Taken By Storm

Is it really the last day of April? Are we really about to be in the fifth month of 2014? I always heard that the older you get the faster time will pass you by… but, oh my goodness!!! Nobody was kidding that’s for sure! I can not believe that two days ago (April 28th) we celebrated six months to the date that our journey in Chapel Hill started. And, I also can not believe that yesterday we have been home for three months! It feels just like yesterday that Andrew, Amelia, and I drove to Chapel Hill to bring Leah home. This past year has brought along many of those life moments that you want to bottle up and save forever!

From our first Easter to celebrating the girls at March of Dimes this past weekend, the month of April has been so sweet. Saturday was such an incredibly special day! The donations are still being processed, but our team has raised close to $2,400 for March of Dimes and finished in the TOP 10 Family Teams for the Triangle! Our family can not thank everyone who donated to our team enough for your generosity! Your blessing helped us give back to one of the organizations that helped save our girls. Many people do not realize all that March of Dimes does for babies, and we are honored to be a part of bringing awareness to other families. This day was a celebration in honor of Amelia and Leah. We are so appreciative for our friends and family that were there to celebrate with us as we crossed the finish line. It was wonderful to see our other NICU families and a few of our nurses! Here are a few pictures to commemorate our day!

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While Saturday was indeed a joyous day and a day of celebration, I would be deceiving if I didn’t admit that I was overtaken by many emotions. I was absolutely elated at how much money our team raised for March of Dimes research. I was simply overcome with gratitude to those who gave so generously to help our family give back! I was extremely thankful for the family and friends who traveled near and far to walk alongside of us as we crossed the finish line with our girls. It meant so incredibly much to Andrew and I for those that came to show their support! I was so happy to honor the girls in this way, and celebrate how much they have overcome in the span of their short life. My heart was broken for the families that were walking in memory of a child, and for the families that are still fighting through a NICU experience. To have the opportunity to see our NICU families, our nurses, and be amongst other tiny miracles was overwhelming (in a good way!) for me. It simply took me back to those 98 days in Chapel Hill. UNC Hospital and the NICU was our home away from home. Just as an example, three months later and the NICU is still in my Favorites on my phone.  Saturday made me realize how fast time is really going and how I should treasure every diaper change, feeding, play time, bed time, bath time… and all of the times in between.

I remember like it was yesterday when I could hold both of the girls in my arms like this… IMG_0522

now, my arms have to spread a little wider.

Photo: So happy to have had three months of snuggles today with my precious girls at HOME! Praying for the sweet mothers that are still having to get their baby snuggles amongst tubes and wires. #NICUlife

I see how they change, grow, and develop each and every day. Each stage of watching them grow is going to bring a new set of joy and excitement, but to already have the ‘newborn’ stage behind us is so bittersweet.

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February 2014

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April 2014

May I point out that Leah is the one with her hand on her head in both of these pictures!

Prior to seeing them for the very first time, I tried to brace myself for how small they were going to be. I remember our nurse, Angie, rolling me up to the NICU and Andrew taking me to Amelia’s bedside. Although tiny, my daughters were the most beautiful babies I had ever seen. I remember the feeling of holding them for the very first time.

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I remember our Kangaroo Care, when I held them skin to skin among all the wires and machines. I remember cradling them in my arms when we brought them home at 7 lbs. I remember going into their nursery for those late night feedings and rocking them back to sleep. My heart will never forget that feeling, and my arms will never forget the sensation of holding my tiny little miracles. Now, when I pick up my big babies they can hold their head up as their arm rests on my shoulder. There are no more late night feedings. When we lay them down for bed, they fall asleep on their own. It’s all going by so fast… it’s like we’ve been taken by a storm.

No matter what stage of life you are in, I encourage you to embrace this time. A year ago, I was a bride-to- be getting ready for college graduation. A year later, I am a wife, mother of two, and still working towards that degree. Your life can change in an instant. Embrace the moment. Live for today. And in the words of Kenny Chesney, “Don’t Blink”… weather the storm friends.

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