Our family story is one that I'm sure many parents share. We are celebrating our 3rd Christmas with our previously premature twins. I say previous because I hope our story gives a small sense of comfort to parents experiencing the emotional journey of having a baby born premature.
Our twins Lexi and Tyson were born on December 11, 2009. I was 29 weeks pregnant when they arrived. My delivery was chaos. Lexi was born first, before my doctor was even at the hospital. I remember asking the nurse after Lexi was born, "ok, I can have my epidural now, right"? The nurse replied, sorry honey it's to late for that, just do your breathing... I remember clearly my response was "but I haven't taken the birthing class yet, it's next week!"
So an hour and 45 minutes later my son Tyson was born. They were both quickly rushed away by the neonatologist. I never got the chance to see and definitely not hold them like I had imaged my birth would be like. 3 hours later I finally got to get my first look at my beautiful babies. Lexi weighed in at 3lbs 3ozs and Tyson 3lbs 8ozs. I instantly reached out to touch them, rub their feet, stroke their hair... but was told I was not allowed to. I could for a brief minute rest my hand on their chest. It was so hard. I had a hard time not blaming myself. Feeling like if I had done something differently this would not have happened. The first two weeks were the hardest. My babies for the most part were healthy but had all the common preemie issues. Apnea, heart murmurs, PDA, etc.
On Christmas eve Lexi developed a serious staff infection and required a blood and transfusion. It was one of the many scary things to happen to us during our 41 days in the NICU. On Christmas one of the nurses asked me if I had ever held by babies together at the same time. No, I replied... it wasn't allowed yet. She looked at me, smiled, and then slowly closed the curtain and gently handed me in my right arm my little Lexi and in my left Tyson. It was best Christmas gift anyone will ever give me!
During our time in the NICU we met so many wonderful and caring people. They made us feel like we were never alone on this journey and that the end, would be a happy one.
One of the most important things I learned was, even though these little babies look so fragile, they are the most resilient creatures. They will grow faster than you can ever imagine. And then someday, like me, with my crazy two year olds, you will look back and find it hard to believe your babies were ever that small.
I don't even think of my babies as preemies anymore. And if you didn't know us when they were born you would never know. I just want to say to all the parents spending this Holiday Season in the NICU, just know a day will come that you will look back on these memories and feel like you read them in a book or some great story. You forged through these challenging times. And you can't image your babies first days, weeks and months happening any other way.
God bless all the families in a NICU!
We would like to thank all of the families that submitted their children's stories. Please know that each of your children are so inspiring and are the reason for what we do. We are honored that you chose to share them with us. If your story was not highlighted this month we encourage you to resubmit next month.