Friday, April 27, 2012

The Sum of the Three

“Our destiny is in the way we were born, in the way we were raised, in the sum of the three of us.”
Eleanor Brown, The Weird Sisters




People have wondered why I haven't written about the Triplets the way I wrote about Sofi last year. I don't really have an answer except that I am not overwhelmingly sad this year. Writing last year helped me alleviate my anxiety and sadness about Sofi leaving. This year I am excited. Excited about what they've accomplished and about what their future will be.

I cannot even begin to think how many people counted us out when we had 3 more babies less than 2 yrs after our first baby. I cannot even count the number of times in the hospital that I wondered if any or all of them would be born alive, healthy... Some moments are so clear and then others are so blurry and muddled.

I cannot believe that these tiny creatures have become full blown 18 year old, almost college students. Where has the time gone?

We've weathered Aspen's very critical start and Parker's diagnosis. We are still standing. I am so grateful for the blessings that my kids are.

I believe the saying, "everything happens for a reason". Most of the time it isn't clear what that reason is. The reason I was lucky enough to be given these children has yet to present itself. I'm keeping an eye out for it though.

Aspen was the first born, at 11:56 p.m., weighing in at a whole 3lbs 6oz. She came out fighting. She fought the nurses at every turn. She would have to be sedated in order for them to work on her. I can't tell you how many times she pulled out her own IVs. Seeing her with little patches shaved in her hair so that an IV could be put somewhere that she maybe couldn't reach it was heartbreaking. She came home after 6 weeks only to return to the PICU for surgery. She ended up back at birth weight after 2 weeks at home. I was probably more terrified at this than I was the first 5 weeks. While her temper could be SO frustrating I was so glad she had the determination and fight. I do not think she would have lived through this period without it.

She was a stinker from day 1 and took great pleasure in terrorizing Greer. She was often the boss in the first 5 years of life. The other 3 just kind of stood back and let Aspen take charge. I guess it was better than the fit that ensued if they didn't. She was the first to walk, the first to get teeth and ironically she was the LAST to speak. She and Greer had the twin language that people talk about. Greer would translate for Aspen on many occasion.

Aspen had the true awkward stage - so skinny and stringy hair, glasses too big for her face. She has turned into the most beautiful creature. She has beautiful curly hair and eyes that people would die for. She went from being the one that didn't talk to a state recognized Poetry contestant. She spends most free time with her head in a book. She has truly evolved into a completely fascinating person and I so look forward to watching her achieve many great things.

Parker was born 2nd at a whopping 3lbs 8oz at 11:57 p.m. He was in the worst shape of the 3. Statistically preemie boys tend to have a more difficult time than preemie girls and that was certainly true in this case. His lungs were not as developed as the girls' and he went immediately on a vent. He suffered collapsed lungs, a brain bleed and many other things as he spent his time in the NICU. He came home with Aspen after 6 weeks.

I started to suspect that things were not ok with Parker at probably 6 months. He had trouble holding his head up and had yet to roll over or attempt to sit up. At 9 months we saw the first of many specialists. It had to have been the most awful period. The first dr declared within 5 minutes of seeing Parker that he'd never walk, never hold a pencil. She told us the fair thing to do was to look at "institutional" living for Parker. It wouldn't be fair to our other children to try and raise him. I walked out of that appointment and never looked back. I knew that this boy was bound for greatness. I pushed and he pulled and somehow he's turned out to accomplish things that most able bodied people never even attempt.

At 18 months Parker had a tremendous grasp of the English language and was holding full on adult conversations with just about anyone willing to chat. He was/is pretty charismatic and you kind of get sucked in. I always attributed his verbal skills as a need based ability - he couldn't get to things physically so he had to be able to tell people what he needed.

I'm not sure at 18 months that I ever thought we'd see him run track or wrestle. Boy am I glad we didn't listen to that dr.! He has great ambitions for his future and I believe he's capable of conquering all of them. Keep watching ESPN folks, I gaurantee that one day you'll be listening to P call some sporting events, it may be dodgeball but it will be something!

Greer showed up at 11:59 p.m. and was all of 3lbs 4oz. She might have been the smallest but somehow she was the healthiest. She was born with this gorgeous bunch of dark hair and her eyes were deep. I swear you could see her soul when she looked at you. She never had a ventilator and had a feeding tube for only a couple weeks. She came home 1st at 5 weeks. She became Sofi's baby and was called Beer for quite awhile. Greer was not the easiest name to say for an 18 month old.

Greer was a very sensitive baby and as the toddler years crept up, Aspen put her to the test, A LOT. We always wondered why Greer didn't fight back and encouraged her to stick up for herself. We had no idea how this would manifest itself later. Let's just say that Aspen didn't see a lot of it coming.

Greer was a beautiful baby and child. As a matter of fact she looks exactly the same now as she did when she was 2. Greer is clearly the most social of the 3, people just gravitate towards her. We wondered when she got to highschool whether she would learn anything or just make friends. She's vice president of the National Honor Society so I guess she's learned something.

Greer surprised us in high school by deciding to play basketball and run cross country and track. It turns out she loves athletics. ( I know those of you that know me are wondering how that happened.) Her love of these things is shaping her future. I expect to attend sporting events for the rest of my life, first to watch my kids play, then to watch Greer coach and finally watching my grandkids.

I don't suppose I had any idea here just what the next 18 years was going to be. I'm ok with that. I may have run for the hills if I'd known. I'm grateful, a lot, that I was 21 when I had all the babies. We kind of lived by-the-seat-of-our-pants and somehow they've made it.

They've become speakers and runners and wrestlers but above all, survivors and I am truly blessed. I am so excited to see what their future brings. It'll be a walk in the park compared to their first 2 months of life. They are going to do great things and change people's lives. They changed mine 18 years ago... For the better.

Congratulations Graduates!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

You Are My Sunshine

Wow I've not written in months. I'm not sure why. Life is busy. I'm trying to soak in the last several weeks of the Triplets high school days. 

I am not going to talk about my own kids today. With the upcoming prom and graduation seasons I am compelled to write about someone else's child.

Last week we buried one of Sofi's closest friends. A girl that had spent some time with us while they were in school. She was killed when the car she was riding in rolled several times ejecting her from the car. Yes there was alcohol involved. The driver was well over the legal limit at a blood alcohol of .16 according to published reports. Legal limit in the state of Nebraska is .08.

I have been reading the comments attached to the online articles at The Kearney Hub website. The exchanges have become heated and have gone back and forth but the following comment triggered a need to write:  "Sad.......the focus is lost here.....4 lives were changed that night".

I beg to differ, MANY lives were changed that night. I will even say that communities were changed by the decisions of 4. The consequences for these actions will linger for the rest of the family's lives and the lives of the survivors, of which there were 3. Rebecca was the only casualty.

For those that knew Rebecca they would know that she was a force to be reckoned with. Her personality was larger than life and the theme that came up over and over during the last week of pain was that she loved life, she loved to make people laugh and she loved to laugh. She was beautiful. Her parents and siblings were able to tell stories of Rebecca and how she was such a comediene. It was easy to see where Rebecca got her strength from. She has a very strong family.

She died on March 31. April 1st was her 19th birthday. Last year on her birthday the community sang as she was crowned Prom Princess. This year the community sang as balloons were released in her honor.

The class of 2011 is a very tight knit group. I never dreamed last year as I sat watching them cross the stage to get their diplomas that less than a year later I would be attending a funeral for one of them. I mean when you're 18 you're pretty invincible right? What a wake up call for these kids and a horrible way to grasp the concept of mortality.

Rebecca was brighter than the sun and there aren't enough words to describe this girl's power to make people smile. When the song You Are My Sunshine was sung at the service it was so very approriate.  The number of flowers was incredible. She touched MANY lives. I'm not sure there are any Gerber Daisies left in northeast Nebraska. They were Rebecca's favorite.  After the service and before the burial, a number of pink, green and purple balloons were released one more time for her. Sofi says that Rebecca used to say when she died she wanted 1000 balloons released at her funeral. I don't suppose any of those kids realized how soon that they would be called on to do just that.

I am heartbroken for this class, my daughter and most especially her family.

I am hoping that something good and positive will come from this horrible tragedy.  If even one kid chooses not to drink, not to drive when drinking or not to get in the car with a drunk driver because they remember how Rebecca's too short life ended than I feel that she will not have died for nothing.

I do not know how I feel about the driver. We were all 20 once. We have all done some really stupid things and I don't imagine that any of the 4 thought the night would end in such a terrible way. I want to be angry and place blame but the sad fact is, is that all 4 people and their decisions contributed to the end. Again, hopefully this sad, tragic story will make people pause and think. Please let Rebecca's death be your lesson.

I am going to end with a piece written by Rebecca herself. She was pretty special.

Born This Way

Last night while writing this I had the most difficult time trying to think of what to write. I took stand up comedy into serious consideration and realized that I didn't have a clue what to do it on. Then, I thought of the song "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga and wanted to somehow relate it to that. Finally, I thought of the perfect thing to write about and that was my imperfections.

I know what you are all thinking "How could somebody like Rebecca Fischer have any imperfection"? But it is true, I don't have many, but there are a few. The imperfections have been a part of my life forever and at times have given people, even a few of you, a good laugh or two. They sometimes make me self-conscious and uncomfortable but just recently I have come to except them and realized that they are what make me, Rebecca.

First, I think the most obvious one and the one I get made fun of the most for would be my pinky toe on my left foot. It sits on top of my #4 toe and just hangs out up there all day long. I never thought of it to be a problem until one day I was in the house with sandals on and my dad asked me if I put it up there on purpose. Once I told him no he got really concerned about it and told me I could go and see if a doctor could fix it. I told him no because I liked it up there. To be honest I'm just afraid to experience the pain.

The next thing would probably be my ears. I have never noticed how small they actually were until someone pointed it out. I always just assumed they were normal sized. Although when the subject comes up I get really self-conscious about them I just realized not to long ago that I would rather have small ears than big ears that stick out like some peoples.

Finally, my last imperfection would have to be that one dangly thing in the back of your throat. Most people have one, but I however have two. When I went to the doctor for itshe was surprised to see it because she has never seen one before. This made me feel super special until last night when I Googled it and it said that it's caused by the soft palette not completely fusing during embryonic development. Once I found that out I no longer had that special feeling inside.

These are all minor deformities that make me up. I'm glad none of them are serious, medical, or painful. These are all characteristics of me that over time I have come to except. And, although I may get made fun of for them it doesn't bother me that much because I know they could be a lot worse. Everybody has something they feel uncomfortable about. I'm just glad that I have become close enough with the people in this room to share these things with you. I hope that when you meet new faces and people you don't judge them on what they look like or what they have wrong with them. I hope that you get to know them on who they truly are, because you never know they could have been born that way.

Rebecca Jo Fischer
April 1, 1993 - March 31, 2012