going to the floor!

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Written on 11:54 AM by gracefully discovering:

Today Nia gets moved to the regular floor! This morning they took her last central line out- so we are free to go in about 2 hours!
I forgot to mention yesterday that Nia pulled BOTH of her IV's out of her wrist! This morning, I was holding her..and I looked down and she had her bottom stitch wrapped around her thumb! This little girl is so feisty! I guess she was telling them that she is ready to go home!
I'm happy that we are going to the floor- BC at least there is a pull out bed in the room. last night, I crawled up in two sitting chairs...definitely not the most comfortable...but it served its purpose. I was close by Nia whenever she woke up.
That's all for now- peace!

update on Nia

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Written on 10:56 PM by gracefully discovering:

So last night was my night at home with Naomi...but before that, mommy and daddy went on a little date!
Durante sat at the hospital with Nia ( I just hate leaving her by herself...so we had to send a replacement) and Phebe watched Naomi. Nick and I needed some alone time and it was nice. Although, we only went to dinner (and I had the BEST strawberry banana margarita..yum!) it was great convo and lots of fun!

Anyway, Naomi and I had a good time together...and I swear- having one baby is a BREEZE!
Nick stayed with Nia last night...and I get a call this morning that she "woke up a new baby." Normally Nia is kinda quiet and just chills. But today, according to Nick, she was laughing and smiling and playing all morning and afternoon! He made a video and I don't know how to upload it, but once I figure it out, I will post it. She looked so cute and HAPPY! I was told my another heart mom that after the Glenn she saw a huge increase in her baby's energy. So maybe this is it! Who knows?

Her blood pressure is doing much better. They have her on 8ml of Captopril 3x a day...which is A LOT! She doesn't seem to like the taste of it, so I asked them to flavor it...and it didn't seem to make a difference. I tasted it to see if was nasty-but it didn't taste like anything to me. I really hope its not this hard to give her the medicine when we go home...because I will quickly hand that responsibility over to daddy!

She is sleeping now...and seems to be singing or moaning or something. It's quite entertaining!! I need to try and sleep while she is...but this chair isn't very comfortable...and...I need to pump! 2 more months and counting!!!!!!!!!

update on Nia

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Written on 8:46 PM by gracefully discovering:

Nia is doing great! SHe is still in the CVICU- only because her blood pressure REFUSES to go down! They have tried a few medicines- but they are not working. They even had the renal Doctor come in and check her kidneys, but THANK GOD nothing was wrong. I couldn't imagine dealing with heart and kidney problems!

She is a super star on the CVICU floor...people LOVE her! They are always coming in the room talking about how cute she is. When I came in today, someone had made/given her a pinkknit hat and made her a name sign for her crib! She is quite the people magnet.

She is sharing a room with two other babies that just had the same surgery. It's so funny because all three of them are about 2 weeks a part from each other. They all have different heart conditions- but had the same surgery. I feel so bad for one of the little girls. No one ever comes to visit her. Well, I saw her mom yesterday for about 30 minutes. She seemed nice- and I didn't want to be too nosy and ask her why no one was here with her!
She is married and the little girl is her only baby.....so I don't know why this precious baby is so alone ALL of the time! But I don't know her situation, so I can't judge.

But what I can do, is show this little girl some attention. So when I read to Nia, I sit in the middle of them so that she can get story time too. I even bought her a halloween onesie when I went to get Nia's today. Although, I don't think that they can wear it!! But it'll be cute for a picture!! I hope her mommy doesn't mind. She seems (the baby) very cranky and it could be because of the pain from the surgery...but I bet some of it it because she misses her mommy and daddy...or someone who feels familiar. Mom did say that baby had been in the hospital for a while before the surgery.

Anyway, Nia is just progressing fabulously...just like last time. I hope it continues and that we are all back home being one big happy family in no time. Nick and I have been swapping out babies! Tonight is my night at the hospital and he is at home with Naomi. Last night Naomi and I bonded big time.
I love my girls...Nia just woke up and is ready to eat...so peace out!

today is the day....the Glenn

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Written on 4:05 PM by gracefully discovering:



So the day that we have been waiting for, for the past 2 weeks is finally here. As I type, they are cutting through the scar tissue (from the first surgery) to get to her heart. She went back around 12:20pm and they gave us our first update at around 3:15. She did well with the anesthesia, but they had a tough time getting her central line is because she was on the chubby side (the nurse's words..not mine).

This morning I held her for so long because I know it'll probably be a few days before I can hold her again. She was so cute and didn't have a clue about what she would soon endure. She was a little fussy because she couldn't eat anything after 9am...and even still she could only have Pedialyte after 3am. But she calmed down and went to sleep- which was good!

Last night, I kept having the dream where they took her through the double doors and we couldn't go with her...and this afternoon....it happened. They took her and we couldn't go and I cried. But I must say, I am much calmer this time around. For the Norwood, I was a complete mess...probably had a lot to do with all of the hormones from just having two babies.

I'll update again once we hear something.
I'm missing Naomi big time. She stayed with Mrs. J last night and is staying with Audrey tonight. Tomorrow, she will be with either mommy or daddy! (I'm thinking mommy- I don't know if I can last 3 days!)

so..Tuesday it is....hopefully?

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Written on 2:41 PM by gracefully discovering:

Got a call from Mary, the Cardiac nurse, and she said that Nia is scheduled for surgery Tuesday...pending a negative flu test that she will take on Monday.
The part that sucks is that all of our help will be GONE next week and Texas Children's has a new rule that no children under 12 can visit the hospital. I talked to her about it and she said that Naomi would be able to be there with us as long as Nia is in CVICU- but once she gets to step down she wouldn't be able to stay.
I'm going to talk to the Social Worker and see what arrangements can be made. I mean, there has to be an exception to the rule (there always is)....and if there isn't, a Social Worker always knows how to get it done!! (I'm just a tad bit biased)
So please pray that my little pumpkin can have her surgery next week and that it goes extremely well!
thankyouverymuch!

Positive AGAIN

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Written on 10:48 AM by gracefully discovering:

Yesterday, I took Nia back to the hospital to get the nasal flu test again...and it came back positive AGAIN. It's kinda frustrating because I do not see any symptoms- she doesn't have a cough, runny nose, fever or anything. But this test continues to come back positive, which is delaying her surgery.
SO, they started her on Tamiflu (sp?) for 5 days- hoping that it will knock this flu ghost out of her system. However, she (the nurse Mary) couldn't tell me if they would proceed with the surgery or wait until next week. She said that she would call me today to let me know what her surgeon, Dr. Heinle, and the team of Cardiologist think.
I know that they want to get her surgery done now, but the risks may outweigh their desire to do it sooner than later.
I just hate being in limbo....and I feel very much in limbo right now. I really want her to get her surgery while her O2 levels are good and she is doing pretty well. But I can't make that decision.
I'm also a little irritated because we had planned on going home to Atlanta for Thanksgiving and the Cardiologist had approved us going based on the initial surgery date. Now, since they have pushed it back so much, we may not be able to go if she hasn't fully recovered.
Waiting on that call today- I'll keep you posted.

what a surprise!

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Written on 12:23 PM by gracefully discovering:

Last Sunday my best friend from College surprised me and came to visit for a full week. Now, apparently everyone knew but me...which hardly ever happens because I am nosy and nothing gets past me...just ask my husband!
But she was able to pull this one off! I'm actually happy that I didn't know because it turned out to be a very pleasant surprise!
We didn't get a chance to do a whole lot together, but she helped out a whole lot with the girls! I actually felt like I was on a mini vacation for a few days! She and Grandma Lena was with them during the day while we went to work and Melissa got up with them at night. It felt pretty good!
We did get to hang out some Saturday. We went to the Breakfast Klub and got pedicures.


God has really blessed me with some wonderful friends. I honestly don't think I could have asked for better ones. My mom used to say that you can count your REAL friends on one hand, and you may just get one or two. But I'm proud to say that I've been blessed to count them on both of my hands! They come from all different walks of life and from different stages in my life: from high school to college to graduate school and a few things in between.

Anyway, Melissa was so sad when she left the girls (after she got over losing her ID and having to have her birth certificate faxed so that she could get on the plane and go back home to my godson) she was very teary-eyed and didn't even want the girls to ride to the airport to drop her off.

We love you Ti-Ti Melissa and will miss you greatly!

postponed AGAIN

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Written on 11:41 AM by gracefully discovering:



Today was SUPPOSED to be the day that Nia would have the second of three surgeries. BUT yesterday, we went in to get all of her Pre-op work done and one of the test that identifies cold or flu symptoms came back positive. Since she didn't look sick, nor did she have any visible signs of a cold- they took the test again and it came back negative. But to be on the safe side, the pushed her surgery back to next Thursday. We have to take her back Monday to get more test done and if she is healthy, then they will proceed.
At first, I was a bit annoyed because this is the 3rd date that we have gotten...but they explained that if they operate on her with even a hint of infection- she will have a much harder time recovering. So I guess we're blessed that they are doing whatever needs to be done to make sure my little pumpkin has the best surgery and recovery possible.

Her little half of a heart is working really hard and she needs to have this surgery to relieve some of the responsibility of the right side of her heart. I really hope that she can have it next week. As nervous as I am...I know that she needs this and it will only make her better.
So let's get on with it people!!!!!!!!!!!

On a brighter note- the girls had their first professional pics taken Tuesday and we had a BALL! Nia showed up and showed out- just smiling and laughing the whole time. I guess she knew that she wouldn't have to get her surgery this week and was extremely happy!





Part 2: The Glenn

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Written on 1:59 PM by gracefully discovering:

Nia's Glenn was scheduled for Monday, October 12- but it has been postponed a few days because half of the operating staff is out with the flu. Luckily she has been doing great and her O2 levels have been steady- which is why the Surgeon is okay with delaying her surgery a few days. However, her team of Cardiologists are not so pleased with this news.
For the past week or so, I have felt myself clinging to her a bit more than usual...and I think it's because I am very nervous about this surgery. I know that they say this is much easier on the babies, but open-heart surgery is open-heart surgery and I am internally freaking out. I keep playing it over in my head how the day will go: how we will get to hold her and kiss her before they wheel her through the double doors that I can't go through and I will cry until they call to give us the updates. So when they called to tell me that I have a few more days to spend with my baby before they cut her open again- I was pleased. Don't get me wrong, I know that she needs this and it is going to in turn save her life...but I sure wish there was a way to do just that- WITHOUT cutting her open!

Anyway- I found this video on another heart moms blog and it is absolutely moving. Please be ready to tear up :) Spread awareness about CHD's! Take a few moments to watch it- and then pass it on!

Whew! Who thought it would take me three months?

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Written on 10:39 AM by gracefully discovering:


So it's been like FOREVER since I've had the time to actually sit down and blog about the new adventures of my life. I had actually stored the urge to share my thoughts with the world in that closet that hardly gets opened...but thanks to my colleague Leigh Anne "for checking me boo" in the teachers lounge the other day...I've opened that closet and started to take things out again- blogging being one of them.
I dare NOT try to sum up the past three months of my life in this post- but I will give a brief overview.
Let's see
1. I'm still alive and sane! Thank you Jesus
2. Nia and Naomi are 3 months and 9 days old today!
3. They have grown soooooooooo much- approx. 12 pounds each now! They were born 6lbs and 4lbs 10 oz.
4. This week, we started giving them rice cereal at night AND....they are sleeping for 6 hours straight. HALLELUJAH!!!!!
5. Nick and I haven't been on a date since August 5- but Grandma Lena is coming this weekend, so mommy and daddy are hitting the town Saturday.
6. The girls personalities are so different. Naomi is much like her mommy- loves to smile, bubbly personality and outgoing. Nia on the other is quite reserved. She likes to check you out for a minute, throw a few frowns at you, and maybe...just maybe she will give you a smile! However, as of the late she been smiling more. SO maybe she's warming up to the world!
7. Nia has recovered remarkably from her surgery. No issues at all! I am so thankful and I know that it's God that is holding her in his hand and guiding her through this process. It's truly unbelievable how well she has done. When I hear about all of the special heart babies that are having such a tough time, all I can do is continuously thank God for his miraculous blessings. We are truly favored.
8. I'm still nursing...well let me be clear..I'm still pumping! I'm really trying to make it 6 months, but lawd knows this is HAZING!
9. Nick is the best dad in the world. He does so much for me and the girls- that it's crazy. I mean, I hate to brag...but uh' I have the best hubby in the world!
10. I AM SO IN LOVE WITH BEING A MOMMY. It is total happiness, exhaustion, humility, joy, pride, and sacrifice all balled up in one. I love being a mommy, it is indeed the best job in the world.

Here are some pics of the lady bugs. If you're m y friend on facebook, then you have seen them a lot. If not, here are my two pumpkins!








first time overnight with both our girls!!

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Written on 1:58 PM by gracefully discovering:

My MIL being the lifetime social worker that she is asked the nurse if she could bring us a bigger crib so that Naomi could stay here with us at night- BC my MIL is leaving to go home tomorrow and they still haven't given us a discharge date.
So they brought the crib and Nick fixed it up so that they both could have their own little spot in the bed!
Now we expected our first night to be a little rough with both of them...but really it was just Naomi who made it a rough night!!! Fortunately they both are on the same feeding schedule so that wasn't an issue. But we made the mistake of letting Naomi sleep in our bed/bassinet in our room the first two weeks of her life...so she isn't quite feeling sleeping in a crib where she isn't touching anyone. Last week the Pediatrician told us to start keeping her in her own room in her crib...my MIL has been trying it- but....she hasn't been very successful BC Naomi just cries all night!
Anyway- last night she fussed a lot, even though she was in the crib with Nia. She finally fell asleep about 3:30....when her daddy put his Iphone in the crib playing Maxwell and Robin Thicke. She is truly her daddy's child....because he loves to listen to music while going to sleep...and it was so funny...she stopped in the middle of her cry as soon as the music started playing. I guess we found our little musician...or artistic child!! It was hilarious how fast she stopped crying!!! But it worked..and from now on...they will go to sleep with some type of music playing in their room.
Nia doesn't have a problem sleeping in her crib because she has always been by herself in a crib since the first day of her life....she just chills and goes to sleep- no problem!!
They tricked us...in the womb, Nia was very active and Naomi was so calm and pleasant....but now the tables have turned!!
Naomi is a FIRE CRACKER!! This girl is nonstop! I guess she said it's her time to shine.
It's so fun having them together and learning their personalities. I love my babies and I am so happy and blessed to have been able to carry them and bring them into this world!
I'M SO IN LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Life in the step down unit

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Written on 1:29 PM by gracefully discovering:

It's been 7 days since we have been sleeping on the pull-out couch in Nia's room in what they call the "step-down" unit.
This is the unit where we learn how to care for her and get ready to take her home. It's been great to spend so much time with her- but we are definitely ready to spend that time AT HOME!

Nia has been doing great considering that she just had major open-heart surgery 2 weeks ago. The Cardiologist even said that she is starting to make the other babies look bad...and I'm thinking.."of course she is....she is a Richardson and that's what we do!!"
But seriously, she has been eating really well, having good poopy diapers and no fevers! However her blood pressure has been a bit high so they continue to increase her dosage of Captopril until they can get her blood pressure where they want it to be. Also her SAT levels have been slightly lower than where they want them to be...so they have to watch her a little longer to see whats going on.
She had an echo this morning and her heart seems to be doing well and functioning at a good level....so that is good news!
We were supposed to leave tomorrow- but now that's not looking good because they want to monitor her a little longer. I guess I'd rather her stay here until they aer completely comfortable with her-than for me to have to rush her back to the ER.

What it's like here:
1. Nurses, Doctors, PCA's and everyone in between coming in the room at least every hour to check on her and give her some type of medicine..or ask us some kind of question.
2. Checking Vital signs all through-out the night...and the lady knocking on the door saying "VITALS" which we think is hilarious
3. Eating fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner- and not eating the "breast feeding mom" plates they bring me from the cafeteria
4. Waking up every 3 hours to feed and change Nia
5. Pumping for Naomi so she can have milk when she is away from me
5. Hearing the beeping noise from the Polsox (sp?) machine....and turning the volume down so we can sleep!
6. Watching the residents sit back and not say a word when the Cardiologist do their rounds in the morning
7. Nick and I sleeping on the full...or maybe twin sized pull out sofa they have in her room
8. CPR training, car seat training. and the teaching of how to take care of our baby girl

I really just want to get home and get some type of normalcy back....and get our own little routine going. It's been hard to leave Naomi. She spends the whole day with us and then goes home with my MIL for the night. I just would like for all of us to be together and not have to split my time with the girls. That is definitely the hardest part. But hopefully all of that will come soon.

Gotta go change a poopy diaper...Nia is calling!
Check out some pics of the cutest set of twins you will ever see in your life...and yes I AM BIASED!



On the way to step down!!

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Written on 6:32 PM by gracefully discovering:

Baby Nia is doing amazing! It's been 5 days since her surgery and she has not had one single complication or set back! Today they removed the last of her tubes and lines...so she is free of all support!
She is now being fed my breast milk through an NG tube and a supplement through an IV...but other than that...this little feisty mama is doing it all on her own!
The Doctors said we may be going to step down tomorrow or Monday.
Step down is the unit right before she goes home! She will have her own little room and we will be able to stay with her....even Naomi. Naomi hasn't seen her since the day of the surgery. I'm pretty sure they miss each other. I can't imagine how they feel...I wish I knew. It has to feel pretty weird to be separated from someone that you have been with everyday all day for 9 months. But they will be back together again and I can't wait!
I really can't wait to see how they interact with one another and really get to know their different personalities. From what we can tell already- Naomi is the nice, calm and pleasant one...who just chills and wants to be fed and changed...oh and held! I hope she isn't becoming spoiled...but I think she is!!
Nia on the other hand is a little..well no VERY feisty and doesn't want you touching on her...and if you do- she will surely kick you or smack your hand away quickly! But I think her strength and feistiness has gotten her through this surgery and recovery- so I WILL NOT COMPLAIN!

I wanted to say thank you very much for all of the prayers that everyone has been sending up for our family. It's amazing that people who do not even know us- are praying for us. God is good and He loves when we come together to give Him the glory for his good works! We are definitely blessed beyond measure. I was telling Nick that I feel like this is too good to be true. That she is recovering so well without any bumps in the road (thus far). It's like we/I expected the worst....for it to not be this easy. But when we pray and put it all in the hands of the Lord...and praise Him before it's even done...He will make it this easy...just to show us what He can do. From the beginning...well not the very beginning...but after I accepted Nia's condition and stopped being mad at God for "doing this to us"...I have said that God's will will be done...whatever that is. And is seems like His will is for our baby girl to recover and come home and beat the HLHS like many other special heart babies. I know it's only 11 days out...but I feel good about it and I am gonna continue to believe that whatever His plan is for her- it will come to pass.

no service = no updates

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Written on 9:12 PM by gracefully discovering:

Sorry for the major delay of info...but we stayed at the hospital last night and our cell phones didn't have service nor did we have wireless Internet.
Anyway- our little Nia is doing excellent! She got out of surgery yesterday around 4:45 and it went very well. No complications at all. The say that the first 48 hours are the most critical for these special heart babies....and guess what she made it through the first 28 hours complications free!

She is on a ton of meds and is sedated and hooked up to an oxygen machine. Her numbers look great and the doctors are pleased with how things are going.
I can't articulate how blessed we are! I am so overjoyed that our little girl is such a strong fighter and is getting through this like a champ. I know it is still very early...but I can't help to believe that things will continue on this great path to recovery.

Last night we stayed at the Ronald McDonald house at the hospital so that we could go up and see Nia at any time. It was kinda tough because we kept Naomi with us- but she couldn't go in the CVICU- so Nick and I had to take turns to go visit her.
I went and read a few stories to her and held her hand and kissed her feet! She is a little feisty mama...she doesn't really like people touching on her...and she will kick you to let you know it!!! But that doesn't stop me at all :)

The hardest part has been leaving her. I HATE HATE HATE leaving her room. I feel like I'm supposed to be there with her 24 hours so that she won't feel lonely. I know that the nurses are taking excellent care of her...they all have been beyond AWESOME, but it really tears me up inside when I leave her room. I cry every time...hell I'm crying as I type this now. I swear, I've been so emotional this past week. Funny story: so today as we were checking out of the Ronald McDonald house but I wanted to go see Nia again before we left. For some reason we had a ton of stuff...so I asked the receptionist if we could leave our stuff there until we got back from her room...and she said "well no because we cant be responsible for your belongings" and as she was saying no...I just started crying!! Then she was like..well you can leave it in the corner but we cant watch it!! I wanted to slap myself for crying because the lady told me NO! I'll get it together eventually!

I need to do a better job of taking care of myself. I totally OVER DID it yesterday...and I am feeling it. I think I forget that just 7 days ago I had a c-section and delivered 2 babies! My feet are super swollen and my incision is hurting bad! I really need to take it easy- but its impossible because I feel like I need to be in 2 places at one time..taking care of two babies in two different places! But I do not want to be put in the hospital because my incision split open or my feet are swollen to death! So instead of going back to the hospital tonight...I'm lying in the bed with my feet propped up and finally getting some sleep as my sweetie pie Naomi sleeps! Side bar: this little girl is the best! She is soooo sweet and calm and pleasant. I'm so in love with her! I Love just looking at her and watching her different facial expressions...she is adorable! I can't wait until both of them are here together..it's gonna be the best! I love my girls soooooooo much! It's an indescribable feeling...and I love every minute of it. I was made to be mommy to these little girls!!
Here are a few pics of them!





Sorry for the delayed updates

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Written on 4:32 PM by gracefully discovering:

for some reason I have had the hardest time updating my blog today. The Internet was/is acting crazy in the waiting room and I am now blogging from my phone. If there are typos or spelling errors...please excuse them!
UPDATE:
Nia did really well through her surgery thus far. They have completed the repair portion of the procedure and now they have a few more steps to take. Her heart is beating on it's own and her levels are saturated. Don't ask me what that really
means. The nurse said she doing as well as a baby can do during this surgery!! She also said that each day it amazes her what God has done and is doing in this hospital everyday.
Now we are waiting on the doctor to come down and talk to us.
Our friends and family have been here with us all day and Naomi has been such a pleasant little lady all day waiting on her sissy to come out of surgery. It's such a blessing to have the I've and support from those who love you.
Thanks to everyone who is praying for our baby girl and our family. We have a lon g road ahead but she has done well so far and I can't help but to believe that everything will remain on the good path and recovery will be a breeze.
She is finished and we are about to meet with the doctor. Update you soon

Day 1: Norwood Procedure

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Written on 12:05 PM by gracefully discovering:

Today, our precious baby girl will have her first surgery. For those of you who do not know why she is having surgery- she is here today because she was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome with an unbalanced canal. Basically it means that she has half of a heart. If you would like to read more about it...go back a few months in my blog to get all of the information.

I will continue to update on this blog to keep you all posted on the outcome of the surgery as well as her recovery. Reading other heart moms blogs really got me through a lot these past 7 months. So I hope that I can provide some insight or comfort for someone else as they go through this very confusing and difficult process.

Day 1:
We arrived at the hospital this morning at 6:15 am to hold our baby girl before she went into surgery. This was only the second time that we got to hold her since she has been born. At first she was a little fussy...but once she got comfortable in my arms, she was good to go! As she held on to my finger, we talked and had a great mommy/daughter bonding session! I can't believe how incredibly in love I am with these two girls. Now I understand what parents mean when they say you experience a love like never before.
The surgeons came in to talk to us about what to expect...even though we knew everything they told us...it was comforting for them to explain it to us- so we could be sure that they knew what they were doing :) JK! We know that we are in the best place possible to be for her surgeries and for that we are considered blessed.

After Nick and I got to spend a little QT with Nia, they took her upstairs. We were able to go up with them but couldn't go through the double doors. After multiple kisses and "be strong big girl" we finally let her go. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life. I know that without this surgery she can not live...and that's about the only thing that's keeping me together right now!
The surgery will take anywhere from 8-10 hours...we will get updates every two hours! Talk about
Latest update: They have completely put her under the anesthesia...and her body received it very well. They have also hooked her up to the heart and lung machine...so that her organs will not have to do any work during the procedure. I'm so happy that my baby girl won't have to feel any of this pain...and she won't remember any of these surgeries once she gets older!! But I'll be sure to tell her how strong she was and how she fought through like a big champ!! I love her so much and am so proud of how well she has done thus far!

okay..I'll update gain when we hear something.

"Thank God she just has a heart problem"

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Written on 12:00 AM by gracefully discovering:

Never in a million years did I think that the words "thank God she just has a heart problem" would come out of my mouth until hubby and I went to see My Sister's Keeper tonight. Aside from the continuous crying from myself and many other movie patrons, this movie put a lot of things in perspective for me. This was a very sad movie- and it was even more sad for me because we are having twin girls and I can't help but to think about how Naomi will have to be her sisters keeper! How even though in the womb...we all consider Nia to be the big sister just because she has been the most dominant...and of course the biggest in weight- I can definitely see Naomi stepping up to be the big sister protector!

From this movie I learned a few things:
1. DO NOT forget about the other kids! In our case...our other newborn baby. Mom (Cameron Diaz) was so focused on keeping her daughter with cancer alive that she completely left the other children to basically fend for themselves. Nick and I talk about making sure we balance out our love and affection for both of our girls all of the time. It is something that we are very aware of and are taking steps to make sure that it doesn't happen. I know that it will be hard because Nia will require so much attention- but we have to make a conscious effort to make Naomi feel just as special and loved. I don't want my girls growing up with self-esteem issues because Mommy didn't show her enough love, attention and affection- NO WAY!!!

2. Although the entire family was dealing and coping with the Cancer- they still appeared to remain close, have fun and take advantage of the time that they had with Kate. They didn't seem to completely let the illness take over their lives...well mom kinda did...but they were still able to have fun and make jokes :)

3. A heart mom that has a grown daughter with HLHS told me that this journey with HLHS can either make or break your marriage...and that we have to decide which one it will be. In this movie- I could clearly see how stressful Kate's Cancer was on her parents marriage. She even knew it and in her book she wrote a note to her dad saying that she was sorry for taking his first love away. I'm praying that this journey that we are about to endure will only bring us closer to one another and allow us to depend on God more than we ever have before. I know that this is going to be tough...but I don't have a doubt in my mind that together we will get through this.

So, tonight I am going to bed with a little more peace than I had before. My daughter will be born in about 55 hours with half of a heart....and will have the first of three open heart surgeries in about 5 or 6 days. We don't know what God has in store for baby Nia- but thank God it's just a heart problem!

Next week this time my girls will be here!

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Written on 11:26 AM by gracefully discovering:

Wow! It's been over a month since I've blogged...but I'm baaaccckk! I think that I will be blogging frequently, or at least have my friend Candace blog for me so that I can keep you all updated on the girls and Nia's surgery and recovery process.

We have exactly 7 days before our little ladies are welcomed into this world. My scheduled c-section date is June 30, 2009 at 7:30am. Knowing the exact date and time eases up some of the anxiety- but there is still enough of it there to freak me out just a little bit! I was telling my girlfriend that I have every range of emotions that one could think of these days. I am very excited, happy, anxious, scared, nervous, overwhelmed, full of joy and peace...all at the same time! I never thought that was possible...but I'm here to tell you that it is.
In exactly one week, my life as I know it today will be over! I'm looking forward to the changes- although some of them will be very difficult- I'm thinking that they will be totally worth it when I am able to look into the eyes of the two people that I have carried for 9 months.

Are we ready??? Physically ABSOLUTELY! The house is completely ready for them to come home! They have everything that they need, and their room is the cutest baby room that I have ever seen in my life (and of course I'm biased...so just accept it!).

Mentally...I'm still working on that! I keep telling myself that I'll be ready by the 30th...but truthfully, I don't think anyone is ever mentally ready to have two newborn babies and one baby with a serious heart defect that will need open heart surgery the first week of her life! But what I do know is that we have a great support system and we have God on our side who is going to provide us with the strength and peace to get through this journey that we are about the endure!

The countdown begins today. 7 days.

Here are some pictures of the girls nursery that daddy worked so hard on! This man loves his girls..I'm telling you!




What it's like to have a child with CHD

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Written on 10:43 AM by gracefully discovering:

I found this on another Heart Mom's blog...I enjoyed reading it, and it gave some insight on what to possibly expect very soon!

It’s Lasix,aspirin,Captopril….It’s wondering…Lord what’s your will?…It’s monitors and oxygen tanks…It’s a constant reminder…to always give thanks…It’s feeding tubes, calories, needed weight gain…It’s the drama of eating…and yes it’s insane!It’s the first time I held him…(I’d waited so long)It’s knowing that I need…to help him grow strong…It’s making a hospital…home for awhile…It’s seeing my reward…in every smile.It’s checking his sats…as the feeding pump’s beeping…It’s knowing that there… is just no time for sleeping…It’s caths,x-ays and boo boos to kiss…It’s normalcy…I sometimes miss…It’s asking…do his nails look blue?It’s cringing inside… at what he’s been through.It’s dozens of call to his pediatrician…(She knows me by name…I’m a mom on a mission)It’s winters homebound…and hand sanitizer…It’s knowing this journey…has made me much wiser.It’s watching him sleeping…his breathing is steady…It’s surgery day…and I’ll never be ready.It’s handing him over…( I’m still not prepared…)It’s knowing that his heart… must be repaired…It’s waiting for news…on that long stressful day…It’s …praying…it’s hoping…that he’ll be okay.It’s the wonderful friends… with whom I’ve connected…It’s the bond that we share…it was so unexpected…It’s that long faded scar… down my child’s small chest…It’s touching it gently…and knowing we’re blessed…It’s watching him chasing…a small butterfly…It’s the moment I realized…I’ve stopped asking…why?It’s the snowflakes that fall…on a cold winter’s day…(They remind me of those…who aren’t with us today)It’s a brave little boy…who loved Thomas the train…Or a special heart bear…or a frog in the rain….It’s the need to remember…we’re all in this plight….It’s their lives that remind us… we still need to fight!It’s in pushing ahead amidst every sorrow…It is finding the strength to have hope for tomorrow.
-Author Unknown

Pregnancy photo shoot!

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Written on 9:38 AM by gracefully discovering:

Okay, so anyone who knows me...knows that I LOOOOVVVVVEEE taking pictures. I have my camera with me almost at all times...and I'm quick to snap some photos at any event. My husband on the other hand (despite his beautiful smile) does not like to be photographed...but he does enjoy photographing other people...especially since he bought me/him the Nikon D40 for Christmas.
Earlier this school year, our photography teacher at school asked if I would be willing to allow her and her husband to take pictures of my belly when I got further along. I was like...OF COURSE...as long as I don't have a bunch of stretch marks!! Then she said, we would like for your husband to be a part of the photo shoot too....and I'm like...oh hell naw, he is NOT gonna want to do this. But I asked him if he were interested..he said NO...then I told him how much I wanted him to be a part of the images that would capture one of the best times in our lives. I even sent him a website of preggo photos so he could see that it wasn't that bad!
He finally said YES...so this past Friday...we took the pictures! I had so much fun taking them..and he said he had a good time too.
Here are a few pics from the shoot.

We were photographed by Ben and Angela Perkins-DeSoto. If you are in the Houston area and would like for them to do an event for you- their email address is zendfoto@hotmail.com and the phone number is 713.705.1470. They are truly amazing to work with.







Another good reason to donate your organs!

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Written on 8:55 AM by gracefully discovering:

Yesterday was a very exciting day for my family!! My father in-law (and I only put in-law so that you all will know which father I'm talking about...because there are no in-law feelings for him....I am closer to him than my real dad) But anyway-he finally got the call that we all have been waiting for. They found a matching kidney for him!!!! Now although we are overjoyed, I know that there is a family who is mourning the lost of a loved one...and I pray for them.
They got the call yesterday morning and was told to be there in an hour...WELL...they just happened to be on vacation in Myrtle Beach- which is four hours away from Augusta! So they jumped up and immediately left- leaving grandma at the Timeshare to enjoy the rest of her vacation!
They got to Augusta and went straight to the hospital. He had surgery last night around 9pm and it all went very well! He is currently still in recovery and we are so blessed that everything was a success.
Since before we were pregnant..or even planning to have children, he has been talking about his granddaughter(s)- he even named her before she was conceived Dee...and now that there are two- he has named then Dee and Dee-Dee! The funny thing is that I used to be Dee...but I got kicked to the curb apparently. This man is so excited that they are coming...I really think that he and my husband are neck and neck with excitement! Now he doesn't have to worry about going on Dialysis three times a week..he can just hang out and spend as much time as he wants with his precious granddaughters. And now that they have a kidney- they may even move here which would be awesome! He is no longer limited to what he can do or where he can go! I am excited and I feel so blessed that he has gotten a kidney.
So as I have said before, if you're not an organ donor already...you really should consider it! It can save lives and bring more joy and happiness to a family than you can ever imagine!
Thanks to everyone who sent up special prayers yesterday for him. They worked!!



Photo taken during the Christmas holidays 2008. My mom, mother and father in-law! He just jumped in their picture...just like something he would do! I'm telling you I love this man! He is the reason why my husband is such a wonderful man..he had the perfect example! I wish I could clone him and put him in families across the world- that need good dads!

An unexpected Mother's Day

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Written on 8:24 AM by gracefully discovering:

At 7 1/2 months pregnant, I wasn't really expecting to celebrate Mother's Day until next year! When people would say "oh, you're about to celebrate your 1st Mother's Day" I would reply..."No, I'm not....I'm not technically a mom yet!" I was even so sure that this wouldn't be my year- that I told one of my friends that I was kinda jealous because just to spite me..."daddy's little girls" would come early so that he could celebrate Father's Day this year.
But oh was I surprised! I got a ton of text messages, phone calls and even cards in the mail from family and friends wishing me a Happy Mother's Day.
I have to publicly apologize to my baby girls because they didn't spite me- they bought me these beautiful roses! I'm telling you, we have the most smart and polite little girls on the face of the earth- they are already buying gifts and writing Thank you cards!



But I think the gift that topped them all was from the most wonderful man on earth. I swear- God knew exactly what He was doing when he created and designed this man just for me almost 27 years ago. I couldn't have dreamt of a more thoughtful, kind, compassionate, smart and loving person to spend the rest of my life with. I truly love and am even more IN LOVE with this man....than I ever thought was humanly possible. He is incredible- and not because he buys me good gifts- but because he epitomizes what a REAL man is! He has it all...and I am truly blessed and favored by the Lord to have him in my life.

Moving on...because I am getting teary-eyed over here! So anyway....that great man that I just talked about is also very funny and sarcastic...and according to him(which is probably true) I will find a way to mess up a surprise no matter what!! But this time, I am proud of myself because I didn't! So I get up Sunday morning to get ready for church and he says " I don't think I'm gonna make it to church because I'm kinda tired". I knew that he was tired...because the night before- they went out to celebrate a friends birthday. Now in my mind...I'm thinking like my grandma...who always said, "I don't care what you do the night before, or what time you get in...you will go into the house of the Lord on Sunday morning if you are living in my house." Typically, I would have made a big deal about him not going to church...and especially on Mother's Day! But something said....don't say anything. So I didn't!
When I got home from church- he called me upstairs and asked about church. Then he said " It must have felt weird being in church by yourself huh?" So I'm like yeah...but it was cool.
Then he starts to explain the real reason why he didn't go to church. He had to go and get my gift that had finally come in. All week he had been working to get this gift...but since it was such a popular item...they kept running out, the shipment was late, etc. So he prepaid for it and picked it up while I was at church.
As he started to explain the gift..my eyes started watering...This has to be the most thoughtful gift ever...and he has done some pretty extraordinary things in the past 8 years. Here is my gift



Of course, I can't describe word for word what he said...but it went something like this. "I think this is supposed to symbolize two people in love or something...but it means so much more to us than that. It has two hearts that symbolizes our two little girls beating hearts...and no matter what happens or what people say...RIGHT NOW WE HAVE TWO BEATING HEARTS INSIDE OF YOU. One of the hearts is smaller, which symbolizes Nia's heart and the other one is larger which symbolizes Naomi's heart. The best part is that the hearts are connected and intertwined as one...and as long as we love them and share our hearts with them, then everything will be okay.

So by this time..I'm crying uncontrollably. But it couldn't have made more sense to me. I will cherish this gift forever and ever. No matter what happens- I will always be reminded that we had TWO BEATING HEARTS INSIDE OF ME for 9 months.

My first Mother's Day will always be a day that I will remember. It was full of love, happiness, and joy! Thanks to all who made this day very special for me.

After church

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Written on 2:25 PM by gracefully discovering:

Just seeing if my mobile blogging works!

The nursery is coming along!!

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Written on 9:06 AM by gracefully discovering:

The girls are currently residing in a very lavish and comfortable five star hotel, and we want to make sure that when they check out in 10 weeks that they are "closing" on a spot that is just as lavish and comfy!! Daddy and some of our friends spent yesterday putting together the furniture that Grandma and Pa-Pa bought them. We are so thankful that they blessed us and the girls with two cribs, two changing tables and a dresser!! These little ladies are already so loved!!!

So anyway, we had a busy day at our house this past saturday! The guys and god mommy Rita came over to help put the furniture together, I hosted our book club, we watched the draft, played monopoly and Buzz on the PS3!! It was a very fun day!! Good food, good friends and good times! We definitely have to keep this up when the girls come- I refuse to be the couple that loses everything that we were before because we have kids! We have to set a good example for them, that it's very healthy to have a balanced life!! So game nights and date nights are still on!

Back to the nursery!!! We still have a long way to go. But we have checked some things off the list:
1) the room is painted- a very pretty lavender/lilac color!
2) the cribs are put together (and they are CUUUTE)
3) one changing table is up. Still trying to decide if we will put both of them in there- I don't want it to be too cluttered
4) the dresser is up
5) I have taken most of my stuff out of their closet and hung up ALL of their clothes that they have received already! We are defintely outgrowing this house already. With all of their clothes and mine...we are in trouble...3 girls..not enough closet space!!

I can't wait to finish the room!! It's going to be amazing. I'll keep you all updated on our progress. Stay tuned.

Here are a few pics...I will add more as we progress!



heartburn, shortness of breath and leg cramps.....

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Written on 9:24 AM by gracefully discovering:

Okay enough is enough! What does a girl have to go through to have a baby. I thought having two babies growing inside of you....gaining 27 pounds in 27 weeks, feeling uncomfortable most of the time, and the nonstop nausea for 2 months was enough!
But apparently not! Apparently, you gotta have serious heartburn (and I don't think I have ever had heartburn in my life), leg cramps that make you punch your husband 3 times in the middle of the night, and the inability to walk up the stairs in your home without feeling like you need an oxygen tank.
The really sad part is that...I KNOW that this is going to get worse. I know it..I just know it!
I'm really gonna have to figure out how to shake this. Any ideas ladies??!! Help a sister out!

FAITH.....

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Written on 1:58 PM by gracefully discovering:


"HAVE FAITH" are two words that I have heard very frequently through this journey with Nia's special heart. People from all different backgrounds and age groups tend to speak those words to me- in an attempt to make me feel better.
(I'm really going to try and articulate my feelings in this blog without sounding crazy or setting myself up for backlash...sigh)

I believe that there is a BIG difference in having faith in God's ABILITY and having faith in KNOWING what He is going to do. Many individuals have affirmed their Faith in KNOWING what Gods plan is for Nia. They have told me several times that they "know" that she is going to be fine, that God is going to heal her heart and the Doctors won't find anything wrong with it, and that it will in fact all be okay...so I shouldn't stress about it.

But we don't really know that. What I know is...
1. GOD is able to do ALL THINGS!
2. GOD knows what is best for us, even when it's not what we believe is best for us
3. GOD doesn't make ANY mistakes
4. GOD is a miracle maker
5. GOD is a healer
6. GOD is an all knowing GOD
7. GOD is omnipotent

And most importantly that GOD's WILL will be done. And we never know what HIS will is- or what his plan or purpose is for our lives. So for me to have Faith in KNOWING what his plan is, is a bit naive. I have faith in 100% of my mind, body, and spirit that GOD will do what is best for our baby girl. I believe with all of my heart and soul that HIS WILL will be done. And I am praying that whatever HE decides to do (because He knows best) that HE gives us the strength, peace and patience to get through it.

I want nothing more than for our baby girl to survive all three surgeries and live a very normal, happy and healthy life. I want to shower her with all of the love that I can muster up inside of me and protect her from anything that could hurt her. I want to give her my heart so that she could have a chance at life. I want nothing more than to KNOW that GOD is 100% for sure gonna give her that chance at bringing total happiness to our lives.

But the reality is, I don't know if that will happen. There are two possible outcomes...either it will happen..or it won't. And I'm gonna prepare myself for both of those outcomes. And if anyone believes that because I chose to "deal" with it this way means that I don't have faith...then please understand that I have total faith in GOD and that HIS WILL will be done.

Half of an Angels Heart

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Written on 12:52 PM by gracefully discovering:

I found this on Gavin's mommy's blog. It is so beautiful...I had to steal it and share it with you all. Feel free to check out his blog (the link is under babies with special hearts. Today he had his last surgery of the 3-stage surgery. He seems to be doing well and mommy says that he is a very active 2 year old!!

It's a beautiful day up in heaven. Jesus is rounding up his tiniest angels, to go live on earth, and be born. One of the sweetest angels says to Jesus "I don't want to leave, I like it here, and I will miss you". He reassures the scared little angel that everything will be okay, and that she is just going for a visit. She is still not swayed on this idea. So Jesus kneels down, and says, "How about if you leave half of your heart here with me and take the other half with you, will that be okay?" The angel smiles and says, "I guess that will work". But the little angel is still a little scared. She asks, "Will I be okay with only half of my heart?" Jesus replies, "Of course you will, I have other angels there that will help out, and you will be fine." Then Jesus gives the angel more details about his plan. He says "When you are born, your mommy will be scared, so you have to be strong, and when you feel weak just remember that I have the other half of your heart." "Enjoy your time with your family, play and laugh everyday." "And when its time to come back to heaven, I will make your heart whole again. Always remember that you are not broken, just torn between two loves." -Author Unknown

update on our little mamas

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Written on 11:38 AM by gracefully discovering:

It's been a minute since I've updated you all on the growing journey of our baby girls...my apologies, but there hasn't really been much to tell except that they are growing...and kicking...and moving around in there a lot!

We have decided on our girls names. We really put a lot of thought into this because we wanted their names to mean something special- and kinda describe who they are. We also wanted them to have "N" names...like their daddy. So here is what we chose!
Nia: (formally known as Fat-Fat) means purpose in Swahili. We figured that with her special heart, God put her in our lives for a special purpose and her existence on earth will serve a great purpose to all of those who come into contact with her.
Naomi: means pleasant and beautiful. She is very pleasant...i'm telling you- this girl doesn't move a whole lot, she is always just chillin! Unlike her rambunctious big sister! The beautiful part is a given...there is no way that these girls won't be drop dead gorgeous...I mean look at their parents :)

As of today Nia weighs 2.5 pounds and Naomi weighs 2 pounds even! I am very happy that they are growing right on schedule and that Nia is still my little fat mama...because the bigger and stronger she is, the better she will be able to withstand her long journey of surgeries that await her.

Speaking of surgeries: Monday, we went back to the Cardiologist (and remember how we asked you all to pray that she would either move closer to the white part of the heart spectrum...or all the way to the Black part of the spectrum), well...she moved completely to the black. Which means that the left side of her heart (which is responsible for pumping blood and oxygen to the brain and the body) didn't develop and can't do its job....thus the diagnosis of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.
So in order for Nia to live, she is going to have to get a 3-stage surgery. The first surgery (named after her daddy...how cool) is the Norwood procedure. She will have this within the first week of life. I posted about all of the surgeries a while ago...so if you're interested in learning about them...you can go to the older post titled "Our baby girl has a special heart" (I can't seem to figure out how to link it)

The girls will be delivered at St. Lukes and then they will take her on over to Texas Children's Hospital. This is where all of her surgeries and after care will be done. We couldn't be in a better place right now! TCH was named the 3rd best Hospital for children in the world! So I am very confident that she will receive the best treatment available!

I just can't imagine that her little tiny body is going to have to withstand open heart surgery within the first week of life...but it's what has to be done. I can already tell that she is a little fighter because she definitely moves around like crazy inside her little 5 star hotel that she has lived in for the past 27 weeks. Also, I was talking to someone (can't remember who) but she was talking about how resilient babies are, and how they recover so quickly from things that we would whine and cry about for months!

Anyway- in about 10 weeks, our journey will begin with her surgeries, recovery, rehab, etc. So please keep us in your prayers!

So long T.I...we'll see you in a year!

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Written on 9:13 AM by gracefully discovering:



Today, T.I will go to jail. He will serve one year and day...or as little as 10 months if he has good behavior. Prior to going to jail he served 300 days of home confinement, attended more than 260 events and earned 1,006 hours of community service credit

While he is away- I hope that he will write some really good music and give us a great CD when he returns home.
Until then, I will continue to bump Paper Trail, Trap Muzik, The King, Urban Legend, T.I vs T.IP and some underground songs on my Iphone!
Good luck in there homey!

Twins had their first shower in ATL this weekend!

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Written on 2:37 PM by gracefully discovering:












We had a blast! Thank you to everyone who came and blessed our little girls with such wonderful gifts. They are loved so much already!
If you would like to see the rest of the photos feel free to check them out on facebook. With this link you do not have to be a member!
Hope you enjoy!
For some reason its not letting me make it a link...so just copy and paste it in your browser if you would like to see the pics.

http://www.facebook.com/p.php?i=37512237&k=43B45Z5ZW6YM5GEBTB2TTR