If I do say so myself, I was very even-keeled throughout my pregnancy. I wasn’t overly emotional, unless you count walking around with what was probably a big goofy grin on my face, giddy with excitement.
I only had a couple of breakdowns…one when I was trying to figure out the car seats (thinking, if I can’t do this, how will I ever be a fit mother?!)…and the other when we toured the NICU as part of the prenatal twin class at the hospital.
I came home and just lost it, thinking about those tiny babies I’d seen there in what seemed like such a cold, sterile environment. The experience strengthened my “resolve” (as I foolishly thought I had some real control in the matter!) over carrying the girls to term.
Given my “resolve”, I was in a great state of shock when I went into labor. Our girls were born at 34 ½ weeks. They were basically healthy, and they only spent 10 days in the NICU as “feeders and growers” as they called them. We had a couple of small scares, but overall we were very lucky.
I don’t know if this is a common feeling, but in a lot of ways I felt like I was floating through those first couple of weeks, just putting one foot in front of the other. I almost equate it to being in a state of denial, kind of like I expected to wake up any minute and still be pregnant.
We attended the annual NICU reunion today. It was so great to see a couple of the nurses that worked particularly closely with us.
Those nurses are amazing people, and they will always hold such a special place in our hearts. They maintained such a delicate balance…of showing respect to us as the girls’ parents, while taking the utmost care of them, and at the same time teaching us to care for our babies.
I had a conversation with one of my twin mom friends a few months ago. She talked about how uncertain she was as a first-time mom, about how she cried and cried when she brought her babies home, feeling like she didn’t know what to do.
While I certainly did my share of crying, it wasn’t because I felt like I didn’t know what to do. It dawned on me several days later that I have the NICU nurses to thank for that.
Those nurses were there for us, not just punching the clock and doing their job, but wrapping their arms around us figuratively, and at times, literally, during those first critical days as the size of our family abruptly doubled.
They cheered as I changed my first two diapers…they showed me all sorts of tricks for coaxing a premature baby to take a bottle…they affirmed my every “was that a burp?” question…they stood by my side as I gave the girls a bath for the first time.
The environment may have been cold and sterile, but that’s not how I remember our time in the NICU. The nurses were always so reassuring, letting us know the babies would be fine, and so would we. For that, and for so many more things, I will be eternally grateful.