My Best Girl’s Birthday

Today is Callie’s birthday.  She has always hated it.  Having your birthday be the day after Christmas has always been a curse, she says.  No one ever remembers or they wish you a happy birthday Christmas Day in case they forget.  Poor thing!

In the 4+ years that we have been together, I have made it my mission to make Callie’s birthday memorable and special.  The first year we were together, I threw her a surprise party.  She had no clue.  Her best friend flew in from Missouri and they went out to dinner while our other friends and I got the apartment ready.  When she walked in, our  yells of surprise nearly knocked her off of her feet!  There were balloons and decorations everywhere.  Her parents, my family, friends she hasn’t seen in years were all there. She loved every second of it.

It’s not easy getting someone who hates their birthday into the birthday spirit.  Believe me!  This year, with Callie on bed rest, it’s even harder.  She’s uncomfortable, she’s contracting with every step she takes, the babies are really heavy, and her back has been killing her.  But it’s still her birthday!  Although our finances won’t allow me to do anthing extravagant, I still have a wonderful birthday evening planned.  We are breaking “bedrest” rules and going out for a modified night on the town!  HIbachi dinner (which Callie loves!) and possibly a movie, depending on whether or not Callie is feeling up for it.  I’m so excited to be taking her out (with no Mary!) for the first time in a long time.  I hope those babies don’t interupt our dinner plans and decide to come early!

I’ve always been a kite, floating in whatever direction the wind takes me.  I’ve never been the one to keep my feet buried in the sand, more like the wave that continually moves, always shifting, always rolling, always crashing.  Callie has always been the rock to which I can tie my kitestring.  Keeping me grounded, but still letting me soar.  Since we met, she has always encouraged me to be the best version of myself.  Never allowing me to settle, and always pushing me to think outside of the box, and walk a mile in other people’s shoes.  She has brightened up my world when for so many years it was washed in a sepia tone.  She’s everything to me.  She’s all the things I wish I could be, but never had the courage to.  She’s my heart, my wife, my best friend, the mother of my children, and my partner in life.  I just wanted to wish her the happiest of birthdays…Happy Birthday my love….birthday

 

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Better Late Than Never!

Forgive me bloggers for I have sinned! It has been 10 days since my last entry!  Sheesh!  The good thing is that the time is flying, so much so, that If Nikki hadn’t text me to yell at me about the amount of time that has passed since my last post, I wouldn’t have even noticed!  With Christmas (and the birth of my sons) quickly approaching, there has been tons of shopping, wrapping gifts, school meetings (parent teacher conferences), drama being fosters moms (I’ll touch on an update later in this post), packing bags, baking cookies for the OB and our rental office, taking Mary to see some of the cool Christmas light displays in our area, spending time with family, and simply spending time with Callie before our life gets REALLY hectic (as if it wasn’t enough before!), I just barely had time to put many words on screen.  I HAVE been reading everyone’s posts and staying connected that way.

So 32 weeks!  The boys are the weight of pineapples!  Can you imagine!?!  Our boys are probably weighing a little more, but still!  According to the different sites, they are approximately 17 inches long.  Their digestive systems are fully developed, and their skeletons are fully formed, but their tiny bones are still pliable and soft.  Their skull bones are still not fused together (they wont be for A LONG WHILE) so that it makes it easy for their heads to get through the birth canal (still really keeping our fingers crossed for a vaginal delivery).  Babies lungs are also continuing to develop (they get tons and tons of hiccups and it is ridiculously cute, even though I think it’s WAY too many!).  We also met for a second time with our doula, who we LOVE!  She is so kind, calm, and funny.  We went over some of our birth plan, and came up with tons of questions to ask our OB at Callie’s appointment the following week.  Can she eat (my wife LOVES to eat!)? To what point?  How do they feel about her moving around during labor?  Can she labor in a hot shower?  Does she have to strapped to monitors the whole time?  How many people can be in the L&D room?  Can the doula come with us for the C-section?  How about the epidural?!  When is her cut off for that if she decides to use it?  So many questions!

MY BEAUTIFUL WIFE

MY BEAUTIFUL WIFE

33 weeks!  Callie has been so incredibly uncomfortable, poor thing.  It has been a tough week for her.  She has been feeling what she expresses as pins and needles in her vagina, and the contractions have gotten to the point where they cause her to stop and catch her breath sometimes.  I keep saying that it won’t be long now!  This past Wednesday was her OB appointment.  Unfortunately, because of my new work schedule, it’s hard for me to make the appointments, so her mom and my mom have been alternating turns taking her.  It was officially her last cervical length scan.  She is at 1.7cm, the lowest she’s been, so we are gearing up for these boy to be here any day now.  Noah (baby A) is right in position, constantly head butting her cervix (hence the pins and needles).  Levi (baby B) is sort of in fetal position above Callie’s belly button but under her breasts.  They are both still head down, so vaginal delivery is still possible, BUT Levi can turn at any point, so there still isnt a 100% guarantee that he will come naturally.

MY FANTASTIC ART SKILLS

MY FANTASTIC ART SKILLS

All of our questions were answered! Callie can eat (Thank the heavens!) up until 4 cm dilated. Then she can only have clear liquids (water, juice and broth basically).  Once she goes into active labor, ice chips and that’s about it.  She’ll need to be strapped to monitors for most of her labor because it’s not just one baby that they are monitoring, it’s two, but she is able to walk around in intervals, which is fine.  Having a doula is great and encouraged, but unfortunately, only one person can be present in the event that there is a C-section and OBVIOUSLY, that would be me!  Our OB said that Callie can have her epidural WHENEVER, and that there is no specific time frame for when she has to do it, which is great because Callie was a little concerned about that. Depending on how bad her labor pains are, the shower is an option and so are other birthing techniques like a labor ball, or a rebozzo (a laboring scarf to pull on).  So we feel much more ready now that we don’t have so many unanswered questions floating around between us. Callie wighed in at 157lbs, the heaviest she has ever been in her life, whci means a weight gain of 22lbs!  Not bad for carrying nearly 8lbs worth of babies!  Also, if they don’t come on their own, we have an induction/c-section date set, but we aren’t telling just yet! Let’s just say, it’s not too far away.

Babies are just fine!  This week in their development, they have an extra half-inch in their head circumference to help accommodate those growing brains.  They also have their own immune systems and start to inherit mommy’s immunities.  They can also start recognizing day and night, mainly because they spend most of their awake time with their eyes open and their sleeping time with their eyes closed.  And when they are awake, WE KNOW IT!  Elbows and asses everywhere!  My little honeydews are so darn cute!

NOAH HAD HIS ARM OVER ONE SIDE OF HIS FACE (BUT LOOK AT THOSE LITTLE LIPS!!!)

NOAH HAD HIS ARM OVER ONE SIDE OF HIS FACE (BUT LOOK AT THOSE LITTLE LIPS!!!)

LEVI WAS RELAXING WITH HIS HANDS BEHIND HIS HEAD

LEVI WAS RELAXING WITH HIS HANDS BEHIND HIS HEAD

33w

WHY IS MY WIFE SO DAMN HOT?!?!

I also decided that this week was as good as any to install the car seats.  I’m still not used to the way they look in the back seat of our small SUV.  Every time I have climbed into my car this past week, I did a double take and imagined my life with 2 little babies in it.  Even after 7 1/2 months of acknowledging and recognizing that we are having twins, it  still truly hasn’t sunk in yet.

TWO INFANT SEATS IN MY CAR! YIKES!!!

TWO INFANT SEATS IN MY CAR! YIKES!!!

*FOSTER MOM UPDATE*
We have won this battle.  After insisting to our case workers and Mary’s therapists and moms Parenting Therapist about the excessive amount of gifts that Mary has been receiving, they have spoken to mom again, in length, about the negative effects of giving her so many (undeserved) gifts.  She has agreed to bring gifts/toys to her sessions, and then take them home with her.  In the past week and a half we have sent more emails, to more supervisors then we can count.  Luckily it’s all gotten squared away.  Sticking to our guns has worked…for now!  We also, just found out (after receiving Mary’s report card and speaking to her teachers) that Mary has developed a new habit of blatantly ignoring people when they are speaking to her.  Her teacher had to call her 4 times on Friday out of the cubby section to go back to her desk.  The other students in her class speak to her and she turns the other way and pretends not to hear them.  We have also noticed this behavior at home and have tried to correct it, so we weren’t aware that it was happening at school to.  When she got home from school on Friday (which is Hot Chocolate, Stay Up Late, and Movie Night) she was EXTREMELY upset when we told her that her privilege would be taken away.  It the first time that she showed to us that she was disappointed in her self and affected.  Normally if we say we are taking away her privileges she says, “Fine!” and goes to her room and puts herself to bed.  What 6 year old punishes themself?!?! Our six year old, what’s who!  So when she finally had a real 6 year old meltdown tantrum, Callie and I smiled at each other, and knew that finally, finally, we are breaking through.  It melted our hearts to see our little girl cry…LOL!

So I believe we are all caught up.  Christmas is only  3 days away (2 if you’re Latino because we celebrate Christmas Eve), and I’m excited to play Santa for the first year ever.  Hope that everyone has a beautiful holiday shared with your loved ones. I know I will but how could you not, when you have these two as nieces!?!?!

THE LADY AND THE PRINCESS

THE LADY AND THE PRINCESS

Lots of love….

~SAMMIE ❤

Dolls, Ankle Socks, and PJ’s: A Foster Mama’s Frustration

We are having a serious issue, and I don’t know how much longer we can keep our cool.  We consider ourselves to be reasonable people.  Respectful women.  Kind folks.  When we are asked to do something (within reason) we comply.  That’s just who we are.

For weeks (months really), we have been communicating with Mary’s case worker about the amount of gifts that Mary’s mom has been giving her.  We have also spoken to the Parenting Counselor and Mary’s individual therapist as well, and all three have touched base with mom about the incessant gift giving.  They have given her the reasons as to why this could be detrimental to her development. 1) She doesn’t learn to value and appreciate things 2) When we have a reward system in place, it is difficult to discipline her if she continues to receive weekly gifts from mom (every Tuesday) and twice biweekly (every other week she sees mom Tuesdays and Thursdays).  And 3) Our apartment simply isn’t big enough to have 52 two foot dolls (one for each week of the year and those ridiculously scary looking Disney princess dolls).  All of these conversations were simply not heeded and Mary has continuously received gift after stupid freaking gift.

Finally, we had it!  With Christmas quickly approaching, we wanted to make sure that the holiday season with out family was a special one.  We normally buy gifts for each other, wrap them and promptly put them under the tree.  Not this year though.  We are teaching Mary all about the true story of Christmas, as well as the story of Old St. Nick.  We have wrapped her gifts and placed them in our closets and won’t be putting them under the tree until she is fast asleep Christmas Eve.  We decided that since mom hasn’t been listening to the workers that maybe we would reach out to her via email.  So Callie wrote her a very  nice letter explaining to her all of the above reasons as to why she should refrain from purchasing gifts, with the added, “And it’s the holiday season, so to avoid duplicate gifts, as well as making Christmas extra special for her.”  We also sent her the pictures that we took of Mary in her Christmas outfit in case her mom wanted to get cards made to send out to friends and relatives.  This was approximately a week ago.  Added to that email was a list of things that Mary doesn’t need (sneakers, short ankle socks, toys/dolls, pajamas, hats, gloves, winter jackets, t-shirts, house slippers) and things that she does need, since mom has felt so inclined to buy her things (longer winter socks, thermals, sweat suits, and winter boots).  Not that we can’t purchase those things for her, but since mom is going to buy her things every week, we might as well give her some clues for the things that she’d be better off buying.

Yesterday, when Mary returned from her visit, she came home with a bag full of stuff.  What was in the bag, you ask?  Welllll, you guessed it! Everything on the “DO NOT BUY”.  Ankle socks (It’s f*cking winter lady!), hats and gloves (last week she bought her 3 sets), house slippers (because the other 4 light up pair that she bought her obviously weren’t enough), another freaking princess pajama (because the 2 drawers full of pajamas that we have accumulated in the past 8 months certainly aren’t enough!), and a freaking Baby Alive doll that pees and poops, which we got Mary as a gift from Santa to help her in being a big sister.  That was the gift that we were most excited about.  That is the gift that we waited on freaking line for, refreshing the screen for hours on cyber monday in order to make her Christmas extra special because she wanted it so bad.  Needless to say, we were freaking PISSED!  Our case worker texted me on my way home from work to let me know that Mary’s mom had bought her a doll.  We knew it would be more than that because otherwise she wouldn’t have texted us.  We did not anticipate a bag full of crap, again, for the 4th time this month!  I let the case worker have it! When are they going to step in and tell her mom that it’s inappropriate and disrespectful to not respect the wishes of the foster family.  Does she not know that we hold all of the cards in our hands right now?  We can cancel visits when we feel like it.  We can cease all phone calls (we let Mary call mom whenever mom cancels a visit for something ridiculous like rain!).  We don’t ever have to send her another picture of Mary in a school play, or catching her first fish, or bouncing at a bouncy castle, or showing her face of wonder when capturing her first firefly ever. We have been nothing but kind to this woman, and nothing but understanding of her situation.  We speak highly of her to her daughter and encourage Mary to share her stories about her mother with us.  We have Mary write her cards and I put DVD’ together of Mary at her school functions.  We are the ideal foster parents and get blatantly disrespected like this!?!?!  How is it that we can comply and work with her and all of the multitude of requests, but our simple one is not even considered?  I can assure you, from this point on, we will be changing.  We will not be so accommodating.  It’s unfortunate, because Mary is ultimately the one who will suffer, but how do we make it clear that this behavior from mom is unacceptable?  How do we get her to understand, that her selfish behavior (the need to assert herself as “mom”) is not in her daughters best interest?  How do we explain to her that this is a partnership and that we should all be working together to do what is best for Mary?

On Tuesday, despite Mary’s tears and tantrums, we will be sending all of the stuff back (with the exception of the doll, which she loves, and makes us sad because we wanted to give it her) to her mother with a note indicating why it was all being sent back.  We will speak to the case worker and the therapist, and unless there is a valid reason as to why we will be receiving any more gifts, they are not to send Mary home with any more uselses crap unless it is pre-approved by us.  Is it a bit extreme?  Perhaps.  But we have rules in our home, and we expect them to be followed.  If Mary’s mom wants to have things handed to her by her sugar daddies and her stripper friends, so be it, but we will not be the parents that hand things to our children so that they expect everything to be handed to them in life.  They will work hard and earn them.  They will do chores for allowance, and learn the value of a dollar.  They will take pride in their achievements.  Those are the children that we will raise.  This situation has gotten out of hand!

Preparation

We are gearing up!  These babies are coming any day now, and things need to get done!  We finally finished all of our laundry, put together the stroller, got the car seats ready, fully finished the nursery with the exception of putting pictures in the frames and the crib skirts, we “Christmased” the house, put up our tree, ordered all of Mary’s gifts, got the boys “take home” outfits together and have discussed (not actually started) putting together our hospital bags.  We figured out Mary’s respite care, which we thought would have been a lot more difficult than it actually was.  With Mary being in school, we needed a family that would be able to drop her off and pick her up from school (we live 2 blocks from the school and unless you live further than 1 mile away, they don’t provide transportation), comply with her therapy and parent visit schedule and be able to accommodate that, and also who would be able to take her in for at least 2 weeks in case the boys are born early and they have to stay in the NICU.  Unfortunately, even though our parents and some of our friends are cleared through the state to watch Mary, she can’t stay at their home because they aren’t a certified foster home, which really blows because she has to go with a new family in a new setting with new rules in the mean time.  We’re going to write out her schedule, all of her activities, shower and bed time rituals, rules we have in place and that she has to follow, and phone numbers for our parents and siblings so that they can always help out if Mary is having a meltdown or anything like that and can come and keep her company.  We just hate to have to transition her to staying with another foster family, but the state makes it impossible!

Callie has been feeling increasingly uncomfortable these past couple of days.  She keeps having dreams about being in the labor and delivery unit pushing babies out.  She’s going to the bathroom every 15-20 minutes (on a good day!).  Her vaginal area has been throbbing from the pressure of carrying 8lbs+ worth of babies. Her contractions have been incessant, and she can barely move or stand without having one.  They have been lasting significantly longer too.  Somewhere in the 30-40 second range.  They still aren’t coming more than 4-5 times an hour (unless of course she moves, but that’s expected at this point).  A few weeks ago, she insisted that the boys wouldn’t come until mid January, but lately (the past week or so) she feels that they will be here soon…very soon.  And I must say, that it’s starting to scare me!  Excitement is still the number one emotion for me right now, but the fear is slowly sinking in.  The fear of being able to handle 2 infants at once. The fear of screwing something up so devastatingly that there is no coming back from it.  The fear of being inadequate as a mom.  The fear of coming out again and again and again and having to explain our family to people who don’t get it. The fear of never wanting to go back to work and getting depressed about leaving my wife and kids at home to fend for themselves. The fear of me never being able to produce milk after all these months of trying to induce lactation.  The fear of something going terribly wrong.  So many fears are suddenly rearing their ugly heads!   I’m doing my best to stay calm and remember that we can totally do this and we are made to be moms! I just can’t help but to get totally freaked out and have a little anxiety about these babies.  I suppose it’s all normal.

Tomorrow we hit another milestone in our pregnancy.  32 weeks!  At this point in Callie’s twin pregnancy, every 2 weeks is a huge accomplishment when trying to keep the boys safe.  When we hit 30 weeks we thanked our luck stars!  Now that we are hitting 32, we can take a little bit of a breath.  Once we hit 34 week (God willing!) we can breathe a sigh of relief.  But really, it’s more like one day at a time now, and not so much one week at a time.  Callie amazes me everyday with the work that she does to keep Levi and Noah safe.  She stays off of her feet to ensure that they are comfy and cozy and still growing.  She makes hundreds of phone calls a day to insurance companies, doctors, DSS for foster care stuff, helps Mary with homework and makes sure that she is showered before dinner when I get home, and deals with a multitude of other things, all from the comfortability (that’s debatable for her) of our couch.  Watching her everyday, even if she’s been wearing the same t-shirt for the past 3 days (just kidding Babeski!), continues to grow my love and admiration for her.  She was born to be a mom, and I’m so lucky to be able to share my life with her…

 

OUR TREE

OUR TREE

THE BOYS CADILLAC...ROLLING IN STYLE

THE BOYS CADILLAC…ROLLING IN STYLE

 

TAKE HOME OUTFITS!

TAKE HOME OUTFITS!

Weeks 30 & 31

Everything seems like it’s whizzing by, but in that weird way like it happens in movies.  It’s moving so fast that it’s all a blur, but then suddenly, it all slows down so quickly that you only have a second to focus your eyes, realize what you have to do next, and then, it’s all speeding past you once again. Like in the matrix.  I didn’t even realize that I hadn’t blogged and updated in so long.  The days are all sort of meshing together.  Alas, here I am, updating you all on our crazy lives.

Thanksgiving day was great!  We had dinner at my parents with my siblings, and then shot over to Callie’s parents house where we got to have some more dinner.  We went home, and quickly passed out.  Callie was having a hard time sleeping.  For the next few days she was having some really weird pains that she hadn’t experienced before, tons and tons of miserable heartburn (that wouldn’t let her sleep and in turn wouldn’t let me sleep!), and more contractions than usual.  They have been coming on stronger and lengthier than they have before. Sunday afternoon, we went to my parents house for a little while (Yes Callie is still on bed rest, but don’t worry!  My parents put her on the couch to lay down and won’t let anyone go near her) and took our annual Christmas card picture.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

We usually take it on Thanksgiving day, but since my sister was in hospital after having given birth on Wednesday morning, we decided to meet Sunday. Mami made lunch (she doesn’t really cook anymore since it’s just her and Papi at home so when she does cook, we all get really excited and race over), and took our pictures.  Callie was complaining about how uncomfortable she was most of the day, and we ended up leaving a lot earlier than we usually do.  In the car, I convinced Callie to call the Dr. and see what the recommendation was, at which point she realized that she had left her phone charging at my parents house.  We turned around and head back to my parents to get her phone. She used my phone to call while I was inside.

As I walked back to the car, I could see Callie’s concerned face.  The Dr. said we should go to he hospital and just get it checked out.  The pain she was feeling sounded like some round ligament pain (probably from the growth spurt they are having) and that the contractions didn’t sound like they were close enough or any different than normal, but with twins they have to be extra cautious, so it was probably best to come in.  Since Mary can’t travel out of the state of NY and our hospital is on the NY border in CT, we had to go home first, call my in-laws to come watch her and put her to bed (school the next day), and then get going to the hospital.  Let me just say, I freaking LOVE Greenwich hospital.  If you live in metro NY or CT, this is the place to be.  I’m so glad that our boys get to be born there. So we get there, Callie gets strapped onto all the monitors, and we wait.  The contractions are the same as always.  About every 12-15 minutes or so, but they do realize that they are rather long.  The Dr. came in to check her, but her cervix was the same.  Still short, still not dilated.  We joked around with the nurses (we can be so incredibly inappropriate!) and then about 5 hours, 2 bags of fluids, Breaking Dawn 2, and 1 steroid injection later (to help with the babies lungs in case they do end up coming early) we were sent on our way.

Monday Callie had a follow-up injection (it’s a series of 2 shots within a 24 hour period) with our OB, and had her 30 week appointment on Wednesday.  MAN OH MAN are those boys huge!!!  Usually the weight of twins isn’t divided per se, but they are usually smaller than a singleton.  Well, apparently our boys didn’t get the memo because not only are they weighing in as if they were each singletons, but as if they were about a week and a half ahead singletons!!!  Normally at 31 weeks, babies weight anywhere between 2 1/2 to 3 lbs, but Levi is weighing in at 3lbs 7oz, and Noah is weighing in at a whopping 3lbs 13oz.  Talk about chubbas!!!!  They still weren’t cooperating with the ultrasound tech.  Both are still head down, but they were facing Callie’s back again, making it impossible to get a face or even profile shot of them.  We do know that Noah has tons of hair (visible by a little white halo around his head) and Levi has little sprouts that are starting to come in. IF the old wives tale is true, that’s probably why Callie is having so much heartburn! I have a feeling that Noah is probably dark-haired like our donor (or I like to say, like me) and Levi has red hair (hopefully my little ginger like Cal’s).  Callie’s cervix is still holding at around 2cm, which is decent..  At least it’s not thinning, and still closed, so that is great news!

I think they are having a growth spurt again because Callie has been devouring everything she sets her eyes on.  Last night she pretty much ate through half a batch of brownies before they even cooled down enough!  This week we discovered that the boys LOVE hearing the ABC’s, but only when I sing it.  Callie sings it and they couldn’t care less, but I sing it, and you can literally see their little arms and legs going CUH-RAY-ZEE under Callie’s skin.  It’s totally their jam! I come home from work, and say, “Hey Buddy! Hey Bubba! Wanna hear your jam?” And let the dancing begin! It cracks me up! They also love it when I read them “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”.  They start wiggling around like, well, caterpillars!  They love sticking their butts out so Callie can rub them.  They are little freshies! Aside from that, friends, we are just a few weeks away.  If the boys don’t come naturally by 38 weeks, we’ll be having an induction, but we hope that won’t be the case.  I have a feeling they will be here in the next 3 weeks or so, but Callie thinks they are coming Jan. 14th!  I dunno…we’ll just have to wait and see…

FINALLY IN THE 30'S!

FINALLY IN THE 30’S!

7 WEEKS TO GO!

7 WEEKS TO GO!

Protected Post

Hey friends,

It’s been about a week since I’ve posted, mainly because I’m still learning the ropes at my new job and I have a few manuals that I have to really pay attention to while I’m training, because anyone who is familiar with PeopleSoft knows, it’s no joke!  Also, if you would like the password to the new protected post, shoot me an email at Thechroniclesofanonbellymama@gmail.com.  It’s protected for various reasons, and it’s totally annoying, but there is something about me wanting to protect these pictures, and I don’t really know why! Maybe because they seem pretty personal and intimate.  Anyways, I’ll have a follow-up post tonight or tomorrow regarding our 30 and 31 weeks (eeekkK! We’re almost there!) and another hospital scare! UGH! (Don’t worry! Mommy and babies are fine!).  Today is also our 30 week scan, so hopefully this time we’ll get some good pictures of the boys.  They haven’t been very cooperative the past month, both head down, and facing Callie’s back.  I’ve still been catching up on everyone’s blogs (mostly on bathroom breaks), and have been enjoying following your journeys. More soon!