In the beginning, when you find out there are two people growing inside your body, you are filled both with awe and fear. Awe that you could be chosen to have this remarkable gift of two children bestowed upon you at the same time. Wonder at the mysticism of the world you are about to join.
And all consuming fear. Fear that you alone are responsible for the protecting the two lives that are growing inside you. Fear that you surely are not the right person for this honor, surely a mistake was made somewhere. Knowing what it was like carrying for one infant and being absolutely terrified that there is no way you could possibly handle two at the same time. Fearing that maybe, just maybe, God made a mistake.
And then the sickness sets in. You can't even handle the one child you already have and you wonder how on earth you could possibly handle two more.
Then you hear them. Two heartbeats. At the same time. And just for a moment, everything stops. Nobody moves, nobody speaks, nobody breaths. It is just you, and Them. For the very first time. And you think, maybe, just maybe, this is. I can do this. These are my babies. My babies. I have two babies. And they have two heartbeats. Surely this is from God.
Then one day like magic, the sickness turns off like a faucet. The sun comes out again. I start to feel them move inside me. Not like their sister did, in little flutters. More like, a set of choreographed movements within me. One will move left, the other will move right. They are already wrestling each other inside me, much like Jacob did with Esau.
Finally, we got to see their blurry little faces. What would they look like? Were they beautiful little girls or handsome little boys? I really didn't even want to know anything this day beyond the words: they are both healthy. And they were. So perfect. Absolutely perfect. What joy filled my heart this day. As tears of joy streamed down my cheeks, tears of despair poured from their sister. She wanted sisters. Not "brudders." I had to let her grandmothers handle that one for me because I was no help once I learned of their health. I was an absolute blubbering mess. I was too busy praising my Father for the gift of two perfect healthy sons.
Not long after this joyous (for some) day, we learned it would be best for me and the boys for me to be on "modified" bed rest. What this actually means for a mother of a three year old is still up for debate. But thanks to good friends, a great husband, and an extraordinary housekeeper, it was made completely doable. And I'd do it all again in a second if it meant giving my sons a chance to stay in my womb and grow longer. As it turned out, we needed every single day of that bed rest. We made weekly, sometimes twice weekly, trips to L&D over the next two months to stop labor and by the grace of God our sons were able to grow an extra seven weeks. Praise be to God. I will never stop praising Him for that priceless gift.
We made to week 34 and on January 6 at 9:11 pm both Braden and Brock made their entrance into the world. We had a bit of a rough beginning, but after 18 days in the NICU, we finally brought them home.
Things were tough those first couple of weeks at home. No sleep. Feeding, pumping, burping, diapering, bathing, putting to sleep, soothing, all times two. It was hard. We had some wonderful help. It was still hard. We had to sleep in shifts. Tony and I did not sleep in the same bed until the twins were four months old. It was just too complicated. One of us had to keep the babies, while the other one tried to "catch up" on sleep missed from the night before. And if Tony was on call...forget it.
We were really just in survival mode until one day something just didn't seem right. Something was wrong. And I mean very wrong. With Braden. His coloring was off. And it was getting worse. He had been home for two and half weeks, so we were just getting to know him, but something wasn't right. And if it weren't for having his brother right next to him to compare him to, we might have missed it. Who knows? Lesson one for parents of twins- you will compare them to each other and sometimes it's absolutely necessary. Braden had hemolytic anemia. He was admitted to the hospital where he received a blood transfusion at 2:00 in the morning. That was the number one most terrifying moment of my life to date. I did not ever want to go through anything like that ever again.
One week later. Brock was admitted to the hospital for a blood transfusion to treat hemolytic anemia. Lesson two for parents of twins- when one gets sick, the other will almost always get it. Not that this was contagious or anything, just a good lesson for parents of twins to learn regardless.
Since then, the drama has been dialed down considerably- thank you to God. Normal lumps, bumps, fevers, ears, etc. Teeth have been a pain, but getting better. We are learning how to corral them a little better now that they are crawling. But they do seem to encourage each other's escapes and escapades. Braden will see Brock take off down the hall or vice versa and will promptly take pursuit. They really are starting to be quite fun. I will try to post some video if I can ever figure out how.
Their first birthday is on Wednesday and I just cannot believe a year has already gone by when it seems like only yesterday there were times I would count minutes. Thank you, Father, for the most precious gift of my sons. I cherish them. Both of them.