I am sitting in the rocker in the nursery as I watch my two sweet little boys sleeping soundly and I am left to reflect on just how blessed I am. These boys, with all they have been through, being where they are now during this holiday season. Last Thanksgiving was utter despair, and this year we have much to rejoice in.
I joined a preemie awareness group and have loved seeing the posts from others, seeing these tiny ones develop into toddlers, teenagers, adults through all the pictures. So many little miracles. But then I read about the 30 weeker still on oxygen at home, the 28 weeker with brain bleeds, the 27 weeker with NEC...and it goes on and on. I am just left in awe of how smooth our NICU ride was. We were in there for a LONG 87 days, but mostly it was just waiting for the boys to breathe on their own and then waiting for them to eat on their own. I didn't go in each day terrified of what news we would get. Every single test was normal by the time they came home - brain scans, heart scans, hearing, ROP - it all checked out.
When I think of my time there, I have very few truly scary memories. It was a nervous wreck when they each had to have blood transfusions and when NEC was mentioned for Warren (negative). The worst moment was when Warren (poor guy) had water dumped down his cpap and he got choked on it, maybe around 2-3 weeks old. I watched him choking (nose plugged with the the breathing tube and chin strap on, so no way to get any air in), turning blue and fighting to get in some air, and I sobbed. And then called Andrew and sobbed. And then sobbed all the way home as I remembered the moment. Warren was perfectly fine after an hour or so, but I was not. And for having two micropreemies, a simple "dumping" was the absolute worst it got for us. Praise the Lord! No surgeries, no procedures, no reason for them to ever call us while we were at home. I watched the little girl across the way from us battle with several surgeries, NEC, sepsis, and eventually MRSA and could only stand amazed at how well our boys did.
As I read about these preemie stories, I feel so different. We knew in advance we would have preemies, knew they would have a long NICU stay. There was no moment where everything suddenly changed or water broke or anything. I never expected to leave the hospital with the boys when they were first born. And so my early NICU days were not spent worrying and stressing but just being so excited! I couldn't wait to get there each morning and hated to leave. We feel as though the boys' biggest battle was not in the NICU but while I was still pregnant. That was when we worried and prayed for a safe delivery and healthy boys. And God answered that prayer in a mighty way. He chose not to have me continue to carry them as we sometimes prayed, but gave us two incredibly healthy boys. We have 27 weeker twins who are sleeping 7 hours, have no special medication, no brain issues, and are growing strong. When I think of all that could have gone wrong, I realize how incredibly blessed we are.
It is so easy to take it all for granted. Especially when they are both crying. But during this week of Thanksgiving I am feeling extra grateful and appreciative of where we have come from last year, all the changes in our lives, and these two little miracles who were sleeping soundly when I started this...