Our story is not one of struggles, or infertility, or loss, or heartache. It is one of absolute Grace. Pure blessings. Answered prayers.
I will start with "us." Brian and I first met in 2000 and dated for a short while. We reconnected in 2002 and by May of 2003 we moved in together. He finally (!) proposed on Christmas Day, 2005. He made me an honest woman on September 8, 2006! I also received the gift of a stepson. Brian, Jr., then 9, announced to me proudly on the altar at our wedding mass, "well, you finally did it! You are a STEPMOM!"
During the Catholic wedding mass, there is the Presentation at Mary's Altar. The idea is to pray for the blessing of a family,for the gift of children. I could write forever about how special the Blessed Mother has been to me in my life, but it could very well be the topic of an entire blog, let alone a sentence within a post! Brian and I talked about children. He always said "one, maybe two" and I always yearned for two! I was quite deliberate about the presentation. Most brides select "Ava Maria," a beautiful song, but I picked "Hail Mary," because it has always reminded me of the gift of motherhood. I also selected TWO roses to present, a red one and an orange one, to symbolize my desire for TWO children. And I prayed, boy did I pray to Our Blessed Mother for two babies! My husband told me his prayer was "Give her whatever she wants, she deserves it!"
About eight weeks later, on November 5, I had a positive home pregnancy test. Wow. It was happening! A BABY!
On December 8, which is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Mary's feastday) and also was our three month anniversary, we had our first ultrasound. Brian was looking at the screen and his jaw dropped. The tech smiled and said "you see what I see?" I was clueless, and became quite worried! "WHAT?" Brian said "I see TWO." Yup. Two. Two sacs. Two heartbeats. Two miracles of God's Grace and Love. Mary certainly interceded for us this time! Answered prayers...literally! And to receive the news on her feastday...simply Divine.
We were so excited at first, and then the fear set in! Panic! You plan for one and now TWO! But I realized my prayers had been answered. TWO babies. Holy Moly!
Daniel Patrick & William Thomas were born on July 6, 2007 via C-Section. Daniel was 6 lbs 5 oz and William was 5 lbs 9 oz. We were overjoyed! My husband jumped right in as an "old pro" and he was amazing. He still IS amazing. I am blessed, and so are his boys!
Okay, so there was a slight pause in our joy. William has a cardiac condition known as SVT - Supraventricular Tachycardia. He began experiencing symptoms at about three weeks old, though we had no knowledge of it at the time. He became very sick and his heart was shutting down. We almost lost him. It still gives me chills. He spent seven days at Goryeb Children's Hospital and under the excellent care of Drs. Mone and Timchack our baby boy became well again. He was on meds until this past July and has been given a clean bill of health! It was truly the worst week of our lives. We prayed like never before, and once again, our prayers were answered. I reflected often on the families of NICU babies. I could not imagine doing it much longer than we did, and I am so grateful that the hand of God touched my child. My thoughts and prayers are always with grieving moms & dads, aunts & uncles, grandmas & grandpas.
The first three months of the boys life was a total blur, of course. I barely remember the blearly eyed tandem feedings at 3 a.m. What I do know is we got through it! Brian and I typically end up taking care of the boys "on our own." I am up with them at 5:30 a.m. and Brian cares for them from 7 a.m. - 11 a.m. while I work. I come home and spend the rest of the day with them, putting them down around 7 p.m. Brian comes home around 9:15 p.m. We miss each other a lot but are so grateful to have time with the boys, and honestly, we cannot afford the expense of childcare.
Here they are, July 6, 2007, One Whole Year!
As of today they are 13 and a half months old. But, our story doesn't end here!
Brian Jr. had always asked for a brother. He talked about it from the time he was six or seven years old. He would pray for one, too! When the boys were about 4 months old we were reminding Brian Jr. that God answered his prayer for a brother and in fact, gave him TWO! In that moment he lifted his hands in prayer, looked up and said "please God, give me a baby sister!" Brian Sr. and I just laughed and told Brian that WE had decided that we were very happy with our three boys, and we weren't going to have any more babies.
You can only imagine what happened. Towards the end of January I had a postive home pregnancy test. I was more shocked than ever. How will we do it? How will we afford it? HOW, HOW, HOW? And the thought came to me that we will do it JUST like we did it with the twins....YA JUST DO IT.
At dinner about a week later we announced the news to Brian Jr. I told him "God answered your prayers again!" He said "you're having a girl? I'm having a sister?!" We told him we weren't sure if it was a sister or brother but yes, we were having another baby. He raised his hands, again, and looked up, again, and said "thank you, thank you, thank you!" He cried. I cried. I realized the miracle of it all. Pure Grace, once again. Pure Love. Absolute blessings.
Of course I'm sure you can figure out what our big ultrasound revealed. Of course, a girl. An answered prayer for a young boy full of faith, and full of love for his little brothers and future sister. I imagined it was an answered prayer for all of us. I always imagined myself being the mother of a little girl, and Brian Sr. was overjoyed (and overwhelmed) at the thought of a little girl.
Baby girl is scheduled to arrive via C-section on September 15, a mere three weeks from this post date! This pregnancy went very, very quickly! I draw strength from you all, continually, especially MoMs of triplets! I can't tell you how many times I thought "one would be a breeze!" Ha ha, jokes on me, and now I can let you all know!
It will be full of chaos, that's for sure. And it will certainly be full of a whole lot of love, too. I will continue to share our story in my blog Irish Triplets Plus One! , and I am eager to continue reading about all of my fellow MoMs, too. I hope we can all meet some day, and I can't wait to hug each and every one of you and tell you how much I appreciate you!