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Readjusting to the Working Mother Life

“How are you doing?” is a question I’m asked multiple times a day, usually with the person’s head cocked to the side in empathy or concern because most people know life is unbelievably chaotic right now. I never quite know how to answer that question.

I am thankful for my babies.

I am more exhausted than I could ever put into words. So exhausted that lately I’ve been falling asleep during Jaclyn’s bedtime routine, sometimes as early as 7:30pm. I woke up one morning and asked Seth if I read Jac her Bible story the night before. He said yes, but I had no memory of it.

I both love and dread the weekends. I love that I get to be home with everyone for two full days. I hate that I’m trying to recover from the exhaustion of the week. And let’s be real, we’re home with all three littles, so there’s very little rest.

I am thankful for my babies.

I am tired of broken sleep. Thankfully, I’m mostly only getting up once in the night to pump, but that’s also because I wake up between 4:30am – 5:00am every day and that’s still a stretch for me to get to work on time. I wake up the boys and Seth whenever I pump (if they don’t wake me first) so we knock it all out that one time. We usually turn on a show on Hulu to help us stay awake and pass the time.

I feel like a cow. Exclusively pumping is a whole different experience now that I’m back to work. First of all, I’m so thankful that my supply hasn’t decreased! I was not prepared for how much hungrier I could be, so I literally eat all day long to try to sustain some energy. My work days are packed, so I have to be strategic about my pumping. I pump at least 3 times while at work- sometimes on the drive to work and/or while coming home. Sometimes during meetings depending on who it is; I cover up of course. Definitely during Zoom meetings. Then there’s the matter of carrying my milk and flanges through the halls to the staff lounge where I transfer them to storage bottles, clean up and prepare for the next time. Then when I get home, I have to figure out how much to keep out for the next 24 hours and how much I can freeze. And the washing of all the bottles (Seth often does this for me). I’m proud to say that after the first 2 weeks of being back to work, I was still able to freeze almost 450 ounces on top of feeding the boys each day.

I am thankful for my babies.

I’m emotional. From hormones, from the exhaustion. Last week I went to Sam’s with my parents and almost cried just because I was tired. They even asked me several times if it was safe for me to drive home.

I am sad to be back to work and away from my family. Seth just left to go climb during nap time and showed me what helps Luke relax before a nap. It devastates my soul that I don’t know that because I’m not home with them and when I am, I’m grumpy from exhaustion and pretty incoherent. 

I’m happy to be back to work. I’ve always loved my job, and I’m pretty good at what I do.

I’m mentally drained by being back to work. My role often requires 100% of my brain power for the full 8 hours I’m there each day for problem solving, building processes, supporting staff, and a million other little things.

I am thankful for my babies.

I’m at peace knowing that Seth and GG have my babes every day. The kids are on a rotation so each morning I have to think which day is it and who am I dropping off where. It often feels like a circus, and I carry no less than 5 bags every day for all of us. And yet, I know how lucky we are to not have to find or pay for childcare.

I’m so proud of the man I married. Seth has always been the best husband I could ask for. But goodness, he has blown me away watching him stay at home with our children and take care of our home. He does the laundry, washes the dishes, helps me cook, gives the kids their baths, cleans up the clutter, and then goes above and beyond to have a candle burning when I get home so the house smells nice. Last week, he googled toddler crafts with a pinecone and made this with Jaclyn after they took a walk. Seriously, Husband and Dad of the Year… of all the years.

I am forgetful/not as observant as I once was. I’m going to a baby shower this weekend. I stopped at the store and got to check out with 2 blue gift bags and a card and remembered that my friend is having a girl. So I gave the cashier one of the bags back; the other is for big brother. But then on my way home, I remember that I picked out an “Oh Boy” baby shower card… for a baby girl. I’m still gonna give it to her with some sort of silly note lol. But this is just so unlike me.

I am thankful for my babies.

I’m frustrated that I still have so many home projects and tasks that I couldn’t finish while on maternity leave. I want to keep up with the boys baby books better. I need to make their shadow boxes. There are children’s clothes of various sizes everywhere that need to be organized, labeled, and stored. I have no idea when that will happen. And I know it’s not the end of the world, but it’s still in the back of my mind.

I’m more mindful of spending money than I’ve ever been. We’re a family of 5 now and our financial situation has changed significantly. I’m trying to drive Seth’s car more because it’s a hybrid and gets better mileage. We eat out maybe once a week now. We’re doing much much better with cooking and eating at home and not wasting leftovers. I’m eating healthier because I’m starving from pumping and want the most bang for my buck with snacks, so we don’t have much junk in the house. Amazon doesn’t frequent our house as much anymore. The primary reason I’m adamant about pumping is because I don’t think we can afford formula for 2 babes.

I am blessed to have wonderful people in my life who are still so practically supportive. One of the ESL instructors on our team brought me dinner this week. It was so thoughtful and helpful. My mom just offered to have a slumber party with all 3 kids sometime soon. Praise. The. Lord.

I don’t know what I’m going to wear each day. My body is so different now and I know it will never be the same. I’m still mostly wearing maternity clothes, which are a little too big now. I’m rocking this sort of sporty mom look most days, which isn’t the most professional for work, but oh well. I still haven’t made time to try on my pre-twins clothes yet because that’s gonna be quite the task, and I’m likely going to be discouraged at what does or doesn’t fit.

And I’m thankful for my babies.

When the New Year came and went, I said that my only resolution is to survive this year. I know it’s temporary. We’ve worked really hard to have this family. And regardless of the tone of this blog, I am ever so thankful and enjoy the small moments. And it is HARD. How am I doing? I’m making it. I’m adapting. I’m learning. I’m surviving. And I’m thankful for my babies.


Before the boys were born, I was confident that we were going to avoid NICU time. They were measuring large, so size wouldn’t be a problem. The main concern was going to be low blood sugar due to my gestational diabetes but increased insulin was giving me better glucose readings.

So when Luke spent every single day of his new little life in the NICU for 17 days, I was blindsided and quite devastated. Days 1 and 2 of his life was partially spent at Norton Children’s Hospital downtown with his Daddy while brother and I stayed at Baptist East Hospital. Days 3 through 17 were spent at Baptist.

Luke hadn’t been back in the room with us for even 24 hours. When Luke started showing continuous trouble breathing, I called the nurse and they took him to the nursery for monitoring. A couple hours later, the Nurse Practitioner came in to tell us that they were already starting his admission to the NICU for a slow flow nasal tube, a feeding tube, and further evaluation to determine if anything else was needed. She said we could probably go see him in the next two hours, but it ended up being even longer. Hospital time is always longer than the estimate they give you. So several hours later, we made what seemed like a very long walk to the NICU. Gabe had to come with us and be admitted to the nursery while we went to visit. Each time of entry, our security bracelets were checked and our temperature was taken. Then we had to scrub in like you see in the movies by disinfecting your phone and washing your hands a certain way. There were yellow gowns to wear over top your street clothes too.

Luke was in a private room at the end of the hall so it always felt like a long trek to get to him, especially when I was only days out from my c-section. Each room had sliding glass doors with a curtain on the inside to give the child privacy. Depending on the time, the room might have very dim lighting so the baby can rest or the lights might be turned up to try to wake them for a feeding. There was always some sort of faint beeping in Luke’s room because of all the monitors. Despite that, it was a very peaceful setting. I often felt like I could rest or even nap if I wanted to while there to visit.

Luke looked so small and helpless in his NICU bed that first night with all of his tubes and monitors on. The lighting was turned down low because it was nighttime. We quickly learned about cluster care- where they took care of all his feeding, diapering, and check up needs during the same time frame every three hours so as not to disturb him and he could rest in between.

We were able to hold him a bit that first night but didn’t stay too long because it was late and Gabe was hanging out in the nursery. He was never allowed to come back into the NICU. Seth or I had to be with him 24/7 or else put him in the nursery to wait on us. Though we couldn’t always be with him, they offered us access to Luke at any time. They set up a camera with a private login for us to see Luke at any time except during the care time. We could also call at any time of day to check in. I often called at least once or twice during the night to check on Luke and how his feedings were going.

The next day we talked to the doctor and learned that Luke would need to stay in the NICU until he no longer needed the slow flow nasal tube and when he was eating independently without the feeding tube for 48 hours. The next 14 days I learned so much about how the NICU staff assessed and worked with our boy to help him grow the skills to come home.

At some point, a nurse brought us a new family packet and said, “From now on, no matter how long or short your stay, you’re a NICU family now.” That made me nearly sob because it’s a club no one wants to join. I was greatly impressed with the amount of family support they provide around classes, a family room with free snacks and goodies, no set visitation or phone call times so you could visit or call any time day or night. They truly try to give you as much access and control as possible depending on your child’s situation. 

The initial risk was Luke’s rapid, sporadic breathing. Sometimes he was breathing up to almost 90 breaths per minute when they should be closer to 60. At that pace, it was unsafe to bottle feed him because it increased his risk of aspiration. So for awhile, the nurses would assess his vitals and if his breathing was too fast, they would automatically decide to tube feed him for safety.

As that settled down, the nurses taught me about Infant Driven Feeding, which allowed the baby’s readiness to determine if they were bottle fed or tube fed. It’s silly how easy it is to forget that babies are tiny humans and can actually communicate with us if we learn to listen. They know their own capabilities and will tell you when they are developmentally ready. You can’t will them onto your own timelines; trust me, I tried.

When rapid breathing was no longer a concern, we would assess Luke’s readiness to eat. So we’d change his diaper to try to wake him up and look for feeding cues- rooting, sucking on his pacifier, etc. If he slept through it all, he wasn’t ready to bottle feed on his own. If he woke up and showed some of those signs, we’d try to bottle feed with tube feeding as a back up. 

After he bottle fed, we would assess the quality of his feed. Was he doing the suck, swallow, breathe pattern consistently and correctly? Was he gulping and choking due to the angle at which he was being fed?  Did he lose much milk due to a loose latch on the nipple? Based on those observations, Luke and I started working with a speech therapist nearly every day to help accommodate some of these challenges. 

Luke was mostly on his own in learning and practicing the suck, swallow, breathe pattern, but the more he used a pacifier, the more he could practice sucking and breathing. To help him not gulp and choke while eating, we put him in a side lying position so that the milk can pool in the side of his cheek and he has a little more control of when and show much he swallows. When Luke was losing too much milk due to his latch, we would give chin and/or cheek support by gently putting a finger under the chin and/or cheek to encourage him to tighten his latch. Day by day, we would practice these things. Soon, Luke had significantly improved his eating skills, but he was still to tired to stay awake or was unable to finish eating while he dozed off. When this happened, I often had luck angling the bottle down without removing it from his mouth so most of the milk fell out of the nipple and back into the bottle. That would often prompt him to start sucking again.

This was pretty much our routine until Luke decided he was ready and strong enough to come home. I visited him every day, which was quite a challenge when I couldn’t drive for 2 weeks from having a c-section. I had to rely on others to take me and pick me up. Afternoon visits were tough because each morning I woke up and couldn’t get to him fast enough. I often got in a terrible mood until I saw my boy. My day just wasn’t okay until we had our visit. That being said, I’m very very grateful to my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, Seth, Cammie, and Jen Jen for helping transport me so I never had to go a day without seeing Luke.

I was so thankful for the NICU staff that I nearly cried a couple of times because I felt like our family was so cared for. That team of people is very special. They work with the most delicate, sickly of babies to help them grow stronger while also navigating relationships with the families who are emotional and heartbroken to be separated from their kiddos. I can’t imagine it being an easy job.

Our favorite nurse was Sandy. Anytime Luke was under her care, I felt more at peace and at ease because it was obvious how much she cared for him and for us. She was the one who fully introduced us to the NICU and all it had to offer. She was thorough in her explanations but not in an overwhelming way. She was patient and checked in with me often. She celebrated Luke’s progress and on his bad days, she was still encouraging while realistic. We didn’t get to tell her goodbye because Luke was discharged on one of her days off, but I will never ever forget her and how she took care of our family.

Anytime we had a nurse who wasn’t Sandy, I would get anxious because everyone had their own style and preference related to Luke’s care. Some didn’t mind if I held him the entire visit. Some wanted us to leave him alone until his cluster care time so we didn’t disturb his rest time. Towards the end of our stay, we had a nurse we’d never worked with before. So when I arrived and was introducing myself, I asked what her preference was in getting Luke ready to eat- did she want to do everything or should I help? Her response hit me right in the heart- “You just be his mama and do whatever you would normally do. I’ll just be here if you need me.”

Up to this point, I had rarely ever felt like I could “just be his mama” because Luke had had so many struggles since his birth. His entire tiny life, medical professionals had told me what he needed and how it needed to be done. They had dressed him, bathed him, fed him, and held him more than I had. So in this moment, I was so very thankful for her response to just be his mama. It also made me feel more confident as we prepared to bring him home, like I knew what I was doing despite all of his health troubles.

On the flip side, there were a couple nurses who weren’t my favorite. I called and talked it out on those days and am mostly satisfied by how it was handled. In those moments where I was unsatisfied or concerned with Luke’s care, I was still able to stay relatively level headed in my conversations. I remember saying, “I realize I’m emotional and hormonal, and this is how I feel and why. Do I have reasonable expectations for his care or do I need to readjust?” One of the two times I directly requested a nurse not work with him anymore. The second time, they responded by not placing the other nurse with us anymore, and I was thankful. The NICU journey is tough and we were fortunate to have been there at a time where there was enough staff to have our wishes honored in that way.

The NICU journey was also one that was often one step forward and two steps back. For every good day, the next day had a set back of some sort. It was frustrating because there was no real answer about when Luke could come home. The day before his discharge, the doctor called me and said if he has another good day like today, he can come home tomorrow. But again, the fate of that decision was in the hands of a 2 week old. It wasn’t until roughly 10:30am the morning of his discharge that I got the news. I’d called to check in with the nurse as usual, “Hi this is Ashley just calling to check in on Luke.” The response was, “Luke is doing great. He took his whole feeding, has peed and pooped, and he’s going home today!”

The next couple of hours was a blur. Seth was climbing that morning so I called to tell him the update and the timeline. I called my mom to update her that we’d be taking Gabe to the hospital with us so they could finally take their newborn pictures together. We needed to eat lunch. I ran to the Dollar Store for a few minutes to get some snack items to make a thank you basket. And then we were on the road!

I danced into the NICU that day… and I don’t dance lol. As I entered doing whatever shimmy my body decided to naturally do, I was also singing, “We’re going home today!” The nurses in the entryway either danced with me or clapped; I can’t remember but there was some group celebration. I scrubbed in for the last time and finally saw my boy with no more feeding tube, monitors, or cords. He needed one last feeding as the nurses helped me pack up his things. Multiple nurses popped their heads in to wish us well and congratulate us on going home.

Gabe and Luke were reunited for their sweet newborn pictures. The hospital photographer agreed to stay until we arrived to help us get these pictures and I love them, despite Luke being mad at the world haha. Then we loaded them both in the car to head home, and Jaclyn immediately knew which brother was which. That night, the true exhaustion began as we had all the babes under the same roof. We are now in a (mostly) joyful delirium as we navigate the newborn phase with our baby boys.

Twin Delivery and Hospital Stay

We somehow made it to C-section day though I was fully convinced that the boys would decide to come sooner. We arrived at 8am for all the prep and then a little before 11am it was go time.

Since I wasn’t in active labor, I actually walked to the operating room. Seth couldn’t come in until I was fully prepped. I hated that part. I was genuinely scared of this procedure and the spinal and all the things, and Seth just naturally puts me more at ease. However, we soon learned that I’m the only patient they’ve ever had who giggled through the entire spinal. I have a very ticklish spine and awkwardly laughed the entire time. Once I went numb, I have no idea what else they did regarding prep, but soon, Seth was behind the drape holding my hand, and my doctor told me it was time.

I’d been told that I’d be numb from pain but I would still feel tugging and pulling. That all felt pretty minimal as well. It felt like no time when Dr. Lewis said, “Get ready to see Gabe” and then one minute later came Luke.

This was the best moment in comparison to my vaginal birth with Jaclyn- the beautiful reveal of our baby boys. It was truly a surprise because the blue drape had to be dropped each time and I could see them and touch them through the clear drape. They were absolute perfection that instantly made me sob in pure joy and relief that they were here and okay.

I don’t remember a ton between when they started sewing up my incision, recovery, and moving to Mama Baby Care. I do know that Seth almost fainted in the operating room. He went to get Gabe to bring over to me and accidentally looked at the clean up going on behind the drape. He sat down and kept repeating that he was hot and the nurses had to take Gabe and helped him regain his strength.

I also remember feeling terribly nauseous- so much so that I couldn’t do skin to skin with them for too long because I started heaving. I ended up throwing up on and off for the rest of the day and couldn’t move my head around much for being so woozy. So I gazed at my beautiful boys as Seth and my fam held them. Honestly, I wasn’t able to hold them enough the first day to truly learn who was who by looking at them.

And then that night, Luke was taken to another hospital by ambulance for more tests and evaluations to see if he needed an emergency, non-life threatening surgery. He was born with a bruise on his scrotum and when they did an ultrasound for blood flow, they couldn’t find any. So initially, there was concern that he may lose one of his testicles but thankfully got the all clear.

Seth and Luke were at the other hospital from 10pm on Monday until 2:00pm on Tuesday. Our first night together we were all separated, and Mom came to stay with me and Gabe. She left early the next morning to get home and take care of Jaclyn. Tuesday was rough. I was solo with Gabe on the day that all the long lasting meds from the spinal wore off. I was able to walk around, but my abdomen was so sore from the incision and my insides were very uncomfortable trying to settle back into place.

Additional postpartum woes included horrific itching and swelling. The weekend before my c-section, my belly became so terribly itchy that I just lived with ice packs on my stomach for relief. A few days later I found out that I had PUPPS rash in addition to an allergic reaction to the orange soap they scrub you with before a c-section. So from my rib cage to my feet, I was covered in various bumpy rashes that itched so bad I would bruise from the force of my scratching. I ended up getting a special compounded cream that gave some initial relief and then finished it up with a round of steroids. Misery.

I don’t remember being so swollen after having Jaclyn, but then again I had just delivered two babies. From my belly button down, I was retaining a ridiculous amount of water. My stomach looked like it had several intertubes built in and my legs and feet were so swollen that I couldn’t even comfortably wear my XXL maternity clothes anymore. Shoes were absolutely out of the question. It wasn’t the most uncomfortable thing ever except for not having clothes to wear, but the swelling concerned most everyone who looked at me. Seven to ten days later, it all mostly went down just as I was told.

Back to that lonesome Tuesday after birth, I also desperately wanted a shower but needed someone to be in the room with me and everyone was otherwise occupied. I had to send Gabe to the nursery for some of the day because I couldn’t move around well enough to take care of him and that devastated my soul. The time we did spend together I used to study his little face and features since I didn’t get to the day before.

There was a lot of drama and confusion about Luke’s release from the other hospital and if he would be readmitted to ours. For awhile, we were told that Luke would be discharged to go home and we would all remain separated. Thankfully in the end it worked out. However, they kept him in the nursery upon arrival for hours and by 7 or 8pm I still hadn’t seen him. During shift change, I sobbed to three nurses who came in at the same time about needing to see my baby as I sat in nothing but hospital undies while I pumped. Finally, they brought me my boy, and we were reunited.

For less than 24 hours.

We had a tough night of feeding Luke. It was difficult for him to take his full feed and at this point, he was still having low blood sugar so it was extra important for him to eat, but he just couldn’t. Soon we also realizad that his breathing was fast and chaotic and they wanted to monitor him in the nursery for awhile.

By Wednesday, late afternoon, they told us that they were admitting him to the Baptist NICU for lots of monitoring.

They were still monitoring him for low blood sugar from birth. His poor little feet look like they’d been to war from all the sticks and pokes.

They did an echo heart ultrasound and a chest X-ray. We were told we may have to follow up with a pediatric cardiologist eventually due to his echo results but the little they found usually resolves naturally. The chest X-ray showed some fluid in his lungs that was lessening and is likely from being a c-section baby.

Thankfully he didn’t need additional oxygen but they inserted a slow flow nasal tube to push the regular air into his lungs to help regulate his breathing. It helped stabilize his breathing for the first four days.

He has had a feeding tube to help with his eating that he ripped out twice. The first time, they left it out for a bit to see how he did but it was just days after the removing of the slow flow nasal tube and it was too much work on his little body.

The speech therapist discovered Luke had a tongue tie, so they went ahead and clipped that, which significantly helped his eating.

The breathing troubles were likely from the initial stressors on the day he was born and fluid in the lungs. The eating troubles were likely a result of a late preterm babe and he just needs time to grow into these skills. We kept hearing about these “37 weekers” who are often okay in size and appear to have it all together but often needed another couple of weeks in the womb for final development and maturity. Gabe was fine; Luke needed help.

We were all supposed to go home together on Thursday. So we maxxed out  our c-section hospital stay until Gabe and I were released on Friday. That final goodbye to Luke before going home was brutal. Though I knew he needed to be there, it was absolutely heartbreaking to leave him there. We had the option to stay and board since we had been discharged but we really wanted to get home with Jaclyn.

She was beyond thrilled to meet Gabe. My mom did a great job of prepping Jac that Luke still didn’t feel good and had to stay with the doctor. And so we began our transition to a family of three to a family of four at home while little Luke worked on his eating and stamina for 13 more days in the NICU.

Our real life horror story

WARNING: Do not read if you get grossed out easily. This may also be triggering for those who have experienced loss or have had traumatic pregnancy experiences.

I’ve been bleeding for four weeks now; I’ve had 7 ultrasounds. In some ways, I’ve almost gotten desensitized to the large gushes of blood or color changes that prompt immediate ultrasounds and doctor’s visits. But I don’t think there was any way to be prepared for the real life horror film we lived this morning.

I woke up a little after 6:30 and started washing my face. Immediately I felt several gushes that were quite different. I sat down on the toilet to find that I’d bled through the bottom half of all my clothes, down my leg and onto my foot. And worst of all, there was a giant clot in my pad. 

I flung the door open and screamed for Seth to wake up. I said, “Something came out! Can you come in here?” He came running in and we both stared at a sea of red. “Is that one of our babies?” I asked. He was pretty still and gently grabbed my shoulder and said, “It’s so big.” He didn’t think it was our babies and hoped it was just the hemorrhage passing. Just in case, Seth went to get a paper towel and a ziplock bag to save it for the doctor. In that short time, I passed 3 more clots. I couldn’t see them because the toilet water was so red but they felt as big as the first one. 

I continued to sit there on the toilet, terrified to stand up because of what else might fall out. So I sat there as we called the doctor’s after hours emergency line. My hands were trembling and covered in blood as I explained what happened and he took down the message to have a doctor call me. To say aloud that I passed four tissues as big as baseballs, was horrifying. Seth just collapsed face first on our bed, still within listening distance. The doctor on call advised us to see if we could get an ultrasound first thing when the office opened an hour later or else go to the ER to check the babies and monitor my blood loss.

We scrambled to get out of the house. Seth woke up Jaclyn and took her to Mom and Dad’s while I quickly got cleaned up. I packed an extra set of clothes in case I bled through mine again. I brought a towel to sit on in the car. Apparently this is how I need to live for this season.

The ultrasound experience was a little different. I was relieved to see both babies as it confirmed that I did not bleed one of them out. But then the seconds felt like an eternity while we waited to find their heartbeats. They were both doing great! As we moved back to the waiting room for the appointment with the nurse practitioner, we were feeling a bit more encouraged. 

Until all of a sudden I started having terrible stomach pain, I sweated through all my clothes, and I was very woozy even while sitting down. I asked Seth to walk me to the bathroom and as soon as I stood up, my vision got dark and fuzzy and I was terribly weak. A nurse quickly ran to my other side and they got me to a bathroom. Seth really couldn’t leave my side for fear of me fully collapsing. When we opened the door, three nurses were waiting with a wheelchair and got me into a room to lie down.

I felt pretty terrible as I laid on the table. Soon the door opened and we were surprised to see my doctor and the nurse practitioner walk in; I should’ve known something wasn’t okay then. My doctor shared that there are now two large hemorrhages; they’re unsure if it’s the same one that broke in half or if there is a new one. Both are bigger than the measurements from yesterday, almost double. I’m pretty sure I dropped the F bomb at that point because how was there still so much in there when so much fell out of me just hours before?

The doctor shared that she is more concerned now that the hemorrhages are growing so quickly and it could be really bad for our babes. There’s a chance that there won’t be enough room for them to grow or that the babies will lose connection with my uterus until the placentas are fully formed, which is pretty soon. 

We confirmed that there’s no way for them to remove the hemorrhages. They shared that there’s literally nothing to do but wait and monitor. However, they wanted to do some labs and monitor me from the blood loss and almost fainting. So I was admitted to the hospital for several hours. In that time, the power completely went out so we we’re just chilling in the dark for a bit. Eventually we learned all my labs came back fine. I’m not anemic. I didn’t need blood. I did need some fluids though. We were able to come home early afternoon.

So here we are. Neither of us have processed the emotional aspect of the news we learned today. One of my friends described it perfectly as agonizing anxiety that we’re walking through. It’s literally just a waiting game for the next gush of blood or passing of tissue or bleeding through my clothes and almost fainting. Then more waiting to find out if our twins are going to make it. We are determined not to lose 2 more babies. And we have zero control over any of it.

Don’t Forget the Journey- with Twins

I feel like I’ve been pregnant for 30 years. We got a positive pregnancy test at 3 and a half weeks. After two consecutive losses and a total of three, my OB recommended taking the test as early as the instructions said and if it were positive, she’d put me on progesterone immediately to try to help prevent another loss.

Our journey with growing twins has been perhaps one of the most wild rides of my life. I think back to the positive test and am shocked and so thankful that we’ve made it this far. For those wondering, we weren’t doing fertility treatments, and it doesn’t run in the family. I just ovulated twice and we were trying really hard 🤷‍♀️

A couple of things I learned shortly after learning I was growing 2 babies. Read What To Do When You’re Having Two by Natalie Diaz. Get connected to Twiniveristy on social media. Connect with other twin parents for advice, support, and hand me downs. Perhaps most importantly, have no shame in how many times you call your doctor. None. But also know they will likely make you come into the office since you’re carrying multiples.

As for the actual journey, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. I could’ve never imagined the complications, the physical pain, the anxiety, the planning. And we’re not even there yet. I am proud of how far I’ve come but I’m also just in constant misery. Like, there’s no need to ever ask me anymore how I’m feeling; you can just assume miserable. If I’m not, I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops. However, I also know this too is just a season and I will likely forget some of it. So I don’t want to forget my journey with twins.

At 4 weeks, not even a week after finding out we were pregnant, my Mamaw passed away. I didn’t get to tell her our happy news.

At 5 weeks, I went to get evaluated by a psychiatrist because my mental health and anxiety were so out of hand with worry about losing this baby. I was diagnosed with a trifecta of depression, anxiety, and PTSD and was offered several treatment options, but I wanted to wait until our first ultrasound to decide how to proceed. I was also bedridden for a day or two with terrible dizziness.

At 6 weeks, I already had to purchase new maternity bras and pants. Pro tip I wish I’d known, go on up at least 2 sizes in both… otherwise you’ll be waiting on clothes to be delivered while you’re barely squeezing into what you own. I would also highly suggest used maternity tops, but I’m a big fan of new maternity pants because the belly bands are tight and not stretched out, and I’ve needed all the support I can get.

Due to our previous losses, my OB allowed us to come in at 7 weeks for our first ultrasound where we found out we were pregnant with twins. My gut response was, “You’re kidding right?” And then I squealed and screamed and cried in pure joy because we could see two tiny babies with heartbeats in my belly. I’m pretty sure the entire waiting room heard me. Shock and panic came later, but immediately it was joy and thankfulness.

Literally 3 days later, I started gushing blood and rushed back to the doctor for an emergency ultrasound. We were relieved to learn our boys were okay, and that I had a subchorionic hemorrhage. I never knew that was a thing but apparently it’s much more common in women who are pregnant with multiples.

For the next 13 weeks (from 7 to 20 weeks), I bled or spotted almost nonstop, ended up with 2 subchorionic hemorrhages, a hospital visit because of one really bad bleeding episode that nearly caused me to faint due to blood loss, 13 OB visits, and 12 ultrasounds.

By week 10, I’d already spent over $1,000 in medical bills, after finding out we were pregnant in February.

10 weeks

At 12 weeks, we had a small impromptu gender reveal after taking the Natera test to check for chromosomal abnormalities. It also tells you the gender.

2 boys! There was lots of nervous laughter.
12 weeks- we got this very sweet ultrasound picture with both of our little fellas in it.

At 14 weeks, I started carrying a small pillow around to work with me to put behind my back. I also started parking on the first floor and avoided stairs because of the pressure and bleeding from the hemorrhages.

At 16 weeks, I purchased Tummy Tape ( for the early on heaviness of the belly. I also could no longer sleep on my back because the weight of the boys was too much.

At 18 weeks, we learned I had previa placenta that’s was blocking my cervix and could be very dangerous if it didn’t move on it’s own. The doctor had me work from home until my 20 week appointment to see if it helped the bleeding from my hemorrhages and if it would help the previa placenta move.

At 19 weeks, we took our 2 year old to the Newport Aquarium for her birthday. I had to rent a wheelchair because I couldn’t walk for long but we had a wonderful time ❤️

At 20 weeks, we confirmed that the rest from work from home was helping and the doctor told me to work from home for the rest of pregnancy. I started using my belly band in addition to my tummy tape. I always had to have a pillow behind my back and a donut pillow when sitting on hard chairs. And I could no longer see my toes.

20 weeks

At 21 weeks, I finished our baby registries. Preparing for twins required more research than I expected.

At 22ish weeks, I mostly stopped picking up my 2 year old. I change her diaper in the floor so I don’t have to lift her. When she says “Mommy hold ya”, we either hold hands, sit on the couch together, or someone else picks her up and hands her to me. I don’t care for it.

At 22 weeks, Seth and I took our baby moon, which consisted of a day out to lunch at Joella’s and a Marvel movie in theaters. Mama couldn’t handle much more.

At 24 weeks, the heartburn and indigestion became constant. Indigestion was so bad I literally had vomit just hanging out in the back of my throat. Fans must be on in every room in the house. I often got winded simply from talking because these boys are squishing everything. And my belly button was almost a full outtie.

At 25 weeks, I had my work baby shower. My back pain got so bad that I had to scoot to my next destination because picking up my feet to take a step makes me yell out in pain. One weekend, I cramped for 24 hours straight and was called in to check for preterm labor. My cervix was still closed and I wasn’t dilated but was told to pay attention to the pain and discomfort level. On a fun note, Seth finally felt the boys for the first time.

Love my work family!
Gotta do what you gotta do.

At 26 weeks, unrelated to pregnancy, we were at great risk of losing our Adult Ed program. For almost 2 weeks, I used every spare moment of time and energy I had trying to save our program by speaking to the news, multiple legislators, and making videos for social media. Thankfully, our program has been approved for at least this full year.

At 28 weeks, puffiness started in my face, hands, and feet. I ended up at the chiropractor with my entire pelvic region off kelter. I failed my 1 hour glucose test. But on a fun note, we had our friends and family baby shower and got the majority of the rest of our registry items!

At 29 weeks, I failed the 3 hour glucose test and began figuring out life with gestational diabetes. At 29+5, I got admitted to the hospital for a preterm labor check. 2 cervix checks and a preterm labor swab later, everything was okay except there are ketones in my urine likely from dehydration, and I’m 1 cm. dilated.

At 30 weeks, I’ve had 5 appointments. 1- My new weekly chiropractor appointment where I learned my sacrum (tailbone area) was getting out of whack. 2- I had 3 new car seats installed into my backseat. That made everything feel much more real. 3- A follow up check up with my OB from our short hospital stint. There I learned that insulin is almost inevitable because I can’t control my fasting blood sugar. So it’s just a matter of time before I have to learn about shots. 4- A prenatal lactation consultation, which was amazing! I feel much more confident to try to breastfeed the boys than I did with Jaclyn. We have a plan 🎉 5- I went back to the doc for UTI symptoms. My urine sample had no indication of an infection and my symptoms are similar to those of a kidney stone. They didn’t do a scan or ultrasound to check just yet so we shall see. In the meantime, I’m in lots of pain from cramping and internal shooting burning pain. And the urgency / frequency to pee is unbearable on top of the usual frequency of using the bathroom in your third trimester.

30 weeks
So far, Jaclyn is pumped about the 3 car seats.

We’re still a maximum of 7 weeks til the boys arrive. I’ll fully complete our journey once they get here but goodness what a ride it’s been so far.

At 31 weeks, I started insulin for my gestational diabetes- 20 units at bedtime. The nurse practitioner zoomed with me to teach me how to do it. I give it to myself which feels like a small miracle every time.

I went on what I’m guessing is my last hoorah this week to a Kids Stuff Consignment presale and had a ball. I got the remainder of the clothing we needed for the boys and some fun seasonal clothes for Jaclyn. I also got a great deal on a toddler bed for her to have at my parents’ house in the next couple of months. By the time we left the sale, every muscle in my entire body was aching and screaming at me.

I had a perinatal therapy consultation via telehealth from a woman who also happens to be a mom of twins. Many factors of this pregnancy puts me at high risk for PPD or PPA and I’m trying to get ahead of it. I liked her a lot! Next steps, trying to find a day and time to do a prenatal visit with both me and Seth so he can also hear the warning signs of the post partum mood disorders so we don’t waste anytime if I’m struggling.

On a non-pregnancy related note, Jaclyn started potty learning this week. After 3 days, she was peeing in the potty with minimal to no accidents and pooped in the potty on day 5!

At 32 weeks, they upped my insulin to 22 units because my glucose readings didn’t go down.

At 33 weeks, we got to labor and delivery around 7:30am because I had been having severe, nonstop cramping for the last hour and a half. I couldn’t walk or stand longer than about a minute. The color of my pee immediately alarmed the nurses so much that later they told me they’d be talking about my urine for a long time. There was so much blood in it that it looked like grape koolaid. Pain meds and an antibiotic through an IV saved me from the cramping; I was also mighty dehydrated. I got an ultrasound for a kidney and bladder scan. There were no signs of a kidney stone now so the theory is I passed it while at the hospital. There was another theory that it was some sort of infection but the culture came back clean. I stayed overnight just to make sure all was okay.

I also have some sort of sinus stuff going on. My primary care doctor didn’t want to immediately give me an antibiotic since I’m so pregnant. The pharmacist disagreed with the meds that were recommended and I walked away nothing. I spoke to my OB’s office and they okayed some over the counter meds but I’ll go to urgent care over the weekend if I feel worse.

In the meantime, my glucose numbers are fluctuating and they’ve upped me to 24 units for awhile.

At 34 weeks, the increased units of insulin helped! My blood sugar is finally normalizing to acceptable numbers. A sinus infection resurfaced more in my chest and via cough. I ended up back at urgent care for more meds.

At 35 weeks, I am large, exhausted, and very tender belly. Lots of folks were checking in to see if I’m still pregnant and how I’m doing.

At 36 weeks, I was convinced I was in early labor. My Braxton Hicks contractions became more frequent and tight. I had sporadic cramping and an increase and change in discharge. I mostly stayed in bed all weekend and was an absolute bear. My belly dropped even more from just Sunday to Monday that everyone was freaking out that they would just fall out.

At our 36 week and final ultrasound, we got a good report and learned that Gabe was 6 lb 13 oz and Luke was 6 lb 8 oz. I begged the doctor to take them this week but she said only if I go into labor. I was 3 cm dilated.

I cancelled as many appointments and meetings as I could. I’ve mostly been in the bed working all week and the plan is to work through Friday. 36 weeks and 3 days was the first time Seth slept on the couch because I had to sleep so reclined in the bed. My belly is just so heavy if im reclined at all, the boys’ weight shifts and it hurts to get up to go to the bathroom every 2 hours.

I sat on the side of the tub and shaved my legs and by the end my entire body was trembling from exhaustion.

My maternity pants are so tight they leave lines in my belly. My bigger man clothes sit way too low and fall down. So I’ll be riding the rest of this pregnancy out in dresses.

The weekend before the c-section, my belly itched so badly I could cry. And with our c-section timeline, I’m not allowed to lotion now. So I’ve started putting ice packs on my belly to ease the itch and the boys don’t care for it.

37 weeks- the day before our c-section

The morning of our c-section, my entire body felt different and was preparing for labor. By the time we got to the hospital, my cervix was contracting and I feel sure if we hadn’t scheduled the c-section, the boys would’ve made their arrival that day anyway.

Pregnancy after loss- Part 2

It’s nearly impossible for me to explain the effects of losing multiple babies on the way you raise the children you get to meet on this earth.

The majority of the last three years of life have been trying to grow our family, navigate grief and multiple pregnancies, while in the middle of COVID. I’ve chosen to be very conservative in my personal response to it as that is the only thing I can control. 

I birthed my first rainbow baby when the doctor’s offices looked like ghost towns and no one spoke to each other in the eerie silence of the waiting rooms. Seth and I were alone for 5 days in the hospital with Jaclyn because no one was allowed to visit. 

I worried so much about Jaclyn making it into this world, I hadn’t even thought about how we would raise her as a pandemic baby. She hasn’t met many people in her two years of life in attempts to keep us as safe as can be from COVID especially when the strains were more aggressive and at its peak.

In those two years, we’ve lost 2 more babies, had 2 more D&Cs, and are now 23 weeks pregnant with twins. If I could’ve made it happen, the three of us would’ve lived in a bubble. And a lot of folks think we have. But the large majority of it is my trauma response to trying to protect my babies, whether in utero or in our home.

I’m well into the 2nd trimester and developmentally feel some peace that our babes will be okay. However, the PTSD of my other losses hits me out of nowhere and often cause me to spiral- much of it still prompted by COVID.

I’m terrified of getting COVID again, while pregnant with twins. The super illogical part of my brain goes to worst case scenarios such as losing our boys or going into super preterm labor and not knowing if they’ll make it. The more rational part of me warns those closest to me that if I catch it and become any more miserable than I already am, everyone better watch out. You see, carrying twins is not for the faint of heart- I am miserable 97% of every day. 

I also don’t want to waste my sick days by actually being sick. Our country does not truly support parental leave. It is complicated and if you are granted leave through your work, you often have to use your sick or vacation days for it to be paid. I desperately want as long as possible with my boys after they’re born, and I need all of my days so that some of my leave will be paid.

So when you see me still masked wherever I go or the fact that I’m still virtually attending church, this is the context. When I don’t accept your invitation out somewhere or invite you over to our home, its because most people I know do not mask as I do and I can only control what I can control. However, we will happily entertain visitors who agree to mask in our homes.

I will likely go back to therapy in the near future to work through my PTSD of our losses and how that’s affecting my parenting, but in the meantime, I’m doubly hormonal and growing two tiny humans while raising a two-year old and working full-time. This is the best I can do for now.

Pregnancy after loss

On my birthday this year, my period came back, and I was ecstatic for this gift my body gave to me. Weird, I know. But this meant we could start trying to get pregnant again after our third and most never ending miscarriage. A few weeks passed, and I followed my OB’s directions like clockwork. I took a pregnancy test as soon as I could according to the directions and at the faintest sight of two lines, I began taking progesterone. We found out I was pregnant at 3 weeks and 4 days. I hadn’t even missed my next period yet. I had four days of pure bliss and excitement until I scheduled my ultrasounds. Then panic set in and reigned for four weeks.

I can’t explain the worry, fear, and dreaded anticipation I had of losing this new baby. We were already in a difficult month of 2 due dates that passed with no babies and then my Mamaw passed away. Honestly, the way I told my parents that I’m pregnant was, “No I can’t be a pallbearer at Mamaw’s funeral because I’m already pregnant again.”  What a sad, lame pregnancy announcement. I had also learned in previous bloodwork that I have the MTHFR mutation and need a different kind of prenatal vitamin that has metabolized folate. The process of understanding that and researching what I should be taking was a big stressor. 

After having three meltdowns at work one Friday afternoon, I decided to call my OB to ask what my options were for mental health. I had already been seeing my therapist weekly or biweekly, so the next step they suggested was to be evaluated by a psychiatrist. 

The meeting with the psychiatrist provided lots of options to help me feel better. She shared that I was in a long period of adjustment with severe anxiety, mild depression, and PTSD from the other losses. We discussed frequency of continued therapy, returning to EMDR therapy for my PTSD, and medicine. I was really struggling to decide which direction would be best for my mental health and protect this new little life inside of me.

I wasn’t convinced that I would feel better without medicine. I woke up each morning and could feel the unhappiness in my bones. I really wanted to get back into EMDR, but I was at a pause until I made a decision about medicine. Since both alter your brain chemicals, it’s not best practice to begin meds and EMDR at the same time. 

Finally, I just decided to wait on everything. Adjustment disorders are temporary, and we had a couple more weeks until the ultrasound, so I decided to invest in a natural calming supplement, L-Theanine, and hold off on everything else until we had some answers about our new little babe.

After what felt like an eternity, it was finally the morning of our 7 week ultrasound. With our history of loss, they would let us come in as early as 6 weeks, but there’s a good chance the baby wouldn’t be seen yet, so no need for potential unnecessary stress. 

As I watched the nurse do a pregnancy test on my urine, my mind transported me back to my second loss where my body was no longer pregnant by the time I got to the doctor’s office only hours after I started bleeding. I made her look at pictures of my positive test to prove I wasn’t crazy.

As we sat in the ultrasound waiting room, my mind went to our first pregnancy where we were so blissfully ignorant of the possibility of loss. We didn’t even understand that we were looking at an empty gestational sac on the screen until they verbally told us there was no baby.

Then my mind jumped to last November when again, there was no baby and then 2 days later the baby appeared, and then a week later, the baby had never developed a heartbeat.

I’m pretty sure I don’t breath while we wait. There have been so many awful memories in that waiting room and they all come rushing back to me each time we’re there. We’ve seen nearly all of the ultrasound technicians. By the time we’re in the room ready for the nurse to return, I’m in almost full blown panic attack with my arms over my head so I can breath and not throw up.

But this time, with no warning at all, she told us we’re having twins! Seth and I just looked at each other in shock and disbelief, and I asked her if she was kidding. Then I scream-sobbed, as I usually do, but this time in joy and thankfulness. I was so loud, I’m pretty sure the whole waiting room heard me. I’m not sure how long I cried, but by the time I looked up, I realized I hadn’t looked at the babies at all and told her she would have to show them to me again.

For the most part, I’ve been able to ride out my blissful shock. However days after our ultrasound, I started bleeding and cramping… a lot. I was convinced we’d lost both of them.  I was home by myself and called the doctor in a panic. They called me in for an emergency ultrasound and Mom drove me down while Seth left work to meet me there. I cried while waiting for mom but then became a robot because I knew what was coming. In my mind, I was already trying to plan out when we would have a D&C and how much work I would miss for physical and emotional recovery. Seth wept quietly in the waiting room. 

Thankfully, the babies were great. We saw their heartbeats and they looked perfect. In the ultrasound we saw that I have a 3 centimeter long sub chorionic hemorrhage, which isn’t too abnormal in many pregnancies. There’s not much to do except my body passes it or absorbs it. 

I thought I knew what was coming that day, but I was wrong. It is so easy to panic after loss. And now, there’s two precious little lives to worry about. My therapist encouraged me to hold on to the truth that I know until we learn more at next appointments. Our truth is that at our last ultrasound, everyone was alive and healthy. So I’m clinging to that for now.


My heart has been achy in anticipation for the month of February. It’s also as if my body can sense the calendar and has started grieving all over again.

February 3, our little nugget, our first baby, would’ve been 2 years old. We felt like that would be our first son. That same day, Jaclyn will be 20 months old.

February 14 is our little beanbag’s due date, our third baby. I would’ve been almost 38 weeks pregnant now. We would’ve had a new nursery ready and would know if Jaclyn would have a little brother or sister.

February is the month we can start trying again after my most recent miscarriage in November. That feels like a lifetime ago. It’s weird to think that my body is freshly recovered from all the crazy trauma of that loss.

February is also the month that Seth and I will celebrate 5 years of marriage. Goodness the highs and lows we’ve had together so far.

February is a short month and will be full of a variety of emotions. I’ll just cling to the truths I know and believe.

Promises by Maverick City Music

There was Jesus by Zach Williams

Battle Belongs by Phil Wickham


I’ve been a perfectionist for as long as I can remember. I’m the first born, so some of it comes naturally. I think it then evolved into me trying to control anything I could when life’s circumstances felt like they were out of control. What an exhausting lifestyle.

I started 2022 caring for Jaclyn by myself and working remotely as Seth quarantined with covid and then again as my dad tested positive for covid the following week. I have so much pride in my roles as a mother and a coordinator at work, so naturally, I want to give my all to both. But I physically couldn’t.

I couldn’t make myself wake up any earlier than 5:00 am to work before Jaclyn woke up after another restless night sleeping on the couch. I sometimes couldn’t actively participate in zoom meetings because Jaclyn was in full toddler mode… whatever that meant in the moment. I couldn’t cook dinner every night because Jaclyn wanted me to hold her or play with her instead after having only half of my attention all day. I could only do what I could do. And it was enough.
I’ve never been one to choose a word for the new year, but if I was, I would choose ENOUGH for this year. My efforts are enough. I am enough. Enough with perfectionism and the desire to control every little thing.

My therapist asked me what it means to me for my efforts to be enough. When it comes to Jaclyn, I want her to be able to think about the day and say, “This was such a fun day with Mommy.” When it comes to work, I want my team to have what they need to do their work.

I’ve found it’s easier to feel like my efforts are enough as I reflect on the day rather than in the moment. So my therapy homework this week is to change my modals when I’m talking to myself. Change my shoulds to coulds. Instead of, “I should wake up earlier to get started on my emails” change my language to “I could wake up earlier…” or I could sleep and get a little more rest. Both are good options and it’s my choice. The word should puts more unnecessary pressure on myself.

I didn’t really believe simply changing some words could make a difference. But it surely did. I talked myself out of a near anxiety attack in the middle of Kroger last weekend with it.

My boss always says, “Words matter.” I’ve always known that in regards to how you speak to other people, but I’m a little slow on realizing that it matters with my own self talk as well. Better late than never though. I’m thankful and excited to learn and practice this more so I can pass it along to my little sweet pea as she she watches her Mommy learn to care for herself better.

The Ebb and Flow of 2021

Most New Year’s Eves, there’s so much build up and excitement about what the new year will bring, how it will be different this time. Yet, here I am at bedtime on January 1, 2022, and I’ve somehow finally realized that life just ebbs and flows. Last night, I was excited and hopeful for 2021 to come to a close. Today, I nursed my 18 month old through her first busted, bloody lip, and Seth tested positive for COVID… again. I’m starting the year quarantined from the love of my life in our own home, that is until it comes for me too. Life just is what it is, and as much as we try to control it, the more out of control it feels. But then, other days are good and filled with friends and family who bring joy, love, and laughter. 2021 as a whole followed this flow.

2021 brought so much joy and pride as a mama. I made my goal of feeding Jaclyn breastmilk through her first six months of life; exclusive pumping was exhausting. I completed my photo project of weekly Wednesday photos- A Year in the Life of Jackie Chan Hope Pierce. Seth and I survived sleep training part two, and our girl goes to bed wide awake every night now with no trouble. I found a children’s book about hemangiomas for Jaclyn as she gets bigger.

Jaclyn has grown so fast and so beautifully. I have videos that document her first time pulling to stand up, waving, crawling, walking, finally saying mama (even though I was at work when it happened). She knows and loves all animals. She says thank you after you help her with something. Jaclyn is just the greatest gift.

2021 has also brought worry and heartache as a mama. Jaclyn has had multiple specialist appointments for her hemangiomas since she has one on her head and one in her nose. We’ve seen a pediatric dermatologist multiple times and tried several types of medicine to help it stop growing. She went to a pediatric ENT and had a scope go down both nostrils as far as her esophagus to see if the hemangioma in her nose was blocking her airway, but thankfully it was not!

A couple months later, Jaclyn had some seizure-like episodes that prompted an MRI with sedation and and EEG. Everything about those moments were terrifying, but again, we’re thankful that all test results came back normal, and she’s had no other incidents since.

In June, we were expecting Jaclyn’s little brother or sister, but just days after the positive pregnancy test, I miscarried our second baby. It’s called a chemical pregnancy. The test wasn’t even positive anymore by the time I got to the OBGYN.

In November, we gained our third angel baby girl. This loss was quite a doozy. No baby in the 8-week ultrasound. Two days later, the baby appeared. A week later, the baby hadn’t grown and still didn’t have a heartbeat. D & C. Lots of grieving. A month later, still positive on pregnancy tests. More bloodwork and ultrasounds. A second D&C that found scar tissue from when Jaclyn was born that had never healed and some recent pregnancy tissue that was stuck to it. Everything was cleared out with a camera this time.

During all of this, genetic testing was done and learned that I’m a carrier for Tay Sach’s disease, which is deadly for most small children. I had a full day of panic and horror worrying that Jaclyn had it until Seth got home and confirmed from his 23 and Me test that he is not a carrier.

2021 confirmed that God gave me the best partner I could’ve ever asked for. Seth is so thoughtful and creative when he celebrates me. My birthday and Christmas gifts are hidden around the house with clues- scavenger hunt style. My first Mother’s Day was absolute perfection as he and Jaclyn made me a homemade book telling me how great I am. My Christmas gift this year was this beautiful necklace with the birthstones of all our babies; I believe it’s the most special gift I’ve ever been given.

Seth has cooked more this year as I’ve been too stressed, tired, or sad to do so. And it’s been a hilarious, yet delicious experience for all of us.

He is the best dad.

In 2021, COVID was still affecting all the things. We finally celebrated the Boyd family Christmas on January 10 after we all recovered from COVID. I was very thankful to receive both vaccines and the booster this year.

There was a brief time between April and July when we thought we’d beaten COVID…

But we did not, and somehow some folks still don’t believe that. So I closed out the year changing Jaclyn’s pediatrician because I shouldn’t have to ask her doctor to put on a mask when COVID cases are the highest they’ve ever been.

2021 brought more professional growth. I completed a full year of Adult Education NTI after coming back from maternity leave. I had more professional challenges than I’ve ever experienced and was coached beautifully through it all. With the help of my team, I was able to transition our ESL program back to in-person classes while maintaining live, virtual classes.

I had more interaction with students this year. I met with students via Zoom to help them prepare for their posttest. One particular student was on her 30-minute lunch break and spent every minute of it practicing with me. She shared that she had to pass the test so she can start GED classes and then go to college. I also had the privilege of facilitating a student-led training for our staff. These students worked with me for a month and a half to create a shared training about their cultures.

Despite the pandemic, I still had the opportunity to create and present several trainings. I shared a Cultural Competency in the Workplace training with our team. I stepped in last minute to present at the virtual COABE conference about our Family Learning virtual pilot. And I was honored that NCFL asked me to lead my first webinar about How to Support Multi-Language Parent Facilitation.

Finally, in October, I accepted a new job in Adult Education; for the first time in my career, I’m not exclusively working with ESL. Now I am a Coordinator, Special Projects of ABE and ESL. I will oversee both the ABE / GED and ESL programs. I’ve only held the position for a couple of months so far, but it’s been an exciting and challenging change that I’m grateful for.

2021 was another year to remember. It was a tough year, but this reflection is important because there was still so much good.

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