After an 11 day stay in the NICU we got to bring one of our babies home. While it feels like it has been a long time, it could be worse. When my water broke they told me to expect the babies to stay in the NICU until around my due date (August 4th). We have also met several other NICU families who have had to endure much longer stays. Two days ago I met a NICU momma who was on day 98 with no end in sight.
Lauren spent her time in the NICU learning how to eat and gain weight. She received phototherapy for jaundice and did not develop any other medical issues.
Parenting in the NICU is tough but the nurses are amazing. The twins have received great care and the nurses always take the time to let me know the babies are doing. The NICU is also supported by some wonderful volunteers who do all kinds of nice things for the babies. For example, they made them the cutest 4th of July hats (Lauren is on the left and Luke is on the right).
We are thrilled to have Lauren home and hopefully her brother will soon join us. To come home, he needs to outgrow bradycardia and be able to eat entire feedings without a tube.
I had never heard of bradycardia before the twins were born but I have since learned that it is extremely common among preemies; so much so that it is more expected for them to have it to some degree than to not have it at all. Luckily it does not cause any long term problems and Luke’s case is very mild (he has about 1 to 2 self-resolved bradys a day). If he has not outgrown in in the next week or so, they will start treating it with caffeine.
Eating wise he still has some work to do but is getting better. He usually eats about 2/3rds of his feedings with a bottle and the rest through a nasogastric tube. Sometimes he does even better and we can avoid using the tube for the entire feeding. Other than these relatively minor issues he is healthy. All in all we are thankful that they are both doing so well.
Fingers crossed we will soon have another homecoming. Now that Lauren is home it is going to be harder for me to get to the hospital and I sure do miss our little guy.
Thank you so much for all the well wishes! It has meant a lot to me. I thought I would share our birth story. It was definitely a whirlwind and some parts are hard to remember.
On Friday the 24th, I woke up at about 4AM to my water breaking at 34w1d. I woke up my husband and we drove to the hospital. We were both surprisingly calm given the situation. I think we were both in shock.
When I got to triage the nurse told me that since I was not in labor they would try to hold it off since I was early. The original plan was to admit me and try to push back delivery as long as possible. I then spoke to the doctor on call. He said sometimes the risks of prolonging the pregnancy would outweigh the benefits. The longer we waited, the higher the risk of infection (the risk of infection increases after you rupture your membranes). He said 34 weeks is usually the point where the will not try to prolong the pregnancy anymore.
Since I was not in labor, he decided to give me a steroid shot to speed up lung development. That takes a day to work so we were going to deliver on Saturday. Even so, he said that the research on giving steroids at 34 weeks is mixed. At that point it probably does not help much but since it only takes a day to work it was worth a shot. Basically he was ok with trying to prolong the pregnancy for one more day but nothing more than that.
We scheduled a C section on Saturday. About 10 minutes after the doctor left I went into labor. It happened super fast. I went from no contractions to significant contractions very quickly. The doctors were surprised by how fast it happened. Luckily I had an amazing nurse who got the ball rolling so I could deliver.
The C section went smoothly. I originally struggled with having a C section versus a vaginal birth but once it came time to do it, I was just glad we had a way for me to deliver them safely. One I delivered, we got to see them and hold them for a few minutes and then they went to the NICU.
That evening I started feeling pretty bad. We found out I had a severe allergic reaction to the tape used on my incisions. The doctor actually told me she had never seen a reaction like that before. In the grand scheme of things it is not my biggest concern. It is frustrating though because it makes it harder to get around and the medicine used to treat it makes me pretty loopy.
I have attempted to pump and so far it is an epic failure. I pump every 2 hours using a hospital grade pump and have yet to get even a single drop. Not even one. I hate it.
I do plan on writing a post about our NICU experience. For now I will say it is the best and worst place I have ever been to. I am so thankful that our babies are getting such good care and the staff in the NICU are nothing short of angels.
Here are a few pictures.
We are also incredibly fortunate that both babies are doing remarkably well. They have breathed on their own the whole time (that is a big deal for preemies) and are eating. Yesterday they had all their IVs removed. Today they were removed from their incubators and are in regular beds. I know they need a little more TLC but I am so ready for them to come home! – Jennie