Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The birth story of Iris Hope

Iris Hope is here!
June 30th 2015
8lbs 19inches

Words cannot express my gratitude to God for an uncomplicated pregnancy + delivery, and a healthy baby girl. This experience has been night and day different from my highly complicated and high risk experience with the girls (in an almost too good to be true sort of way). The Lord unloaded His kindness on us, not because we deserved anything, but just because that is His character.

Birth Story.
Because so much did not go the way I had planned with my my past pregnancy experience, and it was so high intervention and medicalized (which was GOOD, life saving, and necessary for that pregnancy), I had really wanted a low intervention pregnancy and delivery this much healthier go 'round. I was a good candidate for a VBAC (vaginal birth after C section), and decided my chances for a successful VBAC were highest if done naturally. My prayers were for an uncomplicated & safe delivery for me and Iris, a natural VBAC, a chunky baby (as Evangeline & Audrey were 2lbs & 3lbs), annnnd maybe that she would have dark hair :). At 230am, on June 30th, I got out of bed and was feeling Iris move a lot. I started to feel uncomfortable and a little bit of a back ache. By 3am I was in a lot of pain and woke Ryan up. I couldn't distinguish contractions at all, but was in so much pain that I called my doula and told Ryan I thought we needed to go the hospital soon. Both my doula and Ryan kind of raised an eyebrow (as it had been an hour of labor), and suggested I get in the bath and relax, and then go back to bed. HA. I tried the bath and felt like I was gonna die. I told Ryan I needed drugs immediately. I had given up on a natural delivery 1 hour in. By 430am I told Ryan we really needed to leave, so he helped me to the car and drove as fast as he could to the hospital. I couldn't speak or move, I was in so much pain. We pulled up to L & D, and Ryan got me a wheelchair and wheeled me up to my room. Give. me. pain meds. was all I could think. My water broke in the wheelchair as soon as we got in the room, and they helped me to get up on the bed. Before we could even finish admission paper work, and before I could even lay back on the hospital bed, baby Iris made her way out in 3 pushes, 30 minutes after we had arrived. There was no time for pain meds (no time for anything). The entire process was under 3 hours. I was so very thankful that she came so quickly, that in the Lord's kindness, I was, therefore, able to do it naturally, that my C-section scar was completely intact, that there were no complications, that she didn't come out in the car :), that she was a chunky 8lbs, ….annnnd that she has dark hair:).  I am overwhelmed by God's kindness; none of this was in my control. Praise God for all the prayers He chose to answer! Iris means rainbow and we chose it because of what the rainbow represents in Genesis 9: God's grace and faithfulness to His people.

Contrast between the contact I got immediately after birth with Iris (on left) and with the girls (on right).

A few hours after I delivered- on cloud 9.  I was only in the hospital for 24 hours with Iris-- quite the contrast with the 3 months (including ante-partum & NICU) I spent there with the girls.  
proud big sisters!

Thanks a million times over to all of you who were praying for us!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Big & Little

"They aren't twins, are they?"
They are actually!
"Oh really? Fraternal?"
"Oh, interesting, one looks bigger than the other"
Yes, they are different sizes.
"Well mama, you've got your hands full. They are precious." 
Thank you :)

..Is usually how the conversation goes at least once an outing. Occasionally, someone mentions how either I need to feed Evangeline more, or they tell her that she needs to eat more, at which point I passive aggressively smile and say, "she's actually a great eater, thank you". :)

The girls hear everything and they understand way more than even I give them credit for. I just cringe walking away from these unfortunate conversations wondering what each of them gathered about themselves from these stranger's observations, and hoping that they were distracted by the bakery section or whatever. For the last 6 months, the girls have been talking a lot about their sizes. In terms of their sense of self, I dare say that it is a/the central thing they are aware of/ can verbalize about themselves, especially in relation to the other. At first it was just, "I am little" or "I am big", but now it has become, "I'm too little for X", and "I'm too big".  It breaks my heart. Both Ryan and I are quick to tell them they are loved & beautiful just the way they are. 

Yes it is true, one is bigger. It is a fine fact, that need not be hidden from them. BUT, it overwhelms and scares me to think of size as THE primary characteristic shaping or defining/confining their young identities. 

I knew immediately that I had my work cut out for me when we were diagnosed with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome at 18 weeks gestation, as we would have identical girls that were significantly different sizes. Size comparison is hard enough on women who are not related, not to mention identical twins. 

..And so I have braced myself for the beginnings of this battle, and with this blog post am rolling up my mama sleeves, and inviting all the sweet people who love my girls and interact with them regularly if they would be so kind as to help us by being mindful of their words, and how they impact the identities of these developing people. I know ultimately, I cannot control people or protect my children, and I know that every parent has fears and concerns about their children. Our fears are no more significant than anyone else's, I just chose to write a blog post on them. At the end of the day, I rest in God's sovereignty and love for them as they grow, trusting him to provide us with wisdom as we continue to walk through being TTTS parents of identical girls. BUT, I thank you for taking the time to read and consider this invitation, and I am hopeful that even this small step can make some difference. 

thank you and wisdom is welcome.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A & E Turn Three~ Unicorn Style

The girls' birthday might be my favorite day of the year. I loooove to celebrate them. They are both doing great, and we have so much to be thankful for. Audrey loves all things pink, sparkly & girly, and enjoys gymnastics, singing, and performing. Evangeline loves books, snuggling, painting, making Audrey laugh, and problem solving. They have recently made a huge transition to their big girl room upstairs and are doing great up there! Potty training on the other hand, is still in the works…

We had so much fun with our Unicorn theme this year! Our original party was rained out, but we got a beautiful sunny morning today to enjoy the park!

The girls talked about their unicorn party for months! This was taken when they arrived to their party!
We hung some clouds & unicorns from the branches
 We did a little picnic in the park: boxed lunches for the kids with Unicorn horn rainbow lollypops, Unicorn horn funfetti snack mix (with Bugles) served in waffle cones, & Unicorn horn coconut cake.

 Our everyday hero, Mary Elizabeth, hunted down this amazzzzzzing unicorn costume for us and stole the show! She did glitter Unicorn make up, nail polish, and tattoos (check out Love and Lion's easy shop for custom tattoos!)

Unicorn Horn Toss
 We did a magical unicorn hunt to find little neon plastic unicorns (Target dollar bin) and whoever found a gold one got a special prize!

 These girly girls are so much fun. Happy Birthday to our sweet, sassy & sparkly three year olds, we love you more than words! Thanks for checkin in ;)

Check out our birth day, first birthday, and second birthday here!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

What's in a name?

  Ryan and I have found naming a human being to be no small task, and our third girl name was not the easiest to come by, but we are equally thrilled to have decided on

Iris Hope Anderson.

 I love the idea of story telling through naming, because I think our family stories are so powerful, beautiful, and valuable. God loves stories. He is the ultimate story teller, the author of each of our individual stories which he perfectly weaves all together into His cosmic story of redemption and restoration. I have found, both through being a client and a therapist, that there are few experiences more powerful than finding acceptance in sharing our stories of brokenness and redemption with each other.

My story is woven into my name, Laura Hope (which is also my mom's middle name), as I was born one year after my older brother Matthew passed away, and my parents saw me as new hope after deep suffering and loss. I never knew Matthew, but his life and death impacted who I have become more than I think I'll ever know. I chose to keep my middle name as I feel that it reminds me of my story, my parents story, my family story, and therefore my children's story.

We are passing the middle name, Hope, down to Iris because of what it represents to me, and also because of her story. Her story began long long ago, but in more recent years her older sisters entered the world through a very traumatic pregnancy and first year, causing me all sort of neuroses:)…no really.

 Iris means rainbow, and she has been such a bright spot after a difficult season. She is a mark God's grace and faithfulness (Gen. 9) to us after a trying few years having TTTS twins in a place far from home & family. Iris is also the Tennessee state flower, a little piece of our homeland. We are so thankful to God for all the ways he has provided for us, but particularly grateful for giving us a healthy and thriving SINGLETON (thank you Jesus) baby girl, and so a name of peace, hope, and rest it is. Thank you for checking in, and thank you to all those who have and do pray for our family!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Operation Big Girl Room"- complete.

We are now on to "Operation Big Girls SLEEPING in Big Girl Room" :)- in process.

I loved working on this room, not that it's anything special, but I enjoy doing fun kid spaces much more than adult ones. I preferred this to working on the nursery too because I actually know the girls now, so I got to tailor it a bit more. This was a little tough because this room was once an attic space (I think) and it has not been updated in decades, not to mention I had a small budget (for 2 people), but overall, I am satisfied with what I was able to do with DIY, things I already had, giveaways, and clearance items from Target, Ikea, & Overstock.... Ryan may disagree ;).

In typical me fashion, this room can be described in too many ways; modern geo with a touch of rustic..and cloud themes.. I just looved these cloud & sleepy raindrop pillows, and had to incorporate them (tried to tie in poms & dot sheets for "rain"- maybe too much of a stretch:)). All to say, they were $45-$60 on ETSY, and so I decided to make them for free using an old white pillowcase, felt, and batting. I am no master seamstress, I only say that to encourage you that it was not hard at all, and totally worth the DIY!

I pulled out a bunch of these dipped terra cotta pots I did for a shower once, & I thought they kindof worked well in here. The girls love to help me water them, which we do about once every 2 weeks :)- yay succulants!
The Pom wall decor craft that Audrey and I did together

 My "high shelf" with my special vintage books. I just cut up a US map for a little background paper on the shelving.

A small washi tape gallery wall with the girls recent art work. I'll probably hang my, ahem I mean, their, favorite dresses on the ladder. 

Thanks Uncle Troy for making these adorable doll beds that actually look like our real beds!

 Thanks for stoppin by, wish us luck in our next operation, & come over to play in our big girl room ;)