Setting goals for a BIG 2018

Happy New Year!

It is now 2018. The start of a fresh year. A ‘reset’ of sorts. Well, at least that’s what most people do when you start the new year.

And I feel like I (and we) have taken the same approach. I (we) have hit the reset button. I (we) have started fresh. I (we) have taken a new approach to 2018.

And one of the first things I did to make sure 2018 would be different, was write down my goals for the year. That’s right, I put pen to paper (remember the days when all you had to write with was a pen and paper… and yes I’m old enough to remember those days) and wrote down a list of goals that I want to achieve in 2018. A list of short term goals, long term goals and open goals that include making changes to my health and wellbeing, my family, and surroundings.

Goal Setting

A lot of people don’t set goals, or often make the mistake of not putting pen to paper and recording them down. As Mark Victor Hansen said:

“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands – your own.”

If that doesn’t resonate with you, Fitzhugh Dodson said:

“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”

I have no idea who Mark Victor Hansen or Fitzhugh Dodson are. But they, along with many others throughout the years, have spoken of the importance of setting, writing down, and making plans to achieve goals.

Looking back through our blog posts, there is a couple of things that I noticed. Firstly, there has been a lack of posts, and secondly, there has been a lack of quality in the posts that I have written. In fact, the last post that I published was on 13 November 2017… almost 2 months ago. Call it writers block. Call it laziness. Call it what you will. I know that I’ve been lacking the motivation to write for NSSLOU.

So one of the goals I have set for myself for 2018 is to write posts more frequently, and to write about the things that I am passionate about. By setting this as a goal, I feel like I have reinvigorated my passion for writing for NSSLOU, and that this will show through the posts that I publish in the future, all for your reading pleasure.

So stick with me (stick with us), because I think that in 2018 you will see a reinvigorated NSSLOU full of fresh content that is interesting, fun and maybe a little cheeky.

And more importantly than that, if you haven’t done so already, I challenge you to take 15 minutes to sit down and write out your own goals for 2018. You never know, you may end up achieving more than you think!

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The real side of parenting…

People are often criticised for only sharing the happy parts of life on social media.

Whether it’s happy go lucky posts on Facebook, or an Instagram feed that is carefully curated to make the rest of us jealous of a seemingly perfect life, there is a constant wave of people shouting for everyone to be more real!

Well, for us, it doesn’t get much realer than this!

Me… sitting in the hallway at 11pm, eyes closed with a bottle in my hand while Jesse kicks and screams his way through yet another night terror behind the wall just to my right. Sitting in that exact spot because if I move even an inch closer or further away from him, the screaming only gets louder!

Sitting there… a combination of tired, defeated, angry, sad, worried and helpless as Jesse fights his way through his terror.

Sitting there, knowing there is nothing I can do but wait, and pray that he comes over, takes his bottle and climbs back into bed.

Sitting there, feeling like a failure…


We certainly haven’t been shy when it comes to writing about our negative experiences as we stumble our way through parenthood… But I also know that I am also guilty of trying to keep things as positive as I can. And one look of my Instagram feed will confirm that.

So when Renee shot off a quick photo to capture this moment… this “real” moment… no fancy clothes, no fancy lighting, no fancy editing… as I sat there trying not to feel defeated as a parent, I knew I had to share it!

This, is what is real for us! Not every night. Not always this bad. But it’s our reality and it’s one that we’ve had to learn to embrace.

However, while we are certainly happy to share this reality with you, I don’t necessarily think those who like to keep positive Facebook pages or colourful and happy Instagram feeds aren’t being real!

You don’t have to be controversial, swear, belittle your kids and/or partner or share inappropriate photos to be real!

You just have to be you…

And when you too are up late at night, trying to calm or soothe your crying child, just remember, that you are not alone! You aren’t a failure! And you will get through this!

And at the end of the day, when they wake up the next morning, happy and playful, you will know that you’ve done your job!

Learning the art of patience!

If there is one thing that I have come to realise of late, it’s that perhaps I need to learn (or is it that I need to re-learn) the art of patience and understanding.

And no-one probably understands this more than Renee.

How is it that I’ve come to this conclusion?

Well, it would seem that in our household, both Renee and I have different ways of dealing with stressful situation when Jesse is involved. And this has become increasingly more evident throughout the past few weeks while Jesse fights his way through what appears to be the last of his teething.

And throughout these past few weeks, at the times when the teething was so bad that Jesse was at worst practically inconsolable, was when I truly began to feel that if I’m going to have any sort of success as a dad, that I need to exercise more patience and understanding. Because it would appear that as of right now, Renee is far better at coping than I am.

I hate seeing Jesse when he is inconsolably crying and screaming, pushing us away and fighting us with everything we try to do to make him feel better. I know it tears us both up inside not knowing what is wrong or what he needs to feel better. But unfortunately, when Jesse is in such a state and I can’t do anything to help, I fail to remain calm. I not only feel upset and helpless that I am failing to help my son while he is in pain, but I start getting angry. I start losing patience. And I start losing understanding.

I don’t blame Jesse. He can’t help it. And I know that if he could communicate what was wrong, he would.

But in that moment, I forget all about the fact that Jesse can’t communicate. I start to get upset. I start to get angry (not at Renee or Jesse, but at the situation). And at that point I become useless and ultimately fail as a dad.

Inevitably, I usually end up leaving the room, or I will start pacing back and forth until either Renee has managed to settle Jesse down, or he has settled himself down. But by then it’s too late. I have failed by not being able to deal with the pressures of parenting.


So this might be one of the hardest posts I’ve written to date, but also one of the most important. Because as you would know by now, we have baby number two due in less than two months’ time. And when baby number two arrives, Renee is going to need all the help she can get. And what I’m seriously now starting to realise, is if I continue to lack patience and understanding when it comes to the needs of Jesse and baby number two, then Renee may find it very hard to cope.

I don’t know if there are any other dads, or even mums out there who can relate to this. But please know, that if you do find it hard to handle the pressure during those tough situations as a parent, you’re not the only one! You’re not alone! Don’t feel ashamed, recognise it, and try to improve on yourself to become a better, more patient, more understanding parent.

Renee is such a great mum and is a gun when it comes to handling the pressure in those tough situations. And while I still consider myself to be a great dad, there are definitely areas I can improve on.

So taking that first step in recognising that this is something I need to work on, is a step in the right direction. Especially because I no longer want to feel like a failure as a dad the next time Jesse or baby number two is in pain.

It’s time to change!

Guest Blogger: Sam Goodwin with ’12 Months with Twins’

Back in March of this year, we had the absolute pleasure to host a guest blogger right here on NSSLOU. That guest blogger was Sam Goodwin.

Sam told us her inspirational story of the birth of, and the first 6 months with, premature twins. You can read Sam’s blog post, ‘6 months in, 6 months out’ here.

Well, just in case you haven’t figured it out, this month her twins turn the big ONE! And we are delighted to have Sam back on our blog today, giving us an update on how things have been since her last guest blog, and what life is like now with one year old twins.

So again, please show Sam some love for the bravery to share her story publicly, and maybe we might be able to have more guest bloggers here on NSSLOU in the future.

You can find Sam on Facebook here and on Instagram here.

’12 Months with Twins’ by Sam Goodwin

Today my 24 weekers turn one!

This whole year has been a roller coaster ride that’s for sure.

After 104 days in hospital, we finally made it home. But we still had many issues we had to address in order to stay home.

Feeding issues and weight gain were our main struggles at first. Kalani and Keanu were tube fed breast milk in hospital until later in our stay where they were transitioned to bottle feeds. And let me tell you, it was no walk in the park!

Despite trying everything it was almost impossible to wake them for feeds. Plus, with Kalani having major jaundice, it was even harder to feed him.

It took us at least 1.5 months to actually feed properly! I thought for sure they had upper lip ties, reflux, colic…something that would explain it. But after many, many doctor visits they all said the same thing, “YOUR BABIES ARE FINE!”

Of course that didn’t sit well with me because I knew something was wrong. It’s just a motherly instinct. You never overlook it!

Though it wasn’t diagnosed my gut feeling was that my babies had colic, so I did get off the shelf medicines appropriate for their age to see if it made a difference. It was touch and go as I found these medicines did and didn’t work.

I spent hundreds of dollars trying different formulas and different types of milk only to find that nothing worked and reverted back to our original formula.

Soooooo, now we come to their sleeping habits… You know those mamas that have a baby who sleeps through from 6 weeks? Yeah, not my sons! We’ve had a heck of a ride when it came to our sleep… Oh let me just tell you!

We had an in home sleep consultant come out to our house and write up a plan that suited our family and lifestyle when they were 4 months corrected age. It worked for probably… hmm… 4 days!

I was so disappointed because I had such high hopes and I was extremely sleep deprived. I still am! So I really hoped we had a solution. I didn’t want to give up because let’s be real… A well rested mama is a great, great, great, great mama! And I wanted to be that mama!

So we tried desperately to get into sleep school at the Ellen Barron Family Centre. And then we finally got accepted when the boys were 6 months old.

Unfortunately, even that didn’t work for us.

The nurses at Ellen Barron called Keanu ‘El Toro the Bull’. He was absolutely horrid. OH BELIEVE ME, I KNOW! Still to this day he is an absolute bugger to put to sleep.

I spent countless hours patting, rocking, shooshing, rocking in the pram, driving around and around and cuddling my babies trying to get them to sleep. COUNTLESS hours! I’m blessed with the amount of hair I still have on my head as a result.

I had also tried…
Darkening their room, introducing soft music, swaddles, sleeping bags, co-sleeping, offering more milk, offering more food, adjusting their sleep times, adjusting their awake times, reading sleep books… Everything you can name, I did!

In the end, I just threw my hands up and said whatever, I’ll just deal with it. So hello, from a proud, tired, sleepless mama of twin boys who are terrible, terrible sleepers. Anyone else? Wanna join my club! There’s coffee! Lot’s of coffee!

So onto the health side of things…
As you know, Kalani and Keanu were born 24+5 weeks gestation. Because of this, we have had continuous check ups at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital for both boys with the surgeon who performed their bowel surgeries.

They had noticed both boys testicles were too high and if by 12 months they haven’t dropped they would need further surgery.

Thankfully Keanu’s did drop into place, but Kalani isn’t as lucky as his little brother and we will be going back for surgery within the next 90 days.

HOPEFULLY… That will be the end of all the surgeries for my little guys. Because with this new surgery, that will make it number four for Kalani. It’s no biggy though! We’ve had worse! I just hope it works the first time. Hospitals make me uneasy and I don’t like being there any longer than I have to.

Babies get sick. And when your baby is sick everyone is sick, tired and miserable. Because the boys were so premature, they are prone to get everything and anything. Every week they’ve had a cold or the flu! High temps, ear infections. You name it. NO EXAGGERATION.

We had the worst of the worst a few months ago where Kalani came down with Norovirus and Salmonella food poisoning. Both… At the same time! It was such a horrible and exhausting 5 days in hospital. My little man couldn’t catch a break. And the worst part for me about that hospital stay was trying to tear myself into two again between my twins, with one in hospital and one at home.

BUT… With all the bad aside, we’ve also had some great times too.

The boys have developed their own unique personalities. Kalani is a soft, sensitive, curious cuddle bug, who roars and growls like a tiger. HE IS SUCH A MUMMIES BOY.

Keanu is a loud, outgoing dare devil with a twinkle in his eye who demands all the attention in the world. Just ask all the grandmas at Woolworths!

They are slowly but surely reaching their milestones too, with a little help from physiotherapy.

Keanu is now sitting to crawling, trying to pull himself onto furniture, saying dada and mama and can twinkle his fingers to twinkle, twinkle little star. And Kalani can too! (It’s their favourite song).

Kalani is sitting and commando crawling and saying dada. We find Kalani is about 2 weeks behind Keanu but we don’t mind because he’s still our little baby and he will catch up at his own pace.

Both boys love their food. They also LOVE painting, LOVE water play and absolutely LOVE other children and being out and about being social butterflies. But I guess you have to be social if you’re a twin right?

Everywhere we go people stop me 100 times. Twins are fascinating, I get it! But OMG, could you imagine having quadruplets?

– Are they twins?
– Are they identical?
– Are they both boys?
– Were they premature?
– Were they naturally conceived?
– Will you have anymore?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, NO! (Joking)

– You must have your hands full?
– Double trouble!
– Twice the love!
– You are so blessed!

I have heard it all!

I say this however, being a first time mum has really tested me. I suffered severe PND (post natal depression) for the first 6 months of motherhood, that I have now managed to overcome.

I would cry at the drop of a hat and it was very tough on me to try and be the best mother to two little humans who had feeding, sleeping and medical issues. As well as dealing with whatever life wanted to throw at me too. Thankfully I had my mum, my sisters and my best friend to keep me grounded through my most darkest days, and give a helping hand.

I now really enjoy being a first time mama to twins. But sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to have a singleton for a day or two! I’ve adjusted quite well and I am more confident within myself and my babies, even if they don’t sleep and have no routine whatsoever. We just go with the flow.

People now ask me how I do it. I don’t know if I can answer that. I just do.

And because of this, it now just comes naturally.

Happy first birthday, Kalani and Keanu.

kk-12-months

Thanks Sam. We wish the boys a wonderful first birthday. And well done Mama, you made it!

*If you or someone you know is suffering from Post Natal Depression you can get information and help at www.panda.org.au

Guest Blogger: Sam Goodwin with ‘6 months in, 6 months out’.

We recently read an inspirational birth story from a mum who delivered premature twins. It was such a touching story that we felt we had to reach out and let her know how moved we were by it. Well, one thing led to another and we asked if she would like to be a guest blogger on NSSLOU and share her story with our audience.

So we now have the absolute pleasure to introduce our first guest blogger, Sam Goodwin, with her inspirational story about the birth of her twin boys Kalani and Keanu. So please show Sam some love for the bravery to share her story publicly, and maybe we can convince her to return as a guest blogger in the future to share an update when the twins are 12 months old.

You can find Sam on Facebook here and on Instagram here.

‘6 months in, 6 months out’ by Sam Goodwin

“It was March 2015 when I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was reading a positive pregnancy test. I was just short of 21 years old and had only just developed a recent relationship with my soon to be child’s father.

4 weeks along my doctor confirmed it… I was expecting a new bundle of joy! I didn’t know how to feel at that stage, so I called it a bundle of ‘what am I meant to do now?’

To my surprise at my 7 week dating scan, I wasn’t expecting just one baby. But two! Twins! At this stage, I almost fell off my chair in disbelief! Me? Two babies? What! I could hardly get my head around one, but two humans in my belly? That I will give birth to and nurture and raise… two babies!?

As the weeks went on I was trying to get my head around it. I was attending antenatal appointments, scans and blood tests, and at two different hospitals. This was because I was informed there were a lot of risks involving the type of twins I was carrying. The doctors had explained the sorts of risks that would involve preterm labour such as TWIN-TWIN transfusion, which was one of their main concerns. They forgot to mention the risks that this pregnancy would have on myself and my body.

At the 20 week scan the ultrasound technician had noticed my cervix had shortened quite a significant amount and for precaution, I was sent to the birthing suite to be examined. Later it was confirmed that I was at risk of very preterm labour. It was right then and there that I was booked in at 21 weeks to have a cerclage stitch put in my cervix to help prevent the babies from coming preterm. There was still a risk the babies would come, but we could only hope the stitch would hold them in. If they were born before 24 weeks, the doctors would not resuscitate and I would birth still-born babies.

Before being discharged from the hospital, the doctor had explained to me that I would now have to give up work and be on total bed rest at home for the remainder of my pregnancy. If my cervix shortened any more, I’d have to be admitted to maternity at Royal Brisbane hospital until my babies were born.

At 24+4 weeks I had a routine check-up at the Royal Brisbane. My cervix had shortened again and I was now dilating by 3 centimetres. There I was, being given steroid shots and magnesium to help my babies lungs, brain and organs for a preterm birth.

I was admitted to the maternity ward that afternoon and spent a total of 4 hours lying in bed until I started to have contractions.

I was then taken to the birthing suite and the midwifes, nurses as doctors did all they could to slow down my labour. But by the time the next day came, there wasn’t much more they could do for me, or my two babies, and they would be born extremely premature at just 24+5 weeks gestation.

I was given the option to have a natural birth, but I made up my mind of having a C-Section as it was the safest option. Twin number two was in breach.

I was wheeled into theatre to have an emergency Caesarean, early afternoon on Tuesday 15th September.

As I laid in the operating theatre, in a state of panic, nervousness and sadness, with no movement from my chest down from the epidural that had leaked into my spine, I heard the doctor yell “twin one out”… It all seemed so surreal. It happened so quickly and it was all a blur.

I couldn’t see over the sheet that had been across the top half of my body but I frantically looked from side to side trying to catch a glimpse, and although I couldn’t see him, I was hoping he would be okay. They immediately started working on him to keep him alive at the bottom of the bed where I lay. Twin two was then taken out and I could briefly see him to the right of me with neonatal teams working on him pumping his little chest and hooking wires into him. Laying there with my stomach cut open, with a million thoughts running through my head and tears flowing down my face, a doctor approached the top half of my body. He told me that they are trying the best they can but they can’t get twin one to respond to resuscitation and they may have to let him go. I howled with tears and squeezed my mums hand as tight as I could. I felt helpless and scared… I cried out “don’t let my baby die”. I was so unsure if he would make it out alive while I was helplessly laying on the operating table, cut open while people were moving my guts around like they were doing the dishes in my stomach.

After what felt like a lifetime, the same doctor approached me again. I had prepared myself as much as I could to hear the worst news. And then he told me they ‘got him’. Relief rushed through me but I knew it would not be the end. They wheeled my babies to the neonatal intensive care unit where they would remain.

After I spent between 1-2 hours in recovery, I was now allowed to be taken in to see my babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). There I met my identical twin sons.

Twin one, Kalani Archer born 766 grams (1 lb 68 oz) and twin two, Keanu Elijah born 742 grams (1 lb 63 oz).

Locked away in an isolate. Small, fragile and hooked to machines barely clinging to life.

Though you know your baby would be preemie… There is nothing that could ever prepare you for what you’re about witness.

Every night and day I’d sit at my babies bedsides trying to hold myself together. Scared to touch them or even look at them. I thought If I loved my babies it would be harder to say goodbye. I remained there but I also kept my distance. I was still in major shock and I would find myself wandering around the hospital ward wondering if I was having a nightmare.

Motherhood was new to me, but this was a different type of motherhood than the norm. The one thing that shocked me was the way I had to feed my babies. My babies would be fed by tube through their mouth to their stomach, I’d hold the tube above them and let the milk drip down. At this point they were tolerating just 1ml of milk/colostrum.

On day 4 I was taken into the room on the NICU ward where a doctor had told me that Keanu had a perforated bowel, which is common in micro-preemies born at his gestation. Their organs have not completely developed and many issues could evolve because of that. As I sat staring at the x-ray of my poor darlings belly, they were preparing to take him to the children’s hospital for bowel surgery. It was not even 6 hours after Keanu that Kalani also perforated his bowel, and was transferred to the children’s hospital to have surgery as well.

It occurred to us that maybe if one twin does something, the other soon would follow. And that’s what happened on a few occasions. Keanu had a stoma placed, and Kalani had his bowel reversed back in. I was still in shock at having such small babies and my life completely turned upside down, that I didn’t understand how severe their condition or operation was. I sat by their bedside for hours upon days talking to them, wiping away tears and trying to look after myself in recovering from a C-section and expressing milk every 3 hours to feed my sons.

Both my babies were sick and recovering as much as they could and were clinging onto dear life when Kalani perforated his bowel again at 10 days old. The surgeons had told me that it was now that I should pray for my baby, as there is a very low survival rate for how sick he is and that he will most likely die during his operation.

I knew I’d be naive if I didn’t prepare myself for the worst. I knew my baby was going to die. He was little, sick, fragile and he had already gone through one surgery.

We had a photographer come in to take photos of Kalani for safe keep.

Their father and I were taken into a room to discuss the twins survival rate which was below 50% before the operations, and now 25% given how sick they had gotten.

We waited for what felt like hours for that call. And then it came. I wanted to answer it but I didn’t want to know my baby had passed away. The surgeon told me that he made it through the surgery and he now has a stoma like his brother Keanu. I was told that he’s okay, but for the next 24 hours he could still be at danger.

If one twin did something the other would too. So I still felt uneasy about Keanu doing the same thing as his brother, so we watched him carefully.

Kalani proved to be fighting through and both the surgeons and the doctors were stunned that he proved them all wrong. He survived surgery number 2!

On day 17 I got to hold one of my babies for the first time. Keanu was placed on my chest as I let go a sigh of happiness. It was such a heartfelt moment for me and one that I’ll never forget. One of my many dreams of childbirth was holding my baby for the first time. For mums of full term babies, this happens so soon after birth and it’s one of the things that makes the mother feel complete. I felt robbed of that.

We had spent a total of 2 weeks in the Mater Mothers intensive care before returning to NICU at the Royal Brisbane. I was living at Ronald McDonald house across the road to be closer to my sons.

On October 14th I got to have my first cuddle of my babies at the same time. One month after their birth. I felt completely overwhelmed with joy. All of us, together again. You see, my babies were born together but were now cared for separately, so they’ve never touched or felt one another since being in the womb. It was such a wonderful moment for all of us, to be close again.

As time went on we gained so much.

They were 30 weeks gestational age and both babies reached 1kg. They were improving but then… Kalani took a turn for the worst as his body wasn’t responding to his stoma as well as we hoped.

Because of where the stoma was placed, all of his food that was meant to be digesting was coming out without digesting completely, causing him to have to be fed every hour and on TPN supplements to give him the nutrients he was lacking. The doctors recommended we put them on formula milk to try and help him absorb nutrients as my breastmilk was too thin to keep, but it was no use.

Kalani was slowly but surely fading. He was getting sicker and sicker and we now had to have another surgery to reverse his stoma back into his tummy. Great, another surgery. The sadness, the fear and the uncertainty. Again. For the 3rd time.

It felt as though it would never end and there was no hope for my sick babies. Despite that, I stayed strong for my sons and kept my head high, even if I wanted to just put it in my hands and cry (which I did as soon as I left the hospital every day).

We were booked in for neorescue to come retrieve Kalani and take him to the children’s hospital for his surgery on a Friday. We had time to prepare, and knew what was to be expected. Which did kind of make things a little easier. Two nights before we were off to see Kalani for surgery, Keanu’s stoma prolapsed spontaneously. It happened at 9pm on a Wednesday night.

I was staying at Ronald McDonald house a majority of the time but would go home (a one hour drive away) every now and then to see my dog Charlie, eat a nice meal and sleep in my own bed.

The night I decided to do this, I got the sickening phone call. Every time I got a phone call I’d think the worst. That someone on the other line would tell me my baby had died. It was 12am and the surgeon on the other line had told me that Keanu had prolapsed and will need to have emergency surgery tonight at the children’s hospital. Half asleep I asked “Keanu… What? Kalani is booked in for Friday!” It was like Keanu said ‘no way is Kalani going for surgery first!’

In a state of panic I got dressed out of my pyjamas as fast as I could and we drove the one hour drive to the children’s hospital to meet the team with my baby boy to say goodbye and give him a kiss and wish him good luck. I was so mad at the thought I already had one twin going for surgery on Friday, and then his brother had to put more emotional strain on us all. But at this stage, I was deeply in love with my babies and could not see life without them and just prayed for it all to be over.

After pulling an all-nighter at the children’s hospital, sleeping in armchairs waiting for Keanu to come out of surgery, the surgeon finally rang to say he’s out of surgery and we can come and see him. It was 5am and I remember being dressed in horrible clothing, with crazy hair, bags under my eyes standing over my babies cot whispering how much I loved him and how well he’s done. As soon as I felt I knew he was okay I made the one hour trip back home at the break of dawn to catch up on sleep before I made the trek back to the hospital to be by my babies sides.

As Friday came around it was time for Kalani to have surgery. The Mater didn’t have enough bed space for him so we had to wait until Saturday for the surgery.

I was sitting next to Keanu’s cot when they wheeled in Kalani to be placed in the same room for prepping for surgery. I gave Keanu a kiss on the forehead and told him I’d be back soon. I walked with Kalani to the children’s hospital to see him off. I held his tiny hand and kissed him so gently. I told him I loved him and I’d be waiting for him. I told him to be strong and that I’d see him soon.

The most hardest part about having my sons go for operations is not knowing the outcome until it’s too late. To have their life in the palm of someone else’s hands. Having no control and no voice for my babies. I can’t scream out for them “save them!”, “don’t let my baby die”. As a mum you do everything in your power to protect your children from harm so when it is out of your control, you feel inadequate.

I felt as though it was just another life lost for the doctors, but for me it would be so much more. He’s my hope and dream, my true love, my life. Kalani had survived surgery number 3. You’d think by now it wouldn’t worry me as much, that it would be easier. But it definitely didn’t worry me less. I felt sick every time they needed an operation. I could only hope it was the last one. I told both of my boys “that’s it! No more!”

Doctors would make continuous jokes about how much grey hair the boys would give me. There was not a nurse, doctor or surgeon in Brisbane that didn’t know the famous Goodwin twins because of how courageous and brave they were. To have so many battles and still come out fighting.

Days had gone by and there were talks of transferring back to the Royal Brisbane. They decided to send back Kalani first, but wanted to keep Keanu for observation as his tummy was still so distended.

I felt so torn having two babies in two different hospitals, it was time consuming and exhausting. I couldn’t not see one or the other each day and night. I had to work around it the best I could. Keanu had been transferred back to the Royal and he was improving so well they sent him to special care. I could finally bath him, hold him when I wanted and tried him on his first bottle. Then things spiralled downwards…

An x-ray showed that Keanu had another perforated bowel.

We were sent back to the children’s hospital for surgery number 3.

In this moment I felt angry. I kept questioning why did this keep happening and will it ever stop!?

Torn between two hospitals again (let me just say that paying for parking is outrageous!! Especially when visiting two hospitals!!!)

As soon as we started heading up hill, we would tumble straight back down again.

The expression ‘having a preemie baby is a roller coaster’ was definitely an understatement for me. I was thrown in all different directions.

Keanu had surgery number 3 and soon recovered as we all hoped he would. At this point, I was suffering major depression. I felt like the only way I’d ever be happy again is if I got my babies HOME. I knew they were in the best hands, but I just wanted it all to be over. For good.

We started to see improvements. We were having eye tests every 2 weeks, feeding orally, keeping body temperature and then… Both of my babies got rotavirus.

NICU was now closed off.

I was so angry at the thought that such a sickening bug could get into the walls of NICU and affect my babies who just previously had bowel issues! As bubs grew bigger, both we’re in special care, having baths, bottles and lots of cuddles all day. We were free of wires and monitors and we had plans to transfer back to our hospital closer to home. The last step. Closer to home. I was hoping we could get home before Christmas. I couldn’t fall asleep most nights from excitement. I packed and repacked our hospital bags 100 times!

It was a Wednesday when we all transferred to Caboolture hospital special care nursery. As soon as I walked in, I let them know who was boss. Gosh I had been doing this for 3 months! I put my foot down a lot and I spent all my days there for about 4 days. Every feed, every bath. No one and I mean NO ONE, would do anything for me, I felt I had to prove that it was time for me to take my angels home.

Christmas Day came around and I was so bummed we hadn’t gone home yet. The paediatrician talked to me and asked me if I would like to room-in with my babes on Monday, spend two nights and then we can go home. I negotiated with them and said I’d prefer one night. After they ummed and ahhed, they said it could be a possibility. At that stage I was going to get my own way. I knew what I was doing and knew what I wanted. I just needed to take my babies home! I had had enough. My babies were as healthy as they could be and they were ready… I was ready!

On Christmas night, I came in to feed bubs and then got offered to room-in that night. I took it. We were taken to maternity ward where I spent one night with my babies alone, and then on Boxing Day we had the all clear to go home. One week before our due date, it all came to an end. I felt more relieved than ever… I was over the moon!

My babies were happy, healthy (as much as they could be) and thriving. With a little persistence with feeds and Kalani’s jaundice, we successfully settled in at home.

102 days in hospital and 2.2kg later.

It now seems like a distant memory.

All we have to remember it by, are the hospital safe keeps we took home and our battle scars… The ones we can see on the outside and the ones we can’t.

They are now 6 months old (2.5 months corrected age) and are doing amazingly well. We have hospital appointments every other week for check-ups, but my babies are as happy and as healthy as they could be.

Born September 15 2015 – Home December 26 2015 – Due date December 31 2015

Miracle babies.”

Goodwin Twins

 

Life Lessons From My 9 Month Old

There are a lot of things that can fall by the wayside when you have a baby. When most of your time in the early days is spent feeding and staring at your new baby and if you’re lucky, getting a bit of sleep, things like finding a few minutes to read a book drop down your priority list pretty quickly. In fact, just the thought of reading is enough to make your sleep deprived eyes sting and want to fall out of your head!

But my darling is no longer a newborn and it’s definitely time to pick back up some of the good habits I had BC (before children). I never wanted my family to be an excuse for an average life but rather my reason for striving for a great one.

I set a goal recently to recommit to my personal development and have kicked off by re-reading The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. It’s a  great read about how those small daily habits that lead to success are easy to do but they are also easy not to do. And that we are never just coasting through life, we are either improving and heading towards success or sliding and moving further away from it. The Slight Edge is either working for us or against us all the time.

During my few minutes of nightly reading before my eyes burned for closure last night I read a passage entitled ‘baby steps’. It highlighted something that has been in the back of my mind recently as I watch Jesse explore his new world now that he can crawl and climb and experiment with his new-found independence. It was about how all babies are successful.

They are not perturbed one little bit by all the times they fall down when learning to master standing and eventually walking. They just get back up and try again. Most of the time not even really being phased by it or noticing that they’ve failed.

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I watch Jesse as he constantly works on mastering his new skills and I can’t help but think what we could achieve as adults if we approached things the same way babies do. If we knew we couldn’t fail. I’m yet to meet an adult who still crawls because walking was just too hard and falling down all the time was painful and humiliating.  They just work at it little by little each day and before you know it you’re running after them.

All babies are masters; we’re designed that way. All babies instinctively understand the Slight Edge.

So it got me thinking about all the life lessons my Bub has taught me so far…

1. Push the boundaries. When someone says no, turn around and flash them a big cheeky grin before going right back to doing the thing they said you cannot do.

2. When you see your reflection in the mirror love what you see. Smile your biggest smile and thrash your arms and legs around with glee. You are special, unique and gooooorgeous!

3. Sometimes you just need a cuddle from your mum. And she’ll be there with open arms even if its only been 5 minutes since the last time you needed one.

4. Squish some food in your hands before you eat it. Just because…

5. Smile at strangers. It just might make their day.

6. Explore your world like you’re seeing everything for the first time. It’s awesomeness might surprise you.

7. Play. Laugh. Dance. Clap. Life is too short to be serious all the time.

8. If you fall, get back up. If you fall again, get back up. Eventually you’ll master your new skill.

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Take a baby step towards your dream everyday and the Slight Edge will do the rest.

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