When we first found out we were having triplets I was consumed with worry. Would they be premature? Would they have life-long medical problems as a result? Would they have to spend months and months in the NICU?
I knew the statistics and the likelihood that my triplets would spend time in the NICU after birth. I assumed I would not be bringing them home with me when I left the hospital like I did with my other two children. However, I still hoped that they would defy the odds and that they would be healthy enough to avoid the NICU altogether after they were born.
When they were born at 32 weeks gestation (8 weeks early) I knew we would be in the NICU. I did not know the extent of any potential issues. We were very fortunate that they only spent two and a half weeks in the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unity. This seems like a short period of time, however I was not prepared for how emotionally difficult their hospital stay would be for all of us.
We had a 3 year old and a 1 year old when our triplets were born. Our older two children still needed us and our triplets needed us. It was so hard to feel that we weren't there for any of them the way we wanted to be.
I didn't anticipate how hard it would be to leave the hospital without my beautiful newborns. I knew how blessed we were that our triplets were healthy and steadily adjusting to the outside world. I knew they were receiving the most amazing care at our local hospital. I also saw so many other parents struggling with months of potential hospital stays ahead of them. Some not as fortunate as we were to be bringing their babies home at all.
That being said, those days spent in the NICU were physically and emotionally exhausting. I would sneak out of the house in the morning with my one year old crying at the window (and I would be crying driving away). I would rush in and feed each baby and spend some quality time with each of them. I would then rush back to my two older children to spend time with them before rushing back for the triplets next feeding. It was such a draining cycle and I always felt tremendous guilt leaving one for the other.
We had the most amazing care while our babies were in the hospital. The doctors, nurses and staff were unbelievably supportive. However, there were still those moments where it felt as if our babies were never going to be able to come home with us. Their constant ups and downs were so emotionally draining.
My hope is that by donating something as small as a hair bow we can provide some small ray of sunshine in an otherwise stressful time of living daily life in the NICU.