Catching our breath.

Kevin called on his way home from work. He could tell I was distracted.

I hadn’t expected him home as I thought he was working a later shift but I had his schedule mixed up.

He asked if everything was ok.

I told him I couldn’t talk that Aiden was acting weird and something just wasn’t right.

He said he would be home soon and I hung up the phone.

I grabbed the hospital grade suction machine we have and used it on him and got nothing, even though he sounded terribly congested.  I then put him in his bath seat.

Aiden loves baths, they are the magic fix all for him.

The CP causes him to be so tight all of the time takes quite a toll on him and relaxing in the warm water offers some relief from that.

He calmed down and seemed to be doing a little better.

I hadn’t made dinner it was already 8pm. I was swaddling Aiden and rocking him trying to figure out dinner with Noah at my feet, tugging at my shirt, “EAT! EAT!” doing the sign for eat over and over. He heard the door and ran from the kitchen. I heard the excited squeals from Noah, “PEEEEZZZZA!!! PEEEEZZZAAAAA!!! DADDDDYYYY PEEEEZZZZAAAA!!!”

Ok. One problem solved I thought.

Aiden was comfortable and relaxed after the bath, I dressed him and put him in his rocker right next to me while we ate dinner.

His breathing was calm, his hands folded together over his chest, totally relaxed and following the rise and fall of his chest.

I told Kevin, “keep an eye on him, something just isn’t quite right. He has had a funny cough that started up this evening and his retractions looked a little worse right before his bath.”

He looked him over and noted he was barely retracting at all and seemed peaceful.

We both did the mental, “whew, thank God,” sigh of relief.

But about 15 minutes later he awoke from that quiet sleep with the same peculiar cough I had heard earlier, but this time he couldn’t really get himself out of it.

I got out a stethoscope and listened to his lungs and while I am no doctor or nurse I knew something wasn’t right. One side sounded noticeably different.

We packed up the boys with the thought of heading to Urgent Care but realized it was a Sunday and they were closed.

Kevin called his mom who is a NP and asked if she could listen to him as she only lives a block away.

Aiden is a funny case, retractions are normal for him, noisy breathing is normal for him, but this was just a little worse. Having someone that knows Aiden is beyond helpful because taking Aiden in without knowing his baseline would land him in the ER. Something as simple as croup can sound terrifying when it comes to Aiden and we didn’t want to expose him to the ER unless we had to.

She listened to him and she confirmed our gut feeling. He needed to be seen.

We left the other two boys with his parents and rushed to the ER.

I sat in the back with Aiden, it was dark and I couldn’t see him well so I kept my hand over his chest to feel him breathing.

It was steady but he was stressed. I turned the light on and unzipped his outfit after I felt his rib pulling in a way I couldn’t believe. He started to have substernal retractions. It looked as if he had a golf ball on top of his sternum every time he took a breath in.

It looked as if his heart was literally trying to come out of his chest.

I told Kevin to just pull in front of the doors of the ER and I would get out and he could follow.

I got out of the car and Aiden looked at me and I pulled the blanket over his head to shield him from the wind.

I made probably 15 steps from the car to the doors.

I walked in and there was someone in front of us signing in. The nurses made eye contact with me and immediately stood up and I blurted out, “he is having trouble breathing, he 3 months premature, he has BPD.”

Just then I pulled him down off my shoulder and he wasn’t breathing.

I called out to him as the nurses surrounded me.

“Aiden!?”

The nurses called for more help and gave directions to each other.

“Aiden?? Aiden!!”

My voice sounded like it was coming from someone else.

I pushed on his chest and rubbed my knuckles against his sternum.

His arms fell at his side limp. For him and his CP that is near impossible for him, something was very wrong.

The nurses started moving us to the trauma room and after a few tries they finally heard breath sounds.

He began breathing again but was still not coming to.

They had me lay him on the bed. He looked so tiny.

I began to rattle through his symptoms and his medical history.

People filled the room.

So much of the time in that room was a blur.

He came to once they began sticking him with needles trying to get an IV and began deep suctioning him. What they were getting out they called “cement”. The amount they got out they could not even believe.

He fought through every second of them working on him.

He would hold his breath and his muscles would spasm and he would arch his back and his raspy voice whaling out in pain.

His body began to be covered in broken blood vessels, he was so stressed he wasn’t breathing, they kept having to blow in his face.

Kevin filled out the forms. I couldn’t.

I just kept watching the faces of the people working on him looking for answers.

They asked us to wait in another room and I refused to leave.

I was shaking, tears falling, flash backs from the NICU when he was going into organ failure were flooding my brain.

The alarms. All of the tubes. Blood gasses. Xrays. IVs.

It all was a nightmare.

They began to get cultures on him for everything they could think of to see what we were up against.

After what felt like an eternity people began leaving the room.

The doctor in charge of his care said that they needed to get him in my arms ASAP because she knew it would level out his stats.

They handed him to me and he was covered in blood.

They had stuck him so many times.

I held him close to my heart, kissed his sweaty forehead and breathed him in.

His stats began to normalize.

Another nurse came into the room to take over for the other and in their conversation with each other they said, “RSV positive”.

“Wait. RSV positive? He gets the shots….he isn’t held by anyone besides us, his grandparents and nurses and doctors….we stopped doing group speech for our toddler so we wouldn’t be bringing in the germs….I don’t get it.”

They apologized and said they had seen it a lot this year.

They wheeled me sitting on the bed holding Aiden up to the PICU.

Kevin stayed with Aiden while I left the room and called our families and gave them updates.

Aiden was so tired from fighting, he actually fell asleep.

It was nearing 4am and I pulled out the couch so Kevin could get some sleep before work the next day, he still was going to have to go home and get changed because he was still in his work clothes from the day before.

I fell asleep sometime after Kevin left in the morning for an hour.

I couldn’t let my mind rest. The familiar clammy plastic couch pull out bed. The sound of alarms breaking night. It felt like the nights where we weren’t sure he would make it through.

It all felt so surreal.

A nurse came in the room to tell me to not beat myself up, that it really was a phenomenal thing that this was his first hospital stay since leaving the NICU and that he was just needing basic supportive care.

We were there from Sunday through Wednesday.

He did really well with his stay. Everyone remarked how well he was doing and that he was such a strong fighter for everything he had been through.

He began having secondary issues the second night we were there. He started feeling well enough to realize he did not want to be at the hospital and was stressed about it.

His GI systems is so sensitive any change in diet or stress will be shown via his GI system.

He started dumping. He would have a bottle and make a diaper before he finished it with that bottle.

They were not adding rice cereal to his bottles to slow his food down and that with the stress created a very bad GI problem for him.

On Tuesday I barked up enough trees to get him his rice cereal and it helped but the stress was still overwhelming for him.

Any hospital stay is a stressful one. The shuffling around of Noah and Evan. The schedules arrangements. The exhausting job of being an advocate for a very unique little boy.

Having to retell every step of his history to every new nurse or doctor we came across.

Seeing your child stressed, in pain and exhausted.

Thankfully we have an amazing support system of friends and family that are there for us at a moment’s notice. Kevin could still go to work, we could still spend time with Noah and Evan who were very upset that Aiden wasn’t home. My mom took shifts being with Aiden after he was stable so we could not totally throw off Evan and Noah, it was so helpful to know what wonderful hands Aiden was in when we left to go see Noah and Evan….such wonderful hands he was rarely put down. It was so comforting to see him realize she was there, he has vision and hearing problems but when he smells her he lights up.

We had frustrating moments at the hospital. Like when a resident came in and asked us if he was struggling so much because of having Downs….which he does not have. That same resident also so tastefully stated that Aiden, “came out the hole with style” because his hair naturally turns up like a Mohawk.

But we had good moments like when a NICU nurse came by to visit (even though we missed her!) it is just nice to know how much she actually cares even all this time late and nurses that went above and beyond for Aiden and us and of course them being able to make the interventions they needed so he could stabilize.

Aiden has been at home for about 4 days now and has really been doing wonderful. That first night he was home was like night and day. He stopped dumping and spent a good chunk of the evening laughing and smiling. Putting him in his crib next to Evan, Evan kept pointing at Aiden and clapping and Aiden almost melted into his bed. The familiar smell and comfort was almost like medicine for him. We hooked up our monitor that tells us if he stops breathing or moving to give us some extra reassurance.

It is easy to lose my breath thinking about the evening that brought us to the hospital.

But that night we were in the exact place we needed to be at the exact moment we needed to be there.

I know that somehow we were blessed with that gut feeling to know something wasn’t right and to act on it.

And that is what has given Kevin and I peace. It is hard to erase the image of your child not breathing from your mind and all of the “what ifs” that go along with it.

But knowing that by some means we were blessed with that sense, that awareness and understanding is what has given us the chance to catch our breath.

And in catching our breath we can just be thankful. 

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FINALLY able to eat! He told the entire floor about how it had been 18 hours since his last bottle!

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His first morning in the PICU feeling much better.

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It is hard to see but that was the last day we were there and the petechiae (broken blood vessels) starting to resolve across his chest and face but they are still pretty bad.

 

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Super happy that Daddy could come spend the afternoon!

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Grandma made sure his crib was colorful with lots of balloons!

 

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Only way he wanted to sleep, I can’t blame him hospital beds are awful!

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Last day!

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Dad got off work just in time to take us home!

 

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You did it Aiden! We are going home!!

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Mommy-isims

After a night of running around trying to get some errands done without the kiddos for the first time in months. 

Kevin: I don’t know what to do with my arms when we are out without kids.

Me: I know it is like when you push your hands against a door frame and you let go and they just start to rise…I feel like I have to fight my hands from flailing around awkwardly.

Kevin and Dominique plus 3

Posts have been few and far between here.

 

For many reasons, but one mostly.

 

Having a 2 year old and infant twins is hella hard.

 

There is no amount of sleep (not that we get any), no amount of caffeine that can touch the constant heavy blanket of fatigue that is over Kevin and I.

 

There for when we do have spare energy I usually don’t spend it blogging.

 

My brain cells have been in survival mode since the twins came home. I don’t normally have enough to spare to form a lucid thought let alone an entire witty blog post or one that isn’t just a short:

 

HELP ME.

 

My days are spent with Dora, Elmo and keeping up with the Duncan’s not the Kardashians.

 

I usually feel like a haphazard mess when we do get out of the house and then our outing usually end up feeling haphazardly disastrous so any attempt at feeling “normal” is just a vicious circle of haphazardness.

 

I want to blog, really if I ever should have been blogging about my life to document for my family/show the kids later in life so they don’t gripe when I tell them to clean their rooms or at least serve as entertainment for others it should be now.

 

Our life could be a reality show.

 

Sometimes when I am waving my white flag at the kids and trying to down my fifth cup of coffee before they lunge another attack at me I think about the Goslin gang and I try to whine less or at least try my best to not be Kate Goslin-ish.

 

Sometimes when things happen that would be full of canned laughter on our imaginary television show I don’t see it as funny at the time.

 

For example…recently someone sold us a rigged stroller off craigslist. We got scammed. Before we realized we had been duped we (I) decided it would be wonderful if we took our entire family to the local farmers market. I think I forgot I don’t live in Pinterestlandia and this is the kind of thinking that gets us into haphazardness and that I actually have 3 boys…2 infant boys and a 2 year old that don’t really dig farmers markets or being in public, well at least not behaving in public. The stroller was acting funny on our walk with all three boys strapped in and finally as soon as we got to the farmers market it broke. In the middle of the entrance. A huge, semi tractor trailer of a stroller that weighs almost 100 pounds broke with all three kids in it in the entrance to the farmers market. We sat on the ground and tried to fix it but it didn’t work, we figured we would just carry the boys around, enjoy the farmers market and then figure out how to fix it when we were done. You know make the best out of a bad situation. WRONG.

 

It was totally broken, not going back together, the previous owner used GLUE in the sockets so it would work to be shown not used.

 

So we had to walk home. We weren’t terribly far from home but when you insert Noah mourning (raging over) the death of his balloon animal he got at the farmers market and the fact that the twins are near impossible to hold together at the same time and they both decided they were hungry as we were leaving and wanted to tell the world about it, oh and it was a nice 95 deathly degrees out we might as well have been states away from our home.

 

Kevin carried Noah at first and I carried the twins. About a block away from the market Noah took his box of milk and squirted it over Kevin’s head and I was losing the twins. He couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just keep them up (there is an I told you so coming up) and I hoped taking the one that could hang on instead of slide down me like a greased pole would be better.

 

WRONG, wrong, wrong, wrongy, wrongy, WRONG!

 

Noah brought his wiggles guitar to the market and would not leave it with the stroller and was carrying it while being held. And by carrying it, I mean hitting me in the face with it most of the walk home.

 

Sweat dripping down my face, I am 99.9% I have not only developed asthma on this walk but am now having an asthma attack and am in fact dying and all I can hear are the cries of my seemingly feral 2 year old and the ever so overly cheerful wiggles singing, “fruit salad, yummy yummy, fruit/fruit/fruit/fruit salad yummy yummy.” (Note: the repeat is the smashing of the guitar on my face restarting the song)

 

I look up and Kevin, who was so sure the twins would be easier is carrying them like footballs by his hips.

 

We look at each other and through parental telekinesis tell Kevin to go ahead since his load was lighter and not waging an all out war against him. He shuffled home and I took a break from carrying the wild alligator, I mean my toddler home.

 

I stood Noah up on the sidewalk and waged the mom maneuver of I can do this all day kid attitude. We stared at each other for about five minutes and I asked him to walk and he did. He then realized it was hella hot outside after three houses and he did not want to walk and put his arms up for me to carry him.

 

So I mustered up what little energy I had left and carried him home, the last stretch wasn’t as bad, I think Noah was even tired of his antics by this point.

 

We got inside and all I could hear was my heart pounding in my head. Kevin left to go get the stroller with the van. Noah came up and hugged me and patted me on the back and asked for milk.

 

I got him milk, trying not to curse the fact that he had just dumped a box of milk that cost as much as a half gallon of milk out from Starbucks on Kevin’s head and down the front of my shirt.

 

I then sat down on the computer and updated my status on Facebook.

 

Dominique Teall

We bought a triple stroller yesterday and decided to take it out today to the farmers market…as soon as we pulled up the wheels popped off and wouldn’t go back on. We carried all three boys, one screaming after the death of his balloon animal all the way home. 
Worst (non medical) experience as a parent to date.

 

 

Immediately people started commenting how funny it was.

 

I closed the computer, irritated and pouting and went to self loath and hide the Wiggles guitar.

 

I cooled down….realized I myself was throwing a temper tantrum of the emo type and realized it actually was pretty funny.

 

Although when I hear the wiggles I do have PTSD flash backs of that walk I do laugh a little.

 

We are trying to sort ourselves out and adjust to our life of Kevin and Dominique plus 3. While it doesn’t sound as daunting or catchy as Jon and Kate plus 8…somedays…ok all days it feels just as hard.

 

So forgive me for the lack of updates, if we are being honest let all just applaud that Kevin and I are still alive.

 

Hopefully on top of surviving there will be blogging too.  

The first step.

One normal day about two months ago I made the step.

 

It was sunny, bright beautiful day. I didn’t care.

 

I realized it was better than the snow and seemingly never ending winter we had been plagued with but I really didn’t care.

 

This was really nothing new, at some point amidst the trauma of the NICU I stopped feeling happy. It is like my body literally could not process happiness.

 

It feels like my happiness receptor is broken 95% of the time. Noah and the twins can still do something to make me smile and feel that spark and a good hug from the husband always cuts through the darkness but other than that I feel pretty numb.

 

That bright sunny boring day I was folding laundry and I just started to cry.

 

This deep painful ache, this unshakable sadness, this overwhelming constant anxiety got to its breaking point.

 

I had a number lost in my email inbox for a referral to a doctor and counselor, I quickly looked it up and nervously dialed the number. Then hung up.

 

How did I get here?

 

I paused, I have long suspected I needed someone to talk to. I have always had anxiety, my biological dad was anything but a good parent, my journey with cancer left me deeply shaken but this year really did me in.

 

I just wanted to will myself to get better. I wanted to be happy on my own. I wanted to shake it off.

 

But that never happened, these crying days were happening more and more frequently and with every passing day it seemed like all my symptoms were only getting worse.

 

I do not ask for help.

 

Really, you can ask anyone. Ask my mom or mother in law, really. They offer every day and any day to help and I don’t take them up on it.

 

So for me to ask someone, a stranger, for help with stuff that I don’t even like to admit that I am going through was near impossible.

 

I picked up the phone and dialed the number again.

 

A sweet lady answered and we went through my past year.

 

All three boys were napping and I was sitting on the bathroom floor sobbing into the phone to this poor stranger.

She comforted me and made my appointment.

 

It was a month away but it made me feel skeptically hopeful.

 

The day of the appointment came and Kevin drove me. If he wouldn’t have, I would not have walked into that building.

 

My first appointment was 2 hours long. She asked to see me the next day for another hour long appointment since the first appointment was basically a lot of paper work.

 

After that appointment I felt actually hopeful.

 

After an hour of talking she leaned over and answered my unspoken fear, “you are not broken, you are hurting, you are grieving, you are wounded, but you are not broken.”

 

For someone to say I wasn’t broken, meant I was fixable.

 

This hurt didn’t have to be forever. I didn’t have to struggle with every single aspect of my life.

 

That maybe one day I could be me again.

 

Many of you might wonder why I am writing this, it is because of the stigma with all of this. There is such a stigma to seeking help. Especially for mothers.

 

One of the most ass backward things of the past year is that I had a lactation consultant all over me for 6 months. Seriously. One from the hospital they were born at, one from the NICU and one from our insurance.

 

Some days I got 5 phone calls in ONE day about my breast milk.

 

How much are you getting in one pumping? How often are you pumping? How long on each side? Have you tried fenugreek? Eating oatmeal? Massaging? Basil or fennel oil? Mother’s milk tea? Have you talked to your OB about medication? How much milk will you be bringing in today? How are you feeling about breastfeeding? To you think you could try looking at a picture of them when you pump? How about you pump every 10 minutes for 15 minutes for an hour every day? Can you be here for every feed to breast feed tomorrow? Etc…etc…etc…

 

It surprised me that they were so focused on me and my milk that everyone seemed to forget that yes, breast is best but a healthy mom is more important…one of the biggest killers of a healthy milk supply is stress.

 

I was really shocked that admits this horrifically traumatizing experience the only people that ever seemed to get what we were going through besides our family were the nurses and we felt embarrassed leaning on them. I can’t tell you how many times they saw me cry. It was embarrassing. It was usually when everything was all ok, in the eye of one of the many hurricanes. It was only when things slowed down that my mind would actually allow itself to break down.

 

No one seemed to get there wasn’t time to get help for me, I was pumping 10 hours a day, going to the NICU every day and still trying to be a fully present mother for my toddler who was traumatized from all of this and deal with life in general. When could I even wrap my brain around the thought of getting help?

 

I just wish there was some program like the breast is best movement for parents with children in the NICU that isn’t a support group. We could have gone to a support group with other parents that had been in the NICU but we never could make the time because it meant taking time away from Aiden, Evan or Noah.

 

I just wish there was a program, a reach out that helped guide you through.

 

Walking through the NICU doors every day was like taking a step off of a cliff.

 

Calling the NICU was so terrifying I couldn’t do it. Kevin had to call and he would call me with the updates. I was so afraid to hear bad news.

 

Every moment of those 4+ months was a step into the unknown, we had no idea how to cope, how to survive it or if we even would mentally survive it.

 

There isn’t any amount of help or advice that makes the NICU any easier but something would have been nice. The NICU is a delicate line of Heaven and Hell. The biggest miracles occur everyday there, we have our very own. But at the same time the biggest tragedies occur along side those miracles.

 

Having your child hanging in the balance of the NICU and not knowing the path they will take is unbearable.

 

It is as if our journey in the NICU was that of a journey on a tight rope while carrying your children on our shoulders and every diagnosis or problem a weight. The tense, fearful, wobbly, heavy walk across has changed who I am.

 

And now that things have calmed down from what they were, they are no where near calm I have taken the step to get help.

 

Mainly so I can help my boys, all four of them.

 

I love them with all of my heart and they deserve better than this.

 

I hope that these steps are the ones that take me back to me…because I miss being me. 

 

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Waiting in the waiting room…
hoping these first steps put me on the right path.

Kevin-isims

While at Home Depot, with all three boys, all of whom were crying screaming.

(Note you will only understand this if you too are forced to watch the Disney channel far too much)

Kevin: This would be better if I had a rainbow Puffle. 

Me: It is sad that we even know what this is.

Kevin: Yes, yes it is.

Me: Did you just subtly reference Phineas and Ferb? 

Kevin: Why yes, yes I did.

Me: (sigh)

Digging out of the ruins.

I finally feel like I am in a place where I can allow myself to move forward.

Since the twins were born I have felt frozen in time. To me I still feel like I should be planning Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas.

This year blew straight past me, actually it ran over me like a train.

This time last year I was eating healthy, loosing weight, had a successful Etsy business and my future looked predictably happy. My kind of happy, a control freaks dream.

But life isn’t like that.

So here I am standing on the other side of the Hell my family was just drug through ready to brush off and walk forward.

It is a hard thing moving forward after a trauma, because you are all too aware you could be walking toward another trauma and you have to pick up all the shattered pieces of your life from the last trauma.

So I stayed paralyzed in my own personal Hell.

My mind never left my bedrest, the end to my pregnancy or the NICU. It is like all that pregnancy nesting took made a little nest in the middle of a hurricane.

I couldn’t leave the nest because leaving the nest meant accepting where my life had placed me.

And quiet frankly I didn’t want to.

I didn’t want to accept the lives my twins were handed because as their mom witnessing their first months on Earth filled with pain, tubes, tests, surgeries, near death experiences and diagnosis after diagnosis their future seemed so much more fragile.

I faced a new role, I was a mom of three, could I be enough?

I had to accept what and who I had become. I gained the baby weight with the twins and then some (and by some I mean A LOT) because eating was just about the only thing I did to get through this year.

I had to accept that I was “broken”. That I had post traumatic stress disorder, that I was depressed and needed help controlling my anxiety.

I had to make plans to fix both these things.

I didn’t want to do any of this.

But I am a mom, a mom to three beautiful boys, a wife to an amazing man and I NEEDED to do these things for them.

I NEEDED to do this for me.

Over the past month I have slowly started to see more clearly what I need and what my family needs.

And I wanted to do it.

I feel like the hurricane passed months ago but the clouds, flood waters and ruin all remained.
So now it is time to rebuild and clean up.

Time to move forward.

 

I am a wuss and I know it.

So I admit this post will confirm my lameness but I’ll post it any way.

What the what is up with tv nowadays.

(Evidence #1 in lameness) Kevin and I recorded Late Night with Jimmy Fallon because lets be real….we don’t watch anything that late because we try to not be up that late.

With three boys under the age of two we must sleep when we can sleep, by sleep I mean lay there motionless, hoping that somehow not moving and laying still waiting for the next cry will somehow recharge us as well as real sleep.

If we are awake we are knee deep in baby/toddler drama. With diaper changing, bouncing, rocking, bottle making, spit up cleaning and outfit changing.

But we love us some Jimmy Falon. So the other day at lunch time we popped on Jimmy.

We were enjoying our weekly dose of Thank You notes when the commercials came on. Noah was sleeping on the couch on the remote and we didn’t dare disturb him.

Right before Jimmy was to come back on a nice little commercial for the upcoming series Hannibal came on.

Where someone was eating what appeared to be pork loin and they asked what loin it was and then it flashed to someone CHOPPING UP A HUMAN APPANDAGE.

I do not watch horror films. I can’t even watch Dexter or The Walking Dead.  So this pretty much scared me, like I am not eating lunch anymore excuse me while I go dry heave for the next hour.

When did cannibalism become late night tv programming?!

What’s next Freddy Kuger co-hosting with Katie Couric or Anderson Cooper?!

Can tv just go back to Full House and Home Improvement? Or at least not show humans being chopped up?

Maybe I am just too used to PBS and Disney…or maybe just maybe it is a little over the line to have a graphic series about cannibalism on NBC.

Hannibal…no thank you. I would rather watch Yo Gabba Gabba 24/7 which if you have ever caught an episode of it you know is usually worse than the though of having your arm chopped off.

Tell me this isn’t the worst thing you have ever seen…

moments growing into memories.

This time last year the only thing I was worried about was planning the perfect 1st birthday part for Noah.

In fact I was so worried about it all I remember from Noah’s last month of infancy is hitting every party store in a 10 mile radius and making sure I had all my pins planned from Pinterest.

What a mistake. Yes, I had my perfect streamers and full blown Mexican fiesta (he was born on Cinco De Mayo and I called it when I found out I was pregnant so it was a running joke) but if I could go back I would ditch the party and soak up that little 11 month old.

The twins weren’t even a thought yet.

I didn’t realize the turn our lives were about to take.

In fact we had just had the conversation that we would wait a year before trying for a brother or sister for Noah (God has quite a sense of humor).

About a month after Noah’s party I found out I was expecting. And we were given loads and loads of twin clothes.

Toward the end of summer it all got mixed up. I was too tired and too big to try to organize any of it.

At some point this fall while I was on bed rest in the hospital Kevin packed up all the clothes people had given us for the twins that they wouldn’t fit for sometime along with the summer clothes.

Last week I sat down to go through a tub of them, looking for 6 month clothes for Evan.

But there sitting on top of all the clothes were a little pair of khaki shorts.

Noah’s khaki shorts. The ones he lived in this past summer.

The ones he took his first steps in, turned 1 in, the ones I cuddled him in almost every day.

The ones that roughed it in the sand box at the park, the ones that lounged in the sand on the beach in Hilton Head on our first family vacation.

I held them to my heart and instantly tears filled my eyes.

My little boy, yes still little, was not this little.

Yes, I have two little brothers following his foot steps and they are even littler than that pair of shorts but it still stung.

It wasn’t a bad sting. More of a melancholy nostalgia.

I could instantly smell his sweet baby head, the one that is now usually a messy little boy sweat head. When I saw the worn knees from crawling I remembered that joy we had watching him take his first steps. I remember that he actually had to grow into these 6-12 month shorts and that they barely fit at 12 months, my boys don’t have butts.

I put the shorts down, wiped my eyes and left the pile of clothes on the nursery floor.

I went down stairs to Noah laying on the couch with a book and curled beside him.

I smelled his hair, kissed his cheek and hugged him tight because it hit me I am right in the middle of the sand pouring through the hourglass of childhood.

He won’t ever be as little as he is right now.

He smiled back at me and gave me a kiss.

We looked at his Runaway Bunny book over and over, backwards and forwards. We looked at the pictures and read the words.

But more than just reading a book and taking a break with him I was there in that moment. I was present and so aware that, that moment while seemingly very little was oh so big.

A moment that next year when I take his favorite striped shirt that he was wearing and pass it down to the twins I will remember that moment.

These moments may pass far too quick but they will never be grown out of.

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