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Challenge: NICU Parenting

From Infertility to the not so scary NICU

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It is hard to put into words the exact feelings my husband and I felt the moment we saw 2 little lines show up on a pregnancy test. After hundreds of tests taken, we finally got a positive after 5 years of infertility, of heartache. We knew right then, we had beaten the odds and we were going to be parents. At our first ultrasound, we got even better news, we were having twins! All our prayers had been answered. Little did we know, this moment was the last time I would feel true happiness without worry during my pregnancy. To say that my pregnancy was high risk would be the understatement of century. We found out that our twins were identical and that they were sharing a placenta. At my first ultrasound with the specialist, one of my babies, baby B, was growing slower than normal. We heard words like selective reduction and brain damage and dying in the womb all being tossed around. I couldn't wrap my mind around this, this was not supposed to be happening to me. We are supposed to have two healthy babies. There was nothing I could do, I felt extremely helpless as a mother. The womb, the safest place for a baby to be, was actually the most dangerous place in my situation. It was all we could do to make it to 24 weeks gestation, that is viability. We knew that there was no way we would ever make it to term and that I wouldn't be taking my babies home with me after they were born so I started researching the NICU. It seemed like through all my reading, the NICU was going to be scary place, with my babies hooked up to machines and tubes, with lots of beeping. How would I ever get through this? Well 24 weeks came and went and my babies were still trucking along. At week 26, I received the steroid shots to help develop my babies lungs to prep for early delivery. At our next ultrasound, we could actually see them taking breaths. A bit of a miracle if you ask me. We made it to week 30 but we could tell at this point the babies were just going to do better out of me than in me. We got another round of steroid shots and at 31 weeks 4 days, I gave birth to 2 identical twin girls via C-Section. Baby A weighed 2 pounds 11 ounces and Baby B weight 2 pounds 1 ounce. My tiny miracles. They were immediately taken up to the NICU, with my husband following closely behind. He said that the moment he stepped in there, his life changed. He saw these amazing doctors and nurses taking such good care of my girls, all the while making sure he knew everything that was going on with them. He said at this point, he was no longer worried. He knew they were in good hands. It wasn't until the next morning, I was wheeled up the NICU, where I got to skip the 3 minute hand washing because of my IV, and I saw my babies. They were hooked up to oxygen, heart monitors, IVs etc... but to tell you the truth, I was not scared or worried, not like I had been when I was pregnant. It didn't seem like such a scary place, not like I thought it would be from all my research. It was actually very calm and quiet in there. I met the nurses and doctors up there and after talking to them, I knew my babies were in good hands and they were getting exactly what they needed. I knew I would grow to love this place and the people in it. The NICU became my second home and the people who worked there became my family. I loved that they let us be a part of all the care giving of our girls, like changing diapers, taking temps, weight checks, and taking baths. They taught us so much about caring for a newborn, nothing you can get from reading a book. They weren't just there for the girls but they were there for my husband and I as well, for emotional support. I can't tell you how many times they lent a shoulder to cry on or gave hug when it was a bad day, because bad days are inevitable in the NICU. Aside from my babies being small, they were actually pretty healthy and weight gain was what we needed in order to leave. We loved being there every night when they did weight checks to see just how much closer we were to going home. The nurses gave us high fives when an ounce was gained and then they told us how it would be okay when 20 grams was lost. It was definitely a roller coaster ride in there. Day after day, I sat by my twin's isolette, reading them books, rubbing their tiny heads and hands and dreamed of the day that I would get to take them home. Many families came and went in the NICU and jealousy was all I could feel when I would see this. When would be our turn? Well after 5 weeks, Baby A aka Audrey, was able to come home at a mere 4 pounds 4 ounces but sister would have to stay. How would that work? I can't separate them? Another bittersweet moment. Again, the nurses were there to help us through. They assured me that everything would be okay and they were right because 3 weeks later we were leaving the NICU for good. Baby B aka Ella was coming home. We had to say goodbye to this family that we made up in the NICU. I would miss the times where nurses would sit with me by our girls and talk about all sorts of things, I would miss how they would fight over getting to take care of my babies. I would miss seeing them hold my babies and loving on them. This sounds crazy but I didn't want to leave. This just proves to me and everyone else that the NICU is not a scary place, it is a place full of love and miracles!




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