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!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

We've been celebrating Clara and Wilson's first Halloween for the past four days. On Friday, Aunt Sara volunteered to babysit while Chris and Morgan went out for a night of Halloween fun with several of their friends. Unfortunately, Aunt Sara either got food poisoning or the stomach flu Friday morning and had to cancel. Instead of letting it derail our plans, we decided to improvise. Two of our good friends had a few people over before going to the big Halloween party. These friends don't have kids and didn't have tons of people come over, so we decided to pack up the kids and take Clara and Wilson to their first Halloween Party. Since Charlie Sheen has twin boys, we dressed Clara and Wilson in matching unisex onesies, Morgan went as Charlie Sheen, and Chris dressed up as one of his goddesses. We had a GREAT time and were incredibly thankful for the opportunity to hang out with friends and feel somewhat normal. Now all we need is for Clara to forgive us for dressing her up as a twin boy for her first Halloween Party.

Clara and Wilson must have learned about trick or treating on Friday because they vacillated between playing tricks and being treats all weekend. Whether it was one of several back end blowouts or Clara and Wilson not sleeping during the night, they were quite a handful. However, Clara smiled at us for the first time this weekend and both kids were extra cuddly during the day. We tried to capture their sweetness by taking cute fall pictures. Morgan would run outside and arrange leaves on a blanket in the yard and Chris would then run out and lay the kids down for a few pictures before repeating the process over again. We looked like absolute fools and didn't get great pictures, but we had fun.
Hey, at least they both have their eyes open.
And of course, tonight was actually Halloween. Clara was dressed like a ladybug and Wilson wore a pumpkin outfit to greet trick or treaters. (On a side note, you know you're starved for social interaction when you're tripping over each other to get to the door to greet the kids in costumes.) Everything went well until Chris had to leave to pick up more candy and we had a five alarm meltdown in Twin City. Order was restored when Chris returned and not too many trick or treaters were scared off by the commotion from within.

The scariest costume of all . . . this year Morgan answered the
door as a dad.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Smile, you're on candid camera!

Wilson smiled! Clara and Wilson have each smiled inadvertently, but Wilson just starting smiling at us in response to us smiling at him. The first time he did it we acted like he had just won a gold medal in the Olympics, saved children from a burning school, and developed a cure for cancer. We finally understood the "proud parent" thing because we truly felt like it was the first time a baby ever smiled at someone. However, we tried not to be too excited because we recognized the possibility Wilson's reaction might have been coincidence (or gas). But he thrilled us again by smiling in response to our smiling at him the past two mornings. We haven't been able to capture it on camera, so below is a picture of the next best thing.

And of course, we can't leave Miss Clara out of the fun. Clara is doing really well, but she hasn't quite caught up with Wilson . . . yet. We have no doubt with her fiery personality and fighting spirit she will be giving Wilson a run for his money in no time. So in the interest of fairness, we decided not to leave her out of the smiling fun.

"Great, at four months old I'm already more mature than my parents.
It is going to be a long 18 years" - Clara

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

And Unto us A Child Was Bjorn

You know, it was easier to keep up with the blog while sitting in a hospital room. We'll renew our promise to do better, blah blah blah so on and so on. Seriously, this week we'll try to keep up with their daily activities. Clara and Wilson continue to amaze us and we owe it to them to continue recording their remarkable journey.  We also feel this blog enables us to stay connected to our friends and family. We truly believe we wouldn't be at this point without your love and support and appreciate you staying with us through the many phases of this experience. So without further ado . . .

The biggest news of the week is the doctors do not think Clara will need surgery to fix her hernia! Clara visited a specialist last Thursday who believes the opening in her inguinal canal has closed and her swelling should subside over time. Basically, this means they think she had a build up of fluid and not a classic hernia. We'll keep a close eye on things but are thrilled with the current prognosis. Clara has been through so much and we did not want her to have to endure a surgical procedure so soon after leaving the NICU.

Clara's news is fantastic, especially long term, but in the short term, Wilson just reached a milestone that is possibly more exciting . . . Wilson finally weighs eight pounds! Aside from the benefits of continued growth and the psychological satisfaction of having an eight pound baby, Wilson's weight gain signifies one important factor; he is big enough to fit in the Baby Bjorn. This might not seem like a big deal to the uninitiated, but it enables us to comfort and hold him while having both hands free. Unlike Clara, Wilson couldn't stand being in the baby sling so we had to hold him most of the time he was awake. Not to sound like an infomercial, but the Baby Bjorn allows him to have his arms and legs free as well as see us and turn his head. For us, this means a little more freedom. Ok, so it's the freedom to clean dishes, bottles, pump parts, and baby clothes, but, for the first time in a few weeks, the health department might not condemn our kitchen.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Four months already

We can't believe it has been four months since Clara and Wilson were born. The first picture below was taken when the kids were one month old. It was the first time Clara and Wilson saw each other. Unfortunately, it was also they last time they saw each other until Clara came home from the hospital. However, as you can see, they are together again and their transformation/recovery is nothing short of amazing.

They might hate us for it later, but we decided to use these hats
to visibly track their growth.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Catching Up

Ok, we'll start off by apologizing. Last Sunday we promised to do a better job updating the blog and this is our first post since Tuesday. Oh well, you know what they say about good intentions. This week we're renewing our pledge to post more about Clara and Wilson's adventures and hopefully we'll succeed. In the meantime, a lot has happened since Tuesday. We'll stop making excuses for not updating everyone on the kids so we can actually update you on how they're doing.

"They haven't been writing about us because they've been wasting
time putting us in silly outfits." - Clara
 On Thursday, Clara and Wilson went back to the pediatrician for a routine check-up and to receive their second round of immunization shots. As usual, Chris was excited to go to the doctor. We love our pediatrician and the doctor's office is still the only public place Chris can take Clara or Wilson. Morgan tagged along to help in case one or both of the kids got fussy. As it turns out, "fussy" might be the understatement of the year. Clara and Wilson received one shot in each of their legs. Wilson went first. As soon as the nurse administered the first shot Wilson's eyes grew to the size of saucer plates and he screamed like he was auditioning for a part in horror film. The second shot didn't go any better.

Wilson's reaction didn't bode well for Clara. She has always been our "feisty" child and we were afraid people driving by might need hearing protection. To our surprise, Clara was relatively subdued. However, right after complimenting her on her bravery, Clara tried to pass out. She stopped making noises and turned a ghostly shade of white/green. The nurse went to get the doctor and we ended up staying at the pediatrician's office for another half an hour so Clara could be observed.

We'd love to tell you we were calm throughout the entire experience, but seeing the kids get their shots upset us greatly. When Wilson received his first injection, Chris started bawling. Morgan wasn't exactly a tough guy either when he was pressed into action with Clara while Chris comforted Wilson. We're still surprised the doctor didn't take Morgan's blood pressure too.

Much more so than the kids, our reactions were really surprising. We've seen Clara and Wilson with multiple IV's, feeding tubes, and different breathing apparatuses, so we didn't think watching them get their immunizations would be difficult. We were wrong. In analyzing why we reacted the way we did, we rationalized that the dire nature of the NICU actually inoculated us to some of the raw emotions you experience while watching your child in pain. When a baby is under two pounds and encased in a clear plastic isolette with various lifelines and monitors strung throughout, you focus more on long term goals than short term feelings. Last Thursday, we took off our babies' clothes and they received a shot. Their pain was immediate and real and it was not fun . . . for any of us.

We did get some good news from the doctor. Not only does Wilson weigh nearly 7.5 lbs, but Clara weighed 6 lbs, 7 ozs. Weight gain is good for many reasons, but the most selfish for us is the doctor is permitting us to move up to four hours between feedings. This might not sound like much, but it means six feedings per day instead of eight feedings per day. That means less bottles and pump parts to clean, fewer diapers to change, and (slightly) more sleep time. Woo hoo!!! Welcome back extra two hours of our day, you have been greatly missed.

Unfortunatley we weren't able to bask in the glory of our extra time this weekend because Chris contracted a cold on Friday. She is doing better now and Morgan, Wilson, and Clara are all  very excited. The trick will be to make sure no one else gets her cold. We think Clara and Wilson might have gotten a trace of it but were helped greatly by the natural antibodies they received in their milk. Since that option wasn't available to Morgan, we've used more hand sanitizer than a hospital and taken more Vitamin C than a Florida orange grove.

We moved a twin mattess on the floor of the nursery and this is what Chris found
around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. No, the kids did not sleep in bed. Morgan
was too tried to officially "wake up" and Clara and Wilson were crying
asking to be held. Chris took a picture and thought "welcome to my life" before
blowing her nose and going back into her room.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Did somebody have a case of the Mondays?

Clara and Wilson decided they weren't ready for the party to end
Either Monday started really early for us or the weekend never ended for Clara and Wilson. At around 4:30 Monday morning we half expected them to bust out some electronic music and start waiving glow sticks. By 8:30 a.m. it was nap time for everyone except Morgan, who had to go work. As you can see in the picture above, even if he wanted to stay home, there wouldn't have been room on the couch. By noon the kids were fussy enough that Chris called in reinforcements. Judy (Morgan's mom who still hasn't chosen her official grandma name) came out to our house, helped Chris pack up the kids, and the four of them took a field trip to grandma's house. Once there and settled, Grandma watched Clara and Wilson while Chris went for a much needed run.

It was beautiful weather yesterday and going for a run re-charged Chris' batteries. Forgetting about their behavior over the past 24 hours, Chris was energetic enough to try nursing Clara and Wilson together for only the second time. The first attempt was a complete disaster. Last night was actually somewhat successful but, unfortunately for Morgan, it was still a two-man process. The whole scene looked as ridiculous as you think, so, lucky for you, we do not have pictures.

And of course, after a day in which Clara and Wilson would have convinced the Duggars not to have any more kids, this is how cute they looked last night before having their diapers changed.  

They actually look this perfect for about 30 seconds every day.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Eh, what's up doc?

It was a lot easier updating the blog when the kids were in an isolette and we could post our entries at the hospital. We don't want to go back to those days, but having them both at home has cut into to our time to do anything. Showering is no longer a daily activity, so you can imagine where the blog falls on the daily priority list. However, it is something we want to continue so this week we will try to have more posts. There might be more pictures and less text, but that's probably more interesting anyway.

Last Thursday was our first follow-up appointment with the neonatologists at Kosair since Clara left the hospital. We were we anxious to see how the kids were progressing, but were also excited to go back to the hospital. The doctors have adamantly told us not to take the kids out to public or crowded places unless absolutely necessary. Therefore, a trip to the hospital to see the people we've gotten to know so well over the past four months constituted our biggest family social outing to date. Chris not only dressed up the kids in cute outfits, she also took a shower and put on some makeup. Sure, we started getting ready to leave at about seven o'clock Wednesday night to be on time for our appointment Thursday morning, but it was worth it. (And yes, we were still a little late).

The report on Clara and Wilson was mostly positive. Both kids gained weight - Clara gained a pound since leaving the hospital and weighed 6 lbs, 3 ozs and Wilson almost hit the 7 lb mark by weighing in at 6lbs, 15.5 ozs. We're convinced if he hadn't had a blow out in his diaper early Thursday morning he would have made it to 7lbs. Wilson received a good bill of health and the doctors think his reflux issues will subside in due time. This is good because it still kind of freaks us out when he stops breathing while he's eating and we have to bend him over our leg to make sure he doesn't choke. Wilson also has an umbilical hernia, but that is pretty typical in preemies and should go away as he gets older.

Wilson's umbilical hernia might as well be a dorsal fin,
but it wasn't big enough to get him to 7lbs.  
Clara also received glowing reviews and the doctors were impressed by her progress since leaving the NICU. Not only have we kept her alive, she is actually doing well under our care . . . perhaps the biggest miracle of all. Other than continuing to need breathing treatments, Clara's only other pressing concern is she most likely has an inguinal hernia. This is different than an umbilical hernia and will likely require surgery. We will consult with a surgeon soon and probably have Clara's hernia repaired before the end of the year. It's not an ideal situation, but will hopefully be a routine procedure.

The breathing treatments continue
After the official doctor's appointment, Morgan went to work and Chris extended her hall pass away from the home by visiting a few of the other doctors and nurses at Kosair. It was wonderful to see how excited everyone was by their progress. One of the doctors went so far as to get her iphone, take pictures, and text them to another doc who was on vacation. We continue to be impressed by the amazing miracle workers in the neonatal intensive care unit at Kosair and will probably annoy Clara and Wilson by taking them back for visits for many years to come.  

Now that we've had them both home for two weeks, we're starting to pick up little things about their personalities that we didn't notice in the NICU. We'll have more on that tomorrow but it's 1:52 a.m., Clara and Wilson are now both asleep and we are going to try to join them. Thanks for continuing to read the blog and encouraging us to keep posting. Having them in the NICU was very difficult and we couldn't wait to leave, but having them home presents new challenges as well. It is very uplifting to know we still have so many friends and family sending us prayers and well-wishes. For tonight, th-th-th-th-that's all folks!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Things We Do (already)

We intended to update the blog last night or at least write a meaningful piece tonight about the challenges of Morgan going back to work. Clara and Wilson decided to delay those plans. However, the blog has been one of the few highlights of this experience - we love it that so many of our friends and family are interested in Clara and Wilson and continue to stay with us as their journey continues - and we are not ready to quit.

Growing up, the McGarvey family took lots of road trips. Before ipods and DVD players came along, we played games and listened to books on tape to pass the time. One of our favorite things to do was listen to stories told by Lewis Grizzard, a humorist and columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Lewis wasn't a stand up comedian, but told funny stories that made everyone chuckle and were perfect for a long car ride. One particular story (not one of his best) was a spoof on General Sherman marching out of Atlanta and encountering a lone Confederate soldier shouting obscenities at the Union Army from the top of Stone Mountain. To make a long story short, General Sherman continued to send up men to kill the rebel but none returned alive. Finally, after sending 150 men to the top, one lived to tell the story. When General Sherman asked what happened, the soldier replied "it's a trick General Sherman, there's two of 'em!!!"

Putting political correctness aside, I can't tell you how many times I've thought of that punch line since Clara and Wilson arrived at our house. There are two of them and it feels like we're out-numbered at all times. Rare is the occasion that no one is peeing, pooping, spitting up, crying, needing to burp, or hungry, but we're coming up with creative ways to handle our troublesome tandem. 

When Clara is inconsolable, she needs to be held and requires constant motion to calm down. At any given moment you can find us two-stepping with her in the kitchen or waltzing through the hallways. Wilson also likes to be held, but really enjoys it when we sing to him. Classics such as "I've Been Workin' on the Railroad," "She'll be Comin' Around the Mountain," and "This Little Light of Mine" are in heavy rotation right now. You may think our house sounds like an episode of The Voice or Dancing With The Stars, but don't mistake it for an episode of America's Got Talent. We've tried to explain to Wilson that we're better singers with a six pack and a karaoke machine. We've also tried to tell Clara . . . nah, forget it; not even drinking makes us good dancers.
One of many father-daughter dances at the Twin City

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Happy Rocktober! We celebrated the opening of night of fall's greatest month by taking Clara and Wilson to their grandparents' house for a few hours Saturday night so we could go to a going away party for one of our close friends. Yes, you read that correctly, we made it out of our house. But our first sojourn back to "normalcy" reminded us how much has changed.

No kidding, it took us two hours to get ready to leave the house. The ridiculousness of this detail was amplified by the fact we were only planning to go to the party for about three hours. The two hour prep time included taking showers and getting dressed, but I didn't wash my hair and put on makeup in the car. We'll get better, but feeding two kids, packing diapers, outfits, the heart rate/oxygen monitor, and other various sundries took longer than we expected. Oh well, it was worth it for our first taste of freedom. However, we did find it slightly amusing that our first stop on the path to freedom was Morgan's parents' house.

Once we arrived at the party we were surrounded by adults. No kids were crying, pooping, eating or spitting up so what did we do . . . we talked about the kids. This was a rookie mistake and we promise to be more entertaining on our next trip outside the confines of the Twin City. It was a good thing this was a going away party because we might not have been invited back.  

Then the late night party began after we got home . . .

 . . . .until somebody had too much to drink.

Clara and Wilson are both doing well and we're all learning to adjust to each other. The only abnormal problem we had this weekend was Clara's body temperature dipped sharply during the wee hours of Sunday morning. Of course we probably over-reacted and wrapped her in so many outfits, sleep sacks, and hats that she was sweating during her 9:00 a.m. feeding. She looked like a cross between a glow worm and an infant Richard Simmons. (Do those references mean we're old?)


The real test begins tomorrow when Morgan goes back to work. Going from man-to-man to a zone will present real challenges. As usual, we'll let you know how things go.