Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

We've had a wonderful Christmas so far.  We still have three more family Christmases left.  We spent Christmas Eve at my grandma's house and spent Christmas day today at home.  The kids all loved opening presents.  Camdyn and Cade really understood what they were supposed to do with the presents, and they had a blast.  We enjoyed being lazy around the house all day.  I'll post some pics from our Christmas when I have more time.

I reflect back on last Christmas and am so amazed by where we are today.  Last year, Cade still had an ng tube at Christmas.  I clearly remember because we had to reinsert it in the middle of one of our family Christmases because he had pulled it out.  He was scheduled for g-tube surgery on Jan. 8th of last year.  We were still feeding the babies at midnight and 6AM and then every 3 hours throughout the day.  To say that I am thankful for all the progress they have made is a huge understatement.  I need a much stronger, more powerful word than "thankful".  Thank you Lord Jesus for all you have given us.  We praise you on Christmas and every day!

My good friend, Jennifer, took these family photos for us. 

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Appointments, More Appointments, followed by More Appointments!!!

I'm having one of those days.  The kind of day that just makes me want to pull my hair out.  Yes, I know I could have things much worse and all that jazz, but I'm still so frustrated with going to appointments. 

We went in this morning for an ENT to look at Brenna's tonsils.  She has had strep throat 6 times this year and several trips to the doctor for a sore throat.  We finally are scheduling a surgery to get her tonsils out.  At the appointment, the ENT took a look at her ears and discovered that her right ear drum is sucked in.  He was very concerned with how it looked and ordered a hearing test.  Luckily, the hearing test was done in the same office.  I had a wave of panic come over me when he said she needed a hearing test.  Flashback - I'm sitting in the NICU having the neo-natalogist tell me that Cade failed his hearing screening.  As I'm watching her sit in the audio booth, tears begin to fill my eyes, so I had to walk away.  I didn't want to scare her just because Mommy has post-traumatic stress from the NICU.  After the test, they told me that her hearing was fine.  Thank God!  The ENT said she needed a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, and a tube placed back in her right ear which should correct the problem.  She had tubes in both ears when she was a baby.

This appointment took 2 hours in which time the babies acted horribly!  They were tired of being there and just plain tired.  Trying to entertain one year olds at a doctor's office is not easy.  They want to push every button on all that fancy, high-priced equipment - not the best idea, and restraining them in the stroller only works for about 10 minutes.  I tried to tell them that Brenna always behaves so nicely at all their multitude of appoinments and that the least they could do was to return the favor just this once.  They didn't listen. 

The appointment was taking so long that we missed our other appoinment for Cade to get his Synagis shot.  I called to reschedule that appointment for this afternoon which means I have to wake the babies up early from their nap to get to the afternoon appointment.  So more fun awaits me!

Yesterday morning, Cade had an appointment to check his g-tube site.  The doctor said that a scar revision would be warranted.  The scar now looks bubbled up.  After the revision, it will just be a line (hopefully).  This was our second appointment to look at the site.  After the first appointment, they told me to wait 2 weeks to see what it does on its own.  I just called the secretary to schedule the surgery, and she told me we may need to come back in so the surgeon who did his g-tube surgery could take a look at the scar because he would be the one doing the surgery.  I told her I didn't see why it was necessary to have 3 appointments to look at a scar before scheduling the procedure.  Why is it necessary to have an appointment in order to make another appointment in order to make another appointment in order to eventually get a surgery that you knew you needed at the first appointment?!  It's crazy, and it frustrates me so much.

She went on to ask me if I wanted a quote of the price.  I told her he had Medicaid.  She told me Medicaid may not cover it since it was cosmetic.  The doctor had told me they would because it was from the g-tube.  It's not like he fell off his bike, and I want a pretty scar from that.  He had a tube in his stomach to eat (medically necessary)!  So, it's okay to cut a hole in his stomach, but it's not okay to want it sewn back up?  More crazy = more frustration!

Sorry about ranting on and on.  I know there are much worse things, and overall, we are very blessed.  I would just like for this medical world to make some sense for once.  Why does everything have to be so complicated when it doesn't have to be?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Flash Mob!

I have been involved in dance for over 25 years, and I don't think I have ever had as much fun as I did today.  I own a dance studio, and for Christmas, we did a flash mob in the mall.  You can't tell from the video, but we had around 45 dancers participate.  We had teachers, students, moms, and dads all dance together to spread a little holiday cheer.    You'll notice in the video a "booing" coming from the crowd.  They were not booing us.  A mall cop was trying to stop us from dancing (although I'm not really sure why - it's not as if we were causing any harm).  The crowd booed him just like you would hear from a crowd booing a referee on making a bad call.  It was hilarious!  We all kept dancing anyway.  We weren't going to let any humbugs ruin our holiday cheer. 

When we finished dancing at the food court, we decided to take our holiday cheer downstairs to the Santa line.  We figured the people waiting in the long Santa line would like a little entertainment too.  This time no mall cops attempted to stop us.  It was such a blast both times!  I'm sad it's over.  Hope you all enjoy our videos.

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Perfectly Normal"

We had our cardiologist follow-up exam last Friday.  At Camdyn's appointment last year, the cardiologist said she had a PFO.  He explained to us that it was not a problem, but it should be monitored with a follow-up exam in a year.  At the time, Cade did not have an appointment.  The cardiologist said we would check his heart at the yearly follow-up as well.

On Friday morning, we got dressed for our big appointment.  I had to include this cute picture of them in their only real matching outfits.  They have several coordinating outfits, but you can't do too many actual matching outfits with boy/girl twins.  My mom got these cute overalls for them.  The only way I could get them to sit still was by reading a book.  Cade is saying "Moooo" here.

Luckily, my mom was able to go to this appointment with us.  It helped so much to have an extra pair of hands. 

After we were already in the exam room, Cade decided to open the door and sprint down the hallway (naked) to check out the scale.

Back in the room, we opened the blinds to let the kids look outside for a while.  This appointment took about 2 1/2 hours from start to finish!  They checked their heart rhythms first and then did a full echo cardiogram on both Camdyn and Cade.  Trying to get two active toddlers to lay still to do this was quite a challenge.

(Look at my bony babies.  It looks like they could be on those commercials for third world countries' mal-nourished kids.  I wish they could put some meat on those bones!)

When you are stuck waiting in an exam room for an extended period of time, you have to find ways to keep toddlers entertained.  I turned some music on on my phone and we had a doctor's office dance party in the exam room only in diapers!  They were so cute dancing around.

After a very long wait, the cardiologist finally came into the room to discuss the results.  His opening line was, "I have very good news."  Well, that was something we never heard in the NICU.  It was wonderful to hear that.  He then told us that their hearts looked "perfectly normal".  I could barely believe my ears.  After heart surgeries at just 2 weeks old weighing just over a pound each, there I was listening to a cardiologist tell me their hearts were "perfectly normal."  He repeated it several times because I think he knew I liked hearing it.  Camdyn's PFO had completely closed, and Cade did not have a PFO.  I told the doctor I was so happy I could hug him!  He laughed.  He ended by saying we do not have to come back for any more follow-up exams.  Yay!  We get to check one more specialist off our list!

Thank you God for their "perfectly normal" hearts!

Partners in Crime

Twins are twice the fun AND twice the mess!    I think they plot together to find ways to make the biggest mess possible.  Their ability to destroy things around the house has grown as they have grown.  As much as we try to baby-proof the house, they find ways to get into EVERYTHING!

Mission 1: Pull all the toilet paper off the roll.  Cade's job - unroll the paper.  Camdyn's job - spread it all around the bathroom.

(Camdyn gets slightly distracted from her job while making the toilet paper into a hat.)

Busted as Mom walks in.  Camdyn, "Oh, hi Mom, would you like some paper?"

Mission 2: Open the pantry, pull the cereal box down, dump the box on the floor, and eat cereal off the floor.  Cade's job - all of the above.  Camdyn's job - wait until brother does all the above and join him in eating cereal off the floor.

Mission accomplished. 

Mission 3: Roll the laundry hamper from the laundry room into the office and proceed to scatter laundry around the office.  Side mission: Pull all cards and books off the shelf and scatter those around too.  Status: Mission accomplished.

Mission 4: Find the only tape in the entire house (an old dance critique tape) and unwind the entire thing.  Cade's job - unwinding and unwinding and unwinding.  Camdyn's job - watch as brother does the above.

Status: Mission accomplished.

Cade is most definitely the master mind in all destructive missions, but Camdyn is never far behind.  She serves as the trusty sidekick and accomplice.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

20 months (16 months adjusted)

The twins are now 20 months old.  I can't believe they are closer to 2 years old than 1!  They should be 16 months old which would mean they would be closer to 1 than 2.  I don't think I will ever get "adjusted" to the whole "adjusted" versus chronological age thing.

Our biggest news is that both Camdyn and Cade have been discharged from physical therapy!  They no longer need it.  We will follow up in 6 months to assess their development at that time. 

Cade has also been discharged from speech therapy.  He has been repeating so many words lately.  He surprises me all the time by saying a new word that I didn't know he knew.  I find myself saying, "did you just say ___?" several times a day.  His newest words are "barbie" and "bow" which I find very funny.  I guess that's what happens when you grow up with two sisters!  When Cade begins putting 3-4 words together, he will be assessed for speech therapy again.  At that point, it would be for voice quality.  Due to his vocal cord paralysis, he may have difficulty with certain sounds, etc., but the speech therapist was very pleased with his voice quality so far especially given his diagnosis.  He will continue with occupational therapy only at this time.

Camdyn has been making a lot of progress with speech as well.  She seems more confident in trying new sounds.  I can get her to say the beginning sounds of several words now such as "p" for "pig".  Before she wouldn't even try to make the sound.  It was as if she thought if she couldn't say it well, she didn't want to try at all.  I feel like once she becomes more confident, she will really start making good progress.  She has added several new words too and is beginning to sign more frequently.  This has helped a lot in her level of frustration.  She will continue with speech therapy and occupational therapy.

Both Camdyn and Cade have their cardiologist follow-up exams this Friday.  Please pray that everything checks out well.  At her appointment last year, Camdyn had an open valve that we were told several people have.  It does not affect the heart's functioning.  The cardiologist told us it only meant she would not be able to climb high mountains, scuba dive, or be in the military.  I am not too concerned about any of those things for her. 

We are enjoying this stage with the twins so much!  They are so fun now.  Their personalities are really developing.  Cade is busy destroying things on a daily basis.  His latest hobbies include digging in the trash can or recycle bin, pulling ornaments off the tree and breaking them, carrying our shoes around the house and hiding them, and splashing in the toilet.  He also loves to figure out how things work.  On a much sweeter note, he now occasionally will give hugs and open mouth kisses!  Camdyn is very particular and wants things a certain way (wonder where she gets that?).  She shakes her hand at us vehemently to inform us she does not like something.  Lately, she loves playing with dolls and enjoys dressing up.  It's so cute to see an 18 pound little girl pretending to be big!  Here she is with my robe tie as a scarf and my purse.  It would appear that I have a giant purse, but in fact this is a small purse.  She fell over a couple of times from the weight of the purse too, but she did not want me to take it off of her.

We started the Elf on the Shelf this year.  Brenna has had so much fun finding "Elfie" every morning.

We had fun making Play Dough Christmas shapes from cookie cutters.  Our attempts at Christmas shaped cookies failed miserably.  We ended up with blobs instead of shapes; however, our Play Dough creations were much more successful.

Cade was more interested in stacking the Play Dough jars.  I didn't even prompt him to do this.  I was so proud of his creation! 

Christmas Round 1:  We have so many Christmases that we had to start with our first one last weekend.  Here's a picture of the only other twins in our family.   We found them all sitting like this - a big sister and one of each set of the twins on each side.

Camdyn and Cade enjoying their new wheels.  

That's all that is new at our house.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Amazing Women

At first glance of the picture above, one might think this is a group of friends going out for dinner and some drinks.  That guess would be partly correct.  One might think we are getting together to catch up on the latest gossip, talk about our relationships, discuss the newest movies, etc.  This is where the picture would be deceiving.  One would never guess by looking at this group of ladies that our conversations include feeding issues, g-tubes, swallow studies, brain scans, brain bleeds, weight gain (not our own but the minimal weight gain of our preemies), Synagis shots, therapies, specialists, and surgeries. 

Back in the NICU, a few moms and I met once a week in the lobby cafe for lunch.  We would share our preemies' progress, setbacks, and challenges.  It was comforting to know we were not in this alone.  We could relate to each other even if all our stories were different.  We were preemie moms.  We loved our children, worried about them, wanted the best for them, and desperately wanted them to be able to come home.

After leaving the NICU, I realized I missed the conversations and support of these women.  A few of us decided to get together again for coffee or dinner once a month.  Our little group that started out with 3 has now grown into 10+ and continues to grow.  I look forward to our monthly meetings.  It is comforting to know others have walked similar roads.  When they offer advice, it's because they have been there.  It's not just random advice that people offer up because they don't know what to say.  They don't ever say, "Don't worry; everything's going to be okay," because they know that is not always the case despite everyone's hopes that it will all be okay.  We can laugh together about how our skin just crawls when people complain about being pregnant.  We can vent about the stupid policies of the insurance companies.  We can share valuable information about therapies and specialists.  Most importantly, we are there to sometimes, just listen - without that awful look of sympathy those who have not walked this road unknowingly give.

These are some of the strongest, most amazing women I know.  (A few are not in the picture because they were not able to make it this last time.)  Anyone would be amazed and honored to sit at the table with these women and hear their stories.  I will only be using the names of the women who have blogs because I know they are open to sharing their story.  Everyone who reads this blog already knows that my twins were born 16 weeks early weighing 1 lb. 2 oz. and 1 lb. 8 oz.  Fortunately, after their first year with major feeding challenges, they are now showing fewer and fewer signs of their extreme prematurity.  Another mom in the group had her son at 25 weeks also weighing only 1 lb. 2 oz.   Katrina has the most incredible birth story I have ever heard; she had her son, Bryce, at only 24 weeks gestation, unexpectedly on her bathroom floor.  You can read Bryce and his mommy and daddy's amazing story here.  Mackenzie also has twins.  When she was pregnant, she unknowingly contracted a food-borne bacteria which passed on to one of her twins.  Doctors told her it was a one in a million chance.  You can read her amazing story here.  We have another mom in the group who has twins who were born at 25 weeks gestation.  Two moms in the group have triplets! 

Natalie has twins who suffered from twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome in utero.  She tells what unfolded from the point she learned this so grippingly in this post on her blog.  Her daughter, Harper, will be undergoing major brain surgery on Dec. 7th.  You can read about the surgery here.  I have been praying for this family a lot lately.  I can't imagine what she is going through with the decisions she has had to make and is still having to make for her girls.  Please join me in praying for all of these amazing women and their incredible children, especially for little Harper as she undergoes surgery soon.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

We had a great Thanksgiving - ate some turkey, visited with family, all that good stuff . . . but it all just leads up to the really good stuff - Christmas!  I love Christmas. 

We took the kids to visit Santa at the mall before Thanksgiving.  I did not want to wait in a long line with a bunch of other kids.  I also didn't want all those snotty kids sitting on Santa's lap right before my kids did.  How many times does Santa wash that Santa suit anyway?  I know that sounds terrible, but we still have to be very careful about protecting the twins from colds and viruses (especially RSV) this winter.  This was their first year to visit Santa since they were in complete isolation last year.  Cade just looked confused and Camdyn was on the brink of a meltdown.  They snapped a quick picture just before Camdyn had a meltdown.  She had no idea why I would set her on this crazy man's lap.  I quickly picked her up and all was good again.  In the picture below, the kids are checking out the giant tree in the mall.

My sister and I are those crazy Black Friday shopping people.  We make it a marathon of shopping.  We started at 8 PM and continued shopping all through the night and into the next morning.  We finally wrapped it up at 10 AM.  It was a total of 14 hours of shopping!  We do all of our Christmas shopping and save hundreds!  Yes, my sister had these fun shirts made for us a couple of years ago.  The back says, "Step aside and no one gets hurt" jokingly, of course.  We might be crazy shoppers but we don't start any fist fights or carry pepper spray. 

We put up our Christmas tree this evening.  I'm not sure how long it will last with decorations actually on it with two destructive one year olds in the house, but we have to have a Christmas tree.  Here the babies are "helping" decorate.  I would give them an ornament and tell them to hang it on the tree.  They would take the ornament over to the tree and either lay it (Camdyn) or throw it  (Cade) in some of the branches. 

Camdyn carefully laying her ornament on the branches.

Here's Cade after he threw his ornament into the tree.

Cade's "I didn't do it" look after pulling several ornaments off the tree!

The stockings were hung . . . (5 stockings still looks like a lot to me)!

My mom gave Camdyn and Cade these adorable "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments last year.  I just love how cute they look together all "twinny".

Brenna's section of the tree.  She decided to hang all of her princess/Barbie ornaments very close together because "they are all friends".

Brenna loves playing with all of the ornaments on the tree.  We have a lot of ornaments that play music or have moving parts.  She was so excited about decorating the tree and playing with all of the decorations again this year.  She told me we could not eat dinner until all the decorating was done.

In our old house, our Christmas tree looked huge.  In our new house which has very high ceilings, our tree looks a little like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  I plan on buying a new taller tree after Christmas.  As you can probably figure after reading about my crazy Black Friday shopping, I have to wait for a sale.  I rarely buy anything for full price.

The shopping is done, the Santa picture is taken, the presents are wrapped, the stockings are hung, and the tree is up.  Yes, we are ready for Christmas!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


This Thanksgiving, I am so thankful for all the progress Camdyn and Cade have made.  I looked back on a post from last year around Thanksgiving.  This is where we were last year:

"Camdyn - Camdyn now weighs 11 lb. 11 oz. She is still very tiny, but she is following her own little preemie curve. The doctor said that for 7 month olds, she is in the .08%. She is not even in the 1%. She still takes forever to take a bottle, but she is slowly getting more efficient. We are trying them on a 4 hour schedule instead of a 3 hour schedule, and it seems to be working alright. We are hoping that it will work because it gives us two more hours in our days.

Cade - Cade now weighs 16 lbs. 2 oz. (almost 5 lbs more than Camdyn). He is huge for a preemie. He is actually in the 12th percentile for all 7 month olds which is incredible since he should really only be 3 months old. He hasn't made much progress with eating orally. He takes his pacifier very well, but he hates the bottle. We have tried just about every type of bottle, and it doesn't make a difference. He is still getting therapy to work on feeding three times a week. He has a GI appointment at the beginning of Dec. to talk about the possibility of needing a g-tube."
Wow!  Looking back at that exhausts me all over again.  I am thankful that we no longer have to feed them every 3-4 hours.  I am thankful that I can now give both of them full bottles, and they drink them down in no time!  I am thankful that Cade eats!  I am thankful that they are walking and getting into everything.  I am thankful for all the progress they have made.  I wish I could have seen our lives now when they were in the NICU and during the first year home.  They are so amazing.
I am also so thankful for my sweet daughter, Brenna.  She makes me laugh every day.  She gives the best hugs, and she helps take care of the babies.  She loves being a little "mommy" to her baby brother and baby sister.  She also loves being a "therapist" helping them learn new things. 
I am thankful for my wonderful husband.  I can't imagine raising three kids without him!  I love the way Camdyn runs to him when he gets home and says "Da-y".  She is daddy's little girl.  I love the way he lets Brenna sleep in our bed more than he should.  I love how he lays on the living room floor and lets all the kids crawl all over him like a jungle gym.  I am thankful that my kids have such a wonderful Daddy.
Every day is Thanksgiving for me.  I count my blessings every time I see the babies do something new.  Their beginnings make me look at life in a different way.  I appreciate more.  I am thankful more.  I never forget the gift of life.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

19 Months (15 months adjusted)

We went in for our "18 month" check yesterday.  They are 19 months old, but our regular pediatrician was out of the office due to a back surgery.  We decided to wait until he returned instead of seeing the fill-in pediatrician.  I felt like it would take forever to go over their entire histories, surgeries, hospitalizations, etc.  It was much easier to wait for our regular pediatrician, whom we love, to be back.

Cade - Cade is now 22 lbs. 5 oz. and 32 inches tall.  Our pediatrician only uses chronological age and not adjusted age, so the charts are based on all 19 month olds.   For height, Cade is in the 25th percentile.  For weight, he is in the 5th percentile.

Camdyn - Camdyn is now 18 lb. 3 oz.  and 31 inches tall.  For height, Camdyn is in the 15th percentile.  For weight, she is not on the charts at all.  She would have to weigh about 20 lbs. to even make it to the 3rd percentile.  She eats well and drinks high-calorie Pediasure all day, but gaining weight is hard for her.

We also had Cade's first appointment to get his Synagis shot yesterday morning.  It was a busy appointment day!  Cade qualifies for Synagis this year, but Camdyn does not.  Cade will be getting a Synagis shot (actually 2 shots now because of his weight) every month until March.  The shot costs $2800 each month.  Fortunately, insurance covers it.  The expense of the medication is why it is so hard to get qualified.  Camdyn did not meet the guidelines for approval for a second season.  It feels very strange to know that one child will be protected against RSV, and one will not.  Her pediatrician says her lungs sound very healthy though, so if she were to get it, she should be able to fight it off.  Just the idea of her getting RSV sends me into a panic attack.  She doesn't qualify because she has not had any recent history with lung problems like wheezing, upper respiratory infection, or pneumonia.  Regardless, she was still born 16 weeks early with very underdeveloped lungs, spent 5 weeks on a ventilator, several more weeks on oxygen, was hospitalized at 5 months old due to lung issues, and still only weighs 18 pounds.  Her lungs can't be that big (i.e. healthy)!  We will be in semi-isolation again this winter and washing/sanitizing frequently.

I surrendered and bought the monkey leashes.  I always thought those things were terrible until I had two toddlers.  Cade runs off into the parking lot while Camdyn is taking her sweet time.  I had to have a better system of keeping them together.  We could use the stroller, but I think walking, climbing stairs, going up and down ramps, etc. is good for them.  Brenna thinks it is a lot of fun to "walk" the babies.  Doesn't that sound terrible?

Brenna "walking" the twins

Camdyn looking so pretty in her panda outfit.  This was Brenna's.  Brenna wore it when she was around 10 months old, and Camdn is wearing it when she is almost 20 months old (and it is too big)!

cute smiling girl - She's probably happy because she doesn't have to get a painful Synagis shot.

In the News

Camdyn and Cade were featured in a news article in our local paper.  You can read it here.  I didn't know they were doing this, so I was really excited when a friend posted it on facebook.  What a pleasant surprise!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fall Photos

My good friend, Jennifer Glynn-Schattle, took these wonderful fall photos for us at a local pumpkin patch last month.  I wanted to make sure to post them before Christmas creeps up on us.  I love how these pumpkin photos turned out.  The kids were enthralled with all the pumpkins.  I loved watching them crawl over the pumpkins and try to pick them all up.  It was a great day!  I had a hard time narrowing my favorites because they were all fantastic.

my lil' pumpkins in the pumpkins

All 3 of my precious pumpkins.  Aren't those tights the cutest?

We posed the kids like this, but Cade had other plans.  He decided to pull his sisters in the wagon.  I didn't think he would be strong enough, but before I knew it, the girls were rolling down the hill, and I was running after them to stop the wagon!

Cade and Camdyn enjoyed being pulled in the wagon through the pumpkins.

my beautiful Brenna

I love how the sun is shining behind her on this one. 

my adorable Camdyn - Her eyes look so amazing in this picture.

Cade was very serious for most of his photo shoot.  Even so, he still looks adorable with his white-blonde hair and baby blue eyes.

I tried to get him to smile in this picture.  I threw my hands up and told him to yell, "Yay!"  This is the silly face we got.  Isn't it precious?

Thank you Jennifer for all of these awesome photos and for all your patience with my kids.  Check out Jennifer's blog at

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

World Prematurity Day

November 17 marks the date for the first annual global World Prematurity Day.  On this day, families of infants born prematurely are encouraged to share their story.  Thirteen million babies are born prematurely every year.  Of those, one million do not survive.  Tomorrow we will be wearing purple to celebrate World Prematurity Day in honor of our premature babies and in memory of all the premature babies who did not survive.

I sat beside another mom in the lobby of the therapy clinic last week.  We began talking.  She told me her son was there for a slight speech delay.  I told her my twins were there for speech therapy and physical therapy.  I did not tell her, at that point, they were born 16 weeks early.  When talking to other moms now, I always tread lightly.  I don't delve into their scary, traumatic birth upon meeting someone.  When people ask me how old they are and I say 19 months, I often get the reply, "They're so little."  I usually just say, "Yes, they are."  Sometimes that's the end of the conversation and other times, they ask further questions like, "How much did they weigh when they were born?"  I'm certain they expect me to reply with a "shockingly" small weight like 3 or 4 pounds.  When I casually reply, "1 lb. 2 oz. and 1 lb. 8 oz." their mouths drop in awe and their eyes widen in shock.  That's the direction this conversation took.  After the twins came home, I so desperately wanted things to just be normal that I hated these casual conversations.  I didn't want to relive the experience.  After a few more months passed, I began wanting to tell everyone their amazing story.  It's such an incredible story afer all.  Now, I think I have found a perfect balance.  I don't jump into telling others about their prematurity at the first opportunity nor do I avoid it.  I wait to see if the person I am talking to is truly interested and can handle the details.  The other mom at the therapy clinic was truly interested in their story and asked respectful questions.  She told me that she could not even imagine what it would be like to see your child at only one pound.  I tried to tell her without frightening her what it was like to look at your child only weighing a pound.

When I first looked at my own children, I couldn't believe how small they looked.  Jim had tried to prepare me for what I would see before my first trip to the NICU, but you can not prepare a mother to see her one pound babies.  If you were to look back at the beginning of this blog, you would see that I never posted pictures of the babies their first few weeks.  I still can't find the words to explain why I couldn't bring myself to share their pictures.  I knew that when I looked at my babies, I saw my babies, tiny and with lots of tubes, but still my babies.  I also knew that when others looked at my babies all they would see were tiny, sick babies with lots of tubes.  I didn't think they would be able to look past the tubes to see my precious babies.  Hands, feet, fingers, toes - those are all the pictures I took of the babies in their early days.  Those were the parts that looked "normal".  Fortunately, my mother-in-law took lots of pictures, and she took pictures of the whole baby!  I am so thankful she did this.  I recently asked her to send me all the pictures she took. 

In celebration of World Prematurity Day, I am posting their birth pictures along with a recent picture.  These pictures tell an incredible story and serve as a testament to the power of God, prayer, and advances in the field of neonatology.  We are blessed!

Camdyn at 1 week old (she had dropped down to just 1 lb.)

Camdyn now (17 pounds of cuteness!)

Cade at 1 week old (he had dropped down to 1 lb. 6 oz.)

Cade now (23 pounds of fantastic trouble!)

Join us in praying for all families who have been affected by prematurity - those who are dealing with effects of their child's prematurity, those who are currently in the NICU watching their children struggle to live, and especially those families who have lost a child due to prematurity.