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I have not crashed recently.

No, I was not involved in the incident involving a Continental 737 that departed the runway at the Denver international airport. Thanks for all the calls and texts inquiring about my safety. I don't have any information regarding that mishap that isn't pure speculation or what I have heard on the news, which I find quite vexing.

I just got home from a trip. I had a long layover in Fort Myers and got a chance to play a round of golf with my brother and see my parents. It was very pleasant and I think I may have played the best round of golf that I ever played, but I will never know because I didn't keep score. I find the game much more enjoyable if I don't keep track. After Florida I spent a night in Canada where the temperature was -27 degrees. I can't imagine why people live there on purpose. It was so cold that I could feel the moisture in my eyes starting to freeze as I waited for the van to take us to the hotel.

I still maintain that coming home after a four day trip is like Christmas for me, every time. When I walked in this evening I came through the garage. Madison heard the door open and came out of the dinning room into the kitchen to investigate. She stopped when she saw me, a blank look on her face. I could see the wheels turning. "Who is this large man, dressed all in black? Should I be scared? Wait a second, he looks familiar." Then a smile spread across her face with the recognition of who I was. I could see the light come on. She beamed. She ran to me as fast as her little legs would carry her. I melted. There is no feeling like it, I am blessed.

Kari and I sat and watched "In The Womb: Identical Twins." You can imagine why we might be interested in a show like that. However, it did bring back some memories, not all of them good. So Kari and I spent awhile discussing our experiences of the birth of the twins. I was amazed by the difference in our perspectives. We were talking about what we recalled, how we felt, and what we thought would happen after they were born. The most interesting to me was the differences in our outlook and when those outlooks changed. I was sure everything was going to be okay until I saw the twins for the first time in the NICU. Kari was sure everything was going to be okay after she was able to touch them in the NICU. I thought that it was odd that her optimism went up just as mine took a nose dive. She said God would not do this to her now.

During the C section Kari was in a panic, she was having trouble breathing, fearing the worst. She did not hear the babies cry (because they couldn't), she did not see them when they were taken out and removed from the OR. She didn't have her contacts in and could see almost nothing. The kids were taken from the OR immediately so they could be put on ventilators. Kari didn't recall much else until she was in the recovery room.

I on the other hand remember feeling fairly calm, given the gravity of the situation. I may have been in shock. I remember waiting in the waiting room for them to come get me. It was difficult to sit, I may have paced. I remember walking into the OR, after waiting for what seemed like months. Kari was stretched out on the table. The OR was crowded with people. There were at least five nurses, two doctors, and the anesthetist. Probably many more, but I can't recall. I was guided to a seat near Kari's head. The anesthetist was speaking with her. I recalled wondering if he was high, after the article that I had just read about drug abuse with people in his profession. He did seem very happy to be there. Maybe he was just trying to ease her mind. I remember that Doctor Reiter had already made the first incision and was telling the nurses to hurry up and get me in there, just as I walked in. He wasted no time, going right to work as soon as I sat next to Kari. I couldn't see exactly what he was doing because of the sheets that they had draped over my wife, but what I could see I remember vividly. With a scalpel he punctured the amniotic sack and Kari's belly began to deflate rapidly, like a huge water balloon. I could hear the rush of fluid as it drained of the table and into plastic collection bags. It sounded like pouring a whole bucket of water into a trash bag. I was torn between wanting to see what he was up to and comforting my wife, who could see nothing. I knew that the doctors didn't waste any time doing these procedures and were not gentle, but I was shocked to actually see what went on. It was brutal. They were stretching and pulling at my wife, like they were trying to tear open a really tough trash bag, they were almost up to their elbows in her abdomen as they rooted around for the first baby. I remember the doctors talking, but I don't recall what they were saying. I found their tone odd, speaking like they were out for a nice round of golf or maybe sharing a jigsaw puzzle. I didn't have much time to ponder that, because out came Madison. He held her up for just a moment and then she was whisked away by the nurses. I don't think I even had time to bring the camera up before she was gone. She was very small. As shocked as I had been at the operation thus far, nothing prepared me for Jordan's arrival. She must have been stuck somehow. I figured that once you cut open the uterus it wouldn't be too hard to remove the kids, but I was wrong. After rooting around for what seemed like a long time, it may have only been seconds, the doctor remarked on having difficulty. A foot appeared and I watched him wrap a towel around my youngest daughter's leg and tug with all his weight. I could see my wife's whole body shift on the table, like someone was dragging her by her feet.
"You are going to pull her leg off!" I remember thinking to myself. After one good tug, out Jordan came. Even smaller than the first, she was minuscule. I could have easily cradled her in one hand, supporting her head with my finger tips, her rump wouldn't have even reached my wrist. I was ready this time and snapped a photo. The nurses whisked this child away too. Dr. Reiter, with his task nearly complete, paused to show me the two umbilical cords. I knew one would be larger, but I was amazed to see the difference side by side. Jordan's was probably less than half the size of Madison's. The mood in the OR settled some with the babies out and I know that at some point we took a photo of the doctor giving a thumbs up. Now I was torn by the urge to be with the children and urge to be by my wife's side. I got to do neither. I was escorted back to the waiting room while the doctors closed up my wife. After about three days I was allowed into the recovery room with Kari. She was awake, sort of. Lights on with nobody home kind of thing. After several more days, it seemed, they wheeled the twins into the room in portable incubators. I got a few pictures with my phone and Kari got to see nothing, since she still had no contacts. After about 3 seconds the twins where taken away again. Then somehow, after another two or three years, we were in Kari's hospital room. I have no idea how we got there. I may have walked, but I just don't know.

As soon as Kari was tucked in I went to find my kids. I remember my heart feeling like it might just beat out of my chest. I could hear the blood coarsing near my ears as I wandered the halls trying to recall the directions to the NICU. I know there was a conversation with a nurse over a phone outside a locked door, lots of hand scrubbing, more nurses, florescent lights, a sterile smell, but it is all pretty blurry. What remains vivid in my mind was seeing the twins all cleaned up for the first time. I saw Madison first. Even though she was the one having the most trouble at the moment, she looked better than Jordan. She was bright pink, almost red, due to the large amount of blood that she had stolen from her sister. There was no movement other that the rise and fall of her chest as the ventilator took breath after breath for her. I didn't linger long before inquiring about the whereabouts of my other daughter. I was lead over to another area of the NICU for my first really good look at Jordan. I was shocked again and had to fight off the wave of emotion that hit me like a pysical force. I choked up and just shivered for a few moments. Jordan was as white as a sheet. I will never forget watching her ribs rise and fall, with what looked like terrific effort. Her skin was stretched so tight over her chest that it looked as if it might tear with each breath. She looked almost translucent. Even though I knew the machine was doing all the work, I could see her fighting. She was going to have to work to make it out of this. Her eyes were shut, of course, but looked like they would be unable to open. Like a new born puppy's eyes. Her mouth couldn't be seen, covered with tape that was holding the vent tube in place. Her forhead was marred with a terrible bruise from her scuffle with doctor Reiter. His thumb print extended the top of her forehead all the way to the bridge of her nose. Her limbs were tiny, her legs much smaller than my pinky finger. I was choking up and wondering how she could possibly live. I prayed, I prayed a lot. I had up to this point had no doubts that the kids would be fine. Nothing bad could really happen to me, to them, it just couldn't, not possible. Now I had doubt and I was really scared. I felt totally helpless.

I was allowed to wheel Kari down to the NICU later that evening, I think. I think there was a struggle to put in contacts, but I don't really recall. While it was killing us not to be able to hold them, Kari was allowed to touch them for the first time. That is when she says she was sure that they would be okay. It took much longer for me to feel reassured and it wasn't a sudden change, like when I first saw them on those warming tables. The terror slowly ebbed away over the months that we watched them grow and improve. Moving from the vent to the CPAP. From the tube feeding to the bottle. Watching them slowly gain weight. It wasn't till months after we got them home that I really started to relax.

I am so glad that we are past that stage. I don't think I will ever be the same.

On to more uplifting subjects.

I was wondering when kids learn to lie. Its around four. Kari walked into the kitchen and found Reagan with hand full of chocolate covered peppermint sticks. Rylee was right there by her side.
"Reagan, did you get into Mama's chocolate?" Kari asked
Reagan nodded her head.
"Rylee, did you eat Mama's chocolates without asking, too?" Kari asked our oldest.
With chocolate smeared all over her face, my oldest replied, "No, Mama." without batting an eye.
"Mama knows that you are not telling the truth, because you have chocolate all over your face." Kari said. There was a long talk and timeouts were assigned. I don't know how Kari did that with a straight face.


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