Back when I was pregnant with the twins I prayed for lots of things but one very specific prayer was that I would meet someone who was going through this whole mom of multiples thing. I know several people who have had twins but they are much older than me. I wanted to meet someone who understood this stage of life we were entering. Well, Jesus answered that prayer in a big way. Through circumstances that only He could have put together I was given three amazing friends who truly understand the life we are living. At first glance we are quite different but we were brought together by what we had in common. All moms of multiples, all born within 3 weeks of each other at the same hospital, all with various amounts of time in the NICU, all from the same small town. Between the four of us we have three sets of twins and a set of triplets. We went through just about it all while pregnant: bed rest at home, bed rest at the hospital, gestational diabetes, etc etc. I could write an essay on how we met and the crazy ways our stories were intertwined without us knowing it but to keep it simple it was definitely divinely orchestrated.
Over the past 15 months these ladies have been my sounding board. They have been my people. They get it. They are never judgmental, always encouraging. Fiercely protective and willing to defend and support me. My place I can turn for encouragement, for laughter. They have introduced me to the concept of what it means to have a tribe, a village, a network of people who are willing to support you and fill in the gaps because it can't be done alone. This is my group that when I texted in tears that I had fallen and dropped both babies, including Andrew directly on his head 20 minutes later someone showed up on my doorstep with coffee and a hug. They have been the friend who brings me lunch while her five kids are waiting in the car because she knows I have had a hard day. It's been the friend who assures me that no, not only am I not a terrible mom for leaving the country while two of my kids have pneumonia but actually I am a great mom for doing it because what better time to be gone than while your kids are sick???
The main requirements for our play dates have been coffee or mimosas and always a good sense of humor. Honestly anyone else would probably have a hard time hanging out with us because 9 babies the same age is pretty insanely overwhelming. I will never forget that first play date and seeing nine infant carriers all lined up together, nine premature miracle babies. We quickly all realized that this friendship we had was special and we needed to hold on to it. Together we have laughed and at times shed some tears as we found what it means to have a new normal, to embrace the crazy circumstances that life gave us. Even now months later we all can instantly tear up thinking about our experiences in the NICU, what we saw, how it changed us forever, our gratefulness at the blessings of these babies. It is a friendship that far surpassed any expectations I had and I am so so grateful. And oh the memories we have made along the way! The laughter, the roar of nine babies crying all at once, juggling more kids than we have hands, the older "helpful" siblings. How many diapers have been changed and how many messes have we cleaned up? They are some of the strongest women I have ever met and I am truly honored to be a part of their friendship. We have all said to each other that God knew what we needed and He knew we needed each other. We jokingly gave ourselves a hash tag: #multipleproblemsmultipleblessings and nicknamed our crew the NICU9. I haven't blogged about our friendship much because it was hard for me to even put into words what these ladies and their friendship has meant for me.
This weekend we all shed tears as we said goodbye to Lauren as she and her family of 7 move across the country. Part of me wanted to feel bitter, that our friendship time was cut short but as I reflected on the many memories we had made and thinking back to my prayer, two years ago for a friend who would walk through this crazy time with me I cannot be anything but grateful.
We actually did not take pictures that often at our play dates but as I was looking back I realized I had more than I thought and they were just too cute to leave out!
|Sweet Andrew on his heart monitor still!|
|Lauren's boys couldn't make it to this one unfortunately. Here is the crew in order from youngest to oldest!|
|First time all together! Is that poor Rowan or Sutton on the back row lol?|
|Learning to share|
|Our first play date with all of the older siblings|
|On Fathers' Day the news did a special on dads of multiples. I'm not going to lie, when the TV lady said they were doing this story to show how involved and wonderful the dads were part of me thought, "ok when do they do the mothers' feature?" LOL|
|We did the unthinkable and went to Publix on opening day! We got a lot of comments...|
|Sweet Kate- the princess among all those boys|
|We obviously incorporated snack into most of our time together|
|I loved going out with Lauren and her boys because what is twins when you have a friend with triplets?!|
|Everyone get in the pen so your moms can drink their coffee in peace!|
|We had a super fun combo first birthday celebration|
|Andrew and Kate didn't seem to fond of their "pie smash"|
|This was our one year friendship anniversary. What a difference! Is it just me or do the moms look a little more restful a year later? Amazing what sleep can do for you.|
|18 months old!|
|Our insane play date to the mall|
|And then to the pizza store for lunch|
|Checking out the fish|
|Huge Praise- the people valet parked our cars for us! They looked a little surprised when we kept unloading more and more kids.|
|The sweet receptionists. LOVE these ladies!!! They are some of the most wonderful people.|
|What were we thinking doing this?!|
|Seeing some of our doctors and nurses at the NICU. SO many emotions!|
|We had to stop and see our fish! I don't think A and K were impressed, hopefully one day they will understand how special it is.|
|Next we headed up to the Special Care Nursery and we got to see our favorite nurse Ashley!|
|We ended the day by really doing the unthinkable- dropping the nine kids off at play date and going out to lunch.|
|And our farewell pic with Lauren. We will miss her so much but are so excited for what's in store for her family in San Francisco.|