Sunday, June 27, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday!

I remember this day last year as if it were yesterday. Of course, how do you forget the happiest and most terrifying day of your life? As I mentioned in my last post, June 27 is my and Joe's wedding anniversary and my mom's (aka Crackers') birthday. On that date last year, I was of course in the hospital with my broken water. The day was full of visitors. My mom came in the morning - I gave her her birthday gifts and we watched a few episodes of True Blood on the hospital TV/DVD player that a kind nurse had swiped for me. Our friends Christina and Doug came and visited in the afternoon, and our friend Cox swung by with an anniversary dessert he had made for us. That evening, Joe's parents brought us dinner from our favorite Italian restaurant and we enjoyed it with them. It was around that time that I started to notice that something wasn't right. I was having weird cramps that weren't going away. By the time Joe's parents left the pain was pretty intense, so I called a nurse, who hooked me up to the contraction monitor. Nothing was showing up on the monitor, but the pain had me in tears so the nurse called in a doctor. The doctor adjusted my position in the bed and - boom - contractions were showing up all over the monitor. She quickly did an exam and pronounced, "You're 10 centimeters dilated. We're delivering now."

Suddenly our world was turned upside down. The room was full of nurses prepping me and making Joe sign paperwork. He was trying to sign, comfort me and call our parents at the same time. I was crying hysterically and shaking so badly that they couldn't get the IV in my arm. Next thing I knew the nurses were running my stretcher down the hall to the OR, screaming "Move, move, move!" at anyone in the way. Joe was racing along behind us, and I kept craning my neck to look back at him to make sure he was still there. He was so comforting, ensuring me the whole time that everything would be just fine, even though I knew he wasn't so sure.

Once in the OR, the babies were out in a matter of minutes. First Charlie. Then Annaleigh, making her tiny cry. Lily wasn't ready to come out, and was hanging on in there. It took a little muscle for the doctor to get her out, but she made her debut just 2 minutes behind her brother and sister. It wasn't like any delivery I'd seen on TV. There were no joyful cheers of "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!" They didn't even show me the babies before they handed them to the waiting team of NICU doctors and nurses. Joe was able to peek at the babies and tell me that they were perfect, but I couldn't see for myself. As they stitched me up, I stared at the only thing I could see - the team of nurses working on Lily. I could see only that they were using a bag to make her breathe, and they worked on her for a LONG time. I was really starting to get scared when they finally announced that Lily was ready to move to the NICU, where she would begin her 99-day stay. Charlie was already there, beginning his 95-day stint.

I remember the first time I saw them - still on my stretcher an hour or so after delivery. The awesome nurses let me touch each baby, and one nurse even let me put Lily's tiny bottom in my hand. Truly amazing.

Of course, you all are familiar with the rest. The ups and downs. The highs and lows. The loss of our beautiful Annaleigh. And now here we are. One year later. I don't even know how to describe how Joe and I feel today. Bittersweet, maybe? We are overjoyed to be celebrating Charlie and Lily's first birthday today. We are beyond sad that their sister is not here to celebrate with them. Someone is missing today. A very important player from one year ago is gone, and there are really no words to describe the emotions associated with it.

But still, we are happy. Our babies are downright incredible. They are strong. They are smart. They are adorable, if we do say so ourselves ;) And they are so freaking happy. They bring us so much joy every single day. Thinking back on their rough and scary start, it blows our minds to watch them be "normal" babies - to progress, and grow and thrive.

Last night after dinner Joe and I sat on the couch and watched Charlie and Lily playing. They were looking at each other and laughing hysterically at some secret joke, and we knew that this is what it had all been for. The long and stressful infertility treatments. The incredibly hard and traumatic pregnancy. The scary premature delivery. The NICU roller coaster. Saying goodbye to our Annaleigh. We made it through the worst moments of our lives, the moments when we thought we couldn't go on, so that we could be here, today, celebrating our miracles.

Happy first birthday, Charlie and Lily. Words will never properly describe how much we love you, how much you mean to us, and how happy you have made us. Thank you for being you.

Our dear, sweet Annaleigh - we miss you so, so much. Our only wish is to have you here with us, today and always. We love you.

Happy birthday, babies.

Charlie at birth - 1 lb, 13 oz.
Charlie today!
Lily at birth - 1 lb, 8 oz. Lily today!
The birthday babies.
Remembering Annaleigh, today and always.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy, Happy 1st Birthday Charlie and Lily! Thank you for sharing your story and for being part of my life for a year. I remember coming home from having my own baby and reading that the babies had arrived. I remember feeling the emotions right along with you in my early, hormonal days of being a mom.

I don't "know" you, but I am amazed each and every time I read about the babies... they are truly amazing and strong miracles. What lucky parents, and what lucky little ones to have such amazing and dedicated parents.

Enjoy the birthday festivities. We will be thinking of Charlie and Lily (and Annaleigh) as we celebrate at our own daughters first birthday party today.

melissa said...

Beautiful Babies!! Happy Birthday!! How many weeks were they?

Jamie said...

Happy Birthday Kids!!

I remember reading your posts like it was just yesterday too. Crazy.

Angie said...

Happy Birthday Charlie & Lily! It's a great milestone, and even more fun to come!

Carrie said...

Happy Birthday kids!

Your story made me cry, you guys have so much to be thankful for.

Twins Plus 1 said...

Oh Brooke I have been thinking about you and Joe all weekend! You guys have been through some much and now look at Charlie and Lily! Your post made me cry!

Happy 1st Birthday Charlie and Lily!

And of course we are thinking of you sweet little angel Annaleigh!

carrie said...

Happy, happy 1st birthday babies! Your post made me cry. I have also been following your journey from the beginning, and you have been in my thoughts as this day arrived. I also experienced an incredibly stressful triplet pregnancy, including my boys developing twin-to-twin-transfusion syndrome, requiring fetal surgery at 25 weeks. The surgeons were very honest that the odds of the boys surviving were not that great. I remember the sheer terror and fear. We had the many ups and downs and emergency calls from the NICU to come in right away. However, obviously, I have not experienced your loss. This is the part that has me often thinking of you, and marveling at your strength. I'm sure there are times where you do not feel strong at all. However, your strength comes through in your posts, and obviously, in your parenting and marriage. I am so impressed by both of you, because you have made the decision, and have carried though, to find your joy. The joy and love you feel for your little ones is so apparent to anyone who reads your blog. So happy birthday to Lily, Charlie, and little Annaleigh in heaven. I hope today's party goes wonderfully!

Anonymous said...

Like I always say - you guys really do me in. I have no idea what the heck I'm gonna be writing here. So if it doesn't make sense chalk it up to the tears. Joe and Brooke - Annaleigh is with you - you have to believe that. She will never leave you - she lives in your hearts - just as she does with all of us. Look at those beautiful happy smiling faces on Charlie and Lily - their sister is right there with them. She smiles through them. My precious Charlie, Annaleigh and Lily - you have each brought so much love and happiness to us. Thank you for a wonderful year. I will be spending time with each one of you today my little angels. Happy 1st Birthday sweet peas...

All My Love, Auntie :) xoxoxoxo

Jennifer said...

Happy birthday to Charlie and Lily! I cried reading your recount of this past year. I have enjoyed seeing the babies grow--they are SO cute. I hope you all have a wonderful day. Annaleigh is up in heaven having a big ole slice of cake right now. :-)

NIcole T. said...

Happy 1st Birthday Charlie and Lily! What a journey the last year has been....and babies look at you now! Thank you Brooke and Joe for sharing your story with us. I remember stalking the blog and Nest last year waiting to hear updates every day on the babies. What a roller coaster ride it was. I can't believe they are one today! Have an amazing time celebrating today. Annaleigh will be partying it up right along with Charlie and Lily!!

Angel said...

Happy Birthday to Charlie and Lily! Congrats to Mom & Dad for surviving this trying first year and the times that came before it. I've been following your story this past year, and have laughed and cried along with you through every post. I feel like I know you guys, and I am overjoyed to have been able to spend it with you. I hope you have a wonderful day filled with love and smiles.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Charlie and Lily! I've enjoyed looking back through the blog posts and seeing you grow. Your happy smiles made my day! With love, (Nanny)Joy.

Stephanie said...

Happy birthday Charlie and Lily! I cried reading this. You two have been through so much and I am so thankful to you for sharing your story through this blog.

Jamers said...

How adorable is that cupcake picture?! Happy Birthday Charlie & Lily (and Crackers!)! Happy Anniversary, Brooke & Joe! Thoughts are with you for sweet Annaleigh. Bittersweet? Yes, but you still have so, so much to celebrate. Hugs!

Heidi said...

Happy Birthday Charlie and Lily! It's amazing to see the birth picture beside the picture of the strong, beautiful babies that you are today. I shed a few tears remembering precious Annaleigh again today. Congratulations and Happy Anniversary Brooke & Joe! You have a beautiful, amazing family. You've all come so far and I am so happy for you. :)

Helga said...

Happy Birthday Charlie and Lily!!! I can't believe it has been a year already! I feel like it was just yesterday that I stumbled upom your blog! Thank you for sharing your beautiful children and your story with us.

Happy Birthday sweet Angel Annaleigh! I know you are there celebrating in Heaven.

Happy Anniversary Mama and Daddy and Happy Birtday Grandma Crackers!!! You all have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for today!!

Amy said...

Happy Birthday Sweet Babies! I've been following your story since the blog was created, this is a day you've been waiting for, and dreaming of. Congratulations, it's here!

Thinking of you Annaleigh, Charlie, Lily, Brooke and Joe's sweet Angel.

Happy Anniversary, Brooke and Joe!

Melissa said...

Happy birthday Charlie and Lily! I can't believe it has been a year already, they two of you are miracles and have your own special angel watching over you.
Joe and Brooke, happy anniversary. You have had quite the year, but have done an amazing job so far with two happy babies.

Erin @ OneParticular Kitchen said...

Happy birthday sweet babies! I've never met a one of you, but I think of darling Annaleigh every time I see a butterfly. Much love to all your little miracles.

JackieWolfe said...

Oh my goodness Mr.D! I can not even believe that they are one year old today! Happy Birthday babies! I took out my yearbook last night and was reading the comment you left me and it always makes me smile. Hope everyone is great and I miss you!

Love,
JackieWolfe

Amy said...

Happy Birthday Charlie and Lily! I've been reading since you had your beautiful babies, and it still brings a tear to my eye over your loss of Annaleigh. Here's to many more awesome birthdays for Charlie and Lily!

bella1021 said...

Wow- 1 year already!!!

Happy birthday!!!!

happy_wife said...

Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday to three precious ones who have touched so many! What a blessed day of celebration and remembering....remembering BOTH a birthday (for the babies and Crackers) and of your WEDDING!

The happiest babies come from happy parents...and when that little one smile, it radiates not just their personal happiness, but also the love their parents show to one another. Any, boy, Charlie and Lily smile a TON-so, congrats on another year of loving one another and growing with each other and growing in your marriage. You two have experienced more than most couples in a life time. Happy Anniversary to you both!

Sending love from Texas!

Anonymous said...

Happy 1st birthday Charlie & Lily!! Brooke & Joe, thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us! I remember a year ago when someone told me about your blog and I've been following ever since! I look forward to seeing these little faces & watching them grow. They are just so cute & happy!! It's no doubt Annaleigh is with you and smiling down on her family! God bless you all!!

Michele from FTHS said...

WOW! First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LITTLE D'S. You two are too cute for words! Second, you are remembered beautiful, sweet angel, Annaleigh. God Bless you ALL!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday babies. You have one heck of a story! Congrats Joe and Brooke on getting through this year with such strength and grace. What beautiful pics you've posted! As always, God bless Annaleigh.

Cheryl

daisybv2 said...

Happy Birthday Guys! They are so adorable I am thinking of you and Annaliegh!

Kristine McKowen said...

Happy Birthday babies! Where did that year go? I've been following since the beginning, seems like yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday aweet Charlie and Lily!

Kristi said...

Happy birthday, babies. I know what a huge milestone the 1st birthday is for premature twins, so I hope they and you had a wonderful celebration.

Anonymous said...

You don't know me at all; I came across your blog last summer on the day your gorgeous Annaleigh passed. I've since watched Charlie and Lily grow and blossom. As both a new mother and as someone who works in Early Intervention services, I am amazed by your babies. Your family's story has touched me in a way I never expected. I never thought I could so deeply mourn the loss of someone I never knew, nor did I think I could be so incredibly happy to witness the first birthday of children who were not my own. Charlie and Lily are thriving, and I'm sure Annaleigh is as well. Thank you for sharing them with me. I wish the happiest of birthdays to all three of your beautiful children.

Jen said...

Happy birthday babies (and Crackers, too!).

I've been following your blog for just under a year and while we've never met, I am in awe of your strength and love for your little ones. Your year recap made me thankful for every moment with my little boy (3 yrs old on 6/18). Keep writing and sharing your stories!

Here's to the years to come.

madebymel said...

I haven't had a chance to comment in a long time, but I have still been reading. Charlie and Lily are absolutely amazing and you are both incredibly strong and wonderful parents. Happy, Happy Birthday to your little miracles!

Our life is a bowl of Barry's said...

It really is quite amazing how far they have come after entering the world so teeny tiny! Your babies are beautiful and msiley and you know Annaleigh is watching over them from heaven. I hope year #2 brings just as many smiles and memories!!

Colleen said...

Tears at this post. Happy, happy birthday Charlie and Lily and we miss you Annaleigh. Saw a lot of beautiful butterflies within the past week and thought of you <3