Saturday, December 20, 2008

Our Twosome is Three

Well, it seems my babies are turning THREE today. And I guess I will have to face up to the fact that I don't have babies anymore. Having twins has been such a body slam of a learning experience, but as difficult learning experiences go, one couldn't ask for better.

I thought it might be fun to look back on some pictures of the kids' first three years.

They were born in 2005, five days before Christmas. But they came six weeks early, after a futile night of drugged stupor trying to keep them inside my body for as long as possible. It seemed Luka was pushing Ethan out and wanted a room of his own, as he stayed inside more than an hour after Ethan emerged.

Both boys were head down, and I succeeded in giving birth the natural way, even though we did it in the surgery, with the docs and nurses scrubbed for a possible sudden C-Section. As the birthing went on in a gentle, normal way, the masks came down, the gloves and little paper hats came off, and it was a very relaxed and happy environment albeit more sterile than the pretty birthing rooms down the hall.

They were both little over four pounds each and were whisked away to intensive care, where they were tubed, wired and gently cared for. It was not the "mommy and me" moment I had been imagining but I really wanted to know if they were okay, and have any immediate treatment given if necessary.

Luka seemed happy to see Ethan again when they were reunited. Despite being six weeks early, the medicine they gave me the night before to quickly mature their lungs seemed to do its job, and aside from a short period of being given oxygen, they did quite well on their own.

I did get some skin on skin time shortly afterward. This is Luka above and Ethan below, just outside of their little incubator beds they would spend the next three weeks sleeping in, when not cuddling with Mommy. You can see the strain of the nasty Magnesium Stupor I was in (the medicine used to keep the babies inside me made me stu-pid!). Look how little Noah was. He had just turned three... the age my (not) babies are today.

Our hospital was AWESOME as they provided a FREE room for me to live in for three weeks so I could bond with the twins and provide as much breastfeeding as possible. It was odd to call the hospital home. Snowstorms raged outside and I hung out in my hospital room and ate every meal in the cafeteria. Every three or four hours around the clock I would go to the NICU and scrub in, and attempt to breastfeed and pump what was left over to be sent down their feeding tubes when they grew too tired to drink anymore. While being willing, they never really became adept at taking in as much as their bodies required, so I fed both babies and the pump for the next few months.

Here they are with Daddy in their Christmas best! That is Ethan in green and Luka in blue. The NICU nurses decorated all the little beds for the holidays and surprised us with ornaments that had their footprints on them. Every one of those nurses was beyond wonderful, specially chosen to work with these tiny troubled babies.

Here they are sleeping together in the NICU. I love the intensity of Luka's eyes. This might have been the last time Ethan was the sleeper while Luka was awake. Their heads, when born were just a little bigger than tennis balls. Those are my hands.

After three looooong weeks, they jumped through the NICU's hoops, passed their "thriving" tests, and were allowed to go home. Ethan actually got released a couple days prior to Luka and stayed in my hospital room with me. The last two nights before heading home I got NO sleep at all as Ethan was the LOUDEST tiny sleeper I have ever seen. Even when I wasn't wheeling him to the NICU to visit his brother every three hours, his crazy snoring kept me awake in the short naps I attempted between feedings. I went home in such a fog.

At home, I had the benefit of my mother's help, who moved in with Michael to care for Noah the whole three weeks I lived with the twins in the hospital. Then she was there most every day to help us out at home. I have no idea how we would have managed otherwise.

After easily fitting into our home and our family, Luka and Ethan's personalities began to emerge.

Especially Ethan's...

And Ethan taught Luka to be as goofy as he was...

Living in Ohio just outside of Twinsburg, we took advantage of the annual Twins Festival. These guys were voted "most alike". Our guys could probably have won "least alike" if we had tried.

Noah never really went through that whole sibling jealousy thing, thank goodness. He has been a pretty caring big brother. Mostly. Heh.

We laugh sometimes that we have a dark boy with black hair, a medium boy with brown hair and a transparent boy with blond hair.

As much as I looooove my boys, some of my favorite times are the rare occasions when they are both unconscious.

It's been SO fun watching them grow and learn...

...and become friends as well as brothers.

I could live without all the mischief and destruction of personal property.

The boys are as different as night and day. Luka, despite being the quiet one, might well become the leader. He is physically gifted, balanced and exhuberant. He hops and runs more than he walks. Ethan is the jokester. He is also "the lover" of my three kids, giving me the cuddle-fixes I need on a daily basis. He knows how to work his flirting skills as well.

I love this picture... they actually look like twins in this one.

I love that they have each other, and always will.

Despite their differences, they will be in each others lives in bad times...

And in good times.

My birthday wish for them is good times.
And lots of them.

Happy Birthday, Sweetie-boys!


Snowbird said...

All I can say is awwwww. How well I remember the day they were born and the weeks following. I remember when poor Michael would come home from work (luckily in the same hospital you guys were in), he would take over Noah duty and I would head to the hospital to join you for dinner and some baby bonding time. Then when they came home, we all took shifts at night getting up and feeding them. It all seems like it was just yesterday but yet look at them now. You're right, they aren't babies anymore, but just as you will always be my baby, they will always be yours. Happy Birthday guys. Beyuh will put up a post soon but I had to work this AM so didn't get to it yet!!

gail said...

Beautiful. Oddly enough, I also remember when the twins were born because your mom posted about it on the san-cap message board! I don't know how you managed so well this far with such a handful, but hopefully things will settle down for you a little -- in another year or so. :)
Happy day to all of you.

Tootie said...

I too, read about their birth and had a pretty steady flow of photos shared by Grandma. I feel like I know those little guys and want to send them a big 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY'!

Emily said...

happy birthday to your babies. they are so sweet and adorable! it was neat to get to see a little peak into their early days. :)

ღ Alice ღ said...

Awww.Happy Birthday to them both. Thank you so much for sharing that,I enjoyed reading about them and how they have changed. I love the pic where Luka is happy to see Ethan. It looks like he is smiling:) My youngest will be 11 tomorrow,well now I guess,it's the 21st. Seeing your pics makes me want to have another baby then I slap myself. just kidding. I love being pregnant I just dont like the all nighters. Hope to see more pics soon.

organicyogamom said...

Those photos tell a beautiful story. My girl turned three this month as well - it sure is a different stage! All the best for a fabulous new year!

ChrisC and JonJ said...

Wonderful post!My boys are 4 years apart(and 38 and 34!),and I still know how you feel about your boys.Thank you for sharing.They will always be your babies.

Snowbird said...

If you want to relive their three years go read my posts on the BOSC message board. It was fun just to go back and read it and see the pictures.

Jenna said...

What a very sweet tribute!

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