The boys’ party in a video

Had to share the awesome video our dear friend Brian made of the boys’ pancakes & pajamas party. He is super talented & we’re so thankful for this special way to remember this day! (I won’t lie, I watched the 1st birthday party video just before the 2nd birthday party & man-how precious to be able to be taken right back to those moments. Ummm…which birthday will I stop being so emotional?!)

BP – we can’t thank you enough.  If you need video done-he’s your guy! So good!

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the boys’ birth story, 2 years later

I meant to write out the boys’ birth story a long time ago, I really did. I love reading birth stories. Those who know me well know that pregnancy/childbirth/baby fascinates me–I was the girl who watched every episode of A Baby Story, read every book, & still enjoy following pregnancy/baby blogs. I think the reason mine never got written was because it was just not at ALL what I had hoped for or dreamed about my whole life, and emotionally I detached myself with regrets & “if only’s.” Jeff & I recently came across a birth story fairly similar to mine (I read it crying the whole time) and he encouraged me to go ahead and write this out, so I am–just in time for their second birthday. Because I am realizing that though it’s not at all what I imagined, it IS their story. They were born and survived, and are now healthy, thriving, amazing little boys… and that’s all that should matter.

On Friday, July 24th, 2009, I called my doctor’s office after 4 straight days with a headache that wouldn’t go away. Jeff had been trying to get me to call for a while but finally my mom insisted and I actually listened (I may be just a bit stubborn). They urged me to come in that afternoon to check things out as my blood pressure had risen slightly the last time I’d been in and they wanted to be safe. I also had horrible swelling in my feet & legs. That afternoon I was supposed to help drive our missions team to the airport. Our church was about to send a group to Peru for a week–a group that included my dad, sister, and our best friends. Jeff & I originally were going to go on this trip before I got pregnant, and then Jeff had to back out as well once we found out it was twins and I wouldn’t let him go since I would be 32 weeks with (unpredictable) multiples. Thankfully my mom decided to stay home as well (little did we know how glad we’d be about that decision!). When we dropped them off at the airport, I barely scratched a little scab from a bug bite and my arm started bleeding like I have never seen–just spurting blood. A friend of ours is a nurse and the look on her face said it all–something wasn’t right. I promised my family & friends I’d do my best to keep the babies in until they returned (we had been praying specifically the entire pregnancy that they wouldn’t be born until at least the Saturday they got back from Peru!), and headed to my appointment. I really wasn’t that concerned at this point–I’d had a relatively issue-free pregnancy, especially for twins, besides the fact I’d been nauseous the whole time. In my head I thought I might just get put on some bedrest or something–I’d been lucky enough to avoid that completely up to this point & it was probably inevitable, right?

When I arrived at the doctor’s office it took them basically no time to send me right over to the hospital – my blood pressure had taken quite a jump, I had protein in my urine sample, & my face was quite puffy (my doctor later told me that he saw me walk in from all the way down the hall and already knew I’d get sent to the hospital). That was when I burst into tears–one of my closest friends was getting engaged that night (though she didn’t yet know it!) & I was supposed to go to her surprise engagement party afterwards. I just sent 4 very important people off to another country for a week. This can’t be happening! Just yesterday things were totally fine!

We were quickly triaged at the hospital and they told me I was having contractions 4 minutes apart–somehow I hadn’t really realized. I’d had bad Braxton-Hicks contractions since about 20 weeks, so I guess I had just gotten used to the pain. They got me into a room and began medications to stop my labor. I had to begin a 24 hour urine sample to see how bad the preeclampsia was. The neonatologists came in to talk to us about the boys’ prognosis at this point and their goals for us (at this point I was 31 weeks, 5 days). I received the first steroid shot to help quickly develop the boys’ lungs in case they needed to be delivered (ideally these steroids take 2 shots and 48 hours, but every little bit of time helps). I called a friend to tell her I wouldn’t make it to the engagement party & cried again. My dad, Ash, & Jenn called from Miami about to board a plane to Lima–which meant more crying and convincing them that they had to go on this trip & not turn around & come back here. I was trying to stay optimistic that these babies could stay in till they got back, but my heart was breaking at the thought that they might miss it all.

The IV medications weren’t working–the contractions were getting stronger–so they made the call to put me on magnesium sulfate. Anyone who’s had this drug understands, and if you haven’t had it–I wouldn’t wish it upon ANYONE. It’s hardcore and it’s miserable. While I waited for it to kick in, my sweet friends came by after the engagement party was over to show me pictures & check on me. After they left, we decided to try to get some sleep. My mom went home and Jeff fell asleep–with his heavy coat on in the middle of July, because I was already so insanely hot from the magnesium that the room temp resembled the Arctic, I guess. So began the longest night of my life – burning hot, sick, vomiting, bedridden (I had even lost “bathroom privileges” at that point & had a catheter which was AWFUL) and so miserable that I remember just staring at the clock, begging for it to be morning. BUT – the medicine was working and my contractions were calming down, so no matter how awful it was, it was worth it to me to keep those babies cooking!

The next day (Saturday) was much more promising–I was able to go off the mag, my contractions had pretty much quit, and the boys and I were looking pretty good. My urine test confirmed that I was preeclamptic and had pregnancy-induced hypertension, but my blood pressure wasn’t getting any worse at the moment so I could just stay put for a bit. We watched a lot of movies, had a few visitors, and tried to lay low. By Saturday night my doctor said the boys & I were stable (not improving but not getting any worse) and if things were perfect the next day & I was “smelling like roses” I might even be able to go home & be on strict bedrest – or at least stay there on hospital bedrest. I felt so much better – hopeful that I might be able to keep these little guys in till the end of the week when the Peru team returned!

However, on Sunday morning, July 26th, I woke up early, around 5:30, in a pool of blood. As soon as I realized it, I was absolutely terrified. I immediately woke Jeff up, paged the nurse, and things were quite frantic for a bit until they could stabilize me and get my doctor in to do an ultrasound. I had a placental abruption (where the placenta tears away from the uterus–a pretty serious condition). Thankfully, both boys were okay and I was once again stable but they told us these boys would have to be born sometime today. Our doctor was hoping to get us to Sunday night so the steroid shots for the boys’ lungs had the full 48 hours to take effect. During the ultrasound we discovered that both boys were head down so he was going to let me try to deliver without a c-section, which I was so hoping to avoid. At that point I was all cried out about my dad, sister, & dear friends missing the birth–sadly, it was inevitable at this point, so I just tried to relax & be thankful that my sons were still okay after such a scary morning.

My contractions were also starting up again so they put me back on some medication to attempt to stop them once more. My mom & I sent Jeff to go get a couple redbox movies because we thought we’d just be sitting around all morning/afternoon until a probable delivery that night. Well, as soon as he left, things went downhill. Alarms were going off left & right, and my doctor came in and let us know that it was “time.” The boys’ vitals, as well as mine, were dropping with every contraction. He told me that they wouldn’t be able to survive labor and that he needed to go ahead & get them out now while I was stable enough to be awake during the procedure. He was worried that if we waited any longer he’d end up having a severe emergency situation where he needed to put me out and we’d all miss the birth. At that point, Jeff walked in with two movies to hear the words “Dad, it’s time.”

We were of course shocked and quite scared, but I remember a supernatural peace coming over both of us. Jeff got his scrubs on and we had a few seconds to pray with my mom, as Jeff quickly sent off a short text to friends & family to pray and that our boys would be here very soon (quite a shock for everyone as I’d been doing so well at the last update!). I was taken back into the OR, given a spinal, and the c-section began – everything happened so quickly I barely had time to realize what was going on. Thankfully I also barely had time to be scared – God truly wrapped his arms around us during this time & I felt so much peace at a time when I otherwise would have been absolutely terrified.

Everything happened so fast – it was such a blur. I got sick on the table, but thankfully Jeff walked in right after that–I don’t think I’ve ever been more happy to see him. Cullen was pulled out almost immediately after Jeff entered the OR, and I told Jeff to go be with him. The neonatologists quickly stabilized him, weighed him, and then rushed him off to the NICU (they gave me a very quick peek at him next to my head but I couldn’t see them very well). Lane came out just one minute later and Jeff was actually able to hold him for a few short seconds before they quickly took him back as well since the boys couldn’t really breathe on their own yet.

Then they took their time sewing me back up as various nurses came back to give reports from the NICU. I remember sitting in the recovery room with a suddenly empty belly and 2 NICU wristbands to replace it, wondering if all of that really just happened. The boys were stable but little did I know that I wouldn’t even be able to hold my newborn sons for a few days or that we had a 5 1/2 week stay in the NICU ahead of us.

I was sad that we had no babies in the room to show off when people came to visit. I hated waking up every 3 hours to attach myself to a machine and pump instead of feeding my baby. I felt terrible because the doctors weren’t able to get my blood pressure under control until the following Friday, which was also scary. I felt like I hadn’t “done” anything to deliver the babies and was disappointed that Jeff couldn’t be “proud” of me for working so hard and pushing them out (in my opinion, not his). I was scared. I LOVED my sons. I got up and walked to the NICU the next day regardless of my c-section incision because they were worth all of it. However, this wasn’t what I hoped for and if I’m being honest I’m still pretty sad about the way things turned out–but I’m working on it. I’m working on just being thankful that we all survived and that I have two healthy, wonderful sons now. That should be enough.

Perhaps someday I’ll get to experience a “normal” delivery, or perhaps I won’t. And that’s okay (now). I know that God is in control regardless, and I know that this is our special birth story for a reason. I know some people don’t get to have a birth story at all–I’m so blessed that I got to experience pregnancy (I miss those sweet babes moving inside me!) and a birth of any kind, and I realize that. I am incredibly thankful to the Lord for modern medicine (and amazing nurses and doctors)–without it there’s no doubt that the 3 of us wouldn’t have made it, and that is humbling. I’m glad I can now sympathize and understand others who go through the NICU emotional roller coaster, and am able to support & encourage them. I KNOW God has been so good to us, and that he graciously protected us during all of this. I am so very grateful for my husband who was my rock through it all–he was AMAZING and my love for him grew leaps and bounds because of this. And of course, we are so blessed by the precious gift of not one but two babies (something that should never be taken for granted!). So, I am choosing to start praising the Lord for this story and its joyous outcome instead of harboring so many regrets and disappointments. I’ve got to. These two little miracles are worth all of this and more, after all.

two.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Cullen Wayne & Lane Davis.

I’m a little speechless this morning that this day has already come and that you are both two.  We love you more than words can express and though I am sad that my babies are growing up and becoming “big boys!”, I’m excited to see what this year brings.  I can’t imagine how we could love you any more than we do today, but I know that tomorrow we already will.

Happy birthday, my precious sons.  Look how far you’ve come!  We’re so proud of you and thankful that God has blessed us with both of you–the joy, the laughter, the challenges, all of it.  Two 2 year olds… here we go!

pancakes & pajamas party!

The boys’ 2nd birthday is almost here (gasp!) – so on Saturday we celebrated with a small party with family & a few close friends.  Last year their party was on the hottest day of the entire summer & this year threatened to be as well, so we decided to have it in the morning inside.  The boys LOVE pancakes & I love them in their jammies – so we did a “Pancakes & Pajamas” theme.  It was a blast!  Jeff & my dad whipped up a ton of pancakes on their respective griddles & we had a topping bar to go with it.  The little kids came in their PJ’s & everyone brought books.  So fun.  I put up most of the decorations on Friday during their nap & when the boys came down, they got SO excited about their “pancake party!!!” It made me feel so good – they kept saying “thank you, mommy.”  I love that they could grasp that this party was for them this year.  They even kept telling me people who they wanted to be there.  So sweet.

We had a great time – it was really easy to plan and throw, and the party always cheers me up about their birthdays coming (two children getting older at once is emotional!). There’s something about being surrounded by some of the people who have most supported you & loved on your kids that just makes you feel blessed.  I always say I’m happy on party day, & cry on the birthday. ha. A great day for two great little boys!

I took some pictures & then my sister was sweet enough to take a ton too while we were partying.  Thanks Ash! (so therefore, there are a LOT of them.  Click to enlarge.)

10 minutes of my life I never want to relive.

Let me share with you 10 {insane} minutes of my life yesterday afternoon… watch out, weak stomachs.

The boys woke up from their afternoon nap happily talking to each other & playing in their cribs.  I had a few things to finish up downstairs so I let them play for a few minutes.  {MISTAKE!} Upon entering their room to go get them up, I was smacked in the face with stink.  Obviously I had some poopy diapers to change… but then I realized Lane was naked.  Crap!  Literally.  He had figured out how to take off his cloth diaper with SNAPS, dump out the poop and smear it all over his crib.  Fabulous.  As gross as it was, I figured it was inevitable at some point – all parents of toddlers seem to have a poopy crib story and somehow we’d avoided it thus far even with two, so I better just man up & deal with it.  I tried to control my gag reflex and cleaned up the crib, crib sheets, bumper, blankets, toys, books, and LANE.

I then got Cullen out of his crib and was greeted with the most vile smelling poo he’d ever dealt.  Thankfully, it remained in the diaper, but was one of those where you might as well just dump him in the bathtub!  I quickly cleaned him up and no sooner than I could think “man – that was a disgusting few minutes, glad that’s over” did Tucker come running in their room and puke all over the floor.  AWESOME.  So I cleaned THAT up.  (all while keeping two curious toddlers OUT of it!) By this point I was just doing my darndest to laugh at myself, what else could I possibly do?  I ran to our bedroom to get the carpet cleaner from under our sink, where I realized why the dog was sick–he’d somehow gotten into one of the disposable diapers we use overnight.  He had shredded a nasty, wet AND soiled disposable diaper into pieces all over our floor and made himself sick.  And the indescribable stench was threatening to make me sick as well!

I cleaned THAT up, quickly put a new diaper on Cullen before he inevitably peed everywhere (because at the point I was figuring all you-know-what was breaking loose!), threw ALL male humans & creatures outside in the backyard where they could do no further harm, scrubbed my hands like I was about to enter an OR, and dug into the biggest piece of dark chocolate I could find.  {I then called Jeff so someone could laugh at my expense & hopefully give me some sympathy–his response? “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, babe.”  Gotta love him.}

I’m pretty sure that was the nastiest 10 minute stretch of my life.  I couldn’t make this stuff up.  Motherhood – NOT SO GLAMOROUS sometimes!!

I forgot how to play princess.

The other day we were watching a friend’s sweet little girl.  She was a typical girl–talking a mile a minute and wanting to play pretend games–kitties, mommy and baby, and, of course, princesses.  All of a sudden I realized that I felt kind of… awkward!  I had forgotten how to play princess.  How did that happen?  I AM a girl.  I was a teacher for years and played lots of pretend with my kindergarteners and first graders (particularly the girls).  But I realized–my comfort zone has become trucks, balls, trains, and roughhousing.  I know every kind of truck, including their sound effects.  I can toss a ball back and forth or wrestle with “pi-yos” {pillows} all day long – but princesses?  I didn’t remember how to be a girly princess!

The thing was – I wasn’t even that bothered by it.  I’m a boy mom.  I don’t really play too much princess these days.  And I’m okay with that.  I kind of love that we’re a boy house right now.  It’s SO MUCH FUN!  Don’t get me wrong–I love little girls.  I hope and pray that God will bless us with a sweet little girl someday and that I’ll get to be a mom to a daughter. {but if I don’t?  I’ll be okay. I couldn’t say that before–I can now, however!}  But right now?  I’m grateful that God chose to give me two sometimes wild, always hilarious, melt-my-heart little guys.  I’m glad I have two of them and that God didn’t give me what I asked for back in the day – a girl and a boy.  He knew better!  He knew we were meant to enjoy & learn from our early years as a family with BOYS.  Twin boys.

Lately, I’ve noticed some people reacting to someone finding out they’re having a boy (or another boy, etc.) with a bit of…disappointment?  While certainly understandable–I can sympathize–it makes me a little sad.  Boys are wonderful!  Boys are not “second choice” to girls.  Girls are amazing too, but as women I think sometimes we’re thrown for a loop (some of us) when given the humbling and challenging responsibility of raising men.  It’s a bit foreign, less familiar–a little harder to relate to–but such a privilege.  God has entrusted us with these precious little rough & tumble guys that we get to help mold into strong men of God; leaders of their households.  Wow.  Let’s be excited about it!

Believe me, I’m not criticizing anyone–I’m preaching to the choir a bit myself.  Goodness knows, I’m sad to admit that I wasn’t quite as excited about the ultrasound results for the 2nd twin as I was for the 1st twin…for about a day.  Then I quickly began to realize that God had something awesome up his sleeve. {and really, that was Lane! Would I trade Lane for the world now? heck no!}

Fellow boy moms (which is the vast majority of my friends!), you are amazing.  You & I have been entrusted with the next generation of men.  That excites me and terrifies me.  Any and all tips on raising godly men are appreciated (I’m looking at you, Mom, Mom P {cause you raised my favorite one, obviously}, and friends of our moms!); prayers & encouragement are always needed.  Some days I have no clue what I’m doing, but I have to trust that God will equip us to do it.  Hey, if these guys could turn out just like their daddy, I’d be pleased as punch.  tickled pink.  or maybe tickled blue?!

And moms of girls–man, I admire you too… all I can say is that I’m doing my best & working on some god-fearing Southern gentlemen for your belles.  Just return me the favor. 😉

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.  Psalm 127:3

banged up & dirty - yep, BOY!

stick 'em up.

paci-free!

This little big boy has officially moved on from pacifiers!  We started hinting at him that he’d be turning 2 soon and be a big boy, and big boys don’t need pacis!  He basically did it on his own – taking a suggestion of giving all his pacis to baby Clara.  He insisted on giving them to her the night of 4th of July–didn’t want them when we put him to bed–so we put them in a gift bag for her, and he hasn’t asked for them one time since!  It’s been almost a week now (and he’s slept great) so I’m pretty sure he’s good to go.  We almost feel guilty because it was so easy, but we’ll just be thankful. We’re proud of you, big boy!

{Lane doesn’t take a paci – he sucks his thumb, but only when holding his bunny… so we’ll just leave that one up to him – something tells me he won’t still be sucking his thumb when he’s 16, right?}

yay Culley!

hilton head weekend

fair warning:  I apologize for the insane amount of pictures in the post.  Well, I half apologize – because for my own memories, I want them all!

We were invited on a last-minute trip to Hilton Head this past weekend with some good friends of ours, so we jumped at the opportunity and somehow packed ourselves (and our two toddlers) up in less than 24 hours (hey, I guess we can still be spontaneous!).  We had a BLAST.  We got to spend the first night with my parents and our good family friends, then the next 2 days with Brad & Steph, as well as some time just the four of us.

The boys are DEFINITELY beach lovers like their mama – they loved the sand, playing along the shore, and jumping in the waves (we thought they wouldn’t want to swim on their own, but had to quickly run back for their floaties because they kept trying to get away from us out in the waves!).  Cullen loved being a social butterfly and running around saying hello to everyone while Lane never wanted to come in from the ocean.  They were good travelers, slept great, behaved well & had a blast – it made it such a great weekend together.  Jeff & I also enjoyed having some great adult time with our friends after the little guys went to bed. 😉   All in all, an awesome quick trip – we’re so thankful they invited us!

got to see these lovely people - Sarah Kate (front) was my FLOWER GIRL - clearly I am getting old, look how beautiful she is!

The first night, the boys got to play in an awesome shallow kiddie pool and spend dusk on the beach and at a sprayground, then we were all treated to a delicious shrimp dinner.  The boys were still happy as clams at 10 (!!) when we finally left to put them to bed!

Gamma in the fountains with her boys!

I love this next series of photos…

So funny.  All boy & having a blast!

They LOVED filling up cups of ocean water & dumping it into buckets. Lane was also a HUGE fan of jumping waves - "big ones!"

 Back at the house where we stayed – overlooked a golf course and this massive, beautiful oak tree.

This is the real us…