One of the hardest experiences of our life as a family was
the time we spent in the NICU. We were only there for a meager two weeks, which
pales in comparison to the months and months that some people are imprisoned
there. My heart aches for those people. I know that only two weeks there was
enough to temporarily break my spirits. I don’t know how families manage
The girls were headed to the NICU before they were even
born. Because of my gestational diabetes we didn’t have a choice. Couple this
with Abby’s diagnosis of brain malformations prior to birth and it really was a
no brainer for the doctors.
Abby’s Apgar was very low at birth. Once she was born she
was very quickly raised above the sheet just long enough for me to see her tiny
blue body. She was then taken to her incubator where five or six doctors and
nurses began working on her. Grace came next and she was a little bigger and a
little pinker. She even made a little kitty cat meow. I remember thinking over
and over “why aren’t they crying” and “why are there SO MANY doctors working on
Abby “ and “where are they taking them” even though I knew.
At that point a cyst burst inside my belly and I only
remember bits and pieces of the next 12 hours. Once stable I was taken to see
the girls in the NICU but sadly I have little memory of it. For the next almost
24 hours I wasn’t able to visit them. I got reports from Brian and our parents
and I called the NICU nurses around the clock to see how they were.
They showed no signs of sugar trouble from my diabetes but
began showing other problems almost immediately. Grace was too “breathy” for
the doctors tastes. She also became jaundiced quickly. She dropped weight
quickly. Because she was only 5 pounds 14 ounces at birth the docs didn’t want
her to lose too much. Abby was also jaundiced and lost a lot of weight (equally
bad because he birth weight was 4lbs 14 oz). The biggest problem she had was
not being able to master the suck, swallow, breath reflex. Because of that she
ended up with an NG tube in her nose. It was so hard to see such a tiny person
struggle that much. The tube made her gag and cause so much mucus in her throat
she could barely breath. It was awful.
After a week the doctors decided that Grace and I were
stable enough to go home. I felt lucky that my issues during delivery were
enough to keep me with the girls that long. That day we make the painstaking
journey home with only one of our babies. It was heart wrenching. We knew it
was only for a brief period but after everything we had been through to not
come home as a family was a slap in the face.
At that point we had to coordinate being at home with Grace
but visiting Abby at the hospital. No matter where I was I felt like I was
missing out. It felt so torn. It was NOT what you expect in those first few
weeks of life.
She finally began to eat a little and got her weight up to
five pounds. She needed to be five pounds to be able to come home in a standard
car seat. She finally passed the apnea test and was able to get her NG tube
out. Each day we went to the NICU hoping and praying that today would be the
day. We watched her go from her private room, to the main NICU and eventually
to the step down nursery. Then they sent her home.
I have never heard more beautiful words in my whole life
that “today you are ALL going home!”
Over 8 years we have struggled through 3 IUI's, 6 rounds of IVF, several RE's, hundreds of appointments and the loss of three little angels. Now we find ourselves the proud parents of two perfect little girls and a wonderful little boy!!
Both of our girls struggle with some disabilities but that won't keep us down. Each day has it's own brand of insanity but we love it. Most days I am more monkey wrangler than mother but I do the best I can. Todays goal - getting to tomorrow.