Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Babies' first Christmas and mom's visit

This post is coming late because as you might know from my last post, things have been a bit crazy around here this month. Now that we are back home from the hospital and I have some more free time I am going to try to write more on the blog, especially since I feel like the girls are growing so fast! This entry is important since it chronicles their first Christmas. Enjoy!

Noonie came to visit!
I like the Christmas season but I have to say that this year was super special since it was Laura and Vera's first. Jose and I tried to do all the fun stuff associated with the holidays and over the past month and a half we have had a blast. From shopping for gifts, to spending time with family and friends, to visiting Seville and our town´s city center, everything has been wonderful. 

Downtown Sevilla
We kicked off Christmas by heading into Seville to see the lights. We went after work one afternoon early enough that it wasn't too cold and before there were too many people (it gets CRAZY busy). We went to see the nativity scene market and stopped in a few shops before having dinner downtown. The girls fell asleep in their stroller so Jose and I also walked through a Christmas festival happening in a park. Just seeing all the lights and the festive atmosphere was enough to get me into the holiday mood. 

Everyone at Christmas Ever
We celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas day with Jose's family in their village. Santa came to visit bringing presents for everyone and we ate a ton of food. Jose's sister and her boyfriend came from France for a few weeks and brought our niece Eva with them of course.  Vera and Laura have two cousins that are the same age as them so it was exciting to have them all together for their first Christmas.

The girls with their cousin Eva
My mom flew into Spain on the 30th of December so we went to pick her up at the airport. It was also Jose and my fifth wedding anniversary but we didn't end up doing anything to celebrate since it was in the midst of my mom's visit. We are still planning on something special just the two of us soon.

We spent New Year's Eve at Jose's parents house where we had dinner and ate our grapes at midnight. It shouldn't be surprising to anyone else who has young children but we didn't go out to party that night. 

Between New Year's and the big celebration on the sixth of January we went to see a small parade in Jose's hometown featuring the three Wisemen and we also headed into the downtown area of the city where we live. We looked at the lights, rode a special Christmas train for kids and had some street food. The girls also got to go see the traditional representative for the three Kings (the cartero real) who children visit and give a letter to which details what they want for Christmas.

The girls with the cartero real
On the fourth of January we drove a few hours away to visit a giant chocolate nativity scene that we had been hearing about for the past years. This year it was themed around famous cities in Italy and though it was original, I am not sure it was worth the two hour drive to get there. At least now we can say we did it. My favorite part was the chocolate sculpture of Juan y Medio, a tv presenter on our local channel Canal Sur who I have loved for years. 

Chocolate nativity scene in Rute
On the fifth we of course had to go see the annual parade of the Three Kings where Jose took his job of catching stuff they were throwing quite seriously. We ended up with some random stuff like underwear but also got some balls and other toys that the girls are playing with now.

The next day we opened up all of our presents that the kings had brought for us and then had lunch with Jose's family. We tried to be reasonable in what the girls got this year especially because they didn't realize what was going on. They both got baby dolls and a xylophone to share. Our family on both side truly spoiled them though so thank you to everyone!

There is a tradition of having a round cake filled with cream for breakfast on the sixth after you open presents. You slice the cake and two of the pieces contain small figures, one of a king and one of a bean. If you get the king you are special and get to wear a crown. If you get the bean you have to buy the cake the next year. I had gotten the bean for the last few years but this time I ended up with nothing but calories!

Christmas train selfie!
My mom left for the U.S. the next day and we were sad to see her go. It was a relaxing visit and I am happy she got to experience Christmas here in Spain. The weather was really nice and we got to eat outside quite a few times which I know she appreciated especially since she was escaping the cold of Michigan.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The worst two weeks of my life

These last two weeks have been awful and I am just now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel of crapiness. It all started on a Sunday night in mid January when I myself started to feel terrible and began to get sick. I woke up probably every hour from 2am until Jose went to work throwing up. When I was still feeling like death in the morning, still getting sick, I called off work. Jose took the girls to daycare and I stayed home between the bed and the bathroom. I know that I am a big baby but being nauseous is one of the worst things. That and migraines. Just gross.

I was seriously ill until mid-afternoon when I was able to fall asleep for a while. When I woke up I was feeling slightly better, Jose brought the girls home from daycare since they called saying both had a slight fever and so we had a low key afternoon and evening after Jose took them to the urgent care. This type of visit to the doctor has become sort of routine for us (since the girls started daycare). Usually we get the diagnosis of bronchitis and are sent home with an inhaler of medication. On Monday night when Jose took them in this was exactly what happened. Laura had bronchitis yet again but it wasn't too serious, observe her and give her her meds. Vera just had a cold.

Naturally the next day (Tuesday) I was feeling like someone had beat me up all while feeling quite weak having not eaten anything the day before so I called off work again (which I hate having to do). If you are a teacher you know how disruptive missing even one day can be for your students. I kept Laura and Vera home with me since they also appeared to not be feeling that great; Laura looked and sounded worse than Vera but again, we had been through bronchitis several times before and it had never been serious, just the typical kid stuff.

Throughout the day on Tuesday Laura was listless and slept a lot. She didn't have a fever but also didn't have an appetite. When she woke up from one of her naps I noticed how labored her breathing had gotten. She hadn't been coughing or anything like that and unlike other times when she had bronchitis I could hear the tell-tale whistling sound as she breathed. I immediately got everyone dressed and out the door (a chore with twins) and we went back to the doctor.

As soon as we were seen by the doctor Laura was put on masks with inhaled medication which didn't have the effect the pediatrician wanted so we were admitted to the hospital. This began ten long days of a hospital stay. It turned out that Laura not only had bronchitis but that she also picked up RSV, a combination that became quite serious. Because of the RSV (which is a virus) Vera wasn't allowed anywhere near us, we weren't allowed visitors and we had to wear masks whenever we left the room as well as having everyone who came in don masks. So Vera went to stay with my in-laws.

The first few days in the hospital were by far the worst. We had to give Laura her medication via a mask every few hours which she HATED. We were constantly having to wake her up so she wasn't getting any rest. Nurses and doctors were coming in all the time to take her temperature, listen to her breathing etc. They were all wearing masks which must have scared her but the worst part was the I.V. I don't know how many of you have had any experience with babies and I.V.s but I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I am the kind of mom who tears up when my girls get shots, even with vaccinations. For me it breaks my heart when they look at you with those eyes that say, whyyyyyy are you letting them do this to me? Ugh. The I.V.? That's a whole other level of hell. 

Laura was given an I.V. when we were admitted to the hospital (after the nurses tried in both hands and both arms, they finally got one to work in her arm). The first night she pulled it out while moving in her sleep. The next day she was dehydrated from not eating so they decided to put in another I.V. which resulted in more pokes (her feet, her arms, her hands). It was a terrible cycle. She's dehydrated so her veins collapse, they try another place on her body, they finally get one put in, she moves like a 10 month old and the I.V. eventually comes out. It had gotten to the point that we were having four different nurses stabbing her at a time, up to 18 different attempts in only a few days. I can't describe to you her screaming or the bruises on her little arms. I am trying not to cry just typing this.

I couldn't take it anymore and when the pediatrician came in the next day to scold me for not controlling my daughter so the I.V.s wouldn't come out I lost it. I just started sobbing. This doctor blamed me for my baby moving and an I.V. coming out of her foot. Fuck. you. (Excuse my language but seriously this guy was a jerk). He basically made me feel awful and that it was my fault that Laura kept losing her I.V.s as if I was encouraging her to move around, as if she had the energy to be active. At this point I had decided in my mind that we weren't going to do the I.V. anymore and that we would have to find another solution. And as if by magic, that day Laura started eating again.

From that point on she recovered quite well and as the days slowly ticked by and she got better, we reduced the number of times we had to give her her medication and we got to get rid of her oxygen mask as well. Eventually she was eating again and was my happy girl again. She learned how fun it was to throw her toys off the hospital bed and that was when I knew she was feeling better.

All this time, Vera had been staying at my in-laws' house and we only got to see her for an hour or so each afternoon. I jokingly said it was like visitation hours but this also weighed heavily on me. I know that Vera was in great hands and was loving being the center of attention with her abuelo and abuela but for me it was heartbreaking. I want to be with both my girls. I want to feed them and bathe them and tuck them in at night. It sucked and I missed her toothy little smile.

During one of our meetings with a specialist pediatrician we began to talk about the future and the possibility of other episodes happening with Laura. Basically now that she has this history with her lungs it is quite possible that she will continue to get sick. We just have to try to keep her out of situations where she might contract other illnesses that might complicate things. All of this meant no more daycare, which in turn means no more working for me. Jose and I weighed our options and me leaving my job made the most sense for us. So in the midst of all this hospital drama, I had to quit a job that I really enjoyed, working with people that I really liked. It was like the final kick in the stomach that I needed. So now I am going to be a full time stay at home mom which I am looking forward to in a lot of ways, don't get me wrong and I will do anything to prevent this from happening again.

Thankfully we were finally released on Friday afternoon and have spent the weekend trying to get back into a routine. I just wanted to thank everyone who sent messages or called, who followed us on Facebook and was encouraging. You guys helped us get through the last two weeks. Thank you also to Jose who kept me together. All I can say is that I am so happy to be home with BOTH my girls.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

10 month baby update

Christmas Eve
I just re-read my monthly update for November and I am happy to say that December was much easier on all of us. Laura had a lot of congestion and both babies got new teeth but we all got a lot more rest. So yay! Plus this last month was a lot of fun with the girls´first Christmas (which I will write another blog post about soon). Jose and I were off work for the last week of December for the holidays and we did all kinds of fun activities to celebrate the season. Plus Jose´s sister came with our niece and my mom arrived right at the end of the month so things have been busy, thus the late monthly update.

Ready for a visit to Jose´s village
We had a few days off at the beginning of December and we spent them trying a new restaurant close to our apartment and meeting up with friends. We also went to see Jose´s family in their village before the madness of Christmas began. The month went by very quickly and most of it was spent getting ready for the holidays, decorating our apartment and putting up the tree, buying presents, cleaning for my mom´s visit, wrapping things up at school and just being busy.

Our daycare had a photographer come in and take pictures of the kids for cards and I think Laura and Vera looked beautiful. We put them in an outfit that was made by my mother-in-law. The daycare also had a special day for the family to come and see a sort of pageant. Let´s be honest, the littlest ones were just scenery but our babies were dressed as shepherdesses which is a typical Christmas outfit for kids here in Spain. After they "sang" their song we had hot chocolate and churros and one of the three wise men came to visit. It was a nice day and Jose, my father-in-law and Jose´s cousin were also able to come.

I feel like both Laura and Vera had some big milestones in December. They both got more teeth, Vera now has two upper teeth and Laura has one. Laura was drooling for about a day before it came in but both were in good spirits while teething, thank goodness. Vera continues to do her version of crawling and has discovered how to pull herself up on things that are low to the ground. She loves standing up, though she always stays on her tiptoes. Laura is still happy to sit and play with her accumulated toys. We have noticed that she likes to have pairs of things and that she has to have something in both hands. For example, I bought both girls a stuffed bunny but Laura has taken both and loves to hold them and swing them around by their ears.

Lunch with friends
Tito Jesus and Laura
Vera has learned how to wave hello, which we practiced a lot at the airport while waiting for my mom to arrive. She also does high fives and gets really excited after she does it. Laura has been dancing every time she hears music lately, sort of bobbing her head and just today she started clapping. The girl definitely has rhythm.

Downtown Seville
They had a wonderful Christmas and were super spoiled by everyone. Both Santa and the three Wise men came to visit us and brought lots of gifts. Plus we got to spend a lot of time with our friends and family and I know that neither Jose nor I are looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. I hope the readjustment to daycare is easy on the girls since they haven´t been in over two weeks.

Since we had a lot going on over the last two weeks while we were off school I have decided to write a separate blog to chronicle our girls´first Christmas. I hope everyone had a great holiday season and that getting back to real life hasn´t been too difficult for you. Here in Spain the 6th of January marks the end of the holidays which is nice since it goes on longer so I feel spoiled.