Katie - posted on 01/06/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )
I'm not talking 2 weeks early, I'm talking 35 weeks gestation or less.
This is my story:
My twins were born at 30 weeks, and spent 8 1/2 weeks in the NICU in another city an hour from my home. I don't drive, so I had to wait until my husband got home from work so that he could take me to the hospital to see them. If he couldn't take me, I'd get my FIL to drive me, or any other person I could talk into taking me. It was the most terrifying two months of my life. My twins were born 3lbs., 14oz., and 2 lbs., 12 oz. I never knew babies that small could live. My son was born with an apgar of 7, then 9. My daughter was born with an apgar of 2, and five mins. later it was a 7. She was born not breathing, so I never heard a sound from her when I delivered her. My son made a sound like a newborn kitten.
My son had apnea and bradycardias for the first 7 1/2 weeks of his life. He would have 12 in an hour some days...twice he stopped breathing while I was doing Kangaroo Care with him. He had to wear an Aladyn on 3 or 4 occasions to help his lungs work, and he became septic from his long-line IV at 8 days old and almost died. He also had an NG tube (in which he recieved breastmilk) until 24 hours before he was released from the hospital. He had to be sent home from the NICU in a carbed because he could not keep his oxygen levels up in a carseat.
My daughter was on a vent for the first 3 days of her life, and had oxygen pumped into her isolette for the first month. She was also fed via NG tube, and only came off of it 24 hours before going home. They feared that she may end up being blind, or have severe problems seeing because of her low-birth weight, but the tests came back negative for problems when she was examined in the NICU. She always had less problems than her brother in the NICU, dispite her being so tiny. She wasn't the one who wanted to be born early, but she was better suited for prematurity. She was my little Mighty Mouse the whole time she was there. ♥ She had a few bradycardias and less than 5 apneas in her whole time in the hospital, but she had problems digesting breastmilk. She was born with low-tone, and so her abdominal muscles that are used to push food (milk) through her intestines are weak, and it would cause her to end up with risiduals in her belly. She also had problems with her eyes. Her tear ducts were so tiny that when they put the cream in her eyes that they put in all newborn's eyes, it blocked them. She had pus coming out of her tear ducts until after she came home. They put her on antibiotics twice, but it never cleared up. Only after she came home and I started taking care of it myself, did it get better.
In the 8 1/2 weeks I spent visiting the NICU everyday, I saw some terrible things. I saw 4 babies die in that time, one of which died from the same thing that my son had at 8 days old.
Since coming home with them, I have seen more than a DOZEN sets of twins where one or both are very visibly developmentally delayed. I have met moms who have had one of their twins die before ever coming home from the NICU. I know 2 moms who had premature twins and neither baby survived.
I know just how lucky I am to have ended up with two children who ended up perfect in the end. They will never remember their time in the NICU, but I will never forget it. I appreciate them that much more because of what we went through with them, what we've been through to get them to this point. They are now turning 19 months old in 5 days, and you could never tell by looking at them the bumpy start they had in life. My son is 35 lbs. now and is all boy...rough and wild...it's wonderful. ♥ My daughter sees perfectly well without glasses, she is gentle and funny, and is close to 25 lbs. ♥ I predict that she will always be small, as I was 5'5" and 107 lbs. when I got pregnant with them...I think it will have more to do with genetics than her birthweight.
I'm sorry if I went on too much, but I'm sure that if you have been through the things I've been through, you will understand.
I'd love to hear your story too. ♥