It’s been far too long since I’ve blogged. I’m settling in to life as a twin mom, I think. I hope. It’s like joining fight club only cuter and more badass…obvi. I’d like to share our NICU journeys with you all. I decided to start with Winter because her story is short and sweet-ish.
By all accounts, I thought that Winter (baby B) would’ve been the one to have issues. Very early on, she started measuring behind her brother. In fact, at one point the RE’s office told me to ‘hope for the best but prepare for the worst’. Later on we discovered her umbilical cord inserted into the side of her placenta instead of the center which can cause growth restriction or a whole host of other issues. How wrong I was. The morning I found out I’d be delivering my babies at 33 weeks 0 days, I had a sinking feeling of guilt. Winter was doing just fine in the womb, despite the ultrasound techs concern that she could have coarctation of the aorta. But we couldn’t very well leave her behind, so she came along for the ride.
Her delivery was tough. She was stuck up near my rib cage. She needed to be pushed from the outside and pulled from the inside. The doctors had to be careful not to tug on her umbilical cord due to her issue with how it attached to the placenta. She was bruised over her feet, legs and groin area from all the man-handling. She was quiet. There was no cry. I didn’t know it at the time and didn’t find out until she was sent home and I read over her discharge summary but she needed to be resuscitated. There was no cry because there was no breathing. I’ve never talked about that with anyone before. She was brought over to me for a quick picture and I asked if she had hair… It was the first time I saw her and all I said was, “Does she have hair?” In my defense, multiple ultrasound techs had made mention to her having a full head of hair during scans. She was whisked up to the NICU. They hooked her up to CPAP for extra oxygen flow, put her under the ultraviolet lights for jaundice and a heat lamp to keep her warm. She wore an eye mask to protect her eyes. She was on an IV for nutrients and any medications she might need. She hated IV’s. Her body would reject them quicky and they had to be placed over and over. She quickly came off of CPAP and just needed a tiny nasal cannula to give just a bit of extra oxygen flow for about three days. She was given an NG tube (nose tube) to receive nutrients through. Her main issue was learning to suck, swallow and breathe in the right order. This remained her biggest struggle throughout her stay. At one point, this were going really well. She was moved to a nice, quiet, lower traffic corner of the NICU. I was pretty sure she’d be coming home soon.
The funny thing (not at all funny really) about the NICU is when they tell you it’s a roller coaster ride, you get it but you don’t actually get it. Until the coaster reaches the crest and all of the sudden you’re whipped back down to the bottom. The low point of Winter’s NICU stay came after her brother was put on NEC watch. Necrotizing Enterocolitis is a very dangerous stomach thing. Do NOT google it unless you want to hear terrible things, including a 25%+ mortality rate. A nurse and nurse practitioner, who were both not very familiar with Winter, decided her belly looked distended. They measure the babies bellies in the NICU and hers was measuring a little bigger than the previous day. She showed no other symptoms of NEC but because of Porter’s possible NEC issues, they assumed Winter needed to be treated the same way. She was brought back into the busy part of the NICU, undressed, put under a heat lamp, hooked up to an IV and given antibiotics and made NPO for 24 hours (not fed). She was PISSED. And I was heart broken. The next day when blood work came back normal and she didn’t show any other symptoms, they decided to start feeding her again. I more think they were tired of hearing her scream because this little lady gets hangry. She worked on her bottle feeding. We removed her NG tube on Easter for pictures and were hopeful it would stay out, but it didn’t. She needed another day or so of practice until she got the hang of it. She was moved, along with her brother, to a private section of the NICU. A few days later, on April 12th, she was discharged one day shy of one month old.
As far as NICU stays go, hers was really pretty calm. I freaked out a bit with the NEC scare, mostly because her being healthy and such a rockstar was what kept me going through the struggles we were facing with Porter. Sometimes I think I forget she was just a 4lb preemie.