Firsts

posted in: Motherhood, Premature, Twins 101 comments

During my twin pregnancy, I thought a lot about lasts.

My last pregnancy. My last two children. My last few years in the trenches with all that comes with having four young children. 

I did not give much thought to firsts. 

I definitely did not think the firsts with my twin babies would be the smallest things.

The first time I saw their faces, was not immediately after birth. It was 5 hours later.

The first tears that came when I did see them, in a scary, bright, unfamiliar place full of beeping machines.

The first time I touched an arm free of tubes and IVs.

The first time I managed to hand express colostrum, and it was a mere 3ml, and I cried, wondering how I was going to help them grow, if I couldn’t produce enough for two.

The first time I held my daughter, 31 hours after she made her dramatic entrance.

The first time I held my son three long days after he was born.

Holding my daughter for the first time, and my son, one day old

Holding my daughter for the first time, and my son, one day old

The first time I cried with joy (yes, there is a lot of crying) when my milk DID come in, and come in a rush and abundance.

The first time I touched their hair at 4 days old because they wore warm beanies for the first 3 days.

The first time we had skin-to-skin contact at 4 days old.

The first time I breastfed my daughter, four days after she was born.

And the firsts that have yet to come, four days in.

First bath. First night in their own cot. First diaper change by someone other than family.  First breastfeed (for my son). First night at home. First time meeting their big brothers. First kiss on the forehead. First time being held by their grandparents. 

All the firsts I’d taken for granted with my first two children. When you have premature babies in NICU nothing can be taken for granted.

My babies are strong and resilient. They’ve been fighting since the first minute, and they continue to fight. They are growing stronger, today, always better than yesterday. 

And so am I. From ugly crying on the floor of my hospital room bathroom, I went home, determined to make life at home as normal as possible for my older children. I go to the NICU every morning for a few hours to be fully present with my twins, probably asking the nurses and neonatologist far too many questions, and just soaking in my children. 

Firsts. So many more to come, and I look forward to all of them.

I will tell the twins’ birth story soon. They were born on September 14, 2014 at 4.47am (baby girl) and 4.59am (baby boy) respectively at 34 weeks, 1 day, and to say that it was dramatic, would be understating it highly.

I won’t be doing weekly Through The Lens Thursday here for a while. Instead, I will probably do a monthly roundup at the end of the month, with the month’s prompts. Instead, you can expect many posts about the twins and all my thoughts and emotions about preemies, life in the NICU, and so on.

Alison
Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and DrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).
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  • September 18, 2014 Nina

    Alison! I am so glad you are popping in here. I remember doing that too after baby #4 and some people thought I was crazy. But this IS our normal to check in with ourselves by checking in with our “space” here. I’ve loved following along on FB when the twins arrived. They are SO lucky to be born into your family. I love the names, too! I was waiting anxiously! πŸ™‚

    Congratulations and can’t wait to hear more. Love, Nina πŸ™‚
    Nina recently wrote…My First Advice Column is HereMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Nina! Yes, writing here keeps me sane. To stay away completely is not an option.
      (We are the lucky ones.)

  • September 18, 2014 tracy

    I love you so much. Like it hurts so much. You’re an amazing woman and mother – and dang those FOUR children hit the jackpot with you. Congrats my dear. xoxoxo
    tracy recently wrote…Ready For Middle SchoolMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      I love you too! And OMG, FOUR.

  • September 18, 2014 Janine Huldie

    Aww, Alison I wasn’t sure you would have time to update us here and really thank you for stopping in today to do just that. Been thinking of you since I saw your post on Facebook. So happy to hear the twins are holding their own and doing ok. Also, hoping you are too and can’t even imagine. When I was pregnant with my second, I was told at 21 weeks that I could go into labor prematurely, because I had placenta previa and a slight abruption. I was put on bed rest and even hospitalized. Somehow by the grace of God, I made it to 39 weeks and had to be induced, but still all he thoughts of NICU and fears for me were there and present everyday throughout my pregnancy from that moment on. So, I am serious when I say I am thinking of you and praying now for your babies to grow and come home with you so very soon. Hugs and they are adorable! πŸ˜‰
    Janine Huldie recently wrote…An Organized Fall Wonderful Wednesday Blog HopMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers, Janine, thank you!
      I’m glad your pregnancy and labor went well. NICU is not the best start to a baby’s life, though it is the best place for those who need extra care, like mine did.

  • September 18, 2014 Tricia

    Oh Alison! Your babies are precious and I’m thinking about you so much these days. As Nina says, I’m go glad you are writing here. It’s good for you and we’d miss you otherwise. Take care of you and all your littles.
    Tricia recently wrote…My daughter loves princesses. And that’s ok with me.My Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      It is most definitely good for me. I would go nuts if I didn’t write. Thank you for all your thoughts!

  • September 18, 2014 Kir

    Alison, you are beautiful inside and out and your babies are so lucky to have a MOM like you. One who doesn’t take anything for granted, One who will record those firsts and lasts along with everything in between.

    Watching you nourish and witnessing your first days as a MOM of four feels like a privilege and a peek into a miracle. Thank you for letting us share it in some small way.

    Love you.
    Kir recently wrote…I Want To Tell The StoriesMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you for being there with me from the start, Kir. You have no idea how much it means to me. xoxo

  • September 18, 2014 Ginny Marie

    Oh, Alison, your babies are just so precious! I’m so glad to hear that they are fighters, and I’m wishing you many more happy firsts to come. Congratulations!
    Ginny Marie recently wrote…He kept a secret from me.My Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you so much, Ginny Marie!

  • September 18, 2014 Britt

    Congrats Alison! Your babies are beautiful. I am so glad they are doing well. I wish you and your family the absolute best! Enjoy all of your firsts!
    Britt recently wrote…Pregnancy SuperfoodsMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Britt! I can’t wait for you to meet your little one!

  • September 18, 2014 Angela

    There will be so, so many firsts. Hang in there mama! Your babes are fighters and will be home before you know it.
    Angela recently wrote…Reach the Beach Relay Recap {Leg 2}My Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Angela! Baby boy came home at 12 days old, and his sister followed two days later. πŸ™‚

  • September 18, 2014 Julia

    They are both so beautiful and are lucky to have such a strong Mama to love and watch over them. I’m sure all the first that come will be wonderful, treasure them. sending lots of warm wishes and thoughts to your family.
    Julia recently wrote…8 Lessons I’ve Learned in 8 Years of MarriageMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Julia. I’m definitely treasuring all these moments as they come.

  • September 18, 2014 Shannon

    I am so happy for you, Alison. I’m glad to see your words here and your babies’ beautiful, little faces. I hope you are getting some rest. You have so many firsts ahead. Congrats!
    Shannon recently wrote…Room to BloomMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you so much, Shannon!

  • September 18, 2014 Lindsey

    Congratulations & much love to you all in this time of intense and extraordinary firsts and lasts.

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you for the love, Lindsey. xo

  • September 18, 2014 maureen

    Alison…reading this made my heart ache. I went through similar thing with my boy. He was 35 weeks. Spent 1 week in NICU. You are doing great my friend. Cry if you feel like crying Sending you and your twins much love and healing thoughts. May they come home with their mama and see their big brothers soon. Love from Jakarta.
    maureen recently wrote…Defining My Own Beauty StandardMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Maureen, we appreciate the love and well wishes!

  • September 18, 2014 Christine

    I’ve been thinking of you and your family so much. Your babies are beautiful! I too am glad to see you here and to get a small peek into how things are for you. Thank you for letting us share in that. There are so many firsts and moments in between to come. Take care of yourself mama.
    Christine recently wrote…We Reached the Beach!My Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you for all your love and support, Christine!

  • September 18, 2014 Molly

    Thinking of you, Alison and all FOUR of your beautiful babies as you navigate this new life. Prayers that they go stronger and bigger every single day!
    Molly recently wrote…Moms Save Money – Kids Look GoodMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Molly!

  • September 18, 2014 Kari

    I can’t wait for you to document your adventures as a mom to four beauties.
    Congratulations!!!
    Kari recently wrote…Everything You Wanted To Know About Blogging But Were Afraid To Ask.My Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Oh, the fodder! Right now, I’m just elbow high in baby laundry.

  • September 18, 2014 Kerstin

    So good to read your words – but not the first time you made me cry πŸ˜‰
    I’m glad that the twins are strong and doing great – they will be home with you in no time and I’m looking forward to reading about all those other firsts. xoxox
    Kerstin recently wrote…Old School Blogging – Fall EditionMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      I’m not going away, my friend! And I appreciate you reading (and crying with me). xoxo

  • September 18, 2014 Adrienne

    SO happy for you! I can’t wait to read more and see your beautiful photos of these precious babies.
    Adrienne recently wrote…A Letter to My Son Two Days Before His 16th BirthdayMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Adrienne!!

  • September 18, 2014 Katie

    Enjoy your firsts and lasts!
    Katie recently wrote…#BlendDSMtakeover (Weekend Recap)My Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      I most certainly will, thank you!

  • September 18, 2014 Rabia

    Congratulations!! They are beautiful. I hope your hospital time is short and that you are all home together soon!
    Rabia recently wrote…Abigail and the Jungle Adventure {Book Review}My Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you Rabia!

  • September 18, 2014 Rebecca

    This post brought tears to my eyes. With every last comes a first and to hear your say the words, “My daughter” is a beautiful first. Congratulations a million times over, to you, to them, to your husband, to your sons, to your family. Miracle twins <3
    Rebecca recently wrote…SEVENTEENTH SHINE!!!My Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      I still can’t get over the fact that I have a child with girl parts, hah! πŸ™‚

  • September 19, 2014 Jennifer

    Welcome to the world little babies. You are so, so loved.
    Jennifer recently wrote…Momma Can Cook – King Ranch CasseroleMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Yes, yes they are.

  • September 19, 2014 Allie

    So happy to see your words here and to know that you’re all fighting! As you know, all my thoughts and prayers have been with you since I’ve known about their dramatic birth. Stay strong and know that my boys, who are now unbelievably healthy and weigh 40+ pounds each, started a 5 pounds, fighting for every ounce of weight gain. Everything is going to be ok. You’re an amazing mom with a strong heart and will, and they can feel that power!
    Allie recently wrote…Biggest Writing Announcement Ever! I’m in a BOOK!My Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      I love hearing stories about former preemies who are now thriving!

  • September 19, 2014 Tove M Stakkestad

    Thank you for posting and sharing with us. I hope your list of firsts grows quickly and turns into a beautiful list of seconds and thirds and soon you will be on cruise control. “Be where you are” – and be strong! You are amazing and I feel lucky to follow along in your journey from afar. I know the next while will be a roller coaster of emotions – I hope you have more smiles than tears going forward!
    Tove M Stakkestad recently wrote…Hire the Best Babysitters! Use this Proven 8 Step Process!My Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Tove, I’m not sure I ever told you, but your advice, “Be where you are” is the one piece of advice I held onto the entire time the twins were in NICU, and it kept me steady and strong. So, thank you.

      • October 13, 2014 Tove Stakkestad

        I am SO glad to hear that you were able to use the advice the hospital chaplain gave me before we were flown via LifeFlight to another hospital with our infant. It has stuck with me too – and it helps me to stay centered – and present! Your family is adorable and your strength is admirable! I hope you are enjoying seconds and thirds! XO
        Tove Stakkestad recently wrote…Childhood Lies! Coming to Terms…My Profile

  • September 19, 2014 Bev

    Oh I wanted to cry reading your post, but I’m in a very public place so I managed to not. What a start! I’m so glad you all seem to be well. Big hugs!
    Bev recently wrote…Mommy Needs a Timeout Thursday #2My Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Bev!

  • September 19, 2014 Tamara

    I’m not a preemie mom, but I am a NICU mom. I have sobbed on bathroom floors. I have been discharged before my baby. I have raced between the hospital and between the three-year-old at home, and realizing it was my first taste at what it’s like to feel torn in two by parenting. Or four, in your case.
    Strong and beautiful, like their mother, I expect great things.
    Tamara recently wrote…Clash of the Couples!My Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      I’m sorry we had that experience, the two of us. But we and our children are fighters, survivors.
      And thank you.

  • September 19, 2014 Arnebya

    Thoughts and emotions. Bring it. And yeah, we don’t think much about firsts, always concentrating on lasts, but the firsts deserve our notice too. Look at how she is looking at you, Alison. There is nothing better. Nothing.

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Oh there is nothing. Truly.

  • September 19, 2014 Jenn

    Been thinking about you! So glad you’re doing well and the babies are too. Those are some emotional firsts. Try to rest when you can. Sending lots of love and congratulations to you and your beautiful family! xoxo
    Jenn recently wrote…Rare Bird – A Book About LifeMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you for thinking of us, Jenn!

  • September 19, 2014 Poppy

    Honored to follow along with all your exciting firsts. They almost make my lasts not seem like so long ago. Congrats and so much love.

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you for being with us on our journey!

  • September 19, 2014 Lisa

    So glad that all of you are getting stringer every day and I cannot even imagine the emotion of it all. I don’t know how you found time to write, but I’m glad you did and I hope it brought you some peace and comfort. Continuing to keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers.
    Lisa recently wrote…Jobs I Would Like To Try {Tuesday Ten Linkup}My Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Lisa. I wrote the outline of this post in the NICU. πŸ™‚

  • September 19, 2014 Amy

    Congratulations! They’re beautiful. Wishing you all good health and lots of rest in the days ahead. So happy for you!
    Amy recently wrote…Shattered dreams of productivityMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Amy!

  • September 19, 2014 Rorybore

    just popping in quick to say Congrats!! and keeping you all in thoughts and prayers! I spent 6 weeks near the NICU when I was pregnant with my 3rd, and still I can only imagine!
    Go soak those firsts! πŸ™‚
    Rorybore recently wrote…Through the Lens Thursday: TallMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

  • September 19, 2014 ghostwritermummy

    I’ve been following your story via facebook ( I am only a couple of weeks behind you) and am so pleased to read that the twins are doing so well. It must be a really scary and emotional time for you. x x x x
    ghostwritermummy recently wrote…My VBAC journey: beginning, middle and end.My Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      You’re so close then, congratulations!

  • I’m crying and smiling at the same time. Because ‘OMG’ and ‘hurrah’.
    Congratulations!
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes recently wrote…Dystonia moves me… at least some parts of meMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Tinne!

  • September 19, 2014 julie gardner

    Promise me you will post here only when YOU need it…
    We are here for you but you do NOT need to be here for anyone else besides your family.

    SO much love to you all.
    So So So So much.

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Oh yes, absolutely. I do need to write here, it’s my space, the only place that’s just mine, all mine. xoxoxo

  • September 19, 2014 Elaine A.

    I’m just so happy for you and those precious babies. I know this first week has been challenging but you’ve handled it so well and you can ALREADY look back and be like “WOW”, look how far we’ve come! God bless you and your sweet twins. Love you!

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      4 weeks on, I am looking back and thinking, wow, we’ve come so far.
      Thank you for all the love!

  • September 19, 2014 AwesomelyOZ

    OMG CONGRATULATIONS ALISON!!! πŸ™‚ Happy to hear you’re all healthy and happy – enjoy the firsts before the lasts start kicking in. Have a great weekend and enjoy every moment with your babies! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently wrote…Las Vegas Fun + 10 Random FactsMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Iva!

  • September 19, 2014 Chris Carter

    OH HOW I LOVE THIS! Such a beautiful and powerful piece from a new mama… and how your firsts are dramatic and emotional and passionate and ever-changing.

    I cried when I saw you had the babies and squealed! My kids and husband were like “What is going on?”

    I said- “I’m SO excited! Alison had her twins! I am an AUNT!!”

    I can’t believe you can muster the energy and emotional strength to even write this post, Alison. Oh, how this experience, this new life and their new lives will inspire many many beautiful poignant and passionate words…

    BRING IT!

    (Praying for you and thinking about you CONSTANTLY!!)
    Chris Carter recently wrote…Life Is Too Short…Make Moments MatterMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Yes, you are an aunt!! I love your excitement, you’re adorable. πŸ™‚

  • September 20, 2014 Robbie

    Congratulations!! They are beautiful. Sending your thoughts of strength and patience!!
    Robbie recently wrote…DistractedMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you so much, Robbie!

  • September 20, 2014 Susanna Leonard Hill

    Congratulations on their safe arrival, Alison – it sounds like it was scary! I hope all continues to go well with them and with you and the boys. And a girl – in amongst all those brothers πŸ™‚ I bet she’s going to run the house πŸ™‚ Looking forward to hearing the birth story and to future updates on your beautiful family!

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Susanna!
      I did write the birth story, I hope you read it. πŸ™‚ We are doing well 4 weeks on!

  • September 20, 2014 Natalie

    You guys have been in my thoughts and prayers!

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      We appreciate it, Natalie!

  • September 20, 2014 Susi

    Alison,thinking of you and your precious babies and the rest of the family! Sending positive vibes and lots of strength your way. Take care!!!
    Susi recently wrote…Friday is here, and I’m so glad!My Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Susi, we appreciate your thoughts!

  • September 20, 2014 MomWithaDot

    Sending you Loadsa love n hugs!! Congratulations on your twins! The picture of your daughter looking at you is adorable! Enjoy every moment of of the twin blessings Alison πŸ™‚ Congrats & Good Luck to Dad, your first two and to the rest of your family. Aw….this makes my eyes go moist now <3
    MomWithaDot recently wrote…Contest: Guess the ingredientsMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, we appreciate all the lovely kind thoughts!

  • September 23, 2014 Andrea

    I think you are doing amazingly well. It is a lot of firsts. I know you will savor them, and treasure them.
    Andrea recently wrote…Keep Your Friends CloseMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Yes, I do. Thank you. xo

  • September 23, 2014 Greta

    You have to think about so many things that I’ve never even considered. Much love to you, those twins, and your three boys at home.

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, my friend.

  • September 23, 2014 Rudri Bhatt Patel

    Congratulations, Alison! Continue to write to let us know how your family continues to flourish and embraces the arrival of the twins. My neighbors had twins (at 32 weeks). They are now 8 months old and I’ve so enjoyed watching them grow. It is exciting to witness! Take care.
    Rudri Bhatt Patel recently wrote…Beautiful People Do Not Just HappenMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Rudri! It’s heartening to hear about other preemies who have flourished and are doing well.

  • September 23, 2014 My Inner Chick

    —So happy for you all!
    What do the boys think of the babies!
    Love flowing from MN. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…13 Reasons She StayedMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      They love the babies! xoxo

  • September 27, 2014 Laura

    Oh wow- so beautiful. I’d be in tears constantly, too! Congratulations on the beautiful twins. I’ll be thinking of you all as you adjust to 4 kids and as they grow and get stronger!
    Laura recently wrote…Goals Check InMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Laura!

  • September 27, 2014 Roxanne

    Congratulations again on your beautiful new babies. Being a NICU parent is a struggle, but you will get through this. And I will be here for you if you need anything. I’ve been there, done that, and want to help. πŸ™‚
    Roxanne recently wrote…Thankful.My Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Roxanne, I appreciate everything!

  • October 4, 2014 Amanda Jillian

    From one NICU mom to another, I totally remember locking myself in the bathroom and crying.
    Amanda Jillian recently wrote…Adorkable: Wishlist WednesdayMy Profile

    • October 12, 2014 Alison

      It was truly hard. So glad that’s behind us now.

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Alison Profile PictureI'm Alison. Writer, a mother of four (two boys and boy/ girl twins), social media enthusiast and book lover. A believer in the power of chocolate and hugs. Chugging coffee as I type. Want to know more?

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