After three years of infertility and several miscarriages, a nurse called me a 9 a.m. with results from the day’s blood draw. It was positive. I was pregnant.
I thought the hard part was over.
My first trimester was rough – not just morning sickness, all-day-arfing sickness. I had just started a new job in December 2009, so being green on the job took on a whole new meaning. In January 2010, we found out our family was growing a bit faster than expected. Twins were due in August. In March, we learned our little muppets were two boys. I was finally feeling good.
On April 13, 2010, I left my 20-week high-risk appointment with a grin – the perinatologist had declared mine a “normal twin pregnancy.” Two weeks later I returned for a quick check up with the “regular” OB (you know – blood pressure, weight, the basics). Instead my world turned upside down.
At 22 weeks gestation I was in labor. My “regular” check-up had just turned into a long-term lockdown stint as an ante-partum in-patient in the hospital. I spent the days reading, writing, and staring at the wall while I prayed for healthy twins.
As much as I hated the hospital, I was desperate to live there for months. That hope quickly turned to weeks – up through the final desperate wish for days, which led to an hourly countdown.
My husband and I became first-time parents on May 28, 2010. Our precious boys were born at 27 weeks gestation weighing 2 pounds each. I held Caden (Baby A) in my arms for no more than 10 seconds after his birth. I watched Logan (Baby B) get wheeled out of the operating room wrought with tubes and encased in a plastic incubator.
They were born 12 weeks too soon. And then I passed out.
I didn’t get to meet my sons the day they were born. I spent hours shivering uncontrollably in a recovery room – demanding water from a nurse who tried my patience to its last nerve by insisting on following medical protocol instead of catering to my thirsty whims. Five hours after they were born, their father was indoctrinated into life as a NICU parent. He was crying when he came back, but he reported they were doing amazingly well. There were so many wires…
The next day, I learned why people believe in love at first sight. Our nurses and doctors were cautiously optimistic. The boys were all I could think about. So throughout the next 10 weeks, I took to the Web – sharing my thoughts, feelings and fears to anyone who may happen upon them. As I talked to people and shared our story, it seemed everyone knew someone who was premature. Suddenly, my new normal was “preemie parenthood.”
Term babies seemed jumbo and odd.
I scoured the Internet looking for any and all information on the hospital jargon being thrown at me. I became a mother on a mission. My boys were coming home healthy if I had to get a medical degree to do it. The NICU staff laughed. “When you leave here, we’ll be sending you home part parent, part nurse.” I never thought prematurity would be the cause I’d get behind. I did everything I was supposed to, but fate/humanity had other ideas and life isn’t fair. My body was broken but my boys are fighters. It took 76 days to bring them home.
Those tiny babies are big giant boys now. They’re toddlers. They’re laughing now (and having a grand old time trying to drive their parents crazy by living up to their nicknames of Search and Destroy) and it’s hard to remember how tiny they truly were when we first started our journey home.
I’m proud to be a preemie-parent. I’m proud to be the mom to such nifty NICU grads. So I write about them. The life as a preemie mom, a twin mom and a crazy mixed up grown-up in the Silicon Valley was not what I anticipated when I started this journey.
I guess Robert Frost would say I’m on the road not taken.
You can read more about Tricia’s story at her blog – Stream of the Conscious.