What’s so special about today? It’s my girls’ birthday!

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Happy Birthday, Abby & Izzy!

This is our very first photo of the girls. It’s a view of them as blastocysts under a microscope. This is perhaps the only time in our lives we haven’t been able to tell them apart. This photo was taken right before I officially conceived my daughters, although technically speaking they were conceived in a Petri dish in the lab. They are my little miracles.

I have PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This basically means I don’t ovulate, and therefore it was impossible for me to get pregnant without the assistance of a reproductive endocrinologist. You may recall reading about some of what I went through to get pregnant (my first TMI Thursday post: read it here) . All I ever wanted to be in life was a mother. I had no idea it would be so difficult. Most people don’t realize how many planets have to properly align in order to get pregnant! Once we began having trouble I decided Clomid would be my miracle drug. But no. Clomid was a cake walk compared to the other stuff I had to resort to. I never imagined I’d become a pro at giving myself injections in the stomach thrice daily. Or that I’d never get over the pain of the intramuscular injections Hubs had to give me with a needle as long as my pinky finger.

I remember this day so clearly. It was cold in the examination room. My teeth were chattering. Hubs and my mom were there with me. I couldn’t stop crying. Our day had finally come. This was our 2nd round of IVF (in-vitro fertilization) and it was heavy with anticipation. I’d decided I couldn’t handle another round, so if this didn’t work, our plan was to start talking about adoption. This photo was taken as my doctor was loading our embryos up into a catheter. I’d had Valium to relax me, but when you’re sharing a room with your potential babies, there is no being calm. They are tangible. They are right there. They are on the verge of becoming your dream fully realized. Yet they might not survive. And there’s absolutely nothing you can do because you have no control over any of it.

I remember Dr. B looking at the screen with us and saying quietly, “These look really good. I’m thinking twins.” The tears doubled. I was scared to hope, and I almost wish she wouldn’t have said it because I heard her saying it over and over in my head.

I started bleeding 7 days post transfer (7 days after they put the embryos into my uterus). I became hysterical and called my nurse. Although it was too early, she agreed to let me come in for my blood test the following day. I needed closure, I wanted to move on and accept that this IVF had failed, too.

I couldn’t wait for labs, so I took the last home pregnancy test I had. The faintest second line showed up. I started to hope. But I didn’t understand why I was bleeding.

I went in to the lab after lying awake all night. Numbly watched the tech draw my blood. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t look at anyone. I resented the wall of photos of everyone else’s babies the clinic had helped to create/conceive.

Two long hours later I got the call that I was indeed pregnant. The bleeding was due to low progesterone, which simply meant more injections for me for a while. We were excited, but nervous. We didn’t know if it would stick.

Then, six weeks (and lots of nausea and exhaustion) later, this:

Two sacs. Two fetal poles. I was pregnant with twins!

Approximately 33 weeks later, I looked like a beached whale:

On December 7-8, 2005, we had a large snow storm. Hubs took me out to lunch on December 8, where I chowed down on the best grilled cheese and fries I’d ever had. That meal has since been affectionately referred to as “The Labor Lunch,” because strong contractions set in that evening. I was in active labor although I didn’t know it. The following morning, December 9, I went in for a regularly scheduled non-stress test. I was 34 weeks pregnant. The nurses thought I looked a little funny in the waiting area, so they whisked me straight to the back. They checked me. I was 4 cm dilated and fully effaced. My doctor came in and checked and said, “Baby A’s head is right there!” I couldn’t believe it! They scheduled my C-section for 1:00 p.m., which gave Hubs enough time to go home, get my overnight bag and shave the beard he’d been growing for the last two months.

At 1:46 p.m., Abigail Jane was born:

And at 1:47, her twin sister, Isabel Grace was born:

Mommy & Abby the next day
Abby is on the left, Izzy is on the right. They had feeding tubes b/c they weren’t very interested in eating (common for preemies)
The girls in Daddy’s arms. Izzy is on the left, Abby is on the right.
Shortly after their birth, my aunt gave me a Celine Dion cd. Now, I know what you’re thinking (because I was, too). But I heard this one song and that was it for me. I played it over and over and over again. And cried every time. I listened to it on all the drives back and forth to the NICU over the next 3 weeks. And even after that. It is exactly how I feel.

“Miracle” by Celine Dion

You’re my life’s one miracle

Everything I’ve done that’s good
And you break my heart with tenderness
And I confess it’s true
I never knew a love like this ’til you

 
You’re the reason I was born
Now I finally know for sure
And I’m overwhelmed with happiness
So blessed to hold you close
The one that I love most
Though the future has so much for you in store
Who could ever love you more

The nearest thing to heaven
You’re my angel from above
Only God creates such perfect love

 
When you smile at me I cry
And to save your life I’d die
With a romance that is pure in heart
You are my dearest part
Whatever it requires
I live for your desires
Forget my own, your needs will come before
Who could ever love you more

There is nothing you could ever do
To make me stop loving you
And every breath I take
Is always for your sake
You sleep inside my dreams
And know for sure
Who could ever love you more

I am so lucky to be their mama. I hope I’m not scarring them for life. There are long days when I wish for peace and quiet. And then I have a flash of anger at myself because of how quickly I’ve forgotten how desperately I wanted them. How quiet it would be at home without them. And how empty my heart would be.
 
I am so, so lucky.
 
Thank you for taking this walk down memory lane with me.
 
The girls today (recently):

Izzy is on the left and Abby is on the right.
p.s. if you really want to see pics of my boggy uterus, email me. And no, I’m not kidding!
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  • DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom

    That was a lovely and touching post. Though I struggled to get pregnant with my first (the second one I got pregnant from a sideways glance from the hubs), I never had to go the IVF route. Congratulations on the girl's birthday!

  • singedwingangel

    What a beautiful story. God has his ways and his tiems even though they may not always seem right… Happy Hannukahto you and your family my dear..

  • Moonspun

    What a great post…and an amazing set of pictures to follow. Happy Birthday to your girls and congrats on four years of parenting. (I have PCOS, too, although chose differently, but I admire your fortitude)

  • BigSis

    Such a sweet story! I'm glad you got yoru miracles. You certainly deserve them.

  • Lee the Hot Flash Queen

    You made me cry. That was so wonderful and I love all the pictures. Happy Birthday Abby and Izzy! I can't wait to meet you both!!

  • Heide

    Yes, you certainly are lucky to have two wonderful, healthy little girls — and they're lucky too, to have you for their mom! Happy Birthday, Izzy and Abby! xoxo

  • MJ

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY ABBY & IZZY!!
    Happy 4th Motherhood Anniversary to you! You are a wonderful mom, never once doubt that.
    XO
    MJ

  • 5thsister

    Happy birthday to the 2 most loved little girls on the planet!

  • Cynthia@RunningWithLetters

    Erin, this is beautiful…your quest for motherhood, the miraculous outcome, and your normal fears about messing the whole thing up, too–we all worry about that! Congratulations on realizing that life long dream.

  • McVal

    What a beautiful miracle! When I was pregnant with my youngest, I was convinced I'd had another miscarriage. Because the doctor said that I did. I came back to get checked out after the 10 days of still bleeding and they did an ultrasound to find out what was wrong. The ultrasound tech said, "The baby looks fine." HUH!? Apparently my little girl would have been a twin too! She knows that her twin is waiting in heaven and she'll get to meet him/her someday.
    Congrats on your miracles! They are beautiful!

  • BunkieBott

    Happy birthday girls!! I cried too as I read this post. Tears of sadness to think of everything you went through, but mostly tears of joy to see the wonderful outcome and your two little Miracles!!

  • Hissyfits & Halos

    Happy Birthday, Izzy & Abby! Thank you for sharing such an awesome story. It's a touching reminder to us mom's who don't struggle with conception the extent of our blessings. I'm one of those that can use the same soap hubby uses and get pregnant! ;) You're so strong, and so blessed. Ah, and the CD song….I sing that to my girls all the time. :)

  • Anti-Supermom

    I remember every single moment of IVF from my surrogacy pregnancy, you described it so well.

    Happy Birthday to your girls. Happiest Birthday to you.

  • adrienzgirl

    The last picture where Daddy is holding the girls, and they are holding hands? PRICELESS

  • Travis

    Normally I'd leave something funny here, but today I can't do it.

    Instead, I'm sitting here trying to fight back tears because The Missus and I have been trying for so long, and a story like this gives me hope.

    Thanks, Erin.

  • Menopausal New Mom

    Erin, your post made me cry!! Oh so beautiful, I'm so thrilled for you. Those little ones are looking a heck of a lot like you too. Now I have to go find some kleenex so I can blow my nose. Thanks for sharing!

  • Andrea (ace1028)

    I'm sitting here welling up. I'm totally verklempt. ;) Thank you for sharing that beautiful story. Happy Birthday to your girls. Happy "mommy-versary" to you (just made that up, ya like it?) and congrats on surviving all these years with twins!

  • Tami G

    I'm pretty sure I just cried a little. Happy Birthday to your sweet precious little girls. and wow what a story. and how lucky you are….
    A lady I work with had 7 miscarriages and this most recent was an ectopic pregnancy. It ruptured and they ended up having to remove her tubes. she has no option now other than IVF or adoption… I will share your IVF story with her… she is very sad and defeated right now.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Tami G

  • KaLynn

    Happy Mother's Day! I think Birthdays are their own kind of Mother's days. Those are they days we became mothers for the first time or the last time. I have 5 mother's days that I celebrate. They are special between you and your children.

    Congratulations! They are precious girls! And tell them Happy Birthday from me.

    Hugs!

  • Cathy

    What a wonderful story!! You sound like a great mom, someone who is truly thankful for her children. Happy Birthday to your beautiful girls!

  • Triplets Plus Two Momma

    Thank you for visiting and following our crazy blog!

    I just balled reading your post. Even with triplets plus two—I still go weak at the sight of a pregnant woman and newborns.

    I am in such AWE of the miracle of conception and birth.

    (Our triplets were also conceived in a petri dish! Our second IVF attempt!)

    And a beached whale? Oh pa-lease. You look absolutley ADORABLE. Good thing I didn't see you on the street . I would have asked to rub that baby belly!!

    Now—-I——did look like a beached whale. No…will not share a pic.

    I love the nastalgic post. Makes me all dreamy and weepy over all my kids birth. So nice to meet ya!

  • Sara @ Domestically Challenged

    I am so glad you stopped by so I could check you out! Such an amazing story. A friend of mine has the same problem with her cycle, and had a hard time getting pregnant as well. after losing twins at 21 weeks and a few misscarrages, she has a beautiful 12 month old! Your stories are so amazing! Beautiful girls!

  • Matty

    As one who's never experienced the difficulty of getting pregnant, but as one who's wife had two miscarriages, I could feel your anxiety as I read the story. This is a happy and heartwarming story about a woman who's dream was fulfilled, complete with two adorable reminders of what you and your husband went through. As a parent, I want to say that should never feel guilty about those times when you want some peace and quiet. As parents, we all could use that from time to time, just for our sanity. We don't love our children any less because of it.

    Congratulations, and happy birthday to Abigail and Isabel.

  • mama-face

    Happy Birthday Izzy and Abby. (cute names btw). You have the best mommy in the world. :)

    I have to admit that I have no idea what a boggy uterus is. I'm just glad I don't have one. Anymore.

  • Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com

    Such a great post, and amazing pics Erin. OMG !!!
    That was so touching, the post of the year i would rather say.
    Happy Birthday Abby and Izzy.
    I agree with Mama-face. Very cute names.
    hugs hugs

  • Arizona Mamma

    That song sums up a Mother's feelings so well. This post has me tearing up. Your daughters are beautiful. Wonderfully touching story about how they came to be here.

  • Jessica

    awwwww, what a great post! They're so cute and I bet you are so proud. Congrats and tell them happy birthday!

  • Melissa

    Awww, happy birthday to your little girls. Such a beautiful post for them.

    And ur were far from a beached whale. I wish i was that thin when I was preggo with only one baby.

  • Aunt Juicebox

    Happy Birthday to Abby and Izzy! It's so nice to hear a story like this that has a happy outcome!

  • Reluctant Housewife

    What a great birthday post! That photo of the girls as babies holding hands on their daddy is the sweetest thing I have ever seen. Awww!

    Happy birthday to Abby and Izzy and to their momma, too!

  • Two Normal Moms

    A good birth story always makes me cry. What a great life story to tell. And I can't believe, pregnant with twins you were just all belly! You looked great!
    The girls are beautiful. I'm sure they try your patience – it's what kids do. But they are so blessed to grow up with a loving mom like you!
    ***Ally

  • Buggys

    Congrats to your family! My daughter is going through some difficulties conceiving right now and I'm hoping she will have a happy ending as well. Happy Birthday Girls!

  • Lissaloo

    Happy Birthday Girls! What a special story :)

  • Annie @ astonesthrowfrominsanity

    They are indeed a miracle! Thanks for sharing your touching post. :)

  • Monique-aka-Surferwife23

    Happy, happy birthday Abby and Izzy! That was a beautiful story! Can you believe it has been 4 years already? My youngest was born 10-6-05 and I just can't handle how fast the time is going….

  • Nicolasa

    What a happy day! Love the story! That song brought tears to my eyes, I couldn't finish reading it!

    I have low progesterone as well and will most likely be emailing you for some Q and As.

    Happy Birthday Beautiful girls!

  • carol

    Wow, not many kids get ovacysts pictures. That's awesome. They were lovely embryos and now are lovely girls.

  • Beverly

    I printed this out to give to a good friend that also has PCOS (newley diagnosed). I think your story will help her.

  • SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB

    i cried and cried. oh girl. you are gorgeous and your girls are gorgeous and I LOVE THAT SONG – that whole CD – is it the baby one? is out of this world. you tugged my heartstrings girl! love ya!

  • Tattoos and Teething Rings

    What a wonderful story to share with them as they grow. It is obvious that you love them very much and are fortunate to have two healthy happy girls. Congrats, and Happy Birthday Sweeties!

  • rxBambi

    Happy birthday to the girls. How wonderful! I love that pic of them in daddy's arms holding hands. that is amazing :)

  • JennyMac

    Happy Birthday beautiful girls! And you so lucky to have the Mommy you do.

  • Raoulysgirl

    I was upset to find that there was not a box of Kleenex waiting for us at the end…I could have used it!!!

    That was a touching story! Your girls are beautiful miracles, indeed!!!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LADIES!!!!

  • Daffy

    Damn you for making me bawl! I can hardly see to type this so I'm gonna wait to answer your email :O)

    Our stories are so very similar.

    Happy Birthday to your girls!

    I will always treasure my first 'photos' of my twins. Even though twin B is back with God, we are so SO very blessed with our own miracle baby! Dr. B is so phenomenal!!!

  • Noelle

    oh, my, what a touching story! those girls are gorgeous, like their momma!

    what's a boggy uterus…and yes, i want to see!

  • Emort

    Awwww, you are truly blessed! Thanks for letting us walk down memory lane with you! Happiest of birthdays to Abby & Izzy and I'm sending you a big ole hug! Love ya!

  • Kmama

    Happy Birthday girls!

    It's so funny that you posted on my blog today. I jumped over here to check yours out and guess what? I have PCOS too!!

    My first was easily conceived (and surprisingly) by only taking Metformin. The second was much more difficult and we did Clomid, Femara, and started talking about IUI, but ended up only needing a PROGESTERONE supplement. Such a small world!

    Oh, and my second's b-day is this Saturday. Crazy.

  • MiMi

    What a beautiful post…I'm kinda teary now. I never realized or thought of if in the way that you were saying: like your babies where there, just waiting to happen, in that room with you. I have a good friend who went thru the IVF and it was successful. But then she went into early labor and the babies were born at 26 weeks and they both died. :( But now she does have 2 twin boys that are healthy and CUTE and wonderful, just like your babies. Such beautiful pictures too. Thank you for sharing such a touching story.

  • Carol

    Thank you for sharing the blessing of your babies. They are beautiful and sure to bring you much joy.

  • Kelly

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! And thanks for a happy post full of smiles– your twins are such precious cuties! :-) Happy Birthday to them! What part of Kansas are you in? (promise I'm not stalky, just obsessed with Kansas, my home state :-)) My folks still live in Abilene (central, on I70) Hope you have a great day!

  • Jennifer Juniper

    I'll bet tears of joy were flowing as you wrote this :) It's such a great story, EXCEPT for the photos of you 33 weeks pregnant with twins! Girl, I was fatter than that and I had one measly baby in there!

  • kys

    That was beautiful! Happy Birthday to your precious, pretty miracles!!!

  • Laura Eckert

    Ditto, Jennifer Juniper! Happy Birthday to Abby and Izzy and a very special congrats to Mommy!

  • Maria Bellot

    Ok so now I can't stop crying! Tears of joy for you. I had no idea how hard IVF could be, the way you put it about your babies being right there!!!

  • Shell

    Happy birthday to your little miracles! Someone gave me that cd when my oldest was born- I rolled my eyes, but listened anyway…and balled my eyes out!

  • Mindy

    I love that we're both having a nostalgic birthday day for our little ones! This is such an incredible story and it's so wonderful that you're celebrating the birth of your 2 little ones today! Happy Birthday girls!

  • carissajaded

    They are so beautiful!! Happy birthday to them both!!

  • foxy

    SHUT UP! My first time here and you already made me cry (with this post) and laugh (with the next). You're girls are the sweetest miracle babies I've ever seen!

    I'm glad you found me… I'm here to stay too! Cheers!

  • AJ

    beautiful!
    I love stories like this!
    Your little girls are so cute! (I also have a 4 year old, though she's about 7 months older… but looks shorter – the story of her life!)

  • Sara

    I will keep the grilled cheese and fries in mind should I ever decide to reproduce. Actually, I'll keep it in mind in general, because it sounds delicious.

    Congratulations on two beautiful girls. Happy birthday to them!

  • Sarah

    What a beautiful story! Thanks for stopping by my blog today and I am about to follow you, as well!
    I do think we have a lot in common – I am actually a huge Celine Dion fan. I just find her music so uplifting!
    Your family is so beautiful. I'm looking forward to reading more!

  • Margaret aka: Fact Woman

    What a wonderful post. I laughed and cried! Hug those little blessing tonight for all of us. They are true miracles. Congratulations on their birthday.

  • hurstburst

    Erin, I loved reading your pregnancy story! What a blessing twins are! Happy birthday to the girls and Happy "Day You Became A Mother".

  • leigh

    I love this post. It's so sweet. Happy b-day to your cute girls!

    Leigh

  • Danielle

    What a wonderful story. God has truly blessed you. Happy Birthday to those cute little gals.

    xoxo
    Danielle

  • Scottish Lass

    Thanks for visiting and following my blog!
    Your trip down memory lane made me glassy eyed.
    Your girls are gorgeous.
    How do you get so many people to comment everyday?
    Seriously – are you paying them????

  • Jennifer

    Erin,
    Please give those two sweet girls many extra hugs and kisses today!! I can't believe how hold they have gotten! (Although I have never technically laid eyes on them…how is that possible?!)…I remember having lunch with you right before you got pregnant I think.

    Anyways, it will have to change and we need to meet up over Christmas! Let's plan something!!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY IZZY and ABBY!

  • blueviolet

    I absolutely loved it! Happy Birthday to your beautiful twin girls!!!

    I had that same progesterone issue with my pregnancies. They caught it early enough so that I didn't miscarry though.

  • Melissa

    What a sweet story! Thank you for sharing it. Happy Birthday Girls!

  • Elaine A.

    I'm crying over here. Such beautiful girls but yes! you can definitely tell them apart! HA!

    Happy Birthday to your sweet miracle girls!

  • Midday Escapades

    AWWWW! Happy Birthday to Izzy and Abby!!!!

  • OLLIE MCKAY’S ~ A Chic Boutique

    OMG ~ Incredible story and wonderful photos – thanks for sharing!!!

  • Helene

    I loved reading your story!! Doesn't it seem like the whole conception fiasco was in another lifetime? Sometimes I think back to that time in my life and wonder how I ever got past it but the pain and heartbreak isn't as gripping as it used to be. Back then, I would have never imagined being this blessed.

    You looked adorable with your pregnant belly! If you wanna see a beached whale, I'll happily share my belly pics with you!!

    Happy birthday to your girls!!

  • Amy

    This was the most touching post I've read in awhile. I am completely ignorant to IVF. Hearing you explain your ordeal humbles me and makes me thankful that our first pregnancy was so effortless because I know that it could have been much more difficult to conceive.

    Happy birthday to your beautiful girls! So happy for all of you!

  • Ami

    Beautiful post, Erin. And happy birthday to those miracles of yours!

  • rachel…

    Oh, definitely two of the most adorable blastocysts, newborns, and birthday girls EVER!

    What a story! You might not believe it, but I can relate to so many of your emotions! You ARE so so lucky to have them here and even MORE lucky, I think, that you don't take that for granted.

    Great post!

  • rachel…

    Also, you were so NOT a beached whale! Just all belly and babies!

  • Holly

    I have chills and little tears in my eyes. I can only imagine what it would be like to go through what you had to…but you got two sweet little girls! Happy B'day! And look at you….so cute! (I was not a cute pregnant woman…oh yeah, still not cute!)

  • Mrs Montoya

    Oh my gosh, I cried and cried. And cried. Happy Birthday to your precious girls. What sweet little gifts and so worth the wait!

  • The girl with the flour in her hair

    This seriously brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad you have your beautiful girls…

    What a great post. :)

  • Amy C

    So sweet! Those lyrics are my new favorite!

    I felt like I was reading my own story! All I ate when I was pregnant was grilled cheese from IHOP :-)

  • Allyson

    i'm in tears. this is such a sweet, sweet story erin. i am so happy for you that your dream came true. you are a fabulous momma! i can't wait to meet you all :)

    ps: you were a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e. pregnant! awwww

  • The Blue Zoo

    Oh! I just LOVE the pics!! You were however NOT that huge!! Its kinda unfair how NOT huge you were. Im gonna have to dig out some pics to show you my hugeness!!

  • LMJ

    I"m in tears. I wish I had followed you sooner. I was miss diagnosed with PCOS. I too, could not have babies.

    I did not want to accept that I had PCOS, so I saw two more doctors for a second opinion. I didn't tell them that I had been diagnosed with PCOS. Neither of them brought it up. My symptoms could be for something else. I had no periods, pelvic pain, I was fat, and I had sleep apnea.

    I lost 55 pounds last year. and my body started to respond to the weight loss. I began to get periods every month. Everything in my body began to balance itself, it seemed. Finally when I was at a healthy stage of my body, I got pregnant!! I didn't need anything!

    I can only imagine what I would be like if I had believe that first doctor that diagnosed me with PCOS and had actually taken the prescription medication for it.

    I'm very happy for you! It's such a miracle!!!

  • Kristin

    I have a friend struggling with IVF right now. How inspirational your story is!

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