Saturday, November 8, 2014

The NICU: the good, bad, and the ugly // One week in

**A lot of this was written after being in the NICU one full week. It was at this point where I was hitting my ultimate low. During my meeting with the doctors, called rounds, is when I broke down crying because Bryson had had an alarm go off in the middle of the night which mean they'd want him to stay an additional 5 days after that day. I didn't think they should count that alarm since the room was freezing that night and that wasn't Bryson's fault. The alarm would also mean Quinn would go home days sooner than Bryson and I didn't know how I would do it with one at home and one at the NICU because it was really important for me to be there for both to breastfeed them both. It was a super hard day on me, the boys didn't seem like they needed to be there anymore and it was frustrating**

Ugh, those 3 words carry more weight to them than you realize.

Firstly, of course the NICU is a wonderful place for babies in need of it (mine included). They are truly taken such good care of. Everyone knows what they’re doing and is very experienced. Technology is amazing next to the knowledge the doctors and nurses hold. They truly want the best for your baby and want them to succeed.
Q, B

That being said, the NICU is not an easy place to be as a parent, especially a nursing mother. Every ounce of me wants to stay with these twins at all times and be their soul provider. Most the time this is possible thanks to my wonderful husband and mother who take good care of Maxson and bring me food to sustain all this nursing. But night time is HARD. I don’t have a private room so I hear everything at night, babies’ noises, monitors beeping, people in the hall. The first night was rough, rough rough rough I tell ya. The next night I went home for two feedings and pumped while they just formula fed the babies (more on that later). It killed me to go home but I also I understood I needed to shower and sleep in a more sound place to get good sleep. But really I didn't get any better sleep than I did in the NICU because I just worried about them constantly. I then decided the rest of the time here I’d do every other night at home vs at the NICU. But last night was GREAT! The boys were quiet, no beeping went off, I actually got great sleep! So maybe I'll just stay at the NICU every night (which is what I ended up doing)

The other not so fun stuff about the NICU is it’s such an excursion to get up here: way down the hall, check out at the desk, down the elevator, way out the entrance. That's a lot of walking for a woman who just birthed two babies no matter how well recovery is going. It just seems sometimes not worth it to go take a break outside, I think I only have 3 times total and that’s been to see Max. I’m lucky I have the “suite” room, it’s the biggest and his has huge windows on two sides, the corner gives me a great view of Lincoln during this fall time and I’m ever grateful for it.

All the check marks these boys have to pass through seems endless.  They’re slowly getting enough check marks that maybe we can see a going home date in our near future. There’s a couple things that they have to go a certain amount of days in a row until they’re good on that and if they miss one day they’re back to the beginning of the count (there’s one that is FIVE days and has been KILLING me!)

Now if you remember my initial nursing experience with Maxson, you can recall it took a little while for my milk to come in, and supplementing with formula killed me a little at first. I knew it was the ultimate end to my goal but it was still really hard to give him it and not be his soul provider. Well this time around it was a lot easier for me to be ok with it, sure I hoped that my milk would come in sooner but I was emotionally prepared to giving them formula in hopes that in time I’d produce enough milk for the both of them. At first they limited their formula intake and in time they kept bumping the amount they were allowed up and up. They’re to the point where they’re allowed to have as much of it as they want. Of course gaining weight is going to help them achieve all those check marks sooner most likely which would mean we’d get to go home sooner but I really hate they they’re being offered so much formula. When they’re done nursing they are completely zonked out and not interested in anything going in their mouth. But then a bottle is put into their little mouth and since stuff is just freely coming out of it with little to no work on their part they just eat and eat and eat and eat becoming stuffed to the brim. I think they’d do just fine with either way less formula or me just nursing way more often, I’m completely willing to do that!

Also, I can’t eat in the rooms the babies are in, normally I would snack a lot during the day to keep up my calorie intake but that’s not really allowed. I have to walk to the furthest section away from me in the NICU to sit in a special room and eat. It’s stupid. I want to just be with my babies as much as I possibly can, that means even when I’m eating!
B (first time with pacifier, it seemed so big compared to his face!)
 Q, B

I’m lucky that I get to hold them and cuddle them as much as I want, it’s the best thing ever. But I don’t get to fully do it. I want to just lay them next to me on a bed or couch and stare at them. I want to lay them next to each other and let them just sleep side by side. I just want to be the mom and decide everything for them. I’m so ready too take them home!

Now that I’m done with most my negatives, there are positives to being in the NICU. 1) I get to hold and cuddle them as much as I want and not feel obligated to do anything else, mainly play with Maxson. I spend a lot of time nursing the two and the bottle feeding them the formula and then pumping immediately after that. By the time I would be done with that I would feel an overwhelming pull to play with Max. I’m glad I can just focus all my attention on these newborn babies just like I did with Max 2) Although I have to worry about what I’m going to eat at each meal because I’m dependent on people bringing me stuff, I don’t have any control on making anything which is nice 3) The nurses have been a huge help to me with juggling this nursing two thing. It’s really helped me learn how to breastfeed both at the same time (can’t believe I can do it, ha!).

With all these good and bad things I’ve said about the NICU I’ve not mentioned the emotional toll it’s taken. It’s hard being in the NICU alone almost all the time. It’s hard being away from Casey and Maxson. It’s hard not being in control. It’s hard not having your private space. It’s hard not having the ideal experience I wished for with these two babes. It’s hard seeing these babies constantly connected to wires. I know it could be harder. I’m grateful that this is my trial and not something worse.

Here’s to hoping and praying these boys get home SOON! That big brother of theirs LOVES babies and is ging to have so have so much with them, I can already imagine the fun he’ll have with them being around!

**I wanted to post this just because that's what I had written while in the hospital. But I'll write another post about my entire NICU stay now looking back at it that we're home now! Reading this I seem so negative, but I was at my lowest. It was overall a relatively good and painless situation**

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