Wednesday, December 17, 2008

the 17th

I will never forget it. Ever. The doctor walked in solemnly on the morning of December 17 (after I had slept through at least twelve hours of contractions), and told me the babies might have to be born today. I went blank.

They sent me down to triage to start an IV of Magnesium Sulfate - a drug used to slow down the system, mainly my uterus. I had been "magged" for four days the week prior. "It worked last week; it will work again." The OB returned after only ten minutes, not acting hopeful. She looked sad, and she said she was sorry.

The doctor discontinued the Mag, and a nurse scrubbed the epidural site. They gave me another IV. I think it was my ninth in two weeks. I complained; I complained about a freakin' IV. Mike and I asked for a minute alone, and we escaped into the bathroom. We held hands and cried, and I remember watching tears fall into the sink.

They wheeled me into the OR, and it was silent. They asked Mike to step outside while they pinned me down to a bed like high school students preparing to dissect a frog. No one said a word. I didn't even know they had made the cut.

Owen entered the world first, with an indignant cry. Eliot fought off the rude intrusion, but cried within seconds. I asked the doctor whose babies were crying, and she said they were mine. "My babies can cry?"

The NICU delivery team held my tiny, new twins in front of me, and I kissed one of them. I don't even know which one I kissed. They were rushed to intensive care, where they would remain for the next few months. I begged for them to fight.

I was wheeled into recovery with a bunch of women who all had their babies. I listened to them ogle all over their new bundles, while I wondered if mine were still alive. I sent Mike to check. I sent Mike to check if our children were still alive. Why should anyone ever have to do that?

Lying groggy and sore from surgery, I was in the middle of the worst moment of my entire life. And, to make it worse, I had to watch and listen to other mothers basking in their best. I doubt it could ever get more depressing than that.

When we made it to our post-natal room later that morning, Mike and I stared at the ceiling. "Should I call our parents?" he asked.
"No," I said. "I don't want anyone to know." What . . . did I think I was going to hide it?

That morning Owen defied all odds by breathing on his own, and we felt a sense of hope. That evening, Eliot's breathing started to struggle, and we were once again consumed with fear. (This was the beginning of a long series of emotional "up and downs.")

Around 5am on the morning of December 18th, I woke up in a panic. "Call the NICU nurse," I said shaking. "Please call to check." We both held our breath as we knew Mike wasn't calling to "check" on the twins, he was calling to see if Eliot had made it through the night.

When Mike told me Elie was doing "okay," I smiled. It was one of the first smiles I remember after giving birth, and it didn't happen until almost 24 hours later. The nurse just said that Eliot was doing "okay." And I was so happy. "Okay" was so much better than what I had prepared myself for.

The first few days after the 17th are blurry. I know I prayed a lot, and hoped a lot, and wanted - so badly - to be celebrating the birth of my children. But last year, it just wasn't so. We had too many mountains to climb.

But TODAY. Today is a different day and a different story. Today is Owen and Eliot's birthday. And we will gladly smile and celebrate it by putting cupcakes in our hair instead of in our mouth (nice, Owen); by eating our birthday party hats (nice, Elie Mak); and by ripping open wrapping paper, only to ignore the new toy for the giant empty box in which it came.

And while tomorrow will undoubtedly bring Eliot's stubborn refusal to swallow pureed peaches, and Owen's mind-splitting, loud scream, we still have today. And THIS December 17th is a great day. Today my babies are one, and one is so much fun. Happy Birthday to my strong, amazing miracles.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

1st birthday party

Happy Birthday to two . . . Happy Birthday to two . . .

What a great party. Four grandparents, four cousins, two aunts, one uncle, and a mom and a dad . . . Add to the mix "almost one-year old" twins, and, well, Mike and I are tired.

The twins had so much fun; I'll post some video footage later. They turn one this Wednesday. ONE. I can't believe we all made it through the first year; surely the Axt family is due for a little less drama in 2009 (can I get an AMEN?).

Are there calories in that hat? If so, give that girl another!

Owen on his new rocking horse.

Elie Mak playing at her new music table.

Celebrating with cousins!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

play date II

Another play date with our good NICU friends, and look how all of the babies have grown!

May 2008

December 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008


So, Owen has entered the "screaming" phase. Screaming for attention, screaming for the dogs, screaming for food. I read in one of my "what do do with baby" books that parents should try to ignore screaming.

Ignore? No problem. I was a middle school teacher. I can ignore anything.

Except when the anything sounds like this . . .

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


So, Eliot doesn't eat, right? Right.

BUT, she is making some progress with putting new foods in her mouth. Behold the flour tortilla . . .

Monday, December 1, 2008

giving thanks

We have so much to be thankful for this year.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


We made our own sandboxes today: two laundry baskets, a bag of peas, a bag of lentils, and two babies that thought it sounded like a great idea.

"Hey babies! Do you want to play in a sandbox?"

More peas, please!

Eliot in Lentil Land.

Owen trying to escape. (Where does he think he'll have more fun than a makeshift sandbox?)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

family pics

My good friend, Nadine, took some beautiful photos of our family last week. I couldn't pick just one to share, so here are a few of my favorites . . .

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


After MANY weeks of drooling, chewing, and crying, Owen has finally cut his first two teeth. (Eliot has cut one bottom tooth so far, but it's too tiny to capture in a picture.)

Too much spit to see them clearly . . .

Nope. That's your thumb, Owie.

There they are! Two bottom baby teeth for the O-man.

Friday, November 7, 2008

to suck, or not to suck

As most of you know, Eliot lost her suck reflex a couple of months ago. No pacifier, no bottle, nothing. This led us to give up the bottle for good, get a g-tube, and move on to eating solids and drinking from a cup (both of which she has done very, VERY slowly).

It is important for Eliot to put all kinds of things in her mouth to continue to stimulate her tongue, cheeks, and palate. We work with her constantly throughout the day with different toys and textures, so that when her acid reflux subsides, and she begins to enjoy the cup and solid food, she has the oral-motor capability to progress quickly.

This is how I found Elie Mak this morning. It is not exactly what Mike and I had in mind when we encouraged her to explore with her mouth.

That thing she is biting down on? That's her g-tube. Niiiiccce.

Friday, October 31, 2008

happy halloween!

Oh no you di-int.
Oh yes I did.

Happy Halloween, and may the force be with you.



Chewie getting caught eating the props.

Yoda telling Chewie to control himself. (He has ZERO self control when it comes to gourds.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

warrior princess

Eliot, my warrior princess, is back to herself after a g-tube surgery only eleven days ago. She is fully recovered: enjoying tummy time again, playing with the dogs, and smiling at everything. It is amazing how the n/g tube stifled her personality; now that it is gone, we have seen a different baby emerge - a VERY happy little girl. (And this makes for two VERY, VERY happy parents.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

weekend pics

This weekend with our little pumpkins . . .

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

an anniversary - of sorts

On this day last year . . .
- I took a half day off from work to get a 20-week ultrasound;
- I was admitted to the hospital for preterm labor;
- I was started on two types of drugs to stop contractions I had never even felt;
- The doctor told me not to cry;
- I cried anyway.

On this day last year . . .
- I learned I had a crappy cervix;
- I blamed myself for always taking the stairs (There was an elevator at school. What was I thinking?!?);
- I thought about my life with the twins;
- I thought about my life if I lost them.

On this day last year . . .
- I was put on complete bed rest - only up to go to the bathroom, with a shower every other day;
- I typed in "premature labor" on Google (that was really stupid);
- I was very, very scared.

On this day last year . . .
- I stopped being a pregnant woman awaiting her children;
- I became a patient hooked up to monitors and an IV;
- I prayed for more time;
- I begged for more time;
- I hoped someone was listening.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

ding - dong - gone

Eliot's new g-tube is awesome. It is light years easier to manage than the naso-gastric tube she had for 10 months. From last Thursday to Friday morning (the day of her surgery), the n/g tube got pulled out five times: four by Eliot, and once by Owen. That means, I had to put it back down her throat and into her stomach five different times in a day and a half. Imagine the gagging and choking that ensues with having something slide down your throat . . . FIVE times! It was - without a doubt - time for the g-tube, and Mike and I are thrilled with our decision. I think Eliot is too. She has been feeling great since sleeping off the anesthesia, and is tolerating all of her feeds beautifully.

We will continue to try to feed Elie solid food three times a day. The hope is that not having something taped to her face and tickling her throat will help her eating progress.

Ding Dong! The Tube is dead. Which old Tube? The Wicked Tube!
Ding Dong! The Wicked Tube is dead.
Yo-ho, where'd it go?
It once was high, now it's low.
Ding Dong! The Wicked Tube is dead!

Friday, October 17, 2008


Eliot's surgery went well this afternoon.

In addition to the g-tube, she also had a full laryngoscopy performed (a look at the throat, voice box, and vocal cords). Thankfully, the reflux has not done major damage to her throat, and her paralyzed vocal cord looked better than it did at the last check-up. The ENT could not tell us definitively if the left vocal cord was moving, and said, "It is still very weak, but I may have seen a little flicker."

Flicker? We'll take flicker.

After the laryngoscopy, the G.I. doctor placed her g-tube. The surgery was quick, and Mike and I met her in her recovery room a few minutes later. She woke up in her daddy's arms - groggy and uncomfortable - but calmed quickly. She will undoubtedly hurt for the next few days, but by next weekend, she should be back full force.

Mike and I will be staying in the hospital through the weekend while they make sure El can tolerate feeds through her new tube. I think this was a move in the right direction for Elie Mak (though I'm sure she won't be thanking us any time soon).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

you tube? no. g-tube.

We're back to the hospital. But only for a couple of days this time.

After ten long months with an n/g tube, Eliot is having a g-tube placed. Her long struggle with an eating aversion has given us no choice but to proceed with a surgically placed tube in her stomach. We are hoping that getting the tube out of her throat will help with her feedings (and her parents' sanity).

Please think of Elie Mak this Friday afternoon, and pray for an easy, quick recovery!

Friday, October 10, 2008

new things

Some fun, new things that the twins have been doing . . .

Sunday, October 5, 2008

funny ha ha funny

My weekday entertainment . . . trying to convince China dog to dance around while Owen splits his pants laughing.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

good idea

My husband normally comes up with some very good, smart ideas. But, deciding to let Owen feed himself prunes last night was not one of his best.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

dirty laundry

The twins' laundry is so hard to keep up with; especially when you have loads like this!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

a day at the park

A weekend walk to the park; swinging on swings; cocktail picnic of breast milk and Neosure formula (all of which miraculously stayed in the twins' stomachs, and did not get thrown up). Life is good.