Welcome to the Blog on Clara and Wilson McGarvey!

Clara's amniotic sac ruptured on June 7, 2011 when we were 24 weeks and 5 days pregnant. Ten days later, Clara and Wilson were born. They have already enriched our lives in ways we couldn't have imagined, and we wanted to share those experiences with our friends and family. So sit back and enjoy the read - they are full of excitment and surprises!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

This is our first Christmas Eve as parents and so far everything is going well. We're frantically moving around getting food ready for tomorrow, wrapping presents, and making sure our wine glasses remain relatively full. Clara and Wilson have given us a few hours to get ready for their first Christmas and we're doing everything we can to take advantage of their generosity. Hopefully we'll get to sleep before Santa arrives . . . .

That's dedication . . . pumping while wrapping presents.

Thankfully she has some elves helping.

Gabey-claus is comin' to town!

The one and only Gabriel J. Sperber and his fiance, Mary Helen, have joined the four of us for Christmas! Gabe and Mary Helen live in New York, but Gabe and I lived together for four years in Lexington and Kentucky is his second home. With my brother Dave serving in Afghanistan and Clara and Wilson being confined to small groups of adults, we are thrilled to have them here! Similar to CT's visit, Gabe has agreed to guest blog. However, the entries will likely be less prolific because Gabe and MH will be here a shorter amount of time and are in the middle of the holiday craziness. Nonetheless, we'll try to provide frequent updates from our little Christmas miracles.

Wilson and Uncle Gabe

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wow, six months already!

Clara and Wilson were six months old on Saturday. We planned on commemorating this occasion by reflecting on our journey to this point. Unfortunately, Clara and Wilson had other plans for us this weekend. We will (and want to) talk about our experiences, but for now the pictures will have to do. The first two pictures were taken the day they were born, when Clara weighed 1.5 lbs and Wilson weighed 1lb, 15oz. The last picture was taken yesterday. In between the pictures chronicle their growth - they both weigh over ten pounds - and their growing pains (especially when Clara contracted MRSA and had to be placed in a special sterilized wing of the NICU).

Clara was born 14 weeks early and started out life with the assistance of a ventilator.

Wilson was born after Clara and never needed a ventilator.

Clara and Wilson met each other for the first time on their one month birthdays.
This was the last time they would see each other until Clara came home from the hospital.

Wilson at two months old. He had shed his breathing apparatus by this point,
but still relied on a feeding tube for most of his nutrition.

Clara contracted MRSA and was moved to a sterile part of the NICU.
We were not allowed to take things into the MRSA ward
so she didn't get her "birthday hat" back until she arrived at home.

Wilson was home for his three month birthday . . .

. . . but Clara was still in the hospital. However, she was starting to make
big strides and was finally free of any breathing assistance.

Clara and Wilson together at home!!!

They were getting bigger and starting to look much more "normal" babies.
By this point, they were close to two months old developmentally.

Merry Christmas! Clara and Wilson at six months old.
Do you have any idea how long it took to get both of them
somewhat smiling and looking at the camera!?!
We literally stood on a step ladder waving our hands and smiling like
lunatics for the better part of half an hour.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Do you hear that? Exactly, hear what? It is the sound of silence, glorious silence. Morgan is at the gym, both babies are sleeping, and I'm sitting at the dining room table enjoying my first cup of hot coffee in three months. Merry Christmas me! All you advice givers out there were right, it gets easier and better. In the thick of the insanity it is so hard to realize there will ever be a cup of hot coffee, shower, workout, or solid seven hours of sleep again (all of which happened today)! Chances are good it won't happen tomorrow, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

This week we are all about shots here at the McGarvey house. Unfortunately the shots we're talking about don't come with a chaser. We've traded shots of bourbon for shots of Synagis and various immunizations, but they all have the same side effects. When Clara and Wilson get their shots they turn pale, try to pass out, and are incredibly grumpy for the next 12-24 hours. The medical term for this is vasovagal, but it looks like severe alcohol intoxication and then mirrors a terrible hangover.

Our little party animals get shots at least once a month to help prevent and lessen the severity of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). RSV disease usually causes moderate-to-severe cold symptoms. However, for some babies, complications from RSV can lead to a serious lung infection. To learn more, click here. All you really need to know is RSV is VERY BAD for Clara and Wilson. If they get RSV we are looking at another lengthy stay in the hospital...or worse. Clara and Wilson will get the Synagis shots throughout the duration of RSV season, November - March, possibly April. In addition to these shots, this Friday, they will get their 6 month immunization and flu shots.

To help try and keep Clara and Wilson healthy we are limiting visitors through cold and flu season. If you would like to visit (and we would love to see you because we still can't take the kids anywhere), our doctors have requested all our visitors get a flu shot if they are going to be around the kiddos. And if you are feeling sick, please do not come over. We'll also pounce on you as soon as you walk through the door and have you wash and sanitize your hands as if you were scrubbing-in for surgery. I know these ground rules seem kind of strict, but they are "doctors' orders" and after spending 14 weeks in the NICU, we're not in a rush to go back. Part of the reason I'm bringing this up now is because Wilson currently has a cold and low grade fever. We are watching him closely hoping it goes away soon, but it reminded us that we needed to spread this info as another precaution.

On a more positive note, we instituted a bedtime routine this week, thus the silence. We feed Clara and Wilson at 7:30 p.m. and read a book before putting them to bed in their cribs. It didn't go well the first few nights, but Wilson and Clara are starting to get the hang of it. Wilson typically falls asleep within five minutes, while Clara fights sleeping until she finally conks out after 10 - 15 minutes. Shocking, right? Every other night before bedtime they get a bath- here is a picture right before getting dressed after bath time.
Wilson - 11 pounds!!!!

Clara - 10 pounds!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Angels we have heard on high, sweetly sleeping through the night?

Clara in her night cap.
Glo-o-o-O-ri-a...Amen! It's official, Clara and Wilson are "sleeping" through the night! We normally wait a few days before posting any positive news to eliminate the chance of it being a coincidence. However, Clara and Wilson have been sleeping consistently for several days in a row.  We still feed them at midnight, but after that feeding they sleep until close to 6:00 a.m. This still only equals roughly five hours of sleep for us, but after months of sleeping in 3 hour increments, the first morning they both slept until 6:00 a.m. we thought we could run a marathon. Of course, that was after our panic attack. I was so afraid I woke up Morgan and made him check to make sure they were still alive. We haven't talked about it, but I'm not sure this was a task he particularly enjoyed. Later in the morning I called the neonatalogist's office to find out what we should do. Any parent reading this blog is probably thinking how neurotic we are and that we should just let them sleep and hope they keep sleeping. Normally we would agree. The difference with preemies is the importance of weight gain, and five hours of sleep means they miss a feeding.  The doctors, however, told us not to worry because they will eat more throughout the day. So far, so good. Clara last weighed in at 9 pounds 6 1/2 ounces and Wilson is holding steady at 10 pounds 4 ounces. Over the past two weeks Clara has continued to eat more than Wilson. Are you surprised? It seems that whenever she catches wind of him getting all the praise, she buckles down and tries to catch up.

They also continue to get cuter by the day. Maybe it is because we are all getting more sleep but regardless they've weaseled their way into our hearts. Okay, it didn't take much. Wilson is a talker, I guess at this age you call it a cooer? He smiles all the time and likes to converse. Clara is either screaming at you or smiling so big it melts your heart. We are a little concerned because every time we ask Clara "are you gorgeous?" she gets a big smile on her face. Being a diva has to be nature not nurture; she has brought the drama since day one.

Several times a day we do tummy time. Tummy time is when you put them on their stomachs and allow them to lift their necks and heads with their forearms and shoulders. The purpose of this is help them build the muscles necessary to hold up their heads, roll over, and and eventually crawl. Below is how Clara and Wilson respond to tummy time (when they're not crying).
We are exhausted! There is no need for exercising, let's just lay here.

Clara and Wilson also seem to increasingly grow more aware of one another. 
Earlier this week, I was laying with both of them on the couch (this seems to be the only way restore peace during a melt down) when I looked down and saw Clara's hand over Wilson's. We'll be sure to save this picture as a reminder they really did like each other once upon a time.

On Saturday we took advantage of what was likely the last nice fall day. It will soon be too cold for our four mile walks. 

Since we are stuck inside and cannot go anywhere, we have to be creative and find new ways to entertain ourselves. Click on the picture to enjoy the pre-bath show, brought to you by Martha Washington.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Twin City Key Learnings

In my work life, we develop recaps at the end of each big program. We always include a slide titled "Key Learnings". I thought it was only appropriate for me to provide my Key Learnings from the Twin City. So here goes, in no particular order.

1. I hope I never have twins.
2. Clara and Wilson will be raised in a home full of love and laughter. I hope they like to laugh because there is a lot of it in that house.
3. I hope the kids appreciate Morgan's love for music and CD's love for cooking.
4. I'm glad CD and Morgan are the same people they were before the kids came along. Besides the fact that they now have two kids.
5. Today, on my first morning not waking up in the Twin City, I slept past noon EST. It has been YEARS since I've slept that late.
6. I don't know why the kids each decided to have a major explosion in my lap on Wednesday. Maybe it was their way of saying "don't go." Next time I will tell them the way to my heart is not through poo in my lap.
7. I think the twins' nanny must have a heart of gold and the patience of a saint to take on this gig.
8. When caring for the kids, sometimes you need a glass of wine. Sometimes you need a bottle.
9. Sometimes you need a pint of ice cream.
10. If I were in the field of baby inventions, I would make something that made newborns poo more easily. Or I would get that stork to deliver clean bottles every day.
11. I loved my time in the Twin City. Especially when they would sleep for hours at a time and look so angelic.
12. I appreciated the times I escaped from the Twin City. Whether to my friend Elizabeth's house for a cup of tea (literally), running to Kroger for CD, or going out for dinner and drinks with my former co-workers, I enjoyed getting out of the house. I also looked forward to coming back.
13. When I had the opportunity to take a shower, I would shut the bathroom door, crank Adele on my iPhone, and enjoy this "mini break".
14. I would be remiss if I didn't thank my employer, Integer, and our Be You With Us program. BYWU allows employees an additional week off during their 5, 10 and 15-year anniversaries with the company. As soon as I found out that CD was having twins, I knew I wanted to use my week to come to Louisville and help her. 
15. CD's time to run errands, pay bills, do laundry or pick up the house is limited. She crams as much into her day as possible. Morgan does, too.
16. I think CD sleeps about 4.5 hours per 24 hour period. Morgan doesn't sleep much more than that. I don't know how they function day after day.
17. Wilson is heavy. He is going to get heavier. Clara, too. (Especially since she would often eat more than him the past few days.) Who needs the gym when you have these two? 
18. I think I would like to go back to the Twin City. Once I recover from this trip.
19. I can't wait until the kids come to Chicago. 
20. I really can't wait to watch these kids grow up. They are true miracles. I know I'm not the only one that has been inspired by their journey.

And with that, I'm out. Thank y'all for reading, and thanks to CD and Morgan for letting me be a guest blogger. 

Until the next trip,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Q&A with Morgan

CT: Thank you for letting me ask you some questions, Morgan. Are you scared?
Morgan: CT, this is the dumbest thing we've ever done [as he walks out of the room]

CT: So you have two kids. They are twins. That is crazy.
Morgan: This really is the dumbest thing we've ever done.

CT: How do you feel about embarking on having two kids at home for two months?
Morgan: Are you still doing this interview?

CT: Every morning you do the 8 a.m. feeding and then you go to work. What do you think about when you are driving from the house to the office?
Morgan: How many more days until CT leaves?

CT: Some people may say you "get a break" when you go to work. What do you think about this?
Morgan: By "some people", do you mean you?

CT: From my perspective, I think having twins is the true definition of partnership in a marriage. I think you guys balance this very well.
Morgan: I haven't seen Chris in three months.

CT: What is your favorite part of the day with the kids?
Morgan: When they are sleeping. Just kidding...sort of.

CT: What is the biggest change in your life since the babies came home?
Morgan: What life?

CT: What do you miss - if anything - about your pre-baby life?
Morgan: I can't remember that life.

CT: What is your favorite baby invention?
Morgan: The pacifer. 

CT: Last night you said that Clara can't wear makeup until she is in high school. When will she be allowed to start dating?
Morgan: Whenever she wants. And I allow her to do so.

CT: Talk to me about how Chris handles all of this every single day.
Morgan: She's barely holding on.

CT: I think CD looks awesome. 
Morgan: Great.

CT: Can CD still come to Chi for girls weekends? I promise we won't get crazy.
Morgan: I have no idea where Chi is. But she is anything but shy.

CT: What if I told you that Chi is Chicago?
Morgan: What if I told you that I knew that the first time?

CT: Will you take a family trip to Chi in the next few years? I can child-proof my apartment. 
Morgan: Are you still asking questions? Yes.

CT: Where do you most want to take the kids when they get a bit older?
Morgan: To their grandparents' house.

CT: Thanks for putting up with me for a week. Sorry I always ask you so many questions.
Morgan: No you're not.

CT: When can I come back?
Morgan: I'm planning a guys trip in June.

CT: Now where would I find a headshot of you that I can post with this entry?
Morgan: [Blank stare] Unbelievably, that's the dumbest question you've asked in this interview. I keep all my headshots with my agent.

Morgan: Any more questions, CT?
CT: Is there anything else you'd like to add, Morgan?
Morgan: I hope you are able to type this interview in the sarcastica font. Things are actually going really well. Now I feel like I need to make fun of you again.

Q&A with Chris

CT: Thanks for participating in this blog entry.
CD: No problem.

CT: You have kids. Twins.
CD: Thank you, Captain Obvious.

CT: How do you feel about this?
CD: Overwhelmed.

CT: Tomorrow will be two months since Clara came home. That means you have made it through two months with two kids. Congrats.
CD: Thank you.

CT: Most popular question ever - how do you do it all?
CD: I have no choice.

CT: On Sunday you asked me what the biggest surprise was since I was here. Now I ask you - what has been the biggest surprise in having the kids home?
CD: I have two answers.
1) How long it takes to get anywhere. We are ALWAYS 30 minutes late.
2) How much poo a little creature can create.

CT: What is your favorite part of the day with them?
CD: When they are sleeping. Just kidding. Real answer: playtime when they smile at me.

CT: Since the twins came home, what has been your biggest luxury?
CD: The drive-thru at Starbucks.

CT: How often do you shower?
CD: On a good week, three times. 

CT: You look awesome and you are back to pre-baby weight. How have you gotten there? 
CD: Starvation. I don't have time to eat.

CT: What do you miss - if anything - about your pre-baby life?
CD: I miss everything about pre-baby life.

CT: When are you going back to work?
CD: Back to work? I AM working! This is the most continuous job I've ever had. I work 168 hours a week and don't get paid overtime.

CT: Good point. When are you going back to work at Yum!?
CD: January.

CT: How are you going to be able to manage it all after you throw Yum! work into the mix?
CD: I don't know.

CT: Tell me about how Morgan handles all of this.
CD: I think Morgan handles it better than I do. He is very patient and helpful. He is a natural.

CT: What are you most looking forward to doing with the twins as they get older?
CD: I'm really excited to leave the house with them in April. Even if that is just to a friend's house who also has kids.

CT: I hope you can come to a 2012 girls weekend in Chi.
CD: Me too. This year I didn't have such good luck.

CT: Thank you for letting me stay with you for a week.
CD: No comment.

CT: Will you promise to FaceTime once a week after I leave? 
CD: Yes. Absolutely. Can it be on my terms? Like during the 4 a.m. feeding?
CT: Uh...