As many of you know we had so much happened in the past couple years. However, 2018 was a huge year for milestones and growth! Emma + Selena have grown so much + are learning new things all the time. They both undergo special therapy weekly to help developmental + physical skills. As parents we are beyond proud of them both and can't wait to see what they learn in 2019!
Our first-born Emma, is two years old and has yet to say "mama" or complete phrases. With a speech delay we have had to really focus on new ways to communicate with her. She has learned sign language for different things like food, more, and want (just to name a few). Her baby babble has really increased which is great because it shows us her attempting. She understands a lot of what we say, but doesn't try to say ever repeat phrases later on. She will pick certain words to repeat and sometimes will repeat a new word that we are trying to introduce. Her therapist is always really impressed with the amount of understanding that she has learned and how she attends at during activities. She has given us major props for really working with her because she can see the improvements weekly. I have different projects for Emma to work on that I have made myself, picture flashcards, tons of books, and of course arts + crafts supply. This year I really want to focus on her behaviors and get potty training done! She has started small tantrums due to the frustrations of communicating what she wants or feels. This is I'm sure a normal 2-year-old thing, but we really try to focus on calming her and redirecting the behavior to a positive one. Learning as we go! Potty training is a whole other story. She was introduced to the potty at 1 and understands to sit + go, but won't stop herself from going in her pull up. We have tried different methods to help motivate her to tell us but so far rewarding her with a sticker has seemed to help her understand a bit more, but we have to keep her on a schedule. Really big goals for Emma in 2019!
Selena. Oh, our little Selena. You would probably believe me when I say that she is very strong. I mean she did fight thru the NICU and has continued to fight her prematurity status. When I say this little girl is all attitude and then some, we mean it. She has a really strong character + loves to do her own thing! She will not stop at the word of "NO" and that can only mean that she'll be super ambitious, right?! (Positive thinking!) In all seriousness she may have a tough girl outer shell but she has such a loving spirit. She loves to play chase with dad, sister and her fur brothers Bear + Balto. Loves to climb + play with every single toy and non-toy. Selena will laugh at the most random things + gets really excited when daddy wants to get her. This year we are also going to work on her speech delay and hand-eye coordination. Selena is definitely a lot like me (her amazing mother) but she has a lot to still catch up on.
As for me, this past year has had to teach me a hard lesson of self-care. For those who don't know we lost our son in 2017. His loss really put me in a whirlwind of emotions. I will always grieve his loss and somedays it's harder than others but I have to stay strong. These emotions started to cause anxieties to germs, routine mishaps, and constant worries over little things. Mark has always seen me as an emotional woman but I think 2018 really took its toll on me mentally. At 27 years old I was diagnosed with shingles. Yup, shingles. It was not a fun experience and I still have their markings on my skin. UGH! The reason I got them was due to my high stress and very low immune system. Honestly, I was super stressed about the girls and them being on track with our therapy goals, making sure I'm doing every possible thing in my power to enable better learning skills, and then normal insecurities we face as women, wives and mothers. So yeah, I learned to really be self-aware and to take a deep breath mentally. This year I want to continue to focus on my health, mentally + physically but also try to grow myself as a blogger and entrepreneur in my illustrations. 2019 is a clean slate and will only be the year that I make it to be. I want to be happy and inspire others! I want to see my girls thrive and be a part of their every milestone! I want to see my husband happy, and confident in his goals and also in my mental state. I want no worries for him and want him to see that I am trying to better myself and give myself that self-love and care that we all need. These things will in all make me happy, and I am so excited to start this journey and share our amazing milestones with you all!
Wow, July has come quickly. With that being said let me catch you up to date on our lives!
We welcomed twins last year in July at 25 weeks old. At 16 days old our son, Mark Anthony II passed away from Sepsis. As parents our lives were shaken up and the loss hurt us more than we could imagine. However we had his twin sister, Selena who was still in the hospital fighting to survive, and at home we had their big sister, Emma! She was just about to turn one years old, and we had to make sure that they both had their mommy and daddy to lean on.
Right now we have two one year olds. Yup, you read that right. Emma is one and about to be two in August; while Selena just turned one years old this month! Our hands are full. The girls are doing wonderful. Selena has continued to prove her strength and is learning how to do things daily. She undergoes physical and occupational therapy 4-6 times a week. She has been completely healthy and hasn't had any new delays. At one years old she has her two bottom teeth coming in, knows how to sit up, and is learning how to grasp things better. She is behind in crawling, holding things up high, and has some difficulties using her arms. However we are doing our best to continue helping her everyday to learn and practice these things. Doctor approved for us to start introducing her around immediate family due to no school. (less germs) Which means now Emma gets to play with her cousins, and see her tias and tios. It's been a great transition to see them all and have the girls be involved.
Mark and I are still coping daily. Our sons loss will always be hard for us, July will always be a month for us to remember everything we went through. However we try to focus on the positive side. July was a huge milestone for Selena. She made it. ONE YEARS old. Our baby girl is strong, and is trying her best to figure it all out. Our son is celebrating not only his one year, but also his sisters, as he watches over us in Heaven. I know I'll see him again one day, but until then...mommy and daddy miss you baby boy.
Christmas is always a time of happiness, family, and seeing little ones believe in a magical tradition. I remember going to my Grandmas house and spending the night then waking up to tons of family in the morning and opening presents. Those were the best Christmases!
Mark and I have started our own little tradition that he brought over from his family. I absolutely loved it when he showed me and it is now our new Aguilar tradition.
The Family Ornament
Each year we pick an ornament and have our names all put on, and yes we even include our fur babies. They are family too! This year we got to add our twins, Selena and Mark Anthony. It's never easy, remembering the loss, and all the details in his final moments. I believe that he waited for us, and felt no pain as he went to be with God. Our little angel is always going to be watching over us.
Seeing Selena grow is amazing. Mark had noticed in the NICU how her head had a line running across the top. We thought it was a IV or something, but then her nurse explained to us that it was her skull still forming. The bones were not fully expanded and so they slightly overlapped. Now seeing her you don't see that. We got to see her grow outside of the womb, and that alone is remarkable.
Embrace the imperfections of your body. Those imperfections are merely the scars of endurance, and self perseverance. Our bodies age and with age comes new phases in our lives
The first scar is seen above, right below my belly button. This scar was from when I was two months old. My mom says that I kept vomiting, and nothing they fed me would stay down. As all parents do, we call our pediatricians and seek advice. They told my mom that it was probably just a stomach virus. When it was not getting any better my parents decided to get me checked, and that's when the doctors felt an obstruction in my stomach. I was instantly rushed into surgery. The doctors took x-rays and could see that my intestines were tangled, but because I was so small they couldn't see how much of the intestine was damaged. Which is why they had to start surgery right away. They told my parents that if the intestine was severely damaged, that I would have to be fed through a tube the rest of my life. After my surgery they estimated that I would be in the NICU for about two weeks before getting into another room before discharge. They gave me some type of medicine to help show the doctors that if my intestines started to work this medicine would show up in my stool. After 24 hours they saw the medicine and were shocked to see that my body was already starting to heal and function properly. My mom said that I was in the hospital for less than two weeks. I survived and pushed through odds, because of the love, prayers and support my parents gave me.
Mark and I were excited to learn about having twins, but then our pregnancy called for an emergency c-section at 25 weeks. We were scared, and didn't know what to expect for our twins, or how we would get through this. As they brought me into the operating room, my emotions just spilled out of me. I became so anxious, scared, and worried. Mark was brought in after I got my spinal shot block, and everything after that was just making sure our babies got out safe and alive. My OBGYN was supportive the entire time. She held my hands before Mark came in, and she talked to me during the procedure to give me peace of mind. When she started to call out "Baby A is out...Baby B is out" I began to cry. These tiny babies were now about to start their fight and we had to watch them on the sidelines.
I'm thankful for a life that I didn't need to be fed through a tube or worse and how I was able to carry my twins. Giving birth may not have been the way we would have wanted, but the fact is we were blessed to have twins. My scars carry stories, emotions, and pain. After 16 days our son passed away, and my c-section scar is a constant reminder of why that happened. The guilt I feel is always there, and I pray that God will free me from those chains. It's not an easy walk of life, and my scars aren't the same as yours. We all struggle to face reality and sometimes our body image is the one thing that prevents us to move forward and succeed.
We all have chains that bind us to different emotions and today I want to encourage you to start working on breaking through and finding yourself again. I have been able to accept mine more, and sharing this picture to the world isn't scary at all. It's breaking my silence and showing who I am. It shares the intimate moment with my baby, Selena and it shares the body that has been broken and shattered due to loosing her son. I believe in such a big GOD, and I know he has given me strength to push back and find my way. I'm not perfect and don't ever want to pretend to be, but I am truly thankful for the scars I carry and you should be too.
Today was a really hard and emotional day for me. Selena has been really difficult lately and she has now officially been announced that she is going through the "Purple Crying" phase. If you have never heard of this, join the club.
Mark and I watched a video over this right before we were able to bring Selena home from the hospital. The hospital is helping parents prepare for different scenarios and the "purple crying" video was one of them. I honestly didn't even take into consideration how real this was, because in my head I was thinking it was going to be a breeze like Emma. However I was so wrong. Selena is the complete opposite of what we went through with Emma.
I should have known, that every child is different but now it has officially set in that what we are dealing with is something hard to handle and cope with. Just imagine, your little one crying non-stop. Diaper is changed, you fed them, they are burped, you hold them, and absolutely NOTHING helps. She has gotten a lot better throughout the night but during the day, she is up all day crying. I have tried everything and nothing works. The only thing we are told is that it is just a phase that we have to ride out.
It's so hard when you are already tired, have another little one that you are watching, juggling the emotions of trying to help the baby stop crying but also not breaking down yourself. I get very frustrated because I want to do a good job, but I can't help her and so for me that means, I'm not being a good enough mother. It's hard to not loose my cool by just yelling and telling her to stop. It's hard to even admit that but I know I'm only human, and I have my downfalls as a mother. I know she doesn't understand and for all I know this time is confusing for her, and she is the one who is suffering. I pray so much. I ask God in the moment to give me peace, and help me help her. Purple crying is hard to hear, and hard to deal with, but I can't give up. Selena has a long way to go, and I know that she will hopefully get over this obstacle too, but until then I have to be strong for her.
When mark got home, I burst into tears. I felt like such a bad mom today. I knew that I needed to hold it together more, and I couldn't. Emma literally has no reactions to Selena. Even in the middle of Selena's worst crying, Emma will continue about her business as if nothing is wrong. I'm glad it doesn't because it would probably be ten times harder if Emma would start crying because of her sister. So thank you God we dodged a bullet on that one.
This was a hard topic to bring up, because it shows my flaws as a mother. I share my real emotions, and reactions because I know that I am not alone in this. I want to encourage the moms and the dads who deal with difficult kids to remember that we are their support, example, and always their go-to. We may not see that we are helping in the moment but I'm sure they feel comfort in not being alone. We have to love our kids daily, and by loving them we have to show them our patience, kindness, and ability to support them.
Today our little one Selena, has officially turned five months strong! INCREDIBLE. This 25 weeker baby has pulled through and has shown her strength daily. Selena has beaten the odds by leaving the NICU before her due date, being able to get off of oxygen support, and not having any serious health issues. (as of now)
Prayer, love and support has been by her side since DAY ONE. We are truly grateful. Today though she has also hit another milestone, which is being at her adjusted age of three months. You may think, "adjusted age?" Yup, because she was a preemie she has fallen behind two months and is barely starting to do what a three month old would be doing. Right now she can show that she recognizes us by smiling at us when we smile at her (mostly with daddy) and she has started to move her head back and forth to follow us or noise that she hears. She also kicks and moves her arms and legs a lot! These are all great signs of her development!
Selena has proven her strength and is still fighting to stay healthy and develop more daily. We are looking into programs that help her with developmental therapy and give us access to exercises and therapists to help her one on one. As parents we try our hardest to do what we can here for our little ones and sometimes that means seeking additional help. Mark and I are beyond proud of her and the progress she has shown. Getting her ready for the world to love, and for her to love the world.
Every day will bring new confrontations, thrilling victories, and absurd moments. Celebrities have made our lives tough to keep up with. When we only see the "perfect" side of life through social images, television shows, and product branding; it makes it hard to look at your life and not compare. Well fear not, there are many of us who also live the life that you do. Imperfection is NORMAL.
Yes we love to watch the extravagant lives of superficial people, but at the end of the day we need to stop comparing! Being a real mom is about the fussy baby, the messy kitchen, the laundry pile and the occasional argument. However it's not always hard. Mark and I have moments where we laugh uncontrollably, the girls sleep ALL night long, and the chores are all done! Life will bring us everything we can imagine, but with a good sense of humor, an amazing partner to stand by your side, and the health of your little ones; we should prevail.
Life should always bring you to moments where you can be thankful. Those pile of dishes mean you and your family enjoyed a meal together, the laundry that is piled up shows that your kids have clothes to wear, and the occasional arguments show that you are human. We all have faults, and imperfections but don't forget that these things make you normal.
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