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Challenge: NICU Parenting

I wasn't prepared...

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I wasn't prepared for how everything

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about bringing my twin sons into this world was a fight. I thought I would get pregnant easily and have a normal birth just like every other woman I know. I wasn't prepared for my husband and I suffering with infertility. We tried for 9 months on our own. However, after 4 failed Iui attempts, we finally succeeded and became pregnant with twin boys from our first IVF attempt. I have a bicornate ornate uterus and we knew the twins would come a little early, but we weren't prepared for having to spend time in the Nicu. We weren't prepared for my water breaking at 29 weeks, being on hospital bed rest for 8 days before going into labor again and delivering at 30+1 weeks. Being in the hospital for 8 days the staff prepared me for the Nicu and I even met with one of the doctors. I was lucky to have that. At that point I was prepared for the Nicu. I wasn't afraid for my sons to be in the Nicu, as I also had heard from many friends that our hospital had a fabulous Nicu.

I wasn't prepared for how disappointed I would feel because I missed out on all of the wonderful things that moms of normal deliveries have. I missed out on holding my babies immediately after they were born. I laid in recovery, and in my hospital room listening to all of the other babies crying in the room with their mothers, and sad that I didn't have my babies with me to hold, feed and love. I had to go downstairs to visit my babies. All I wanted to do was to hold and comfort my babies and I couldn't. I wasn't expecting that I could stay strong and brave for my babies and how this experience would make me stronger. I knew they could sense if I was upset, so I smiled and kept a brave face the entire time they were in the Nicu. I cried sometimes when driving to and from the hospital or at night before falling asleep. Although I knew my babies were in great hands, in the beginning it is scary.

Before my water broke, I wasn't expecting to leave the hospital without my babies. I wasn't expecting to have to drive back and forth to the hospital to be with my babies daily for 33 days. I wasn't expecting to have a nurse give my babies their first bath and bottle. I wasn't expecting to feed my babies through a syringe, and to learn all about cc's, oxygen, Room air, Bradys, and how to read the monitors. I wasn't expecting to learn that feeding a preemie was different than feeding a full term baby. I wasn't expecting that we had to be trained on how to feed our preemies by holding them in special positions. I wasn't expecting to have to leave the hospital with heart monitors to monitor their heart and breathing because since Sids runs in my family and they were preemies still having Bradys, monitors were a must. We weren't t expecting to not being able to have friends and extended family come to visit. Since my boys came home before Christmas, the winter months brought colds and RSV. We had to turn away all visitors in fear my preemies would get sick. I wasn't expecting to be shut in the house for 2 months keeping my preemies safe. We wanted to show them off to family and friends, and we couldn't.

Now I wasn't expecting that I was able to hold one of my babies on day 2. My other son I held briefly as he bathed, and finally held on day 4. I wasn't expecting my boys to be off of oxygen on day 2 and room air by day 3. I wasn't expecting my babies to have nothing really wrong with them and that they were considered only feeders and growers. I wasn't expecting to become close with the nurses and how warm, caring and loving they are. They were great teachers and taught us how to care for our babies. I wasn't expecting to miss the Nicu when we left and the nurses. I wasn't expecting to see our Nicu as family, but they are and will forever be a part of our family.

My sons turned Two on Nov. 17, Prematurity Awareness Day! We are forever grateful to our Nicu staff. They saved our sons and helped them to grow and thrive over the first month of their lives. My boys wouldn't be here without them and we can never thank them enough. My hopes are for no parent to have to go through this, but until that day comes, all parents to be need to made aware of the possibility their baby could go into the Nicu. There is a possibility of not having a perfect experience. I think if all parents had the preparation I had, it would make their experience so much better.

Happy Prematurity Awareness Month to all.

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