Thursday, January 03, 2013

Jack and Margot: Week One

Jack and Margot turned one week old last night at 10:10 and 10:13 respectively. One week, yet it feels like much longer than that. These past seven days have been long, and without the interruption of sleep the nighttime hours have spilled into day, piling atop one another like one continuous 168 hour day. A 168 hour day that feels like a month. And while I haven't enjoyed every minute of it, I wouldn't trade a second because each second means I get to be with the new loves of my life. You'd think by now, after Liam, Isla, and Wren, I wouldn't be surprised by the powerful love that hits you the instant you see your baby, but somehow I am.

So, before put myself to sleep with all this typing, I really should get out some details for family record purposes. If I don't write it down, it won't exist a few months from now when I (hopefully) come out of this sleep-deprivation fog.

Jack and Margot were born the day after Christmas, late in the evening. One of these days, sooner rather than later (again, hopefully), I'll write out their birth story. Their first night in the hospital was spent in the NICU for observation, but they were allowed to leave the NICU and move up into the Mother/Baby floor the next day around noon. Billy and I spent the next 36 hours with the babies at the hospital, trying our best to get the hang of keeping them alive while supported by an endless rotation of doctors, nurses, lactation consultants, etc. I wasn't ready to leave the safety net come Friday night, but we had little choice. It'd been 48 hours and our insurance kicked us out.

The weekend was a blur. There was a doctor's appt on Saturday to check Jack and Margot's bilirubin levels, blessed help from my Mom overnight, and some stress and anxiety over possible exposure to the chicken pox virus and a stomach flu virus. This anxiety hasn't entirely dissipated, and I'm kindly asking my friends and family in the area to give me some time before I feel comfortable with visitors. I feel like a mother bear guarding her cave, so as much as I want to show off my cute little cubs, I just may bite off your head if you show up at my house, your seemingly germ-free hands itching to hold my babies.

Sunday night Connie came over with Liam, Isla, and Wren (they'd been with the Snyder's since the twins' birth) and for the first time Billy and I had all our kids together under the same roof. I'd missed them so much that just the sight of them made me cry. My heart felt so full. "These are my kids" I thought to myself, "all of them. This is us." And I felt so complete. I hope I can tap into this joy in the future when the reality of FIVE kids throws me into the inevitable stress freakout or poor-me pity party or CAN I JUST PEE BY MYSELF moment.

Monday afternoon I took the twins into the pediatric clinic for yet another bilirubin check up. This time the news wasn't good. Jack's levels were fine, but Margot's weren't and the doctor said she needed to go to the hospital for an overnight stretch under the "bili" lights. The prospect of having to go back to the hospital with both babies by myself was more than I could handle, and I cried a lot. In the end, it wasn't so bad. The nurses were kind, Margot slept hard and well in her warm little bed, and Jack was pretty easy on me. The next morning brought great news too. Margot's levels had dropped significantly and we could go home, but before we did she pooped her way through 5 diapers, proving the lights really did allow her body to metabolize the bilirubin.

Tuesday night was uneventful. Connie came to help out overnight and oh how merciful her service was. Between Connie and my mom and good friends, Billy and I are really coping pretty well. So thanks guys.

Another check up yesterday. Jack's bilirubin was down, and so was Margot's. The doctor put them in the clear and promised no more heel pricks. Hooray! They had also gained 2 ounces in 2 days, both weighing in at 5 lbs, 6 oz, just 3-4 oz. down from their birth weight. 

Then, this morning. I don't even know where to start or what to say because everything is still so fresh and raw and open to infection so I am just going to go for it and hope for the best. This morning the babies were in their cribs, just minutes into a nap, when I decided to go check on them. I found Margot lying in her crib, spit up pooling in her mouth and nostrils, her body rigid, her eyes wide open in panic. I hurried and picked her up, turned her over and patted her back hard. I wasn't too worried yet, thinking I could just pat the fluid right out of her. This didn't work though. She continued to arch her back with all her strength, grunting every few seconds as if she were trying to get something up out of the back of her throat. I ran downstairs with her to grab the suction bulb, and by the time I had it I was very, very scared. I could feel the fear in my tiny little girl and I wanted so badly to take it away from her. Luckily Billy was home, working in his office, so I ran in there and gave her to him. "I think she's choking," I said. He worked hard to get whatever it was in her mouth out and after a minute or two he told me to call the doctor. "The doctor or 911?" I asked and I felt sick when he said 911. Billy is not one for panic or overreaction of any kind. If he thinks I need to call 911, than it really is as bad as it looks. The next five minutes were awful and I don't really want to talk about them. I can say that Billy saved my little girl's life, even though he would argue he didn't, and that I know my prayers were answered in the most merciful way of my life. By the time the paramedics arrived things were looking better, but they decided to take her to the hospital for an x-ray and tests. She's home now with a clean bill of health and angel over her shoulder. That's all I can say about that for now.

Here are some pictures. 





Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hunger Games

A couple nights ago Billy and I had the pleasure of attending the world premiere of The Hunger Games with my sister Kaisa and her husband Matt Janzen. Matt is the vice president of development at Lionsgate (I think I got the job title right?) and has worked on The Hunger Games from the very beginning. I remember talking with Kaisa about the book years ago and I remember her saying "Yeah, I think Matt's company just signed a deal with the author" or something along those lines. It's been exciting to talk with him about it the past few years and get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the making of such an epic movie, and my sweet brother-in-law rewarded my enthusiasm with tickets to the show. My birthday is in a just a couple of days, so the timing of the premiere worked out very nicely. I am so grateful to Matt and Kaisa for treating Billy and I to the time of our lives. Billy says it was the funnest night he's ever experienced, and quite honestly, in terms of good old fashioned giddy excitement, I think I have to agree.

Now on to the good stuff!

First of all, the movie: AMAZING. I know it's hard to convey my sincerity when my opinion is obviously biased, but it is truly a very well-made, true-to-the-original-format, book-to-screen movie. The acting was superb, I loved Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, and Josh Hutchinson did an excellent job playing Peeta. Their chemistry is vital to the plot (in my honest opinion) and they work very well together. The cinematic quality of the movie is beautiful. It has an artistic, tasteful skew on what could have been just plain cheesy (i.e.-- Hunger Games is nothing like the cheese-town USA Twilight movies) and I loved the soundtrack. It switches from haunting to exciting throughout the movie, and really adds that special touch. The director, Gary Ross, was also the director of Pleasantville and Seabiscuit, and Hunger Games is definitely as good (if not better) than those films. Whether you've read the book or not, you really should treat yourself to seeing this movie in the theatre. You will be on the edge of your seat the entire time. I'm so happy the movie was so good, because it would've been awkward having to pretend I liked it. SO-- I am being completely honest when I say: I loved the Hunger Games! Lionsgate and all involved did a great job. GO SEE IT!

One of the funnest things about seeing the premiere (besides the premiere itself), was seeing all the famous people. Billy and I are your regular small town parents who don't get out much, so to find ourselves just feet from Hollywood stars was thrilling. We had to act "cool" and "nonplussed" about the whole thing, but inside our heads and occasionally in frantic whispers to each other, we were screaming like little Justin Bieber fans. The most treasured encounter I had was when Matt introduced me to Suzanne Collins (the author of the Hunger Games). We were at the After Party, and it was really noisy, so I leaned in so I could whisper in her ear, and she kissed me on the cheek! I told her "I've loved you from the very beginning." Which I have. Matt also introduced me to Gary Ross, the director, and I tried very hard to act normal and casually tell him I enjoyed the movie and that I "couldn't wait to go home and tell all my friends to watch it." If you're curious, here are some pictures (from the internet, I didn't take any pictures) of some of the people we saw Monday night:

 Kato--- tribute
 Fox face-- Tribute

 Donald Sutherlund
 Baldwin brother

 Effie Trinket played by Elizabeth Banks

 Two youngest Kardashian sisters (who btw look nasty and gross in real life)

 Woody Harrelson

 Jennifer Lawrence (who, btw, looks gorgeous in real life)

 I made eye contact with her! She smiled at me :)

 Liam Hemsworth

 Made eye contact with this girl too

 She's one of the makeup people from the capitol 

 Benjamin Bratt

This little girl plays Rue. Kaisa and I actually talked to her in the bathroom before the movie. We had no idea who she was but she was wearing a darling dress and we told her we loved it. 

I don't have a lot of pictures of the four of us from  yet, but I'll upload what I have, and I'll upload more later as soon as I get them from Matt :) 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Some Things Never Change




Tonight Isla and Liam were friends. They created a train of sorts out of a suitcase, a princess car, and my homemade keychain, and took turns pulling each other around. I grabbed the camera to snap a picture and as I did I realized I have a least twenty of these kinds of pictures that span the last four years. Liam and Isla, driving around in a strange contraption built by toddlers, and now, sadly enough, kids. Above are three of my favorites, including the one taken tonight.