When we originally were told our babies would have to go to the NICU, we really had no idea what that meant. It sounded scary, especially when we understood that meant they weren’t coming home with us. But, it’s not like there are options. The NICU is where the girls had to go, so that’s where they went.
Kayla was born at 3 lbs 13 oz and 17 ¾ inches long. Zoey was born at 3 lbs 14 oz and 17 inches long. No wonder I didn’t need stitches, they were little! And if I’m being totally honest, they looked like aliens! I knew I loved them, but they were just so little, their skin was hanging off their bodies, like when an obese person loses a lot of weight and then doesn’t know what to do with the excess skin. And if I’m really honest, they didn’t feel like mine right away. Maybe that has to do with the fact that they were taken to the NICU and not in my hospital room with me at all, and I did leave the hospital without them. But, it was just all so surreal! I had never wanted anything so badly, and now that I had it, I wasn’t sure I was still living my life! But, I was and so I had to live it!
Both girls were doing very well, scoring 9s on the Apgar scales, which I still am not even sure what that means. Kayla just needed to gain weight to be discharged, but Zoey had a little trouble coordinating breathing and eating or sucking. So, she was on a feeding tube and a breathing tube for a few days. That was very hard to see and it broke my heart. But, it only lasted about 3 days and then she figured it out! Kayla actually also had a little jaundice and had to go under the lights, but again that only lasted a day or 2. About 5 days after the girls were born, Zoey had a drop in her heart rate and had to stay at least 5 days without that happening again before she could be discharged. Plus the fact, that both girls had to weigh 4 pounds before we could take them home. Again, all of this seemed so surreal, but I can talk about it so easily because of how great the NICU turned out to be!
In the meantime, my recovery was great. Except for the first day after I delivered when I felt the side effects of the sodium nitrate form the preeclampsia. That was horrendous! It was like the worst flu you can imagine and I wouldn’t let anyone visit. The next day I was discharged and we started figuring out a schedule to go see the girls.
Let me stop here and talk about the NICU a little more. Like I said before, the thought of it was scary at first. But, I cannot say enough good things about the NICU! The nurses were amazing and taught us everything! They showed us how to take the babies’ temperatures, how to change them, how to feed them, how to hold them. It was like free baby nurses! And the best part was they put the girls on a schedule from minute 1! The girls ate every 3 hours and for any of you pregnant with twins, all you will hear is how keeping them on a schedule, and the SAME schedule at that, is the most important thing! I agree and I have to thank the NICU for making that happen so early on! While we weren’t able to walk away with free diapers or formula like so many of my friends did from the regular hospital nurseries, we walked away knowing our twins were doing well and we learned how to take care of them.
So, Dave and I were home, Kayla and Zoey were in the NICU. They were eating every 3 hours so I tried to go to the hospital at the 11 am feeding and the 2 pm feeding and Dave would try to get to the 5 pm feeding but that almost never happened so we would meet at the hospital to do the 8 pm feeding, read the girls a story and say goodnight. These feedings would sometimes last 45mins-1 hour and each girl would have only eaten about an ounce of formula. Actually, with premature babies in the NICU we talked in CCs, not even whole ounces. At first, if the girls drank 10 CC’s, we were ecstatic! By the time they left they were up to about 50 CC’s, which was almost 2 ounces. I was encouraged to pump and breastfeed, especially because the girls were premature, but I decided not to. I think breastfeeding is a very personal decision and every woman should choose what she feels is right for her. I give a lot of credit to the women of twins out there who do breastfeed. I felt that with 2 babies, it was just not for me. The girls were put on Similac Neosure which is formula special for preemies and has extra iron, and they remained on that formula for the first year of their lives, striving and doing great!
Finally, after 8 days in the NICU, Kayla came home with us and 3 days later, Zoey came home as well. Now what?!