It’s the unofficial end of summer, and it feels like summer never happened to me at all. Spending the first five weeks at the hospital on bed-rest, and then going back and forth to the NICU for the past three weeks, my memories of summer of 2014 will be linked forever to the smell of sterile hospital rooms and hand-sanitizer, the sound of beeping of monitors and the feeling constant anxiety.
The anxiety is lifting a bit now. Carina and Sylvia are doing amazingly well, especially considering Carina’s terrifying start and the dire words from “Dr. Doom” on their second day who unhelpfully said that the girls “aren’t doing as well as he’d expect for their gestational age.” He filled our heads with all kinds of worries, so much so that T and I stopped asking him questions and would try and avoid seeing him as much as possible.
The nurses and doctors since then have all been impressed with the girls’ progress and hopeful about their future. Even as tiny as she is, Sylvie hasn’t needed the dreadful CPAP for a while now. Carina graduated from the CPAP last week, and now is on just a “whiff” air pressure from the high flow canula. Dr. Amazing, who saved Carina’s life the night she was born, told us today that she expects Carina would come off the canula in the next day. The IVs are out now too, so both girls will only have the feeding tube until they are bottle and breast feeding 70 percent of their calories. They already are over their birth weights; Sylvie is closing in on 3 pounds and her big sister is almost at 4 pounds.
Being able to see the girls’ sweet faces without the CPAP gear makes such a difference. T and I finally feel like we are getting to know them, to see their expressions and features as we never could with their heads covered with the CPAP hats and tubes. The girls are happier and sleeping better now that they don’t have all the tubes in their noses and gear on their heads too.
With the CPAP gear off, we were also able to give the twins their first baths. They both loved it, relaxing into the bath water as if it were the home they should still be in at only 32 weeks.
And best of all, we now can hold both girls together. The moment I first held both Sylvie and Carina in my arms together, my heart filled with such love and relief, seeing their little heads side by side. Carina slept soundly as usual, while Sylvie reached out for her sister and inched closer to her just as she had in the womb. For the first time, it finally felt real that I was the mother of twins.
We still have a long way to go before they can come home, but knowing that they WILL come home is all that matters. When I worry, T reminds me how far we’ve all come- and how tough our girls are. Once again it’s just one day at a time.