The boys are doing great these days. They are around 10 - 11 lbs. They are 4.5 months old and despite being 2 months premature they are tracking developmentally as if they were about 4 - 5 months old! They also sleep through the night, love to go on walks, and (I will post a video soon) love to coo and goo. They will have 30 min conversations with you if you can handle the cuteness. My face starts to really hurt after about 10 min of smiling so hard. I think when people talk about how fun babies are, they are talking about this stage right here. Its fantastic! And because I don't like to sugar-coat - Its also hard. They sleep through the night but because they've gone for so long without food, they are pretty irate in the morning. They will coo and goo and smile but by the evening, they are tired and will often cry for 10 - 30 min just to get their last bit of energy out before their final feeding and bed. They also usually cry when we force them to do tummy time.
(charleston - left, whitman - right)
BUT that's really not that bad.
They are really very cute and sweet boys.
Whitman has taken to sucking on his whole hand. He has gagged himself a number of times because he doesn't just suck on his fingers. He tries to get his whole fist in his mouth.
Charleston never sucks on his hand but I often find him sucking on his brothers hands. Maybe Whitman's hands taste like candy? I'd stick my whole fist in my mouth if it tasted like candy...
Um, Whitman is much more of a talker and smiler. He is very flirty and has recently gotten more coy. He always wants to be moving and he really fights falling asleep. In the NICU, Whitman had a breathing mask on called a CPAP that covered his eyes. I think he has tried to have his eyes open from the moment they took that thing off. Charleston on the other hand is super chill and will just cuddle with you and easily falls asleep. He is VERY observant and really takes in his surroundings. He really loves his dad and will smile at him anytime Doug looks at him. Charleston is also very (ahem) regular and is an excellent eater. He really seems to focus when he eats, finishes quickly, and burps on cue. Whitman, in contrast, is very distracted when he eats and is generally not interested in eating much. He has a much harder time with gas and bowel movements and usually doesn't do anything on cue except fart loudly when you're trying to have a polite conversation.
Anyway, they both love music. They both love reading books (yeah - they still poop on themselves but they can read. Wha What! )
I'll post good non-phone pics and a cute video soon. Then we can all melt over their sweet coos and handsome smiles. :)
Today I'd like to write on the topic of failure. I think about this topic a lot. After nearly 6 years of trying to attain a position at my company as a master trainer, yesterday I was told plainly that it wasn't going to happen. And in a very real sense, I feel I have failed. I don't fail often. Even less are the times that I have sincerely and over a long period of time worked for something and failed to attain it. And especially at this, I'm confused as to how it happened. For all intents and purposes, I have what it takes. I've been told I have what it takes. I've actually been doing this position for a little while now, but as luck or timing would have it - our pool of trainers we have doesn't need another young and beginning trainer and that is what I am. The next time they'll need one of 'my lot' will likely be long after I have left for Austin.
I've tried all the solutions to make it work, so don't suggest them. That isn't me being difficult but rather me being kind in suggesting you spend your time otherwise.
In fact, I really am at a place now where I believe it wasn't God's will. It certainly wasn't for my lack of trying. And yet, I still feel the sting of failure. This is largely a result of my not knowing where my agency ends and His divine hand begins. Or in philosophical terms, my constant struggle in reckoning between free-will and determinism.
But I disgress
My husband gave me the night to mourn the loss of what my dream has been for 6 long years. I went and got a facial and a piece of chocolate cake.
And now today, I sit and wonder about failure.
What does it mean? I suppose to understand it, I'd first have to understand success. And I don't think I've come to real conclusions about that either.
My church would have me believe that no success is greater than that which is achieved in the home. And to a certain extent I believe that. But at the same time, I don't like placing my success on the backs of the individuals that make up my home and with whom achievement comes almost entirely, in my opinion, of their own agency. Am I successful if my children are smart? Or good looking? Or accomplished at sports or music? Is that my success or theirs? Where do you draw the line? What does it mean to have a successful home? Where love abounds? I guess then I'm successful a great deal of the time...
But if not in the home and if not on the backs of others, then perhaps I think success lies in my social status or in my career?! But as of yesterday, I'm not sure how comfortable I am with that either. Afterall, I worked extremely hard to attain a training position and ultimately did not receive it largely because of supply and demand. Certain career hoops are genuinely out of our hands. Not all hard-working individuals become CEO. I don't subscribe entirely to meritocratic thinking.
I'm reminded of a TED talk by Alain de Botton on this very topic.
I know that what society deems as "success" or "failure" for that matter is not in accordance with my own beliefs of those ideals. But at certain times, like when I've failed to attain a career goal, I have a hard time remembering that.
And truthfully, I'm not really sure what I think success or failure looks like. But I know what it is not. And I suppose that is a start.
I don't have a conclusion to any of this. I just want to send my random ramblings into the vast void that is the internet and see what comes back.
Do send something back. I'm interested to hear your thoughts on the topic.
So here are the details - We are moving to Austin, TX. About three years ago my husband (the writer - for a good time, see the ad he wrote for our car) had an epiphany. He loves movies. He loves to write. Why doesn't he combine the two? SO he started studying up. He read every book there was on the topic and then set to work transferring his numerous book-starts into full fledged screenplays. He worked on them every spare minute he had for nearly two years. SO then he had screenplays and no idea where to go from there. After a lot of research we decided school might be a good route for him. It would not only provide structure and feedback, but it'd provide valuable connections and a terminable graduate degree that he could use to teach if the market got rough. SO then he took the GRE and nailed it, applied to the top three screenwriting programs in the country, got in, and decided on UT-Austin. Why Austin and not L.A.? Well, for one (and let me brag here for a moment because I'm just really really proud of him) UT-Austin wants to PAY him to go to school there. They have essentially chosen him as their #1 draft pick and have offered him a fellowship that would actually cover all expenses and then some. Let me put this in another way - They have hundreds of applicants. They accept 7 people. And the entire Arts department (of which the screenwriting program is just one of many) offers one full ride fellowship and they gave it to Doug. BAMA! Its really amazing, given that when we decided school might be the best route, we knew the odds were against him even getting in. We had a number of contingency plans in case he didn't get in. But we figured, what the hell?! Let's at least try. And now here we are!!! And I'm sure eventually we will end up in L.A. but after our trip there last May, neither of us is too eager to make that happen sooner rather than later. So that's that.
Other details include: I will be working remotely for my company at least through the end of the year, if not longer. We will be short-selling our house. Its worth about 100k less than what we bought it for. ugh. We are bringing our cat and both of our sons (we are judicious like that). We are going to check out housing and the school at the end of the month with kids in tow. Eek! We have no idea how we will juggle two kids on top of all of this. And lastly, we are very excited, overwhelmed, sad, happy, stressed, nervous, grateful, and all the other emotions that come along with something like this.
We certainly never intended to stay in Utah as long as we have. We have really come to love this place and most especially, all the amazing and wonderful people that are now woven into the our lives.
So that's the update on the move. I'll try and update about the boys tomorrow (with pictures!)
Prior to becoming a parent I did a task here and there with one hand, you know, like writing a note or opening a door. NOW though, I do everything with one hand. I had no idea that parents were one-handed wonders. Blow my nose? Sure, no problem. Make dinner? I mean, who needs an extra hand? Put clothes on? ...um. yes. sorta.
4. Chewing Someone Else's Fingernails is Not Always Inappropriate
As it turns out, there are times when its quite necessary. I'm pretty sure this is a disgusting practice but after getting scratched to hell and having almost clipped off one of their fingers, chewing their nails it is. I stop at the fingers though. So thats not as gross, right?
3. POOP is More Than Just a Funny Word
I feel as though I wasn't really introduced to poop until I became a parent. Prior to parenthood, poop was a very small part of my world. :) Now though. Wow. I actually get excited about poop. Its an excellent sign of health, didn't you know?! Previously a taboo topic between my husband and I, now as parents, I think we discuss poop on a daily basis. And ok, well its still a funny word.
2. Moby Wraps are Both Awesome and Hellish
Its a wonderful feeling to have your little one bound to your chest, sleeping peacefully and breathing softly on your skin. Until they aren't. And then having a small baby tied to your body screaming bloody murder really really sucks. Like a nightmarish three-legged-race with an angry midget who has turrets. Sucks.
1. My Parents Love Me
No matter how crappy you think your parents are, if you are one those people who survives life at home to become an adult - your parents loved you. I seriously believe that if I can keep my boys ALIVE to the point of independence, then that should be proof enough of my love for them. I mean, without my parents, I literally would've eaten sticks of margarine until I had a coronary at the age of 6. I use to eat sticks of butter like they were candy bars. Mmmmm...butter....
Think about it. The process of self-discovery is a lot like taking lots of little quasi-suicide missions. Learn to walk? Sure. But learn to walk with no understanding of depth? BLAM! You can DIE from just walking off this tall ledge. You see what I'm saying? And its Parents that keep you from death! Even now, my three-month-old babies constantly try to jump out of my arms only to be greeted by the hardwood floors of death! And parental love is the only thing separating them.
I never realized how much my parents love me until I had children of my own. I was able to logically deduce it before (i.e. they drove great distances, they gave me money, they attended things, etc) but I never understood the way they must feel about me. I have a new level of love and appreciation for my parents. Afterall, they use to get excited about my poop!
(Whitman - top, Charleston - bottom, taken 3.2.12)
Well its been four months now since the boys were born and I realized that I never wrote their birth story. Better late than never, I always say.
* * *
Monday night (after writing my pouty face post) I went to my sister-in-laws house to celebrate her birthday. It was also my brother's birthday so I called him. I remember telling him that the boys would likely arrive sometime in early December. heh.
That night I started having some pretty strong contractions and decided to leave the birthday festivities. I stayed up most of the night with contractions but figured they would go away as they always did. I got a few hours of sleep and woke up with equally strong contractions at about 6am.
We called the clinic and they told us that if I could walk and talk through the contractions then they were braxton hicks. I sort of interpreted that as a challenge and decided to go to work, afterall they were as strong as the night before and those had sorta subsided. I worked for a few hours but they kept getting stronger.
At around lunch time I told Doug that we should go in to the hospital just to figure out what was going on. He finished up some work and made me lunch and then we left.
When we arrived at the hospital the contractions were really strong. They asked me if I wanted a wheel chair and I said no (remember - i can walk and talk through these things so I don't need no stinkin wheel chair). I walked about ten feet and then could hardly stand. They quickly wheeled me into a room to see what was going on.
They checked the babies position first. They were still breech. Then they checked me. I was at 5cm dilated and completely effaced. Suddenly everyone started moving very quickly. I was still concerned that my contractions were even registering. They hurt and I wanted someone to tell me that they were showing up on the monitor so I could know that I wasn't crazy or a wimp. No one ever told me they were registering. Instead everyone was busy. Doug and I looked at each other and in between contractions I asked him what was going on. He said he didn't know but he thought that they were thinking that maybe I was in labor. We both laughed. Silly nurses. What do they know?
The anesthesiologist came in and the nurses told me they needed to put an epidural line in to slow the contractions and stop dilation. By this point the contractions were really strong and I agreed. They put in the line about 1 minute after checking my dilation. After the line was in they decided to check me again before they administered the contraction medication. And five minutes after I had been a 5cm and 100% effaced, I was 10 cm and 100% effaced. They quickly administered the strongest numbing medication and began to prep me for a c-section.
The doctor came in and explained what was going on. He said that they had wanted to slow things down but that I progressed too fast and now they need to get the babies out immediately before my water could break on its own. Doug and I were still in complete shock. Doug kept telling me everything would be ok but I could tell neither of us really knew that for sure. But seconds later, I was quickly wheeled into the operating room.
I remember being so scared. I was shaking from the drugs and kept worrying about the boys. Doug stayed by me and helped comfort me, stroking my hair and holding my hand.
He was in the middle of telling me how much he loved me when we heard a little cry. Doug immediately popped up from the sheet separating us from the lower half of my body just in time to see the doctors pull Charleston out of my stomach. They flashed him above the sheet for me to see his beautiful little body. I frantically asked if he was okay and Doug told me with tears streaming down his face that we had a beautiful boy and that I had done such a good job. Three minutes later they pulled Whitman out. I watched Doug as he gazed upon our second sweet little baby. I tried to see through him what I couldn't see through the sheet. Whitman cried much quieter and they didn't show him to me because he needed immediate care. Doug was overcome with love and yet he looked concerned. I began to sob. I was so scared that they weren't ok. I asked Doug to leave me and go find out what was going on with them. He dutifully left and found out that they were looking great but would need to be on breathing assistance amongst other things. They were born less than two hours after we had arrived at the hospital.
The rest of that day was pretty fuzzy. They sewed me up and then wheeled me into the NICU to see my boys - Whitman for the first time. It was amazing. I felt so much love immediately. I strained to stretch from my hospital bed to theirs in order to touch their little hands. They gripped my finger. It was brief but it was bliss.
It would be several hours before I'd get to see them again. It'd be days before I'd get to hold them. It'd be five weeks before I'd get to take them home. But I didn't know that at the time. All I knew was that I was deeply and forever in love with these two beautiful baby boys and that they'd always, always have my heart.
* * *
Its been four months and I still marvel at the day these boys arrived. I look at the scar from my c-section and can hardly believe two babies were pulled through it. I'm grateful and even more in love today than I was on the day they were born.