One Thing Every NICU Mom Needs to Hear
My biggest fear when I found out that I was pregnant with twins was that they would come prematurely and end up in the NICU. Well, that and being put on hospital bedrest.
I couldn’t even fathom having to be stuck in the hospital with my son, Theo (who was barely two) at home without me.
What sounded even worse than leaving Theo at home while I was stuck in the hospital, was having to leave the hospital to go home and leave my twins in the NICU.
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Every book and article I read on Pinterest pointed out all of the millions of complications a twin pregnancy could entail.
I convinced myself that I would have no issues.
I would go full-term and my babies would come home healthy and strong.
After all, my firstborn was 9 pounds when he was born! I was sure that my body could handle having twins, or at least I tried really hard to convince myself that I had nothing to worry about.
To my complete shock and surprise, my water broke when I was 29 weeks and 6 days. 29 weeks. and 6 days. My hospital bag wasn’t even packed yet!
I was so sure that I couldn’t possibly be actually going into labor that I convinced myself that I just couldn’t stop peeing.
It only took a few short minutes for me to acknowledge that I wasn’t peeing this much (and pro tip, amniotic fluid doesn’t have an odor) and my water had indeed broken.
My husband rushed me to the hospital where I was informed that my water had indeed broken (also known, preterm premature rupture of membranes, or PPROM). They were able to stop my labor and I would be spending up to the next 4 weeks in the hospital (you can read the full story here).
At 34 weeks, if I was still pregnant, they would induce me. At this point, I knew that even if I made it to 34 weeks, it was very likely that my twins spend some time in the NICU.
I was also told that if my body went into labor again, they would allow it to progress and not try to stop it again. At this point, I knew that I would have a premature birth, but was hopeful that I would make it to at least 34 weeks.
Becoming NICU Parents
I was in the hospital on bedrest for two weeks and then I went into labor. It came on hard and fast and my identical twin girls came roaring into the room at 31 weeks and 6 days, almost 8 weeks before my due date.
I was able to give each baby a small kiss and then they were immediately rushed into the neonatal intensive care unit. I had heard from other twin parents that there was something in you that changed once you became a NICU mom and I didn’t truly understand what they meant (how could I?) until I became a NICU mom myself.
What NICU Moms Don’t Need to Hear
I had many people tell me that everything would be OK. Yes, they were premature babies, but they were healthy and making gains daily!
This wasn’t a bad thing to say, but I didn’t need to hear it.
It didn’t, in fact, make me feel better, for two reasons.
1. Things did turn out to be OK, but they also could have not turned out OK. Things can change really quickly with newborn intensive care.
2. Knowing that things would probably turn out OK didn’t make what we were going through any easier. It was still hard.
It didn’t make it easier when I only had half an hour before I had to get home to Theo and I had to choose only one baby to hold.
It didn’t make it any easier to not be the one to give my babies their first bottle or put them into their first outfit, give them their first bath, change their diapers… the list goes on and on.
And most importantly, it didn’t ease the guilt.
Did I cause this? Maybe if I had stopped working, my water wouldn’t have broken.
Maybe if I hadn’t cleaned the entire kitchen the night before, even though my body was aching in pain…. maybe my babies wouldn’t have been born prematurely.
Once I was in the hospital on bed rest, there was a teeny, tiny part of me that just wanted them to come. The thought of being on bed rest, away from my home, two-year-old, and husband, for four weeks, seemed absolutely unbearable.
A tiny part of me wished that I could just go home.
So, when I went into labor after just two weeks of bed rest, part of me wondered… did I subconsciously cause this? Did I wish them out of me???
The One Thing NICU Moms Need to Hear
NICU mamas, let me tell you something. Something I wish someone had told me when I was going through this… it is not your fault.
Pregnancy complications are 100% out of your control.
I knew this when I was going through it, but my emotions were too high to really, fully believe it. You can believe and logically know that something isn’t true, but it can still feel true.
I logically knew that I hadn’t caused my water to break by cleaning my kitchen, but I felt so much guilt that part of me thought it could be true, and nobody told me otherwise.
It doesn’t matter that you mopped the floor and overdid it. It doesn’t matter that you were still working. It doesn’t matter that you were so uncomfortable that you secretly wished you weren’t pregnant any longer.
You did not cause this and it is not your fault.
I felt like my body let me down.
My body couldn’t handle a twin pregnancy.
My body wasn’t strong enough.
I did something wrong.
IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.
You will get through this. Being a NICU mama will build up your strength. Being a NICU mama will stretch you beyond what you ever thought you were capable of doing. You can and will handle it.
Our NICU Babies Now
I ended up going into labor while I was on bed rest, at 31 weeks and 6 days. Our NICU journey was relatively short compared to some, and both girls were home within 3 weeks.
They are now two-years-old, and healthy, thriving, adorable little girls.
I will never forget our NICU experience or the impact it had on our family. If you’re currently experiencing NICU life and need someone to talk to, please reach out to me. Once a NICU mama, always a NICU mama.
To follow our journey, head on over to Instagram!
other helpful posts
Our Twin Pregnancy Announcement
Surviving Hospital Bedrest During Pregnancy
Preparing a Toddler for a New Baby