I know it’s been eons since I have written anything. To be honest, hubby and I have been through absolute hell the past 7 months. Between several visits to the hospital due to premature labor/bleeding, emergency c-section, a 92-day NICU stay that included heart surgery on both babies in their first week of life, taking home and raising not-your-average twins, and battling insurance, it’s been absolutely insane.
One thing that you’re never prepared for is having children. What you are also not prepared for is having more than one at once. What you are absolutely never ever positively not prepared for is having micro preemie more than one at once. It comes with its own unique set of challenges that are unlike those of term babies.
Within 5 days of having them home, I had been to the pediatrician with Vivian and Olivia twice. That’s two car seats, two pacifiers (which I did not pack because I was new to this new mom thing…I also did not pack a diaper bag), an oxygen tank, an SpO2 monitor (because sweet Vivian went home on oxygen), two co-pays, and oh yeah, I was getting a cold; the last thing you want to have when taking care of micro-preemies. That, folks, is $120 within 3 days. I had insisted on driving them on my own, telling hubby that he did not have to take time off work.
“I’ll have to figure out how to do this on my own anyway, I’ve got this!”
Yeah. I had it all right. I must have looked like absolute shit at the doctor’s office despite my efforts to pile on my makeup. I pile it on anyway because, well, I pay enough for it so you might as well see it, but upon inspection in the natural light of my rear-view mirror (OH! Cute babies sleeping!), I had orange splotches at my temples, hairline, and cheeks where my makeup was not blended, my cat eye was more of a raccoon eye from lack of sleep, and my blush was applied like It the clown. I sucked at this mom thing and looked it too. As I piled my babies into the room, I felt that ‘I had this’. I was feeling a sore throat coming on and was wearing a mask while slathering on hand sanitizer on my NICU hands* (which is a whole other phenomenon; see below).
My pediatrician was wonderful. She looked at me point-blank and said,
“No one really tells you this, but the first 8 weeks are shit.”
Okay, kind of reassuring to hear from my doctor. A wave of relief washed over me. I see some moms on instagram, facebook, magazines…they look amazing! Rested, hair perfect, and brows perfectly maintained. I already looked like a Cro magnon man. How could I fall apart in just 5 days? My brain was telling me, “Go!”, but my body was telling me, “No, honey, you do not have this”.
The doctor told me about another patient who had twins and was in a car accident because she was so tired. She offered me her personal number and that she would come over to take care of night feeds if we needed so that we could get some rest. She went on to explain that when she was a resident, she became pregnant (RESIDENCY?! and baby?!). Between her and her hubby, she stayed in the nursery to handle the night feeds so that hubby could rest and work. This was what I tried to do. Hubby handled formula and bottle washing (holy HELL, so many bottles!!!) since I had NICU hands. That was a huge task. I handled the night feeds so he could rest and maintain his normal 7-5 and his teaching jobs. Yup, between the two of us, three jobs to maintain twins.
“I get it. Bills don’t pay themselves,” she said.
Even more relief. My doctor was standing there telling me, in not so many words, that it’s okay to have your life turned upside down and to prioritize the way that suits you and your family. We took her up on her offer to come over the next night. Yet another angel on earth! Who is this person and who better to trust to watch your preemies?!
You think one baby is hard, try two that are micro-preemies! It comes with a whole different set of responsibilities. They don’t eat like term babies, they need intervention with development and motor, daily stretching to prevent torticollis (the atrophy of the neck muscle) that also prevents plagiocephaly, which good luck with preventing that with twins.
I’m not looking for a woe-is-me type of deal here. Not at all. What I am looking to do is let you know that it’s not easy and it’s okay. No one is perfect (except those moms on instagram, facebook, and in magazines) and that’s ok.
Once week nine rolled around, both babies were looking at us and cooing. That was last week. They will be ten weeks corrected on Thursday (5 months, 9 days actual). Today they are torturing me like any infant would, but times two. I’m stressed, but showered. My days are filled with chaos, screaming, crying (sometimes all 5 of us with the dog included), NICU hands that are just starting to heal, and most definitely double doody…but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
*NICU hands: dry, cracked, blistered, itchy hands that are not remedied by anything except a lotion called Dermarest. NICU hands.