Where to begin…

I’m not sure where to begin so I guess I’ll start with the happy news about our March for Babies walk. It was a bit different this year as the walk was virtually going on all over. This year I decided to have our team walk around Prospect Park rather than go to the city. We were asked to film live, take pictures and then send it all in so it would stream live on the Experience page during the walk. I invited family and friends who wanted to come out and enjoy a fun walk with us. Really I just wanted to be surrounded by so much love on this special day which I definitely felt. 

My dad was even there in a Gio and Isa’s Miracles shirt. As tight as it may have looked on him, he still wore it for us which was special to see in photos. I didn’t make this year’s individual t-shirts for our team like I do every year because I wanted everyone in a t-shirt from years past. I wanted each shirt worn that day to represent a year we walked leading up to our 10th anniversary. I still can’t believe we have been walking in honor of Giovanni and Isannah for 10 years. Team Gio and Isa’s Miracles is 10! It is a day of hope, faith, reflection, love, kindness and family. It’s a day filled with many emotions and this year didn’t fail. 

Although my dad showed up, he didn’t walk. He stayed behind until we were done. He felt tired and it seemed like he was having trouble breathing. From a day of such love, joy and life the night turned a little different. 

By the next day, my father was having problems with his breathing again and his oxygen levels were decreasing. It was a quick trip to his doctor’s, followed by an emergency chest x-ray. He was back home waiting on results while monitoring his oxygen level. Even on his oxygen machine his levels were struggling to stay above 88. Something was definitely wrong. Early in the morning his levels dropped to 64 and the machine was no longer helping him. Back to the ER he went. More tests and scans taking place. They heard fluid in his lungs and began treating him for pneumonia. My mom, who is Wonder Woman, got him to the hospital just in time against all his fussing. He was admitted and put on Bi-PAP. This has sadly become a common routine due to his COPD. This was all adding to the many emotions that were already floating around.

All this was going on when we were in the middle of preparing for Isannah’s return to in school learning. It was an exciting and sad time. She was finally ready to go to school and meet her new teachers but sad she would be leaving her remote teacher, whom she loves behind. The first day was a success and the smile on her face during pick up said it all. She was happy to be back in the building seeing friends and staff members faces. This motivated Giovanni even more and he became super excited to join his new teacher. 

Day 2 for Isannah went well. During pick up Giovanni saw his new teacher and they spoke about his work, procedures and how excited they both were to see him in school on Thursday but that didn’t happen.
A late email from Isannah’s ballet school shook all the plans we had. Someone in her school possibly tested positive for Covid. We had to explain to a very excited boy that he would not be going to school after all. He was heartbroken and literally dropped to his knees and cried. He didn’t even start and already he was not able to attend. We promised to make it up to him and do something special. At the time, it didn’t seem like that would work but things changed a little in the morning when they rejoined their remote classes. Familiar faces and voices kept their spirits up. 

During all of this and the possibility that Covid was close once again, my father was still in the hospital. The days were getting longer and I was becoming more tired but we all just kept going. Drives to and from the hospital. Calls to the nurses and doctors. Communication with insurance and social workers. My mind was all over and about to explode but there was no time to crumble and fall back, all I could do was keep moving ahead. 

Remember when I mentioned doing something extra special for the kids? Well, on my way back from another appointment I stopped by It’s Sugar. Giovanni’s most favorite thing is a 3.5 ft long sour power strip. He only had it once and he absolutely LOVED it. I knew this would lift his spirits so I brought home two. One for him and one for his sister. He was so unbelievably excited. All I wanted was to see him smiling like that and it worked. They were both happy. 

I watched them as they enjoyed and giggled at the length of this sour strip. It wasn’t until I looked over at Isannah and saw her spitting something out. She said there was something hard in that bite and apologized for spitting it in her napkin at the table. When I looked over at her, I noticed that the cap of her front tooth was missing. We looked in the bite she discarded and noticed right in the center was her cap. 

I did something to put a smile on their face but now I took away Isannah’s smile. Her tooth was missing from a few years back but a cap fixed it until now. At this moment. It started all over again. This was turning into another one of those days. 

We spoke to her and made her understand we were going to get it capped again and she shouldn’t worry but I could feel her fear just by looking at her. She was missing part of her front tooth. Her adult tooth was missing once again and she had to deal with it all over until it was repaired. 

I immediately called the dentist who won’t be in the office for weeks. I know she couldn’t wait that long. I had to make an appointment with someone she’s never seen before. I’m staying hopeful that all goes well. In the meantime, masks need to be worn at all times in school unless she’s eating so it won’t be so bad. 

Right now I’m sitting back thinking about how so many things could go wrong, and seem lately to do just that, but that one thing that goes right at just the right time can change the outcome of it all. This is when you have to search within yourself to find a better way to see it all. Try your hardest even at your weakest, or at times when you are most afraid, you need to reach deep within and let the love that fills you, carry you to the next moment. 

Before I end my rambling thoughts here, let me say that daddy is back home. Healing slowly with the help of oxygen and machines and a wife that tirelessly gives of herself.

Isannah is smiling again despite the missing piece of her tooth. Giovanni found his excitement again for his new first day back to school and the sun was shining all day. 

We are going to continue to reach within and find the positives and hope they outweigh all the negatives that keep coming our way.

Almost 9

January 14 is slowly creeping up on me and that means it will be 9 years for two of the most amazing miracles I experienced in my life. Known as twin A and B in the NICU where they started life outside my womb. We watched these two little beings fighting for their life with wires attached to them and breathing machines to help them. As small as they were, fighters they became from day one. Never giving up on life. Determined to live this life and officially meet their parents and family. They were here and they were going to stay. I am thankful everyday that they continued to fight. Every day was a challenge but together we all grew and experienced God’s love.

Now we are here just days before their 9th birthday and I can’t help but go back to that time and those emotions. My insides feel achy and warm, if that even makes sense. I try to focus on the life we have in front of us. All the amazing milestones they continue to reach and climb. I focus on the light they shine in my life. They have been lighting the way as they light their own paths. It’s been beautiful to see them blossom and become the kind, empathetic, talented and courageous young people they are today. 

That doesn’t mean it’s been smooth sailing with rainbows and sparkles. There’s been tears and plenty of them. Stress like no other and rain so windy and strong that knocks you over but these only help you see the vibrate beautiful colors of the rainbow that will always come after.  

We all go through many things in our lives. This is my journey. Our journey and we continue to fumble, trip, fall and then climb all together. We may each do it at different times but we always manage to get back to where we need to be together. 

9 years strong. 9 years of beating hearts and smiling faces. 9 years and counting. My world changed drastically 9 years ago but I wouldn’t change it for anything in this world. All we can do is be, live and let this life take us to where we will always be meant to be.

Back in the NICU

I began working in the NICU in November of 2018. At first I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it and I was worried all the emotions I had years ago would come flooding back but I knew I had to try. The first day was a tough one. After my shift was done, I walked out of the building and began crying. I cried so much that my body began aching. I realized at that moment all the emotions I had stored inside me completely resurfaced and I was finally able to let it all go and heal. I didn’t know that I still had that all inside me especially because my twins are 8 years old and flourishing into amazing empathetic, kind, fun loving kids. I couldn’t believe there was something so fragile inside me still.

After I was done crying and began wiping my tears the biggest smile came over my face. I could feel the ache my body was experiencing lift and I was able to stand tall again. It was as though a heavy weight that I had buried way down inside was gone and I was able to breathe freely once again. This confirmed what I was doing was the right thing.

I wanted to be there for mothers that needed to talk or just needed a silent shoulder. I wanted to be there for families that couldn’t be there because they had other children or had to work. I wanted to be that person to hold their crying babies to comfort and cuddle them when they couldn’t be there to do it themselves. Being in the NICU is hard with all the monitors, beeping sounds and flashing lights. Not to mention having your child/children there and feeling hopeless but it’s also finding that hope again. Knowing that they are surrounded by all the amazing staff who are also there fighting to keep your child/children strong.

I get to experience all over again the miracles of life. I get to experience the love and strength of family and staff. I witness the beautiful babies who are fighting to go home and be in the loving arms of family.

I see all of them and feel blessed that I can be a part of something so beautiful. This is why I needed to be back in the NICU.