby. Back when it was my screaming alarm waking me up every 3 hours, dragging me out of a fitful sleep to first hook myself up the ungainly tubes and plastic of the pump, and then to punch the over-used speed dial that kept me connected through the night to those teeny babies in the plastic boxes. Then, they were a few miles up the road instead of just down the hall, but for how I felt the distance could have been halfway from here to England. Back then, I wished so badly to have a crying baby in my bed.

And I know too, there will come a day - probably a lot sooner than I am prepared for - that my babies will be grown and not need (or want!) to snuggle in bed with me. And that will probably break my heart too and I will wish again for a crying baby in my bed. So yeah, I wake up with a stiff neck and bags under my eyes that you could pack a lunch in. But it's just a season, and really? I want to take the time to revel in it.


Friday, November 9, 2012


Life lately, in pictures from everyone's favorite photo app!
(Yes, I realize it's 9:15 on Friday night. I'm blogging to keep me awake until an appropriate bedtime for a Friday night. Wild life here, kids.)
We always go exploring after naps. This day was apparently a rock-collecting day.
Fall in Georgia can be SO wonky. 58 in the morning, 75 by the afternoon. We wear lots of layers here for a trip to the park. 
I did my civil duty. Insert political statement here.
Grayson says it's hard to be a toddler.
I snapped this on one of our afternoon walks. I guess next week I'll be buying her a car.
The babies have been practicing feeding themselves with utensils. Yogurt is tricky, as you can see.
We had pictures taken for our Christmas cards (by the AMAZING Amy of Amy E Photography ) I can't wait to get them back!
I made margarita cupcakes for a birthday dinner at a Mexican place. They were super yum.
G and A did cupcake quality control for me. They approved 
life rearranged

Monday, November 5, 2012


trau·ma [trou-muh, traw-]
noun, plural trau·mas, trau·ma·ta [-muh-tuh]
1. Pathology
a. a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident.
b. the condition produced by this; traumatism.
2. Psychiatry.
a. an experience that produces psychological injury or pain.
b. the psychological injury so caused.

The first time my doctor mentioned it to me, I scoffed. "PTSD?" I asked, "isn't that what happens to soldiers? To people who have been through shootings or bombings or plane crashes? Surely, a little time in the NICU doesn't qualify me for that."

"Jessica," she leveled with me, "your babies almost died. If that's not traumatic, I don't know what is."


I've always been emotional, passionate, maybe even a little high-strung. I've struggled with anxiety in my past. But the feelings I had about the babies birth and the months that followed - the worry, the worst-case scenario thoughts, the sleeplessness and anger and weight gain - I thought it was normal. Anyone in my position would feel the same, right?

For almost a year, I assumed that insert next step would make it better. Once they were off the ventilators, not so sick, out of the isolettes, on their way home. After we ditched the oxygen, stopped their meds, gained some weight, got through the scary winter, came off quarantine. Certianly, once this or that happened, I would feel better. Right? Except not. Because there we were, inching towards the babies' first birthday, and if anything I was feeling worse than the day they were born. I was constantly holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

And with those four words - "your babies almost died" - my doctor validated all my feelings. Because she was right, so very very right. I had watched their heartbeats space out on monitors, seen their lips turn gray and felt their bodies go limp. Infections and setbacks and alarms dinging, things that haunt most mother's nightmares - that was my reality. And like it or not, it changed me.

So I started seeing a therapist, and I started taking Prozac. Are drugs right for everyone? No. But they were right for me. I'm not afraid any more. The nightmares have stopped, I can fall asleep easily, I can leave the house without melting down first. I don't feel guilty taking an hour for myself to go workout or have dinner with friends. I am living, really living, and enjoying my babies. Getting help through the medicine and the therapy does not make me less of a person, or less of a mother. In fact, it's just the opposite - I am a better overall for it. It has been over 6 months now, and while I hope I don't have to do this forever I know if I do, that's ok too.

So there you have it, friends. That's what has kept me from my little corner of the internet. I have been wanting to "come clean", but I was nervous. It was hard to put it into words. And don't get me wrong, our little life has been amazing, but I felt almost like a phony typing up these happy, chipper posts without telling you the truth behind them.

And now you know. This little flower needs sunshine AND rain to flourish :)