07th Jan2014

You’re Welcome, Miss 17 {In the Family Room}

by Daenel

You're Welcome, Miss 17 {Living Outside the Stacks}

Happy Birthday {Living Outside the Stacks}


AKA Happy Birthday! It’s been a wild ride!

Daenel T

07th Jan2013

Happy Birthday, Miss 16 {In the Family Room}

by Daenel

Happy Birthday, Miss 16 {Living Outside the Stacks}

Dear Miss 16,

Girl, you have been a source of joy and laughter since the day you surprised us at the doctor’s office. Nothing like going to the doctor’s for a tubal ligation and finding out that you’re pregnant… We should have known then that we were going to be in for a ride.

I remember when you used to crawl up in my lap, curl your fingers around my blouse and go to sleep. I’d sit there for hours, stroking your hair and wishing you’d get up so I could get something anything done. Then one day it all stopped.

You stopped sitting in my lap, you stopped being my sweet little girl who swore she could fly because she was dressed as an angel and had wings. Do you remember that? Running around the yard flapping your arms and yelling, “I can fly, Mommy! I can fly, Mommy!”  

You’re now a beautiful young lady with a quick wit and a snarky tongue. A while back you asked me “Besides me, which of your other kids did you want?” The truth is, I didn’t want any of you little buggers but now that I have you, I couldn’t imagine life without you. I love you all. Peering at you over my glasses. Every single one of you.

Thank you for 16 years of laughter.

Happy Birthday, Miss 16! I really do like you!


PS There will be no blowing out of the candles on the cake; you know how I feel about that!


20th Sep2012

Seventeen Years Ago Today… {Repost for the Birthday of Twin A and Twin B}

by Daenel

Jazmine and BrandonI gave birth to Twin A and Twin B, also known as Jazmine and Brandon.  But, really, their story begins nine days earlier…..

On 11 September 1995, the hubs and I showed up at the hospital for a routine OB visit.  The baby was due in nine days and, almost overnight it seemed, I had put on about 15 or 20 lbs and my pregnancy gait had shifted into full on waddle.  Furthermore, the baby was bouncing all over the place. Don’t babies normally slow down the closer you get to the due date?

Anyway, the hubs and the two~year~old sat in the waiting room while the doctor pulled out the measuring tape and measured my belly.  “Hmmm,” he flipped through my chart, “where’s your ultrasound?”  I noted the apprehension in his voice and replied, “I only have the confirmation ultrasound but they haven’t done one since then.  Why?”  He looked at me over his paperwork, “Well, you’re measuring a little large.  How about if we get you in for an ultrasound?”

I rolled off the table (at that point, that’s all I could do), got dressed and told the hubs that we were headed downstairs to get an ultrasound.

Insert cold belly jelly here

I looked at the ultrasound and started to panic.  My baby was going to be a freak!  There on the screen were two baby heads, one pointed up and one pointed down.  I asked the tech what I was looking at and she replied that I’d have to wait for the doctor, in the mean time, she was going to get my husband.  This did not sound good.

The doctor and the hubs both walked into the room at about the same time, the hubs looked at the screen and started backing away as the doctor announced “TWINS!”  What?  You have got to be friggin kidding me?  Nine days before they’re due and now you’re telling us that we’re having twins? But wait, it gets better…

The doctor went on to explain that the hospital at Fort Polk, Louisiana didn’t deliver twins (especially high risk twins ~ who knew what condition my little monkey babies were going to be in when they arrived?) so we’d have to drive to Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas to have them.

The next day, we drove the two~year~old to Mississippi to my parents’ house and then drove down to Texas.  With me having contractions the whole way.  If you think pot holes are a pain in the butt on a regular day, try hitting them when you’re in labor.

We arrived at BAMC, just in time for them to decide that it would be too much to have the babies right then, so they stopped my labor.  Yes.  They stopped it.  I could have cried.  Then they started doing ultrasounds and stress tests to see how the babies were doing.  The entire time, we could only hear one heartbeat.  Finally, the doctors decided that I needed an amniocentesis but they didn’t really want to do it because they didn’t want to put the babies in any harm with a double stick (anesthesia and the hollow needle).  I told them to do it without the anesthesia. What was I thinking and why didn’t my husband slap me straight?  PAIN!!!!! Worse. Than. Child Birth.

The amnio showed that the babies were developed enough to survive outside of the womb.  So on my original due date ~ 20 September 1995 ~ the doctors induced labor.  At this time, I would like to stop and thank my anesthesiologist because I felt absolutely nothing! I have a picture of him and his wife in the twin’s baby books, that’s how much they mean to me.

Jazmine Danielle was born at 11:40 AM and she was followed ten minutes later by Brandon Anthony.  Their birth was witnessed by the hubs, the seven doctors and nurses  who worked on me, six doctors and nurses for the babies, as well as fifteen to seventeen residents who watched from the observation platform.  I know this because we met one of the residents in the elevator when I was being discharged.  He proudly stated in the elevator before a group of onlookers, “Hey, I saw you have your twins!”  Yuck!

Seventeen years ago today, I was surprised and doubly blessed with two beautiful babies who have grown up to provide me with love, laughter and a healthy dose of humility.  I love you guys and it has been an honor and a privilege to be your mother.

Now start packing your bags, ’cause you’ve got one year left!

10th Mar2011

The Dramatic Story of Our Birth

by Daenel

Shontel and Daenel aka "The Twins"My sister and I have always known the dramatic story of our birth.  Mom used it as a way to highlight my our need for attention since birth.  And as I tell you the story, you’ll understand that we come by our dramatics honestly.  Thank you, Mom and Dad

It was about 2 AM on a Saturday morning in 1973 when  my dad went racing down the streets of Washington, D.C. in his little Datsun.  With dual horns blaring and my mother tensing up in labor, my dad violated every traffic law on the books.  Really, what do stop lights mean when your wife is about to give birth to your twins?  Motorists were moving over to the side, hand gestures of all sorts were flying and police sirens were screaming.  It was a scene straight out of a movie ~ a movie about a very pregnant woman being driven through the streets of Washington, D.C. by a mad man but a movie nevertheless.

At some point one of the police cruisers whipped in front of my dad’s car with the intention of forcing my dad to stop.  Panic stricken, my dad quickly assessed the situation…  What person in their right mind wants to hit a police car?  That’s just asking for trouble. Unfortunately, my dad had only two options ~ slam on breaks and hit the police car or slam on breaks and hit a metal telephone pole.  He chose to hit the police car.  Do you guys remember those big ol’ metal telephone poles?  Yeah, his chances were soooo much better with the car. As my parents braced for impact, my mother’s labor pains intensified and my sister started crowning.  Bet you didn’t think you were going to read that in this birth story, did you?

In the ensuing melee, Dad was put in the back of the ambulance and Mom ended up in the back seat of a police car where Shontel was delivered by a stranger.  We never learned the man’s name because he wasn’t supposed to be in D.C.  He had told his wife that he was going to be elsewhere for business, instead he was in D.C. with his girlfriend.  However, he did come to the hospital to check on us.  So, whoever you are, if you happen to stumble across this blog and you remember that day, I just want to say “thank you.”

About 45 minutes later, my mom was at the hospital and she started telling the E.R. doctors that “another one” was coming but they thought she was in shock and ignored her.  Lo and behold, between the emergency room doors, I came into the world.

We Were Drama Queens from BirthAs you can tell by the newspaper article, my dad was charged with multiple traffic violations, all of which were dropped.  But our story doesn’t end there….

My sister was released from the hospital after a few days but I was kept in the NICU because of respiratory problems.  Yeah, my dad wasn’t having that.  He felt like my sister and I had been conceived together and incubated together, therefore, we should go home together.  He started yelling at the doctors and threatening to take the hospital hostage if they didn’t release me. My dad was the original King of Dramady.  After a few hours, Mom and Grandma Vaughn were able to talk him down and he let me stay in the NICU and he took Shontel home.  But you better believe, my dad was at that hospital bright and early on my release date.

So there you are, the story of our dramatic entry into this world.  And someday, I’ll share the story of my twins’ birth.  Let’s just say it involved a car, contractions and a drive through three states.



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