31 Jul 2013

Proud Mom of a NICU Grad 2010 X 2

Today, July 31st is our 3rd NICU Graduation Anniversary day for Twin A! Three years ago we celebrated the discharge of Twin A from hospital, which was a day we waited a long time for. I’m not going to lie, not all of those days were filled with patience and understanding. Some of those days when we were waiting to get to take our babies home were filled with tea
rs, frustration and what sometimes felt like my heart was breaking.

Cat nap in the "care by parent" room.
Final stage of NICU!
That day was one of the most positive days in three months. As any NICU parent knows, we experience many positive experiences or steps in the right direction during a NICU stay, but that final step of being able to walk your baby out of the NICU, which has protected him since the day he arrived is an amazing feeling! No longer is your baby sheltered inside a dimly lit intensive care unit, with alarms, wires and a staff. Now he is all yours and ready to go home! When we walk out those NICU doors and they close behind us, we get this sudden urge to run for the elevator doors and get out of there as fast as possible before someone changes their mind! Imagine that? Funny, but not! 

Big Bro greets Twin A at NICU exit.

All parents who walk out of a hospital with their new little baby walk out with pride plastered all over their faces. A NICU parent does that too, but may have more people to stop and chat with and will be more than happy to take in all the glory of the ooh’s and ah’s and loving coo’s coming from staff and random strangers’ mouths, as they make their way toward the exit to take their small baby home. It’s like a mini, slow-moving parade. On our special day, as I wheeled out Twin B, who had just officially met his big brother after 93 long days apart, the sun was shining and my children’s grandmothers were in tow and they were smiling from ear to ear. It was one of the best days I had ever experienced, but things weren’t quite right yet.

While we focused our attention on getting Twin A situated in his second “home away from home” at the Ronald McDonald House down the street from the hospital, the reality was Twin B was still in the NICU, as he was still working on being well enough to come home. My little family was not yet picture perfect yet.
Getting used to life "on the outside."
Big Bro gets in his first snuggles
with Twin A.

Now my time was not only going to be divided between the hospital and my eldest child, it had to be divided between the hospital with Twin B, Twin A at our “temporary residence” and Big Brother who was bouncing between our actual home and the “home away from home.” Thankfully, I had two awesome ladies front and centre to help balance the needs of Twin A and Big Brother, taking up temporary residence off and on for three more weeks while we waited for Twin B to join his two NICU Grad brothers with his rite of passage in graduating from his NICU stay.
Another cat nap. This time at his
Home Away from Home.

The boys’ father was at work, making a living and bringing home the bacon, while I worked hard with my little boys outside the hospital and my little man working on healing and re-teaching him to breastfeed. He had had a surgery and was very pooped out, losing his will to breastfeed. Those final three weeks seemed like an eternity, but I knew we were in the home stretch. With a lot of collaboration between our NICU team, including the neonatologists, occupational therapist, lactation consultant, our nurses and myself, we devised plans, scaled back, re-thought and tried again to get this little man healthy, packing on the grams (yes, grams) and ready to graduate. Those days were taxing. They were frustrating. I advocated like I never advocated for my child before! And it was so worth it. By this stage of the game I had developed a new found confidence in
my knowledge as a mother and I had learned how to speak for
my baby and for the wellness of my family.

Three weeks after Twin A came home, along came Twin B, right behind is little big brother. That day was the end of our NICU chapter and the start of many amazing new ones in our own home as a family of five.