When I think back on when my twins Ashton and Landon were little, it's a bit of a blur. Our hands were full, our eyes were tired and in addition to soaking up every minute with our little miracles, it was a bit of a stressful time. And when I say a bit of a stressful time, it was by far the hardest thing Justin and I had every experienced at that point in our lives.
My water unexpectedly broke when I was 28 weeks along (for those not familiar 40 weeks is full term- twins usually come between 36 and 40 weeks). I spent an entire month in the hospital on bedrest with a monitor on each baby. By some miracle, they stayed in there an entire month despite all odds that they should be born very quickly. There are so many amazing stories through all of that I'll share some other time.
My beautiful miracle baby boys were born at 33 weeks by an emergency C-section. Again, so much to tell for another day. They were still early but so much better off than being born at 28 weeks along. They did so well in the NICU, just growing and learning how to eat on their own with a little bit of help with oxygen. They were at risk for a lot of things and it seemed like everything was going to be okay. After 5 long weeks of traveling 45 minutes between my toddler and newborn twins, they finally came home. We sighed a breath of relief and felt overwhelming gratitude to a loving God that our boys were protected through all the craziness. It had been a long couple of months with a lot of stress and worrying. We thought after all the risks and all the worrying that we may have escaped it all, that maybe just maybe our little miracle babies were going to be okay.
Because twins are very crowded in utero, they often get stuck laying in the same position causing tightening of the neck muscles on one side. They are born with torticollis and develop a head tilt. They favor a certain side when they are sleeping which then causes a misshaped head. So Ashton and Landon needed to be seen by physical therapists for torticollis where they did exercises to help work out those muscles in their necks. Babies hate those exercises. They also had to wear helmets to help even out their head shapes. They are hot, uncomfortable and expensive. They were one more thing to add to our crazy newborn twin schedule.
During those exercises, the physical therapists determined that Ashton had a definite case of torticollis and he showed great improvement with time but Landon started to show signs of a possibly more serious issue going on.
They started to suspect that he could have cerebral palsy. It wasn't until months later and an M.R.I. later that they were sure of this but we really didn't see it coming at all. We thought they'd been tested for everything in the NICU. There was no brain bleed, no serious health issues and no signs. We truly thought we were out of the dark. We couldn't even wrap our minds around it. We had no idea what to think or what to expect.
I look back at these Halloween pictures, our very first Halloween with Ashton and Landon. As a mom, I couldn't stop dreaming of all the possibilities for costumes for twin baby boys! I think back on this uncertain time for us as young parents and how all we could do in that moment was embrace where we were right then.
The dictionary says that embrace means to accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically. We weren't ready to fully do that yet. We weren't ready for a very long time.
We were processing a lot. We didn't know what the future held. We didn't know how strong we could be, what to do next, how much to worry, or how to survive just one day in our current circumstances. We were completely blind sighted putting our feet on unfamiliar ground. We were pleading with our Heavenly Father to help us know what to do or how to feel, to understand what was going on and why. Peace comes with time but there's power in embracing where you are, right here and right now even if it's just something small. At that time the only thing we knew how to embrace were those tiny little $4000 helmets.
So those handsome helmet wearing boys were going to be the cutest little BYU football players we had ever seen. And for us in that moment, that was our happy, that was our joy in the uncertainty, that was our baby step towards embracing a whole new life we didn't even know yet.