Roland’s 3rd birthday letter

Dear Roland,

I simply cannot believe my baby boy is now THREE years old!  My brain cannot compute this turn of events.  It doesn’t seem that long ago that I brought you into this world, heard your cry, and gazed upon your sweet face for the first time.  You looked…like Lennon…and like Juliette…yet somehow entirely different.  Entirely your own person.  You are Roland.  We named you after the gunslinger in King’s Dark Tower book series.  The name suits you, yet at the same time you are much too gentle and sweet to ever be a gunslinger.

You have the greatest little personality.  You are silly.  You make us laugh.  You are INCREDIBLY smart.  You speak like a tiny adult, and love to tell us all about outer space and the solar system.  You are very social and make friends with other children quite easily.  You are cooperative, a very good listener.  You adapt amazingly well to change.  You are generally easygoing, yet you know how to assert yourself when necessary.  You love to follow what your older siblings and the older neighborhood kids are doing, yet I love that you have not grown up TOO quickly.  You liked being “the baby” too.

But guess what, son?  You aren’t the only baby in this family anymore.  You have just become a BIG BROTHER…to not one, but TWO baby sisters!  About two weeks ago, we had identical twin girls.  They were born on July 1st, which means they share a birth month with you, and your older sister as well.  Pretty cool!

At first, when we told you that we were expecting two babies, for a brief period, you didn’t want us to talk about the babies at all.  Over time, you came around to the idea, and you were excited and would tell everyone that you were a big brother.  You were rooting for two brothers, but instead you got two sisters.  I guess one brother is enough for you!

When the babies came, I was so sad to have to leave you to stay in the hospital for a few days.  I had never left you that long.  You are so attached to me, and you love to snuggle with me at night.  We have been working on getting you to sleep in your own big boy bed, with some success, but I was still worried about how you would do if I was away from you completely for several nights.

Amazingly, you did great!  I think it’s because you are so smart and so mature.  We told you that I would be gone for a few days, but I would be coming back, and you understood completely – something that I think a lot of young toddlers would struggle to understand.  You did miss me though, so much.  We did a few facetime calls, and your little face looked so sad when you said, “mommy, I want you.”  My heart broke into a million pieces!

I have to tell you this story, because it was so sweet.  I will never forget this, ever.  When the babies were born, they were in the NICU, getting some help with their breathing, blood sugars, and learning to feed.  Because of all this, we thought it would be best to bring the older kids up to the hospital first to meet the babies.  So we did it one at a time, first Lennon, then Juliette, and then it was finally your turn.  Like I said, you had been missing me like crazy!  Daddy said you were so excited to come see me and meet your new sisters.

I was sitting in my hospital bed when you and Daddy walked in.  You kept looking at me and then bashfully looking down.  You came to me with genuine TEARS leaking out of your big brown eyes.  You were so overcome with your emotions: love, relief, and gratitude.  We hugged and I squeezed your little body, and you just sighed and melted into me.  It was one of the most beautiful and memorable moments of my life.  What two year old child would possess such a capacity for emotion that he would be moved to actual happy tears when reunited with his mother?  I have never seen anything like it before.  But then, I have never known a child like you before.

When I was pregnant with you, I felt that you were coming to teach me something.  Oh, child.  You have.  You really have.

Thank you for being who you are.  Thank you for being in my life.  Thank you for being a part of our wonderful little (now big) family, our ka-tet.  You are my little baby best friend.  I hope you will let me snuggle you, squeeze your body, and wipe those emotion-filled tears from your chubby little cheeks awhile longer.  I’m not quite ready for you to stop being my baby yet.

Love always,

Mom

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Image is a photo of all five of my children together, the day we brought the twins home from the hospital.  Roland is on the left, seated with his feet crossed (which he has always done since he was a baby) and a smile on his face.  Lennon is seated in the middle, a pink-clad tiny baby in each arm, and Juliette is seated on the right.

 

 

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I am strong.

So, the twins are here! I will post a full birth story with lots of details and pics. But for now, I want to share something that I had posted on my personal facebook when the girls turned one week old:

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Image is a selfie photo.  I am posed with one hand on my hip and the other holding my phone.  My pink shirt is rolled up, showing my exposed 34 week twin belly.  I have a small smile and kind of a “badass” tough look. 

 

One week ago, Magnolia and Sunflower were known simply as Baby A and Baby B. To my medical team, they were mono-di twins with IUGR. They had stopped growing due to placental failure, and needed to be born ASAP. They were risks.

To me, they were my daughters. I had not met them yet, but I knew them already. I loved them already.

I took this photo at 3:00 am. I had gotten up to begin getting ready to go to the hospital at 5:30 am and prep for surgery. I had not slept, that night or the night before.

I’d been given two rounds of steroid shots to help develop the babies’ lungs. The steroids had made me shaky, anxious, unable to rest, and had caused decreased movement from the babies, especially my sweet Magnolia, who had been the less active one all along.

I had laid awake in bed for two nights, prodding my daughters through this belly, trying to get them to move and show me they were alive. I was utterly consumed with worry, wondering if my team had made the right choice to wait two days and let the steroids work (now, looking back, I know that they had).

I found this pic while scrolling through my camera roll, looking at pics of the girls, as I always do while pumping milk for them. I stopped and stared at the mother in the photo, as if she were a stranger, and not me only one week prior.

Did she look scared?

She was exhausted. And she was SCARED. The fear was palpable, surrounding her, consuming her, but not breaking her.

I saw a quote recently that spoke to me. It was something like: “it’s ok to be afraid. Fear means you are about to do something very brave.”

So this was me, one week ago…

I’m a different person now.

Magnolia and Sunflower are no longer known as letters. They are my daughters. And I’m no longer consumed with fear.

I am strong.