Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goodbye 2011! Hello 2012!

The New Year, for me, for us, isn't about New Years Resolutions or Weight Loss Goals or Promises to stop doing x, y, and z.

It's about looking back at the choices we made the previous year, determining what worked for our family (and, of course, what didn't), and deciding to change our paths. A lot of people think that life happens to people. I am not one of those believers. Life, for me and my family, is what I make of it. It is that reason that we choose as a family to look back at what worked and didn't work and reflect on it all (have I ever told you what a reflector I am?!? It must have something to do with being a teacher!)

So in the spirit of that, let's look back at 2011

Right after the New Year, we announced to everyone (including the blogging world) that we were expecting twins. It was a crazy time and I remember being petrified to announce the pregnancy, as if somehow announcing it would somehow "jinx" it or make something bad happen. Connor turned 18 months old and we were just reveling in all his new excitement.
February 5th was Cole's due date and it was extraordinarily hard for me. I wrote THIS letter to him. We took the twins to the snow for the first time (in my belly) and took Connor sledding for the first time. We discovered our first baby, Harley, had Addisons Disease in THIS post. Since then we have learned so much about what works for him and what doesn't. We've finally got his injections on a good schedule and are starting to feel improvement in his health. We also announced the gender of the twins in THIS post via a cute (if I say so, myself) video. At that point we were told that they were both healthy and had no health concerns.

In March we took a babymoon in THIS post. I am sooo sooo glad we did that! We thought it was difficult before to get a babysitter. Whew! Trying to find someone to watch all THREE is crazy! Then on March 31st, we got news that baby A (Aiden) had kidney cysts and had the same disease as Cole: Multi-cystic Dysplastic Kidney Disease (MDKD). I'll be honest. That was a bad day. I was so afraid of what might happen. I was upset that we had decided to have more kids because I felt like it was MY fault that the Aiden had bad kidneys. Looking back, that was silly. God had a plan and the babies are beautiful and healthy!

In April we carved out some time to go see our Southern California friends and family before I was no longer allowed to travel. It was such a great visit. We also got the wonderful news in THIS post that Connor was kidney problem free! That was a great relief!

In May I went into preterm labor with the twins at 30 weeks. They gave me injections (more than one) to stop labor and I was put in consistent monitoring. It was at this point that I had to stop working and go on complete bed rest. Bed rest was slightly tortuous, but it meant that the babies stayed in my belly until 36 weeks. Wooo-hoo!

In June, I was on bed rest. I did THIS funny post putting all sorts of things on my belly because I was HUGE HUGE HUGE! Then in the middle of June we learned that Isabella had a duplicated ureter in THIS post. The last day in June, I woke up in the morning with the feeling that my water had broken. I stood up and water started gushing everywhere. I was in labor! A few short hours later, we had met our beautiful babies Aiden and Isabella!

Mr. Howard decided to take 8 weeks off to be home with us! The beginning of July was rough. The babies were in the NICU and it was overwhelming at times. The very first time I went to visit them was one of the worst days as the nurse told me I wasn't "allowed" to hold them because I had just had surgery and was in rough shape. I cried. Actually I bawled. By the way, I did write the hospital a letter afterwards (when I was a little less hormonal) to tell them about that experience. Mr. Howard also requested that that nurse not be a part of my life. There were other low points too: showing up several times to breastfeed my babies and being told that the nurses had "just fed" them. After they left the NICU, we had a wonderful, wonderful time. It was everything and more that I thought it would be. I was a little protective of people holding them, though. Not sure what that was about. Connor turned two in THIS post and it truly cemented him being a BIG BROTHER and BIG BOY! We celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary in THIS post. Such a busy month!

Magic. Pure Magic. I celebrated my 28th birthday in THIS post. Connor began to take his role of big brother very seriously. The babies kept growing. Our family and friends came to visit us. We got crazy and decided to go camping in THIS post. At the very end of the month, Mr. Howard went back to work.

I went back to work. Yuck! Too soon! The babies were perfect. Connor was amazing with them. This was a good month, aside from Cole's birthday week. That was one of the roughest of my life. We celebrated his birthday with a cake Courtney made us in THIS post. I stopped making enough milk to breastfeed! Sad, sad day! We met with the pediatric nephrologist and got some good news!

We went to Southern California to see family and friends. We saw Josh get married! We took all three kiddos to a pumpkin patch in THIS post and celebrated Halloween in THIS one. We also participated in our first balloon release in honor of Pregancy and Infant Loss Rememberence!

In November we celebrated Thanksgiving, crafted; my parents moved into their forever home and I donated knitted hats (from friends and family) to the hospital in honor of Cole Jayden Howard.

We celebrated Mr. Howard's 29th birthday, hosted my work's Christmas party, and visited Santa! In December we celebrated Christmas Eve, Christmas, and got news that Aiden's kidney is non-functioning.

Whew! That was a long post without any photos! It's helpful for me to look back at all that we've gone through. I have learned so much about being thankful for what you have and taking life a day at a time. It is hard to complain when you have three precious children here with you that are just so special and loved!


Samantha said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I've really enjoyed reading your blog this year. You are doing such a great job--you make having twins and a 2 year old look easy!! I love how positive you are and I know it's not easy 24/7, but it's about focusing on the good and being thankful for everything and reading your blog always reminds me of that.

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