photocred: Moments by Michelle Marie
No one can ever prepare you for the NICU. We can only just share our stories… This is what our stay in the NICU with the twins was like…
When you walk through the NICU all you hear are dings, bells, and alarms. All you see are NICU nurses going above and beyond for families that they barely even know. These nurses are saving lives every minute of the day. Do they even realize that? Missy and I can’t say enough about the NICU nurses that were assigned to the twins… We just wish we could do more for them!
I knew when I delivered at 33 weeks and 5 days that the twins would have to spend some time in the NICU. I didn’t know exactly what to expect. Missy got to see the babies a couple of times before I did because I was still healing from the surgery. Once I could get out of bed is when I got to go see our babies!
My heart hurt so bad the first time I went up to the NICU Floor. Those sounds… the beeping, the dings, the alarms… We will never forget those sounds. The nurses probably hear that in their sleep!
Most people who have babies never have to see the inside of the NICU. They never have to experience the physical and emotional toll it takes on BOTH parents.
Seeing our babies hooked up to monitors and wires is a terrifying experience. I honestly didn’t really know what our babies looked like for the first week because of all the tape and wires that were attached to their faces.
One thing we didn’t know the first week was when our babies would be coming home. This was heartbreaking. Every single time we left.. we just knew we would be right back there the next day. BUT HOW MANY days did we have to go through this?! The question that everyone would ask …“When are they going home??” … We didn’t really have an answer that first week. We were told 4-6 weeks!
4-6 weeks seemed like a LIFETIME!!! Getting up every single day… driving 25 minutes… going through security… listening to those dings and alarms…pumping at the hospital… eating lunch in their break room… driving home empty handed… it’s a process… it’s an emotional rollercoaster! Thank god for my wife and us communicating. We definitely picked each other up every single day.
Luckily for us our babies made it out in about 2 weeks! We were so lucky. We heard stories and met other parents who have been there for MONTHS! Parents who would sleep right next to the incubators for MONTHS! It is truly heartbreaking.
I don’t want to sound dramatic when I say this but… being a NICU parent is traumatizing. I honestly don’t know what other word to use to explain it.
The NICU nurses were ALWAYS on top of it. They would answer our phone calls in the middle of the night and let us know how the twins were doing…Every morning they would give us an update on how the twins were and let us know what the goal was for the day.
They were so good at calming us down and letting us know that everything would be alright.
There was one time when I was holding Leonardo and he had a Brady episode ( a pause in breathing that lasts longer than 20 seconds, causing bradycardia, or a drop in the baby’s blood oxygen level) on my chest. ON MY CHEST! I remember seeing his monitor turn red and his levels dropping while he was laying on me. I remember those damn dings on his monitor! I also remember the nurses coming in to make sure he was okay and if I was okay. The nurse could see on my face how scared I was. She immediately gave me a hug and told me how common this was for preemies. She was there until I stopped crying and was relaxed again.
We always knew that the twins were in good hands.
Another thing we heard a lot from people… “At least you get to go home and sleep” …
Yes we did get to go home and go to sleep… but did we sleep well?? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Feeling helpless every single night is not a good way to fall asleep.
Think about it… Carrying these babies in your stomach for 8 months, doing everything you can to prepare for them, going through a massive surgery to get them out… but going home empty handed… it’s heartbreaking.
We celebrated every single milestone!
When they opened their eyes. When they took them off the breathing machine. When they removed the jaundice light. When they took out the feeding tube. When they latched on for milk. When they graduated from the NICU… There was just so much to be thankful for.
We will celebrate every milestone and every day they get stronger from here on out!
We made it through the first week and we are about to finish our second week with the twins at home! It gets easier and easier every single day. You can read all about our first week RIGHT HERE!
I do have to say that bringing home twins is so nerve-racking — Bringing home preemies is on another level. We were (Still are a little) so nervous because we don’t have the nurses by our sides and we don’t have the monitors making sure their vitals are where they are supposed to be!
But like I said before — day by day— it gets easier and we get more and more excited for this next chapter.
Check out behind the scenes in the NICU below. We share with you the moment the twins met for the first time in the real world!
If you plan on giving birth any time soon and you live in the Central Florida area.. I HIGHLY suggest you check out Florida Hospital for women. We will never forget this experience.