No, it’s not schizophrenia. I’m just a mom who still, after almost three years, hears the beeps of all the monitors, feels the coldness of a dark room, and remembers the touch of what the plastic felt like on my twins’ incubators.
I didn’t know I was in labor four a couple of days before heading to the hospital at 30 weeks pregnant with my twin boys. Feeling intense cramps that kept getting worse, I decided to head to the hospital. Indeed, I was in labor, and the cause was a UTI. I was put on an antibiotic drip and sent up to high-risk because my contractions weren’t stopping. In a matter of 24 hours, I jumped from 2cm dilated to 5cm.
Ready or not, my twins were on the way. Little did I know, I was about to ride out the NICU journey with them for over 70 days.
Also having anxiety from my first birth, I begged the doctors and nurses to make sure my epidural worked this time. I was wheeled into the OR for an emergency c-section that I wasn’t mentally prepared for. I wanted to try to push my twins out like I did my first son. Because ‘Baby B’ was transverse, it was risky to push out ‘Baby A’ who was head down then try to push out the second baby.
In 2009 the NY Times wrote a story about a mom who also had a baby in the NICU, Kim Roscoe, who said, “The NICU was very much like a war zone, with the alarms, the noises, and death and sickness. You don’t know who’s going to die and who will go home healthy.”
I’m fortunate not to struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder from the NICU, but that first year was not easy.
My twins were hospitalized twice within their first nine months of life, both times with RSV. Our first stay was about one week, but our second stay was about two weeks and required a PICU stay. Both stays were at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital where we met angel doctors and nurses who gave our twins the best care. Stubborn like me, our boys did not like their hospital stays. From pulling out their IVs, un-taping their arm boards, and getting tangled up in their cords, our boys were ready to go home. Shoutout to Tierney Rowe, our twins’ angel nurse who is now one of our family best friends and someone the boys call an “aunt.”
Hearing the beeps made me uneasy, but those beeps were a reminder of life. My boys have so much life to live.