July 20, 1995 - that was another one of those days that changed my life forever.
I recall that day fairly vividly. The packing of a bag. The kissing of my two sweet little boys. The walk out to the car. It was quite surreal for I knew where I was going and what was going to happen... kind of.
It had been quite a pregnancy trek. First it came as a 'surprise! Over the next 8 months I was very ill and even spent about 3-weeks in the hospital. I had lost weight (which for the first time in my history i was actual UPSET about!). I had ulcerative colitis and it flared up shortly after I became pregnant. After a trip, about 4 or so months in, to the hospital because; I was eating very little, I had developed a chronic cough, and I was exhausted - an ultrasound searching for blood clots revealed - quite shockingly - that there was not just a baby inside my tummy, but in fact there were two babies inside my tummy!
Twins. Wow. The news hit me like I had never been hit before. My first reaction was, honestly, terror. We had not anticipated having another child - and we definitely had not anticipated having two more - at once! But as I sat in the hallway after my ultrasound, waiting for someone to wheel me back to my room, I cried - but as I cried and talked to God a peace came over me. No longer were these two precious babies a surprise - they were a gift and at that moment a love flooded over me that was so intense and so surreal that I started to laugh. And when I told my hubby over the phone, he laughed. We laughed and we celebrated.
The next months were hard and the specialists and nurses at St. Boniface hospital were fantastic as they studied medicines and techniques that would help save me and save those babies. There was much prayer and hope in the way I was cared for at the hospital, my church community, and friends.
We finally arrived at July 20 - healthier and ready to see these two little muffins that we had been fighting for all those months. We were going in for a scheduled C-section one month before their due date. One of the twins was getting bigger while the other was getting smaller, so they needed to yank them out!
Walking into the operating room was weird. I knew that when I left that room, our family would have grown by two more little bodies. A c-section is a weird thing. The sensation of someone poking around and pushing on your belly - when the reality is that they are slicing a line into your skin - very very weird. After a little bit, with Bernie by my side, they pulled out our first little girl, Jozanna. But there was no crying. So I, naturally, panicked and asked, why is there no crying. Bernie said, it's ok, they are working on her. But I was tense and crying and freaking out - it was then that the doctor said, 'excuse me, Tammy, but can you relax? Your muscles are so tight that my hand is caught in your stomach.' It was at that moment that Jozee cried and I relaxed and the doctor could escape the evils of my stomach muscles (go figure - i have stomach muscles!!). Soon they took little Rayzanna out and she instantly cried. Whew.
I was exhausted and fell asleep as they took them to the ICU to look them over. As I was falling asleep, Bernie said, what do you want to name them? I said, you know.
When I woke up, I had my little Jozanna and my little Rayzanna. Bernie picked the right name for the right girl. They were beautiful. They are still beautiful - inside and out.
My little girls have brought me much joy - some testing of patience and some anxiety - but way more joy. I treasure the moments in our backyard in Gretna, where we sat on the grass and just talked - talked about very intimate things and then very funny things. I treasure the Sundays on the front deck where we ate lunch and shared stories from school and all over. I treasure the moments when they have corrected my bad behaviour and encouraged me to be a better person. I treasure the moments that they caught me wearing a 'not so cool' outfit and got me to change. (Those moments were hard in the moment, but later on I was grateful!) I treasure their ability to love me regardless of my flaws, my annoying habits, my nosiness, my anxieties. I treasure the talks we have.
Now, as they are 22, they have brought and are bringing more boys into my life - more treasures! They still talk with me. They still let me poke my nose into their life AND they still remind me not to! They have grown into gorgeous Christian women who have confidence in who they are and in Whose they are. They are wise for their age. They love to laugh. They love to play.
Are they flawless? Absolutely... not! They got issues. They got their things. BUT, they were created perfectly. God doesn't make junk.
I love them, flaws and all - just as they love me. It has been an amazing 22 years. I miss them as little girls wearing the same clothes and crawling around after each other. But I love sitting with them now, as young women, and sharing our journeys together.
Happy birthday girls - and may we continue to adventure through life!!