Ethan & Ian
I know I haven't been on here really much and honestly, it's for reasons that I have not been quite able to share. For the last six years, I have shared with all of you so many aspects of my life, and I love sharing everything with you all, but sometimes things that are going on can't be shared because it involves my family’s lives. You see they didn't sign up to share with you guys, so its a little hard to share feelings because I 100% respect my family; you guys are probably wondering where I am going with this, I promise I am going somewhere just bare with me as I try to find the right words to explain what has been transpiring.
I have to bring it back to the beginning of this year, my older brother and his wife informed the family that they were expecting a baby due in July, we were so overjoyed that another baby was joining the family. I'm sure you guys notice that I don't share my older brother a lot and naturally it's to respect that he and his wife are private people. Social media is not for everyone, and I always want to respect their wishes. After a few months, we received a face time call during their baby reveal to find out they were having a boy, but they had one more surprise; they announced they were having identical twins. We were all elated with the news, I mean once again I was shocked that my brother and his wife were bringing in two bundles of joy into the world. I could see the joy in both their faces and it just made me happy for them. My sister-in-law was told being pregnant with twins that she most likely would not carry full term, but what happened next was not anything any of us were expecting.
In March they welcomed Ethan 1 lb 11oz 12inches and Ian 1lb 10z 12 inches born at 24weeks. I can never forget the call from my mom; the only thoughts I had and have had since finding out is what do I say to make it better, how can I help, but there is nothing anyone can say or do to take that pain away or a parent's fear for their child. The take-charge person in me had nothing to fix it for them, and so for the past four months, I have struggled with this. How can you as a sister be happy with your life when your sibling and the woman he loves are going through a lot of hard emotions that you can’t fix. So, to say the last few months have been hard would be an understatement. All I can do was tell them I am here and let them update us on their own time. I didn't bombard them with calls asking for updates but allowed my mom to update whenever my sister-in-law would update her. I would text every so often I love you with no expectations of getting a reply, it was just to let them know they are always in my thoughts. My brother shared his thoughts with me that I have obtained permission to share with you guys.
Here is his words:
Preparation. That’s how I approached most of my big life decisions. A clear goal in mind and a clear path to get there, all achieved with preparation. Sometimes life just doesn’t consider the amount of effort taken into your preparation. Sometimes it doesn’t even care about the goal. It just hands you your situation and says “Deal with it!”
That’s how I started with having my first child. I picked the right woman who I felt would be a great mom. We both had good jobs and were comfortable mapping out a pregnancy and what that would look like. So we did the natural part and got ourselves pregnant. That’s the only decision we made that we had control of. Life then took the wheel and put us on an unexpected road with many pit stops along the way.
We found out we were having a baby in November. We were excited. Looking forward to our first child, we scheduled for an ultrasound to confirm what we already knew or what we thought we knew. The technician doing the ultrasound was overly bubbly as most would be to confirm the happy news. As she waved the wand over my girl’s belly, she yells cheerfully, “Oooh twins!” We were instantly shocked. I just stared at my girl while she asked the technician what she said. The technician apologized realizing she had just given us news that we were not aware of. Preparation for one baby. Life, “Here you go, two.”
So we went on for the next few months preparing for two identical twin boys. We were ecstatic at the notion that now our kids would have each other to grow up together and be friends. We didn’t have to wait a few years in between to have another child. To us, it was a blessing in disguise. We were prepared for the delivery to be sooner than most pregnancies as twins usually are scheduled for a C-section a week or two before the normal due date or mothers just go into preterm labor. One day my girl was getting ready to go to work but was having major cramping that felt like contractions. She decided to call out from work as the pain was too severe. She called her obgyn and the nurse at the office stated that more than likely it was just Braxton Hicks, which is a form of cramps and stated its nothing to worry about. She should take Tylenol as it couldn’t be contractions since she was due in July. My boys were born that very day in March.
At 24 weeks and six days I welcomed my two baby boys. Ethan was the first to be pulled out as my girl concentrated on the pain of someone having their arm fully immersed in her stomach reaching for his brother Ian. He didn’t cry. He just stood there almost lifeless and then in a blink of an eye they whisked him away to get medical attention. Ian was pulled out two minutes later. He cried. Then just as quickly as his brother, he was taken away. I had to follow them out to make sure I was informed of what was coming next in the NICU by one of the nurses.
The story is in the details. Details that I have become numb to. Details that I was told maybe I should write out as a form of therapy since I don’t like talking or sharing my experiences or feelings. It’s difficult because all that comes out is anger. Anger that throughout all our preparation, nothing has gone our way, but I try to stay calm as my goal has always been to bring them home. I would tell my girl every time they gave us bad news, “Our goal is to bring them home .” Through tears, she would nod.
Every day got harder as it was always a new issue….a new complication. The hardest day came when we were sat down by Ethan’s bed by two head nurses and told that he, my first born, was getting worse and that we needed to prepare and that they could make him very comfortable. My girl instantly broke down. I showed no emotion. Calmly I told them, “ We are not there yet.” I wanted to rage and curse, but I also wanted them to know I truly believed that he was going to make it. Sure every parent feels that way, but I watched my son every day fighting and showing me signs that he wanted to live. So I wanted to support his defiance and let him know I was on his side. Its hard to not be swayed by facts and also by what you see transpire. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that at a certain point I just wasn’t sure, but I couldn’t put that out into the world. I had to stay positive for my girl and for my kids, but it was taking a toll on me. Ian was on a positive path and then things took a turn for the worse with him. They couldn’t find out what was wrong with him. They kept pumping him full of medicine and fluids to the point he looked like a puffy marshmallow. Not one but two sick boys.
The story is in the details, but I’m just not ready to take that all in just yet and put into words every emotion we felt during every complication, every new possible diagnosis, every surgery, and every possible outcome. I know one day I will be overwhelmed when I reflect on how much they’ve been through, but my focus is on just how much they have yet to go. We are 4 months in and my goal is still to bring them home. Preparing, but keeping in mind to take the experience as it goes, adjusting to whatever life throws our way.
My brother has away with words and I hope this can me some form of therapy for his journey with the boys. As most of you know I was in Las Vegas for my friend's bachelorette last month so I was able to visit my brother and his wife. Once again, you guys didn't know about this for their privacy. While we were there we were sped up on what the last few months have been like and watching both my brother and his wife navigate through their new world was overwhelming as an outsider looking in. I not only found a whole new respect for both of them but proud to know them both. My brother works all day, while my sister in law is with the babies in the NICU. I was able to meet the boys, and they are as precious as can be but have a long road ahead of them. One thing my brother told me that any NICU parent does not want to hear is, "there is so much technology today, and they will be fine." That's the last thing they want to hear after living their days seeing their children hooked up to machines and the yo-yo of how they are doing health wise is this. The thing is there isn't anything anyone can say to ease parents fear. All The challenges are a lot on any parent, especially for first-time parents. My brother and sister-in-law had to make the decision of my sister in law leaving her job as it would be too hard for her to maintain any role after the babies are released. The doctor's appointments and specialist visits will take most of her time. In addition to being new parents, they are the caregivers to her adult autistic brother. All this said, remember how I mention how the take charge person in me would like to help, so my mother and I are starting a GoFundMe for them. As much as they are private, my mother and I convinced them that they are going to need help, and that's ok. With that said, I am asking that you all do not go friend requesting them or seeking them out. I will update as much as I can with their permission, but please respect their privacy because their only focus is their boys. Head over to the GoFundMe and donate whatever you can. Once again thanks for always being loyal readers and tuning in