Every once in a while there is a blog that makes you smile every time you check in, and honestly The Letter B Photography is one of those blogs. Jade’s photos are breathtaking and the joy you see come off their faces is just awesome. Jade’s and her husband John’s story is so amazing (and the word amazing does not do this enough justice). They are brand new parents to 2 month old boy/girl twins, Rory and Quinn. I hope you fall in love with this blog as much as I have!
What made you decide to start a blog?
My husband, John, was diagnosed with testicular cancer on his 26th birthday (surprise! I know you asked for socks but isn’t this better??) and he decided to start a blog in order to fend off some of the impending phone conversations. He’d say that the only thing worse than telling a boring story once was telling a boring story 100 times. On his good days he’d jump on his laptop and punch in a few thoughts, using humor to help diffuse the bomb. That practice actually ended up being an extremely therapeutic process for him and most of our family and friends, allowing them to see what was happening while keeping everyone’s spirits lifted. Fast forward about a year and a half and you’d find me sitting on my couch, sweating profusely, palms sticky with anticipation while I read through horror stories regarding IVF online (Damn you internet! Why do you give me everything I ask for!!??) I remembered John’s process and I remembered reading his entries and finding myself laughing at them and I remembered it all making things a little lighter. After reading hundreds, maybe thousands, maybe a google of tragic IVF stories, I decided to start a blog that would try to bring a positive spin to our circumstances. I also really enjoyed the thought of connecting with others who were going through or who had gone through, the same thing.
You had quite the journey to parenthood, can you discuss this?
Well, John and I started dating when we were 16 and 17 (but if you call us high school sweet hearts, I swear to you, I will just puke all over this keyboard) and decided to get married straight out of college and start our lives and careers in LA, The City of Angels and Homeless People. Both of us knew that we wanted to have kids but we were still young and kids could wait. We were wild and independent and crazy. We liked to split six packs of Coors light and pull the shades and dance as long as no one could see us. Things were really pumping along….and then John was diagnosed with stage 4 testicular cancer and our lives were suddenly tossed, thrown, catapulted, into a different direction. Ladies and gentleman, please keep your hands and legs inside the cart at all times. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. Surgical removal and chemotherapy were our only options short of traveling to India and having a monk lay hands on us and we were advised to begin treatment immediately. Immediately as in…like….yesterday. But we delayed it for a month. We both put John’s well being on hold for 30 days while the cancer grew. Why? Because we knew that we wanted children more than anything else and we knew that the only way we were going to get them now was to bank (which I guess is the PC way to say “masturbate awkwardly in a tiny room with fluorescent lights……dear Sperm Bank, USA: A little mood lighting can go a long way). This risk was never discussed between us. We didn’t weigh the pros and cons. We just knew that we wanted kids and we knew what we had to do to get them. It was very A to B. The following year was a rollercoaster of cancer treatments, ER visits, hospital stays, insurance battles and all around general How-Did-I-End-Up-Here-ness before John entered into remission, totally cancer free. Booyah. Eat it. You can’t keep a good man down. We let things settle down for about a year before deciding it was about time to unfreeze some DNA, jump in our car, and begin a completely new journey: IVF. We started our first cycle in April (via ICSI) and had a really great experience – it wasn’t half as bad as everyone had said and our doctors, for the most part, were really incredible. John came home from work a few weeks later and found a Lite-Brite sitting on our bed with glowing pegs stuck in it that read, “WE’RE PREGNANT!”. I remember he turned around with his eyebrows held up high, forming them into the McDonald’s arches and I said, “With twins” and he goes, “Whoa.”
Your cuties are 1 month old, how has the adjustment to having them home been?
Y’know, we basically walked through The Valley of the Shadow of Death and back to get these kids so having them here is a real blessing. Even when they’re screaming and crying and kicking and screaming and you have no idea why, we sort of look at them and go, “He really has your screaming face, doesn’t he?” Some moments get hard for sure, but it’s not nearly as overwhelming as we had prepped ourselves for it to be. We had spent the previous nine months enduring the advice from family, friends and strangers, warning us about how difficult our lives were about to become. People would come up to us on the street (literally) and stop us to ask about how many babies I was packing. I’d tell them “Twins” and they’d say, “Wow. Good luck. You’re gonna need it. No, seriously, good luck. Get your sleep now. Your life is over. Your free time is gone”. And this sounds like a parody or an exaggeration but it’s pretty much verbatim and it mostly left John and I staring at each other thinking, “I sure hope that lady doesn’t have any kids. Yikes”. Anyway, we were so prepped for chaos that when they showed up, much like the IVF process after reading all the terrible articles, we both kind of went, “That’s it?” We beat cancer. We survived Banking. I had my eggs surgically removed. A screaming baby? Give me a break. I’ll do it with one hand and a smile on my face. We’re alive and we have a family. I think the most important thing we’ve learned so far with them is to just stop, take a breath and enjoy the season that we’re currently in. This is a very short time in their life and then it will be over; they’ve already started to outgrow their clothing and they’ve both dropped a midnight feeding. Those moments are gone with them and I’m glad we cherished them. Everything is so fleeting so whether good or bad we’re trying to savor them all.
What question(s) do you have for the other families in this community?
My main question is how other multiple moms found the balance of meeting both babies needs while still finding the time to have quality one on one interactions with them individually? John and I try to keep the babies on the same schedule – eating, sleeping, bathing, etc so when one is asleep, they’re both asleep. I’m afraid that, especially when I’m alone and John is at work, my attention is being split between the two of them, instead of focused one on one.
Be sure to leave your answers to Jade’s questions in the comment section and then head over to The Letter B Photography to leave some bloggy love!