Throughout the month there are different specialty days. I wanted to share my story to help spread how important the NICU and NICU Nurses are to me.
September 15th: Neonatal Nurses Day
September 26th: NICU Remembrance Day
September 27th: NICU Giving Day
September 28th: NICU Staff Appreciation Day
September 29th: Sibling Support Day
September 30th: NICU Awareness Day
I never knew about the NICU until my twins were born at 31 weeks and 6 days during an emergency C-Section. I was in a car accident 3 days prior. I was monitored after the accident for 24 hours and everything seemed fine. Monday morning 6/6/2016, I went into full labor. After 7 hours, I was sent in for an emergency C-Section.
Annabelle Marie Gros was born as 1:16pm and Amelia Rose Gros was born at 1:17pm
Annabelle was breathing but put on oxygen right away. Amelia was not breathing and blue. Both girls were rushed to NICU.
Tuesday 6/7/2016 at around 6:30pm, I was able to go visit my twins in NICU for the first time. Amelia was doing much better. She has an IV in her head, a feeding tube in her mouth, and oxygen in her nose.
Tuesday 6/7/2016 at around 6:30pm, I was able to go visit my twins in NICU for the first time. Amelia was doing much better. She has an IV in her head, a feeding tube in her mouth, and oxygen in her nose. That was the first time I held her. She was so tiny at only 4 lbs 1oz. Annabelle, my 5lb 2oz baby, also had an IV in her head, a feeding tube in her mouth, and oxygen in her nose. However, I was not allowed to hold her due to her having a collapsed lung. She was struggling to breath on the wall oxygen.
Thursday 6/9/2016 I was still not allowed to hold Annabelle due to her breathing troubles. They brought in a bigger oxygen machine to help inflate her lungs as that was the part, she was having trouble with. Amelia was doing better and off oxygen altogether.
Friday 6/10/2016 Annabelle was off the big oxygen machine and back on the wall oxygen. She was slowly improving. I was finally able to hold her 4 days later. This was also the day I was discharged from the Hospital. There is no feeling more gutting than leaving your newborns at the hospital while you go home. My body went through the motions of being home, pumping for the babies, and doing housework, but my mind was always on my little ones in the Hospital.
In order to leave the hospital, the baby has to pass 3 tests:
– Maintain Body Temperature on their own
– Drink 8 full bottles consecutively
– Be able to sit in their car seat for 2 or more hours without bradying down (maintain heartbeat)
By week 2, my girls got their own sibling room. It was only them 2. They were moved from their “Pod” of four babies. They were maintaining their body temperature and in “open cribs”. They were no longer in the incubators. Amelia was the first to get all 8 bottles down consecutively. It took a few tries, but she did it, and her feeding tube was removed. Annabelle was a few days late on this, but eventually she got all 8 bottles down consecutively and her feeding tube was also removed.
Amelia had her car seat test done when I was not there. She passed on the first try, but her sister did not. Since Amelia passed all 3 of her tests, I was able to do a “Sleep in”. This is when the parent goes into the room at the end of the hall and learns the different machines or ways to feed your NICU baby with the help of nurses. I stayed the night with Amelia. At 20 days old, that was my first full night with one of my newborn babies. Amelia was discharged the next day after 21 days in NICU. This was a bittersweet day as I took Amelia home, I had to leave Annabelle alone. At least with them both there, I didn’t feel they were completely alone, but now Annabelle was.
It was a hard time, staying all day with Annabelle at the hospital. Then coming home to another newborn to take care of all night. It was not an easy time for me mentally or physically. Also at this time, my C-Section opened and got infected—just my luck. At 24 days, Annabelle passed her car seat test. Finally, I was able to take Annabelle home after 25 days in NICU. I had to split my time for 4 days, and now both of my babies were home.
I would not have gotten through any of it without the help of the NICU Nurses. They helped my babies and kept me sane throughout the whole ordeal. They helped answer any questions, listened to me cry, and made sure I was taking care of myself for my girls. They are amazing people that I could not thank enough.
My girls are 6 years old now. I cannot believe it has been 6 years since their NICU stay. They are very active in soccer, school, and you would have never known they had any lung issues with how much they talk!
Each year, I try to send the NICU nurses at Ochsner Baptist something to show my appreciation for how much they helped me and my babies throughout their first month of life. This month, I plan on sending a treat, maybe donuts. I’ve been told by many nurses, snacks and coffee are the best way to your appreciation. I challenge you to show your appreciation to a NICU Nurse this month as well. Also, wear green on September 30th to show your #NICUAwareness.
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