Ten years ago, I was deep into fertility treatments and a busy teaching schedule, settling into a new city far from home, and hoping every single day that I would be pregnant. I was trying to wrap my head around FSH and LH levels and pray that my decision to stay on my seizure medication was the right one.
At the end of the summer of 2004, shortly after buying a small SUV to transport my two crazy dogs all over northeast Ohio, I was completely taken by surprise to find out that I was, truly, pregnant. The pregnancy turned out to be far more grueling than I could have imagined. Ovarian torsion, emergency room visits, a morphine drip, weekly progestin injections, a vaginal prolapse, 72 hour migraines, weekly magnesium drips in a dark hospital room, long days teaching middle school boys, pre-eclampsia, an amnio, bed rest, an induction, an awful OB resident, an awesome medical student, the NICU. Sweet Jesus.
35 ridiculously hard weeks later, ten pounds of baby were all mine and I couldn’t have been more happy to be done with that pregnancy and take my little alien looking children home to lay them naked in the window and soak up whatever early April Ohio sun that we could find.
After surviving that pregnancy and delivering two tiny but beautiful infants, I felt like a different person. I felt empowered. I felt like a rock star. I had super powers and I couldn’t wait to use them again. Many, many people thought I was crazy. But, from my perspective, I was pretty sure that God gave me a high five in between the first epidural that didn’t work for Baby A and the second epidural that did work for Baby B and said, “You go, girl!”
When you bring home premature twin babies, the bar is set really low. If the babies were fed and had on at least a diaper, the day was a total success. If we took a walk, I considered that amazing. There was no time to read parenting magazines, there were no online mommy forums to find support or bitch and moan. If ever there was an example of living in the moment – albeit in survival mode, those early baby years were the perfect example.
So, after all that pregnancy fun and preemie baby adventures, why not try it again… I was owed a less stressful baby carrying experience and maybe even a full term babe. A tiny part of my masochistic self secretly wished for another set of twins. Gratefully, two years later, I was pregnant again. Only one. I was ready. Bring it. And two years after that baby 4 was headed our way. 2010 is definitely a blur - four kids, a third new city, three kids in diapers. I had some rough spots for a bit but, in the end, the good guys won and I decided that I thrive with chaos.
This past summer, I stopped nursing baby 4 and it was a tough break for both of us. This little guy is a mama’s boy to beat all mamas’ boys and I’m doing nothing to stop it. His first question every morning is, “Is it a mama day?” That’s his super cute way of asking if I’m going to work or if we get to hang out.
This coming summer marks exactly 10 years to the month that I conceived the twins. For the past ten years, I have been elbow deep in dirty diapers, nursing bras, milk-stained clothes, pediatrician visits, and car seats. I hate seeing photos of myself with dark circles under my eyes and a tired face because I have loved just about every minute of my baby decade even if I have apparently spent the last decade looking like death. I loved my late nights nursing the babes. I loved not caring about wearing the same cargo shorts and flip-flops 5 out of 7 days a week. I loved shopping for cute baby clothes, trading hand-me-downs with one of my best friends and obsessively documenting every single moment with my camera and then my camera phone. Facebook friends, I apologize. Thank goodness Instagram did not exist.
As my twins turn nine and have sleepovers and homework and afterschool sports, I love every minute of that, too. But it’s different. In spite of my tough middle school teacher demeanor, I am a total baby person. The other day, my three year old knocked on the bathroom door instead of barging right in. I cried a little. I’m excited to see what our next ten years hold but right now I am a little melancholy as I give away the baby gear and my cloth diaper stash and put an end to the sippy cup drawer.
As my decade of baby winds down, I am hanging onto every last bit of baby-ness I can get my hands on. I know that fun times await our little gang but the transition is hard for mama.
Showing off her super powers and cooking up local, delicious and gluten-free food at www.erinbrighton.com
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