Testimonies from NICU Parents
My pregnancy with my rainbow baby, Olivia, was nothing short of a miracle. I had 4 miscarriages prior to becoming pregnant with her. My husband and I had decided to stop trying and just enjoy our 3 beautiful children. Surprise, surprise! Olivia had other plans.
We were both so nervous at the 8 week ultrasound. We had been here multiple times for it it end in heartbreak. There it was a loud, strong, beautiful heartbeat. I cried tears of joy! The pregnancy went smoothly. We thought we were out of the woods, until I started bleeding at 17 weeks. I was diagnosed with a subchorionic bleed. The bleeding continued daily and got heavier each day. I was then diagnosed with a complete placenta previa. The goal was to make it till 24 weeks before being admitted. I was on bedrest at home till then.
We had 2 ER visits for heavy bleeding and then at 23 weeks and 6 days. I was admitted to the antepartum unit and give my first round of steroid shots. I was so scared and happy. We made it to 24 weeks, but terrified of my baby coming early. I felt completely helpless.
To make matters a bit more stressful, I was admitted in the height of Covid-19. I could not see my kids or have any visitors. My husband could only come on the weekends to see me because he needs to be home with the other kiddos. It was very lonely. Thankfully, I had some amazing nurses that became like family.
About a week into my stay, Sheri, a nicu nurse comes by and talks to me about the nicu and what to expect. She gave me access to the Families’ Bridge to Caring Hands website. Her continued support and the resource were a God send. As my stay continued and the bleeding continued, I was able to prepare myself for Olivia’s nicu stay. At 25 weeks, I passed a big blood clot and my water broke. I was given my first round of magnesium sulfate and antibiotics. Olivia decided that she wasn’t ready to come yet. I spent another 3 weeks… bleeding, off and on contractions, multiple rounds of magnesium sulfate, and another round of steroids. At 28 weeks and 2 days, I started having contractions and heavy bleeding. I needed an emergency csection, hysterectomy and 3 units of blood due to a placenta abruption.
Leading up to Olivia’s delivery, Sheri visited me frequently answered all my questions and let me visit the nicu. Without her support my 5 weeks in the antepartum unit would of been terrifying. Once we got Olivia settled in the nicu, Sheri always checked on me and she was Olivia’s nurse from time to time. Olivia ended up spending 134 days in the nicu. We were so excited and scared to bring her home. I cried on our discharge day. Tears of joy, thankfulness, and I was sad to be leaving my new friends and family that supported me on this journey.
I definitely could not of done this journey without all of the support of the nurses, neonatologist, therapists and this program. My husband and I will be forever thankful.
I remember being so excited as my husband and I were waiting for the ultrasound tech to come into the room. We were going to see our 3rd baby for the first time at 8 weeks. I had a strange feeling in those weeks before, that maybe there was more than one baby, my symptoms just seemed so much different than my first 2 pregnancies (singletons, 1 boy and 1 girl). I shrugged it off as me being hormonally crazy. When she came in I jokingly said to let me know how many were in there, because I thought there were more than one. We all smiled and chuckled a little. When she put the wand to my belly, she about fell off her chair.
She looked at me and asked, “how did you know?”. I said, I just felt different.
My pregnancy felt like it was progressing like my others, but we knew that they would be smaller than a singleton baby at the same gestational age, and full term for twins was typically 37 weeks rather than 40. In our case, we set a goal to try to make it to 32 weeks gestation before delivery. We knew that it was an extremely high risk pregnancy, because not only were they at risk for Twin to Twin Transfusion (TTTS), but because they were in the same sac, they were at greater risk because their umbilical cords could tangle at any time. This could mean blood flow/oxygen being cut off to one or both of the twins. We knew this from very early on, so needless to say I felt helpless my entire pregnancy. There was nothing I could do as a mother to prevent this from happening, or knowing if/when it was happening. We discussed being hospitalized at 24 weeks throughout the pregnancy, and finally decided it was the right choice so that the girls could be more closely monitored.
I left my full time job, and 3 days later was admitted to the Antepartum unit at 24 weeks where I would remain “inpatient” until my little girls arrived at 31 weeks. I was away from my other 2 children and my husband. Shortly after admission, I was asked to be in a program (which did not have a name yet), and a nurse from the NICU would come talk with me. I said yes, I’d welcome any information that could help me get through this. Rebecca came to meet with me, and to tell me about her program, and that I was the first patient to be a part of it. She met with me every other day, but made sure I knew that she was available as often as I needed. She gave us an idea of what to expect with preemies; the types of tubes and IV’s, the color and appearance of their skin, growth, feeding, the obstacles and challenges we could face, and how to understand the medical terms used in the NICU. She sat with me, and my husband, and answered questions we didn’t even know or think to ask. It was scary, but refreshing at the same time. She allowed us to have a glimpse into the possibilities, and was open and honest with us. We appreciated this so much, and felt so much more aware and prepared.