Light at the end of the tunnel

I was a bit down last time I posted. It was my birthday. When i came to see my babies, I received the best birthday gift that day! One that was much needed. Mia nursed for the first time! Though, the nurses told me that nursing would only start once my girls hit 34 weeks, Mia was showing clear signs of interest…
Thank g-d, on that particular morning, the nurse that was caring for them was also a lactation consultant. She told me that I could try…Mia latched on immediately. It felt so right! It was pure bliss. I tried with Zoë the very next day. She too knew exactly what to do…
They still get their meals through the feeding tube. Nursing, for now, is an extra bonus..for all of us.
A few days ago, my babies moved out of the Nicu, into the ‘intermediate care’. The very next day, Zoë moved out of her incubator to a heated bassinet! Its like she moved out of her protected, secluded womb like cave into our world. they are both doing great.They’re both completely off oxygen, growing into ‘real’ babies. They are progressing so quickly!
Mia and Zoë are supposed to be fraternal, not identical. But, from day one we’ve had a hard time telling them apart. As they grow, and are getting closer with their weights, It’s only getting harder.

Now all of a sudden I’m realizing that I have to get ready for their homecoming. It’s an imminent reality. Let the nesting begin!

My time at the hospital has become a routine, my norm. I’ve made some deep friendships with other moms. Last week was hard. My friend lost her baby. One of identical twins. Born the same week of pregnancy as Mia and Zoë. This week she took her other son home. Life and death, happiness and sorrow, are so intertwined here.
Since I’ve written last, Chanan and I have decided that in order to really go through the grieving process for our loss of our ‘baby b’, we need to give her a name. We named her Libby. In Hebrew it means ‘my heart’. She literally has my heart, and will forever carry a piece of it. Our next step is to contact the Chevre Kadisha (burial society) and find out where she is buried. According to Jewish custom, still-born babies are buried in unmarked graves. We feel like we have a need to find her final resting place.

I’ve been having a hard time keeping my milk supply up. Trying everything I know..but, it seems that rest is what I need most. Can’t imagine how it’ll be once Zoë gets home. Pumping, giving a bottle, supplementing with nursing, burping and starting over again..it’ll be especially difficult since Mia will still be in the hospital for a few weeks longer (mostly gaining weight, g-d willing), and I will be traveling back and forth to see her, as well as caring for my 5 other feisty children..
Speaking of…they were finally able to meet their baby sisters, through the windows of their new room. The looks on their faces were priceless. Lucky we captured it on camera.
Each step of this journey is proving to be harder. I am a mama bear, and have the strength to do so. Strength that I didn’t know I had in me. This is such a growing and learning experience. So trying.

Without planning, I am back doulaing. Had my first birth unexpectedly a week ago. A laboring woman, who I’ve been with before, called me in the midst of her contractions. I was happy to go assist her. It was a beautiful birth. It felt so good. So right. I have now several other births booked. It’ll be an interesting balancing act, once my babies are home. Heck, I’m up for the challenge. I’m already used to a certain level of intensity in my life…
Thank g-d I have a great support system. Chanan is the best! Husband and abba (father) extraordinaire.
Wish us luck…

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Birthday Ponderings

Today is my birthday. 9/11. a date that is now (since 2001) always mixed with sadness.
This year, I Can’t bring myself to celebrate it…
It’ll have to wait till my precious babies are home.
I feel like the void I have inside is just getting bigger.
I’m avoiding people. Don’t feel like all the “mazal Tov’s” are appropriate without having my girls with me to show. It doesn’t feel right without being able to show the fruits of my labour.

The kids will be off school at the end of this week, for 2 weeks. Excited to spend time with them. It’s what I’ve wanted to do all that time on bed rest…but, now I feel that I’ll just be even more torn between home and hospital..
I’m planning on spending Yom Kippur in the hospital.
Getting to the hospital and back is exhausting. Getting up every morning, I fill up my cooler with the freshly pumped breast milk that I’ve painstakingly collected, drop by drop. Then i Trek into j-m, to the hospital every day. All day. It’s tiring.
I feel like my strength and Emunah are constantly being tested. I don’t have much more in me. I know I have to find the koach, and I will, but it is hard. Getting so much harder.
This past Shabbat we spent time with friends who lost their first, full term, baby many years ago. They have a big beautiful family now, but their loss will always be a part of them. Speaking with them made us realize that we haven’t yet grieved our, born sleeping, baby b. Haven’t even named her. We are still, so much in survival mode. No room or time to grieve yet. Though it feels like it’s a growing need.
This journey called grief is new to me, it evolves… I keep going between my need to grieve, to my strong, fighting beauties in the Nicu, who need me. Now.
Thank g-d they’re here, and they need me!
I don’t know what will come next. I just know that writing this blog and sharing my feelings helps. Friends help. Hashem helps.

Chagim is an intense time for any family. I’m just feeling it so much more under these circumstances…

Blessing you all for a full, uplifting, empowering year of togetherness. Achdut. Health, happiness, peace and Shefa. May this year bring Inner peace to us all.
G’mar Chatima Tovah

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Shana Tovah

I’ve been going back and forth about writing. It is too hard to explain what it’s like having babies in the Nicu. Intensive to say the least. I’m having a hard time updating anyone. I find myself trying to avoid seeing anyone, so I won’t have to answer any questions… Things change from moment to moment. It is 2 steps forward, one step back. Sometimes 1 step forward, 2 steps back…
I’m physically and emotionally drained to say the least. Still trying to heal from my c section. Trying to keep my milk supply up. This is definitely taking its toll…

After realizing how difficult it is for me to get to and from the hospital, two good friends took the initiative and made an on-line campaign to raise funds to help. I am blown away by the outpouring of love and generosity. Here is the link:

http://www.rootfunding.com/campaign/getting-mommy-there

Please continue your prayers for our little girls

מיה אמונה בת גאוליה שומרונה
זהר אושר אביה בת גאוליה שומרונה

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Shana Tova U’Metuka.
May this new year bring us all peace, health and many blessings (even in small packages…)