Wow – a year has flown by in the blink of an eye!

So far, motherhood has been crazy!

Month 1: Total state of shock entire time babies are in NICU

Months 2-3: Pretty rough – hardly went anywhere due to sleep deprivation/extreme overwhelm of day-to-days with two infants.

Months 3-4: okay. keeping it all together, but barely!

Months 5-6: Alright, I think we’ve got this!!

and then *BAM* the evil illness monster reared its ugly head and babies were sick for 2.5 months straight

Month 7: i’m dying! They are literally trying to kill me through sleep deprivation and then they will eat my body after I’m gone (since they were always chewing on….anything/everything)!

Month 8: i’m still alive! barely, but i might see a light at the end of a long, dark tunnel!?!

Month 9 to present day (cue “Rocky” music): I think we’ve got this!?!

So, that’s where we’re at now. Maybe this is how parenthood is in general – I imagine there are lots of highs and lows as you raise a child. I honestly think the first 9 months were just a total blur. Its nice to have things documented on the blog so I can go back and remember what we’ve been up to. I feel like we were so exhausted/overwhelmed/etc the first several months that we were just “going through the motions” in basically all aspects of life. It wasn’t until St. Patrick’s Day (in March – when the girls would’ve been about 9 months) that I felt like we were really celebrating our first holiday together. I mean, we “celebrated” earlier holidays like Thanksgiving (when we went to eat at a friends’ house…because I was in no condition to cook a full Turkey Day meal) and Christmas (when we were back in Texas with family), but we didn’t really decorate and my heart didn’t really feel “in it.” It’s hard to explain because I definitely wouldn’t say I was depressed, but I was just in over my head and so I simply went through the motions without really feeling the joy of the holidays. In fact, some holidays we skipped all together (like last 4th of July – only 10 days after the girls were born and both were still in the NICU).

The girls were delivered far too early (I was only at 32 weeks, compared to a “full-term” 40 weeks). Looking back, this is something I wish I would have changed. I was admitted on June 25th due to “dehydration,” but after a slew of blood tests it was determined that I was in rapidly deteriorating health after being diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, and the babies were born through emergency c-section that same day (want a recap? See my birth story Part 1, 2, and 3). Hindsight is always 20/20 but looking back, I wish I would have been more of an advocate – that I would have fought to be admitted to the hospital and keep the girls inside me as long as possible. Even though my blood work looked bleak, I didn’t feel too bad and I think if I was being carefully monitored I probably could have kept the girls inside for another week or two to try to let them grow a bit more and, thus, reduce our time in the NICU.

That first month was definitely hard, but I’d say months 2-3 were probably the hardest in terms of sleep deprivation. There was also a point in January (7 months old) when illness struck the whole family that I wondered how we would make it through.

We are so lucky to have such incredibly supportive friends and family. Even though none of our family live in-town, we’ve been fortunate to have several visits at critical times when they were really needed. Chris’ Mom and Nana came out when I was out of town, for example. And my Mom flew out when our whole family had food poisoning. There were many other trips, too. In addition to our blood-relatives, Chris’ Masonic brothers (he’s a freemason for those who don’t know) have also been incredible. They’ve had us over for holidays and family-style dinners and made us feel loved when we otherwise felt alone. And we’ve had many friends who have been so generous in giving us gifts of food (for the adults), clothing (for the babies) and various other toys/etc. I remember being so worried when I was pregnant because the first thing EVERYONE would ask when they found out we were having twins was, “Do you have family close by?” We do not. Then I’d get big sad, puppy dog eyes looking at me with pity.

Although living close to family would CERTAINLY have made life easier, one should not discount the importance of our non-blood “family” and friends who DO live in town and helped to ease our burden, especially during the early months.

Motherhood is not easy. Particularly with twins. But its definitely, definitely getting easier – just as everyone said it would.

I feel like the girls’ first birthday was just as much a milestone for Chris and I as it was for the girls. It was without a doubt the hardest year of my entire life. But it was also the most gratifying. And, as we emerge from the fog and daze of the first year, its incredible to see the girls’ personalities continue to develop and to be able to play and chase them around (though they’re still crawling at this point). They are becoming more fun by the day and I love being able to watch them learn and grow.

Looking back at this past year makes me full of many emotions. Pride – for all that we’ve come through. And love – for our little girls and my incredible partner. And joy – especially as we look toward the future.

I may have moved firmly into the “I’m NEVER having another child” camp (something I was unsure of for a long time)….but I’ll have no regrets because these little girls are simply the best!!!