Grace and Hope

Grace and Hope
Wait for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always! Pslam 131:3

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jesus Is The Reason...

Jesus is the reason for this Christmas season...lets not forget the real reason why we celebrate Christmas.

Every day I look at our babies, I thank God for them, but am amazed at how he has created these babies from the begining....starting with all the important steps in IVF in order to prepare for pregnancy and ending with two perfect and healthy baby girls. This week I was reminded of how God chose Jason and I to be Aubrey's and Avery's parents. It truly is an amazing gift to be a that I can't wait to open over and over again and discover all that it has in store. I read a message from Max Lucado this week which ties in the treasure of being a mom with the Christmas season and I would like to share that with all the moms who read this blog.

"More than anything in the world I want to be a good mom to my kids. How can I be the mom God wants me to be?"

The virgin birth is more, much more, than a Christmas story. It is a picture of how close Christ will come to you, a mom, as you also bring a child into the world. Imagine yourself in that story found in Luke 1.
God comes to you and says, “I have a special task for you. A child. A special child that I want to entrust to you. Are you willing to raise this one?”

You stammer, take a breath. “This sounds scary.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll be there with you. This child is special to me. He will be a great child.”
You shake your head. “Such an awesome responsibility. I don’t know if I can do it.”
“Nothing is impossible with me.”

You smile. “I am your servant. I’ll do it.”
Do we think only one child received God’s special attention? Sure, only one was his Son, and an angel sent out those special birth announcements, accompanied by an angelic choir singing “Happy Birthday.” Of course God pulled out all the stops for Jesus’ birth. But children aren’t randomly born to parents. God orchestrates the right children to be born to the right parents. Being the mom God wants you to be starts with the understanding of how important your job is in God’s eyes. He entrusts you with one of his own children. He chose you out of all the moms in the world for this one child [children]. Remember, you, too, are highly favored by God himself to receive such a special gift."
God called Mary to a very important, very special task.  But He calls each of us mothers to a very important task as well, He has entrusted each of us with the specific children that He has blessed us with and He has given us the incredible responsibility to raise them to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.  But He hasn't left us to do this alone, He promises to be with us and guide us through His spirit.


This week and next week I will be taking a hiatus from the blog to enjoy the time with our family. Here a  few pics from the week.

 Aubrey smiling for the camera.

Thank you to my Aunt Donna for our pretty outfis. Aubrey dressed pretty in purple and Avery dressed pretty in pink.

The girls are not so enthused about all the pictures!

Aubrey trying to sneak a kiss to Avery.

Avery trying to sneak a kiss to Aubrey.

MERRY CHRISTMAS and may you all have a very blessed holiday.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Million Dollar Babies...

Recently, reports suggest that it costs about 1 million dollars to raise a baby these days. What if the girls have already exceeded their 1 million dollar limit in their first two months of life?! Let me assure you, 48 days in the NICU for two babies is no small penny!! All the more reason to celebrate that they are home and healthy!
This week the girls are now 41 weeks…and they are acting just as a newborn would be had we brought them home on their due date. Even though many babies sleep during this time, in order for us to reap the benefits of a sleeping baby (meaning catching up on laundry, preparing bottles, doing the dishes, showering etc.), they both have to be sleeping at the exact same time! We take advantage of those windows of opportunity when they come and I have a feeling they might be even more few and far between in the future! The one way to assure that they both sleep at the same time is to have them tucked into my “tommytie” which is similar to a moby wrap or sling, where I can fit both babies in side by side in a wrap that goes around my midsection. Thank you Andi for making me the tommytie so that I can actually sit down at the computer right now and write this blog. I have a feeling that while we thought Avery was the low maintenance baby, her true colors are now beginning to shine through as  the one that wants to waddle around in the tommytie!
This past Wednesday on December 14, we had their 2 month check-up at the pediatrician—yes, they are 2 months old ALREADY! Thankfully, Aubrey is now also off her apnea monitor and no longer on a short "leash" attached by a monitor cord--can I get an Amen?! They both got their 2 month vaccinations (4 shots and an oral vaccine). All in all, they handled the vaccines fairly well…although I do have to admit, that night Jay believed that we were living in the times of Armageddon because both babies were wailing at the top of their lungs for extended periods of time, presumably because they didn’t feel well from the vaccines (thank goodness that only lasted one night). Here are the stats on our big, growing babies!
Avery: 7lb 1oz (yikes, she broke 7 pounds!) and 21 inches long (she made the growth chart for length for term babies!!).
Aubrey: 6lb 8oz (still ½ pound behind her sister) and 19 inches long.

These week I had my first day home by myself with the girls as daddy had to return to work for an important meeting. The girls and I had a blast and ironically enough, the tough part was not managing the feeds, being tied up with pumping, or holding down the fort for baby care. My poor puppy has gone crazy (literally!) from those hateful apnea monitors and has chewed on her tail as a result. In order to protect her, we put a lampshade collar on her so she can't do any more damage to her tail. In a fit of rage she crashed her lampshade into the wall and broke off a pie-piece from the lampshade collar, which then allowed her to get to her tail. This all happened right when a feed was supposed to occur for the girls (imagine that perfect timing) and here I am trying to duct tape together the dog's lampshade to save her from further harm. Needless to say-I learned an important part of mommyhood--you can't plan for everything and it is truly these situations where you need to think on your feet that will determine if you sink or swim!
Big news on our end…we are stretching their feeding schedule from 3 hours to anywhere between 3.5-4 hours. That might not sound like a big “win” for some people, but that goes down from 8 feedings a day to 6 feedings a day—which means 4 less bottles, 4 less nipples, 4 less bottle tops, 4 less cap retainers to clean, 4 less burp cloths to launder, 4 less diapers to change…and the list goes on and on! Not to mention, it gives us a little bit of a longer window to get things done.
Time for the pictures….see you next week!   

Christmas pictures with Nana and Grandpa (Nana is holding Avery and Grandpa is holding Aubrey).

Avery and Aubrey in Christmas outfits--Thank you Jeanette!

My favorite picture of the week of Avery! Turns out, babies make this face when they are peeing--it is a reflex--who knew!?!

Aubrey-cute as a little bear cub.

Aubrey is starting to fill out with some chubby cheeks...She is thinking once again that she might take a bite out of her sister.

Aubrey likes to share secrets with her sister Avery.
(P.S. I'm not sure why these pictures make the girls look so greasy--I promise we do bathe them!).

 My sweet babies enjoying some time on the floor with Mommy and Daddy. (Don't let Avery kid you that she sleeps all the time!)

Wait--you took that picture?!

Daddy with his girls. Thank you Aunt Aimee for Avery's pretty outfit...we all know that these girls will be spoiled by their daddy.
P.S. It looks like the babies are about to let loose!

Momma holding her girls.

Thank you Megan for Avery's cute froggy outfit.
Avery loves to have her hands up near her head when she sleeps.

 Looks like Aunt Aimee and Aubrey have some catching up to do in the ice cream department!

This is a sure sign of knowing you are sleep deprived...You finally get around to making some Macaroni and Cheese for lunch, and in the delirium of sleep deprivation, you accidently throw the noodles in the sink because you forgot that you had already drained the water 3 seconds earlier!
So sad!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

I Once Had A Dream…

I once had a dream of holding my own child…I once had a dream of raising a family with my husband…I once had a dream of seeing the sweet eyes of my own child staring back at me…I once had a dream of having the unique bond that only exists between a mother and her child…I once had a dream...and now they all have come true.
Today, December 9, 2011 was the original due date for our girls Aubrey Hope and Avery Grace. They are now 40 weeks gestation, but we have known their precious and unique personalities for exactly two months. We brought home our babies 1 week and 7 hours ago (but who is counting!) and it has been the most amazing week of my life.  I can’t stop thanking God for all our blessings and how perfect our girls are in every way. God never ceases to amaze me.
It is so neat to look back on this past week and see just how much the girls have matured…literally by leaps and bounds. At the start of the week, feeds were slow and difficult. Now at the end of the week, most feeds are less than 30 minutes and they meet their target volumes. They are both gaining weight steadily…about ½-1 ounce a day…so we must be doing something right! Aubrey now weighs 6lbs 2oz and Avery now weighs 6lb 10oz.
Both girls were discharged to home on a monitor. Thankfully, on our first visit to the pediatrician we were able to discontinue Avery’s monitor and just keep one on Aubrey for two more weeks. One thing is for sure…we will not miss that monitor! It has an ear piercing alarm that doesn’t have a silence button and has literally driven not only us crazy, but my poor dog as well! We have had so many issues with the actual monitor itself (it sounds more frequently for a mechanical issue rather than a baby issue) that we traded in the monitor for a new one, hopefully one that has less disconnections!
Jay has been doing an amazing job not only with their feeds and caring for the babies, but he is like a chemist as he prepares their bottles (at one time we were on 3 different formulations that were given at different times of the day) and draws up their meds for each 12 hour period (the girls are on a special thick formula mixed with breast milk and medications to treat their reflux). It takes some time upfront, but in the long-run makes our life so much easier as we are preparing twice as much during feeding and medication times! Slowly but surely, we are starting to get a system down that actually has some organization involved to make all the processes, that goes on repeat every 3 hours, as smooth as possible.
Both girls have enjoyed their tummy time this week. It is never too early to get those neck muscles developed! They also enjoy looking at a book that has black/yellow sharp contrasting patterns, which other than our faces, is the only thing they can actually “see” at this point in time. We have learned that Aubrey has a love for the vibrating bouncy chair (wow, that didn’t take long!) and Avery loves to sleep. It is so much fun to watch their personalities develop and grow and to see how much they take after Jason and I.
Of course you are all waiting for the cute pictures, so here are a few from this past week. If you have trouble determining who is who…Aubrey has blond hair and has a more petite face and Avery has dark hair and has a fuller face. Both are as precious as can be!

I might be Trouble, but I'm darn cute!

Snuggly Sisters (Aubrey has flashbacks of Avery taking up her space!)

Check out those thighs on Avery.

Everyone knows me as the smaller sister, so I think I'm going to take a bite of you Avery and see if it makes me bigger!

Both girls listening to mommy tell a story.

Who knew that drinking my bottle would be such a workout!

Catching some zzzzz's between feeds.

Tummy time.

Hey sis...where have you been all my life?!

Thanks Nana for our cute holiday outfits.

Avery squeaky clean.

Aubrey making sure we know how much she loved her bath experience!
[Add video clip of loud crying baby here!]

Aubrey (Double) is not excited about this photo op!

Avery (Trouble) striking a pose, but becomes close to tipping over instead!

Avery catching a snooze in Daddy's handmade cradle.

Thank you Colin and Gill for our cute three piece outifts...we needed them for the cold days this week.

Aubrey is singing Christmas carols and Avery is pretty intrigued with her beautiful voice.

Welcome to our home around 3am in the morning!

Happy 40 weeks gestation!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Double Trouble...We Welcome You Both HOME!!

We are so happy to report that Double and Trouble were discharged from the hospital to home on December 1, 2011. Our plans were to take fantastic "going home" pictures in their infamous "Double" and "Trouble" onsies (which they now fit into because both are in the newborn size diapers AND clothes!...preemie days are long since gone!), but as luck would have it, we are learning that sometimes we need to go to Plan B, then Plan C. We accidently dropped the "Double" onsie on the hospital floor and lets just say there is no "10 second rule" when it comes to hospital floors!

We have been home together, as a family of four, for a little over 24 hours now. We have never felt so blessed in our lives, and what a wonderful gift this holiday season to cherish. Both girls have severe reflux and it is now obvious that was the major issue with their "pokey" feeds....and while sometimes it is a struggle to meet their minimums, we are going to keep doing our best and have close follow-up to make sure they are gaining weight appropriately.

Believe it or not, we don't have a ton of pictures yet, but we wanted to share a few snapshots from the last 24 hours. It has been an answer to prayers to have this family, but it is nothing short of a miracle from God that Aubrey Hope and Avery Grace are home with us today.

This week...See if you can figure out who is who!