Happy 7 Months!

Dear Phoebe & Xander,

Today marks your 7-month birth anniversary…you’re 7 months old! Holy moly! The time is literally flying since you’ve been born…and boy has this last month brought about so many incredible changes in you both! It’s been an unbelievable experience to watch…let’s see what’s been going on:

Phoebe: you’ve made some absolutely incredible progress – let’s take a look: you can roll front to back and then back to front. You love to roll. You can spin on your belly 3600 in order to search for the perfect toy. You have begun the process of army crawling – and have made it a few inches forward! With more practice you’ll be moving in more new ways! You’ve pretty much mastered sitting up on your own once placed into position – you still haven’t figured out how to get there yourself. You absolutely love using the exersaucer. You love to touch down and do little squats…not to mention play with the mirror. You have discovered that you can giggle and that you’re ticklish. You think your fur-sister Sasha is just the funniest thing ever! And you love when she kisses your little toesies! You’ve officially given up your evening catnap, so we’re now 3 solid naps a day. And lastly, you really love to eat your solids. Your favorites are sweet potato, pumpkin, plums and apples.

Xander: the strides you’ve made have been pretty remarkable this last month! You’ve started to really discover your babble and vowel sounds! You’re finally telling your story! You can roll front to back AND back to front, now, and you no longer cry when you make it to your tummy! You are finally taking to the spoon and exploring solids…your favorites are bananas, apples, oatmeal and plums. You have two teeth that have officially broken through – wow! You have graduated from sleeping in your mamaroo to officially sleeping in your crib…this is such a great accomplishment! We’re so very proud of you for this! You are able to sit up so much better and sometimes unsupported – and you’re doing it so well. You love it when we sing to you – it instantly brings a smile to your face, and you love to chew on your caterpillar toy. You enjoy time in your exersaucer but really long to be able to stand on your own. You love when we hold your arms up and stand…you shake your tushie and smile so much! And…and…you’re giggling! Hooray! Oh, and you painted at daycare! You painted with your hands and a brush!

Each of you has achieved so many individual accomplishments…it’s unbelievable! But there are also some other mutual noteworthy events that occurred: you are both officially unswaddled for all sleeping! You love your new transitional Love To Dream sleep sack (but Pickle – you gave us a RUN for a money during the transition…girl…). You prefer to just play on the padded mat and no more “tummy time” mat as you both roll too much. And you both are able to sit up in your stroller so no more car seats for them! And you are now the stars of your own blog with Abba called, “Not The Momma!” You love posing for pictures (And Daddy secretly loves to dress you both up!).

Yeladim – you’re growing way too fast and changing way too much; literally, something new every single day. What a gift to watch your growth unfold right in front of our eyes! At times it seems surreal and still somewhat of a dream, but when you whine at 4:15am we know it’s not a dream lol. Albeit you are sleeping somewhat through the night…#almostthere

We love you so much. Keep growing. Keep developing into the amazing humans you’re destined to be!

All Our Love,

Abba and Daddy

Happy 3 Months!!

Dear Phoebe and Xander,

Oh, my! Where has time gone!? Today, May 17th is your 3 month birth celebration!! Holy moly! Happy 3 months, yeladim! To celebrate we’ve made a list of accomplishments you’ve each achieved since your birth. It’s quite impressive:

1. You were born 7 weeks early
2. Your organ systems were asked to perform before they were ready – and they did
3. You’ve learned how to regulated your body temperature
4. You’ve learned how to breathe on your own
5. You’ve learned how to take a bottle, and have graduated from disposable to 4 fl oz and now big boy and big girl 8 fl oz bottles
6. You’ve graduated from preemie to level 1 nipples
7. You’ve learned to poop regularly (well, Xander, sometimes you like to hold it for an extra large treat for Abba and Daddy)
8. You’ve gone from preemie diapers to newborn and then to level 1 diapers
9. You’ve learned to use different cries to let us know what you want and need
10. You’ve learned how to get our attention, even when you don’t really need it
11. You’ve learned each of our voices
12. You’ve learned to roll from your belly to your back
13. You’ve learned to smile
14. You’ve learned to lift your head up and move left and right – you both enjoy tummy time
15. You’ve taken part in your first primary election (ok, you tagged along with Abba, and we all voted which matters)
16. You’ve taken many walks outside
17. You’ve each doubled your birth weight
18. You’ve each grown hair – Phoebe, we swear your hair doubles overnight, every night
19. You’ve graduated from preemie, to newborn to now 0 – 3 month clothes (Xander, you’re the one in 3 month. Phoebe, you’re still in newborn)
20. You’ve learned how to steal our hearts even when we’re both severely sleep deprived

Above all, you’ve done SO much in your short 3 months in this world. And we love you more than you’ll ever know. Keep growing. Keep smiling. Keep getting stronger and bigger and until our next letter at 4 months.

All our Love,

Daddy and Abba

February 23th, 2017: NICU Day 7

Dear Xander and Phoebe,

Today is day seven we’re blessed to be your parents, and your seventh day in the NICU.

Tomorrow you’ll be one week old! It’s been an amazing week getting to know IMG_1423you both. You’re both so different and have individual, amazing personalities. Your Daddy and Abba never knew just how much you both would change our hearts, and it seems each day you steal more and more…

Phoebe: today you had a special day. You reached a few milestones IMG_1408and we’re just so happy! You took an 11 ml bottle, you got a massage and a bath by daddy, and perhaps the most special was skin to skin with your surrogate mother, Ashly. You loved resting and being with her and she loved spending the time and getting snuggles. You even smiled for her and showed your gorgeous dimples!

Xander: today you were placed back under the UV lights. Your liver is still learning how IMG_4488to work, and that is ok…your nurse Ginger drew cute sunglasses on your baby raybands while you tanned. You also decided to baptize Abba. Twice. And it was a great laugh for everyone. You loved your swaddle bath today, too! Abba fed you two bottles while in your IMG_4550isolette, and then Daddy gave you you a bottle later that night. You’re such a champ!

Your daddies took a class tonight with an organization called Helping Hands. We met other parents of NICU babies and it was amazing. We’re making a commemorative bead necklace to mark each of your IMG_4534milestones…and we got to bond with other parents in similar situations. It was a great experience and we’re thankful we attended!

We can’t wait to celebrate one week of being your parents tomorrow. The milestones you’ve each reached and accomplished are literally amazing. It inspires us so much! The team of nurses, doctors, OT, RT and your daddies are helping you grow strong each day. Continue to grow. Continue to thrive. Continue to make us proud each and every day.

All our love,

Daddy and Abba

February 22th, 2017: NICU Day 6

Dear Xander and Phoebe,

Today is day six we’re blessed to be your parents and day 6 in the NICU.

It’s been such a journey over these last days. Emotionally up and down (mainly up) and filled with such love. You both inspire us with your strength and will to grow. Today you both opened your eyes when we arrived and it felt like you knew your Daddy and Abba came just for you (even if it was just gas that made you open your eyes we’ll go with the emotional side of us – your Abba has been crazy emotional today.).

Phoebe: your face is starting to fill out…! You’ve got the cutest little dimples on each side,IMG_4402 and while we’re both a little biased, you’re absolutely gorgeous. We had a great time trying to give you your first bottle – you took 2ml! It may seem like a little, but for your age it’s phenomenal and mighty! You spent tons of time on Abba and Daddy today and that bring us such joy. Such joy.

Xander: you are filling out and your cheeks are super chunky. You LOVE not having the bubble sipap and LOVE being in sleepers. You, my son, loved IMG_1350the bottle. When Daddy took you to try your first bottle you did such a great job: 17ml! And when Abba tried at your next one 11ml! That’s a champion in the making! We love watching you change and adapt – and you still love to be on either of us…you just fall right asleep and it melts our hearts!

It amazes us how much love we have for you both. You have literally expanded our hearts in a way we both couldn’t have imagined. Keep growing. Keep snuggling. Keep filling our hearts with such joy.

All our love,

Abba and Daddy

February 21th, 2017: NICU Day 5

Dear Phoebe and Xander,

Today is day 5 we’re blessed to be your parents and your fifth day in the NICU.IMG_1305

You both are making great progress! You are both loving your pacis and learning to suckle in preparation for bottle feeding. You’re both off of the lights and have normal blood levels. Your nurses prepared us for a potential relapse, but we’re celebrating all of your milestones and taking everything one day at a time…

Xander: you are getting such great nourishment buddy! You’re taking a good amount of feed, and it looks like you’re going to be taken off of your bubble sipap breathing machine…fingers crossed! You still don’t like being messed with and turn lobster red when angry, but absolutely love your skin to skin time with Daddy and Abba.

IMG_1317Phoebe: you are officially off of the bubble sipap breathing machine! You’ve been regulating your breathing so well and staying oxygenated we may get to trial bottle feeding you as early as tomorrow! You love to open your eyes and stare into daddy’s eyes, and when he did your oral care tonight your loved every single minute!

Keep growing. Keep gaining strength. Keep reaching each milestone so that we can take you both home safe and healthy. To say that we love you both is an understatement.

Love,

Abba and Daddy

February 20th, 2017: NICU Day 4

Dear Xander and Phoebe,

Today is our fourth day blessed as your parents and your fourth day in the NICU. Today you both had such a busy day…!

Phoebe: you had elevated bilirubin levels – it’s normal. So you get to spend your days IMG_4307under a UV light and baby raybands while your liver learns to work. You’ve done a great job regulating your boIMG_4310dy temperature and your blood sugars. Abba even got to give you your first bath! You loved the warm water on your head and smell so clean!

Xander: you’re officially off IV dextrose and only feeding on milk. Hooray! And while you’re also sporting raybands like your sister and chilling out under UV lights, you continue to show Daddy and Abba your will to grow! Daddy gave you your first bath and whileIMG_4340 you didn’t like most of it you loved having your hair washed and brushed.

We love you both so much and with each day we fall more and more in love. You are both so special and we love watching your personalities emerge with each passing day.

All our love,

Daddy and Abba

February 19, 2017: NICU Day 3

Dear Phoebe and Xander,

Today is day three we’re blessed to be your parents, and your third day in the NICU. All of your nurses are amazing, helping you grow and gain your strength.

Xander: you love to be swaddled real tight and love to snuggle. Abba can’t wait till later to be able to snuggle you during your feeding. Daddy got to take your vitals throughout the day and change your diapers…And tomorrow we get to give you your first bath! Oh, and today we got to remove your umbilical clamp so your belly button starts to form and heal.

Phoebe: Abba got to help you learn to suck your paci and change many diapers. You even pooped in Abba’s hand during a diaper change – the first of many. We also got to see your beautiful eyes and your hair! Daddy will get to give you a bath tomorrow…you had some difficulties breathing today and may start some medicine to help. You’re strong and we believe in you!

We love you. We love your noises. We love your faces. We love your snuggles. We love being your daddies more than you can ever know.

All our Love,

Daddy and Abba

February 18, 2017: NICU Day Two

Living as part of the LGBT community has been challenging at times. What you learn is that surrounding yourself with the right kind of people is important. The more love you have around you the more you will learn to love.

When our children finally arrived we received so many messages of love, support and congratulations that we saved many of the messages. This post will share two of those messages as a memory for when our children read this blog later on in life.

Jeffrey Bernstein & Brian became parents yesterday! After a long and winding journey, they found a perfect family to help them create their own perfect family. A shade of pink 💗 and a shade of blue 💙 were sent from heaven just for you! I am joining the chorus singing Mazel Tov and Hallelujah. Bond and grow little ones. Your Pennsylvania family and friends are here with open arms to welcome you home when you are ready!

If you have children and especially grandchildren, you know what it means to fall in love before you have ever met. I can’t tell you exactly when that happens. For some it’s as soon as a test reads positive, for others it’s sometime within the next few months. Each journey is unique as each child is unique. Mine were all pretty common. I was blessed with my Moms fertility. Lol. There are other parents whose journey is not as simple.

In May of 2015, two of my good friends had just been married. In July they decided on using a surrogate for their journey. Jeffrey and Brian had shared with me the various revised letters that would eventually be chosen by their surrogate family. Looking back on it now. I think that’s when I fell in love. I was already in love with the idea of them being parents. I know they will be awesome. I got to imagine the child who could have Brian’s sense of humor and Jeffrey’s intellect.

It seemed to take forever but by December a surrogate family had chosen them. They are from Texas and had come up for a quick visit. It seemed to take forever but somewhere in there a biological mother (the eggs) were picked. They decided on transferring two embryos.

It seems like yesterday they flew to Texas for the transfer. Everything went perfect. Ashly (the surrogate) was even here for their shower! She looked fantastic and was a huge help. I too am eternally grateful she chose them. Good choice . Just saying lol

What a journey.

Yesterday morning I received a phone call that Ashly was in labor. At 33 weeks. The plan for today was supposed to be that we were going over to see the guys. Just hang out for a while. If I was lucky Jeffrey would have cooked us something. Lol. We were supposed to go over different things they needed done while away. We were supposed to take them to the airport on March 1st. Xander and Phoebe decided yesterday was to be their Birthday. I’m having a hard time not constantly crying. Happy tears.

Over the last two years our families kind of intertwined. Both Brian and Jeff have amazing parents and they all treat us like family. I’m now a surrogate grandmother and will be these children’s Grandma Fran. I can’t explain that honor. I loved these children before I ever met them. I am thrilled, amazed, and honored to watch this journey take place.

Congratulations to Jeffrey and Brian on the birth of your beautiful children. You guys are two of our best friends, our brothers and now are the fathers of our grandchildren.

Dear Phoebe and Xander,

Today is day two that we’re blessed to be your parents. You both had very productive days in the NICU:

Phoebe: today you got to lay with your father while nourishment was given to you. You slept on daddy for a while and daddy fell even more in love. You even let Abba change your diaper and didn’t fuss. You’ve been so strong and we admire your small yet mighty spirit. Keep growing. Keep showing us the fighter you are.

Xander: today you got to spend time with your surrogate mother who helped protect you while you grew. You laid peacefully with her while she snuggled you close. You even let your daddy change your diaper! And tonight You’ll get to lay with abba for your nourishment. Keep gaining strength. Keep growing. Keep being the fighter we know you are.

Today you met your first family cousins! They drove all the way from Houston just to see you! They were so happy to meet you and help keep you warm. They love you more than you know little ones. As do your daddy and Abba.

Love,

Daddy and Abba

February 17th, 2017: Your Birthday

Dear Xander and Phoebe,

Today your Abba and Daddy fell in love. Today, your birthday, will forever be etched into our hearts.

Xander, you were born first at 5lbs 4oz, and Phoebe, you were 3lbs 13oz. You were loved before you arrived and we’re forever grateful for your surrogate mother, Ashly, who helped you grow and get big and strong. Daddy and Abba love you more than you’ll know, and are blessed to be your parents.

All our Love,

Daddy and Abba