Our Journey through the Neonatal Care Center

September 1, 2014

I am 4’9″ and weigh only 100 pounds, so carrying just one baby would likely be hard on my body. Then my husband and I found out we were expecting twins. My sister is a neonatal nurse, so we knew the struggles we may have to face. At just 26 weeks, my labor began. Luckily, doctors were able to stop my contractions and give me steroid shots. Bed rest was here, but every day my babies stayed in was another victory won. At 30 weeks, there was no more room and my girls were born. Daisy was 3 pounds 6 ounces and Lily was 2 pounds 10 ounces. On December 13, 2013, my journey had just begun, and I was terrified.

Tessa twinsMy girls have been fighters since the day they were born. Lily was in the NICU for 6 weeks, while her sister was in for 13 weeks. Lily just needed time to grow and to learn to breathe while eating. But Daisy…

My heart was torn. Happy for Lily, but hurting for Daisy. January 2nd was my birthday, but it wasn’t a happy one. Daisy got sick – she was diagnosed with NEC. She had test after test, X-ray after X-ray, and eventually got better and could start eating. Then she got sick again; NEC again, or so the doctors thought. I was told, “Your baby is sick and we have no idea why.”

Hearing those words was terrifying. More tests were done. She had a spinal tap to rule out meningitis. Meningitis took the life of my 18-year-old brother, and I was not going to have it go unnoticed. Luckily she didn’t have meningitis, but still no answers. Every time Daisy ate, she would get sick. Daisy ended up having to be on IV nutrition most of her 13-week stay in the neonatal care center. Her team of doctors eventually came to the conclusion that she had NEC twice, possibly causing a stricture they could not see in any of the tests. The stricture would cause her to puke when too much food was trying to go down. In the end, no one knows for sure what went on with my baby. She had 3 blood transfusions, countless IV’s, and 3 picc lines. They shaved her head for her picc line and it took them 2 full days to place. She was on so many antibiotics and was really sick during most of her stay. The fact that we have her home with us is a miracle.

The bond between twins is the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed. Christmas Eve was the day I got to hold my baby girls together for the first time. I could not believe what I saw. See the picture above? Lily had wrapped her arms around Daisy, and Daisy held onto Lily. Before my eyes, their heart rates on the monitor synced together; their breathing was perfectly synced.

Our journey through the neonatal care center was definitely an emotional roller coaster. We had our ups and definitely had our downs. My heart was torn on a daily basis, and it was hard. My husband’s work schedule was crazy, and he didn’t get very much time off. Luckily, my mom stayed close by and was there the entire time. I couldn’t have done everything without the help of my parents.

Tessa twinsBut every day that I had a rough day, I remembered there was always someone who had it worse than me. I needed to count my blessings, and even though things got really rough, my babies would be okay. I have always been strong, and this time my girls needed me. I was not going to be a victim – I was going to be a victor! The doctors and the nurses were amazing, but Daisy and Lily’s main nurse was the best! I am so thankful for her along with the doctors who cared for me. I felt like a human cow most of the time, but formula was not an option. On rough days, kangaroo care is what got me through. Holding my babies together, and watching their heart rates sync together was the most beautiful thing.

Today, Daisy and Lily are 8 months and are doing amazing. Lily is about two pounds bigger than Daisy, but they’ve both come so far! I count my blessings every day and thank my lucky stars for what I have been given.