Category Archives: Uncategorized

HOME from the Hospital!!

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I have graduated from hospital bedrest to at home bedrest! My doctor sent me home Wednesday! Cervix is stable and the babies are measuring great at around 5 lbs each and breathing on their own in utero. If I can make it to next Wednesday (34 weeks) then they will let me go into labor whenever the time comes and not try to stop it. It looks like we will be meeting our sweet baby girls soon!

Today is Oliver’s 3rd birthday and it is the first birthday that I have ever spent away from either of my kids since they are with Josh’s parents today. But, I know that I am going to get to see them tonight and then we have Oliver’s birthday party tomorrow! I am really trying to take it easy today because I really don’t want to have 3 kids with the same birthday! 🙂

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Hospital Easter 2013

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Wow, what an amazing Easter weekend! I can’t even describe how wonderful it was to spend time with my family and just the love I felt from everyone. I really had worried that I would feel left out, but I didn’t feel that way at all. Josh and my parents made every effort to include me in every part of the day.

Saturday, Josh and the kids came to the hospital a little bit after lunch time and we played legos and watched “How to Train your Dragon.” Which the kids were only kind of into. I think it was a bit old for them. Then we went for a wheelchair walk outside in one of the courtyards and played more legos. They left a little bit after dinner time. Their being here made the day go by super fast!

Then on Sunday, Josh and the kids came by after the first service at church and we did Easter Baskets here at the hospital. They went out to lunch with family and then returned to see me for about an hour before heading to the yearly family Easter egg hunt. Josh called me through FaceTime during the egg hunt and it felt so close to bring there! Later, Josh brought me dinner from the get together and we spent a few more minutes together before the day ended.

Monday was harder, Monday went by so slowly. It was such a beautiful day and my mom took the boys with Anna and Noble out to play at the playground and out to lunch. Sometimes it is so hard to be away from them. Today was much easier. I spent most of the day reading a blog and resting, I was having a lot of back pain since I think Vivian has shifted somewhere quite uncomfortable. My sister in law Anna surprised me this afternoon and brought the boys by with cupcakes that they had made and these cute little bunny crafts. It was SO nice to see them and just wonderful of her to think to bring them by.

Josh is at the storage unit tonight trying to find our spare bed so that we can set it up downstairs, anticipating that I will be able to go home tomorrow or Friday. I have another ultrasound tomorrow morning where I will hopefully get the go ahead from my doctor. I think if he leaves it up to me at all this time I am going to choose going home!! This past week has driven me crazy being here! Please pray for me tomorrow and that once on home bedrest I will be able to maintain a similarly limited level of activity.

This was last Thursday when the boys were finally able to visit!

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Hospital Bed Rest

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They took me over to the hospital in a wheelchair and my doctor came in and talked about what I should expect. He said that babies born at 29 weeks do very well and that they will need to spend some time in the NICU. He told me that it was very good that I had gotten the steroid shots a few days before and we were in the best possible shape that we could be. They planned to start me on a magnesium drip in my IV for 24 hours to try to stop the contractions and aid the babies neurodevelopment and then see what happens from there.

I changed into a hospital gown and they hooked me up to the IV. Josh stayed with me for a long time that night which was so nice. I kind of don’t remember the next 24 hours very well, but I do remember crying a lot in the middle of the night after Josh left. The nurses were often checking on me or adjusting the baby heart monitors and the IV was making my hand itch and burn and I started to feel very dizzy and hot. I’m kind of glad I don’t remember that part very well now I think about it.

After the 24 hours, they took me off of the mag since my contractions had stopped!! I was SO thrilled. They moved me into my antepartum room and after about another 24 hours, the dizziness and weird side effects from the mag stopped. A couple of days later, they removed my IV.

30 weeks

I was set to see my perinatologist the following Monday, but because of my short cervix and progression thus far I needed to stay at the hospital on bedrest. I had a lot of visitors, especially the first few days. A couple of the pastors from church came by on their hospital rounds, some of my bible study leaders, a dear new friend who has twin girls and spent many weeks on hospital bed rest at the end of her pregnancy, and family. My mom had put together a care schedule for the boys and since I was on bedrest, family had to take over care of Evan and Oliver completely during the day. Josh has been spending part of his time with the kids, trying to be at the hospital as much as he can while keeping up with household chores, and work. He really is so amazing!

My next appointment didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, but I was still pregnant and for this I am so grateful! My cervix had shortened from a little over 1 cm (11 millimeters) to 3 millimeters! So, surprise surprise, I was headed right back to the hospital with the instructions that no doctor was to go near my cervix unless labor started. I had to wait a week and a half until my next appointment when I would be 32 weeks, and then he planned to check me again.

31 weeks

This was the week that my kids got sick and couldn’t visit, which probably made it the hardest week of all, and not on just me. Since I’ve been stuck in here, the rest of my family has been cleaning up runny noses and giving homeopathic cough medicine. I’m starting to find out that the weekends are the hardest. Everyone is at home having their Saturday morning playing together and sharing memories and you are stuck in the hospital wishing that you were a part of it. This is when we started Family Saturday when Josh and the kids come up to the hospital and we watch a movie, play, and go for a wheelchair walk. It is the highlight of my week. During the sick weekend, Josh dialed me in on FaceTime and I felt like I was able to be a part of so much of what was going on. Did I mention I love that man!!!  😉 ❤

One of my doctors told me that he would write in my file that the nurses should not wake me up in the morning to check my vitals. A couple of days later, this note was missed, so at about 6am when a nurse came in to wake me up, I asked her about the note on my chart about not waking me up for this. A few days later, I got inside information from my day nurses that all of the night nurses are afraid of me. This is slightly amusing, but seriously how hard can it be for a person to get some sleep around here!!?! They even wrote a sign on my door, it was a bit more melodramatic than it needed to have been really.

The following Monday, my doctor had requested that I take a Fetal Fibronectin test. A negative result indicates that you have a 1% chance of going into labor within the next 2 weeks, and a 99% chance of the babies staying put. A positive result means that you ‘could’ go into labor within the next 7 days, but it really doesn’t tell them much of anything. What they look for is the negative result. Well, wouldn’t ya know, my test came back positive. Not great news. Finding out on Monday, however, did give me a few days to come to terms with the fact that my perinatologist was likely going to want to keep me in the hospital for a while longer.

32 Weeks

My first emotion the morning the babies turned 32 weeks was overwhelming gratitude. 32 weeks is a huge milestone for babies, especially twins, and I was so thankful still to have them with me safe in utero rather than the NICU and the difficulties they would have endured being born at a younger gestational age. So that was just wonderful. 🙂

Later that morning, I had my appointment with the peri and my ob came to see me in my room. He said that he was going to try to convince my peri to let me go home today, but that he had no idea what he was going to decide. So, I went to my appointment and as I suspected he just didn’t have a good feeling about letting me go home with that positive test result. But, I did get some good news! Violet has turned head down, so both babies are now in the head down position, perfectly positioned for trying a vaginal birth, which is what I have wanted to do all along! I know there may be some complications and it may not happen, but it was very encouraging. Also, my cervix had lengthened a bit more from 3 mm to 13 mm, which was back to over 1 cm again! The ultrasound tech told me not to take any stock in that, but how could I not. I am thrilled that this bedrest seems to at least be paying off a little bit!

After all that, I think the peri would have sent me home if I had really pushed it. But, since he was hesitant, I was hesitant. He kept saying things like, ‘I know you wont get the same level of bedrest at home as you do here’ and ‘I just know I’m going to send you home and then you’ll be back here in a couple of days in labor’ (real ray of sunshine today- the guy is actually pretty hilarious and will put you at ease, but he is also at the top of his field and takes his work seriously). And in the back of my mind I know that Josh is glad I am here right now where I have nurses taking care of us and if anything at all happened I would be in the best place possible, which I think gives him great comfort especially when he is at work. The peri really wanted me to do another round of steroid shots for the babies lungs due to the positive FFN test, so I did. I also asked him if it might be possible that I could go home for my son’s birthday the next weekend since I would be very close to 34 weeks, he said he thinks he would be just fine with that if things are still looking stable, he just doesn’t quite feel right about sending me home now. So, here I am, and the hardest part is I agreed to it! So, when I have an NST that takes 2 tries and 4 hours I have to realize that I am the one who ultimately made the decision to stay here. Doing the selfless thing is sometimes the hardest thing- but, as always, I know my girls are worth it. ❤

Thursday the boys FINALLY came to visit! I had not seen them in 7 days, and while Evan does really well with FaceTime, Oliver just doesn’t get it. So, it was wonderful to get to really interact with them. Josh’s parents brought them over for about an hour and it was just such a blessing to get to be around my kids. I miss them so much. Oliver cried when they left, he did not want to leave the hospital without me. Which was hard, but I know that I will see them for a long time on Saturday and we are going to have Easter Baskets and maybe a little egg hunt at the hospital on Sunday.

Which brings us up mostly to the present! Today I am 32 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I was very low emotionally on Wednesday when the reality started sinking in and I knew that I will have to be here another week. Josh took today (Friday) off and spent the whole day here at the hospital with me. That man loves me like I do not deserve, his love is certainly God’s greatest gift to me. So, we spent the morning together watching the today show and talking, he took me down for a delicious wheelchair lunch in the courtyard. We sorted through baby clothes via FaceTime and had hospital dinner at which point I became teary eyed that the day had come to an end. But, we have scheduled this weekend so that Josh and the kids are planning to spend as much time here with me as possible to help me get through this (hopefully!!!!!) last weekend and then I will just have Monday and Tuesday until I get the go ahead to go home for Oliver’s Birthday party this Saturday which is generously being planned by my brother and lovely sister in law, Anna. So, I am hoping that the babies stay put first of all, and second that I won’t miss the greatest Ninja Turtle Birthday Party of all time for my favorite soon to be 3 year old. 🙂

Weeks 21-29

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Christmas came and went, Oliver FINALLY potty trained for good in January, and the girls continue to do great! They were both measuring very good which all of the doctors were happy about and I was always anxious to see them at each two week ultrasound, just to kind of check in.

My mother in law planned our first baby shower for the first weekend in March and I was so excited! Many of my friends from bible study and choir were going to attend as well as many of her friends and some family members. The baby shower was such a blessing, people were so generous with their gifts, but also with their prayers and blessings over our two little girls. I had a wonderful time and it was a baby shower that I will never forget! I was especially touched by family that had driven up from out of town to be there and the way everyone was just generally excited to be at a baby shower for twins! The identical twin ladies from my bible study who I am really getting to know better now were there and a friend of mine who also has 18 month old twin girls was there with her mother.

I had a doctor visit and ultrasound scheduled for the following Wednesday before my other baby shower that was happening the next Sunday. Wednesday arrived and so did a massive blizzard! They closed the doctor’s office and we were all snowed in for the whole day! Even Josh had to miss work, which gave him a long awaited opportunity to straighten up the house. It was all very timely, and we were able to get little housekeeping things done and an unexpected day to spend together as a family.

I called the OB office the next day to reschedule my ultrasound appt and they said they could see me that day at 1:30pm. Nothing had happened to cause me to be nervous, but I had a strange feeling the day before that something was different this time and I was actually very disappointed when they closed their office for the snow. I went into the appointment feeling quite normal and the nurse performed the cervical and anatomy ultrasounds. The babies as always were looking beautiful, Vivian was measuring at 3lbs, 9oz at 29 weeks old with her sister not far behind her and they had plenty of fluid.  Just perfect little girls.

When my perinatologist came in for our bi-weekly talk, he gave me the news that my cervix had shortened quite a lot in the last two weeks. I had gone from normal length (3-3.5 cm) to barely more than 1cm (about 11 millimeters). He told me that he was very concerned that I might be going into preterm labor and they wanted to monitor me for contractions. So, I went down to the other end of the office to see my OB and had my first NST (non-stress test) where they hook you and the babies up to three different little monitors, one for Vivian’s heartbeat, one for Violet’s, and one for contractions. They both sounded great and I don’t even think I had one contraction during that NST and when the doctor checked me I was closed and thin, so they decided to have me take the corticosteroid shots to speed up the babies lung development just in case they were born in the next week.  I picked up the medicine from the pharmacy and went back to the doctor’s office to get the first of the 2 shots. They sent me home on guidelines of modified bedrest and to return the next day for my second shot and told me if things progressed any more at my next appointment the following Monday that they would put me on hospital bedrest.

I spent the next couple of days preparing for the possibility of hospital bed rest and really just taking it easy. I still had some activity, but it was really reduced from before the bedrest. I posted on the Richmond Area Mothers of Multiples forum about my worries about bedrest and preterm labor and asked for advice. I got about 17 responses, 1 of which was from the Bedrest Support Person for the group. I was amazed that they had a bedrest support person and at the responses that I received! Everyone was so understanding and helpful, willing to share their story of either hospital or at home bedrest. It gave me such peace of mind to hear these stories with their wonderful outcomes and their suggestions from what to do to pass the time while I was in the hospital to specific things to ask for during my stay. But, at this point it was all “just in case” because I was just sure that I wouldn’t have to go in the hospital!

The first time I left the house since Thursday (except a short trip to the OB for my 2nd shot) was for my baby shower on Sunday which was thrown by my mother and sister in law and was mostly family and close family friends. It was a tea party baby shower and the decorations were beautiful. The food was amazing and I got to open a bunch of cute girly frilly things!

cute-outfits     cupcakes-and-flowers

 

decorations   ashsharalex

During the shower, we got a sitter for the kids at our house and my dad threw a “Diaper Party” for my husband where they watched the Avengers and ate a lot of pizza. I enjoyed the baby shower, but I think I would have been able to enjoy it a lot more had I not been on bedrest. I had to sit nearly the entire time I was there and wasn’t as able to interact with everyone as much as I would have liked to. But, I am very grateful that I was even able to be at this shower, we had it just in time.

The following morning, I had gotten a few things together in bags or different areas of the house for my husband to bring me just in case I didn’t come back home after my appointment. He called me a few hours after he got to work and asked who was taking me to the hospital. I realized that I had just planned on driving myself and he insisted that he needed to take me. I think he came to this decision per the suggestion of the ladies at work. And thank the Lord! I couldn’t have been more thankful for that. He picked me up that afternoon and we headed to the appointment. At the ultrasound they saw no cervical change, I was holding steady at a length of 1cm. As a precaution, my perinatologist called in one of the doctors in the practice who checked me and found that my cervix had progressed from closed and thin to 2cm dilated and 90% effaced. I didn’t believe them! I had been on bedrest all weekend and had still progressed! They told me I was going to the hospital.

Weeks 8-20

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Since that first day at our 8 week appointment, this has been an amazing journey! From meeting a set of identical twin sisters who are part of my community bible study to God revealing to my mother in law that they were twin girls before we even knew they were twins, it’s all been pretty amazing. Here they are at 12 weeks:

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They are such a miracle! The realization of the arrival of two babies instead of one was starting to hit me hard. We have always wanted to have 4 kids, 2 boys and 2 girls is perfect, but we didn’t exactly expect to get there quite so soon and the prospect of having 4 kids under 5 years old is a little daunting. This was a period of trusting that God gave us these babies when He did for a reason. The hardest part on my husband was jumping from a family of 4 to a family of 6 and the financial pressure that puts on him. But, we can continue to see how God has provided so much for these babies every step of the way and I can only imagine the special purpose he has for their lives.

Throughout this first trimester I was very nauseus, unable to eat very much, and had many food aversions. It was kind of miserable from that stand point, when you want to eat but you can’t. I was wishing I felt this way when I was not pregnant because I would get so thin! Thankfully, the closer I got to week 12, the more I was able to eat and look at/be in the same room with food. So that was fantastic!

As soon as my doctors found out that I was having mono/di twins (2 amniotic sacs, 1 placenta) they scheduled my ultrasounds and appointments for every two weeks. There are some risks with identical twins sharing a placenta that include twin to twin transfer syndrome. This is where one twin can get more blood flow and nourishment than the other twin and both twins suffer. It is a very serious condition, so they wanted to monitor me closely. We are so blessed that the girls never had a problem with that! They have both always had plenty of fluid and been very healthy girls! They are continuing even now at 30 weeks to monitor me for this.

At my week 16 ultrasound, my perinatologist told me that he thought they were girls, but to wait until I told anyone because he wanted to make sure at the 18 week appointment. Of course I told Josh and we were both SO excited, but couldn’t wait to get it confirmed. I also had this little feeling of sadness that I will never have another baby boy which I did not expect. Baby boys are SO sweet and what am I going to do with two girls?!? The drama, the emotions, the sassiness… I have NO experience with these things! It’s an understatement to say that Josh was completely over the moon about having two baby girls! They already have him wrapped around their tiny fingers and they’re not even born yet! 🙂

For me, there’s just so much that comes with having daughters. Boys are so easy, feed them and let them run around and they’re happy! I pray that I can be a good mom to girls and to not be too hard on them or make them feel like they don’t measure up to my expectations. Girls are complicated, I often don’t even understand grown women. I am, however, getting excited about dressing them up in all things frilly!

Our 18 week ultrasound arrived and Josh went with me. We were confirmed- twin girls!! And had already chosen the names Vivian and Violet. We planned a gender reveal party where my aunt Brenda made these beautiful gender reveal cakes! Everyone was so excited to find out that we are team PINK!

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Identical Twin Girls on the way!

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Wow, so much has changed since I last updated this blog!! Also, I had no time for the past year to even look at it, so it’s no surprise. This blog is about to change from its previous ‘vegan cooking and food allergies’ focus to twin pregnancy because I am 30 weeks pregnant with identical twin girls!

Now that I have some extra time, since I am on hospital bedrest at the moment, I would like to use this blog to keep a record of the last hopefully months of my pregnancy as well as to catalog the journey thus far.

The Beginning

Who can ever expect to become pregnant with twins? Maybe you at least know that the risk is there if you have some family history of twins (which I do) or maybe if you used fertility help from your doctor. But, in this case, neither is the reason for our wonderful identical twin girls! Identical twinning happens at random and it cannot be replicated in medical science. Josh and I feel that it is a very special blessing and we are honored that God has chosen us to receive these precious babies.

Not long after I found out I was pregnant, I started to get really tired and nauseas most of the time, which was unusual for me because with both boys I had little to no nausea, and certainly not severe. While I was doing the inevitable internet research on how to treat my nausea, I came up with a few sites that stated severe nausea in early pregnancy can be due to higher than normal HcG levels indicating a twin pregnancy. For each pregnancy, it was always in the back of my mind that it could be twins before that first 8 week ultrasound since there are twins on both sides of my family it just didn’t seem that uncommon. This time however, that feeling was even stronger, so I would bring it up with Josh every now and then and we would laugh off the possibility.

Then, at our 8 week ultrasound we were joking with the ultrasound tech about how we wanted to make sure there was ‘just one in there’ and she assured us that yes it was just one! Saying that to her prompted her to look around a bit more and she found something that she hadn’t expected. Everyone in the room got really quiet and then Josh said, “Wait, what’s that?” After poking and prodding a bit, the nurse had found a SECOND baby!! Baby B was hiding directly behind baby A and she could see that they were sharing a placenta which meant IDENTICAL TWINS! I was completely in shock, I mean this woman had just told me that there was definitely only one in there. I walked out of the office kind of in a daze and we sat down in the waiting room to see my ob. Next to us there was a young woman and her mother. I think I said something to Josh along the lines of, “I’m still in shock…” and the lady next to us asked us if we were having twins. I said yes and found out that the young woman was one of a set of identical twins! We talked about how much she loved having an identical twin sister and how it is such a special blessing. I started to get less freaked out and more excited.

I decided to text all of the family members my ultrasound picture showing two beans in there and oh boy were they shocked!! I showed the picture to my father in law, not saying anything about it being twins, and the look on his face was priceless! He said, “Is there… TWO of them?!?” I will never forget that.

And that sums up the day that I started this journey. After I found out they were twins, I thought, what am I going to say to them when they ask me, “Mom, why did God make me an identical twin?” I finally came up with my answer: “God loved you so much and you were so special that He decided to make two of you. And so that you would always have each other.” 🙂

Preschool Sports Camp – With Severe Peanut Allergy

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Normally, I consider myself a pretty laid back, go with the flow kind of person. But, this is not true when it comes to my son Evan’s severe peanut allergy. And it doesn’t help that this is the first time that I have left him with anyone other than family for more than 3 hours! So, in the days leading up to his first morning at preschool sports camp, I was starting to get a little nervous. Evan is currently in speech therapy, and is doing so well, but he is not able at present to distinguish what peanuts are, what they might be in or to stop himself from eating whatever is in sight that looks tasty to him. The only thing that seemed to comfort me was accomplishing preparation and visibility!! So, I thought I’d blog about my whole process. This is not exactly how I was hoping things would go, but this is my honest account and I do feel 90% comfortable with the outcome, which I think is pretty good considering.

First thing, about 3 weeks ago, I emailed the sports director at the YMCA where the sports camp is being held this week to see if we could discuss ideas that both he and I had to make this a safe and fun experience for Evan- because along with the peanut allergy issue we also have the “I don’t want to listen all the time and occasionally run off because I am a rambunctious three year old” issue. He never got back to me… So, I went down to the office right before one of my workouts and asked to speak with him in person. Fortunately, I caught him when he was right outside the office and we spoke about my ideas. I asked him to send out an email to all of the parents of participants in the sports camp asking them not to pack any snack items containing peanuts because there would be a severely allergic child present. He reluctantly agreed to this request. Then I spoke to him about my idea to post signs on the area to remind parents, but he didn’t think this was a good idea because he felt it would make Evan feel alienated… at 3 years old? really? This is one of the signs that I had printed:

So, I let this one go, and started focusing on things that I could do to help promote awareness and safety. Even after all that it seems that the sports director never sent the email that he said he would. I am told that he meant to but there was apparently some mistakes involved. I still have not received it.  I do think, however, that I got the point across to him of the severity of the situation and my extreme concern.

Last night, I set out to label every item that I could and ask a trusted friend who also has a son with a severe allergy for her advice. She had, in particular, suggested that I include a second set of epi-pens because in the case of an extremely severe reaction, you may need more than one. So, I stuck an extra in his bag as well as the regular. On his normal epi-pen case, I labeled some simple instructions for using the epi-pen. They can be found on the epi itself, but I’m thinking, the more times you see information, the better it sticks in your mind.

Next, I place the epi-pens as well as this babysitter and drop off form into his bag. I found this form here: http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/babysitter_form.html. Kidswithfoodallergies.org is one of my favorite websites for ideas for holiday planning, support, and just so many other things.

I filled it out and just put it in his bag as another place to find emergency information and if someone went poking around in his bag they would hopefully at least glance at it. Then I put a label on his backpack that states: “Epi-Pen In Bag”

Since they eat lunch at the camp (and thus the whole reason for my concern) I packed Evan a lovely vegan and nut free lunch in this lunchbox and put a big label on it, as though I hadn’t beat it through these people’s heads yet!

And finally, Evan wore this peanut allergy bracelet, which he wears quite often, that we bought from www.allermates.com. His name is P. Nutty. 🙂

I tried to explain to Evan not to eat anyone else’s food and to listen to the coaches, but he is a bit unpredictable. When we arrived at the camp this morning and I dropped him off, I asked the sports director to have someone sit with Evan during the snacktimes and he agreed. Evan seemed very excited and perked up especially when we saw his very close friend, a little girl who he was in basketball class with. I asked her to look out for him for me and she said she would, and ultimately this is what gave me the strength to leave him there. When I picked him back up at 12:30, the sports director  came up to me with his bags. I thanked him and asked how Evan did and he said that he just needs to work on his listening (which I warned him about), so I would say that is a success! Now, since a friend of mine forwarded me the schedule email, I have found out that there is an Easter Egg Hunt during the camp on Friday so I am trying to decide if I want to be involved in the hunt to make it safe or if I should just take him out on Friday. I’m a teeny bit peeved that the sports director did not mention it to me. I’ll probably update this when I figure it out.

So, it’s not the perfect situation. The people at the YMCA certainly could have been more helpful-especially the sports director-but, I really just had to take it upon myself to try to make Evan’s needs as visible as possible. Thanks for reading. 🙂