I found out I was having twins it was a shock.
I started to prepare my mind for having preemies, even though most people actually go full term with twins. That’s just how my mind works. What my mind didn’t do, was make a plan for micro-preemies. We found out at our anatomy scan at 20 weeks that having micro-preemies was going to be our best-case scenario. I had already been in labor and our goal at that point was going to be making it to 23 weeks where the babies would be considered viable and the doctors were pretty grim about our chances. We hit 23 weeks, I went into the hospital and laid in bed for the next two and a half weeks. At 25 weeks 4 days, I gave birth to a 1 pound 13 ounce baby boy and a 1 pound 12 ounce baby girl.
We spent the next three months in the NICU.
Instead of bringing them home with me after delivery I went home and got up to an alarm clock every two hours instead of their cries. I was pumping to get my milk to come in and to get any bit of breastmilk I could get for them when they eventually could get milk. I had the number for the NICU saved in my phone as a special number so that it would always go through no matter what setting my phone was on. I didn’t sleep much anyway, so it really didn’t matter. I had to divide my time between my then 4 and 6-year-olds at home who needed their mama and the tiny babes at the hospital. My heart would sink anytime I said goodbye to any of them.
Eventually, they came home.
My daughter came home a whole week before my son. Leaving him there alone for the first time in his life broke me harder than leaving the two of them the first time. We had countless appointments with pulmonology, cardiology, ophthalmology, and neurology. We met our friends at Help Me Grow and had home visits to make sure we were on track with adjusted age (because when you are born almost three months early, your brain is still not where it should be at full term so you are judged developmentally by when you should have been born and not when you were born) and then that started our visits to physical, occupational and speech therapies.
We are now three and a half and they have mostly caught up in size.
My son is actually a bit bigger than the average kid his age and my daughter still a bit smaller. They still have some delays in fine motor, and low muscle tone and probably always will to some extent. They have chronic lung issues and we have been readmitted twice.
Don’t get me wrong, we are some of the lucky ones.
While we still have some unanswered questions and hurdles to overcome things could have gone a completely different direction. I think that is something people need to know. It’s not just watching a baby grow on the outside. It doesn’t end when you finally bring your baby out of the NICU.
While prematurity is difficult it is also amazing.
It has been amazing to watch these two grow day in and day out. Watching them become who they are and see their spark take fire. Prematurity is isolating but it is also new friendships. It is scary but it is also strength. It is hours away from family at home but building relationships at the same time. It is learning how strong you are in your weakest moment. It is a February birthday when it should have been a May birthday.