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“June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” – Carousel

25 Jun

June 3rd ended up being the day that my pregnancy stopped being boring. I was half way through the 38th week, looking forward to another couple of weeks to get everything done on my to-do list before the baby arrived and then, I started bleeding…a lot. At first I thought, maybe this is the mucus plug coming out which is usually the first sign that labor is beginning, but there was too much blood than what all of the pregnancy websites described. I quickly called my doctor to see if I should be concerned or if this was part of the labor process which I never got to experience with the twins. My doctor wanted me to come in to be checked out just in case this was something serious.

I spent about 10 hours in the hospital while my doctor was trying to figure out where the bleeding was coming from. Luckily, he could not find anything serious going on after performing an ultrasound. If the bleeding was coming from the placenta then I would have been in trouble but luckily, everything internally seemed to be fine. However, he did discover that I was having mild but consistent contractions and was concerned that if he sent me home, the contractions could get stronger. Plus, without knowing for sure why I was bleeding, there was risk in sending me home and having that issue get worse as well. All signs pointed to getting this baby out sooner than later so I was officially admitted into the hospital with my c-section scheduled for the next day.

Ironically, the hospital room that I was waiting in was the same room that I spent my 122 days of bed rest in. So many memories in that room and I strangely felt like I was back home. While I was under observation for those 10 hours before knowing my fate, I started to think back to what I was able to do in the last month of my pregnancy that I never got to experience before. Just one month earlier, I got to enjoy a real baby shower that was not in the hospital family dining room with me lying on a couch the whole time. It was the baby shower I always wanted to have and fantasized about while I was on bed rest with the twins. I never knew that one day I would be able to enjoy something like that…standing up! I got to wear a fancy dress and spend a beautiful afternoon with my family and friends sipping tea and eating scones.

In addition to the baby shower, I also got to have a maternity photo shoot. I had one when I was pregnant with the twins but it had to be done in my hospital room using the privacy curtain as a back drop. Super glamorous. At least the photographer was creative with the limitations of the space. This time around, I got to be outside surrounded by nature…and I was standing up! When your only concept of pregnancy is being on strict bed rest, the normal things that most women get to experience become extremely exciting. Even just being out in public pregnant was a new experience. Random strangers felt intrigued to ask me about my due date, what the gender was, etc. I got the funniest comments when I would be out and about with the twins. Imagine seeing a double stroller filled with two screaming toddlers and then a very pregnant mom pushing that stroller. “Wow…you have your hands full!” “You are a glutton for punishment!” “You’re gonna need a bigger stroller!” Yet another perk of having a boring pregnancy. Now all of that would be coming to an end as I anxiously waited for my c-section to happen.

On June 4th at 3:39pm, Dr. Tabsh pulled out a cute little baby from my belly and shouted “it’s a boy!” I had decided not to find out the gender and it was a wonderful surprise having it announced in the operating room. Tears streamed down my face as I heard the first cries and realized that this miracle baby was going to be the baby brother to Ella and Ethan. As I was waiting for him to be cleaned up and weighed, I started to think about a name for the baby since that was something that Brett and I had not figured out yet. The name Leo was being tossed around as a middle name in honor of my father, Leonard who passed away just a few months after the twins were born. Other than that, no boy names were in the running for the first name. Ironically, we had a much bigger list of girls names which is what also happened when we were picking names out for the twins. Then, as I was waiting on the operating table, the name Brayden popped into my head and when I finally got to see and kiss my baby for the first time, I felt like that name might just be the perfect one. After talking to Brett and sleeping on the decision, our son officially got the name Brayden Leo.

My pregnancy with Brayden was considered boring, especially compared to what I went through with the twins. However, finding out that I was pregnant during that fateful psychic reading back in December was far from boring. My husband and I were catapulted into this new chapter in our lives over the course of just 6 months. New car, new home, new family of five! Brayden took us all by surprise but we are beyond happy and feel so blessed that we were able to have another baby and got the chance to experience a normal pregnancy. Our story goes on…

*The song “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” is from the 1945 Broadway musical Carousel by Rogers and Hammerstein. This love story centers around the relationship between carousel barker Billy Bigelow and millworker Julie Jordan and was originally based on the 1909 play Liliom. This song was in my head a lot during my entire pregnancy since my due date was in the middle of June and I knew that if I made it that far, my belly would definitely be “bustin’ out.” It was really sweet to be able to talk to Ella and Ethan about the baby in my belly and try to explain what was going to be happening. They were still too young to really understand that mommy’s belly meant that they would have a new brother or sister but now that Brayden is out, they are adjusting quite nicely. Brayden is a lucky guy to have Ella and Ethan to grow up with.

Baby Shower of my dreams

Baby Shower of my dreams

Maternity photo shoot

Maternity photo shoot

Brayden meets Mommy

Brayden meets Mommy

Brayden meets Ella & Ethan

Brayden meets Ella & Ethan

Welcome Baby Brayden!

Welcome to the world Baby Brayden!

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“You Two” – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

11 May

Ella and Ethan are officially two years old! It’s just crazy how much has happened in this past year with their development and personalities. After turning one, they quickly transitioned from crawling to walking and now they are running…in opposite directions of course! Then the language just blossomed and all of a sudden Ella and Ethan went from making typical baby noises to saying actual words and fully understanding any directions we gave them. Currently they love going over their ABC’s and numbers and enjoy singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” These kids are at such a cute age regardless of the “terrible twos” that Brett and I are bracing for. Hopefully they will cut us some slack since we will soon have a newborn to manage in addition to caring for the two of them.

In lieu of a birthday party this year, Brett and I took them to Disneyland for the first time. The day turned out to be truly magical and it was such a pleasure to watch their reactions while experiencing so many firsts. The first ride we decided to go on was “It’s a Small Word” and Ella and Ethan were just in awe. So many things to look at and point out. It made me think about how many, many years ago I was on this very same ride as a young child sitting on my mom’s lap experiencing the same kind of first that my own kids were now enjoying. We went on other rides in Fantasyland as well and then went up to Toon Town to meet Mickey Mouse which was a huge highlight. Ella and Ethan gave Mickey kisses on the nose and could not stop saying “bye bye Mickey” as we exited. It was so cute that I had tears in my eyes! Overall, I think Ella and Ethan’s favorite attraction had to be the Tiki Room. They just danced the whole time and loved pointing to all the talking birds and flowers that they saw around them.

For dinner, we made reservations at Goofy’s Kitchen in the Disneyland Hotel where they have a bunch of characters come to your table while you eat. Back in December, we were vacationing in Hawaii and got to attend a couple of these character dining experiences at the Aulani Resort in Oahu where Ella and Ethan got their first taste of Disney characters. They loved hugging and kissing the characters back then and I just knew they would have a blast when we eventually took them to Disneyland for the first time. Now at Goofy’s Kitchen, they got to have some one-on-one time with Minnie Mouse, Snow White, Mad Hatter, and of course Goofy, to name a few. They each got a special birthday cupcake and both were able to blow out their own candles. Once dinner was done, we put them in the car and they had these huge smiles on their faces as they hugged their new Mickey and Minnie stuffed animals and then quickly fell asleep as we started our drive back home.

These precious moments I was witnessing were such a blessing. It was a huge reminder of how lucky I am to not be on bed rest this time around. I had been planning to take Ella and Ethan to Disneyland for their 2nd birthday for a long time and when I found out I was pregnant, I assumed that the same complications I had the first time around would happen again. I was preparing myself to just miss out on several months of life again. Thankfully, my body has cooperated and I have been able to continue to have a boring pregnancy. This has granted me the opportunity to be there for the continued milestones and wonderful memories with Ella and Ethan in the few months left that we have as a family of four.

*The song “You Two” is from the 2005 Broadway musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which originally opened on the West End in 2002. I remember watching the 1968 film version with Dick Van Dyke several times when I was a kid. In this song, Caractacus is lovingly singing to his two children Jeremy and Jemima about being so happy that he has them in his life. I can obviously relate and I count my lucky stars everyday that I have my two angels in my life. Ella and Ethan turning two is yet another reminder of how numerous prayers, miracles, and an amazing doctor got them into this world in the first place. It is hard to believe that our “two” will soon be “three” as we welcome this new baby into our family. Ella and Ethan are incredible children and I have no doubt that they will become a loving and supportive big brother and big sister.

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Ethan realizing it’s a small world after all

Ella and Daddy at the petting zoo

Ella and Daddy at the petting zoo

Meeting Mickey Mouse

Meeting Mickey Mouse

Kissing Minnie Mouse

Kissing Minnie Mouse

Blowing out the candles

Blowing out the candles

“Moving Too Fast” – The Last Five Years

4 Apr

I feel like my life right now is on the fast track in every aspect. It is so hard to believe that with my last pregnancy, I was counting the minutes and seconds while I was held as a prisoner in the hospital on bed rest. Crossing out each day on my calendar and feeling like time was standing still. I became a human incubator confined to a hospital bed with only walking privileges to get up to use the bathroom. Flash forward two years and now I can barely keep up with the tremendous amount of changes and to-do lists that bombard me each day. It took a little bit of time for my husband and I to recover from the shock of becoming pregnant unexpectedly but we quickly knew that with this new baby, we needed to make certain changes to accommodate becoming a family of five. We already got the car situation settled with the purchase of our new mini-van so now, the main focus is moving into a bigger home with a 3rd bedroom.

With our limited amount of time before the baby came and the fact that the housing market is not favorable for buyers right now, Brett and I decided we should just look into rentals for the time being. We have been renting a 2-bedroom apartment for the last six years and have been very happy with our cozy place, thinking that when we eventually move, it would be for the reason of buying a house. With our new change of plans, aka baby #3, we had to kick it into high gear and upgrade to a 3-bedroom before this baby made its arrival. The community we currently live in does not have 3-bedroom apartments and we knew that not only would we need an extra bedroom but also more play space in general for our three kids. We were officially outgrowing being able to live in an apartment so the search for a town home or house was in the works. We looked online at numerous properties and then started to view them in person. We eventually found a really nice privately owned town home in Oak Park that fit our needs and now with the signed lease, we are officially leaving Agoura Hills. It is bitter-sweet in a way to be moving from our 2-bedroom apartment because we have so many great memories here. This was the place where we started our life as a married couple and then eventually brought home our first children to. So many milestones and celebrations have taken place within these walls.

At this point, I am less than a few months away from giving birth and amidst the moving boxes and change of address checklists, I am still in disbelief that I am getting to spend this pregnancy on my feet and vertical. I felt some sadness in the hospital since I was not able to nest and put together the nursery. I had the feeling like I was missing out on what millions of other pregnant women were able to do. When I came home with the twins from the hospital, we all got to see the nursery in person for the first time. Now I am here, not only being able to nest but put together a whole new house for this baby and my family, let alone a new nursery. No more FaceTime with Brett while he shopped for paint swatches and arranged the furniture. I was actually going to be in the driver’s seat and present to create what our new nursery and home would look like. I am definitely not taking any minute of this for granted! There are an abundance of changes happening but all for amazing reasons and it’s hard to slow down at this point to take in each moment. Overall, I am just so relieved that we found a great new home with enough time to get settled and unpacked before the baby’s big arrival in June.

*The song “Moving Too Fast” is from the 2002 Off-Braodway musical The Last Five Years which was written by Jason Robert Brown, one of my favorite composers. Brett and I actually got to see the original production when we were living in New York and fell in love with the music instantly. We are so excited that they have made this musical into a movie that will be coming out this year. The story itself is about a five year relationship where the characters are telling the story in reverse chronological order. Cathy starts the story from the end of the relationship, while Jamie starts the story from the beginning of the relationship. They take turns sharing songs about falling in love and getting heartbroken and throughout the show, you slowly see what happened in this doomed relationship as the puzzle pieces of their stories start to connect. Jamie sings the song “Moving Too Fast” which talks about how happy he is to be moving in with his new girlfriend Cathy while at the same time, his career has taken off. This particular song has been playing in my own head lately with all of the major changes that are happening all at once. To go from finding out that I am pregnant, to buying a mini-van, and now moving into a new home within the span of only a few months is very overwhelming. I’ve got to just keep rollin’ along!

Our new home!

Our new home!

We think we’re gonna like it here (sung to the tune from Annie).

“Wheels of a Dream” – Ragtime

15 Mar

Before I found out I was pregnant, my car ended up dying on me so Brett and I were on the hunt for a new car with more space. Traveling with two car seats and all of the accessories that come along with having twins can make a car very claustrophobic (especially in our Prius). We started looking at smaller SUVs that had five seats and pretty much narrowed down our choices to the point where we were going to make a final decision by New Year’s Eve at the latest. Now with the news that we would be adding an additional car seat and newborn accessories into the car, we had to scrap our plans for a small SUV and start looking at cars with three rows of seats!

Most of the cars we looked at that had the third row, lacked any adequate trunk space which was a must for the two strollers we would be storing. Not to mention, all of the cars really did not have an easy way of getting in and out of that third row. Since the second row of seats could not fold down due to the car seats, the only option was to put one kid in through the trunk to get them to the third row. No thank you! Brett and I came to the realization that we would have to consider the mini-van. Personally, I did not really care what I drove, just as long as it was practical and affordable. Brett on the other hand, shuddered at the thought of owning a mini-van so soon in his lifetime. I knew that if we had to get a mini-van, we needed to get one that had some nice features to help convince Brett that it wasn’t all that bad.

The Honda Odyssey ended up being the car we chose and all of a sudden we became a family with a mini-van. Things were happening so quickly with finding out we were already more than 3 months pregnant and then all of sudden we were driving the ultimate mom-mobile. With this news, Brett and I knew that we would need to make a lot of changes to be able to fit this new baby into our lifestyle. The next step of course was to figure out how this baby would be fitting into our housing situation. We have been living in a 2 bedroom apartment for over 6 years and it was getting a little cramped with the twins but it met all of our needs and allowed us to be able to wait to buy a home until the time was right. Now we were then having to consider our home purchase to be sped up tremendously or else this new baby was going to be sleeping in the dining room. Considering that the timing was not the best in the market since it is most favorable for the seller, we had to also consider just renting a little longer but at least upgrading to an actual house as opposed to an apartment. So many choices to be made, in so little time.

It’s interesting because when I was in the hospital during my first pregnancy, my mantra was “we plan, God laughs” due to the abruptness of being kidnapped from my life. Now the mantra repeating in my head is “God only gives you what you can handle.” I am not an overly religious person but I do believe in God and I trust that what was happening to me and my family was always part of God’s plan. After all, regardless of all the change and craziness we are about to endure, this baby will be a complete blessing. To think that I was not even considering having any more children since it was not certain my body could even get pregnant again, and now I was not only pregnant but so far having a normal gestation with no complications! My thoughts about having more children were so wrapped up with fear after enduring the four months of bed rest and true fear that came with living through a high risk pregnancy. Assuming I would be doing the whole fertility treatment game for years, be back in the hospital if I got pregnant again, not being able to see Ella and Ethan, etc. made me think that it was okay if we stayed a two kid household. I already felt so lucky to have Ella and Ethan so why push it? Luckily, God made the decision for us and fate has brought us this new addition in the most perfect of circumstances. No fertility treatments, no bed rest, and a chance to actually enjoy pregnancy and get to do all of things I missed out on the first time. Maybe God knew that one complicated pregnancy was all I could handle and I was given a free pass this time. Who knows…but in the end, regardless of the new car and the new house which is just pointless stuff, we are blessed with bringing a new baby into this world and having the love of our family grow stronger. We can definitely handle that!

*The song “Wheels of a Dream” is from the 1998 Broadway musical Ragtime which is based on the classic E.L. Doctorow novel of the same name. In the show, the characters Coalhouse and Sarah sing about the dreams and endless possibilities they have for their new baby boy. This story takes place in the early 20th century where owning a car was considered a huge luxury. Coalhouse is very proud because he just bought a car and in the song, he and Sarah sing about being able to drive their son all over the country and build a new life together. Ironically, when I went to pick up my new Honda Odyssey for the first time, I turned on the Broadway satellite radio channel and this song started to play. As I drove away with this song playing, I could not help but think about what getting this car meant and how it was the first step in truly preparing for this new baby to join our lives. What a dream come true indeed!

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Starting a new “odyssey” as a family of 5

“Miracle of Miracles” – Fiddler on the Roof

1 Mar

I have decided to resume by blog and take a break from writing my book to share some extremely surprising news…

I’M PREGNANT!

This news came as a complete shock to me and my husband since I have been told by numerous doctors that it is medically impossible for me to get pregnant naturally without the use of heavy duty fertility drugs and treatments. I spent two years and thousands of dollars to get pregnant the first time with Ella & Ethan due to having PCOS and a defective pituitary gland. Because of my medical condition, I don’t get my period at all because it was determined that my pituitary gland does not produce the hormones necessary to ovulate. Regardless of these factors, by some miracle a single egg happened to make it’s way out and prove all of the doctors wrong.

What’s even crazier is the fact that I had no clue what was going on in my body until 13 weeks into the pregnancy and a psychic was the one to break the news! Let me take you back to the last Friday the 13th we had in December. I woke up that morning bright and early to take a home pregnancy test to prove a psychic wrong…HA! Two days earlier on the 11th, I went to my psychic reading which was an early birthday present from my husband. I had given Brett the same birthday present a couple of months earlier and she seemed legit so I wanted to go for myself to hopefully speak to my deceased parents. I sit down at the reading and the first thing she asks me is “are you pregnant?” and I say no. She keeps pressing me and I finally give up the information of my medical condition and how me getting pregnant without a barrage of drugs would be impossible. She then switched gears and said that I must have a close friend or relative that was pregnant because this vibe was too strong to not be right. I said it could be possible that someone close to me was pregnant and I didn’t know it yet. The reading continued but throughout the time we spent together, she kept bringing up the fact that there was a pregnancy. I left the reading with what she said ringing in my ears. At first I was trying to figure out who could possibly be pregnant in my circle of friends and family and then I started to wonder if by some miracle, it was in fact me.

The home pregnancy test I took two days later comes out positive but I did not fully trust the results due to my prior fertility struggles. Could my hormonal imbalance from the PCOS be skewing the test? I went to see my fertility doctor later that morning to get an official blood test and she was very surprised to see me in her office for this reason after all of the history we have together. A few hours later I got the highly anticipated phone call from her that there is no doubt that I am pregnant and I that I need to come in for an ultrasound immediately. I am in complete shock as I jump into my car to go back to her office. While I was driving there I couldn’t stop thinking about the lack of pregnancy symptoms I had and thought that it must be really early on. No morning sickness at all…but then again, I luckily never had that symptom the first time around. The ultrasound starts and my doctor could not believe how far along I am. She took a bunch of measurements and estimated that I was 13 weeks pregnant! I completely went through the entire 1st trimester without even knowing it and feel like I can now be featured on the show “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant.” I am in disbelief as I see this fully formed fetus on the screen with a strong heartbeat yelling “SURPRISE!” from my uterus. How did this happen? My stomach was completely flat, I had no symptoms at all, and now in 6 months I was going to become a mother of 3?!?!

The next plan of action was to call my miracle worker OBGYN, Dr. Tabsh who got me through my first pregnancy. Since I was already in my 2nd trimester, the worry started to set in about having to be on bed rest again and if my cervix would start to shorten prematurely. Of course, this was all happening when I was about to get on a plane to vacation in Hawaii with my family. Last time I planned a big trip during my pregnancy, I ended up getting admitted into the hospital for 4 months so my track record was not the best. I was able to get an appointment that night at 11pm so that he could check my cervix and hopefully give me some good news. He was very surprised to see me and husband back in his office after all we had gone through the first time. He did an extensive ultrasound and found everything to be perfectly normal! He even said “have fun on your trip” which was like music to my ears. Dr. Tabsh explained that I will be closely monitored but every pregnancy is different and maybe now that I am only carrying one baby, my cervix won’t be as temperamental as it was before. I never thought that my body would be able to have a normal pregnancy that didn’t involve bed rest. I am not getting my hopes up since anything could happen from now until June. Plus, once you go though a high risk pregnancy that leaves to hospitalized, you are bound to have some post traumatic stress which causes you to keep your expectations in check.

Regardless of what may happen with this pregnancy, this baby is another miracle that we were meant to have in our lives. Brett and I were not sure if we were going to have anymore kids because of the fertility and pregnancy issues I experienced the first time. Now that decision has been made by a higher power and we are slowly getting used to the fact that Ella and Ethan are going to be a big sister and big brother by June 2014. L’Chaim!

*The song “Miracle of Miracles” is from the 1964 Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof which ran on Broadway for almost 10 years. This joyous song comes at a part of the show where Motel has found out that he has Tevye’s blessing to marry Tzeitel. This is considered a miracle to Motel since Tzeitel would have otherwise had a traditional arranged marriage with a man she did not love. This new pregnancy is truly a miracle because I never in my wildest dreams thought that my body was able to have a baby naturally since my “tradition” has been the exact opposite. I felt like I got my fill of miracles the first time around when Ella and Ethan were born full term and healthy after the tremendous journey we were on. We are extremely grateful that we have been blessed with another angel in our lives and cannot wait to meet he or she very soon!

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Here we go again

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Had no clue this cute baby was living inside me!

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Finally starting to show

“The Spark of Creation” – Children of Eden

2 Sep

Many people have been asking me lately when I will be publishing my next blog post. It has been a while since the last post was all about the twins turning one back in April. I figured I should let everyone know why I have been on hiatus and also get the word out there about my “spark of creation.”

For several months now I have been struggling with the decision to either continue writing my blog on a regular basis or to stop and focus on a huge goal that I have had my eye on. I wish I did not have to choose and could do both, but being a mother of twins and working full time gives me limits with my spare time. So, I have decided to stop writing my blog (for now), and start developing my story to publish a book!

I always felt so interrupted in a way when I have been writing my blog posts since they can’t be too long due to internet blog etiquette. I have aimed at keeping each post to about 1,000 words or less and trust me, there has been so much more that could have been written and expanded upon. Knowing how much my words have helped other moms on bed rest or in similar situations, I feel that I need to get the entire story out there and make it available to everyone that is interested. I have been doing my homework and for me to expand Broadway Babies into a full-fledged book, I will be taking the roughly 30,000 words I already have written and expanding it to over 80,000 words! Like I said, there is a lot of material that has not yet been revealed about what I have been through. This blog just starts to scratch the surface of what the book will contain.

The next step for me at this point while I am in the process of writing those extra 50,000 words is to find an agent and/or publisher. If anyone reading this knows of someone in their network or happens to be an agent or publisher, I have my query letter ready to be submitted so please get in touch with me. Thank you so much to everyone who has been a huge supporter of Broadway Babies and has continued to read and share my story.

*The song “The Spark of Creation” is from the 1991 West End musical Children of Eden which was written by Stephen Schwartz who also wrote Wicked and Godspell, among many other amazing musicals. This show actually never made it to Broadway or even Off-Broadway but has continued to be one of the most licensed shows with productions happening all over the world. The most famous production was in 1997 at the Paper Mill Playhouse where the show was revised with additional songs, etc. The show is based on the Book of Genesis and Eve is the character who sings “The Spark of Creation.” She has a hunger for greatness and the unknown possibilities of creation. Whenever I listen to this song, it inspires me to pursue my dream of becoming a published writer. This dream is something that my mother wanted more than anything for herself and never got to see happen in her lifetime. She wrote thousands of poems, children’s books, and even a complete musical but was not able to get to the finish line since she got so sick. I’m going to make you proud Mom since that “spark of creation is burning bright within me.” Let there be!

My angels

The two best things we have ever created!

The two best things we have ever created!

Party of Four

Twinsies!

Happiness is Ella & Ethan

“Happy Birthday To You And To You” – Side Show

21 Apr

I hear people say often, how quickly time goes by when you have kids. I was realizing this back at home as the months just flew by. But maybe time felt a little accelerated since living in a hospital makes time seem to stand still. Nonetheless, Ella and Ethan are one year old today which means they are reaching another tremendous milestone. Milestones were what I lived for while I was on bed rest at the hospital. “If I can just get to 24 weeks so that they are viable…if I can make it to 30 weeks so that their lungs develop a little more…if I can hang on until 34 weeks, they might not need to be in the NICU…” I would lie in bed praying for these miracles and then finally the last miracle occurred on April 21, 2012 when both Ella and Ethan were born healthy and big.

Now exactly one year later, I have two toddlers with completely different and unique personalities. I had always wondered about the nature vs. nurture debate and how much of a person’s being they were actually born with, compared to how they were raised. I was so surprised to see that within the first few weeks of life, the twins were already so different with Ella being strong-willed and independent and Ethan being more sensitive and needy (with a cute worried look always on his face). At that point, there was not much nurture to go off of and it really made me see that these kids were born this way.

Throughout the year, these little sparkles of personalities have become more definite with not much changing. Ella is still very head-strong and when she wants something, she goes for it without a second thought. Ella also maintains her “alfa dog” status by doing everything first before Ethan (rolling over, crawling, and now almost walking). Being a girl gives her most of the advantage but deep down, she is one determined little lady. She loves to practice a new trick until she gets it perfect and then refuses anyone trying to help her. For example, recently Ella has mastered feeding herself by holding her own bottle…with one hand! If I try to hold the bottle for her she starts crying because she wants to do it. However, Ethan loves being taken care of and prefers acting like a little prince. He just started crawling after watching his sister on the move for two months. He loved watching her romp around but never really had the desire to do so. Then one day out of the blue he just started crawling, almost as if he realized mommy and daddy are not going to be around all the time to move him where he needs to go. Ethan is still a sensitive soul and is typically the one crying the most when those cranky moments hit. Nothing that a cuddle can’t solve which he absolutely relishes. On the other hand, when I try to cuddle with Ella, she is squirming away living up to her “mover and shaker” self. I started to think back to their personalities in the womb and how when the nurses had to perform my daily NST’s, Ella was always moving around so much it was difficult to find her heartbeat, while Ethan would stay in one spot…tucked up within my ribs all cozy and content.

It is really hard to imagine life without these two and it makes me think about the fact that we came so close to losing them back when I was only 19 weeks pregnant. Recently, the twins and I went back to the hospital to visit the nurses who had become my family. They could not believe how big Ella and Ethan had grown and how much I had shrunk since the last time they saw all of us. I was also lucky enough to catch the famous Dr. Tabsh who turns into mush when he sees babies. It is so great to watch him when he is in that mood because he is normally known for his unwavering silent focus and lack of bedside manner. Ethan in particular could not stop smiling when Dr. Tabsh was holding him…almost like he knew that this was the man that saved his life. Dr. Tabsh loved every minute of it and I could tell that these kind of moments for him are what justifies the extremely hard work he performs every day. This man probably sleeps a total of 4 hours a night, never takes vacations, and basically lives at the hospital. I know this because I used to literally live at the hospital! I am eternally grateful that today is the first of many birthday celebrations that our family will enjoy thanks to this angel of a man.

*The song “Happy Birthday To You And To You” is from the 1997 Broadway musical Side Show which is based on the true story of Siamese twins, Daisy and Violet Hilton. Luckily, Ella and Ethan are not attached at the hip like those lovely ladies but I will say that I am so happy that they get to grow up together and be each other’s best friend. Sharing not only many birthdays together, but countless life experiences that hopefully will not pass by too quickly. Happy Birthday to the most fantastic “Broadway Babies” in the entire universe! I love you more than words can express.

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My ONE year olds!

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Ella’s famous one-handed bottle trick

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Ethan’s cute “worried” look

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Reunion with Dr. T…and the door to my old room behind us

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Flashback to last year