Where’d those names come from?

One of the many questions we’ve received is how we came how we came up with the boys names. We’re here to tell ya, grab the tissues this could get emotional. Before we begin, if you don’t already know all of my kids are named in ABC order. Andi, Bree and Caidence! The boys are named after three men who were important in our lives. Each man played a different role for us but, each man left this life too soon.

Dax Ramon Ruiz

Dax was Dax. He was the one name we never hesitated on, because it was just suiting. He had to be a “D” and so, he was. Fun fact, it wasn’t until we were looking for another name that we found this also aligned with Zoram’s Star Trek addiction. Dax in Star Trek is a deity. Dax means Leader and so far in his life that’s been true! Dax’s middle name is a passed down name to honor one of the three people we wished to honor. Ramon is Zoram’s dads name. He passed in Zoram’s childhood. We honor him by utilizing his name as Dax’s middle name, but more importantly we pass to our children the many life lessons Ramon taught Zoram growing up.

Emrick Keith Ruiz

Emrick. Let’s be honest, the name Emrick was decided on the operating table. But, we spent all morning getting names thrown at us in every which way. We had people to honor, and we knew the middle name long before we knew the first name. And let’s also be honest, thanks husband for the dig because I wouldn’t have been happy if he didn’t start with an “E” HA! Both of us liked Emerson, but we couldn’t give poor Emrick two middle names.. so he became Emrick. Emrick means Immortal. Em for Emerson. Rick for Rick Butler, an amazing man that treated Zoram like his own. I was lucky to meet Rick on a few occasions. Both he and Julie welcomed me from day one with Zoram. And although I wasn’t able to create our own memories I heard and still hear all the memories from Zoram. He is again another man we wanted to honor by passing down not only his name but the foundation he gave to Zoram unto our own children.

The final name, and the most important to me is Keith. For those of you who know me, you know this is my Dad’s name. The man who raised me to be well, me. The sarcastic, dark humored, strong willed me. When he passed in 2017, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Hell, 2017 was the worst year of my life by far. But, we all made it through. If he were here, he’d be crazy about his grandsons… all three of them, just like he was crazy about his granddaughters. The love he gave to his entire family will be the legacy that we instill in the boys. Love without limits, love without an end.

Emrick and Dax carry on three names of three strong men whom we miss, whom we love and whom we’ve learned from. The boys will grow knowing who they were named after. We will speak their names as if they were still living. We will tell stories both happy and sad. We will not let them be forgotten.

XO, Sabrina.

When life gets tough…

Yesterday I posted about taking one step forward in life, only to take three steps back. It was the day before that where everything seemed to take a turn.

That morning, I woke up to a pleasant email supporting my leave for the boys. It seemed like life finally came full circle and I could relax a little. I could relax enough to know I could stay home and wait for the boys to come home from NICU before returning to work. What a relief, right?! Wrong…

Even though I didn’t get a whole lot done during the day, I loaded up the kids around 3:15 and headed to drop them off with my mom so I could go see the boys. If you’re not from Tucson, you’re not familiar with our lovely under construction road Ajo. This road is extremely narrow, and with the many businesses, homes and apartment complexes on either side of the roadway it makes for a lot of close calls every day and many, many accidents. Unfortunately, that day was not my day. The car in front of me began braking, so I braked with ample distance. But then unfortunately the car in front of me was slamming on their brakes which caused me to slam on mine and skid right into it. Is it a huge deal? No. Heck no, we have insurance for a reason right? But, it was enough to frustrate me. It was enough to feel like I took two steps back.

Needless to say the cars in the shop, and Zoram drove me to see the boys. Unfortunately, Zoram is sick and is unable to see the boys. After the boys, I came home and received a letter from the physicians group that’s treating the boys. Fun fact, although the boys are in the NICU, the physicians treating them are not employed by the hospital but rather an outside group. That group is of course not contracted with our health insurance. Here’s the next step back. I called our insurance, the good news is it should all be covered. It’s still irritating, it’s still going to take a lot of appeals, phone calls and frustration.

The point of this post isn’t to just moan and complain. In fact, it’s a reminder. Life isn’t always easy. Hell, 99% of the time life is freaking hard. Make the most of the little wins. Our little win is the boys making it back to their birth weights. Our little win is our boys making progress every day. Our little win is the safety of all of our kids.

You have to take the good with the bad, the happy with the sad and just keep moving forward.

One more thing… I just want to emphasize the importance of communication with your significant other or spouse. Without Zoram, i don’t know how I’d be able to get through all of this. He’s able to calm me when I’m frustrated, he’s able to recognize when I just need space. We’re a team and despite the troubles we’re faced with, we know everything will turn out just fine. Now to just figure out how all the kids will fit in the Armada. #MomProblems

XO, Sabrina.

Guilty As Charged.

I know I’ve been talking a ton about the NICU but, the NICU is what our lives revolve around for now. So, I’m not sorry. If I don’t write it out, I’ll hold it in and that’s not good for any of us. So, here it goes… another fun fact about NICU…

The NICU whether you’re there feeding, holding, changing babies…the NICU whether you’re home trying to spend time with your older children…the NICU regardless of your babies age, gender or how sick they are… leaves you feeling extremely guilty.

NICU guilt is so real. You feel guilty for being there. You feel guilty for not being home. You feel guilty for the hundreds of pictures you’re taking because then where are the pictures of your older children? You feel guilty just napping. I feel guilty for almost everything I do these days. Hell, I even made it through my first day of not visiting the boys and that, that was ridiculously hard.

Yesterday, what I felt most guilty about was the boys simply being born. I feel guilty that my body failed them. That I couldn’t hold them inside even for just two more weeks. Are they doing great? YES! But, if I had just held them in for two more weeks maybe, just maybe, we could have gone home without a NICU stay. I had heard so many stories from co-workers, I had read all of these articles online about making it to just 34 weeks. And I couldn’t do that. The guilt kicked in pretty damn hard this morning when the nurse offered to take our first “family” photo. We aren’t a complete family in this picture. Not to mention the pure exhaustion that shows all over our faces. Am I grateful we have a memory? Of course I am! I just don’t want to show the girls because they’re struggling too.

Now, before you start commenting and giving me advice let’s talk about something. The guilt I’m feeling is so similar to grief. It comes in waves, crashing in to me. I drown for a few minutes and then I come back to the surface, bury it back down and continue on with my day. Grief hits me the same way, especially when it comes to my dad. Like grief, you can tell a person, “I’m so sorry, I know how you feel, let me know if you need anything”. However, none of that helps. I’m not asking for help because right now, I have it covered. I’m not asking for sympathy, I just want to get this out so I’m not constantly drowning. And most of all, every person who has either experienced life in the NICU or that of having a child who has experienced sickness such as cancer, experiences this differently. Kindly, we don’t know how we each feel but, hell yes we can relate.

If you’re a new to NICU mom, here’s a few things I like to do to relieve the guilt.

  • Call Any Time. The NICU is full of nurses and doctors who completely understand that you can’t be there 24/7. They don’t mind when you call, they’re happy to answer questions and they’re there around the clock. If you feel too guilty, give them a call!
  • Take All The Pictures. Take the damn picture! This journey is unique, and documenting it..the good, the bad and the ugly is beneficial.
  • Find An Outlet. For me, my outlet is this blog. I get to keep a digital notebook so to speak about our boys journey. This is my way of letting it all out, to complete strangers, to family, to friends, to anyone reading this right now.
  • Rest. I know, I know. I’m contradicting myself. I rest… I promise I do. But, between pumping, insomnia and my girls there’s almost no time to sleep. However, rest is essential to your well being. Rest mama. Trust and believe you’re baby is in the best hands.

There’s no better feeling than knowing that eventually my boys will be home, until then I’m going to ride out all of this guilt. I’m going to use this blog as my outlet. I’m going to spend time with my girls (thank you fall break!) and I’m going to enjoy my boys in the evening this week. The guilt may come every single day, but my mom strength is year round!

XO, Sabrina.

NICU isn’t for the faint of heart.

The morning the boys were to be born we found ourselves in my hospital room with a knock on the door. Enter in the neonatologist, I can’t remember her name. She was bright, bubbly, blonde and informative.

Her outlook was bright for our boys. She gave us expectations, they should come out crying. Dad will be able to take pictures, and I’ll be able to see them for a quick second. Dad will be able to go with the boys, I’ll be able to go see them after I’m out of recovery. It was a lot of information, but she made it so clear that the NICU was exactly where they needed to be. She even gave us an expectation of how short or long our visit may be. I wouldn’t have ever guessed that this woman dealt with sick babies every single day.

I found myself in recovery after wondering what the boys were doing, how they were doing, what I was missing. Luckily, the same bright, bubbly doctor returned to me and gave me updates. Twin A, Dax was on a machine to help him breathe. It’s called a CPAP, but I shouldn’t worry, it’s fairly common for 32 weekers. Twin B, was much smaller and most likely needed a PICC line to receive fluids. She had consents for all the just in case moments. I signed away.

Post recovery, the nurses wheeled me to NICU. I couldn’t touch them. I couldn’t hold them. I couldn’t help them. It was heartbreaking. But, I stood strong. It was for the best. The next day I felt good enough to walk to the nicu, by myself. It was a relief to see them, to know everything was “okay”. But, as the days moved on…the harder it got.

I was released just two days after the c-section. I went home…without my babies. We stopped by the NICU on the way out. And, while I was determined to have a strong mindset…leaving just hurt. I had a few tears but it worked out. I even went home to our Baby Q, where friends and family came to support us. That night was the first night I truly cried.

⚠️Fun fact, you can call and check on your babies 24/7! Use it, ask questions, bond with your nurses, do whatever you can to make this moment in your life work for you. ⚠️

It’s been only a few more days but, I’m gonna be honest. It’s not getting any easier. Just yesterday, I ran errands and was almost unable to see the boys for a whole day. The guilt set in, the tears overwhelmed me. I cried all the way to Zoram’s work. I cried all the way to my work to pick up paperwork. I cried all the way to my appointment. I held back tears through my appointment, and when I finally got out in time to be able to see my boys (for less than an hour), I cried then too. If there were less people in the NICU when I was in with the boys I would have cried right there too.

It’s so hard to be pulled in multiple directions. I have to be able to be there for boys, but be home for my girls. I have to be able to get them whatever they need, but also be able to afford gas to drive 45 minutes one way to see them. I have to be able to spend time with my girls, but also be able to spend time with my husband to visit the boys.

I’ve tried creating a schedule, but if you can imagine that’s a bit difficult. I’m a bit hard headed to ask for help, it’s harder than you think. We’re juggling a seven person household, with others who want to visit and see the boys. So we’re sorry if we have to say, “no”. We’re sorry that we’re emotionally unavailable right now, and physically. We’re not sorry for giving our all for our boys. The NICU makes you, it breaks you, and we’re only 5 days into our journey.

I’ve written this to be honest with myself, and with every one who keeps asking how I’m doing. I’m not depressed. I don’t have the baby blues. A piece of me is away from home, and until they come home the stress, exhaustion and utter craziness will keep my emotions on edge. This NICU thing isn’t for the faint of heart.

XO, Sabrina.