The beginning of 2013 also kickstarted the long process to get my health back, something that I've struggled with ever since having the babies. This time last year I was getting ready to undergo a major abdominoplasty that would remove all the excess skin left behind from the extreme pregnancy and also reconstruct my abdominal wall that had been torn apart. It was a tough recovery, and to top it off another surgery eight weeks later was then required to reinforce the sutures in my ab muscles as they were too lax and the muscles were sagging forward again.
Before we knew it, the babies had turned a year old. It was incredible looking back on those previous 365 days and realizing we had survived. Though all parents know the feeling of those tiny babies in your arms and cherishing that stage, NICU parents can relate to how we felt when we would immediately remember those two and three pound babies hooked up to endless wires, monitors, breathing support, IVs and medications in order to keep them alive and growing those first two months. Harrison gets me, most of all, because I can still see him so clearly fighting for life on that ventilator and recall the enormous flood of numbing pain that filled my heart when we nearly lost him at 10 days old.
Needless to say, aside from their birth in May of 2012, 2013 held one of our biggest milestones when we hosted their first birthday party at a lakeside house rental accompanied by loads of friends and family. We literally packed a U-Haul full of stuff (from pack and plays to a corral fence to bins of toys and boxes of diapers) that we took to the lake with us, as it required lots and lots of supplies to relocate four babies and a party for a whole weekend. But we made some great memories, despite working our asses off the whole time, and everything was a success! Several friends and even parents stayed overnight at the house with us and there was room for everyone with a tremendous view of the sunrises and sunsets over the lake.
With those new roots came time at our new digs with friends and family who were all too happy to visit and check out the quad's big new play room! We also brought the babies to their first birthday parties, took them for their first dip in a real pool and to the Dallas aquarium, brought our two dogs home and continued to unpack boxes. As the fall of 2013 came around, I began to learn how to cut myself some slack (a work in progress) and accept the things I could do and the things I couldn't. I took pride in accomplishing simple projects and in at last being able to decorate a home once again. The husband and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary and relished how far we'd come, how strong our relationship is and the joy of being parents together. We look forward to parts of our daily routine, like the bedtime stampede, and weekends spent reconnecting with folks and enjoying our kids. We dressed the babies in their first Halloween costumes and were able to plan a few nights out with friends, while the babies stayed home.
As 2013 slowly rolled to a close, I sought out a new doctor to discover why I was still feeling so bad (aching bones, headaches, nausea, etc.). Test results showed I had a severe vitamin D deficiency, which explained why my actual bones in my feet and knees were hurting so bad every day, and a very low B-12 range. I also had a big serotonin imbalance—which affects your mood and energy levels—and other digestive issues that I'm still in the process of addressing. A few prescriptions later and I'm steadily continuing my road back to health!
When the holidays hit, 2013 became a time to celebrate as we hosted two Thanksgivings, our own annual Christmas party and attended three Christmas celebrations. (Posts on most of that to come!) The husband and I both got sick just in time for Christmas and, while we enjoyed bringing the babies to see everyone, required quite the recovery afterward. We were thrilled when my mom and step-dad spontaneously offered to come care for the quads for 24 hours so we could get an overnight break! And we get a second overnight break this coming Saturday thanks to good friends of ours! We'd actually been planning this coming weekend for weeks now, and just can't believe we get two overnight escapes two Saturdays in a row. Just an afternoon away from the house together does both the husband and I wonders, so you can imagine how refreshed and rested we feel after being gone 24 hours. It's providing us a wonderful chance to reconnect, reflect and recharge!
Needless to say, 2013 hosted an abundance of major life changes and milestones, challenges and victories. It marked the beginning of our new life back at home, as we've always called Dallas, and seen our family evolve into a much more active, normalized state of being. Our one word for 2014 is: consistency. We look forward to a more stabile environment, less major changes and more meaningful exchanges, a few weekend getaways here and there (even some with the babies!), DIY projects on our home as well as parties and get-togethers for quality memory making. We wouldn't trade the last year, or last two years really, for anything in the world but you can bet your bottom dollar we're ready to stay put for a little while and experience a more ordinary side of life!
We are so appreciative to all our family members and those special friends that have made our year so meaningful and helped us survive the tough days and enjoy the good ones even more. Here's to 2014 and the wonderful things it's sure to bring...
Happy New Year!