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Challenge: NICU Parenting

Keeping Positive and have Faith

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At 16 years old I was told I had endometriosis and if I planned on having children I should try soon! Of course I was not ready yet. When I was 28 years old I fell and herniated some disc and had to have back surgery. After the surgery I started getting sick. The Orthopedic said it was from the anesthesia. When my period stopped and I knew I didn't have sex since the operation this was not good. I took a home pregnancy test and it turned + right away. I waved it around thinking it would turn -, which it didn't. I called an Obstetrician and he told me to come in and he will see if any gross abnormalities. He had me on the table and had the sonogram screen facing me. I started to see a head, body and arms and legs. He looked perfect! Thank God! I asked what was on the other side and as he moved the instrument he said placenta but I started to see another head, arms,, body and legs. I had goose bumps on top of goose bumps , I was having twins! The Doctor called my orthopedic right away and told him the news. When he hung up he told me that the Orthopedic wanted him to convince me to terminate the pregnancy babies otherwise I would have had a miscarriage. I pleaded with him, look they look perfect. He agreed and said but they probably would have learning disabilities. Again, I said they are meant to be and I will continue to be positive and have faith that God had a plan for them. I was already 4 months pregnant. At six months I was at work and didn't feel bad but felt they were kicking me in my butt. My co-worker suggested to go to the doctor and get checked out. When I finally got there and on the table the Doctor asked how I got there. I told him I drove. He said we need to get you to the hospital right away that I was 4 centimeters dilated already. I was there for 1 week with my feet high and head low and given medication to stop the contractions. I was then sent home to complete bed rest, only being allowed to get up 3 minutes for a quick shower. At 30 weeks my water broke and I went to the best neonatal hospital, St Peters in New Brunswick NJ. I couldn't have the epidural since I had back surgery. I had 15 people in my delivery room since it was a high risk pregnancy. My son Keith was born 1st at 6:56pm, weighing 4lbs 15 ounces and Kevin was born 7pm weighing 4lbs 9ounces on December 14, 1991. They were small but so beautiful and precious. They whisked them away and explained they had to go to the NICU. I never heard that term before. But I got to know that unit very well. I was brought to my room and I heard all around me the other moms being brought their baby into there room. I called the nurse and asked her to bring mine. She said they couldn't so I got out of bed and slowly made my way to the NICU. My boys were each in there own y incubator. I has only able to put my hand through a gloved hole to touch them. I caressed them with my finger against their tiny body and face. The doctors explained they had apnea since they were born so early. It was so hard not being able to hold them right away. They were stuck with needles in their head and feet, they had electrodes all over their chest, numerous wires that lead out of the incubator. It was really overwhelming to see all of this but I was determined to not cry and remain positive. Then I noticed the other babies in the other incubators around. Some had their tiny eyes taped shut. Others you didn't even see them because a piece of lambs wool covered them, a size of napkin with wires coming out. They released me three days later. This was the hardest day going home without my babies. I finally was able to cry the entire hour and half away back home. I felt so lonely without them. I went every day so I could be near them and talk to them hoping to hold them. After a few days they allowed me to hold them. This brought me so much joy. I would breast feed them and stay the entire day just admiring how strong they were going through all of this at the start of their young lives. Their feet was the size of my thumb. The nurses told me it was good to massage them and exercise their legs and arms, which I did often. They seemed to enjoy this so much. After returning home I received a call the doctor explaining that they had to perform spinal taps on my children. Not really understanding what he was saying I knew this was not good and speed all the way back to NICU. By the time I reached them the procedure was already over. They explained they felt they had went into distress during the delivery and swallowed bile. They had performed so many procedures and drawn so much blood. I knew I just had to have faith that they knew what they were doing. They told me Kevin could go home Jan 6th, but 1st I had to learn infant CPR and he would have to be a monitor for at least 6 months. It was bitter sweet to not have them together. I stayed at home and took care of Kevin during the day. When their father got home from work I went to the hospital and spent the night with Keith. He was finally able to come home January 24th. I put them in one bassinet and could see how happy they were being together again! They smiled and reached out for each other. I finally felt like I could breath again. They continued to thrive and did everything fast. They both starting walking at 10 months. They started potty training at 14 months and done by 18 months. I read to them all the time. They were and are the biggest joy of my life. The learning disabilities the doctor said they would have, was not true. They were honor roll students all through their life. Keith graduated ECU in fine arts with a concentration in media and film. Kevin graduated from NC State is a Geologist. The ironic thing is that Keith has done work for March of Dimes filming other families that went through the same thing.


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