Life in the NICU…

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Wow! What a ride the past 6 weeks have been! I feel like we’re living in some sort of alternate reality, one I never knew existed.

When I was pregnant, I never expected that we would end up here. I guess that’s one lesson I’ve learned very quickly through this whole process, you can never assume or plan anything.  I had heard of babies being born early and long stays in the NICU but you always assume that it’s something that happens to other people, not something that will happen to you.  I even skipped over those chapters in the twin books because I thought “no need to worry myself with that, I’m healthy and the pregnancy is progressing well, we won’t have to deal with that.”

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I took this photo of my baby bump the morning I went into labor.  I knew that I was at risk for an early delivery because of the twins and a shortened cervix but I honestly thought (and hoped) I would make it to at least 35 weeks.

At 29 weeks and 1 day, I was sitting on the couch with Tom posting our Nanny position online when my water broke.  I was in complete shock, I started shaking realizing what was happening, I didn’t even have my hospital bag packed! This wasn’t supposed to be happening!  We packed up a few items and quickly got to the hospital at around 9:00 at night.  After arriving and being admitted to a room in labor & delivery, things started progressing quickly.  The contractions quickly got worse and after a rather painful and uncomfortable night, I was fully dilated by 7:30 AM.  They rushed me in to the operating room, gave me a spinal and then performed an emergency c-section.  The boys were born at 8:30 and 8:31 AM at 29 weeks and 2 days.  Hearing their cries as they were delivered were some of the sweetest sounds I’ve ever heard, I knew in my heart that they were going to be ok. I got a quick glimpse of them as they were whisked away to the NICU and then I was taken to recover.  Tom went down to visit them and gave me updates but I wasn’t able to visit them until 9:30 that evening. I can’t even explain how difficult it is to have given birth and go an entire day not being able to see or touch your babies.  I was still stunned by how everything happened, it wasn’t the birth that I had expected or planned on.

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They were so small and were hooked up to so many tubes and wires, it was hard to believe the doctors when they told me they were doing so well.  Over the next few days, I slowly recovered from the pain of the c-section and was able to spend more time with them.  I began pumping breast milk for them which really helped me feel as though I was contributing to their growth.  Even though I know there is probably nothing I could have done, it was hard not to blame myself for somehow failing them by delivering early.

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Over the next few weeks, they began to slowly take steps forward.  Breathing tubes came out, bilirubin lights got turned off, we were able to hold them more and they started to become more alert.

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I got to hold them together and they touched each other for the first time.

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It’s been a difficult 6 weeks full of ups and downs.  The hospital and nurses have been amazing, I feel so lucky that they were born in a day & age where medicine and doctors is able to help them grow and thrive.  Today they are 36 weeks, still 4 weeks away from being considered full term babies, but they are thriving and are two of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen (I’m not biased at all). Camden’s feeding tube is out and Jax is bouncing back quickly from a hernia surgery and getting the hang of feeding from a bottle.  They are in open cribs and we can hold them whenever we want. The word “discharge” is starting to get thrown around, it’s still a moving target but still incredibly exciting nonetheless.

This journey has been a real eye opener into a world I have never known. I’ve been blown away by the kindness of our friends and family and even complete strangers.  I feel so lucky to have 2 healthy growing boys and I can’t wait to bring them home soon! Thank you for your patience during what has been a tough time!

Sending love to all the other parents who are dealing with or have dealt with a past stay in the NICU with their babies! It is truly a unique journey!

 

9 Responses to Life in the NICU…

  1. Caroline O'Connor says:

    Blessings to the 4 of you!!! Wow Mai-Lis, didn’t realize the entire story you just shared,…. the adorable boys are so blessed to have the two amazing loving parents they have…and with that love it gives you all strength. They are so beautiful!!! When you all come home, if there is anything you need, please you have loving neighbors who care…we are here!
    Caroline O’Connor

  2. John Lineweaver says:

    M-L – So glad to get this update on your DOUBLE HAPPINESS! What a wonderful start to the New Year – CHEERS to the happy family!

  3. You are such a beautiful person, inside and out, it is quite obvious to me that you are and will be an amazing mom, you seem to have mastered so much in just 6 short weeks, you are so accurate in saying we dont expect things to happen to us, they happen to someone else, unfortunately when we are faced with reality it is scary and a bit unreal but you, my friend, are handling this wonderfully, enjoy the amazing journey of parenthood!!!

    • Mai-Lis says:

      Aww, thank you so much Joyce, I miss you! Coming from a person who has overcome so much, this means a lot, thank you 🙂

  4. Mai-Lis my experiences have continued SO much since we’ve last talked, hopefully i’ll see you someday soon and get to meet the boys, then i can update you 🙂 My love to you All!!

  5. Thanks for sharing their birth story and for the update on how things are progressing! They look so beautiful and appear to really be filling out well don’t they! They have just as much hair as my last baby – who was overdue. lol. It must be sooo exciting to be hearing that discharge word being thrown around. One of my babies unexpectedly had to stay in the Special Care nursery for 10 days after she was born. There were lots of twins in there. That experience gave me just a glimpse of what parents like you must go through…..and it is really, really hard! Don’t beat yourself up about them coming early – look at you both – two loving parents doing all you can to love and nurture them. No….you are awesome and they are so blessed to have you. When I had my first baby, my midwife said something I’ll never forget….she said ‘you are the centre of her universe’…..and that is so true….you are the centre of their universe Mai-Lis. Babies are instinctive, they know the sound of your voice, the smell of your milk, the rhythm of your heart beat. They love you Mom and they know you love them too! All the best….keep on keeping on! I will be rejoicing with you on that joyous day when you bring them home! xo

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