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#1 of 9 Old 10-16-2008, 02:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My boy/girl twins arrived recently at 32 weeks. At first I was utterly in shock, and very focused on being grateful for a vaginal birth and that we had a space in the local NICU as many women and babies have been transferred out of town.

The early birth shock has worn off now, but I feel kind of emotionally frozen about the fact there are needing extra help. If I let my thoughts go, I want to scream and wail that they are not in my arms, that other people are looking after them, that they are so vulnerable to infection there and being pumped full of antibiotics, IV lines going in, blood taken all the time.

So, I'm putting up a stop sign to my thoughts in my mind to get through day by day. Nothing in my life has been so awful as this time, but I'm expected to go on as if everything is okay. But it's not okay. The continuum is broken, my instincts are not serving me or my babies this time round. The monitors and staff rule our lives, the blood results, the pump with it's bottles all measuring my production.

I feel like the babies will be strangers to each other by the time we are out of there. My other children are going to have more issues too as it's taking weeks of me away from them. We're normally together pretty much round the clock as I home educate. I'm walking a tightrope with all this and it feels too much. I can't even see the other side.

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#2 of 9 Old 10-16-2008, 09:35 AM
 
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Big hugs to you. :

I think a lot of us feel numb as we are going through it. I know I did. I actually got my medical records a few months ago and they talk about me being in denial of the condition of my child. I honestly think you do what you have to to survive the time you are apart, and for a lot of NICU moms it is numbness. People kept telling me how well I was doing or how brave I was and I can remember acting like it was no big deal.

A lot of NICU moms also report "crashing" after baby comes home. After ds came home, it was just like this wave of emotion crashed over me. Good emotions and bad emotions both. Jealously was a big one for me. And after I filtered through that, I went through the "why me? why ds?" of it all. I think I'm still going through some emotions 3.5 years later!

If you are able, try to find a NICU support group or talk to a therapist. I think if I'd had either of those things available to me it really would've helped.

Wife to an amazing man love.gif, mommy to 3 wild dudes: ds1 (5/23/05 @ 30 weeks), ds2 (3/5/09) hbac.gif, and ds3 (9/26/10) hbac.gif. Part time librarianread.gif, full time mommysupermod.gif, occasional chef and maid.

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#3 of 9 Old 10-16-2008, 10:42 AM
 
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HUGS from another NICU mama from your DDC.

The first week or so was pretty rough for me too. After a while, it just sort of became "normal" to be going to the hospital several times a day to see him. I think that's where I just sort of shut off the emotion for the most part.

I think it's so important to surround yourself with people who really understand the situation. I stopped hanging around the DDC much for a while and stuck to this board because it was just too painful to hear all the pregnancy chatter. Get to know the other parents in the NICU. This was really helpful to us to have someone there that we were "in it with." We also got to know the nurses really well, asking about their families and all that. This helped because we felt we weren't leaving our baby with strangers each night. The social worker at our hospital was also wonderful.

PM me if you want. I can give you my phone number or email if you need someone to vent/cry to.
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#4 of 9 Old 10-16-2008, 12:23 PM
 
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People would always ask how I was doing and I would respond "Not suicidal and hot homicidal." That's truly how I felt.....like I was *just* getting by each hour.....then each day. Even now 2 years later, sometimes I don't know how I made it. There were no other families in the NICU for me to talk to.....there were only a very small handful of parents who even came to visit their babies in our NICU...and they didn't always come when I was there...and no one seemed interested in talking. I did find one nurse there to talk to.....and I ended up finding another preemie mom in my LLL that I talked to after the fact.....but the rest of the time I was reading here, and calling my family (who were all over 1000 miles away). We had just moved to the area (less than 2 months here when he was born) and so I knew very few people. It was extremely isolating. I spent most of my time visiting/rocking him, pumping, sleeping and reading about preemie stuff.

The good thing? My son doesn't know the difference. He has no idea how much it affected me. You do have older children, so they will know and see how much their mama loves them and their new little ones. And I think when this is all over they will be so proud of how strong you are. We had a rough couple of years when I was in middle school with health issues for my parents and while it was going on, I'm sure I must've been a little neglected.....but even just a few years after it I couldn't really remember it, and now all I can remember is how strong my mom was! How she held it all together and managed to deal with such a stressful and trying time....despite her health and my dad's. Your children will love and respect you for everything you are doing for the family.
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#5 of 9 Old 10-17-2008, 01:15 AM
 
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Hi,

We share some stuff. I had two sets of twins too. Read my NICU story on the website here in Birth Stories. The title is A Crunchy Mama Makes Her Way in the NICU. You can be a natural mama and give your babies nurturing in the NICU. But, you have to be willing to fight for it. PM me if you want to discuss.
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#6 of 9 Old 10-17-2008, 07:17 AM
 
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Hugs mama.

First, congratulations on the birth of your babies! A vaginal birth with twins is something to be very, very proud of, and you gave your twins such a good start during an otherwise difficult time.

Your feelings are so valid... our preemie was our only child, so there were no other children to worry about, and I can't imagine how difficult this must be for you. Is there anyone who can come over and help you with your other children? Are they having a hard time understanding what is happening? I don't know how old your children are, but sometimes it's helpful to let them be constructive - perhaps they can spend some time each day drawing pictures or writing letters for the babies.

It is so hard to look around the NICU and try to absorb everything that is going on. Have you asked your doctor when your babies will be able to share a bed? Different NICUS have different requirements when it comes to this. Pumping sucks, and there's just no way around it. But at the same time, pumping is one of the absolute best things you can do for them right now, and it is something that only YOU can give them. Machines, doctors, and nurses can't begin to match what you are doing.

Someone else mentioned that a lot of NICU mamas crash when they get home. This is so very true. I second the suggestion that you try to find a local support group or get friendly with the other NICU parents. When your babies do come home, be ready for a flood of emotion and try to have help lined up- either extra family and friends around for support, or a few appointments with a therapist. Just monitor your feelings and act accordingly. Some people feel better keeping a journal or blogging. I found that my journal really helped me deal with the daily emotions.

And I know how hard it is to see other people taking care of YOUR babies. Please try to remember that these children are in fact your babies, and that you will be a big part of their daily care very soon. No matter what, they absolutely know who their mama is. It's so hard to feel so completely out of control, but try to identify the things you DO have control over, and jump on it! Are the babies wearing clothes yet? Are they on an open bed or an isolette? You can add your own blanket to the top of the isolette, and if they are wearing clothes, many NICUs see no problem with letting the babies wear clothes you bring in. Are you able to help with cares yet? Sometimes being able to do something as simple as changing a diaper makes a world of difference. Eventually you'll be able to breastfeed and kangaroo, and that will probably be one of the best days yet. You can also read books aloud, sing, hum, etc. All of those things will soothe your babies, and your voice is something that is so familiar to them (and again, it's something that the hospital staff can't provide).

Please keep us posted, and good luck to you.

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer"
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#7 of 9 Old 10-21-2008, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for these supportive words and suggestions.

Homewithtwinsmama, my first two children are actually 10 months apart and it just happens to be the time of year when they are the same age - I've made the eldest a month older now in my siggy to avoid being misleading on the twin front

Both babies are off caffeine now and they were even in a shared cot for a bit yesterday. Diffierent nurses do different things though, and my daughter was ousted from the cot when a new nurse came on shift

They reckon it will be a couple of weeks until they can try demand feeding. I feel so mad about this. I had a 36 weeker (who was probably more like 35 weeks according to my dates, but why argue with hospital dates. urgh) and I fed him round the clock for approx 3 months. It was intense, but he was with me, we were happy. My youngest son reminds me very much of how things were with his brother. I just want to take him home. My daughter is less awake and more tired by nursing, but I'd still rather be drip feeding her every 15 minutes. I know there are two of them, but having them there and only being allowed to b'feed once/ twice a day is just so against everything I'm being called to do.

I'm not feeling huge surges of gratitude towards the staff

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#8 of 9 Old 10-22-2008, 06:43 PM
 
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Does your NICU have primary nursing? Many do, you chose the nurses that you click with best and your baby will have primarily those nurses. It really helps to come in to the NICU and have a nurse that understands and respects your wishes. They will advocate for you when you aren't there also. In my NICU we could also request nurses be taken off the list for our baby, that way nurses that we couldn't communicate well with or had some other issue with we didn't get again. There are pro-breastfeeding nurses out there etc. Good luck!
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#9 of 9 Old 10-22-2008, 08:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No, they seem to shift everyone around regularly. I did request one night that a nurse not be put with my babies after she'd caused me huge stress re: b'feeding, but then within the week she had been with them again, so it wasn't taken as a point to follow up.

I'm just hanging on by a thread, you know. They are 35 weeks tomorrow, but it seems like we'll be there for at least another 2.

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