December 21st, 10:00pm, Pacific Standard Time, I can't believe a year went by so fast… Today marks the one year anniversary of finding out that my babies were in trouble which landed us into the hospital for 126 days. Such a scary event and difficult time brought so many positive and amazing experiences that I never would have thought could happen. Starting this blog was the first thing I did when I was admitted into the hospital and it has allowed me to share my story with the world and have the opportunity to help other moms on bed rest who are going through or have gone through this tremendous experience. I have obviously been incredibly busy which has made it very difficult to regularly write more blog posts but regardless, our story goes on and it needs to be told. It amazes me how slowly time went by in the hospital while I was on bed rest and now, those same 24 hours I would get each day, are flying at warp speed. So much has happened since April 21st and my life has completely changed.
Coming home from the hospital was at first so wonderful and I felt such a sense of freedom. Freedom to finally be a mother after so many years of waiting, freedom to walk, freedom to go outside, and freedom to do everything else I was deprived of in the hospital...especially taking regular showers! But soon I would discover that this "freedom" was not so easy to come by in my situation. I was extremely weak and in a lot of pain from the bed rest and c-section. I could not take care of myself, let alone two infants. All of the things I had been dreaming about doing as soon as I got home were still dreams since I physically could not accomplish anything. We were very lucky to have so much help from family and friends when we got home but in a way, I wished we didn't have it. I wanted to do everything myself and not have to rely on anyone since I had been living with so many restrictions and limitations at the hospital. I was so thirsty for independence that not even being able to change a diaper was depressing to me. I knew that I would be limited because of my body but I did not realize just how much. Thankfully, I was able to go to physical therapy which helped make me strong again and little by little I was able to regain my independence.
Just when my body was starting to feel normal and I could finally take care of the kids on my own, I had to prepare myself to go back to work after being gone for seven months. Then a couple of weeks before I started back at my job, I got the horrible news that my Dad passed away. Ella and Ethan were just about three months old and now they would never get to know their one remaining maternal grandparent. It was hard enough knowing that my Mom would not be around to watch them grow up, but then realizing that my Dad would not be in the picture was very sad. Even though he was not much of a visitor when I was in the hospital, he did manage to spend some precious time with the twins right after they were born. He came to the hospital and got to hold each of them which meant so much to me. All I can think of now is that at least he got to meet them and hold them which is more than my Mom was able to do. My Dad being able to spend the short amount of time with them was better than no time at all and I am grateful for that gift.
After recovering from the loss of my Dad, it has been so hard for me to have new babies and not be able to turn to my parents for advice or listen to the stories of what they went through as new parents. Luckily, one thing I do have from them is a textile with the poem "Children Learn What They Live." It hung in my room when I was a child and I thought it was long gone after so many years. Miraculously, it was found while cleaning out my Dad's garage and I took the very dirty and damaged textile and got it restored and re-framed. Like a gift from the great beyond, now my children can enjoy this poem and the life lessons that it teaches. It is almost as if my parents left that for me to find to know that they are still with me and watching over all of us.
Despite the difficult journey I have been on this past year, I have learned so much about myself and what I am capable of. I get stopped constantly by people once they see I have a double stroller and realize I have twins. "You must have your hands full!" and "I don't know how you do it!" are the comments that I get. Yes, twins are a lot of work but honestly, after everything I have been through, taking care of them and spending time with them is easy and fun compared to trying to keep myself from going crazy lying in bed for four months! My hands are full...but not full of burden and exhaustion like most people assume. My hands are full of appreciation and pleasure for getting two beautiful, healthy babies that make every second spent in bed worth the wait and sacrifice.
*The song "I Got Life" is from the 1968 Broadway musical Hair which was one of the first rock musicals on Broadway. Recently, the new revival in 2009 won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. I absolutely love this musical and its message. This song in particular really puts me in such a good mood and reminds me that no matter what bad things may happen, I am still alive and healthy and that I also have two new little lives that bring me so much happiness. It is so important to focus on what you do have in your life, and not what you are missing.