Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Mission--finding a cure for diabetes

This past weekend, my dear 9 year old niece, allison was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It makes me sick to my stomach to even type that. Our entire family is very upset but for some reason i am taking it extra hard. Sick children just tears me to pieces and when it is someone that i love so much it is horrible.

So this post is dediated to Allison. Who has brought so much strength to our family.

Allison was born just 9 days after my sister, Laura died from a horrific battle with tongue cancer. Allison is the reason our family pulled it together and had hope again. She was the bright spot in a very dark time for all of us. She is much to young to know the significance of the timing of her birth or how it affected our family.
Allison has always loved life. She has always been full of energy. She loves animals and babies. i always tell her that when he grows up and gets married, she should have 10 kids and 5 dogs. She will someday be an amazing mother. She loves to take care of things. She even called me all the way from Hawaii so i could make sure her Webkinz were all taken care of. LOL.

She loves my little dudes beyond words. If she hasn't seen them in a week, she will call to set up a time to see them. It melts my heart to see the way she mothers them and loves them. She will never know what that means to me. She can spend hours with them and not ever be bored with them.

She has a strength and confidence about her that I never had at her age. She is never afraid to talk to adults. She tells you what she wants and she knows exactly what she wants and how to get it. This will suit her well with what she is facing now.

She is just in the learning stage of how diabetes will change her life but if I know my Allison, her life won't skip a beat. She will find ways to manage this chronic beast and live life to its fullest at least I sure pray this is the case. It potentially can be life-changing and i am sure in some ways it will. It would be tragic for her to lose her zest for life.

My prayer is that in her lifetime we see a cure for this disease. She did nothing to deserve this but I am sure she will be an example to us all on what strength really is.
Love you Allie!

Monday, December 8, 2008

husband tag

I got tagged from Laura at A View from Our House. She has beautiful engagement and wedding photos on her blog. I don't have a scanner for old pics and most of you know what my husband looks like although he looks completely and I mean completely different from when we first met. Even his sisters didn't recognize him in a photo I have sitting behind our kitchen sink.

Anyway, here's the tag...

1. Where did you meet your husband? In Mike Warbel's dorm room, my junior year at John Carroll University. I was on my way to dinner and then Mass. Mark said "you can't eat before recieving communion". I told my roomate Meg, "he's cute, too bad he is a jerk".

2.How long did you date before you got married? 8 long years. When we eventually did get married it was the right time!
3. How long have you been married? 6 years
4. What does he do that surprises you? Not much that surprises me. He did bring me home a puppy as a surprise.

5. What is your favorite feature of his? his strong body.

6. What is his best quality? determination and motivation and sense of humor.

7. Does he have a nickname for you? he as 2. 1. kare 2. O.K (stands for Oblivious Karen)

8. What is his favorite food? Pizza
9. What is his favorite sport? To perform, Powerlifting, to watch Football and Fighting (if that is a sport).

10. When and where did you first kiss? The day finals were over; outside Tavern Company (aka Tav Co). i laid one on him. it was wonderful!

11. What is your favorite thing to do as a couple? just spend time together. We used to play a lot of scrabble. We like to take walks and take road trips. Time in a car is good quality us time.
12. Do you have any children? Miracle momo twins who defied all odds, AKA little dudes!
13. Does he have any hidden talents? Photographic memory. He can remember the craziest things.
14. How old is he? 33
15. Who said I love you first? He did. He thought i was going to say it so he stopped me and said it first.
16. What is his favorite music? he likes almost all music. just not country.
17. What do you admire most about him? When he decides to do something, he totally commits to it and nothing will get in his way of succeeding and reaching his goals. Also, he always tells the truth, always!

18. What is his favorite color? Blue, definately Blue.
19. Will he read this? Most definately! he loves my blog and gets impatient when I am a lazy with posting.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Be Thankful for the Children

Well this is the end of the holiday weekend. Since i haven't gotten a change to post since before Thanksgiving, I sure hope everyone had a Blessed Holiday. There are so many things I am thankful for. For one, I am thankful for the handful of people who actually care what I say in this blog.

We took the little dudes to Mass on Thanksgiving morning. The little dudes were little terrors during Mass. As they were crawling under the pews and turning the music missals into missles, Fr. Pete began his homily with 5 things to be thankful for. While I hate to admit, I forgot numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5. i do remember that number one was to be Thankful for Children.

I am truly thankful that i have the little dudes and that they have the abilities to crawl under pews and throw the Word of God. I am also thankful for all the other children we have in our lives, Our 2 nieces, 3 nephews, our friends children as well as the other NICU miracle babies that our still in our life. Each child is truly special and a wonderful testament to the goodness of God.

I look forward to this holiday season experiencing for the first time through the eyes of my 2 year olds.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Who's the real monkey?

Ok everyone, I had been feeling a little uninspired lately in my blogging. It might be because my husband (my biggest blog critic) told me my blog was a little downer. I guess my posts on the election and prematurity awareness month were not very witty or funny. So in an effort to bring a light-hearted fun to the blog, let me tell you about the Burrows Family Sunday Morning.

We decided to attend the first annual Pet Expo at the IX Center. I still have this burning desire to add a new doggie to our family so i figure it would be a good place to check out some different breeds. it has to be the right dog for us. I am going to follow my head and not my heart with this decision (let's hope!).

We had a fantastic time. The little dudes had a great time meeting lots of new doggies. They showed off their Rocking Pony Croc shirts to all the reptile people. They seemed to like the reptiles a little too much (I am in big trouble). Mark even got to hold a trantula.

Tommy enjoyed the Air Dog Demonstation where the doggies would jump into a swimming pool. William enjoyed giving all the dogs huggies!

The best moment of the day came when the boys spotted the Chimp. We couldn't resist getting a photo taken (even if it cost $20.00). What we don't do for our children!

So here is the photo. I don't know who seems happier...Mark or the Monkey???

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Today is Election Day and I am sure you all have heard the get out and vote message. I am here to give the anti-vote message. I believe that everyone has the RIGHT to vote but that doesn't mean everyone SHOULD vote.

If you don't understand the issues, DON'T VOTE.
If you get all your information from commercials or NBC, DON'T VOTE.
If you can't tell me what the candidate stands for, DON'T VOTE.
If you don't know the ideologies of democrats vs. republicans, DON'T VOTE.
If you are voting mearly b/c a candidate is a certain religion, race, gender, DON'T VOTE.
If you just like how a candidate speaks and looks, DON'T VOTE.

Just as there are many reasons to Vote, there are many reasons not to vote.

I have a real pet peeve with people who vote and truly have no idea why they are voting for the candidate they are or are so misinformed on the issue that they have no real grasp of what is happening in our country.

I respect people that have a different opinion than me and can back it up with facts and their convictions and beliefs.

So here is my message, GET EDUCATED and then VOTE!!

***Paid for by Karen Burrows*****

Monday, November 3, 2008

Continuing my dedication to Prematurity Awarenss Month

What everyone should know....

Babies born at 23 weeks gestation have a 17% chance of survival.
Babies born at 24 weeks gestation have a 39% chance of survival.
Babies born at 25 weeks gestation have a 50% chance of survival.
1 in 10 premature babies will develop permanent disabilities, such as lung disease, cerebral palsy, blindness, or deafness.
50% of babies born before the 26th week are disabled; 25% of those severely so.
There is a greater risk of severe disability and lower cognitive function results for boys compared to girls. This supports the theory that male sex is an important risk factor in extremely premature infants.
In 2004, 12.5% of US babies were premature (less than 37 weeks). That is an 18% increase over the rate in 1990.

I know when friends and family are pregnant, I can get a little neurotic with how many weeks gestation they are and I get paranoid about preterm labor etc. The risks are real and the outcomes unpredictable.

I just want every baby to have a Healthy Start!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008


It's Superman X 2!!!!

Premature Birth - It's Personal To Me!

November is Prematurity Awareness Month.

As you all know this cause is near and dear to my heart. Too many babies are born too soon and way too many just don't make it.

Here are the startling facts...

Prematurity has been escalating steadily and alarmingly over the past two decades. One out of eight babies is born prematurely in the United States. Preterm delivery can happen to any pregnant woman. In fact, more newborns die from premature birth than any other cause.

Today alone in the U.S. 1400 babies will be born to soon.

A baby born in Cuba, Cyprus or Slovenia is more likely to survive than a baby born here in the US - despite huge economic disparities.

These babies take months, and often years, to catch up to their peers. Some never can. Babies born too soon face developmental issues, cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, respiratory issues, learning disabilities. Your child may be healthy - but these children will be in your child's classroom. 1 in 8, remember? Premature birth isn't just "something that happens to someone else". It isn't a distant, far away problem. It's effecting over 1/2 million families each year. And these mothers - they aren't drug pushers or alcoholics. These are regular families who get prenatal care, who do everything right - families like mine. But it doesn't have to be that way. Change is possible. But first, you need to be aware.

Please help the babies by signing the preemie petition I have posted in the sidebar and feel good that we are saving babies, together!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Introducing My Guest Blogger

I have a very special post this evening. My dear husband, Mark, has kindly asked me if he could put a post on my blog. I actually think he thinks this is "our" blog. I told him to make his own blog if he has so much to say. I think a good title would be "The world according to Mark". Anyway, here it goes (I am a little scared)!!! Introducing, my loving husband, Mark.

"Five Seconds"

When I was playing high school sports, my coaches at the end of every practice would say "Five Seconds." It was a time for us (the students & players) to focus on our goals and reflect on ourselves as "Men for Others." I went to an all-boy Jesuit high school.

I have carried the "Five Seconds" to today. Every now and then I give myself "Five Seconds" to reflect on how I am as a father, husband, athlete, nurse, and person. I also use the "Five Seconds" as a time to think about and pray for others.

With everything going on in today's hectic world we have much to worry about (family, money, work, etc.). But when you think about your problems, there is always at least one other person that has it worse than you. Give "Five Seconds" to say a prayer or give positive thoughts to those that are having bigger problems than you. Give "Five Seconds" and thank God for all that he has given you.

After William & Thomas were born I did alot of "Five Seconds." There was a baby in the NICU about 20 feet from my boys who went to Heaven. I spent all the time thinking about my wife and boys and forgot there were other families in the same or much worse predicament than Karen and myself. I spent "Five Seconds" on that family that lost their child.

You would be surprised on what "Five Seconds" can do.

This post is dedicated to newborn baby Lindsey and her family. God Bless!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Call me Crazy

My husband has been after me to post something new on my blog. I think it is quite funny that he even cares what I have to say on here. He even has some of his co-workers reading this. So for all of you that work with Mark, please post a comment every now and then. You can come out of hiding. I hear so much about all of you andI know you are out there reading this!!! LOL

Anyway back on topic, You can all call me crazy but I have had a burning desire to get a dog. Not just any dog but I want a....Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Aren't they just so cute!! I have eyed them for years!

I think most women my age crave having another baby. Not me, a dog would suffice.

Realisticly, I know this is not a good time. I don't have time for a new dog. My life is crazy enough as it is. Having a 150 pound pooch should be enough. I truly am trying to simplify my life so why is my heart longing for a new doggie???? I keep thinking that I don't even need a puppy. An adult dog would suit me just fine. I am hoping this feeling passes quickly.

I even have names picked out. I like the names Honey or Olive depending on the dog's color.

Sometime's the fun is just in looking so I will settle to desire from a distance right now.

So that's what has been on my mind lately!!! Call me Crazy!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


It amazes me how kids just enjoy the simpliest things. As many of you know, my boys are speech delayed. They have their own twin talk but have not put 2 words together until our vacation. There is nothing like an elevator to bring words out. One of the highlights of our trip (for the little dudes) was the discovery of elevator buttons. As soon as we would open our hotel room door they would go running out "hit the button, hit the button, hit the button". i almost cried when they put 3 words together.

i think being a momo mom really makes every little milestone feel like a huge major deal that deserves celebration. Way to go Liam and Tommy. Won't be long now until i can't wait for you to shut up. Until then keep those words coming!!!!

Here are more vacation pics as promised. More Florida details to come.....

Thursday, October 2, 2008


As many of you know, Mark and I work different schedules so we don't need full time childcare. It works out well for the little dudes but not always the best thing for us as a family. Sometimes we both feel like single parents. With that said, we decided to take a much needed family vacation. Planning it was difficult as i wanted to fly and stay at a resort and Mark wanted to drive and stay at a motel 6 (LOL). We were going to Fort Myers Beach Florida where i lived for 2 years (1997-1999). It is a place near and dear to our hearts.

Anyway, we negotiated and decided to drive but stay at
the pink shell resort. I think both our ideas turned out for the best. We had 20 hours each way of family time. The boys did fantastic in the car. Mark and I got to talk and just be together.
The resort was fantastic and even met Mark's expectations which is not always easy to do.

We stopped in Savannah Georgia for a day. I always wanted to visit Savannah after reading 'midnight in the garden of good and evil'. Great book!!! neat city!!!

Here are some pics of our trip. I'll post some stories about it in the next week so check back....here is a preview of what is to come.... 'hit the button', 'catching up with friends', 'pickles', 'chasing the birds' 'Gerardo' and 'boating with bobby'.

All i can say is this vacation totally exceeded my expectations. We will definitely do family trips more often!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordful Wednesday--how small is a 1 pound baby?

This is how i usually describe my 1+ pound babies. They were born....
shorter than ruler
head smaller than my fist
arms and legs the size of a finger
toes the size of a tic tac

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

How can our country allow this to happen?

Don't mean to get polical on everyone but I saw this and had to post it. Very disturbing to me.


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Boo Boo of the Week

I am realizing that with boys, someone always has a scrape, bump or bruise somewhere on their body. This week, Liam and Tommy decided to sneak in the office and climb on the desk....this resulted in Liam face needing to be glued back together. Sometimes I think I gave birth to monkey's and not little boys. He almost appears proud of his battle scar!

Friday, August 15, 2008

how people find me

I always wonder how people find my blog. I don't get many visitors compared to others but it interesting. I loaded a stat counter which gives me this information. So far these are the searches that found my site...

"32 weeks" twins

Virgin Mary beginnings

kiddiepark ohio

quote from small beginnings come great things

the story of the virgin mary

Story of the Virgin Mary

monoamniotic when to terminate

can a very short boy grow to be a tall adult

ambassadors begginings

The one that most disturbs me is of course "monoamniotic when to terminate".....Hopefully they found out NOT to terminate a monoamniotic pregnancy.

I am sure whoever wanted the story of the virgin mary were disappointed to just see my boys giving her a hug.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Little Dudes

I am a little late in posting this as the birthday was August 4th but we have had a busy week.
I am just amazed that 2 years have gone by.

To my little Liam,

I feel so blessed to be your mommy. I couldn't believe my eyes when I first saw you. You were so small and so beautiful to me. I felt so guilty that this was the way you had to start your life and I promised to make it up to you everyday. I hope someday you realize that I wished every moment that it was me fighting your fight. You have taught me so many things in your short 2 years. You never gave up even when you were so sick that we didn't know if you could take one more breath.

You love to laugh and you have always had an impish grin. Your eyes just sparkle with excitement. You are adventurous and good natured. You learned to climb out of your crib 4 days before your birthday. You keep mommy on her toes! You love all animals and even at 2, I see a quiet loving heart in you. You love to dance and run. You are the best thing that ever happened to me. I love you! Happy Birthday!

To my precious Tommy,

You were my first baby I set my eyes on. I couldn't believe what i saw. You were so tiny. I never thought I could love someone so much. I am so sorry you had to start life struggling so much but it taught me and everyone who knows you so much. You were a fighter and you hated your ventilator yet you struggled so hard to breathe. You felt sympathy pains for your brother when he was so sick.

You were the first to smile and it melted my heart. You have a quiet way about you. You love to cuddle and laugh. You are a good natured little boy. You love to give hugs to all the animals. You are sensitive yet strong. You love to jump and throw balls. You are determined to get what you want.

I am so blessed to be your mommy. I love you! Happy Birthday!

Before you were concieved I wanted you

Before you were born I loved you

Before you were here an hour I would die for you

This is the miracle of love.

Friday, July 25, 2008

This is the Season

Two years ago, this was my last day of work until I went inpatient in the hospital hoping to begin the journey of bringing 2 babies home with me. I remember I had just had my steroid shots and I was flying high. I did too much and had to lay down. It was a good thing it was my last day of work. I don't know how much longer I would have handled work.

I remember having all these plans of how I would spend my days in the hospital. I planned on watching the season of BIG Brother. I have to admit I am a reality TV fan and this was a show I could get into and it was on several times a week so I could look forward to it. I planned on learning to make a scarf. I had tons of books and magazines to read. I felt like I would finally get some peace during this pregnancy knowing that the boys could be delivered if a problem arose. I never dreamed their would be a problem. I had every intention on carrying them to at least 32 weeks.

Even though 2 years have passed, I still can bring up every emotion I ever had that year. It was pure hell and yet I would do it all over for the reward was amazing.

These next few months will be full of reflection and gratitude.

Dear God,

Please bless all the momo twins who were born early, all the momo twins still in their mommies bellies and all the babies in the NICU. Amen

Sunday, July 20, 2008

NICU Birthday Party...We are 2!

It has been a busy weekend. Yesterday, we had a NICU birthday party with all the kids we met that were in the NICU together during the summer of 2006. It is amazing to see how well all these miracle babies are doing....Here is a run-down of the kids and why they are true miracles!

Liam and Tommy(my boys)--born at 26.6 weeks gestation, monoamniotic twins, 1 lb 12 and 1 lb 8 oz.

Kiley--27 weeks, 14 ounces

Olivia--28 weeks

Luke and Owen---33 weeks, twin to twin transfusion survivors

Brigid and Connor--27 weeks (have a great birth story but not my story to tell, trust me..true miracles!)

Nicholas--24 weeks

Nicholas--23 1/2 weeks

The kids were everywhere and so much fun to watch.

So here are pics of Friends from the Beginning


Liam and Tommy
Kiley and Tommy hugging (they were meant to be together from the start)
Connor and Tommy

Trying to get a group picture (never was possible!)

Of course, my boys already have cake on their face (before the singing)

Luke and Owen

Friday, July 18, 2008

Feeding the Soul

I spent my first night away from the kids since they came home from the NICU. It was a much needed 24 hour break. My dear friend Maureen invited me to the Chautauqua Institute to watch her brother conduct the Chautauqua Symphony.

The Institute is a place like no other I could ever imagine. Here is how their website describes it...

Many of the visitors who return to Chautauqua year after year describe it as an experience rather than a vacation -- a place for renewal. The Chautauqua Institution was founded on the belief that everyone “has a right to be all that he can be -- to know all that he can know.” The experiences come in many forms. A dramatic lakeside setting and the beauty of its National Historic Landmark architecture (it was designated a National Historic Landmark June 30, 1989) make the Chautauqua Institution a thriving community where visitors come to find intellectual and spiritual growth and renewal.

I think I got smarter just by walking through the main gate. It is a place in which you are surrounded by beauty, music, art and literature. I realize I don't feed this part of my brain or soul as often as I should.

It was amazing to watch a symphony and actually personally know the conducter (we went to high school together and he was my best friends brother!). We also got to meet the Cello soloist.

One thing is for certain...I have to go back to this place. It is indescribable.

Thanks Maureen and Family!!! You are all amazing!!!

Here are some pics...

Me and Maureen in front of the Antenaum Hotel
Relaxing at the after symphony party in the gazeboMaureen, Mary and Dan Meyer (the conductor)
Mary, Dan and Zuill Bailey (the chellist)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My first Tag

I was tagged by Laura to post 10 things I can't do without so here goes...

TEN THINGS I CAN'T DO WITHOUT (I excluded family, faith and friends b/c that is a given). This is a more superficial top ten list. In no particular order.....

1. Tea (my usual drink of choice)
2. Sleep
3. Cup holder in my car
4. Chair at work (everyone knows not to sit in it)
5. The necklace Mark gave me for a wedding gift
6. Television
7. My porch swing
8. Aveda products
9. Online Banking
10. Heated seats in my car

Not real interesting but this was much much harder than I thought. I guess that is a good thing! I am not attached to much.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

New Experiences

This summer has been filled with new experiences for our little dudes. If anyone knows how to get them to smile in a picture, please let me know. They are really happy and fun little guys but the pictures just don't do their personalities justice. They always look so scared....although I think they were at Kiddie Park and on the Pony's.

It is turning out to be a wonderful summer.

Riding the Rocket ship at kiddiepark
riding the race cars at kiddiepark
Powerlifting Liam....SOOOO strong!!!!
Jockey William proudly wearing his t-shirt from The Rocking Pony (thanks Karen!)

Jockey Tommy also in his Rocking Pony T-shirt...he is definately not a natural on a horse!

From the looks of it, I don't think either of my boys will be astronauts, weight-lifters, race-car drivers or jockeys...LOL....I think we can add model to that list as they never want to smile for pictures or maybe mom was just not meant to be a photographer!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Samson and Daisy

My husband (since he now is an avid reader of my blog) has been critiquing my blog postings (thanks, honey). He mentioned that I have never mentioned the other 2 members of our family. So here is a posting all about our first babies.

Samson is our 7 year old Bullmastiff. He weighs in at 150 pounds. He was born in California and we had him shipped on Continental airlines when he was a little puppy. He was so cute and tiny. He was purchased to be "my" dog but he bonded more with hubby and he doesn't listen to me at all. He loves car rides, begging for food and napping. He is a lazy dog who's snores can rattle the floors. He is a gentle giant.

Daisy is our pitbull. I never thought I would own a pitbull but my husband knew someone who had rescued her but could not keep her. He just brought her home without asking me and I fell in love with her. She jumped into my arms and never looked back. She loves to snuggle with me at night and she is excellent with the little dudes. She loves running up and down our fence and giving kisses. Liam loves running around the house saying "Daisy, Daisy". One of the few words he does say.

It doesn't feel right not to mention one more beloved doggie who has already gone to rainbow bridge. His name was Jackson. He was a Bassett Hound. He loved eating, sleeping and laying on my lap. There are too many good stories to tell about Jackson so I will save it for another post. He will never be forgotten.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

Karen at The Rocking Pony had this on her blog and I liked it so I thought I would do my own. So here goes....

20 years ago--I was in high school about to start my sophmore year. I had found my high school BFF's. The best group of girls one could hope for in getting through the teen years and beyond. I think that summer I got my first job as a sandwich artist at the first Subway in town. I hated that job. I watched a lot of MTV and talked on the phone.

10 years ago--I lived in Fort Myers Florida. My sister was dying of tongue cancer so I traveled between Florida and Ohio every month. Mark and I were dating and as he recalls, I was pressuring him into marriage. LOL. I was making new and wonderful "Florida Friends".

5 years ago--Mark and I were married for almost a year. I was busy studying for my doctorate. We had just started trying to have a family.

3 years ago--Mark was starting nursing school. We were taking a break from trying to have a family.

1 year ago--I was busy preparing for Liam and Tommy's first Birthday party. We had 60 people plus a hayride!!! Life was working out so much better than I could ever have hoped for!!!! I was tired. Raising twins is so rewarding and so exhausting!

Yesterday--Mark worked as he is now an R.N. and I took the kids tokiddiepark
with my parents. It's now all about kids (the way it should be)!
Today--Family day, took the little dudes out to breakfast and we are just leaving for the zoo.
Tomorrow--Back to work after the holiday weekend. Snuggle Bugs at the library in the evening.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Today is a National Holiday!

Do you know which it is? My guess is that you don't. At least in our home, it is a national holiday.... Today is my husband's birthday. His 33rd to be exact! It has always been a very important day to him. He beams with pride at just the mear mention of June 30th. I actually find it quite enduring. I wish I could look at my birthday with such child-like excitement.

Mark---I hope you had a great day. I love you and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! You have about 3 more hours to soak it all in!

Friday, June 13, 2008

From Small Beginnings, Come Great Things

I thought I would write a post to explain the Title of my Blog. This title is a Proverb that I read while my boys were in the NICU. It just always stuck with me.

Most of this post actually is from a talk I gave to our local March of Dimes Board Members. I revised it a little for the blogging world.

“From Small Beginnings, Come Great Things” --Proverb

Our sons, William and Thomas were born on August 4, 2006 at 26.6 weeks gestation, over 13 weeks too soon. William and Thomas are monoamniotic/monochorionic (mono/mono) twins. This means they shared the same placenta and same amniotic sac. This is a very rare condition affecting around 1 % of all identical twins. The risk in pregnancy to this type of twin is cord entanglement and cord compression because they are missing a separating membrane keeping their umbilical cords apart. If cord compression occurs and the babies are not able to be delivered, it leads to fetal death.

We found out at 13 weeks of pregnancy that our babies were only given approximately a 50-50 chance of surviving and if they did survive they would be very premature. We were told by the first high risk doctor we consulted that terminating the pregnancy would be our best option. I was horrified as this would never be an option for us EVER! It had taken us 3 years to even get pregnant. How could anyone ever consider this an option? I will never understand. Every baby deserves a fighting chance. We immediately found a new new risk OB who took wonderful care of all of us.

Mono/mono twins are usually delivered between 32-34 weeks gestation. After this time, there is more danger to them inside than out. Therefore, best case scenario is that they were to be born 8 weeks too soon.

There are 2 terribly difficult things with this type of pregnancy. One is that on a day to day basis, I never knew if my babies were alive or whether they had passed away from cord compression. I can’t describe the anxiety this caused me.

The other horribly difficult thing is that we had to make a decision as to when we felt the babies were viable. At this point of viability, I would be hospitalized and monitored with non-stress tests (NST). The babies would be delivered if they went into distress. Technically, babies can be viable at 24 weeks but rarely without major health issues. How does a mother decide the time when her babies would be better off not to be born vs. giving them a fighting chance? It is the one of the most heart-wrenching decisions I believe a mother can make. I spent many hours reflecting, praying, researching and talking with close loved ones. I was going to have to live with this decision good or bad the rest of my life and my two unborn children lives were riding on it.

I ultimately decided to be hospitalized at 25 ½ weeks gestation. I have no great reason why I chose this. It just felt right. I believe many people thought I was crazy for going in this early. Luckily it wasn’t their decision but mine. My heart just knew it was right. I was only inpatient 9 days when Thomas went into distress and our boys were emergently delivered. It all happened so quickly. I wasn’t ready to have them. Up until this time, their testing all looked great. In the last 15 minutes of monitoring for the morning, Thomas’ heart-rate dramatically dropped. I was put under general anesthesia and I did not know for a few hours if my babies survived delivery.

Luckily, they did survive. William Thomas weighed just 1 pound 12 ounces and Thomas William 1 pound 8 ounces. We were thrilled they were alive but the next 3 months in the NICU was a rollercoaster ride. ......FROM SMALL BEGINNINGS.....

They wheeled me in after the C-Section in my hospital bed. I realize now that this seemed to only happen when they didn’t know if the baby would survive. My husband waited so we could see the babies together for the first time. We immediately Baptized the boys. It was a very special moment for us. It was the beginnings of our family and at the time we didn’t know what the future held of it. The boys were so tiny. They had all the major parts just so tiny. They were just beautiful in my eyes.

We first were cautioned that the first 72 hours were critical. They would have ultrasounds to look for brain hemorrhaging. We felt like we dodged a bullet and their head scans remained clear. They could not breathe on their own. It felt like forever for them to come off the ventilators. They had some bleeding in their lungs and had to be put on a special oscillator ventilator for their delicate lungs. I didn’t get to hold my babies for 4 weeks. I believe I was still in a state of shock that first month. I met some other mothers with micro-preemies in the NICU and that helped me transition to life in the NICU.

The second month was mostly dealing with breathing issues. They went from ventilators to c-pap to nasal cannula and then finally breathing on their own. This process seemed to take forever. They had good days and bad days. It was very scary to walk in the NICU to see a team of nurses “bagging” your baby to bring him back from the brink of death. I would enter the NICU and peak around the corner to see if there was any activity in our little corner. We learned what every beep and click meant from the machines in that place. It was extremely difficult when I held my babies and they stop breathing or dropped their oxygen level and heart-rate and the nurses would have to come and revive them. I don’t know if I will ever get over that feeling of helplessness and fear. It was hard to have to ask for “permission” to be able to hold my own baby. It just didn’t seem right. This wasn’t how this was all supposed to happen.

The third month brought us 2 nasty infections and we again did not know if they would survive. Those were some of the hardest days in the NICU. The babies were obviously suffering and I felt like I did this to them. I couldn’t hold them or give them comfort. I could only just watch them in their little incubators fighting so hard to stay alive. They eventually were able to fight the infections off. They survived it but I still don’t know if I have.

Things started looking better until the day we were to bring Thomas home and a hernia was discovered and we found out instead of bringing one of our babies home, he would be having surgery. The following day William’s hernia was found and he had surgery 2 days later. It was horrible to see our babies who didn’t even weigh 4 pounds undergo surgery and end up on a ventilator again for recovery. They somehow were able to survive all this along with all the other “normal” preemie issues (ROP, elevated bilirubin, blood transfusions, etc).

We saw every baby in the NICU from when we entered go home. We celebrated with many of these mothers but our heart ached that we were not going home. We developed relationships with many of the nurses and other NICU moms. These are amazing women who got us through the hardest days.

It took 94 days for Thomas to come home and 101 days for William to come home. These days forever have changed me. It has made me believe that miracles can happen, even for us. I don’t know if words could ever really communicate what life is like living a high risk pregnancy and 3 months of living in the NICU. I find most people don’t really understand. They mean well. I just think it is just impossible for most people to understand what it is like to not know day after day, week after week if your baby is going to survive inside of you and then outside. The only people who do “get” it are those who have lived it. I am lucky that I met a nice group of NICU mom’s and we still stay in touch and get together.

The boys will turn 2 this August. They are bright, beautiful and very special. They have defied all the odds and all the world has to offer is in front of them.

I still deal emotionally with the entire experience even after all this time but I want to use it for the greater good. I am determined to make sure my boys are aware of all the amazing people who prayed for them, who took care of them and who made our miracle happen.....COME GREAT THINGS!

I am lucky to have had support from wonderful family and friends. No one should have to go through this alone. Hopefully one day, no one will ever have to go through this at all!!