Adjusting to NICU Life

Mama love.

Mama love.

It’s been nine days since the girls were born but it feels like several lifetimes. Physically I’m feeling well, considering five weeks of bedrest followed by the c-section surgery. But emotionally, I’m still reeling from the girls’ sudden and traumatic birth.

T and I run back and forth to the hospital, trying to be there for all the c-Pap changes (the one time a day we can see their sweet faces under all the headgear that helps them breathe) and trying to fit in all the “Kangaroo Care” snuggle time that we can get.

Then we come home, and it seems surreal that life goes on despite the fact that we have two daughters at the hospital. Sometimes I still put my hands on my tummy, forgetting that my babies now are doing their kicking and growing at the hospital three miles across town.

Big sister E visits them too, bringing books to read to them and making up little songs about Sylvia and Carina. She tells me she wants them to come home, and I blink back tears and tell her that I want them to come home too, but they have to get bigger and stronger first.

Often we see other families leaving the hospital with their newborns, loaded down with balloons and flowers. I’m jealous of them- and I’m sad for Sylvie and Carina that their arrival wasn’t heralded with pure joyful congratulations and balloons, but instead with fear and worry from those who love them best. It took us a week before we even started telling friends and family (other than our parents) that they had arrived.

But I can’t feel sorry for myself or for them for too long when I see the determination of my daughters to keep breathing and growing. Every day I’m inspired by their strength. Watching their feisty little spirits as they kick and pull on their CPAP masks, putting up a fight when they want to make their voices heard.

And despite “Dr. Doom’s” prognosis on their second day of life, both girls continue to make steady progress. Sylvie came off oxygen first, just a few days after birth. Carina needed the ventilator for the first day, but then graduated to the CPAP (which is less invasive and just applies a gentle pressure to help them inflate their lungs). She was soon off the supplemental oxygen too. The doctors had talked about taking Sylvie off the CPAP this week, but decided to bump her back up to a 5 instead of 4 and give her more time to focus on growing and gaining weight instead of working too hard to breathe.

Both girls are tolerating their feedings well (breastmilk by feeding tube along with an IV for supplemental lipids and nutrition) and are almost back to their birth weights.

So all good news so far, which is a rare thing on the NICU rollercoaster, and especially given Carina’s scary start which I try not to dwell on.

Last time I posted, I promised pictures. Here are the girls at one week old, without all their CPAP breathing gear. Both are less than three pounds. Though tiny, they are such bundles of strength, sweetness and determination.


Carina Eleanor

IMG_1608.JPG (2)

Sylvia Grace













Thank you all for your positive thoughts, wishes and prayers over the past month and a half. You have helped me find strength I didn’t think I had when I needed it most. I’ll continue to keep you updated about the girls you’ve helped so much- at least until they are safely home.


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17 thoughts on “Adjusting to NICU Life

  1. beckdogenator August 21, 2014 at 2:58 pm Reply

    They are beautiful! And such fighters. I know this must be incredibly difficult on you – but you are doing it – those little girls are going to be out of the NICU and home with you in no time. So much love to you and your family. Sending light, love and strength. Hugs to you. ❤

  2. maternalstateofmind August 21, 2014 at 7:27 pm Reply

    Two beautiful baby girls. Congratulations! I am so pleased to hear things are going well. Thinking of you often.

    • Jess August 23, 2014 at 5:27 am Reply

      Thank you. Sometimes with all the anxiety, it’s hard to remember just what a gift these two girls are. Thanks for reminding me of that, and for all your continued support.

  3. lifeasinfertile August 21, 2014 at 9:12 pm Reply

    Continuing to send you my thoughts and prayers. I’ve always admired your strength and courage. Rooting for you no matter what. Take care and hope the girls will be more than fine soon.

    • Jess August 23, 2014 at 5:26 am Reply

      Thank you so much for your kind words and continued support. It means so much.

  4. Lisette August 22, 2014 at 12:41 am Reply

    Such a struggle, sending you so many good vibes for you all to be sent home together soon. Great to see things are going well so far. Hugs xx

    • Jess August 23, 2014 at 5:25 am Reply

      Thank you. I’m so grateful for their progress, but it’s hard to know what a long road it still is ahead.

  5. gsmwc02 August 22, 2014 at 4:50 am Reply

    Sending you all strength

    • Jess August 23, 2014 at 5:24 am Reply

      Thank you- we can use every little bit we can get.

  6. Jillian August 22, 2014 at 1:10 pm Reply

    Beautiful babies – continuing to send you prayers!

    • Jess August 23, 2014 at 5:23 am Reply

      Thank you so much for keeping us in your thoughts & prayers.

  7. My Amazing E (@MyAmazingE) August 22, 2014 at 7:24 pm Reply

    I can relate to so much of what you shared in your post… especially wanting to bring your baby home and walking past the big celebration balloons & flowers as others are being discharged, waiting for their cars to pull up for them. If I had to design a NICU parking/entrance, it would be on the opposite side of L&D. I never even got to have a hospital tour and cringed every time I passed one as I was going to scrub in to visit E.

    I’m glad they are growing… I agree that breathing will come, let them focus on relaxing and growing… and then feeding will follow.

    Hugs… I know what you are going through… 164 long days of it… give them time, they will be home before you know it – although longer than you want!

    • Jess August 23, 2014 at 5:22 am Reply

      Thanks so much for your encouragement and understanding (though I wish you hadn’t experienced this too.) If only hospital entrances were designed thinking about the emotional state of a NICU mom. Thanks again for being there for me.

  8. My Perfect Breakdown August 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm Reply

    Your little girls are absolutely beautiful!! I wish your entire family all the strength in the world.

    • Jess August 25, 2014 at 9:06 pm Reply

      Thank you so much- I love being able to see their little faces with their CPAP breathing masks are off.

      • My Perfect Breakdown August 25, 2014 at 9:14 pm

        I can only imagine how much you love seeing there little faces! They are so precious. 🙂

  9. unfertilized September 1, 2014 at 7:00 pm Reply

    Awwhh…they are so sweet. I hope they are getting stronger every day, and look forward to more updates when you get the chance.

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