Sunday, December 27

Amazing Gifts

We had a Merry Christmas and hope you did, too! :)

Christmas Eve was spent with Johnny's family. Colby got lots of clothes, a few toys, and some books. He even got dressed up like Santa. (But you already saw that!)

Christmas was spent here at home with my family-- my parents, Jeff, Chris, Matt, Stephie, and Nikki all came up for the day. Again, Colby got lots of clothes, toys, and books.

We got some really special gifts as well.

Let's see... with photos:

Johnny's Aunt JoJo got us Colby and Connor Ornaments:

My mom and Dad got us ornaments from Colby. (Apprently Colby asked Grammy to get them last time she visited):

I love turtles so my parents go me a Colby/Mommy turtle combo. He's riding turtle-back.

My parents go us an ornament with our whole family:

My parents got Colby a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament:

Chris and Stephie got us a cool engraved family ornament:
Back: (Family is the best gift there is)


Johnny's parents got us a Connor ornament:

Johnny bought me a Connor ornament: (It says "Tis a gift to be a mom")

Johnny bought another Connor ornament:

Johnny bought a Colby ornament:

Johnny bought a family ornament:

Then we also made Connor and Colby ornaments: (So this wasn't really a "gift"... but I was already taking pictures and decided to include them. :) We did gift matching ones to our parents as well.)

Perhaps one of the coolest gifts was the book we got from my brother Jeff and his wife. I was dying to read it all day, but knew I'd start crying so Johnny and I had to wait until everyone left before pulling it out. We were up well past 1am reading it.

Cover of the Book. Jeff drew the turtles and then Nikki colored them.

The dedication page:

All About Connor. And the poem that Johnny read at his funeral.

All About Colby. I'm not sure where the poem came from, but I really liked it.

A page for me and Johnny to write on.

My parent's words to Colby, Connor, and me and Johnny.

Johnny's parent's words to the 4 of us.

Jeff and Nikki's words to the 4 of us.

Chris and Stephie's words to us.

Matt's words to us.

Danny's words to the boys.

An example of the Colby Chronicles.

Another example. Jeff pulled out 1 photo from each Chronicle and made that the background of the two adjoining pages. Then he also pulled out one line from each of the Chronicles and placed that on the left hand page.

At the end Jeff, with the help of Johnny, asked my family and friends to write some words. Only a few friends, 1 of Johnny's aunts, and my aunt/uncle, and both cousins all wrote something. The people who took the time to write will definitely always hold a special place in our hearts. This is Sarah's page.

The end.

I hope those pages are large enough to enlarge and look at because the book is truly incredible.

Saturday, December 26

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas!

I know ours was great.  

I got the most amazing present today... since Colby was 1 week old I had been writing and emailing "Colby Chronicles" to family and some friends.  The Chronicles included information such as Colby's days old, weight, meds, and then a blurb about the day.  I also included pictures every day.  I did this as a chronicle for Colby when he's bigger but also to keep family informed so Johnny and I wouldn't have to answer the same questions every single day.

Well, my brother kept all of the 109 Chronicles for Colby's time in the hospital and put them together in an amazing book.  Not only that, but he sought out my immediate family, Johnny's immediate family, and some friends to write letters to me, Johnny, Colby, and Connor.  He also included the words that Johnny and I both spoke at Connor's funeral.  It is the most touching, amazing gift I have ever received.  I wish I could explain it all better... maybe a photo or two (another day) will do it justice.  Suffice to say, it is amazing.  :)

Wednesday, December 23


I haven't been writing much because I've been updating the family blog more instead.  Feel free to visit...  

I keep that blog for my family and friends-- many who do NOT know what we went through infertility/IVF/miscarriage wise (and therefore do NOT know about this blog), so if you do comment, please don't mention any of "that" stuff.  :)  Sounds silly, I know, but there are some people I just do NOT want to get into it with.

Sunday, December 20

Christmas Cards

This year I was excited to make photo cards.  I love Christmas, so when we found our we were pregnant in February that was one of my thoughts- that I could take photos of my adorable 2 month old baby and send it out.  

Then we found out we were having twins and it became photos of my adorable 2 month old BABIES.  

When I started thinking of Christmas cards in November I was stuck in a dilemma.  I wasn't sure how I wanted to work it.  Part of me really knew that I needed to include Connor in some way.  I wanted a small little clipart of an angel for Connor in the corner of the card, but it's impossible to customize snapfish cards in that way and it didn't feel right to put a picture of Connor on a vent on the card and certainly not a photo of him after he passed away.  So, instead, I thought of writing "Love, Johnny, Stacey, Colby, and our Angel Connor".  But, honestly, I was a little worried about making people uncomfortable and I didn't want to open myself up to unwanted comments from relatives telling me that it was "weird" if I did that.  (Yes, some would have no problem telling me that)  Instead I went with "Love, The J's" because by default Connor was included, I felt better, and comments weren't a part of it.  Who knew it would be so complicated?

Looking back I think I should have gone with my gut and added Connor's name, but I'm glad I didn't just neglect him completely.  

Recently we had a relative call and ask if they could include Connor in their family Christmas letter.  We were touched that they wanted to include him, so said yes.  I was a little upset when I saw the letter yesterday... it looked like this.  The number was a footnote, because they always use footnotes in their letter...

Jen's cousin Johnny in Boston and his wife Stacey welcomed a new sun Colby. 11

10 We didn't expect a Rahim Z, but think his name is awesome.
11 Colby's twin brother Conner was only with us for a few days before being summoned to heaven.
12 Every letter drafted by a lawyer needs one.

The sentiment was nice I suppose, but why did they have to make Connor a footnote?  It felt like they were making him out as some little insignificance.  (I added the above and below footnotes to show how silly they are meant to be.)  And notice the spelling?  Yup.

Friday, December 18

2 or 5?

Yesterday marked what should have been 2 months for Colby.  Tomorrow is his actually 5 month birthday.  


(How bizarre is it that he turns 5 months only 2 days after he should have been 2 months??)

People always say after they have babies (or at least the people on "A Baby Story" do) that they can't remember what life was before their child was born.  

I don't agree.  I DO remember what life was like before the boys.  I remember the lazy weekends, going to bed when I wanted, waking up late in the morning... all that stuff.  I remember it.  But would I EVER take it back?  NO WAY.  What I have now is So.Much.Better.  Hands down.

But what I am having a really hard time remembering?  Colby's time in the NICU.  It's funny.  We spent the hardest 3.5 months EVER in the NICU.  He had so many tests and needles and doctors and nurses, but I can't really remember it quite clearly.  I know the things happened, but I have to really think about it to remember.  

If you look at Colby, he DOESN'T look like a sick baby or that he was ever a sick baby.  He is a rolly, polly, ball of love.  There is no evidence of that NICU time, of the needles or tests.  (Except for 3,000 pictures- no exaggeration- and a small scar on his face from where he managed to gouge himself with his fingernails one day.)  He is no worse for the wear and for that I am SO incredibly thankful.  

Monday, December 7

4 month visit

Today Colby had his 4 month doctors appointment.

He weighed in at 11lbs 10oz and measured 22.5 inches. Along with his head circumference he is right around the 50th percentile for his corrected age (1.5 months).

Today was a rough appointment with 5 injections. He got Hep. B (he's 2 months behind on the Hep B schedule because he got his first dose at 2 months instead of birth, so he gets it at 2 months, 4 months, and 8 months) his pentacel (contains diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, haemophilus influenzae type b, and polio), pneumococcal conjugate, and synagis. It really was only 4 different vaccinations, but the dose for the synagis is too large to be put in at one time, so that was broken down into 2 different injections. This was sad for the little guy because it is a pretty painful injection and he got it 2 times! And they didn't double team him, so it was 5 different pokes 5 different times. AND he has to get synagis every month until April. :( He was supposed to get a blood draw done too to check his red blood cells, electrolytes, and potassium, but we felt too bad to do that do him too. Instead we will head back to the doctors on Thursday after Children's to get the blood done.

I'll tell you one thing, our little guy is definitely one tough cookie!!

On the bright side, the little guy learned to suck his thumb today!! He's still not too sure how to control his other fingers or how to keep it in his mouth, but this is a pretty big developmental milestone for body awareness in our little guy!

Happy to see Daddy when Daddy got home.

Very serious at the doctors office.

I tried to get the bandaids on his thighs, but they are little flesh colored circles so they are hard to see. On the plus side, they were really easy to get off because they didn't stick remarkably well.

And just because he's cute.

Sunday, December 6

Photo shoot!

I take way too many pictures.

But you would too if you saw this...

Saturday, December 5

1 Month!

Tonight Johnny and I went out for a date.  :)  We went to see New Moon and out to dinner.  My parents babysat so it wasn't too nerve wracking.  (Colby is 4 + months old and it was hard leaving him-- and I know that is laughable because he spent the first 3.5 months in the NICU, but I digress.)  

So, the movie.  First off, I LOVE the books.  Love them.  I put off reading them as long as possible because I didn't want to be pulled into the fan hype.  But, alas, last Thanksgiving I gave in because people wouldn't stop talking about them.  And pulled in I was.  Anyways... I'm always disappointed when I read a book before the movie.  (Yes, I'm the one who ALWAYS says "The book was WAY better!")  So of course the book was better and totally expected.  But... Jacob... good stuff.  :)  Leaving it there!

Anyways, back to the baby.  Yesterday Colby had his pulmonology appointment.  He's still on Lasix, but we have been given permission/instructions to start weaning him off.  We were told that he looks and sounds amazing.  Next week we have to bring him back to Children's for a hip ultrasound and a kidney ultrasound.  Then hopefully we'll be done with Children's until his next pulmonology appointment in over a month.  They weighed and measured him.  He weighed in at 11lbs 7oz.  (Yes, that is indeed 9lbs 4oz up from birth!!)  He only measured at 21 inches.  Apparently he hasn't grown since he left the hospital 1 month ago.

And I totally just realized that it has been exactly 1 month since Colby left the hospital.  1 month!!!!  It has already gone by SO quickly.  I know it is very cliche, but I cannot imagine or really remember life without him.  He's such a lovey bug.  :)

Tuesday, December 1

135 days and I Am The Mom

Today Colby is 19 weeks 2 days old.  That's 135 days old.  That's over 1/3 of a year.  How does time go so fast?  

This time last year Johnny and I were still making our way though the miscarriage.  Waiting it out to see where to go next, when the next cycle would start.  

This year?  We're on our toes waiting for Colby to tell us what to do next.

It's really amazing how much a year can change you.  I'm waiting off doing my yearly review for the new year (2010??), but I just get stunned thinking about the changes of the past year.  There have been ups and there have been downs, but we made it through (perhaps with a few scars, but we made it).  

But it's been worth it because I have this face looking back at me:

On another note, a general plea to everyone: family, friends, and random people we come across in our travels...

I am Colby's mom.  I am responsible for him.  His care is up to me and up to Johnny.  That's it.

I may be a new mom, but we have been through a lot to get here.  Colby didn't just land on our doorstep as a big surprise.  We worked for him.  We want to raise him.  

I've always worked with kids.  From the time I was 14 I have babysat, worked in day cares, taught, and learned about child development.  I know how to raise a child, so I can handle him.  I know what to do and when to do it.  

Please remember that and let us raise him in our own way.  You may not agree, but please let us have our time.  We have worked so hard for Colby that we want to be the ones to raise him.  We appreciate your love, but we want to be responsible so please remember that.   If we need advice, we will ask, otherwise, we have things under control the way that we want it.

Also, please remember that we are the parents.  Please ask us before you do things with Colby when we're around.  This means please ask us before you change him, feed him, pick him up, unbuckle him from his car seat, etc.  We're not doing this to be a pain, but because we know what we're working for.  We know if he hasn't slept all day, if he has just been changed, if he needs to eat... we're responsible for him and, while we know you want to help, you would help us most by asking us and treating us as adults and Colby's parents.

Thank you for your care,
Colby's mom

Monday, November 30

What routine?

That routine I was talking about yesterday?

I totally should have bitten my tongue!

This is his schedule I was talking about:
10pm-2am: sleep
2am: diaper, bottle, back in bed
3am-5:30am: sleep
5:30am: bottle, back to bed
6am-8am: sleep
8am: diaper, bottle
8:30am-12pm: awakkeeeee
12pm: diaper, bottle
12:30pm-4:30pm: nap time!
4:30pm: diaper, bottle
5pm-9pm: awakkkkeeee
9pm: bath time
9:30pm: diaper, bottle, rock to sleep
10pm: begin again

After I spoke of that "r" word?

10pm-4am: sleeeep
4am: diaper, bottle
4:30am-7:30am: sleeep
7:30am: no, I don't want a bottle, I just want to cuddle
7:30am-9:45am: sleeeep with Mommy
9:45am: diaper, bottle
10:15am-10:00pm: awakkkke with 42 zillion bottles and 2 20 minute naps.

I kid you not.  He just went down after almost 12 hours of widddde awake.  Wide awake with "I need to be held!!!!!" tendencies.  (With a little tummy time and LOTS of pictures thrown in there.)

I will not speak of routine again.  But the sleep last night? Amazing.  And there is NOTHING better than just cuddling with my buggy!

Sunday, November 29

Over 3 Weeks Home!

It's about time that I give a good update about my little man!  :)  

Colby has been home for just over 3 weeks (can you believe it?) meaning that I have used 14 of my 30 paid days off.  (Then  I have my 12 FMLA weeks)  

At his last doctors appointment- a week before Thanksgiving- he was weighing in at 10lbs 7.5oz.  It's crazy for me to think that he is so big already!  It really must be all in his head because he's still fitting quite nicely into his newborn clothes and the 0-3 month pants literally fall off of him because the elastic is too loose.  He can fit into 0-3 month tops, but they leave lots of room.

His umbi hernia is still there.  It's funny to see it poking out of he clothes.  It seems to have reduced in size a little.  When he's crying it can poke out pretty far, though.  :)

He has his first Pulmonology Appt. on Friday of this week.  We're cautiously hoping to be weaned off the Lasix.  He still only gets .7ml of Lasix on Mon, Wed, and Fri, but it would be nice to be off of that completely.  He's still on 1ml of vitamin and .6ml of iron every day.

He has a hip ultrasound coming up the following week and also his 4 month appointment where he will get all his vaccinations including round 2 of synargis.  (He will get that every month until April.)

He's so strong.  He tries climbing up your chest if you hold him flat against him.  If you put him against the edge of the couch he will push off and wiggle down the length of it.  He can hold his head up unassisted so well.  He loves his Bumbo and will look around for hours.  (Well, until he falls asleep or gets hungry.)  He's smiling up a storm and even laughs.  I put him down to bed the other night (because we have a routine that works!!!!) and I had to pick him back up because he started smiling at me and I couldn't leave him.  He only cries when he is hungry.  EVER.  He wiggles when he has to burp-- but he really is an AMAZING burper.  

He's just wonderful and amazing and I love him to bits.

His first Thanksgiving was great.  :)  He slept through most of it, though.  We didn't tell anyone, but we brought Connor with us on Thanksgiving so that the whole family was together.  It was important to me and I couldn't see leaving him alone at home while we were off being thankful for the amazing gifts we received this year.   He might not be with us anymore, but we are still SO thankful that we are his and Colby's parents.  

All in all the little guy is doing wonderfully and we are SO happy!

Wednesday, November 25

Coming Clean

I went to a wake last night.  The first one since Connor passed away.  

The wake was for an ex-co-worker's mom.  This co-worker didn't come to Connor's service.  I did contemplate not going.  I contemplated ignoring that it happened, just as I felt like she ignored Connor.  However, after some deliberation I decided to take the high-road and to show my respects, so to the funeral home I went.  (With my mother, who in a weird small-world phenomenon, worked with this co-worker's mother in a nursing home 60+ miles from where I teach.)

Walking into the home, everything came rushing back.  The morning of Connor's funeral I was so anxious.  I wasn't ready to face saying goodbye to my baby.  I wasn't ready to see his face for the last time and I wasn't ready to face everyone.  But I took comfort in knowing that we had so many people who supported us.

I still thought everyone would come.  I really didn't think anything would keep my friends and family and co-workers from coming.  I honestly expected everyone who said that they would "do anything" really would do anything.  Turns out they wouldn't.  

Aside from a very few handful of people, most people weren't willing to make the 60+ mile trek from my home town.  Most people weren't willing to hop a plane from a few states away to show they cared.  They weren't willing to hop a bus or a train.  They weren't willing to give up an afternoon, a day, or a weekend.  They were content to say they cared, but not show it.  

After the funeral I posted an entry here saying how hurt I was that people didn't show up.  Immediately a handful of people wrote to me beginning their message with "I know you weren't referring to us, but...".  At the time I ignored the messages.  Because, you know what?  I was referring to them.  I was referring to any friends or family who didn't show up.  Especially family and especially friends who live in the same state.  Telling me that you care and saying you'd do anything isn't equal to actually showing it.  Anyone can say they'd be there in a minute, but it's the ones who actually are that matter.

And today marks 4 months to the day of Connor's funeral.  4 months since I saw his cute little face.  4 months since I kissed his cheek.  4 months since we said goodbye.  

But I know he's watching over us- especially Colby.  He's still here in so many ways, even if he isn't physically here.  And for that I am grateful.

Sunday, November 22

I miss it!

You ready for this?

I miss bed rest. 

There I said it.

When I began bed rest I was understandably terrified. It was totally unexpected and it meant that my babies were in danger.

But as time progressed I began to almost enjoy it.  Sure, I would have moments where I hated it because I couldn't go baby shopping, or have my shower, or, well, do anything besides lay down and aimlessly surf the internet.

But it gave me so much time to just enjoy my babies.  For hours and hours (and hours) a day I could just lay in bed with my hand on my stomach waiting for the next baby kick.  I got to hear their little hearts thumping away every day for over an hour.  I got to see their little bodies on the ultrasound once a week.  I got to really know the babies before they were born.  Connor was the calm one.  He was wedged in one place and he was pretty consistent when we tried to find his heartbeat.  He only flipped position occasionally.  Colby was always on the move.  He kicked up a storm and swam away the moment a doppler or monitor touched my belly.  He was flipping position constantly, daily I swear.

So, while bed rest hadn't been on my list of expectations (I honestly thought I'd be a mother of twins who would make it full term), I grew to enjoy it.  For 28 days it was just me and my babies with each other.  I knew they were safe and they were all mine.  And I miss that.  

Saturday, November 21

4 Months

Thursday marked 4 months since the boys' birth.  Colby is a thriving 4 month old.  He's huge, beautiful, and you couldn't tell that he was such a micro-preemie by looking at him.  :)  (He was 10lbs 7.5oz on his 4 month birthday!  That's up 8lbs 5.5oz since birth.  More than 2 lbs a month!!!)

Today, therefore, the 21st, marks 4 months since we lost our baby Connor.  4 months.  Think of what you could do in 4 months.  That's more than a whole season.  It's more than summer vacation.  You could lose a whole lot of weight in 4 months.  

It's so much time, but sometimes it feels like nothing at all.

It hurts to think that he's being forgotten, that we're so far away from seeing his little face.  But what hurts the most is that the way things are now seems normal.  It's normal that we have one baby to snuggle at home.  It's normal that there is one crib in the nursery.  It's normal that people think we only have one baby.

So today and every day we remember his short little life, his beautiful searching eyes, his kicks, and the possibility that lay within him.  

And I'm still waiting for it to get easier.

A few weeks ago I was looking at our family website and I noticed that there were so many pictures on it that I had never seen, so here are some pictures of Connor on July 20th, the day after his birth.

Thursday, November 19

Wednesday, November 18


Every day I look at my beautiful little guy and I am completely amazed.  

He is such a far cry from the wrinkly little baby he was just a few months ago.  Today we had Early Intervention come in to do an evaluation on Colby.  He is chronologically 3 months (4 tomorrow!) and corrected he should have been 1 month yesterday.  I fully expected the EI evaluation to yield a few delays making him eligible for services.  In fact, however, his evaluation yielded no issues whatsoever.  He is measuring above his gestational age and even at his chronological age in some areas.  The word they kept throwing around was "perfect".  And he is.  Perfect.

Some days I look at him sleeping- or not- and I am just amazed by him.  The strength he has, the progress he has made, the love I have for him.

Then other times I look at him and I am amazed by the possibilities.  He could do anything.  he could be anything.  He really is just a ball of promise and possibility and hope.  If Johnny and I continue to do our job, this little man really can be anything and can do anything.

The possibility is astounding and even overwhelming.  

Tuesday, November 17


Breast feeding drop out.

And now I admit that I am a failure.

To begin with, my milk supply was lacking because of my less-than-stellar pumping the first week or so after the boys' birth.  I already explained those reasons, so I'm not going to go into it more.

But then I was an awesome pumper. (10-12x a day and totally sustained Colby for the first 11 weeks)

Until school started and I had to go back.  Once school started I was able to squeeze in pumps at recess (10:15-10:30), lunch (12:00-12:20), and then after school (3:00-3:20).  I also had the regular ones at 5pm, 7pm, 9pm, 11pm, 2am, and 5am.  So, while I was still fitting in 9 pumps a day, I was having issues with the school pumps because of stress (someone walking in on me?) and lack of time (15 minutes at recess was NOT enough to get set up, pump, and clean up).   All this led to a drop off in my production even more.

Then there was the fact that, once Colby became an on-demand feeder at the hospital I missed some of his feeds, or he would want to eat too close to my pumping, etc.  So, he didn't get much practice.  He couldn't latch on, but he was an expert at the bottle.

And then he came home and I wasn't producing enough to sustain him.  I was still pumping, but all feeds were through bottles.  And I was having a really hard time finding time to pump in between caring for him and everything else.

So... today I admit that I am a failure.  I'm producing maybe 3-4 ounces a day.  It's sad and stressful to me, but I think I'm done.  For my sanity.  It does hurt that this was the ONE thing that I was able to do for awhile, but I've learned that, in the grand scheme of things, this is a small thing.  As long as he is healthy (and thank God he is!) then it will all be okay if I don't pump and breast feed.

But next child... I'm all there.  :)

Thursday, November 12

Few Days Home...

Some days life can be so perfect.  

Right now I have my little man snuggled up against me as I type.  He's such a little cuddle-bug.  (When he's not being nosey!)  He loves to sleep on my chest or on Daddy's chest.  He molds perfectly to my shoulder and just buries in.  So perfect and peaceful.

He's doing so well being home.  He's been home since Thursday afternoon- one week already.  I can't believe it.  The NICU is already a distant, bittersweet memory.  Back then we weren't sure where this journey would take us.

But now he's home... he's a good sleeper, likes to eat most days, and when he's awake, he's AWAKE.  Usually he has a good 4-5 hour awake period during the day.  The rest of the day he wakes to eat, then is up for maybe an hour.  But that wake period is always hilarious and the highlight of my day. 

Except for Tuesday night.  I was running on empty.  With Johnny back at work I'm number 1 every night.  I get up each time he cries then of course I'm on during the day as well.  So... I was tired and it was 9:30pm.  I knew we were in trouble because Colby had slept most of the day away and it was night and he was still sleeping.  I decided to put the both of us to bed early in the hopes that he would just wake to feed throughout the night and I could get some rest.

Well, just as I'm walking up the stairs to bed, Colby wakes up with those "I'M AWAKKKKKE" eyes.  I fed him and then rocked him.  And this boy is STRONG.  His favorite game when he's awake is to LAUNCH himself off your lap right into your face.  So, I'm rocking, desperately trying to soothe him to sleep and he's jumping into my nose.  FOR. 4. HOURS.  He jumped.  And jumped.  And jumped.  Then finally wore himself out.

So, I thought, YES he'll be asleep until at least 5am!  (It was 1am at the time).  Wouldn't you know he was up at 3am, 5am, 6:30am, and 8am?  So, yeah, his wide awake time was poorly placed a few nights ago.  I still loved it because he is SO FREAKING ADORABLE, but I was tired.  :)

Here's a few pictures from those precious first few days home.