Monday, July 19, 2010

The NICU Experience Part 2

I. am. exhausted! Words just can't describe, but after all of the birthday celebrations and parties, I feel like I've been hit by a truck. This is why I haven't been on here for a few days. I haven't been able to hold a cohesive thought. I still have my doubts, but as promised, I want to tell you about the tiny miracles God gave us and their start in this world.

These are two of the babies' nurses in the NICU.

I first held our babies when they were 8 days old. It was quite an overwhelming experience, as you can imagine, but no one can prepare you for what to expect in the NICU. There are all of these tiny babies in isolettes with tubes and wires coming from them and it is quite loud. There is a lot of beeping and machinery making noise. I was still in a wheelchair, not strong enough yet to walk on my own, so Hubby wheeled me up to the neo-natal floor and showed me the procedures he had been following the past week...signing in, washing up to our elbows, being buzzed through the doors...and then once we were in, I got such a warm welcome. The nurses all asked how I was feeling and said they had heard so much about me. On this day, the twins had different nurses. The first baby I met was Prince. His nurse was a man named Robert, who had a very strong Alabama accent. He handed me my baby and said, "Mama's here." He then proceeded to tell me about the nickname he had given my sweet prince in this deep twang and said, "Mama, he likes it when you rub his head like this. He's got all this loose skin like an old hound dog. See? He looks like an ol' hound dog and he likes it." After holding Prince for a few minutes and being totally overwhelmed by all of the tubes and how tiny he was, I was taken to the next bed to meet Princess. Princess' nurse handed me this tiny sweet girl and said, "We weren't sure if you were just going to call her by her first name or use her first and middle together, but I just have to tell you that we nurses have decided that her name is too pretty not to use the whole thing. So you have to use both names, we decided it for you." It is quite common in the south to use first and middle names for little girls, I had not decided yet what we'd call her. She was named after her great-great granny, who only used her middle name. Well, that settled it and she has been using both names ever since.

The NICU was a roller coaster ride. Things would seem to go great and we felt we could see progress and then Prince would have a set back and have to go back on oxygen. There was no manual to tell us how the NICU was supposed to work or how to talk to the docs when we had a question, it was just kind of a figure it out as you go. Before I had even arrived, Prince had an IV infiltration that burned his hand pretty badly. He had to have wound care in addition to being on oxygen and both of them were born without the sucking reflex and had feeding tubes. I had never been around any of this before.

That first day, I remember Hubby and I talking about how out of control we felt. How could two such in control people be so out of control? That was the question rolling around in my mind over and over.

Hubby and I lived at the Ronald McDonald House across the street from the hospital so we could come and go easily. As we entered the hospital each morning the receptionist downstairs would ask how I was doing and tell me she had been praying for our little family. As we left each night, she would ask how the babies were doing. We spent hours sitting with our babies, telling them stories, praying over them, I sang to them. To make the time go by, I would start with the letter A and go through the alphabet singing a hymn or praise song for every letter of the alphabet. Sometimes I'd have to get creative with it, but I did it. Prince's favorite song was "His Eye Is On The Sparrow." Princess liked "Jesus Wants Me for A Sunbeam." I called each night after the 3 a.m. feeding to see how they were doing. I remember once being put on hold and the hold music was "Only the Good Die Young." I was so exhausted and jumpy that I started laughing out loud...that was all I could do. I think the hardest thing was the not being in control. They were our children, but we had no control over anything in their little lives. The nurses told us if and when we could hold them, when to change their diapers, when we couldn't hold them to just let them was so hard. Then there was the bigger picture of not being in control. We didn't know what was going to happen, when we would be able to go home, what would life be like? Would our babies have any long-lasting effects? Would they even make it home? We were able to take the twins home on their one-month birthday. That month seemed like an eternity.

This is Hubby holding our babies on their first day home from the NICU.

Through all of this, God was there. My strength came because of the prayers other people were lifting on my behalf. I knew that God hadn't brought us through that far, not to bring us the rest of the way to bring our family home. Those days were the hardest of my life and I don't know why things happened the way they did. Each year as their birthday comes around, all of these feelings come back and it is difficult, but Hubby and I hold them a little tighter and think of how truly blessed we are.

In the last few weeks I have heard several pastors preach about how God allows things to happen in our lives and we don't always know why they happen. We go through those pits and come out of them just knowing that God uses it all for His purpose. I am so thankful that God gave us these miracle babies. I know that He was truly in charge and that He never left us while we went through this time. God truly does perform miracles in ordinary people still today.

No comments:

Post a Comment