How early were your multiples born?
They were born at 32 weeks gestation. (8 weeks early)
How long did your babies stay in the NICU (if at all)?
My boy was release at 6 weeks and my daughter at 3 months.
How old are your children now?
They are 20 months actual age or 18 months adjusted.
How has prematurity impacted their development?
My little girl is a bit on the small side from eating problems early on.
My Preemie Twins
My labor started at 28 weeks. We were medivaced from our little island in Alaska down to Seattle where they started magnesium sulfate and steroid shots for their lungs. I was put in an antepartum for 4 weeks before fully dilating and we had an emergency c-section. They placentas had fused and my daughter was losing ground. I heard them both crying which was a relief and they were both wisked away wearing c-paps to the NICU. I had to wait a few hours in recovery before I could see them and when I did I couldn't hold them, but I held their hands and touched their soft skin. They were so perfect, just very, very tiny.
The Early Days
LeoDan was 4lb 10oz and Chloe was 3lb 14oz. The NICU was nearly full so the twins had to be separated at first. They used c-paps to keep their lungs from collapsing for the first few hours before the staff decided they didn't need them. That night, Chloe's oxygen levels dropped and she was put on oxygen. Shortly after, they managed to shift a few beds and put the babies' beds side by side. Amazingly, Chloe's oxygen leveled out she didn't need help breathing anymore. The first two week were tough. They couldn't keep their body temps up so they had to be in isolettes and their heartrates dropped and they needed to be touched to bring them back up.They were given their milk though NG tubes exclusively for the few two weeks. The babies were moved to the ISCU where they were given bottles for the first time. They choked a lot but Leo did really well and got about half of his feed down. Chloe didn't do as well. She had a disorganized tongue and a hyper sensitive gag reflex. It took her months to learn to eat. Leo gained weight well and even started breastfeeding and was released two weeks before their original due date. Chloe's feedings were very stressful. We had to do therapy to teach her to use her tongue proplerly. Often she would gag during a feeding and lose whatever she managed to get down. Some feeds would go a little better, she could get half her feeding down but then an hour later it would come back up because she had developed GERD. We developed so many tricks to try to help her keep the milk down. She only ate on her left side or upright. She had her bed angled so her head was up. We gave her breaks during her feeds. At one point, the doctor changed her diet. She had been getting breastmilk fortified with Neo-Sure but he changed it to another powder. Chloe became lethargic and nearly stopped eating altogether. When she was awake, she seemed to be in pain. This went on for a month before I convinced them to change the fortifier.Her weight would go up, down or flatline for a few days and she couldn't be released until she could take a whole feeding and gain for three days in a row. Two days before they were 3 months old, I came in to find that she had pulled out her NG tube and torn the tape off her face. Our nurse agreed to hold off putting in another tube as long as she could get most of her feedings down. Chloe and I had a quick heart to heart talk and then she took her whole bottle and amost all of her feeds after and we finally got to go home.
- Talk to the other parents in the NICU. They are just as lost as you and sometimes you can help eachother get through the day
- Listen to your intuition. Stand up for your babies because sometimes no one else will. Momma and Daddy know best
- It's okay to feel anger, guilt, and saddness. Just realize that this was no one's fault, especially yours. There is nothing wrong with you. Try not to dwell on what you could have done differently and focus on your new family instead
- Take a break! You can't be your best for them if you are too stressed. It's hard to walk away for a while but you come back a better care giver.