Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just about pictures from my camping trip

So I managed to take 339 pictures during our yurting trip this past weekend.  Four days, three nights, six families, 13 kiddos, and the sun was shining the entire time!  I think that justifies it for me.  Right?  And with three kids being my own, that's only 113 pictures of each one, so that's not terribly bad, right?  Okay, so I'm thinking that's a bit extreme, but I'm hoping some of you will pipe in that you take that many pictures in one day.  Who's with me?

Sadly, as I look at my photos, I'm thinking of all of the missed shots I really wish I had taken.  Because 339 isn't enough, is it?  Sure wish I'd captured a photo of the youngest in our group, 18 month old Boden, petting the one little dog in our group, Gordy.  I had secretly hoped that the cooler opening, bagel stealing raccoon would show up again so I could snap a picture of it, too.  And there were so many opportunities to capture a crow or two pecking at our leftover scraps, but I guess I was too annoyed at their early morning cawing to think about the picture opportunity at the time.  I desire these last two photos only because I did manage to witness this squirrel climb onto our table, grab a piece of graham cracker and high tail it up a nearby tree to gloat about his success right in front of us.

We were warned, but boy, were these critters fast acting!

I really wanted to get a shot of each family together, but only ended up getting three out of six complete family pictures.  Not terrible.  I did capture everyone from our group numerous times, just not in their complete family units.  I won't complain about that, though.

I have to admit that I really, REALLY desired an all group photo, but I didn't even bring it up this time, thinking about how well we'd all gotten along up to that point and not wanting to ruin it and be the one to destroy the perfectly complete happy memories for one shot that logistically was almost impossible.  Not completely impossible, but considering the only place we were all together was at the campsite either early in the morning, chugging our morning brew at 7 AM, or right before/during dinner with hungry, overtired children (and adults) to feed, I just wasn't going to push it.  We did take a few group kid shots, but there isn't a single one where all 13 children are all together, but that's okay.  I'll live.  This time.

Kim S. 
Addicted to photo taking opportunities and scrapbooking.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Meet the Board: Sionainn M.

The day before I got my positive pregnancy result, I picked up a Willamette Week and my Free Will horoscope read:

After studying your astrological omens, I closed my eyes and asked the spirits for a psychic vision that would symbolize your imminent future. The scenario that came up was a pair of toddlers dressed in fine purple satin garments and wearing golden hats. They looked like a prince and princess, and were wandering around inside a ritual circle about ten yards in diameter, drawn with white chalk in a green meadow. Vases of cut flowers and statues of gods and goddesses ringed the circle. So what does my vision mean? Maybe this: Two magnificent possibilities have recently been born or will soon be born. You should cast a protective spell around them, letting them amble and dally within a proscribed area as their magic ripens.

Now Free Will has not always gotten things right (hello, love life?!?) but I do have a pair of toddlers…a prince and a princess. We don’t do much wandering in ritual circles and they have never donned purple satin garments, but I love watching their magic ripen.

Advice to New Moms:
Advice should be more helpful than stressful, so keep perspective as you consume others' advice (either voluntarily by reading a parenting book or involuntarily in the grocery store) and realize every family and child is different. As a single mother by choice, I freaked out when I started reading all the twins books. They all emphasized how much additional help you need, in addition to your partner. Having recently moved to Portland and not having any family in town, a 1:2 adult to baby ratio from the outset was looking very scary and these books were just stressing me out more. Make the most of the resources you have but don’t freak out if you don’t have the funds for overnight help or all the extra assistance you might like. The little things people can do to help you do add up and you will make it through this and be able to sleep sometime in the future.

Also, revel in each stage of your children’s development. Each stage comes with a challenge (or so) but also has something so special you wish you could bottle it up. So don’t wish for any stage to pass quickly…because they do that all on their own.

Favorite things about having multiples:
Too many things to list here…but one of those melt your heart moments was when the babes first smiled at each other. They looked at each other, locked eyes and each busted out the world’s biggest smiles. They had figured out what I had known since before they were born…we are so lucky to have each other in our lives.

Sionainn M.
2011 FHM Treasurer
Mommy to Siobhan & Quinn, 2 years old                                             photos by:  www.catchlightsnw.com

Monday, June 20, 2011

Meet the Board: Savanna M.

I always wanted to be a mom and I always wanted to have a large family.  My husband and I had decided to start trying to have kids shortly after we started dating . . . not initially realizing all of the fuss that we were going to have to go through to get there.  We tried for a year to get pregnant on our own and the next two years I spent taking all different kinds of medications and seeing many different doctors, including fertility specialists.  At the end of our last cycle of medications I went in for the pregnancy test and blood work.  I received a call later that day with the results. The nurse calling told me that she had good news and that we were pregnant!  She mentioned that my blood test results looked normal for early pregnancy and that they didn’t anticipate that I would be pregnant with multiples.

I was ecstatic to be pregnant.  I went into the doctor’s office a few weeks later because I was having a reaction to fertility medication.  My entire body was swollen; I had gained 30lbs and couldn’t feel my legs.  They did an ultrasound and showed my pregnancy on the monitor; one black blob.

The next day, which happened to be our one year wedding anniversary, I went back to the doctor’s office to have a procedure to reduce the swelling and fluid build-up. As the doctor gave me an ultrasound my husband and I joked about how we would someday tell our child about how we spent our first anniversary at the doctor’s office.  I wasn’t paying attention until I finally looked over at the doctor and the ultrasound monitor.

There were THREE black blobs on the monitor.   THREE healthy heart beats! THREE!!  Needless to say we were shocked!

When we left we immediately called our parents.  Both of which argued with us thinking that we were just playing a joke on them.  We would need three of everything; three cribs, three car seats, and a new car that would be large enough for a triple stroller.

My pregnancy overall was pretty uneventful. I worked full time until 26 weeks when I decided that I was ready to slow down.  Two days later at an appointment my cervix started to shorten and my doctor put me on modified bed rest. 

One of the great things about having multiples, and being a “high-risk pregnancy” is that I was getting ultrasounds at every appointment so I was able to see my babies growing and having healthy heart beats consistently. At 30 weeks my blood pressure skyrocketed and I was hospitalized for preeclampsia.

I lived at St. Vincent’s for the next five weeks. To keep busy (and my sanity) my friends and family would come and take me out of my room.  My doctor gave me permission to leave the floor in a wheelchair, so I would go outside to get fresh air or go have dinner in the cafeteria with my husband. I learned how to crochet, did word-searches, played my husband’s video games and watched movies. 

At 35 weeks my doctor decided that we had waited long enough.  The babies were at the point that they were not going to be an “automatic NICU admission” so we made all of the phone calls and family came in from hours away. I delivered Jordin Timothy, 4lbs 14oz, Jiovanni Bradley, 4lbs 10oz, and Arriyonnah Margaret, 4lbs 1oz.  Arriyonnah was admitted to the NICU for observation because of her weight.

It was one of the strangest feelings I have ever had, to know that I had given birth to three babies but to only be able to see two of them.  To not be able to snuggle her and hold her close to me, to not be able to feed her and do what mothers are supposed to do.  I was not able to see her until the next morning when I was allowed to get out of bed. My husband was able to spend a lot of time with her and would bring pictures back to me.  The boys were healthy and went straight back to our room with us.  Less than 24 hours after being born, Arriyonnah was brought back to our room with us and she was doing great.

Two days after giving birth we were all released from the hospital.  The hospital gave us one cart for all of our stuff and one cart to roll the babies out on.  My parents met us at the hospital and we filled their car with all of our stuff and we filled our car with our new family and home we went.  I don’t think that my husband had ever driven so carefully.

Today the “babies” are 2 ½.  They are super busy and learn new things every day.  It is amazing to see little pieces of ourselves in them. They communicate with each other in their own way; they have opinions about everything and are not afraid to express them. They wake up each morning and hug each other and give kisses.  Our struggles are no longer about feeding and schedules but about potty training and finding moments to give them each alone time with mommy and daddy.   Our days are filled with joy, love, excitement and chaos . . .
But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Advice to New MoMs:   LAUGH!  Sometimes that’s all that you can do!

What do to with an extra hour a day:  I would spend it with my husband...just the two of us.  Between the kids and both of us working full time we hardly ever get a moment to ourselves.

Savanna M.
2011 FHM Secretary
Mommy to Jordin, Jiovanni, & Arriyonnah

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Shasta's Blog: Outrageous Fortune: I ♥ my husband

Wanted to share this loving blog post by a fellow FHM member, Shasta.  She has a terrific husband, as do many of us, who not only give us breaks we need from raising multiples, but also pitch in around the house after working full work weeks.

Happy Father's Day to all of our fabulous Dads!
Outrageous Fortune

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Fathers' Day to Dads-to-be

My partner Ken and I have been together for over 20 years, and have finally decided to start a family.  We could have gone the adoption route, but have seen too much rejection, long waiting times and disappointment, so we decided to hire an egg donor and surrogate instead!  It took a while for us to agree on the right egg donor and surrogate, and after making those decisions, it took another 5 months to prepare the two girls for the embryo transfer!  At first, we were going to split the eggs, and freeze Ken’s embryo, and transfer two of mine.  The chances of both embryo surviving is not that great, so we figured that after the first transfer and birth, we would transfer Ken’s embryo a couple of years later.  At the very last minute, we decided to transfer one embryo from each of us, and hope that both would make it!  We are now about 20 weeks into the pregnancy, our surrogate is doing an amazing job, and both babies are doing great!  We found out that we are having a boy and a girl, and it will be fun to see who has the boy and who has the girl, although each will be both of ours!  We are naming them Nico and Kate, and although we won’t be official dads this Fathers’ Day, we certainly feel like we are and are so excited to actually be dads soon!  We are so grateful to the amazing technology available to make this dream possible for us!

   Excited Dads-to-be Ken & Beat