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Challenge: NICU Parenting

Life's a Trip with Triplets

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Our triplets came barreling into our lives at a premature 27 weeks 4 days. I remember the feeling of utter fear when the doc said we had to deliver. Baby A was liking the contractions about as much as I was. Add to that my preeclampsia, these three baby boys weren't going to wait any longer to meet their awesome clueless parents.

Ethan (Baby A) came into this world at 2lbs 4oz. Bryce (Baby B) weighed a slim 1lb 15oz and Owen (Baby C) came in at 2lbs 2oz. They were all so frail but my husband and I quickly learned how much strength and resilience 2lbs can carry.

The day I was discharged from the hospital was one of the hardest. I cried the majority of the car ride home and throughout that first refreshing shower at home. Everything felt wrong about coming home without our babies. But later that day we went back to visit them again. And we kept going back for the next 106 days until finally all five of us were home.

Throughout those 106 days we learned to take it one day at a time, one night at a time and sometimes only one hour at a time. Keeping up with the medical jargon was difficult but it didn't take long to know which alarm was for what (and for which boy) and what numbers to root for on the monitors.

It is taxing on the heart to see one child in the NICU but we had three. Each one had their own battles to fight and endured the spectrum from bilirubin lights, IVs (including the nasty looking but effective scalp IV), numerous intubations and extubations, infections in the lungs, slow heart rate and de-sat spells, blood transfusions to countless meds. These boys even endured being separated for more than a week in two different NICU's when Owen had to be transported to the local children's hospital for a surgical procedure to check his airway.

These boys are our precious miracle babies. Ethan fought 69 days in the NICU before he came home with us. At just over one month adjusted age, he is currently over five times his birth weight. The main concern for him is his high blood pressure (like the majority of the population) and making sure his kidneys continue to function well with that hypertension.

Bryce fought 78 days in the NICU before we brought him home to join his brother. He tripped at the finish line several times when he was expected to come home. He would have spells (i.e. brady, de-sat) most likely caused by his bad reflux that would prolong his NICU stay. He is currently almost four times his birth weight, the tiniest of the three but definitely the most vocal.

Every day for the 28 days from the time Bryce was discharged, we would load up Ethan and Bryce to go visit their little brother, Owen who was still persistently fighting in the NICU. Owen ended up having surgery to insert a g-tube with the goal being to go home on this feeding tube so he can continue to grow. If he were to bottlefeed he would aspirate. His larynx needs time to grow and develop and until then all his feedings go through the g-tube.

Day 106 in the NICU was bittersweet. It was the day we had to say good-bye to the place that we called home for the last three plus months and to the staff that we now consider family. It is also marked as the day we got to bring Owen home, all brothers were reunited and we finally be a family of five at home.

Owen is currently about four times his birth weight and growing stronger every day. A long road ahead still for him but like his brothers he's proven how strong of a fighter he has been.

My husband and I survived these 106 days thanks to coffee, to the NICU staff and their support and guidance on care for the boys, and thanks to or boys themselves. We continued to fight each day for them because they continued to fight each day. It was the longest, most stressful, challenging, gut-wrenching 106 days of or lives but definitely the most rewarding now that our boys are home.

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