Saturday, May 31, 2014

Guest Blogger: How Running Saved Me by Nikki

While I'm away this week, I have asked some of my closest bloggy friends to write some guest posts.  This helps me do a couple of things - fill some space on my blog AND introduce you all to some of my favourite people in this world.  

Today, my special guest blogger is Nikki.  Back in 2012, when I was asked to be an official Run Van Blogger for Vancouver Marathon, I had no clue that I was going to meet someone who means as much to me as Nikki does.  She started to follow my training for the race and we connected over social media.  How often do you meet someone in person for the first time and give them a big hug the second you say hi? - well, that was me and Nikki.  After that race, we both ended up registered for Goofy and ended running together for all three days - never having a shortage of things to talk about.   She is one of my dearest friends and my favourite virtual training partner.  Nikki also has a heart-wrenching and incredibly inspiring story behind finding her running legs again.  She defies the odds daily and I feel honoured that she would share it here with my readers.   Be sure to check out her blog for more about her incredible and inspiring journey.  Here's her story abut how running healed her.

Follow Nikki: Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest


***

How Running Saved Me

Ask a runner how running has impacted their life and you’ll hear answers that cover everything from it helped them lose weight, it broke them out of their shell, to it helped them fight depression. Running means different things to different people but I think we all agree that running changes lives.

Ask me and I’d say that running didn’t just change mine, it saved mine.

Almost 10 years ago my life was changed forever when we hit black ice on the Coquihalla Highway and rolled our truck off the side of the road. I had no idea how badly you could get hurt, even when wearing your seatbelt.

Having never broken a bone in my life, I suddenly found myself with all of my ribs broken, a chipped collar bone, a herniated disc in my neck, a dislocated sternum, collapsed lungs, a broken back and multiple soft tissue injuries to my hips, face and head. My injuries were classified as ‘catastrophic’.

Given how badly the vertebrae in my spine were crushed, I was very lucky to not have been paralyzed and was reminded of this by every doctor I saw. I was flown back down to Vancouver where my spine was pieced back together with 2 titanium rods and too many screws and bolts to count.

My recovery was long and slow. At first, I needed someone to help me with every aspect of my day from getting out of bed to eating my food. My muscles had deteriorated so badly after laying in a hospital bed for several weeks that even though I wasn’t paralyzed, nothing seemed to work properly anymore.


 Nobody could tell me how well I would heal or what my life would be like in the long term but they did tell me that the harder I worked at it, the better off I’d be. My physical therapy became my focus and my schedule of appointments and medications became my job. I have never worked harder at anything in my life.

After two years in nearly full-time physical therapy I was told that I was probably as good as I was going to get. My body had healed but nothing was really the same anymore. My range of motion was limited, my entire upper body was weak and I was in constant pain even though I’d become accustomed to it. I was told I would likely never return to full time work and that because of my pain, I’d never be active or able to run again.

This accident had forever changed my body and had pretty much touched every other aspect of my life as well. It was very hard to accept that so many parts of my life had changed forever because of something I had no control over.

It had been two years and I was tired of my life being about everything I could no longer do. I was ready to get some confidence back and find something I could do.
I decided that I wanted to learn to run again.

Every run was a struggle because not only was I weak but my gait and posture was so different now and my back pain made every step twice as hard. I shed many tears but stuck with it and slowly the runs started to get easier. I still had my pain but my body was getting stronger and I was able to run further.

As my distances increased, so did my confidence. I was feeling stronger and happier and having my running goals to focus on kept me motivated. It felt so amazing to be doing something I enjoyed with this body that had disappointed me so much since getting hurt.

I ran my first half marathon in 2008 and even though it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I kept on running. It remained a challenge but all of the training was strengthening my back and improving my posture. I was still weak and very, very slow but I was so thankful to be running at all that I kept a smile on my face no matter how far behind I got.


Learning to run despite so many challenges taught me so much about being thankful, believing in myself and not comparing myself to others. We all run for different reasons and I realized that as long as I was running for myself, it didn’t matter how fast or slow I was. Being able to run at all was the achievement and I was so proud of that. I still am.

It’s now been 6 years and I’ve gone on to run 20+ half, 5 full and 3 ultra marathons and I am still just as proud of my last place finishes as I am of my PRs. I continue to run because it helps me stay in shape and with a back injury, that’s the best thing you can do to manage your pain.

Running helped me get my confidence back, find some purpose and feel good again about who I was. It changed my life physically, helped heal me emotionally and I wouldn’t be the person I am today had I not had the courage to dare to run again.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Reads: Venusian Lullaby by Paul Leonard (Doctor Who)


From GoodReads:
'You want me to help you eat your children?' Ian said. 
Jellenhut's eye-stalks twitched. 'How else would we remember them?' 
Venus is dying. When the Doctor, Barbara and Ian arrive they find an ancient and utterly alien civilization on the verge of oblivion. War is brewing between those who are determined to accept death, and those desperate for salvation whatever the cost.  
Then a spacefaring race arrives, offering to rescue the Venusians by moving them all to Earth - three billion years before mankind is due to evolve. Are the newcomers’ motives as pure as they appear? And will the Doctor allow them to save his oldest friends by sacrificing the future of humanity?
This is the longest book so far and BY FAR the hardest to get into, while still being a very engaging story.  I attribute this to the fact that the author actually did not try to humanize the aliens beyond a very rudimentary humanizing in the description of the anatomical features.  Names and things are in the Venusian language and can be hard to wrap my english brain around.  BUT eventually it begins to flow into a story about a planet becoming inhabitable and how other civilizations move in to gain/help as a result.

This story features the First Doctor, Barbara and Ian.  Aside from the episode (available on Netflix) "The Three Doctors", this was my first experience with the Fist Doctor and I feel like I can't judge the book and how good of a fit it is without tracking down more episodes with William Hartnell and see.  I may need to come back and edit this review later.

If you are needing a Doctor Who fix...this should do it just fine :)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Guest Blogger: Finding Fabulous by Tina

While I'm away this week, I have asked some of my closest bloggy friends to write some guest posts.  This helps me do a couple of things - fill some space on my blog AND introduce you all to some of my favourite people in this world.  

Today, my special guest blogger is Tina.  We met briefly at K-100 in 2012 after having been social media buddies for a while.  But it was our runches that helped us build a solid friendship outside of bloggy world.  She's had an interesting life and is one of the most fabulous people I know.  Be sure to check out her blog for more fabulous adventures.  Here's her story abut how running healed her.

Follow Tina: BlogTwitterInstagramPinterest

***


Finding Fabulous

If I think back. WAY back. Like 25 years to when I ran cross country in junior high -- I recall feeling pretty free and fabulous on those autumn runs. I only ran to get my cardio up for the upcoming figure skating season. Funny those old memories ... 

Fast forward to turning 40. And being sedentary. For quite a while. The year before I joined a soccer team and was getting my ass handed to me on the field. I needed to get in shape. So I started running. Everyone on my team seemed to be doing it, so why not try. Oh. Muuuuuuh Gawwwwwd. I recall my first 5km race ... I think after finishing I may have said: "I need a nap!".  It took a long while for me not to be exhausted. Then again, I was a fair weather runner. 


Frankly, I got tired of  needing a lie down after a race. So I actually began training regularly. 

Five years later I am a different woman. Yes, running has changed me. I lost 40 pounds. I went from barely being able to run 5km to running a few (at last count 28!) half marathons and a couple marathons. And, in a week or so...another marathon! EEK! 

But it has changed me in more ways than just making my butt smaller. I have grown stronger. I have learned the lesson of perseverance. I have felt defeated and then the smallest word of encouragement has come from a fellow runner which prompts you to dig deep and realize I really can keep going. I have gained strength from the celebrations of others. I have benefited directly from laughs on training runs and realized I have some pretty awesome friends waiting for me at a finish line or cheering me on the trails, pathways, or on race day. In spirit or in person. I have found strength in myself and a belief in ME. That I have, I can, I will. And it puts a HUGE smile on my face. 


I have come to realize that as HARD as running can still be, I gain strength every time I get out there. Nothing fills my heart with joy and pride and 'hot damn I just did THAT' every time I cross a finish line. No matter the distance! 

This past year has not been easy for me - I have had a lot of health, job and life stress issues. Running and all the wonderful things that have come WITH the 'running part' has saved me. I don't mean to be overly dramatic. But it is true. Running has giving me perspective. It has made me claw my way out of depression. It has given me confidence and I have learned that positivity is where it's at. Yes, I am not as fast as I want to be.

While I am training to get stronger and faster, I have discovered that, more importantly, running  helps me find the good, the positive in life. I am trying to use every run as a building block. No more self defeating talk. Life is about celebrating. Find a way to find your happy. Choose to see the light. I am working on eliminating the "BUT" in my vocabulary and that negative self talk that takes away from personal victories. And that will give me a lot more FUN in life. And, ultimately, MAKE me more fabulous too! 

How do you find your fabulous? 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Workout Wednesday: Oy, There's the Rub by Susan (Guest Blogger)

While I'm away this week, I have asked some of my closest bloggy friends to write some guest posts.  This helps me do a couple of things - fill some space on my blog AND introduce you all to some of my favourite people in this world.  

Today, my special guest blogger is Susan.  It's hard to believe that I have only known Sue in real life for less than a year (we met for the first time at Calgary Marathon just last year!) Her awesome smile, amazing accent and wry wit won me over immediately and I am proud to count her among my runner girls! Be sure to check out her blog!  Following an interesting result of her and her husband's last half marathon, she was inspired to impart some wisdom she gained in the aftermath of supporting someone through the runner's scourge - chafe!

Follow Susan: Blog | Twitter | Instagram

***

Oy, There's the Rub - Supporting Your Chafed Runner

When I ran my first Half in 2012 I was not enlightened to the horrors of chafing, I did not own a Garmin, have a clue about mins per km or know anything about my shoes (I bought them because they were purple and on sale).

Witness my running attire, specifically how short my shorts are:



I was lucky that day as it was practically chilly with no sun to speak of. On any other May day I was a prime candidate for thigh chubrub. Sometimes we are smiled upon by the weather gods and we must be grateful. Had that occurred I suspect I would have been less eager to tackle Half #2.

Here is my solution to the athletic thigh dilemma (PS fuck you Lululemon):



Shorts with long tight fitting inner layer topped with loose material so as not to expose any outlines to the masses. I have never looked back from my narrow fortuitous miss.

My worst chafing episode came last year in Kauai when I chose to run in Nike sports bra with hydration pack. It was so hot and humid there simply wasn't another option.  The result?  After an intense rainstorm at 6 miles the skin rubbed right off my lower back. I stopped at an aid tent where I was thoroughly Vaselined, but every rain shower and cube of ice I put down my bra burned like the very fires of hell thereafter.

Let's take a moment here to look at popular chafing solutions:


Only last weekend I became aware of that dreadful scourge of all runners. Here we have recreated the scene:

(click to enlarge)

So here's the thing: Vaseline washes off your nipples in the rain. Yep. Who knew.

I found some more sturdy alternatives for your consideration:


                

Running is hard enough without adding discomfort, irritation and bleeding to your sensitive regions.

I would like to leave you with some thoughts on supporting the traumatized runner:

  • No laughing. Not even a little bit.
  • No matter how bad you feel after the race, know this is worse.
  • When your runner enters the shower post-race do not accuse your runner of screaming like a little girl even if that is precisely what they are doing.
  • It may help your runner if you do not refer to them as a big frilly knickers girly man.
  • Ice cream makes everything all better.  If the problem is particularly bad you may try applying directly to the afflicted region.


How do you deal with chafe? What products do you prefer?  What's your favourite one liner for ribbing a chafed loved one?  Share in the comments.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Guest Blogger: How Running Healed Me by Anna

While I'm away this week, I have asked some of my closest bloggy friends to write some guest posts.  This helps me do a couple of things - fill some space on my blog AND introduce you all to some of my favourite people in this world.  

Today, my very first guest blogger is Anna - the whole reason I started running.  She is an amazing woman and has been a wonderful and supportive friend to me for the last 9 years.  

Follow Anna: Blog | Twitter Pinterest

***

How Running Healed Me 
by Anna Turner, www.annasantidotes.com

My adventures in running started to heal me long before I ever got sick at least in the physical illness. Running has always been a gift that I have held close to my heart and tried to share with others.  The benefits, the peace and the running community are amazing.

I started to run in March of 2000 and my very first race was the Forzani’s Mother’s Day Race. I raced with my daughter and a colleague and we were both hooked and have had many running adventures.  I did not own a digital camera,  so there are no selfies. Just a great memory of an endorphin rush and a rose.



I had run four marathons and was seeking my fifth - this was in 2008 - and I was busy training for the Vegas full with my daughter Vanessa and my best-est running friend April , when I was feeling really super tired.  Not going to lie - I wondered if I was just getting too old for this running game.  Perhaps my body’s way of saying drop the distance and then you will recover your energy.  That was the hope though, in my heart of hearts, I knew it was something bigger.
  
I started the search for a diagnosis and dropped to the half distance.  I then found that the half distance left me exhausted as well, so I thought "I will walk".  All of this just left me exhausted and so sad. A week before leaving with my running gang and our entourage I had a biopsy done and was awaiting the results.  Bottom line: I didn’t have the energy even to pull off a reasonable 10km walk.  The hardest thing for a runner is to cheer on other runners when you want to run. There were many tears and unspoken fears that Sunday morning.

I came home and found out I was in Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and then I started the cycles of navigating a new and very scary world.  I started chemotherapy treatment in January 2009  - every three weeks.  This went on for the next 27 months in different and various time windows.

I missed running.  I missed the way it left me feeling complete.  I was missing my companionship that I had with my running community.  

So, at my third treatment - with tears in my eyes -  I asked please (I actually think I may have begged) for the go ahead to let me resume running.  I am guessing not the first question my oncologist was expecting.  My husband supported me as long as I wouldn’t run alone. I have kept my word.

Here are some of my amazing supportive friends who helped me heal.                                                                             


Enter in the couch to 5km app and the support of April by my side. I worked super hard at this and I was slow, but by August I was ready to a 10km race in Edmonton with April and Cori (well, actually, Cori left me in her dust). You can see in the photo below of the three of us.. I was the only one exhausted. I was super proud to cross the finish line.


April and I followed the Team in Training group to San Fran to the half.  This was Cori’s first Team in Training race and Vanessa’s second.  I did finish - super slow but pleased to cross and get a second Tiffany’s necklace. (I had a chemo treatment the Monday before the race.) 

A celebration like you could imagine occurred literally and very spiritually for me. 


I then decided to earn some fundraising money to help others with blood cancers so I trained to do the Goofy with some of the most amazing people in the world. (I did this 10 months after completing my treatments)  I ran some,  I walked some, I cried some, and I laughed and continued to smile for an entire weekend.   I am blessed with the love and support of so many.


       

I wonder how running healed you?  … was it from a broken heart, bereavement, illness or does it just complete you… 


Monday, May 26, 2014

MOMday: My Birth Story

Five years ago today, the two amazing, wonderful, crazy girls in my life were born. Their birth was an adventure right from the start and I don't think I've ever shared it here.

So, let's go back to October 2008.  Hubby and I had been married a few months and were trying to have a baby.  Yes, A baby.  One.  One morning, I was suddenly awoken feeling as though my boobs had been tazered and I rolled over and said to hubby "I think I'm pregnant."

He snorted and told me to go back to sleep. But I couldn't.  As the day progressed, I was feeling more and more nauseous.  I bought a pregnancy test, but it came back negative.   A couple of weeks passed and I was still nauseas.

All the time.

Not puking, but my stomach was not right.  And all I wanted to eat was spinach.  THAT was odd in and of itself.  Hubby still doubted I was pregnant.  I was pretty sure I was, but I had a doctor appointment scheduled for later that week so I figured I'd talk to her about it then.

While I was in the office, they did a urine test and that came back negative, but my doctor handed me a blood test requisition and told me "I trust that you know your body so let's just get a blood test and confirm it."

Two days later, I called the office to see if the results were in.  The receptionist wouldn't tell me anything.  She just said "Hold on - Dr. Love wants to tell you herself."

Yes.  I was pregnant.  And it was EARLY on!   Our best guess was that I was three weeks along.

I spent that first trimester feeling nauseas but not overly sick.   Hubby was working in an office with a really high twin rate so there were joke flying fast and furious bout when we'd find out it was twins.  We laughed them off.  We told our families at 12 weeks, which happened to be Christmas Eve.  Best Christmas gift ever for them.  Most of our family had given up on us ever having kids.  Silly, since I was only 32 years old!

At 14 weeks, we went in fora  check up and to hear the heartbeat of our baby.   We joked around with the doctor to make sure there was only one in there and when she could only find a single heartbeat, we breathed a sigh of relief and immediately told off everyone who had been joking about twins.  I went for my triple screen blood test to rule out Spina Bifida and Downs Syndrome.  and then our world turned upside down.

It turned out that my doctors office didn't have my work or cell numbers on file so we came home one night to an increasingly urgent series of phone messages.  The test results had come back weird and they immeditely needed to send me for a dating ultrasound.  The last message was the nurse giving me her home number and telling me she was taking my chart home with her because it was urgent that she speak to me.

I was in tears.  My worst nightmares played out before my eyes.  Something was wrong with my baby.  I called the nurse at home.  She wouldn't give me any answers over the phone.  She just told me when and where to go for my emergency ultrasound and then directed me to come to the office after to follow up.

We were at Beddington clinic bright and early the next day for the ultrasound.  What should have been a joyful moment of us getting to see our baby for the first time was suddenly the most stressful time ever.  I laid down on the table and they squirted the gel across my stomach and started to move the ultrasound wand around.  I couldn't really make out what I was seeing, but there was no mistaking what hubby said under his breath as he watched the screen.

"Fuck, I see two skulls."

The tears immediately started to run down my cheeks.

Twins.  There were two babies in there.  And, as far as they could tell, identical ones - though they couldn't tell us the gender yet.

16 weeks in, I found out I was expecting twins.  They were healthy and a good size, despite my losing 10lbs my first trimester. As soon as we hopped into our truck, we both turned around and realized that our Honda Element was not going to work for twins.  We were having two babies and had to buy a new vehicle.  Life started to change immediately.  Turns out that the emergency ultrasound was needed because the triple screen had come back high positive for Spina Bifida.  Only 2 things could rule out the result - one was a different date on the pregnancy.  The other was multiples.  The doctor's office was so thrilled that it was twins that everyone hugged me.

This was bout how I felt about it...and, yes...I was showing this much at 16 weeks and still didn't suspect for a minute it was twins until they told me.



At our routine 18 week ultrasound, we had confirmation that it would be identical girls.  We named them right away.

Then there was the dilemma of gaining enough weight.  I had lost 10lbs in my first trimester because all I wanted to eat was spinach.   This meant, I suddenly had to gain 50lbs before these babies could be born and they could come early!  I was running out of time!  I started to eat a box of Kraft Dinner for both lunch and dinner to pack on the pounds.  There was also the time that I was banned from grocery shopping alone when I came home with strawberry flavoured everything - milk, pop tarts, fruit, etc. On delivery day, I had gained exactly 40lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight...and a whopping 50lbs from the moment I found out it was twins.  In case you're keeping track - that was in 18 weeks!!!  No easy feat.  To this day - I cannot eat more than a spoonful of KD.


For the rest of my second trimester, I would have ultrasounds every two weeks.  At 20 weeks, I started experiencing sharp rib pain that left me sitting with a heatpad on my stomach all day at work.  My belly was growing faster than the muscles in my short torso could handle.  At 24 weeks, my high risk OB-GYN wanted to pull me off work.  I begged and pleaded to work until 28 weeks because I figured I would go insane at home for the rest of my pregnancy...especially since they were all convinced that I would go full-term.   At the third trimester, I started to go for ultrasounds every week.

The Thursday before Good Friday was my last day at work before I started my sick leave.  Now I could rest and keep my feet up and maybe do some batch cooking.

At my goodbye party...I was SMALL here.

I got the nursery ready:



I grew and grew and grew as the girls got bigger and bigger.  A friend of mine from High School who was due a couple of weeks before me (her at the end of June, my due date was July 5) and I would compare stomach measurements every weekend.  At 34 weeks, my waist was 50 inches around!  That weekend, my MIL was off to Jamaica for her brother's wedding and she told us to not have the babies while she was away.  That should have been our first warning.

I was so uncomfortable.  The OB-GYN said I would be induced at 37 weeks if the babies stayed in that long.  I only had

3 weeks to go.  Surely I could handle that.  But, if I got much bigger, I was going to be shit out of luck on clothes to wear.  I was living in a single black maxi dress and a bunch of mens 3XL tees that barely stretched over the mountain...



That Sunday, my dad came down to visit.  He had brought a John Pinette DVD with him and he told me we were going to laugh those babies out.   We had a laid back day and then dad went home.   He took this photo right before he left.


That night, I had two braxton-hicks contractions that lasted a ridiculous amount of time (like 20 mins each).  I told Hubby that if there was a third one - we were going to the hospital.

The next morning, May 25, we got up like normal.  I was busy batch cooking all day and I noticed that my stomach could not come within 6 inches of anything without being hyper sensitive.  Just after 5pm, I was making lazy perogies for the freezer and I started talking to myself.  "Hmm - I haven't had to go to the bathroom in a while...That's odd.  Maybe I should try to go now."

I took two steps and my water broke!  I was at 34 weeks and 2 days.

I was home.  Alone.  In labour.  An hour from the hospital. And scared out of my mind.  I grabbed my cell and started to text hubby.  Then I shook my head as soon as I hit send and dialed him directly.  He would be driving home now.  The doctor had said it wouldn't be a quick labour so I figured I'd just wait for hubby instead of calling an ambulance like they had told me to.  I rushed to finish packing my hospital bag.   I put the in-progress cooking into the fridge and then started to time my contractions on an app I had downloaded.

Hubby got home in record time and everything started to happen fast.   He packed the car and then we both realized that our dog care plan was in Jamaica!  He rushed to the neighbours and gave them the code to our door so they could take care of the pups.  Then we laid down towels in the car and I got in and we hit the highway.

I had wanted to deliver at RockyView, but my OB-GYN only worked out of Foothills so we had to battle traffic all the way from Langdon to the other side of the city.  We parked and took the elevator up to the maternity ward and checked in at around 7pm.   I told them my water had broken but they told me that there was another set of twins being delivered so they didn't have a bed for me right that minute and I was going to need to wait in the waiting room!!!!

We sat in that waiting room for close to an hour.  I continued to time my contractions and we called our families.

Around 8pm, they showed me into the triage room and hooked me and the babies up to monitors.  


I couldn't go anywhere because of all of the wires and I was getting to be quite far into the labour.  I knew they were going to need to put an epidural in because I had to be prepped early in case a c-section was necessitated.   If they waited much longer, it would be too late for that epidural!  No one was coming in to check on me, but finally I guess my noises got to them and the doctor on call popped his head through the curtain.  Then he said something ridiculous.

"Since your water hasn't broken yet, you can't be too far into the labour yet"

WHAT!?!?!

Hubby and I said at the same time that my water had broken HOURS ago!  Apparently the message was never relayed.

So, he checked an I was at 4-5 cm.  They rushed me into a delivery room and called for the anaesthesiologist.  


I had not eaten yet, but everything was happening so fast and once the epidural was in, I asked if I could have a snack...and was told no.  I was going to need to deliver these babies on an empty stomach with absolutely no energy.

For the record - me with an epidural was the happiest I'd been for most of the pregnancy.

My labour progressed really fast from then on.  I hit 10cm at around 10 pm and they told me it was time to push.  I pushed and pushed and pushed...and nothing.  This went on for a couple of hours.  I was so tired and so hungry.

Then, my progress stalled.  It appeared that Doodle was stuck in my pelvis and was not going anywhere...and her heart rate was dropping.

It seemed like everything else happened so fast, but in reality, it was a couple of hours.   They decided to wheel me into surgery.  The doctor said that they would see if they could do a forceps delivery but if there was going to be any danger - they would be performing an emergency c-section.

It took about a minute for them to decide that the surgery would be happening.


A sheet was set up in front of me and I was falling asleep on the table.  It was 1:30 in the morning on May 26 and I was beyond exhausted.  I just wanted this to be over and for my babies to be healthy and out of there!  I kept falling asleep on the table.

Hubby stood beside my head, holding my hand the entire time and trying to keep me awake.  I felt a little tug as they pulled Doodle out and then two minutes later when they pulled Buggie out.   The surgical suite was filled with people as they had a full team for each baby.  Soon, I heard those tiny bird-like cries and they seemed so surreal and far away.  Hubby then, one by one, brought each baby to meet me.


Buggie

Doodle


They were so tiny and I was so tired. They wheeled them away before I could hold them and took them to the NICU.

They stitched me up and took me to recovery where I dozed until they deemed I was stable and could go see my babies.

Hubby called our families to tell them the news.  About an hour later, they drove my big long bed through the narrow aisles.  The Foothills Hospital NICU was overcrowded that week and they had had to separate the girls to accommodate them.  At one point, they handed me a baby to hold.  I'm still not sure which one.

Then, they took me to my room so I could sleep.  I had been awake for around 24 hours at that point.

Hubby stayed with me until I was settled in and then he went home to sleep (they wouldn't let him stay with me).

When I woke up a few hours later - they brought me some water and juice and some crakers.  I was famished and snarfed them down - only to throw them up all over myself a few minutes later.  Nothing is grosser than trying to buzz a nurses station that doesn't care and lets you sit in your own puke for 15 mins.  I had just had major surgery and couldn't move easily.  Once I was cleaned up - they brought me a wheelchair and took me to the NICU.
Doodle

Buggie

The girls were just being moved together in a single "stall" (for lack of a better word).  I sat there just staring at these two teeny aliens and wondering what the heck I was going to do with two babies.  I didn't even feel like I could hold them and the nurses were so busy because of the overcrowding that they didn't bother to help me.  All I could do was look at them and see all of the wires and monitors.  I didn't even know if they were okay.  Doodle had a big bruise on one side of her face from being stuck. Buggie had a breathing tube.  I didn't even know how much they weighed or how long they were.  So I stared.


A day and a half later, suddenly they started talking about how since the girls were stable, they would be moved to the NICU at RockyView Hospital.  No word about my being moved too, just the babies.  I had already moved rooms once and had just gotten settled in.  Then, I got word that the girls had left the hospital and I started to panic.  Then someone rushed into my room and told me they were moving me in 15 mins.  It all happened so fast and I was in an ambulance and hubby had my suitcase and was racing across the city to try to get to RockyView.

Once we were at the other hospital - things got much easier.  They started feeding me appropriately for a nursing mom (Foothills had been giving me half the food that RockyView gave me). Once hubby arrived, we went to the NICU together and they took us right to the back - where the girls had been given a private room and a crib to share.  The nurses were attentive to us and I will never forget when they looked at us staring at the crib and told us "You don't have to ask to pick them up - they are your babies."  They gave us the information about the sensors that were attached to them and how to reattach them if they came off...and then they let us take over.

We could finally be parents.

I stayed in the hospital for 4 days to recover from the surgery.  They offered to let me stay longer since the girlies wouldn't be discharged yet, but I decided to go home and get some real sleep in my own comfy bed so I could be as healed as possible when they finally came home. I still went to the hospital all day every day to care for them.  I cannot say enough good things about the RockyView NICU!  It was such a great and positive experience to be there.  Being moved was the best thing possible for us all.



The NICU nurses were amazing.  They created little name tags for the girls and never treated us like we were an inconvenience to them (like we had felt at Foothills).  Bug had been on a breathing tube when she arrived and Foothills had shaved part of her head to put in an IV on her head - they redid the IV into her hand and actually investigated why Bug wasn't breathing well..turns out it was a giant booger in her nose and they suctioned it and she was fine.  They helped me learn to pump and provided guidance wherever we needed it.  We had one setback where Bug needed a gavage feed and that meant 2 more NICU days, but we were always given hope that our time there would soon end - even though we were told by the doctor every day that they might be in there until their due date.  I couldn't imagine six weeks of NICU life.


Eight days after they were born, the twins joined us at home.  Doodle wasn't even 5lbs yet, but I think the NICU Doctor was so sick of me asking at every round when they could come home and finally ordered a car seat test and sent us on our way.


They were perfectly healthy...just small.

Home at last! (L-R: Buggie and Doodle)

Doodle
4lbs 10 oz
16.5 inches long
Born 2:01 am
May 26, 2009
Buggie
5lbs 5 oz
17.5 inches long
Born 2:03 am
May 26, 2009

And that is the story of how our little family grew by two.

Happy birthday to my beautiful, funny, amazing, creative, crazy, awesome girlies!  I so could not imagine my life without you in it.  It just wouldn't be worth living!