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Challenge: NICU Parenting

Tiny and Mighty!

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I had a doctor's appointment. That's all I was 32 weeks pregnant with identical twin boys and had the first of many scheduled Non - Stress Tests (NST's). I didn't feel particularly good that day, but some women feel terrible for the whole pregnancy so it was just an off day. I went about my day, having lunch with a friend and then to the hospital. The pregnancy had been relatively good. I was 37 years old, pregnant with my rainbow babies, had not gained a ton of weight and worked out until 2 weeks before. The NST was great the boys were rocking in utero life but in the exam they noticed an elevation in my normally low - normal blood pressure was raised. My doctor told me they were admitting me, my partner did not need to come to the hospital right now, I would be there a few hours, overnight or a few weeks. They wheeled me up and I told the nurses that I was not staying, that I had plans for the whole week, as it was the second day of my winter break as a teacher and I had to get things done.

Things quickly changed. My blood pressure was 187/120, I was at a high level of proteins in my urine, and I was starting to dilate. They were giving me a magnesium drip, put in 1 of the 2 wanted rounds of steroids to help develop their lungs in case we were going to deliver early. My doctor came in and told me that one of my boys is going to be an accountant because they wanted mom and dad to have a tax deduction for 2016 and we were delivering in an hour. I broke at that moment. No way were these guys coming at 32 weeks and 3 days! We had 4 more weeks at least. They explained they were shocked I had not had a stroke or a seizure yet and that I did not feel much worse. They could not induce because that could take days and they were having a c - section in an hour. Then things happened quickly. My partner arrived. My parents arrived. I met the neonatologist who explained the boys were fine they were going to be small and I should expect them to be in the NICU for 4 - 5 weeks.

I was wheeled into delivery trying to keep my wits about me. I made jokes. I had nothing together. And they were coming now. My 2PM doc appointment turned into 2 beautiful baby boys making their appearance at 7:49 and 7:50. Both crying on their way out and my baby B peeing on the doctor. We named them, I kissed them, and they were off. Away from me seeing them for 24 hours because I had to get my body in check and off of an IV. I negotiated to see them. They looked at me point blank and said, "Jen your babies are not sick. They are small. If they were sick we would let you go down. They are not sick!" This resonated with me and I understood but it did not make it easier.

I remember meeting them. Stopping in my tracks trying to be strong for my little fighters. They were strong. They looked scarier than they were. Wires, beeping, CPAP, bruises on their poor little feet from needle sticks. They looked so small. Weighing in at 3 pounds 6 ounces and 3 pounds 9 ounces. At that moment I knew I had to be strong for them. I needed to meet these nurses who were angels and completely committed to me and my family. I listened to them. I took in all of their advice. I created relationships with these wonderful and special people.

I was in the hospital for 5 days and got released on January 1st with the after effects of severe preeclampsia. With a hospital grade pump in my hand, blood pressure meds, and no babies. They spent 38 and 40 days in that hospital. My doctor had told me that they they had to grow and I had to physically heal so come at noon and leave at dinner. The scars heal. The hardship in my heart is trying to heal. My babies are not sick. They grew. They learned how to be babies. And we finally got to take them home. We took those nurses and all of their advice and knowledge home with us. They became our story. They are part of our family. I hold that I will ALWAYS remember this experience but know that my boys WILL forget. They know nothing but love from the beginning.

They are 10 months now. Over 18 pounds a piece and have grown 10 inches since birth at 16 inches a piece. They are my fighters. Tiny and Mighty since the beginning and inspiring me daily. They will forget. I will help others with our experience. They will forget.

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