Friday, 4 January 2008

18 month Letter to S & J

Friday, January 4, 2008
Dear Babies Toddlers

Dear Sam & Joel,

Today, you are 1 year 6 months and 4 days old. I really can't believe it has been that long already. Nor that it has taken me this long to write down these thoughts.The months have flown, thats over 78 weeks or 552 days or 13248 hours or 794880 minutes of joy and endless delight.

We found at 4 weeks , we were pregnant on our second IVF cycle but third transfer of two embryos - you guys.Our last little ones. At 5 weeks6 days we knew there was definitely one heartbeat possibly two of you but it wasn't offically confirmed till 7 weeks 2 days.

Two years ago, I was 9 weeks pregnant when I started 'spotting' for the second time between Christmas and New Year .I thought I was losing one or both of you. A unscheduled ultrasound showed me you were both okay. I continued to spot for the next 4 - 5 weeks. I was in fear of losing you.

It was with baited breath I went to the Nuchal translucency (NT) scan or Nuchal fold.I was ecstatic to be pregnant with a healthy 'pair in there', 'twins'. I anxiously waited for the first trimester to end.Though, I knew there were no guarantees as I lost your sister at 26 weeks or before actually. I knew so many angels even born at fullterm. Still, I could finally start to dream a little about being able to meet you both, and see you and hold you as living breathing treasures.I had a little more hope and so much phenomenal support.

At 18 weeks we found out you were both boys - sons & 'brothers' ... not that I ever disappointed but I know others expressed regrets there was no girl in there... because of Charlotte. In a way I was relieved that there would be no comparisons. I lived and breathed for the ultrasounds every two weeks from about 22 weeks. Every time I waited my heart skipped a beat till the sonographer showed me both your heartbeats. I found out by ultrasound that your sister's heart had just stopped beating reason known.

When it became apparent you had to be born a month early @ 35weeks and 4 days by caesarian section. I was so scared I had failed you. All was eventually ok. I cried when you were about to be born - we had waited for over 14yrs to hear those first cries (your big brother we adopted @13 months) and your sister slipped so still and silently into this world - then the only cries were mine.

It took us 19 days for them to let us take you home though in my mind you were ready after a week ... I wanted you to home so much .You were both well but they said it was 'feeding' problems. I couldn't understand it. I hated walking out the hospital door empty handed 7 days after your birth, on the eve of my birthday too ... though only an interim goodbye - it was reminiscent of 22 months before when we said goodbye to Charlotte (forever).

I am sorry I didn't get to write an actual 12 month letter .I endeavoured to do it but failed and now you've been with us for 18 months. The first few months were gone in the blink of an eye ... not that we got a lot of sleep. At best you slept 4-5 hrs in a stretch but not always at the same time. You were both fairly settled babes and breast milk soon had your sleeping again. I was always tired but then again I stayed up too late on the Internet. Though I was always a little tired I was never overwhelmed. I was perpetually scared something would go 'wrong' or scared that I wasn't going to be a good mum. I knew how to do how to feed you, burp you,settle you but could I love you both, enough.

At the beginning I couldn't get enough of you ... when someone else was there holding you both I wanted them to give you back. For a long time all you did was sleep and eat, pee and poop.I didn't want to wish the time away. Though I was so eager to fast forward to when I could really play and interact with you. As the days went by you both were smiling and showing your individuality and reaching out to grasp the world around you with both hands.

Sam and Joel , you were, still are, such happy,smiley babies, the littlest things bring the brightest smiles to your faces and your blue eyes light up. Where ever I went people were smiling and cooing, and later lining up to high-five you both - your big brother taught you early. I was so proud of you.

Before you were born, and especially when you arrived I already loved you both so much . I wasn't prepared for how much you would impact our life in a blessed though chaotic way. Everything is more worthwhile. As, I watch you sleeping or at play I realize the time is flying by faster than I want it too.

Before I knew it, there was a parade of triumphant firsts that I never got to properly document.It seems that eighteen months has passed in a blur . Countless precious memories were made, with an endless list of spectacular firsts ... first smiles and coos, first words (mum), first rolls, first foods, first creeping,clocking,crawls & cruising, then sitting, first steps, first climbs and falls, first birthdays, first teeth and first bites and first reciprocal hugs. I wish I could replay your first birthday ... I wanted to remember, to cherish every single moment of your lives.

Joel, you spent two months in the Pavlic harness for your hip dysplasia - from 4 months to six months - no baths the first month, then only a handful of baths the next. You didn't mind though your movement was very restricted. You took it so well. It didn't stop you later from being first to crawl and walk .

Joel, the day you got really sick with high temperatures and they thought you had meningitis @ 5months was the worse. You didn't but it was scary seeing you endure the lumbar punctures. When they diagnosed a UTI - related to kidney reflux and kidney dysplasia I was so worried.It is being well managed but is an ongoing medical issue.It breaks my heart when you have to have blood tests and scans etc but we hope you will grow out of with no permanent kidney damage.I hope this is the worse of it over and you don't have any other medical problems.

Joel, you started to breastfeed at just over 5 months and it was magical. I never imagined it possible after all those months of exclusive expressing and pumping for you. You soon became a breast man like your brother.You both are fiercely jealous if one is feeding and not the other. I guess that is the time that stresses me the most ... leaving one of you to cry and not being able to meet your needs then and there. Twin/tandem feeding is awesome but you rarely go to sleep for a nap or at nighttime unless I feed you single. You both poke, prod and grab at each other, laughing and distracting each other from feeding properly or to sleep.

Sam , the day I saw the cafe au lait marks appearing and realised you have inherited the genetic disorder that I have (and other family members). I wanted to crawl into a ball and cry.It still breaks my heart every time I see your na.ked body permanently marked .I don't know what the future holds in regards to what you may endure.It is so variable and very scary. I will there for you as best I can to make sure you are okay. I am so sorry my precious boy for this.

Every day I see more independence and your little personalities shining through but you don't cause too much trouble.You have gone from my tiny 4lb12 and 6lb8 babies to lean but cuddly toddlers - though Sammy is now the lighter of you both.

The madness and mayhem that reigned once you could crawl around 9 months ,doubled when you could cruise the furniture at 10 - 11months, then escalated when you could walk. Joel, you took the first tentative two or three steps alone in late August and Sam not till a few weeks later . It wasn't long before you both were walking halfway across the family room into Daddy or my arms! .Your growing up so quickly and I don't want to wish your babyhood away but I let you feed yourselves . The mess is inevitable but we have a lot of laughs.Now we try to get you to help with picking up toys and things and you are learning quickly.

Amazingly you are good boys most of the time.Though mischievous of late I know it all part of your development and the crazy days of climbing and scaling the furniture will pass.So will the paper shredding and trashing of all things within your reach.You sleep well in our bed, with the side car.I love waking up with you both beside me and snuggling with you . I admit I do have days where I want to shriek and pull my hair out but they are few. My grey hairs are still few so that is a good sign.

You can undo your cloth nappies in a flash and remove parts of your clothing ... uh oh but it is funny. You have wicked grins as we say "NO !"

I still cherish the moments I can rock you in my arms or juggle you both on my lap, because often you both won't sit still long enough for me to do that unless you are breastfeeding .Trying to get you to sit still to read a book is a struggle - you just want to play.

Joel, you are so happy and cheerful all the time except when you are waiting to be fed. You are the patient one. You enjoy your food and eat well. You like vegetables but not salad. Cheese and eggs -no way. You play the drums like a little pro and have everyone in awe of your talent already. You like to imitate your big brother and getting into boxes is one of your favourite things. I love your chubby arms and legs ...and that cheeky smile .Your hearty giggle is such a happy laugh.We all start laughing. You love to wear things around your neck and the stacking rings as bangles. You can sign for milk but it more of wave with your fingers and a huge very cute. You love the dummy and helps when you have to wait.

Sam, you like to have attention and to be fed first up, you can cry quite loudly and have a tanty if I try to do anything else but feed you.Even now you know exactly when you want to be breastfed and sign for milk with a cheeky grin if you aren't in tears.You are easy going, and can usually be calmed quickly with the breast.Late at night if I am at the computer, you will get out of bed, leaving Daddy, to toddle down the hallway to find me to nurse. It is a struggle to get any food into you ...barely no puree vegies/fruit/rice cereal has touched your lips but slowly we are increasing and varying your diet from plain rice and custard. You are the charmer and your blue, blue eyes are breathtaking. I hope they stay that way.You now bring Joel his dummy ... unless you are teasing and taking it away to chew on it.

I am not sure how much longer our nursing will continue .Though people are asking me - how much longer ? but I hope I will be able to demand feed you till at least 2 and beyond if all goes well. I am pleased it worked for us.Your Daddy has given me so much support.

You both sit on command at the mention of a biscuit or Chocolate. It is so funny to see you drop instantly to the floor and wait expectantly or raise you hands in anticipation. You will doing anything for a Smartie, but you quite happily pass them to each other when we ask you to .. sometimes both go in one mouth ... uh oh !.

Your attempts to talk and communicate are becoming clearer though you have only a few clear words. Mumma, Daddy, D. Nan Nan, Dog, uh oh and uh uh uh 'that' are most noticeable but you understand much more and can follow many requests ... like put you hat on, outside,lets go to car and "sit down" !.

You both love to be tickled and rumbled by your big brother. Everywhere you go your smiles melt hearts every time (and daddy's and mine especially). I love to grab and kiss your chubby legs and feet when we swing outside. Neither of you will sit and watch TV but you can channel surf like pros with the remote or manually. You are good at button pressing and love mobile phones. Bath time is fun and tossing the toys in and then later 'out' is a favourite too.

You are my precious little guys. It is not possible to put into words how much you mean to us after losing your sister. I struggle to imagine what if's ... if she didn't die and what if you were all together or would you be here at all...???

Being outside is your favourite past time and you both love the swings,slide, play gym, cars, balls and little toddler like to throw the ball for the dog but he is less than impressed at your distance and aim.

Sam, you still only have 5 teeth ... maybe that is a good thing LOL you only got your first tooth at almost 13 months. Joel, got your first at 13.5 months and now you are up to 7 teeth with your top molars points just breaking through. You have given each other a fierce chomp or two on the finger (s) - because you insist on putting it in an open mouth and tears have flowed - you haven't learned yet. I get very cross when you bite me though thankfully it is not often.

You are such good buddies though you had everyone in stitches at Christmas tussling and fighting over a toy.You love to play along side each other and you share well. I can ask each of you to give the other a biscuit or smarties or toy and amazingly you do (most of the time).I am looking forward to watching you grow up into talented young men ... hopefully not for along time. lets take it one day at a time please. Your big brother at 14yrs is so grownup now - (well he thinks so) I want to slowly enjoy every minute of you two.

In the whole scheme of things 18 months is a short time when I think of all the time we will have together. I pray it will be a long time.The last 18 months of my life have been the best I have ever experienced. I love you both so much and every day I give thanks to God that I have you in my life .If it is any indication how much fun this first year and half has been , the days ahead can only bring more laughter, more fun and countless joys.

Just this morning as we shared my our breakfast cereal you were both giggling and laughing hysterically when the I scooted the toy motorbike across the table and then it went onto the floor, over and over - I had to laugh too. Laughing is a such wonderful way to start the day.

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