Yesterday I read a blog post where a mother answered the question of how she got over the experience of a premature birth. It got me thinking of what my own personal answer would be...
Three years later I still have my days that I feel robbed of a "typical" pregnancy and birth. I still get jealous of all the "normal" baby stories around me. I still long for that picture perfect experience. I have pretty much come to realization that won't happen, but it still occasionally hurts!
After 3 long years of trying to get pregnant I was blessed with a twin pregnancy after my 2nd IVF attempt. Let's just say my husband and I were over the moon with happiness!
Unfortunately my pregnancy was full of ups and downs. I experienced morning (all day) sickness through my 1st and half of my 2nd trimesters and had several bleeding episodes. I stopped bleeding in the 2nd trimester and soon after found out we were having a girl and boy. Which was our first choice...best of both worlds, right?
In my 26th week of pregnancy I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. I was able to maintain my pregnancy for 2 more weeks. My babies were delivered by scheduled c-section at 28 weeks when the doctors determined my sons umbilical cord had reverse flow. I had 2 days to prepare myself, since they needed to get the 2 doses of steroids shots in me to help develop the babies lungs. I was told the babies were measuring at 2lbs 14 ounces and 2lbs 7 ounces. I was also told these measurements could be off 6 to 7 ounces either way. I of course was hoping they would weigh more. A 3 pound baby sounded so much better than a 2 pound baby. The NICU nurse told me weight didn't matter, but I still had it in my mind I wanted at least a 3 pound baby. Thinking back now I know how stupid that was. I should have been hoping and praying for so much more than weight. I should have prayed that I would hear my babies cry in the operating room. That way I would have known they took that most wanted first breath.
My daughter (baby A) was delivered first without a sound weighing 2lbs 4 ounces. I think I was pretty much numb feeling at the time. I don't remember being overly concerned she could die. My son was born 2 minutes later weighing in at 2lbs even. He gave us one kitten cry. At that point my husband, mom and I all took a brief second to celebrate. Then we realized that everyone was still working on my daughter. That is when it hit me. All the what if's started pouring into my head. What if they didn't make it? What if only one made it? My son was intubated and rushed to the NICU. They were still having a difficult time getting Molly intubated. They did eventually get her tube in, so she joined her brother in the NICU.
The delivery room was not the only scare my daughter gave me in those first few weeks. The nurses told me that when a baby is in stress in utero it speeds up their development, in which would be my son's case. My daughter was perfectly happy hanging out there for a while longer. She was placed on the oscillator day 3. I then knew my baby girl was very sick. By this time Luke was placed on c-pap. He pretty much was doing everything by the book. Their hands on time was 30 minutes apart with Molly being first. I held my breath every time I walked into their NICU room. Sometimes I washed my hands a little longer than necessary, so I could give myself a pep talk to stay strong. She did eventually fight herself off the oscillator & ventilator and was placed on the vapotherm (high flow nasal cannula). We would tease that the vapotherm was her best friend because she didn't want to let it go. They did get her on the low flow cannula that she could go home on. That was a joyous day!
My son came home oxygen and monitor free after 59 days in the NICU. It was a bittersweet day. We hated leaving Molly behind, but overjoyed to have him home. We were blessed when she came home a week later after 68 days. She was still requiring a low dose of oxygen support. At 4 months old her pediatrician diagnosed her with BPD (chronic lung disease). She was placed on daily breathing treatments and pretty much placed on house arrest her first year of life. They both needed to be confined to the house during the winter months due to RSV. Even though Luke didn't have the same issues as Molly he still had to be protected due to his prematurity. They both received the RSV shots monthly through the winter months.
My husband and I are very blessed to have 2 healthy 3 1/2 year olds running circles around us daily! Two miracles to say the very least.
Andrea - Thanks again for sharing your story!