Saturday, February 13, 2016

"That Moment When Your Heart Explodes From BlogAwesome" #FakeUpworthyTitle

**Yes, that was totes a clickbait title. MADEJALOOK

Every year before I revise and repost, I remember. I relive. And even if it's just for one shining day, these memories make everything else fall away: all the petty irritations and frustrations, the dislikes and grudgy feelings...all of the things that, in the long run of life, aren't worth the importance we place on them. 

This story is what matters. #TheseLivesMatter

It's been a long tough journey that has passed in the blink of an eye.


"On the roller coaster of life, your 21st birthday is like being at the top of the first giant hill with your hands in the air and no lap bar."
– Greg Tamblyn

My tiny little 1 lb babies are 21 today.
Some of you have been reading the Birthday Post since they were about 9 or 10 or 11, so wrap your head around TWENTY-ONE, if you can.

The most important thing, really, is that now I can send my daughter into the liquor store to buy me wine. I NEVER HAVE TO GET OUT OF THE CAR AGAIN. #SCORE


THE DUE DATE: June 4th
THE BIRTH DATE: February 13th. Preemies for pre-valentine's day.
These children clearly get their lack of patience from me.  They were born at 24 weeks, or about 3 and 1/2 months early. They weighed just over 1 lb. each, and were about a foot long. I'm talkin' teeeeeny tiny. Micro-preemie, I think is what they are called now.

Anyway, this is my boy, at about a month old:

I woke up the morning of February 12th, headed for the bathroom, and after about 5 minutes I called out to the baby daddy, "Either I've lost all control of my body functions or my water broke".
I'll give you a hint - my functions were still under my control.
So natch we rushed to the hospital, where the stupid ass snot face condescending nurse (actually I love nurses in general, but this one? NOT SO MUCH) had me lay on a gurney for an hour and then said that I was fine, no fluid was "leaking" (I know, gross), and the pains in my back and belly were just muscles stretching, NOT CONTRACTIONS...and then she tried to send us home. 
Me being me, I caused a scene.
Hey, guess who ended up being right about me being in labor?

Here is my little girl, at about a month old:

The doctors tried to stop my labor for 24 hours, but apparently my kids were having none of that. On the 13th of February, my boy arrived in the usual way - of course, I was knocked out for the entire thing. My daughter was still safe and secure in her bedwomb -- the idea was to let her 'cook' a little longer (which would have been weird to have twins with different birthdays, right?).  So they were wheeling me into recovery when Miss Contrary's heart rate dropped to zero, and they did a SUPERFAST emergency C-Section to get her out. Evidently she didn't like being alone.
So it was like Twins Two Ways, with extra Mommy Staples.
This is also where I discovered my love of morphine. MMMMMMORPHINE.

Their ears were still folded down (WEIRD! I didn't even know ears did that until my kids were born. It was like puppy ears or something), and their lungs were not completely developed, and their little hearts were working overtime/doubletime.

They struggled for every single breath. They fought to live.

And so they did. And so they have.
Thank you, God.

Thank you for this little miracle....(my girl at about 2 months)

and this little miracle...(my boy at about 3 1/2 months)

The doctors gave them less than a 50% chance of survival.
Fortunately they got my stubborn genes as well as my temperamental ones, because my kids wouldn't listen to percentages; they went all HAN SOLO and were like NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS!

Their hearts were overworked, their lungs were and are covered in scar tissue, they are cursed with keloid scars as well as scars from perc lines and picc lines and a million little junkie scars on arms and feet from being pricked with lancets every hour. They have scarred veins, they had damaging bleeding in their brains, preventing brain growth. And yet...    

Becca's first day home from the hospital! Nearly 4 months old and not even 5 lbs. I still have this amazingly tiny dress - I swear it's barely bigger than Barbie size. Those booties she has on? The foot part is less than 2 inches long. Each twin came home attached to oxygen and an apnea monitor - whenever we all went anywhere together it looked as though we were leaving home for a month, so laden were we with electronic equipment, oxygen tanks, diaper bags, strollers...which is partly why I became the hermit I am today. #Lazy

Here they're about 7 or 8 months old, I think (did I ever mention that I am TERRIBLE about labeling pictures? Because I am). Clearly Becca was already trying to wear some sort of tiara:

One morning I discovered that my daughter knew how to climb into her brother's crib.

When Becca was about two, this is what "Go get ready for bed" meant:

Josh had the softest, wispiest hair so I let it grow and grow... until that time I gave him a buzz-cut and he's been sporting a Greg Brady WhiteBoy 'Fro ever since. Unless I cut it myself, in which case he looks sort of like he's got the mange. #TrueStory

Josh 2007

Becca 2007

There were middle-of-the-night phone calls with doctors on the other end of the line telling me that they didn't think THIS twin or THAT twin would make it through the night- so we'd rush to the hospital to sit and put our hands in the "baby terrarium", as I thought of them, and listen to the beeps and the whooshing of the ventilator and wait for the inevitable.
There were six months in the NICU and 3 or 4 Thanksgivings and Christmases spent in the hospital. For awhile I thought they were going to name a wing of the children's ward after us, or at least keep "our" room in reserve.

There was RSV and BPD and ROP and a bunch of other things with initials that I barely understood.
There was double hernia surgery and laser eye surgery and surgery to correct crossed eyes. 
There were staph infections and even a broken arm that was caused by changing my son's shirt whilst in the NICU - he of the tiny little brittle bones. There were breathing treatments and nebulizers and oxygen tanks and albuteral and lasix and digoxin and tegretol and synthroid and constantly changing medications and frequent seizures and paralyzing fear (well, that last thing was *me*).

I remember a tiny Becca setting her pacifier down in something that had spilled...she picked it up, took a suck, and said, "What the hell is all over this?!" It made me laugh so much that I couldn't even correct her.

I remember one single sentence of absolutely clear speech from Joshua in 21 years...he was sick and angry and yelled, "I WANT MY BOTTLE!"  It was astounding and amazing and thank goodness my mother witnessed it or I would have thought my ears were playing tricks on me.

And now... TWENTY ONE
(or The One Where Joshua Gives Duckface)

This milestone is especially important for Joshua, as he has already outlived all early predictions of life-span. Though it's a little like living under the Sword of Damocles, we do not give in or give up. And despite the fact that they were and are so fragile health-wise, for the last 10-12 years I can count on one hand the number of times they've had to go to the doctor or hospital. 

How could I not believe in miracles? When I look upon those miracles every day of my life.
I love you, my babies. I have been and will always be thankful for every breath that you take, every blink of your eyes, every morning that you wake. I love you with everything inside me.

You still make me laugh, you still make me cry, you still make me want to smack you upside your silly little heads.

If all the world was a beach, I would love you more than all the grains of sand added together. Times infinity.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Ash and Me VS. The Evil Dead, or ComicCon Tulsa 2015

I meant to show you my second comiccon in November, but I've been disinclined to sit in front of the blank Blogger page. Plus stupid facebook and work and kids and laundry.

In 2014, I went to my very first ComicCon, and I WENT ALONE. If you know me and the social anxiety I've developed over the last 10 or 15 years, then you realize what a big deal that is. You can check it out here: My First ComicCon - A mostly pictorial essay (it was AWESOME and I felt like part of a tribe)

The thrill has not gone away yet.

In 2015, I was lucky enough to find a fellow nerd and Bruce Campbell-lover to go with me - my friend Nicole. It was even more than double the fun! Check it out.

First there was a tearful goodbye with my children - I knew that I would barely be able to stand being away from them for nearly three whole days! *sob* They just clung to me and begged me not to leave - I almost gave in.

Luckily Nicole showed up and gave me the strength to leave, and we hit the road for Tulsa! We checked into the hotel and got ready for HAPPY FUNTIME WEEKEND!

We had a nice view outside...

But inside was a little terrifying when we got to the elevator. Apparently the Zombiepocalypse has already happened in Tulsa. Or maybe it was like all those creepy kid handprints on the wall in Blair Witch house. (SRSLY what happened here?? **embiggen to see better)

So we set off to find ourselves a good time. We fit right in with the crowd.

**There was actually a little girl in there, driving it around. I wanted one of those - I would go around in it all the time!

We decided to take a joyride in this....

And ended up going BACK IN TIME (maybe we shouldn't have been using Reverse gear?) and ran into a much younger Ash (although truth be told, I much prefer his older self, RAWR #SilverFox):

As you can tell, he was very happy to see us!  Then we found jokers and aliens and clowns, oh my!

And sweet transvestites from transsexual Transylvania. Because natch.

And his housekeeper, whom I tried to employ but she was all I DON'T DO WINDOWS. OR CLEANING. OR ANYTHING.

We found The Dude, abiding as usual. Tried to get him to Netflix & Chill with us. I can't say any more about that because of the nondisclosure agreement, but I do have a new rug that really ties the room together.

Eventually Nicole was excited to run into her First! First Doctor, that is --

We were trying to abscond with him in this...

...but then these guys got in our way.

Captain Jack would've taken us away on his ship, but he was drunk as usual.

I was taking a picture of some people dressed up and David Tennant photobombed my picture!

And then we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the doctor's next incarnation - I guess they decided to go from one extreme to the other, from Old Geezer Capaldi to this guy:

By then we were hungry and tired so went in search of food and then rest because the next day WE WERE GOING TO MEET BRUCE CAMPBELL.
Found a little Mexican food place that we all agreed on - as you can see Ash was bogarting the salsa and had a leeeeetle too much of my margarita. I could see where this was going.

YEP, HANGOVER TIME. Luckily Captain Mal brought me and Bruce some coffee

He wouldn't get up, he wanted me to come back and snuggle some more. Awwww!

Time to head back to the convention center and get some shanking tips from Taryn Manning - you may know her as Pennsatucky on Orange Is The New Black. We really enjoyed her session - she seemed pretty humble and down-to-earth, very friendly and receptive to fans.

BUT THE BEST PART OF THE DAY WAS BRUCE. (Did I mention we actually MET him? And he touched us? *wink wink* And we had our pictures taken with him? BE JEALOUS)

And I took a selfie with EVERYONE. Well, everyone on my side of the room. 

Then it was sadly time to say GOODBYE COMICCON and we hit the road home, stopping in to see a few local sights between Tulsa and Midwest City.  First stop - center of the universe! No seriously, this is actually a thing. Plus it's very cool. Click that link I just gave you and read about it. We'll wait here.

This is where the center of the universe (me, doy) met the center of the universe. I'm surprised you all didn't feel the earth move or get lightning struck or something at that exact moment.

Every town needs a giant gold man. Right? He's a real "driller" #IfYouKnowWhatIMean (Tulsa is an oil town, doy. Why, what were you thinking I meant??) Nice belt buckle, dude.

And there is a CEMETERY IN THE PARKING LOT of a strip mall. WTAF?
But it was very old and nicely kept and probably they wanted to make sure they didn't stir up a whole Poltergeist thing.

We found some cool graffiti here and there, and I was wondering if this was Tulsa inviting me to stay there forever:

Buh bye, T-Town...until next year!

HUGE kisses and hugs and thanks to Nicole, without whom this trip would not have been possible for me. XOXOXO