Mommy Mondays

Many of you know Heather Simon from my photography blog. She is wife to Chad and mommy to Wyatt, Wade and Sienna. Just a little bit over a year ago she gave birth to Wade and Sienna, boy/girl twins. She had a pretty intense pregnancy and she has very graciously agreed to chat with me about it!! yay!

Girl! Thanks so much for doing this!

You are so so welcome! Anything for you and I actually do love talking about this.

If I remember correctly I received a message on facebook from you with something along the lines of "Hey, it's Heather and we just found out we are having twins..I need to talk!" hahaha:) Talk to me a little bit about finding out you were having twins, were you expecting them, trying??

Well, we were trying and later expecting “A” baby. We always knew we wanted two kids so when the time was right we started trying and {as with my first pregnancy, *Wyatt*} it didn’t take long. Everything felt fine other than the fact that I was getting bigger faster this time. I saw my doc at 13 weeks and the appointment went as expected. She found the heartbeat right away, answered my questions and off I went. Somewhere between 15 and 16 weeks I went in to get some blood work done. I decided to get all the genetic testing done as well since they were already drawing blood. A few days later I got a call from the doctor office asking me to come in for “genetic counseling”. WHAT in the world did THAT mean? Chad and I both began to panic. They told us that the “numbers were abnormally high” for Spina Bifida. I didn’t even know what that was or what that meant. We immediately got online to dig up anything and everything we could find. Basically what we learned is that this news could mean anything between “nothing” and “life threatening debilitation's”. Aaahh, this was too much for me to wrap my head around so I tried to put it out of my mind and go to this counseling to find out EXACTLY what was going on with our baby. Chads work was spotty at the time and he ended up having to work the day of my appointment, he HAD to take the work when it was available. So I put on my brave girl undies and went by myself. After an HOUR of talking with a lady and almost a full box of tissues I was sent down for an ultrasound. My mind was spinning out of control with all this new found knowledge of Spina Bifida. I’m pretty sure it was about 10 hours later when she finally came in. As soon as she put the wand up to my belly she said in a rather shocked tone “Oh, there’s two”. TWO WHAT???? BABIES????? It felt like somebody had loaded me into a slingshot and hurled me from one world of terror to another! I started to get hysterical, this was more than I could handle. The technician said “I take it you didn’t know you were having twins?” I couldn’t even respond. She told me she needed to go let someone know because a twin scan takes longer. I tried to pull myself together so I could call Chad but my phone had no reception. So I just laid there sobbing until the tech came back. I had actually skimmed over something online about false positive Spina Bifida numbers being caused by twins but honestly that barely even registered as a possibility to us. She asked if I needed more time to collect myself or if I wanted her to keep going. “Keep going, keep going” was all I could say. By this time my thoughts went to “are THEY okay?”. She finished the scan, which took another 10 hours and told me that everything looked wonderful, I had two healthy happy babes in there. Then she asked if I wanted to know the sexes. “YES!” {I was having a very hard time thinking in terms of THEY and THEM}. She peeked around for a minute and told me that we were going to have one girl and one boy. Now, Chad still had no idea whether our baby was okay or not so I hugged the technician {she said all the right things and I loved her for that} took my ultrasound pictures and rushed outside to find reception. I decided I couldn’t tell him that kind of news on the phone so I called and told him everything was okay and that I found out what the sex was, I was coming to see him at work with the pictures. By the time I got there, he had deciphered the news from the tone of my voice. He already knew we were having twins! {That night is when I messaged you, I needed some expert advise, and proof that I could indeed survive two babies at once.}

So here you were going along, everything is good with the pregnancy, then one day you find yourself in the hospital aaaand you end up not leaving for quite some time.

So there we were…we had been assigned to the big guns, Maternal Fetal Medicine {MFM}. They specialize in high risk pregnancies. They also warned us that it was very likely that I would end up on bed rest, that most twin moms do. I had a toddler at home that just turned two and I would need to take care not to over exert myself. This is exactly what I thought I was doing. On December 22, 2009 {I was 24 weeks along} I left Wyatt with Grandma and headed out to my weekly checkup with MFM. The scan was great, both babies were doing very well. Then she checked my cervix and excused herself to go get the doctor, I knew it wasn’t good. The doctor came back and told me he was going to admit me to the hospital….WHAT?!! My cervix was dangerously short and I could go into labor any minute. “I can’t be admitted, I have a toddler at home, he needs me”. Again with the waterworks, I was sobbing listening to the doctor tell me that I couldn’t even go home to say goodbye, or get my stuff, or get the babies room ready, or do laundry…..or even walk myself over to the hospital. I called and told Chad the news through tears and blubbers. They loaded me into a wheelchair and pushed me through some bat caves {empty hallways so people wouldn’t see me so hysterical} over to my new home. I remember after the nurses gave me the tour and the rundown, just when I was starting to calm down a tad, one of them said “oh you poor thing, getting stuck in here right before Christmas”. I hadn’t even realized that I was going to MISS Christmas. So much for calming down. Chad came to see me right away, but I wasn’t ready to see Wyatt yet. I knew I would scare him to death with my hysterics, so he came the next day. It took me a few days to really come to grips with the situation. I had no other choice really. Every time I began to loose it and cry, I would start having contractions despite all the medication I was on to stop labor. It was time to bust out the brave girl undies again and buck up. They sent a neo-natologist over to talk with me who promptly told me he wasn’t going to sugar coat anything, that my babies would have a slim 14% chance of survival if I had them this early. The lives of our twins were at stake. I knew right then that I was going to do my darndest to keep these babies in my belly for as long as I possibly could.

Wow, in the hospital for 13 weeks, with a toddler at home. How did you cope? What range of emotions did you go through? Did you sooo miss your bed?? Did you sooo miss Wyatt??! (oh and Chad too!)

The ONLY reason I survived is because of the pure kindness and selflessness of our family and friends. I honestly don’t even know where to start with this one. My heart was more broken than it had ever been in my entire life. I’d never before missed anyone as much as I missed my little boy and my husband. I went through every kind of emotion you can think of. As the nurses warned me, it’s very much like the grieving process…..shock, guilt, sadness, anger and eventually acceptance. I was truly a mess despite my resolve to pull this off. Luckily Chad had a few weeks off of work so he could be home with Wyatt. Ironically, his last day was the day I was admitted. He was so brave for Wyatt and I. He assured me that he would take care of everything and not to worry. It’s not in my nature NOT to worry, but I knew he would make it work. Chad’s family brought me care packages of food, movies, jammies, games, craft supplies and even a computer. They all offered to do whatever we needed. In fact I didn’t miss Christmas after all. Chad’s aunt, sister and cousin hooked me up with Skype so I could be there for the festivities. Of course watching my little boy open his gifts via a webcam wasn’t quite as magical, but it was perfect for the situation and I was so incredibly grateful. Chad and Wyatt even came to stay the night with me Christmas Eve. Santa came to see Wyatt and he was so excited! Okay, if they could make Christmas work, we might just survive this after all. When it came time for Chad to go back to work, my mother-in-law {Lynn} was up at our house at 5am every morning to watch Wyatt. She packed him up and made the trek to come visit me nearly every single day. She did my laundry and who knows how many other chores. Who makes this kind of sacrifice? Who can make this kind of commitment and give up so much of themself? My amazing mother-in-law, THAT’S WHO!!! Seeing my son so often definitely made all the world of difference and that wouldn’t have happened without her. Another saving grace was my beloved calendar.

About two weeks in, my sister-in-law {Leah} made me a gorgeous calendar to track my progress. Every morning I woke up I got a little card to pin up. A way to celebrate each day that my babies were where they needed to be. The cards had various themes depending on the week. One week was riddles, another was inspiring bible verses, messages from friends and family etc. I never knew what I was going to get, kind of like an advent calendar. Attached to each card was a picture from my life, mostly Wyatt. I slowly got to build a collage along with a visual of my days of success {unborn babies}. At the anniversary of each week I also got a celebratory “prize”. Lunch or dinner from the outside world along with a movie or the comforting company of my sister-in-laws, two perfect hand made blankies for the babies from a friend, an in-room pedicure the list is endless. I also so looked forward to my weekly photo shoots with you. I knew I wouldn’t remember a lot of what was going on so when you offered to photo-log my journey I was beyond excited! Mostly though I looked forward to our mommy conversations. The generosity was endless, I will never be able to truly describe what this all meant to me. Visitors came almost daily, there were very few days when I had none. On those days I knitted, I got addicted to the “Knifty Knitter” and made a million baby beanies. Chads aunt even hooked me up with a blanket loom so I made each twin a blanket. Then Chads aunts and grandmother connected them and finished them off for me. They are beautiful! My other sister-in-law {Trisha} turned me on to Kiefer Sutherlands “24”. I was instantly hooked and watched from season 1 all the way through season 7! I also journaled, which I didn’t start until two weeks in {wish I would have started on day 1}. The nurses were wonderful as well, I definitely got close to my favorites and looked forward to their shifts. All of this {and much much more} kept me sane, kept me busy, and most of all kept me pregnant!

Tell me something positive about your stay, something that you very much gained from it. (ok this is my FAVORITE answer of the interview!)

Wow, what did I NOT gain from this….two beautiful, healthy happy twins {wasn’t that what all this was about?}. I gained deeper relationships with my loved ones that took the time to come sit with me when I was trapped. I now understand what it’s like to be there for someone else {like others were for me}. I’ve spent my life worrying about calling at the wrong time, saying the wrong thing, having the wrong reaction etc. But now I strive to be like everyone that was there for me. It’s okay to just “be there”, to let someone know that you are thinking of them or hurting with them. I’ve always been so afraid of making bad situations even worse for others that I end up not being there for them at all. I don’t want to be that person anymore. I gained an appreciation for my husband that I would not otherwise had an opportunity to do. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I felt my world get a lot snugglier.

Your birth was beautiful, suddenly you are faced with returning home and TWO additions to the family. As if coming home with twins is not enough you come home for the first time in months! Was the transition back home hard?

Oh my, yes. The first year with the twins was the hardest of our lives so far. Not only did I have two needy infants, I had a toddler who was getting his mommy back {finally} but not really, you know? It was so weird to return home. I was overwhelmed with joy just to walk through the door. It was what I was dreaming about every day for the past three months. I was weak physically and knew I was about to go from slug to cheetah. How can we possibly do this, I couldn’t even walk up the stairs without somebody spotting me! Once again, Lynn came to the rescue. She was with me every single day Chad was at work for the first 6 months. I’m convinced she’s my guardian angel. There were days when I didn’t have time to eat or brush my teeth. She kept me together when I lost it, which was quite often. I would never have survived without her love and support.

Soo fun question..

No objections to money and 7 days..what would you do??

I’ve been racking my brain trying to answer this question as honestly as possible. I keep coming back to something that Lynn and I have daydreamed a little bit about. A big ol’ family trip to Hawaii. With all the siblings and their kids. I just think it would be heaven watching my 3 little water babies and the cousins have the time of their lives in the ocean. Maybe a romantic dinner or two with my husband. And fun with the whole family. I’m a sun girl and that always seems to be when everyone else comes alive too. So that’s what I’m going with! Hawaii.


This was a lot harder than I expected, trying to get everything in here I wanted to share. There’s so much more to the story but this is what spilled out. Today it seems like such a dream to have experienced such craziness but what it all comes down to is trusting that GOD has a plan and you just have to be patient and appreciate the life you have with your loved ones.


Anonymous said…
I love everything about this post. I've had a lot of sad tears this week but these tears in my eyes are happy, refreshing tears. You're a great writer, Heather. I love it that you love your family so much and that you have this glorious relationship with your mother-in-law...what a gift!!! Beautiful pictures. Those fresh pictures of the babies are so beautiful, Amber. How great that you were there to capture those.

p.s. I couldn't have watched '24' in your fragile would have, for sure, started labor!!!
Our Family said…
Heather...your story is an amazing one for sure. We all knew you would make it through that hard time and come out a stronger person for it. What a story you have to share now...and not to mention two beautiful, happy, healthy babies. God is so good!!!
Leah said…
She's the best! She handles her trials with such grace. Love ya sis. :)
Julene said…
Another Monday and yet ANOTHER excellent Mommy Mondays post! Heather (and Amber) always pops into my mind when I’m feeling inadequate or struggling to be a “good” mom to my daughter. I think “How in the world did she do it? How does she STILL do it?” It’s important to remember we aren’t alone and this post shows the greatness of God’s love shining through friends and family. Thank you Heather and Amber for sharing this story! Heather’s family is such a blessing to many!
Elliotness said…
Wow. Incredible. Your babies are beautiful and your family was truly an extension of God wrapping his arms all around you. I love this post, and I admire your bravery!

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