I have been writing on this post off and on for weeks. Some days I just could not find the right words to write. Sometimes I would stare at the computer and cry with all the memories flashing before me. Then, the next time I would get so into looking at their tiny little pictures and not write a single word. So here is my super long winded, emotional NICU post. (Pictures are super blurry because while in the NICU all phones must be in a ziplock bag for germ safety.)
The NICU is a part of being a parent no one can prepare you for. We knew having triplets we would have a NICU stay, but that still didn’t help realize the emotions that happen in there. The NICU was by far some of the hardest days of our lives. I have never cried so much. I cried for my babies. I cried leaving every single night because I was going home to a completely empty house. I would just simply cry.
It didn’t seem fair that they had to spend weeks just laying in a bed not getting cuddled or loved on. However, they 100% needed every single minute spent there. They needed those doctors and nurses watching over them and running test after test making sure they were growing properly. The NICU is amazing. Our 1 pound 6 ounce, Baby C, survived because of that NICU.
I struggled every single day between the timing of feedings, when a nurse could get one out for me to hold, and trying to find a place to pump at the hospital (because they had ONE closet for pumping…ONE! and if that one was occupied you were out of luck—cue all the tears from this emotional mama!). And at the time the triplets were born the NICU was maxed out in capacity.
Will went back to work a few days after we got discharged to save his time for when we started bringing them home. My routine would be to head down in the morning and spend the day going back and forth between the NICU, pumping, and going to Will’s parents house, which luckily was a few minutes away from the hospital. On most days Will would meet me down there after he got off. Other days I would head home if I needed to rest and he would do the night time feedings.
Days in the NICU feel very lonely. I felt like I lost touch with the outside world for those weeks. Sitting inside a room every single day wondering when it was going to be our turn to take our sweet boys home.
It took us 19 days before we could feed our very own baby for the first time with a bottle.
It took us 21 days to get our 1st official family picture.
The big milestones that you don’t even think about get celebrated. They take a few sips out of a bottle, you celebrate! They put them in clothes for the first time, you celebrate (and laugh because the outfits are so tiny)! And then you realize the more of that bottle they take the closer you are to coming home. Also, you have the great days and then the days they go backwards and you feel like there is no light at the end of that tunnel. But, every step is a step closer to home.
On October 30th, Preston and Connor got to come home. It was so bittersweet. We had two of our babies snugged in their carseats, but then the real struggle of balancing them at home and Max still in the NICU.
Max still had a lot of weight to gain and bottles to learn before it was his turn. So for the next month we figured it out. We had lots of help and realized raising triplets was going to take an army. On November 29th, we headed home with our van packed with all THREE of our kids. FINALLY! Almost 9 weeks later we were a complete family all at home. It seemed so surreal.
At this point we had 9 week old babies and we just followed the NICU schedule. We had a notebook of every single feeding and diaper change to make us feel sane. A schedule was key!
I remember walking in our house for the first time with all three and looking at each other thinking this is it! We did it. We are at home with our TRIPLETS!
I read this quote just a few days ago and it hit me, “hard times are often forgotten about because they are replaced with good times.” How true is that. Writing this post is having me relive our hardest days, but we now have 3 amazing 2.5 year olds.
If you have a friend or family member that is is going through the NICU days here is some advice:
- There is nothing you can say that will help make the situation better. If it wasn’t expected then it might be an even bigger shock or emotional roller coaster for them.
- Give them a bag with a sweet note and snacks to eat on while pumping or driving back and forth.
- Bring them lunch, they might not be able to eat with you, but just have them grab it and go. Or maybe they want a break and can actually meet for coffee or lunch. I had a friend I met for coffee one morning. I went and did a feeding and then meet her. She didn’t care the time. We sat outside to get fresh air and I am sure all I did was cry and talk about my babies, but she listened and did not care a single bit. I went weeks without seeing a single friend. I got into my routine and didn’t want to miss a single feeding or chance to hold them. We had friends order pizza and told us to come by just to feed us and say hello. It was so refreshing.
- I was driving by myself back and forth every single day so I constantly wanted to talk to someone on the phone. Be that ear for them. Listen to them just ramble, because let’s be honest I think that is all I did when I would call someone.
If you haven’t been in this situation it is so hard to understand what it is like or what you can do to help.
I have since realized the NICU is just a phase. We realize we are so lucky to have left there with three healthy boys and no major health concerns at this time.
Remember, everything in life is a phase. It might be a slow phase or a fast phase. Cherish all the moments.