Saturday, September 8, 2007

The NICU


Within moments of being born, Gracie was wisked off to the NICU. Being only 3 lbs 7 oz at birth, she was too tiny to make her way to the regular nursery. She is very tiny, but when I see other babies in the NICU, she is good sized. Luke started in the regular nursery, but had problems breathing and soon found himself in the NICU as well.

Nurses can tell you about the NICU, but they can't really prepare you for the emotions you will go through seeing your babies there. I did not get to see the babies until the day after they were born. Daddy had already seen them three times and was already much more comfortable in the NICU than me. He knew his way around the NICU: how long to wash your hands, carrying a piece of paper towel so that if you need to touch something outside of the baby's area you don't need to rewash your hands. He had already seen the NICU and was prepared for the alarm sounds and the wimpering of the tiny babies there. I wasn't ready for it. Seeing Luke laid out in the bed with the oxygen and multiple leads attached to his chest was almost too much for me. He looked so small and the machines around him very intimidating. He was one of the wimpering babies. His chest rose and fell rapidly in an unnatural pattern and was very scary to watch. Gracie was slightly better. She was simply lying in her bed, much tinier than her brother.

It is very scary seeing the babies you have held safe in your tummy for 36 weeks lying spread out with tubes and wires attached to them. I feel an incredible sense of guilt whenever I see them. If only I could have kept them inside me for a bit longer, maybe they would have been stronger and would be able to be with me in my room. Instead, because they came so early, now they are lying on those beds where I can't hold them. It makes me so sad to see them there. I feel absolutely helpless.

Daddy tries to get me to look at the upside of it all: Luke is breathing room air with the aid of those fancy nasal tubes you see on ER all the time and Gracie is already demanding food. She is known as the sassy one and was such a screamer, that they had to move her to another room. Both babies have their Daddy's blood type and Luke looks just like his Daddy. He has the hairline to prove it! Once Gracie puts on some more weight, I'll be able to tell who she looks like. Right now, she is rather skinny.

The nurses seem to think that the babies will only need to stay in the NICU for a few weeks. I'll be going home tomorrow. Being separated from them will be hard, but Daddy assures me that we will be here all the time and as soon as we are able, we will get to feed Gracie.

There is a support group for the parents of NICU patients and Daddy and I are planning to go. We need to feel more of a connection to the place and get reassurance from the nurses who work there. While they are very supportive, I don't think I have been really paying attention to what they tell me about the babies. I am so focused on my babies that I shut out everything else.

Please keep Gracie and Luke in your prayers.

4 comments:

  1. Jen -
    I KNOW you can do this!!! Yes, they are in the NICU, but you held them in for 36 weeks, that's amazing considering you were in the hospital at 23-24(?)!! Please don't beat yourself up, because that would mean I have to do the same to myself ;) You'll be surprised how quickly those few weeks go by - we're at 7 today! There will be ups and downs but keep your eye on the prize!!!!! We're all praying for you - all 4 of you! Love, Jess

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  2. Hey Jen & Ed,

    You both know Richard and I were there once with Vic. I can completey and totally relate to how you are feeling. But you cannot beat yourself about them being in the NICU or being early. Do not feel guilty. Being early may have just been the best thing for them. Vickie was 6 weeks early and thats what they told Richard and I for Vic, any longer and there could have been more risk involved for both of us. Just remember, we are here too as your support. Having been there, we know every emotion you are feeling and yes, I too felt guilty and wondered if it was something I did wrong or could have done different. But with each success and obstacle Vic met, so did we and I overcame that. And now, 7 years later, we have a very heatlhy, stubborn, active, smart, outgoing, beautiful little girl. And the same will be for you and Ed, a bouncing, handsome, strong baby boy and a soft, beautiful, strong baby girl. Gracie and Luke are meant for you two. With them, there will be obtacles, and together, you will all 4 be close and stronger because of each obstacle. You have already made it over dozens of obtacles but the biggest one...you brought them into this world to be loved and cuddled to the fullest, and they will be.

    Richard and I are right here if you guys need anything, even just to cook dinner one night. or house cleaning. Whatever it is. Love you both.

    Elena & Richard

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  3. Ahh Jen, all four of you are in our thoughts and prayers.

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  4. Hang in there Jen & Eddie.....The Twinzies will be okay. We have all been praying.....All you need is FAITH and that our family has alot of....Don't beat your selves up...You guys are both strong thats a fact....I love you guys....

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