How to Cope With Leaving Babies in NICU

Michelle - posted on 05/28/2009 ( 18 moms have responded )

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I had my twin boys on May 22, at 33 wks 2 days after going into preterm labor at 31 wks and 6 days. My membraines ruptured on Baby A on the 21st and I was readmitted and delievered via c-section the next night. I stayed 4 days in the hospital and had to leave the boys behind in the NICU. They had some slight resperatory issues that have been resolved (for the most part) and now seem to be learning how to feed and digest the food and what not.



I'm having a hard time not having them home and having to go and visit...I know in the long run its good for everyone to have it work out this way, the boys will get stong enough to come home and are in super awesome hands, and i can recover completely from my c-section.



How were some of the ways you coped with having to leave your babies in the NICU for long periods of time? The doctors are saying they'll be in for at least 3 weeks, and at the most 4...I just wanna have my babies at home!

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Christine - posted on 05/28/2009

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I understand exactly how you feel. My boys were 8 weeks early and spent 7 weeks in the NICU. That time in my life was the hardest thing I have ever been through. Take it day by day and before you know it they will be home. I tried to look at the positive side: I spent as much time holding them & spending time in the hospital with them as I could, I was able to recover fromt the c-sec, I could rest a little more, and I was able to set up their room & prepare for their arrival. My boys were 3lbs 7oz and came home at 5lbs 5oz. Right now it seems so hard and so far away. The day you will take them home will be so special and memorable. The doctors kept telling me "oh, 2 weeks - oh the end of next week they'll go home" - I could not handle it - I was feeling like he was messing with my head. I finally had to tell them to not tell me when they thought my boys would come home - just surprise me. 9/16/07 they asked me if I was ready to take my babies home & I cried with joy.When my boys turned 1yr. we did not just celebrate their birthday, but we also celebrated their 1yr. home from the hospital. Take it easy, take care of yourself, and just do the best that you can. Know that you're not alone and you will get through this time.

Amanda - posted on 05/31/2009

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i live in aus and i had a totally different experience. my boys were born at 35 weeks and at my local hospital the doctors actually at some stages made me stay with the boys. i was in the maternity ward with them for 2 weeks. ( i was able to stay there for a week after i was discharged because maternity was fairly quiet that week) and was then moved to the childrens ward and stayed on a fold out single lounge in their room. being only 20 when i had them i was very overwhelmed and was getting conflicting advice from all the midwives. i was extremly depressed as i was being pressured into breastfeeding even though my milk did not come through and my boys were taken from me and bottle fed when i specifically asked to be woken to breastfeed. there were times i needed to take time out and i understand that this sounds like i was ungrateful that i was able to stay with them and that i didnt care but i went home and stayed for a few nights to get my strength back and my head together and it really helped. i know i may seem mean and uncaring but this was my experience.

Liz - posted on 05/28/2009

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I kept myself busy first and foremost and visited at least once a day. Mine were born at 33 weeks 6 days. First and foremost, don't listen to what they tell you about when they are coming home. It's an estimate at best. they told me they were coming home once, and then when it came to that day and neither of them came home then I was very depressed. But keep in mind that they will come home when they are ready.

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Veronica - posted on 06/05/2013

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I had my son at 34 weeks and he was born good and healthy but he still had to stay in NICU due to maintaining his body temp. I have never experienced this and I'm about to go crazy not having him home every time I look at his pics I cry but there's this one pic he has with a huge smile and it makes me smile when I look at it because I know he will be just fine. Hopefully he'll be home soon I've been praying about it!

Trixie - posted on 04/22/2012

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i agree with the other posts. Its the hardest time and i had 2 other children at home. I was in tears every night and felt like i was going crazy and nobody understood me except the other mothers and nicu midwifes. You do get through it though. I
My id twins girls spent 6 weeks in there, a midwife then came to the house every week for another 6 weeks as we were not allowed to leave the house for 8 weeks (they had no immune system, only to go to the hospital) after that, we had to go back to the hospital every 72 hours for weighing and there was the pedeatrition visits in between that.
I became very protective of them when we came home, i did not want to share them except with immediate family.
2 years on though they are very happy and loving girls and everytime they get sick now it takes me right back to the nicu stay. I think it stays with you forever because your so grateful to those people but i also think back to that time to remind me just how special your twins are and how lucky to are to have them. One of our twins was not breathing and had no heartbeat when she was born so we are extremely lucky to have her.

Ellen - posted on 04/14/2012

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We all think the NICU is the worst place to be, and I was one that felt guilty for putting my baby there. Maybe I wasn't breastfeeding right, maybe I should have woken him up to eat more often, maybe he wasn't warm enough in our hospital room. But now that he's 3 months old, is healthy, and has a happy personality (only fusses when he's hungry) and has an excellent sleep schedule, I realized that the NICU played a part in it all. Here's why I think the NICU isn’t that bad.

Gabrielle - posted on 06/03/2009

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My girls was in the NICU, is was hard on me to. I didnt want to leave them, i cried everytime I left them. I got so mad when I hear that some people that have twins get to take their babies home with them. But I had to look at it like if they came home and something happen, I wouldnt kow what to do and in NICU they do.

Liesel - posted on 06/03/2009

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my twins were in 4 2weeks its frustrating but the boys being there they will get use to noises so when they do get home they will b great an wont need the attentions all the time. while they r not home get plenty of rest. i havnt slept in 3month 4 more then 4hours so treasure the fact that they r in great hands and they r happy. by the wat the docs told me my twins would b in 4 5weeks an get them out in 2 it will just depend on how strong they get. think about it this way look around the room at the other not so lucky bubs that r there 4 months or had huge birth problems an think how wonderful and lucky u truely r. ur bubs look gorgous in the pic hope all gos well and the weeks will fly past so when u get them home u wont know what hit u.lol twins r a true joy but lots of work. p.s all 4 of my little ones went to nicu they all were around 4lb and now they r beautiful and healthy. u wont even remember nicu in 6months when u see how big ur boys have got..just smile an give em plenty of hugs an kisses when u c them.

Laura - posted on 06/01/2009

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I know how you feel 37 years ago I had my son and he was 6 weeks early. He had a lot of breathing issues and would stop breathing. We had to leave him for two weekd thet was the worst time of my life to leave my baby. I only got to see him once a day because we lived 60 miles away. He is now a father of three and doing fine it all worked out. But is just seems like it was yesterday.

Kristi - posted on 06/01/2009

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Hi Michelle! I delivered twins in December at 33 weeks. One of mine was there for 7 days and the other for 16 days. It was always hard leaving no matter what but when I was home I called every couple of hours and talked to the nurse that was caring for them. She would update me on their feedings and what ever else was going on. I also took pictures almost every day. If you need to talk I'm here! Good luck and I hope your boys are home soon!

Jessamy - posted on 05/31/2009

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Amanda, dont ever think you were mean or uncaring! your love for your boys shines through! its VERY overwhelming and its a real pity you didnt feel you were having enough support. I live in New Zealand. Its good you were able to recognise you needed rest and took it, Then when you could be with your boys you would have been more relaxed and that time would have been worth more than a thousand hours of a ired strssed and emotional you.

Jessamy - posted on 05/30/2009

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i just brought my twins home two weeks ago, afer being born at 33 weeks and 6 days, they were in hospital for 2 weeks. I too cried the entire way home the first time i had to go home without them, it just broke my heart, it felt so unnatural to leave them behind. My advice? Get the feeding going as soon as you can, and definatly ask about staying at the hospital, i was able to stay quite often and i was surprised that none of the other mums were doing it too, even after i told them about it! If you dont ask you dont get, so ask! The nights my eldest daughter was able to be cared for by my mum or someone i would have slept in the chair next to their cots if they coldnt find me a room, but they always did. I found that cuddleing the twins together seemed to relax them so i did it as often as i could (wether the staff were around or not) and i am sure that that contributed to them being ready so quickly, they still prefer to sleep together :) The staff told me that the reason they were able to come home so fast was mostly due to the fact that i had been there so much and gotten them exclusively breastfeeding by the end of that two weeks. Hang in there love, its the hardest thing in the world but your love and time is the best thingyou can give them. I know all these other ladies are telling you to take care of yourself, a lot of people tried to tell me that too, but i didnt listen to that i had one focus and that was getting my girls wel enough to come home, i knew that was where they needed to be. Ask the staff what you can do to help them and help your babies, dont be afraid to bug them, they are their to do a job, and that job is also focused on getting your babies well and home. Love and blessings :)

Karen - posted on 05/30/2009

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My boys were delivered at exactly 33 weeks after two months of very long, and very strict bed rest. I was very sad to leave them behind in the NICU. If I remember correctly, I cried the entire drive home from the hospital without them. My boys stayed for three weeks and it was hard at first. I didn't realize that I was exhausted at the time, but I was. I think I fell asleep standing up literally. So, it was a good thing that I had those three extra weeks to get some rest because I had no idea what I was about to get myself into when the babies came home! I slept at home, but I spent every waking moment I could at the hospital getting to know my babies before they came home. I asked a lot of questions, which the doctors don't mind at all. I nursed them, and changed their diapers. I held them to my skin and sang to them. When the big day came for me to carry them out of the hospital, I was the proudest mom ever. Then I was tired in a different way! Good luck, gear up and rest much, and get to know your babies slowly. They'll be home before you know it!

Michelle - posted on 05/30/2009

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The hospital I delivered in also had a program similar to the previous post, as long as the floor was not too overwhelmed with other moms you could stay in a room on the L&D floor for free, or if too busy on L&D they would move you to an unused area. Twin A was discharged from the hospital after 3 days but twin B had to stay a little longer so the hospital just let us all stay in the respite room is what they called it. I would definately ask..I only was told because my parents were friends of one of my nurses, otherwise they probably would have sent me home... I agree not to listen to the doctor when they tell you when the babies can go home..everytime the "day" passed and I still couldn't take them home it was terrible! Good luck and you will get through this!!

User - posted on 05/30/2009

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I know leaving your babies at the hospital is heartbreaking, even when you know they're getting the best care. My girls were in the NICU for 2 months. I just went to the hospital everyday and stayed as long as I could take it. It is amazing that just sitting in the NICU is so exhausting. When you're not there don't be afraid to call anytime day or night to check on them. The nurses will be more than happy to talk to you. Also, I used their time in the NICU to learn as much as I could from the nurses. Whenever possible, I would change them, take their temperature, and when the time came feed them. It makes the transition home so much easier.

Valerie - posted on 05/28/2009

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Oh Michelle, I am so sorry that you are going through this. I remember this being a really hard time.

The hospital I delivered in had what they called 'boarding rooms". It was the old nurses residences. Just plain old dorm rooms with a bed, some drawers and a sink with showers down the hall and a communal kitchen. We live about an hour outside of the city and I don't know how I would have coped if I had to commute in to see the twins. Perhaps your hospital has a similar program?

I am going to say something that you probably don't want to hear, but take these next couple of weeks while they are in the NICU and take care of yourself. Yeah, I know, it's impossible. But the next couple of months are going to be crazy and you need to be at the top of your game physically, emotionally and mentally. My 35 weeker Twins are now 21 months actual. I am STILL sleep deprived (and they are both sleeping through the night).

Elyssa - posted on 05/28/2009

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I know exactly how you feel just like other twin mothers I'm sure...look at it this way it's best to have both your boys 100% healthy leaving the hospital and enjoying them at home. I was only able to take one of my twin boys home while the other stayed in the NICU for 3 months...I saw it as time to do a couple of things bond as much as possible with the one at home and getting somewhat accustomed to caring for a baby then soon after babies. I know it hurts seeing them in there but you have the rest of your life to enjoy them..there will come a time you will barely even remember they where hospitalized..=)

Elyssa - posted on 05/28/2009

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I know exactly how you feel just like other twin mothers I'm sure...look at it this way it's best to have both your boys 100% healthy leaving the hospital and enjoying them at home. I was only able to take one of my twin boys home while the other stayed in the NICU for 3 months...I saw it as time to do a couple of things bond as much as possible with the one at home and getting somewhat accustomed to caring for a baby then soon after babies. I know it hurts seeing them in there but you have the rest of your life to enjoy them..there will come a time you will barely even remember they where hospitalized..=)

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