Tuesday, October 4, 2016

4 Month Fun

Lately I've been spending a lot of time contemplating my conflicting emotions.  Time is passing so fast.  My babies are no longer infants and are quickly approaching mobility.  And while there will always always be an ache in my heart for those tiny little NICU babies and the swarm of emotions I felt when I held them, I have to say I'm loving all the new firsts.

I always considered myself a baby person.  And in the first couple months of my boys' lives I seriously just wanted time to stop.  I could have spent an eternity just holding their teeny tiny little bodies and staring at their sweet newborn faces.  I was in my absolute glory.  I mourned waking up each morning knowing they were a day older.  Everyone kept telling me that it only gets better.  Imagine my surprise when it turns out that everyone is right!  (Amanda I'm mostly talking to you).

The boys turned 4 months old on September 20th.  4 months rocks ya'll.  They are laughing.  Like belly laughing, out of control giggles that make my heart want to explode.  They have found their feet and I"m pretty sure the cutest thing in the entire world is them laying on their backs, grabbing them and then rolling side to side.  They also now can be occupied with toys!  They will reach up and grab at toys hanging above them (with both hands and feet!) and can hold toys in their hands and shake them.  Speaking of hands they are in their mouth constantly.  Funny enough they suck/chew on their fingers vs. a thumb.  But they pretty much constantly have a hand in their mouth.  We also started cereal.  I'm sure I'm mentioned before that these boys are STARVING.  Like so hungry you guys.  They get 5 oz bottles every 3 hours and still act like they haven't eaten in days.  The cereal has been a big hit and it's making a big difference with their reflux which is awesome.  I've read all the research and articles that say that cereal isn't necessary and it's empty calories and doesn't help babies sleep but I beg to differ.  Because my guys have slept from 10-5:30am since we started (with the exception of the week of sickness - which I'll get into later).  So yeah for cereal - they love it, we get a huge kick out of feeding them, and everyone is sleeping.  That's a WIN.

We busted out the little jumpy exersaucer thing and Braxton is obsessed.  We shove a pillow behind him since he's still a little small for it and he will jump in that thing for HOURS.  He absolutely loves it and gets going so fast and high it sometimes makes me a little nervous.  But he will laugh and hit at the toys and lights and jump jump jump until he's basically exhausted.  As soon as I lift him out his eyes are closing and he's out for the count!

Brody has fallen in love with himself.  The other day my dad held a mirror in front of him for, I kid you not, an hour and a half and he smiles and talked and laughed the entire time.  He can be in a screaming fit and if you can coax him to open his eyes long enough to register the mirror he will stop cold and go straight to smiling and laughing.  My dad claims he's getting him a giant mirror for Christmas this year.  :)

As I hinted above 4 months also brought our first bout of sickness.  Sadly I brought it home and gave it to the boys.  We've been struggling for a couple weeks with nasty coughs and snotty noses.  No fun.  I was so proud of my first time mom self when they got sick.  I assessed the situation and calmly made the judgment call that it was just a cold and nothing the doctor could do and we'd just fight through it.  Well cue day 5 when they were so stuffed up they could barely breath and their coughs sounded like a barking seal.  We took them to the after hour peds office that night.  Where the very sweet nurse practitioner spent 20 minutes with us looking them completely up and down to announce that they do, in fact, have a cold.  I feel like I should get credit for holding off for 5 days though.  

Four weeks in back at work and I think I'm finally ready to talk about it.  It's going....okay.  Everyone is surviving.  We take the boys to our very sweet babysitter Mon-Wed.  She has a 4 year old boy who goes to afternoon preschool and a 15 month old little girl.  Her kids are the sweetest and they love the boys.  We drop them off in the morning and they immediately all lay down on the floor together.  Her kids will spend hours just talking to the babies and holding toys above them and the boys will just laugh and smile.  Very sweet.  On Thursdays my parents come to our house and watch them which is working out great. I hoarded all my vacation days and am taking every Friday off for the rest of the year.  Come January I'll have to start working 5 days again and my mom will keep them Thurs and Friday.  Which really sucks because I think if I could work a 4 days week I would be okay with that schedule.  But that's not in the cards so I'll just be grateful for the time I have now.  I love my Fridays off with them and look forward to it all week long.  (Well except when you have two sick  babies and I'm by myself because that's not fun for anyone trust me).  

So that's the recap of life at 4 months!  Needless to say it's pretty great.  And instead of wanting to freeze time I find myself looking forward to the next stage(s).  I'm excited for them to be able to sit up unassisted and am looking forward for when they start clapping their hands.  They can hold off on crawling because let's be honest I'm completely screwed when that starts!  But I'm sure we'll figure it out just like everything else.  

What update would be complete without some pictures?!

 Braxton 4 months

 Baby Giggles

 Big Boys

Brody 4 Months

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Questionable Forever

As I sat in the rocking chair with one of the babies last night the usual thought popped into my head - "Soak up this feeling!  Hold on to this moment.  Remember how everything about it feels"  I often find these thoughts popping into my head during normal everyday activities with my boys.  I know part of it is because everyone tells you it goes so fast.  And twin moms will tell you most of them don't even remember the first year - it was just a blur of survival.  And boy do I feel that sometimes.  But the realization I came to is for me, it goes beyond that.

Obviously we went through a lot of heartache, disappointment, questioning, and pain before the arrival of our two miracles.  Having suffered 3 miscarriages it's really no wonder that I spent my entire pregnancy waiting for something horrific to happen.  Everyone told me during pregnancy that this was just the beginning of the worrying.  "Wait until they get here" they said.  And I always thought to myself "At least then I can see them - prove to myself that they are okay".  To me that was a huge relief.  And I knew I'd still worry but having them physically in front of me seemed like a much lighter weight.  Turns out we were both right.

I can tell you that now with them here when my anxiety starts to get the best of me it's a relief to be able to pick them up.  To be able to look down at them and see them smiling at me and reassure myself that for now, in this moment, we are fine.  However there's still a part of me that feels like they could somehow be taken from me at any moment.  I find myself feeling stressed and anxious about having to do it ALL as if it will be my only chance.  I don't talk about their future down the road further than the  next month.  I can't envision them walking, talking, going off to school.  It still feels like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.  And that every second I have with them is so precious because it may be my last one.

We recently lost a dear friend of ours.  He was 33 years old.  He was my husband's best friend since elementary school.  They grew up together, went to college together, stood up in each other's weddings, and spent all of their free time together.  Through my husband he became a huge part of my life.  His wife became one of my closest friends.  The four of us did everything together.  We helped each other through hardships none of us ever thought we'd have to endure.  We were there for each other.  And I take comfort in the fact that so many people have told us that when they were with the four of us they could feel the love we had for each other.  The easy way we laughed and joked.  The affection we had for each other.  And the strength of our friendship.

Losing this friend, so young, so quickly, so unfairly has only reinforced that forever is not guaranteed.  Yes we "beat" infertility.  I, finally, was able to carry a pregnancy to term.  And the fear and worry associated with just getting them HERE is finally behind me.  But there's no promise of a happily ever after ending.  And while it may not be the healthiest outlook to live life being aware that catastrophe could strike at any moment I'm embracing it.  In memory of the babies I lost, in memory of my friend gone too soon I will recognize that time is fleeting.  And I'll live my life to the fullest to honor them.  I will set the phone down.  Turn off the TV.  Let the dishes sit in the sink and the laundry wrinkle in the dryer.  Because there's nothing more important than this family that we fought for.  Yes forever is questionable.  But I will live each day knowing that however long my forever is - I'm making the most of it.

Monday, August 29, 2016

What it's all about

Somehow in what feels like overnight my babies have turned three months old. This past month has been filled with what I'm slowly learning motherhood is all about. Joy. Frustration. Love. Tears (both happy and sad) Fulfillment. Exhaustion. Worry. Stress. Fear. Hope. Happiness. Did I say Love?  
How has so much changed in such a short time. This month we struggled with the onset of reflux. It.  Is.  Terrible.  After a lot of trial and error and a set back we have it mostly under control.  Feeding time is definitely not my favorite as they both still fight you when being burped and sometimes I can tell they are in pain.  But we are working through it.  The good news is that it hasn't deterred them from eating at all (as you can tell from the pictures below - they don't miss any meals!).  And we've dramatically improved from when they would cry for an hour after every feeding.  

On a brighter note this month has brought ALL THE SMILES. Brody is my more easy going twin. All you really have to do is talk to him and he smiles so big his eyes squint shut. His toothless, gummy grin absolutely melts my heart. Sometimes when I'm feeding him I have to stop making eye contact with him because he just smiles the whole time and the bottle falls out of his mouth. Braxton has definitely been my more reserved twin. However the last week or so he's really been coming out of his shell and his smiles are coming more freely. He seems more thoughtful to me and like he's carefully listening to and weighing everything you say to him. I feel like he's a natural observer and doesn't miss a thing. He's still just a little bit more needy than Brody as far as Mama's time goes.  I think he's be our sweet and thoughtful one while Brody will be the comedian and more outgoing.      

It's really hard to believe that these boys were born 5 weeks premature. They are so chunky you
 guys. They have rolls for days and I seriously can not get enough of them. I can't believe how much they've grown and I continue to be shocked by the scale every time I weigh them. They are busting out of their 3 month clothes and fitting pretty comfortably into 6 months. They have moved up in to size 2 diapers. At some point I'm assuming they will start growing up rather than out, as there's not much further they can go in that direction! 

This month D also went back to work as the school year started. In addition he coaches football so that means he leaves the house around 7am and gets home around 6:30 ish. It's definitely been an adjustment for both me and the boys as they learn that there's only one person here now. I'm proud to say that while we still have difficult moments, for the most part we have a pretty good schedule down and are figuring it out. I go back to work 2 weeks from today - but I'm just not ready to talk about that. 

I'm trying desperately to think of something new and original to say about my motherhood journey but it all comes back to the same emotions and feelings of overwhelming love and gratitude. I will say that one of the most rewarding changes this month has been I feel like they have really started to prefer me. We've been fortunate to have so much help which has been amazing. But I did worry at one point that with so many people around all the time they wouldn't really know/understand who Mommy was. Those fears have definitely gone away this month. They not only clearly know who I am but their cries can be calmed (sometimes) just by seeing my face. They are starting to be a little picky about how is holding them and are now recognizing when Mommy is holding brother. 

While I'm loving where we are now there's so much I"m looking forward to. Them sitting up on their own (primarily to help with the reflux), when they start reaching for me, incorporating solids (they are SO hungry), and of course more of their personalities coming out.

In an effort to keep this as honest and real as possible I won't gloss over the not so great moments.  There's nights I only get a couple hours of broken sleep between the two of them.  There's days where they cry for the majority of the almost 12 hours that I'm home alone with them and I don't feel like I'll make it another moment.  There's frustration and hurt feelings when I can't calm one of them down.  And there's sometimes resentment after particularly hard days that Derek gets to shower and get out of the house and socialize.  But the good days out number the bad.  And I wouldn't change one second of it for the world.  This is what I wanted.  The good, bad and ugly.  This is what I fought for, prayed for, waited so long for.  This, in all it's entirely, is what it's all about.  This is my life you guys.  How lucky am I to live it?

All ready to watch Daddy's football team!

Braxton 2 months
Brody 2 months


All American Boys

Looking so handsome
Braxton 3 months

Brody 3 months

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Will I Remember?

My babies turn 2 months old tomorrow.  TWO MONTHS.  How did this happen?  Where did the time go?  As I reflect on the last two months since I became a Mom I'm overwhelmed with emotions.  And all I can think is "Will I Remember"?

Will I remember the weight of their tiny bodies on my chest?  The way they curl their little bodies into mine.  How they wiggle searching for a comfortable position.  And their sweet sigh once they find it.

Will I remember these first baby baths?  The suspicious look on their faces as the warm water runs over them as they try to decide if they like it or not.  The smell of the baby wash and the feel of the tiny wash cloths.  How I move their little slippery bodies so carefully as I wash them clean.  The sweetness of holding them wrapped up in their hooded towels with water still damp on their face.

Will I remember the joy of our mornings together?  It's their favorite time of the day.  How I take my time stripping them of their pajamas, changing their diapers, putting lotion on them and dressing them for the day.  This time there is no rush.  We play music, I sing songs.  It may seem silly but it's my quality one on one time with each of them before the tasks and obligations of the day take over. So I take my time and enjoy the routine and try so very hard to soak it all in.

Will I remember the intensity of their watchful eyes?  How the color is such a deep blue that seems to change every day.  How they absorb every word I say..  How they turn their heads to follow me around the room.  The serious expressions when I talk to them and those early sweet baby smiles that are still few and far between.

Will I remember the love that consumes me as I watch my husband with them.  How he's so gentle as he lifts them up.  The look of love and wonder on his face as he talks to him.  The way he worries over the little things like I've never seen him do before.  How protective he is.  How hopelessly in love with them he is.

Will I remember the endless patience I've developed out of nowhere as I replace a pacifier for the 100th time?  Will I remember the way I've cried and ached in the moments when I can't seem to fix whatever is wrong?  Will I remember the feelings of purpose when I pick them up and they go from crying to calm just by being in my arms?

Will I remember what it feels like to be woken up out of a dead sleep by the smallest whimper?  The exhaustion of getting out of my warm bed at 2:34am.  Changing diapers in a dark nursery and not needing the light because it's become second nature.  Whispering to them in those quite hours in the middle of the night when it feels like you are the only ones in the world awake.  And watching them watching me while they eat with a look of such contentment - as if all is right in the world.

Will I remember rocking the bassinet from my bed silently praying for just another 15 min of sleep? Will I remember the endless amount of bottles to wash and laundry that needs to be done and how somehow I'm able to find joy in those tasks because they are for them?

Will I remember these first differences between them.  How Braxton seems to need just a little more cuddle time than my more independent Brody.  How Brody favors laying on your chest while Braxton prefers snuggling into my arms, his head resting on my breast.  The way Braxton snorts when he gets REALLY mad and how Brody's cries are quieter but cut just as deep.  The different ways they eat and burp.  But how they still sleep in the exact same positions even sometimes in separate rooms.

These moments are so fleeting.  The time is passing so quickly.  I wish I could slow it down but I know I can't.  So instead I try to be present.  To savor every moment - the joyful ones, the frustrating ones, the hard ones, the ones where my heart feels like it might burst with love.  These are the days.  The first days of their miraculous lives.  The first days of my life as a Mother.  These are the days.  And I will remember.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


They are here. This post is much delayed but I've been spending the last 26 days falling more in love than I ever thought possible. 

I waited my whole life for these moments. It's everything I ever wanted. And it's so much more than I imagined. I longed. I dreamt. I hoped. But I had no idea. There's nothing that can prepare you for this. The love. The gratitude. The shear wonder. I can't ever possibly put it into words. So I'll simply say that these have been the very best days of my life. And that every single struggle, every painful miserable day it took to get here was worth it 100 times over. I didn't know I could love like this. I didn't know I could be this fulfilled. I knew I always wanted to be a Mother. But I didn't know I was made for it. Until they were here. 

It's with so much joy and pride that I introduce you- my community, my strength, the light during my darkest days- to our miracles. Thank you sweet friends. Thank you for your support, your encouragement, your understanding.  And for giving me the hope and strength to continue on. 

Braxton Mitchell was born at 4:09pm on May 20th weighing 5lbs 0oz. His little brother was born 1 minute later weighing 4lbs 10oz. I'll share the full story in another post. 

They are our greatest gift, our biggest adventure, our everything. And this is the next chapter. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Growing with Grace

There's things that happen every day in life that shape who you are as a person.  For me there's two significant experiences that have changed the course of my life, how I live it, and my overall perception.  For me these experiences were difficult and unhappy.  I think it's easy to grow in experiences that bring you joy.  The challenge is to grow with grace through the hard stuff.

The first experience was my divorce.  Yes, I was married for a brief period of time before D.  I met my ex-husband in my mid 20's and we were married and divorced before I was 30.  I don't have the excuse of marrying "young".  In fact I don't have an excuse at all.  He was brutally honest with me when we met that he never wanted to get married.  And having just gotten through a difficult break up that was fine with me.  But as the weeks of dating turned to months to years I realized I wanted more.  We broke up a couple different times over that very debate.  But when we got back together the last time he said that his feelings about marriage and family had changed and he not only wanted all that but was ready.  We were engaged 6 months later and after a year of blissful planning we were married.  However it wasn't 2 months into our marriage that things started to change.  He felt trapped by our marriage and resented having to account for another person when making decisions.  He began to pull away and I instinctively held on tighter.  I tried to give him space and basically let him do whatever he wanted without putting up any sort of fight all in the name of saving a marriage that was the furthest thing from healthy for either of us.  Finally after months of being a doormat I found my "mad".  Shortly after that I discovered that his "space" had amounted to at least one, if not more, affairs.  And upon hearing that news the strongest emotion I had was relief.  You see until that point I had kept most of our problems quiet - not wanting my family and friends to think badly of my then husband as I was sure we were going to work through our issues.  Once I realized that probably wasn't going to happen and I started thinking about explaining it to people I felt even more trapped.  How do you tell your (very Catholic) family that you are getting a divorce because he's "mean" or "doesn't want to spend enough (or frankly any) time with me".  Once I learned of his infidelity I had a socially acceptable reason to leave that no one would hold against me.  And while yes I was hurt, angry, and damaged I was also relieved.

Funny enough by the time I filed for divorce the worst was over.  It was the months living in silence - between him and I and my silence of what was happening to my support system - that did the most damage.  It was here that I learned that there's many forms of abuse outside of physical.  For the first time in my life I was failing, hopeless, depressed, and at a complete loss of how to "fix" it.  See that's what I am - a fixer.  There's no problem I can't help people work through.  Whether it's a personal problem in their relationship, an issue with their parents or kids, a work related problem, I'm the person everyone comes to for advice on how to fix it.  And not being able to fix my own personal issues was a huge blow to my self esteem and my sense of self worth.

Though the marriage only lasted a year those months were the some of the longest in my life.  And after going through many different phases of depression and grief I was forced to pick up the pieces.  I had to take a hard look at myself and what I wanted out of life.  Not what others wanted or expected of me, but what I wanted.  And what would make me happy again.  For I had completely forgotten what happy felt like.  Coming out of my broken marriage friends and family marveled at how strong I was.  But what they couldn't understand is it wasn't a choice but a requirement of survival.  By the time my divorce was finalized I was able to look back on the experience and acknowledge what I had learned.  I don't think my ex-husband is a terrible person.  In fact I think he loved me enough to try and be something he wasn't - take on something (marriage) that he didn't really want - for me.  I can see that by holding on tighter I pushed him further away.  I can see that there were a lot of red flags before we were married that I blatantly ignored.  And I can take my share of responsibility for the failure of that marriage.

The second experience has been of course our infertility journey.  I knew D through a mutual friend before and during my marriage.  When I got divorced our relationship started out friendly with him checking in on me to see how I was coping.  Our conversations became longer and longer and before I knew it I was head over heels in love.  In him I saw everything that was missing the first time around.  People may look at D and my ex-husband and think they are very similar.  They have common interests and backgrounds but internally they are very different.  D has a strong sense of family, empathy, concern, and the most inherent sense of right and wrong that I've ever known.  He's loyal to a fault (the man can hold a grudge forever if you hurt someone he loves) and he has a sense of optimism about him that reminds me of the girl I was before the divorce.  One of the lyrics of our wedding song says "You can be hurt by loved or healed by it too".  And that's exactly what happened.  He came into my life and healed my broken heart and spirit.  I'm sure there's plenty of people out there that would argue that I should have spent more time single, that I needed to learn to love myself before I loved someone else.  But that's not what happened.  And if I learned anything from my divorce it was that life was too short to be unhappy and if something brings you love and joy you should do whatever you can to hold on to it.

So before I knew it I found myself married again.  D and I both were ready to start a family right away.  It was something we both knew we wanted and considering I was 32 years old something we didn't want to put off.  Not because of fears of infertility but because we didn't want to be "old" parents.  Do to some other medicial issues we found out early that having a baby would be a challenge for us.  At the time I felt grateful that we didn't waste a whole year trying but could move forward quickly to "fix" the issue.  However after a few months of tests the recommendation for us was to go straight to IVF.  It was a tough pill to swallow but we did so without hesitation.  The situation wasn't ideal but we knew what we wanted and were willing to do whatever we had to for our family.  My gracious parents gave us the money we needed for round one and we started the journey excited.  I'm sure there was fear and worry somewhere inside but honestly all I remember from the beginning was the excitement and the certainty that this was going to be how we started our family.  Obviously that wasn't what happened.

I won't recap our entire journey - most of you know the details.  What I will say is the experience broke me in a completely different way than my failed marriage.  I mentioned before that walking away I was able to take responsiblity for my part of the failure.  Which is very true.  However our infertility felt so much more personal to me.  First of all my body was failing me and there was no one else to place the blame on or carry that weight.  D tried - he's always said that we are in this together but when push comes to shove I blamed myself.  Once again this was another problem that I had no control over - that I couldn't fix.  On top of that you add in the fact that D and I love each other so much.  That I knew in my heart we would be amazing parents.  I felt as if we DESERVED to be parents.  And all I could see was people getting pregnant who didn't want their babies, who were in unhealthy relationships, or not in a relationship at all.  I quickly became angry and bitter.  I was disgusted by the thoughts that ran through my head but they also felt justified.  And I questioned constantly what I had done wrong to deserve this.  In my mind I had already been through such a big struggle with the demise of my first marriage.  And I felt like I had handled that with as much grace as I could.  And now here I was again faced with adversity beyond measure.  Why?  I couldn't stop asking why me when it seemed I was surrounded by people living normal, happy lives.  People who got exactly what they wanted without any heartache or struggle.  Life for them was easy.  Why was it so hard for me?

I still have no idea where I found the strength, will, and determination to continue to fight.  If I had to guess I'd give the credit to D.  He was a rock through the majority of our struggle - staying so positive and strong when I didn't have it in me.  And when he finally did break I'm proud to say I stepped up and took on his role as the strong one.  I know so many situations where infertilty has broken a couple and their marriage.  I thank God every day that wasn't us.  We had our moments for sure.  Moments when we felt disconnected, where I'm sure both of us felt alone, where we didn't know what to say or where to go after the most recent failure.  But we got through it together.  And while I'm sad that we had to go through what we did there's no denying we are stronger today because of it.

Sitting here at 34 weeks pregnant I'd love to tell you that much like D healed my heart after my failed marriage that this pregnancy has healed my heart after years of infertility.  But that's not the case.  The best way I know how to describe it is that my heart has grown.  It's grown times two thanks to these amazing miracles.  And I know it will grow again once I hold them in my arms.  But there's a part of my heart, of my soul, that hasn't recovered from our struggle and I'm not sure it ever will.  I'm not sure it should.  I can look back over the last three years and I can see that there was good that came out of it.  Like I said I feel like my marriage is stronger, I feel like I truly appreciate this gift that I've been blessed with.  I think I'll be a better parent - more patient, more forgiving, more involved.  Just MORE, thanks to our struggle.  However that's not enough for me to wish this journey on my worse enemy.  I also recognize that the damage to my heart and spirit, the hurt I felt in the depth of our battle will never be forgotten.  I can only hope that I can be stronger than the hurt, the anger, and bitterness that still plague me.  That I am strong enough to not let it change me in a negative way.  To remember it's not my place to judge anyone unless I've walked in their shoes. And to hope that I can grow with grace from this challenge.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The definition of Mother

When I flipped my calendar to May as always the date of Mother's Day caught my eye.  I'll admit my first thought was to wonder if my babies would be here by then.  While the idea of NOT being pregnant any more is very appealing I said a brief prayer that they'd still be comfortable and thriving inside vs. taking on the challenges of the outside world too early.  My next thought was how I felt thinking about Mother's Day being 33 1/2 weeks pregnant.  I was surprised by the answer - not very different.

Don't get me wrong.  Mother's Day is a day I've struggled with for the last three years as we desperately tried to start our family without any success.  For the last three years I've dreaded this day and spent most of it either in tears or fighting them back.  I felt guilty for not being able to focus on my amazing mother and mother in law.  I felt guilty for not truly celebrating my friends who are such inspirational mothers.  All I could feel was the hopelessness of my own personal journey and the ache in my empty heart.  I thought first about the embryos we had transferred that didn't take, then the ones that did but weren't able to continue to grow.  Then the one that did fully implant but had no heartbeat at that first sono.  And finally the one who did - who's precious heart beat we saw not once, but twice, before the ultrasound of silence at almost 10 weeks.

Being pregnant this year didn't take away that grief.  Absolutely it brought hope that had been lacking, happiness and excitement that never existed before.  And of course so much gratitude that we have made it this far.  Every kick and movement I felt on Sunday held an extra special meaning and brought a different kind of tears to my eyes.  But yes, I still grieved the loss of the babies that should have been here and were not.  While I sat with my family and enjoyed their company I still felt a little uncomfortable being included in the group that we were celebrating.  In my heart I had been part of this group for the last three years but not a member that gets recognized.  My children aren't here on earth to post pictures of, to make me breakfast in bed or draw me beautiful pictures.  I never saw their faces or held them in my arms.  But I have held them in my heart since the day those tiny embryos were transferred.  I've felt the weight of responsibility that goes along with being a parent and I"ve felt the grief of failure that I couldn't protect them.

I was encouraged by the number of FaceBook posts I saw this year honoring not only the traditional mothers but those fighting to become a mother and those who have lost children at any stage of life. I know having been in both those positions just being acknowledged provides a small amount of comfort on a very difficult day.  I hope that those still fighting felt loved and not invisible.  I pray that they find hope in the stories of those who walked in their shoes and now have a happy ending.  And mostly I hope that at this time next year they find themselves closer to their own happy ending.  Because we all deserve that.