Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Melissa's Story

Today's story is from Melissa who I met on Twitter.  Melissa has twin girls who were in the NICU and experienced bringing one baby home before the other as well as having a tiny baby undergo surgery.  Melissa, I really appreciate you taking the time to guest post for me!

Hi everyone!  My name is Melissa McMurchy and I have a NICU story for you.  I was blessed to find out in January of 2009 that I would be having twins!!  I was so excited but so scared at the same time, I was a new mom and wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

It was the end of May on a Wednesday when I went to my OBGYN.  She said I needed to go to the hospital to get a steroid shot because the babies were going to come early whether we wanted them to or not.  I was sent to the hospital to get the shot and I was going to have to stay the night for observation to make sure everything went smoothly.  That night I wound up getting sick and I was told I would have to stay another night in the hospital to make sure everything was fine.  I woke up that Friday morning around 8am and realized I was having contractions; up until that point I had not been able to feel my contraction.  When I woke up that morning my contractions were 5 minutes apart and I was terrified.

I was scared that the girls were coming and was immediately transferred to the labor & delivery side of the hospital.  They started giving me some medicine to stop the contractions or at least slow them down.  It was the worst part and if you have had contractions early you know what I am talking about.  I was on that medicine and then I was also developing fluid on my lungs so I was getting medicine for that as well.  They were trading on and off between the magnesium and the medicine to help get the fluid off of my lungs.  I was okay until Saturday night my mother and mother-in-law were both visiting at the hospital and were worried about me.  I was trying to be strong and told me mom to go ahead and go home even though I felt like something was wrong.  I woke up that next morning and was being rushed to Miami Valley Hospital because the babies needed to get out of there.

First Photo of Brooke

I was so out of it I really don’t even remember the ride there at all.  That morning I was given blood thinner so I had to be put to sleep for the delivery.

The girls were born on May 31st, 2009.  Words cannot explain the sadness but joy of my baby girls being in the world.  I did not even get to see them for 2-3 days because my delivery was so rough.  Kendall was born first weighing 1 lb. 4 oz. and was 12 ½ inches long.  Brooklynn was then born weighing 2 lbs. 7 oz. and was 13 ¾ inches long. 

First Photo of Kendall
And this is where the NICU story begins.  My girls were immediately put in incubators in the Miami Valley NICU.  I had no idea what to expect or what was going to be happening to my girls.  Kendall was so tiny; her little hands were the size of my finger.  The hardest thing in the world ever is leaving your child in the hospital while you are released and have to go home.  I am sure most of you reading this have had to leave your child in the hospital.  Visiting the girls was even harder because the whole time I was visiting I just kept thinking how tiny they were for one but also that I was going to have to leave them again in a few hours. 

A few weeks went by and we were being told that Kendall was going to have to have surgery.  SURGERY, what???? I was not prepared for this at all, if I wasn’t scared enough now I had to think about my daughter who is less than 2 weeks old having surgery.  She was having a PDA closed, which is a pathway with the heart where when a normal baby is born it closes and a lot of times in premature babies the valve doesn’t close so they have to do a minor surgery to close it.  Still though it was heart surgery which is MAJOR surgery in my mind and I had no idea how I was going to get through this.  I remember sitting in the waiting room just wishing and praying that my baby girl would come out of surgery fine.  She did of course; she did so good and came out of the surgery just fine.

It was about 2 months after the girls were born and we were told that Kendall needed another surgery.  She was going to have eye surgery.  She had developed Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP).  This is crazy and very scary.  I was 22 at the time and had only had one surgery in my life which was tubes put in my ears.  Again, Kendall was put under and had the surgery and came out of it with flying colors.

When the girls were 3 months old we got some great news, Brooklynn was doing so well and was ready to come home.  She was passing all the test s and everything perfectly.  We were so happy to have one of our baby girls ready to come home.  It was bittersweet to say the least though because although we were bringing Brooklynn home Kendall was still going to be in the hospital.

After we brought Brooke home we were starting to get used to having a newborn at home, when we had another shock and disappointment from the hospital I guess you could say.  Kendall was not doing well and they had realized she had broken bones.  She had broke both wrists and they were healing fine they assured us.  They were then at the point where they decided there was nothing they could do for Kendall anymore.  In my mind they were giving up and had decided to transfer her to another hospital.  Kendall was then transferred to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

I am so grateful to this day for them transferring Kendall to Columbus.  When she got to Columbus they had let us know that her electrolytes were all out of whack and that she might not have made it another week.  They had put her a step backward on her breathing.  She went from the nasal canula to the C-Pap.  Again another few weeks later and we were told Kendall was going to have another, yes I said another surgery!!  It was heart surgery again and I couldn’t believe it.  She was a little older now and it still scared me to death of my infant going under.  She had collaterals going from her heart to her lungs which were one of the reasons why she was having trouble with her breathing patterns.  Of course we agreed to the surgery and she came out with flying colors again.  They had coiled the collaterals to help with the problem.

Kendall had done a complete 360 and I was so proud of her for being our little fighter and being so strong and coming out of everything so well.  I was sure we were in the clear and Kendall would be coming home soon.  As the days and weeks went by things were getting better and better and she was getting stronger but still wasn’t quite strong enough.

Kendall then had a series of surgeries that were much unexpected.  Her next surgery was for a g-tube placement.  The one thing Kendall struggled with the whole time in the hospital which most premature babies do was she wasn’t eating very well and if she did eat she was having trouble keeping it down.  She was given surgery to put a g-tube in place.  This was one of the scariest surgeries to me because it meant that she would have to go back on the ventilator which she had been on for around her first 4 months of life (which is way too long and usually causes even more long term problems).  The surgery went well and Kendall was off the ventilator about 2 days later which was a huge sigh of relieve.  We were then told that we were going to be able to bring Kendall home we would just have more care with her because of the g-tube.  WOO!!! How couldn’t you be excited for that and then we got a call about two days later that Kendall was having emergency surgery.  OH MY GOSH! What, I was home with Brooke and there was no way we could get to the hospital in time because we couldn’t take Brooke to the hospital with us.  I sat on my couch and held Brooke and just cried.  I was so scared that something was going to go wrong and that mommy wasn’t going to be there with her.  I got a call a few hours later saying that everything went fine and she was doing well.  She had pulled her g-tube out which was causing problems with her stomach and they were afraid that it was her bowels coming through and she was in serious danger.

After a few long weeks we finally got the thumbs up and got to bring our baby girl home.  Now for those of you trying to figure out how long she was actually in the hospital it was 10 almost 11 months.  She came home at the end of March.

It was the end of March and we finally had both girls home.  We were so happy to have our babies’ home, however, it wasn’t very easy when they were at home.  Kendall came home with oxygen, g-tube, and a pulse ox monitor.  It was rather difficult and very scary at night because she had the oxygen cord, her feeding tube, and the monitor on at night and they were all hanging out of her bed.  We were so afraid she was going to suffocate herself so we had to keep a really close eye on her especially at night.  Needless to say mommy didn’t get much sleep.

The girls are both home now and doing so well.  They are 2 ½ and going strong.  They are currently getting Help Me Grow (which is a great program and has really helped Kendall, if you don’t know about it check it out) and learning new things every week.  Brooklynn is right on track for her age she is just a little behind in speech.  Kendall is very close to where she needs to be, they are still considering her 3 months behind.  She has graduated from physical therapy and eating well she just has some speech issues.  It will come given time but the girls are both doing well and going strong each and every day.

I wanted to share my story to let other moms out there know to always have HOPE.  I admit when everything was going on I was the negative Nancy.  I always thought the worst and always wondered what was going to happen. My husband was my rock, he would reassure me that everything was going to be fine and that Kendall was a tough little girl and was going to be fine and home soon.  I really never thought Kendall would make it being so small and having so many problems.  Kendall has had several blood transfusions, 3 broken bones, and 6 surgeries all before the age of 1 ½ , I am so proud of the how far she has come to this day.  She is our little fighter.  My daughters were born with incredible odds against them and are true miracles.  Moms if you are reading this and in this situation have hope and pray, everything happens for a reason and just try and stay strong for your baby(ies) because no matter what they know what is going and feed off of your vibes.

Good luck to all you moms out there and I wish everyone the best.  Thank you for reading my story.




  1. Thank you for sharing your story, Melissa. Your girls look absolutely beautiful.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story...Your daughters are miracles...


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