My 365

Thursday, June 16, 2016

An Open Letter to my Stepdaughter

I've agonized over this post for the last two weeks, because, you know...feelings.  Expression outside of pen and paper is just not my thing, but today I need the world (or at least my small world) to know a few things about an extraordinary girl who exploded onto my scene over 12 years ago.

Historically the word "stepmom" doesn't conjure a pleasant image (I'm looking at you, Cinderella).  So when I realized that I was actually going to be one, I was terrified.  I was nervous the kids were going to hate me forever, that I was going to screw something up, that their father would change his mind about me because I couldn't French braid.  I was inept.  The extent of my experience with children was limited to one babysitting job over the course of one summer.  And if I'm being honest, I hated it.  I had nothing to offer these kids.  They already had two pretty fantastic parents.  They didn't need me.

It's not a French braid but it's progress!

 But then there was this silly little girl with bright eyes and a ponytail that reached all the way down her back (which just added anxiety to the whole "can't French braid" thing) who loved Strawberry Shortcake and Littlest Pet Shop.  To my surprise she didn't throw a Hollywood tantrum upon meeting me.  She asked me to push her on the swing.  She let me color a picture with her.  She let me brush her hair when it was time for bed.  She let me pick out her clothes for her.  She let me into her life, no questions asked.  A privilege that still to this day I do not feel worthy of.  She never treated me like a stepmom.  She treated me as a friend.  We would joke around and share books.  I would tease her about her huge crush on Markiplier (look him up...I had to) and she would tease me about my love of Pride and Prejudice (which she eventually grew to like as well, I mean, it's Jane Austen...duh). She would put up with my endless pictures and crazy ideas with grace.  She is my muse.  It was never complicated like most blended families are portrayed.  It was love and respect.  It is love and respect.  Pretty simple really.

Now, I've always been a shy person and because of that a lot of the time you end up a spectator on the sidelines of life.  Watching.  Observing.  You learn a lot doing this.  I have watched this girl grow from a sweet, happy child into a sweet, caring adolescent and then into a sweet, confident, loyal, beautiful powerhouse of a woman.  I've watched her fiercely protect her friends and family with unwavering loyalty.  I've seen her triumphantly conquer her goals, even if it meant trying again after falling down.  She did it without batting an eyelash.  I've seen her care for her younger siblings with so much love and tenderness you wonder if she's even real.  She's never seemed to question herself or anyone else, loving completely and unconditionally.  She is unapologetically unique and that is why everyone, and I do mean everyone, is drawn to her like a root fighting through the dirt for water you didn't even realize you were thirsty for.  She has a compassion for everyone, deserving or not, that this world desperately needs and that she's preparing to share.  She has made the incredibly difficult and amazing decision to join the Army.  She's leaving in just a short week.  Taking a free dive head first into adulthood.  She's chosen to leave her family and friends for almost a year so that she can attain her goals in life.  I wish I'd had it HALF as together as she does when I was 17.

Looking forward...

It often feels like I've been watching this life of hers as part of an audience looking past the 4th wall.  Sometimes I slip into the front row and contemplate this beautifully made work of art.  Now it seems like I'm watching her walk through a door.  Slipping quietly from childhood into the world I know and it's terrifying.  I'm holding on to the doorknob with just the tips of my fingers until I have to let go.  I know I have to.  This part of the story is hers alone to write.  She's skipping towards her future without abandon and I admire that.  I'm so glad she let me tag along.  I'm glad she let me brush her hair and push her on a swing.

...looking back

She's off to set the world on fire.  I'll bring the marshmallows.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What I Love About You!

Recently there has been yet another trend on Facebook where people are challenged to post 3 things they are thankful for everyday for 5 days or something, I don't really know.  Where the intent is great and I appreciate the positive note this leaves people with, I don't tend to do things when I'm told to do them, I guess we could call that a residual teenager syndrome (yep, I made that up, but it works, no?).  Anyway, I think I was challenged a few weeks ago and it went largely ignored, but today I was watching the girls eat their breakfast and I was thinking about some of the little things I love about them.  So I'm going to do my own version of this challenge on my trusty blog of things I love about each of my children, so really nothing like the original challenge, but let's just go with it.  I think I could really use some reminding of all the positive things in my life as well.  Can't we all?


I'm so thankful and utterly undeserving of this child.  She is a sweet soul who just wants to make everyone around her happy.  She is helpful beyond words and usually does what you ask even if sometimes you have to ask two or three times.  She may give the occasional eye roll, but considering the amount of responsibility she has being the oldest, I'll giver her that...for now.  Until she becomes a teenager and the eye rolls are meant as a non verbal "you're an idiot" then it's game on.  She's a chatterbox and I love that about her, but I love it more when it's not directed at me. Haha.  I love how much she cares for her siblings and nurturing she is.  I know that they will grow to depend on her quite a bit later in life and I trust that she is up to the task.  I love that she's patient with me as I learn and will continue to learn how to be her mother.  She's been a challenge to me from the very beginning, forcing me to go so far outside my comfort zone that google maps can't even find it.  I only hope I can do her justice.  She simultaneously cracks me up and scares the heck out of me when she acts like a teenager in training.


Gabe is both a very complicated and simple creature.  It doesn't take much to make him happy, but the problem is that he doesn't know when to say when.  So I have to say it for him and he doesn't like that.  He likes things to be done in a certain way and does not adjust to change well.  He can be the most cantankerous kid but at the same time such a loving little boy.  There is nothing like the love a boy has for his mother and vice versa.  I'm thankful for my only boy.  He redefined love for me when he came into this world.  I was worried about not being to love another as much as I loved my first, but he proved me so incredibly wrong.  He showed my how far a heart could expand and I knew from that moment on that there would always be room for more.  I love how smart he is without him really even knowing it.  He can recall facts better than most adults I know...which can sometimes be a bad thing when arguing about something you told him he could do in passing.  I love the way he interprets the world around him and how he talks about everything that ever existed.  Like one day he was talking about good his Powerade was and he commented offhandedly that is was "Power-awesome".  Watch out for this kid.  He's going places.  Only when he wants to, of course, and only the way he wants to, he does nothing easy way.


This little firecracker is a lot like Gabe in that she challenges me...everyday.  She puts me to the test and even though it feels like the song that never ends right now, I know (hope) that there is a greater purpose for her machinations.  I'm training for a life triathlon or something.  Rosie runs pretty hot and cold.  When she's hot her banshee cries can be heard by frightened sailors in the 18th century.  She sometimes makes a noise that sounds a lot like the Predator and I'll admit, I skirt around her carefully after hearing it. However, when she's cool, she's such a sweet, pleasant little thing.  Her smile is precious and genuine, her cuddles are coveted and occasionally her kisses are gold.  She is tenacious and I can only imagine that's going to serve her well later in life.  I love it when she gives me a squinty smile being silly, or that she LOVES fruit and often finishes hers and Lily's leftovers.  She's smart and calculated, which usually lends it's hand to trouble, which she has no problems finding, initiating and engaging in. My beautiful little just would not be as beautiful without you.


Last, but certainly not least, is Lily.  She is the little ray of sunshine in our lives.  She's almost ALWAYS happy and giggling.  A little shy at first and keeps to herself, but once she decides to open up...look out.  She is silly and playful and loves to dance and twirl.  Loves bows in her hair (even though she will take it out and hand it to you to be put back in...repeatedly), tutus and her stuffed lovies. She does the same thing Gabe used to do as a baby and likes to rub the soft tail or ear of a stuffed animal right under her nose.  She also likes to dismember some, take their stuffing out and shove it up her nose, so that every morning I have to check her nose and pull out a fuzz booger.  I'm really not lying.  Lily is charismatic to the max and everyone is just drawn to her.  She's very smart and figures out things quickly and loves to talk.  She has her own language, but she speaks it with enthusiasm.  She is very nurturing to her animals and to Rosie, even though her and Rosie can really get into some knock down-drag outs (I'm sure only a small sample of what is to come).  She often can be found hugging, patting Rosie's back or brushing her hair.  Yes, it is as freakin' precious as it sounds.  I love that she gets the "full belly sillies" after she eats and cracks the rest of us up.  I love that she will still cuddle (sometimes) and I love that she loves to dance and does it with reckless abandon.  Lily is my free spirited flower child and life is brighter and more amazing than I ever thought possible with her in it.

So that's it for now.  My children make like worth living for me.  Yes, they challenge me on a daily basis, but I need to be challenged.  They drain my reserves and make me crazy with worry, but I know that someday it will all play out in the most amazing way.  I was never prepared for what children bring to the picture, but I'm so thankful for them...even though I as type, the girls are fighting over a toy.  Duty calls...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Apples and Oranges

I was sitting in bed, trying to go to sleep when I just got the urge to update the old blog.  I was feeling a little sentimental watching the girls sleep, realizing that time is going by quickly and wanting to remember every inch of them.  Maybe I'm just missing their Daddy and it's making me emotional.  Either way, there it is.  As they are getting older, their little personalities are beginning to develop and they are also really starting to look different.  So here are a few observations I've made.


Lily's smile will light up the darkest corner.  She is not just a ray of sunshine, she is the whole ball of fire.  She's so easy going, happy and lovable and just as cute as a button.  Rosie may have gotten the blue eyes, but Lily got the eyelashes.  She entertains herself and loves to use her hands.  She will grab at anything she can.  She wasn't the first to roll over but she was the first to try.  Lily is pretty content to hang back and let Rosie do all the work.  Although she can rolly with the best of the polly's.  She will roll herself all the way across the room.  She wasn't as keen on eating solids at first but after a couple of weeks, she can hold her own and grabs at my hand already wanting to hold her own spoon.  She knows her way around a banana.  She is charismatic and charms everyone she meets within the first 10 seconds (usually not even that long).  I find myself looking forward to seeing her smile every makes things that much easier.  I call her Lily Pad or Lily Bear or sometimes squirt.  She is going to be the lovable charmer, always surrounded by lots of admirers.

Rollin' with her homies



Where Rosie doesn't smile as easily as Lily does, her smile is no less amazing.  She makes you work for a smile, which makes it that much sweeter to get one.  Rosie is a little more particular than Lily, and likes attention and for things to be a certain way.  That's a diplomatic way of saying she is quite fussy.  However, she is a leader.  She is a determined little thing and nothing is going to stop her.  She is working hard on crawling, even though she may jump right to walking as badly as she wants to be on the move.  She was a champ from the get go on eating her solids and she definitely has more cute, little baby fat rolls than Lily.  Since she was born I've always said she was the more dainty one, maybe because she was smaller.  However the only thing dainty about this little firecracker are her delicate features.  She will definitely be a beauty when she gets older, certainly giving her Daddy a reason to worry.  She will also be willful and independent, although I do kind of see her as being a Mama's girl right now and I am quite alright with that.  I love seeing her smile at me like I'm the only person in the world that matters right then.  I call her Squidgy or Squidget because she is so squirmy and that's always the first word I think of; and when she was just born we would call her Squeaks, because that's the noise she made instead of crying.  Look out for Rosie, she's small but mighty.

Typical Rosie face

Yes, those are peas in my hair.  Are you gonna finish that?

Trying to crawl

I have to pinch myself quite often of how lucky I am to have been given the children I have.  How lucky I am to have the privilege of having two babies.  My heart swells beyond capacity for them and for being twins, you couldn't get two more different babies.  But I love them just the same.

Sister love...they hold hands often.
...and the love is gone.  Lily kicking Rosie in the bum.  This is why they needed separate cribs.

Monday, June 3, 2013

School's Out and Babies are Sick!!

Gabe graduated to Kindergarten this year!!!
Wow, I've been a bit of a slacker, well, really no surprise there.  We have had a busy month and a half.  The kids are officially out of school and where I don't mind not having to rush in the mornings, that's about the only perk I enjoy.  Now I have 4 children demanding constant attention, instead of 2, but that's ok, we're dealing.  This is only the beginning...dun, dun, dun.  Did you hear the ominous music?

Rosie finally feeling better
Lily feeling better

Well, the girls both got a pretty nasty virus.  Lily started with it on a Saturday night, throwing up every couple of hours and not wanting to eat. This lasted about 12 hours.  Even though there wasn't much I could do to help or prevent it, I was still texting the doctor at all hours of the night.  Lily makes me VERY nervous when she gets sick.  I never used to be this person.  I was always a "rub some dirt on it and walk it off" kind of mom, but I tell you what...have a child in the hospital for an extended period of time and I guarantee you will have your doctor on speed dial for every sneeze as well.  Thankfully, however, it did end and she recovered pretty well.  Then Rosie got it.  Unfortunately Rosie got the mutated version of this virus and was throwing up for 4 days.  4 FREAKIN' DAYS!!  I was a crazy person, literally texting the doctor every hour with a play by play (we have a very patient doctor) on what Rosie was doing.  My poor little Rosebud was miserable and I couldn't do anything for her.  Once again, stuck in that situation where you have to watch your precious baby suffer through something that you can't fix.  I'm here to tell ya, I've had enough of that trash.  I didn't sleep for 3 days (and felt like I had the flu myself at one point), I was just watching her, waiting for it to happen again, garnering false hope when she didn't do it for a while and then my heart sinking again when she did.  It was awful.  But, it too, did pass.  Then the next week, they both got a cold.  Are you freakin' kidding me? 

Now, tonight, Gracie started feeling bad, saying her stomach hurt.  I tell you what, I'm over this whole sickness thing.  I will take the common cold any day over this stomach crap.  Hopefully she will feel better after a good night's sleep.  Poor Gracie.  She is such a sweet spirit and so well intentioned with the babies albeit a little overzealous sometimes.  She is Mommy's little helper and I don't know what I would do without her most days.  But she is a Daddy's girl down to her core and she is so lost without him.  I hate this for her, but I hope if there is anything good that comes out of this that it will build her into a strong girl who can handle herself.  Hopefully I will be enough for her until Daddy is home again.  Hopefully I will have the time and energy to be enough.  Hopefully I will have the patience.  I just hope.  This whole "Mommy" thing is hard. Sheesh! 

Our outing to the park, one of many more I'm sure!
Sweet sisters, who share everything!!
Our beautiful Gracie
Big sister and brother

Lily's first park outing (this was acutally about 2 months ago)

Rosie's first park outing

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mom's Day

I know they mean well.  I know the kids get excited to have mom come see what they do in school and see their friends and their teacher and that rock they kicked two weeks ago on the southeast corner of the playground.  I get it.  But if I can sound ungrateful for just a moment...I dread these things.  Especially now that I have to tote around two babies with me, things like this don't sound appealing, they make me tired the minute I hear about them.  But I go, I put on my happy face, I drag the babies out the car for the third time that day because I also worked earlier, I schlep the heavy double stroller up the hill and around the bend because I got there late (go figure) and parking was non-existent.  I squeeze my way through the door (sideways because double strollers don't fit through doorways like they CLAIM) and I find my child, wound up and whiny (nothing really new there).  There are a TON of people there with their blankets already spread out to cuddle up and watch the movie.  We have to sit behind a coat rack because, once again, the "lightweight" and "portable" 40 lb monstrosity won't fit anywhere else. Fine, whatever, I wasn't planning on watching the movie anyway, no one could hear it either.  They have pizza for the kids and I never really know if there is any for the adults at these things so I packed some snacks for myself because I've been burned before and I am just about as much fun when I'm hungry as I am when I'm hot.  After about an hour, I'm done.  Gabe's getting whiny and the babies are starting to stir. Time to go. We begin the 30 minute process of getting ready to leave and we go to get his backpack and Friday folder and there is a little gift underneath.  A goofy picture of Gabe and one of those questionnaire thingys where they ask the kids questions about their mom/dad.  I love these things, his answers are always so cute.  So I will now share what he said.  His answer to the questions will be in italics, my remarks in parenthesis.

All About Mom

Her name is Melanie but daddy calls her Mom.  She is 16 years old and weighs 17 pounds (way to make up for the "do you still have a baby in your tummy" comment).  The best thing she cooks is cookies (Tollhouse hasn't failed me yet). She likes to eat eggs (he likes to eat eggs, he likes it when I cook him eggs) and she drinks milk (probably should, but not really)We like to hug together (awwww, I do like to force hugs on him constantly against his will).  My mom is scared of nothing (except for spiders...and sharks...hate sharks, oh and ghosts, and the dark, and being alone...why don't we just say I live in fear).  Her favorite place to shop is the grocery store (no, that would just be the place I shop most often).  She likes to watch grown-up channels on TV (not like "adult" channels, as in channels that do not have cartoons...jeez).  I love my mom because I love her so much (back at ya, buddy). Love, Gabriel

He may make me want to ram my head through a brick wall on a daily basis, but I really love that kid. :)

It's a crappy cell phone picture, but here's me and my main man at Mom's Day

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Weekly Update

Ok, so actually it's more like a quarterly update, but I'm gonna go with optimism on this one.  I may eventually get to a weekly update.

So the girls have had a couple of doctor's appointments, at their two month appointment they were both around 8 pounds, Lily bigger by a few ounces.  At their 4 month appointment Lily was 13 pounds (chunk!) and Rosie was pulling up the rear at a little over 12 pounds.  They are both in the lower end of their percentiles, and I still, after 4 kids, have really no idea what those percentiles mean, but they tell you at the doctor's office so I try to remember.  Lily continues to be slightly bigger than Rosie and for a little while there was ahead with her development as well. I don't know why, Rosie just seemed to be more laid back, getting to it when she darn well felt like it.  Lily was first to smile, laugh, talk and coo and she was also the first one to start trying to roll over.  She almost had it too! But Rosie came up from behind and passed up Lily by rolling over with flourish, even though it doesn't seem like she likes it too much, even now.  Lily finally started rolling over about 2 days after Rosie did, but she certainly doesn't do it as much.  I've tried to catch her doing it on video, but she's like a deer in headlights when I turn on the camera and refuses to roll.  As soon as you set Rosie down on the floor she rolls over, then acts all mad that she rolled over, so I put her over on her back and she acts mad that she's on her back again and rolls over.  Oy, a sign of things to come, I think.  Rosie also kind of took over the reigns with the talking.  Lily is more choosy now when she wants to talk, mostly because once Rosie found her voice, she hasn't really stopped.  Lily is now starting to move ahead with her hand/eye coordination, she's starting to grab for objects and alas, put them in her mouth, along with both her hands and I'm sure, eventually, a foot.

For two babies that shared a womb, born at the same time (15 minutes apart) they sure are different, right down to their poop (if you're offended by poop, then we can't be friends :)).  But I will get into that more in their individual personality posts.  For now, that should catch us up on development.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Baby Story Part Duex (Lily's Story)

So as mentioned in the previous baby story post.  During my pregnancy we found a problem with Lily.  She was retaining too much fluid in her sac, which could be result of several different issues, but as advanced as medical technology is, it still has limitations and we didn't know for sure.  The answer we were given at first was "sometimes it just happens".  After a few more ultrasounds the doctors discovered that the cause of the additional fluid was due to her intestine being blocked because it was narrowed and underdeveloped, officially called a jujenal atresia.  What this meant was she would require surgery as soon as she was born.  All the doctors up to this point were very careful not to alarm us and said that it should be a relatively easy fix.  We consulted with the maternal fetal doctor, the NICU doctor and finally we went to consult with the pediatric surgeon who would be actually performing the surgery.  He said all the same things, walked us through the prep and time after delivery.  Then he started talking about the possibilities of complications they could encounter.  The one risk he said was very rare but also a possibility so he was obligated to share it with us.  He said that they could get in there to repair the blockage and find that there were no intestines past that point and then there would be nothing they could do.  And there it was.  The thing I had not allowed myself to think about, the thing all the other doctors were very careful not to mention, but now there it is, staring me in the face as hard as I was staring at a glass apple sitting on the table of a small conference room in a nondescript doctors office.  Mike told me on the way home that I looked like I had been punched in the stomach.  It felt like it.  I didn't know what to do with this information.  He said it was unlikely but still there, lurking in the back of my mind.  What if I had lost her before I even got a chance to have her?  How could I live with that?  How could I survive to be a mother to the other children who needed me, including her twin?  I took this information and did what I do best and I worried.  I internalized it, pretended to happy and felt a sick dread with every passing minute.  I prayed for her, I asked my grandmother to hold her and watch over her and protect her.  I knew, deep down, that everything was going to be ok, but until it was over I was never going to be completely sure.

So fast forward to the delivery.  She was born and she and Rosie were perfect.  I got to say hello to them and then they were whisked away to the NICU.  Because she couldn't eat Lily was immediately hooked up to and IV giving her vitamins and nutrition.  So it was a few hours before I was able to go back and see them.  They wheeled me back to the NICU and they had the girls in two separate rooms.  We saw Lily first.  She was still messy from the birth, had her leg splinted with the IV and a tube down her throat.  I have never wanted an image out of my head so badly, until later that it is, when I saw her after surgery. They let me hold her.  It took several minutes and a nurse to move all the lines and tubes before I could hold my baby.  I couldn't just pick her up. I talked to her for a second, then hummed to her, then just held her and kissed her head.  Then is was time to go see Rosie and I was pretty worn out at this point so they wheeled me back to the room.  The next day (Friday) they were taking her to Children's Hospital at Scottish Rite for her surgery on Saturday. Mike had spent some of the night in the NICU with the girls and they took me back in there to see her that morning before they prepped her to go.  This time I fought back tears, and I quietly sang to her.  I sang the song from Three Men and a Baby, "goodnight sweetheart, well, it's time to go, I hate to leave you but I really can't stay, goodnight sweetheart, goodnight." They brought her in one more time before she was going to be transported.  She was all bundled up and riding around in a high tech crib.  I said goodbye and she was on her way.  At this point I have held her once. Once. Mike was already at the hospital waiting for her to get there, so I was left by myself with my worry.  Later that day they decided Rosie was doing well enough that she could be brought into my room with me.  I think they were partially doing this so I wouldn't focus on Lily and the worry so much.  So I gave Rosie all the cuddles I had for Lily and her and waited to hear from Mike, from the doctor, for something.  Mike was going back and forth from Children's, to the hospital I was in and to the house to check on the kids.  He was on zero sleep for three days straight.  But since I couldn't be with Lily I was happy he was.  I didn't want her to be alone.  The night before her surgery he held her for 2 hours, the entire time they would allow him to be with her, he held her, just in case that was the only time.  So morning came, the surgery started and they told me it was only supposed to take two hours, which came and went, and I was beginning to worry but finally Mike called and said everything was fine.  Sigh of relief. Huge sigh.

Now began the recovery, at least two weeks in the hospital.  They had to put what they called a PIC line in her head which is what they used to give her medicine and nutrition and she still had the tube down her throat which was being used to remove all the bile and stuff from her stomach. So finally on Sunday they were going to let me and Rosie come home.  It took FOREVER to get discharged but it happened and we were home by the evening.  So of course first thing Monday morning Mike knew that there would be no stopping me from going to see Lily, so we packed up Rosie and made the 1 hour trek to the children's hospital, the drive that he had been making every day.  Once we got there, Mike tried to find me a wheel chair since I was still recovering, in pain and as you know from my previous post, had no core muscles whatsoever and therefore had a hard time standing up straight and walking.  However there were no wheelchairs to be found to fit a person over the age of 6, so walking it was.  I just wish it hadn't been such a LONG walk, but nothing would have stopped me.  We finally get up there, and only one of us could go in at a time because Rosie wasn't allowed to go into the NICU.  So I had to walk in by myself.  I had to call in to a nurse to open the doors for me.  I had to wash my hands and sanitize.  Then the second set of doors opened and I walked into a large room with beds sectioned off in groups of four in a star pattern.  Almost like cubicles only with little plastic baby beds.  The beeping was constant and annoying.  I couldn't imagine all these tiny babies trying to sleep with that noise.  I walked all the way to the back of the room where she was.  When I saw her I couldn't hold it back any longer and I just started crying, the hard kind of crying, with snot everywhere.  The nurse looked horrified and tried to reassure me she was fine, which technically I knew, but nothing ever prepares you to see your baby laying there peacefully with machines and tubes and wires and the beeping, not being able to hold her, not being able to take it all away.  That's what a mother is supposed to do right? Take away the pain and the fear? The guilt was overwhelming.  I couldn't breathe and it didn't go away for a very long time.  The guilt that I wasn't with her at all times, the guilt of having done this to her (I didn't say it was all logical), the guilt of having to leave every day, the guilt of being able to nurse Rosie but not her.  It went on like this for two weeks.  I saw her almost every day. I held her as much as I could.  I pumped milk for her so she could start eating...and she did!  After a minor set back where she had some bleeding in her stomach and needed a transfusion (another SUPER fun day), she was able to try and start eating.  She hadn't been allowed to eat since she was born and I was terrified she wouldn't be able to get the hang of it.  But she ate her bottles with vigor and she wanted more!  So finally they let me try to nurse her and warned me that it may take time and work, but when we went to do it, she got right to it and nursed like a champ.  That's my girl...we know how to eat!  This was just another step towards her coming home.  She continued to thrive and two weeks on the dot we were able to bring her home.  But the guilt didn't go away.  This time the guilt was for the other babies who couldn't come home.  One family we got to know had a baby who was VERY premature and had a lot of health problems, she had been there for 3 months and were suffering a big setback.  We weren't sure if she was every going to get to come home.  So many babies in there, all for different reasons, but all precious.  My heart goes out to those parents and the ones who are and will be in the same position.  I may have only had to endure it for a little while, but that was enough.  The people at that hospital are amazing and special people who have an unimaginably hard job. I took me a while to get this post up because I was dreading having to relive these feelings.  So now it is done, and it won't stare me in the face anymore.  Now I can look over at her sweet sleeping face with her little bare feet sticking out of the covers and know that I will be able to hold her whenever I want and feed her without inhibition and love her and Rosie unconditionally.  Speaking of, she is beginning to honk at me, must be time for the midnight snack.
Lily hours after she was born

Rosie after she was moved to the room with me

Lily recovering from surgery being held by Mimi
Lily's first night home and their first time seeing each other since birth