life

i don’t think about it much anymore. but there’s something about that chair, in the middle of the night, that brings a flood of memories back. 

aaron had a nightmare tonight. he often does, and it’s the saddest thing. i held him in my arms and rocked him back to sleep. tonight i noticed how big he’s gotten. his legs hang down past my knees and i have to make sure to support him by his bum so he doesn’t slide right off. 

surrounded by silence and darkness feeling my restless baby’s muscles twitch as he settled back into sleep, i was transported back to a time when i could balance him in a small ball on my chest like a kitten. 

so much happened in that chair. so many things i didn’t recognize as significant. 

the nights were the hardest for me during that time. i was much weaker during the night than during the day. 

i wanted to sing to little tiny premature aaron when he would wake up with night terrors then, but i wasn’t able to. i didn’t have enough oxygen to support my breath. but i always tried. id sing him the primary song that always spoke to me during my trial with infertility “whenever i hear the song of a bird….” 

although i mainly quoted it back then, it’s always seemed to bring him comfort. 

tonight i sang that song again, in the same place my life very easily could have ended. “He gave me my life, my mind, my heart I thank him reverently for all his creations of which I’m a part. Yes, I know Heavenly Father loves me.” 

im so happy i can be there for my son when he has nightmares. i hope i can always be. 

weekends

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this past weekend was a fun one, and monday has me wishing i could live the weekend over and over again. 

this saturday our fertility clinic had a “family reunion” for past and current clients. they went all out! but the highlights for us were: 

  • scott (husband/dad): delicious bbq food
  • me (wife/mom): free chair massages
  • aaron (brother/baby a): balloons (aka: ball!)
  • harrison (brother/baby b): petting zoo

aaron at the petting zoo. note: there’s not a single animal nearby- he’s going for the nasty water they have out for drinking, swimming, and pooping in. 


and sweet harrison at the petting zoo, thoughtfully admiring the chickens. 

both boys did have the opportunity to pet a few goats as well and they were super enthusiastic about it!


all in all we had a really great time! 

on sunday the boys and i were playing outside when something incredible happened. harrison found THE perfect stick. and soon aaron found another PERFECT stick. and the world of boyhood began at the stinocher house. i loved watching their eyes light up as they imagined the new possibilities their new “toy” opened up for them. 


i want the weekend back. I want to find adventures with my wild spirited children! 

halloween

it was our first halloween!! ok- so that’s not true. the boys birthday is in july, so they were around for halloween last year too. 


but the thing is, last year they were too little to care or have fun. this year was completely different. 

they’re old enough to have personalities and interests and they get really excited about things. for chritmas last yeah they got a crocheted lion and tiger toy from my mom, and they love those suckers! they get to hold them when they’re getting ready for bed and they always hug them and give them kisses. its truly heart melting stuff. aaron can even say “lion” and “tiger”. 

so we’d planned for months that i would step up my mom game and make them a lion and tiger costume this year. now don’t get me wrong- there’s nothing wrong with buying a costume. if i were a more logical person that’s what i would do. but i’m not. i’m a beast who’s driven purely by emotion and nostalgia. and growing up i always took great pride in the amazing and custom costumes my mom would make. she set the bar high for me, and now it’s my duty to carry on the time honored custom costume tradition for my children. 

my mom is a saint, and she tackled harrison’s tiger costume for me since she knows my schedule is wild, leaving me in charge of only aaron’s lion outfit. i don’t have a ton of experience sewing clothes, and I don’t think i’ve sewn clothing at all since i was 17… but the pattern seemed easy enough. and although the costume turned out darling in the end- i’m not gonna lie to you, i picked that thing apart so much that i used an entire spool of thread. i’ve never done that before…

anyway!!! a spool of thread, bloody fingertips from pin pricks, and 5 hours later, the customes were done and we were ready! 

our neighborhood block party was 2 days before halloween, and aaron and harrison were ecstatic to get to wear their costumes! (for real- they love them!) unfortunately it was 95 degrees outside and a double layer fleece costume isn’t perfectly suited for that kind of weather. so 5 minutes into the party the boys were just wearing onesies. 

on halloween we decided to stay home and hand out candy. the boys were enamored with all the kids who came to our door! aaron, who is more verbal than harrison, loved pointing out all of the hats that people were wearing, as well as their “pom-poems” (pumpkins). 

every time a new group of kids would come to our door i’d say “oh look guys- more friends!” i couldn’t get enough of harrison’s little legs kicking out in front of him as he scampered over to the door, or his face as he shouted “oooooooo” while he ran 😍 

once we ran out of candy the boys got to get dressed up to visit grandparents and they had a great time with that! 

this first official halloween was so much fun, and i can’t wait for next year when the boys get to go trick-or-treating for the first time!! 

milestones

these boys with the flowing long hair have hit many milestones in their 15(ish) months of existence. every day they learn something, find something, or explore something.

with every milestone they hit, a piece of them changes- grows older. and slowly they turn into little boys instead of my tiny babies.  
today’s milestone was different. it wasn’t something they learned to say or to do- it was something that i consciously had to have done that made them grow up. 

we cut their hair. and after that 5 minute haircut was over, we instantly went from a family with 2 babies, to a family with 2 toddlers. 

our friends, whitney and sabrea, were kind enough to cut the boys hair. harrison didn’t really like the idea of being alone in his high chair with other people looking at him. 


But eventually his grammy’s came to the rescue, and grammy annie held him while grammy kathy distracted him with snacks. 


aaron, on the other hand, handled the experience with excitement. to be fair though- he’s always a ham around pretty blondes. 


my heart sank a little with every baby curl that fell to the floor. but we gathered a few locks to save in their baby books and i followed aaron’s lead and picked my chin back up. 

change is good after all. and growing is part of life. and although those little curls are gone, these handsome boys will always be my babies!

plus- if they keep growing that means i can start having them do chores soon right? 

mother’s day (i know, i’m late)

mother’s day was amazing. not amazing like “look at the cool stuff i got” or like “my breakfast was super fancy” but amazing because it existed! my boys existed! i existed! 

it’s probably no shocker that mother’s day has been a pretty emotional holiday for me for the past several years. wanting to be a mother, and exhausting so many resources to become one, and still not being able to have children is heartbreaking. and no matter what other moms do to try to make this day apply to you, you know it doesn’t. or at least you feel like it doesn’t. 


i got to celebrate mother’s day last year too since i was pregnant. and it was nice, but i was still emotional because i felt a little bit like a traitor. having been part of the non-mother’s club for so long, and now a part of the mother’s club, I felt badly for those i’d left behind who hadn’t reached their dreams yet. 

this year was the first year i didn’t feel badly. I didn’t think of anyone but me, my husband, and my babies. (and our moms a tiny bit too.) but i was still suuuuuper emotional! my husband did all the right things. great gift, great breakfast, let me sleep in, etc. but the best gift of all was being here and being with my family. 


(this is the first time i really met the boys)

all day i couldn’t help but think of the miracles that have happened for my family in the past few years. we managed to have babies. sooo incredible! harrison wasn’t breathing at birth, but he came around and has been a strong little fighter ever since. i had heart failure- and this is the big one. this is the one that makes me the most grateful. I could have died. after all of the other miracles of building my family, i could have missed it all. 

I’m SO grateful to be a mom. and i’m even more grateful to be alive to experience it. every beautiful smile, and every crazy tantrum. so far this has been more than I’ve ever dreamed. 


mom club or no mom club- I have everything i need. i’m honored to be aaron and harrison’s mama and to watch them learn and grow. 

growing 

my boys will turn 9 months next week. every month that’s passed has reminded me how quickly children grow up. usually i’m flooded with feelings of anxiety that i’m missing out somehow on something each time they turn a month older. it’s like i’m being robbed of their infancy  

but this time it feels different! this time I’m just excited to see where we go from here and who they become. since turning eight months old they’ve really started developing even more into their own little personalities. and you guys- trust me on this one- they’re the best!!! 
aaron {baby a}

 

  • so sweet 
  • gentle
  • deliberate
  • talks to himself constantly
  • gives mom kisses occasionally
  • learning to clap
  • still doesn’t want to crawl or be rushed
  • 1 out of 5 times is brave when mom leaves the room and doesn’t cry 
  • has 4 teeth
  • loves chicken and rice baby food

harrison {baby b}

  

  • full of spunk
  • loves adventures
  • prefers playing with whatever he isn’t allowed to
  • currently planning a trip outside. Scheduled for whenever mom isn’t watching and he can get out the doggy door. 
  • has 3 teeth, working on 3 more
  • has the most contagious smile
  • analytical 
  • prefers to play/learn alone (as opposed to interacting with his brother) 
  • wild
  • rambunctious 

they’re the best things i’ve ever done, and the best people i know. we’ve made it through hard things together. and we’ve had so much fun together. 

  
I love this dynamic duo with everything I am!! 

hearts

i’ve never really been big on celebrating valentines day. no reason really – it probably stemmed from teenage self pity, and now i’m just indifferent.

but today i’m thinking a lot about love and feeling grateful.

my boys turned 7 months old two days ago, and i can’t believe it! they’re growing up SO FAST! every 1 month we celebrate brings back memories of what we went through to get them here. and today being filled with hearts, and february being heart month, i’m especially sentimental about the month-and-a-half time period after they were born.

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i had very bad preeclampsia when the boys were born and spent about a week and a half in the hospital. i finally convinced them to send me home (ok- my oxygen levels went up a little), and i was so grateful my boys were released from the NICU a day, and two days later. I had been so eager to be a mom my whole life and was really looking forward to long nights and sweet days with my babies.

image(practicing to be a mom. i clearly love that weird doll.)

my mom used to sing me to sleep, and i couldn’t wait to sing my babies to sleep. but when i got home i developed a cough. and it would get worse when i’d talk, and especially when i’d sing. i didn’t think much of it – although it was really painful – because i knew i’d had fluid in my lungs with preeclampsia, and i figured my body was just working it out.

i’d been looking forward to it – but man the nights were long. between pumping (babes were too little to figure out latching yet-they were 5 weeks early and had pretty weak jaws), and babies crying, and that awful cough, i was virtually getting no sleep. the exhaustion was real.

if you’d asked me to put together a grocery list, or sort my mail into piles of whom the letters were addressed to i could not do it. just the thought of it was super overwhelming and made me feel like i needed a nap. there were a lot of times when i literally didn’t understand what people were saying to me. it just sounded like gibberish.

i’d black out a lot too. but i was too exhausted to eat, and i figured i just wasn’t getting enough calories to keep up with pumping for twins. they’d told me i needed 5,000 calories a day and there was no way i was meeting that quota so i was sure that’s why the blacking out would happen.

any time i’d change a diaper at night i’d have to sit down and breathe after walking across the hall from my room to the changing table in the twins room. i had no excuse for this one… i think i realized it wasn’t okay but i didn’t want to be trapped in a hospital away from my babies just waiting for my oxygen to come up again.

one day i felt like i had this terrible knot under my left shoulder blade. again- i didn’t worry about it because i hold my babies with my left arm and for sure that’s what caused the knot. (later i would learn that this is a sign of heart failure)

that same night, when i went to bed, i laid down on my bed to stretch out my back. i put my arms over my head, and then it happened. i couldn’t breathe. i recognized this feeling from a few weeks before and knew i needed oxygen.

my husband called his mom- an ER nurse- and she took me to her hospital where i received celebrity treatment!

i only cried a few times that night. i was trying to be brave and not overreact, but i hated being away from my babies again. i had a lot of tests done, but nothing that wasn’t done in the last hospital, so i was sure they wouldn’t find anything new and i’d be trapped there until i could get my oxygen levels up again which felt impossible. i felt like people thought i had some sort of control over my ability to breathe and i really didn’t.

i was admitted. my mother in law stayed with me until i was settled in my room and comfortable (i made them redo my IV because it was pinching and i was a hospital veteran by then so i didn’t care about being demanding). once i was comfortable my mother in law left so she could watch the babies and my husband could come and spend the night with me.

during that hour after she left and before my husband got there i felt really alone and really discouraged. i cried a lot during that hour. once scott got there i felt a lot better. i just wanted to be home and be a family and hospitals kept preventing that (obviously it wasn’t my health at fault- it was hospitals! haha)

image(after i came home from the hospital-living my dreams)

the next day i had an echocardiogram done and a cardiologist showed up in my room and told me that i had a rare condition called postpartum cardiomyopathy, also known as peripartum cardiomyopathy or PPCM.

when i was released from the hospital, about 5 days later, they sent me home with a life vest- which is a defibrillator in case i did go into cardiac arrest, and oxygen.

i could talk about so many of my experiences with this condition, but this post is already really long so i’ll save it for another time. i’m so grateful that i didn’t ever go into cardiac arrest – especially that i didn’t go into cardiac arrest while holding my babies. i wish that i had known the symptoms earlier on so i could have sought treatment sooner.

symptoms are:

  • difficult breathing when laying flat
  • difficulty breathing on exhurtion
  • unexplained cough
  • edema or swelling
  • exhaustion

basically when your heart is not functioning well, it will steal oxygen from other parts of your body. so when i was feeling exhausted and not understanding people it’s because my brain was literally not receiving as much oxygen as it needed.

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so this valentines day and this month are all about the heart for me! i think about this experience every day, and i’m so grateful to be nearly 100% recovered.

i love my husband and my boys. i love that i’m here still and i can watch them together, and see my boys grow. i love my heart.

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7 Months!!!