Thirty-Nine Weeks

Well, it is clear at this point that I’ve become a little bit useless at keeping this blog updated!  But since so much has happened in the past month (and since I currently have more than five minutes at home to sit down and actually write about it), I definitely wanted to get it all up here.

Big Things That Have Happened Since A Month Ago:

– Madeleine had a second surgery, to remove the temporary shunt and insert a permanent shunt that drains into her belly

– Reid has joined his sister off of breathing support, and they are now breathing normal room air with their lungs like proper full term babies

– Reid and Madeleine have begun to work on oral feeds, which is one of the last big steps before coming home

– We have been moved into one big twin room, which means we no longer have to go back and forth between two separate rooms

– The twins are now one day short of 39 weeks gestation, and are practically gigantic given their birth weights as their official due date (March 24) nears.

The real major difference however is just how ‘normal’ the babies have become.  When we started on our NICU journey at 25 weeks, it felt impossible that Reid and Madeleine would ever not be teeny, tiny, odd-looking prems lying in incubators and hooked up to ventilators.  Now we are at the point in the babies’ development where they are big, alert, breathing, and not really requiring much direct medical care at all.  They cry loudly, are hungry all the time, make funny faces, have big poops in their diapers, wear cute outfits, and snuggle in for cuddles.  In other words, they’re basically just…babies.

As we transition into to last stage of their NICU journey, the demands being placed on us are also starting to increase.  Since the babies need to learn to take their feeds orally in order to come home (as opposed to getting their feeds from their feeding tubes like they’ve been doing), and since I am hoping to breastfeed the twins as much as possible once they come home, I need to be at the hospital pretty much all the time.  Right now, I aim to arrive around 10:30am to prepare for Reid’s 11am feed, and try to leave after Madeleine’s 9pm feed at night.  It is a long day to say the least, and I am chomping at the bit to be able to do all of this from the comfort of our own home instead of the hospital!  But while we are starting to slowly see the light at the end of the tunnel, it will still probably be at least another month before coming home becomes a reality.

The other big change is the difference in the way we are thinking about the babies’ progress.  We are so glad to be coming out of the stage where everything was so much more precarious – when we were more worried about their breathing or when we contemplating what would happen if Madeleine needed surgery.  Day-to-day the updates are pretty much happy and uneventful now, but what lies ahead for us is still a giant question mark.  The answer to the often-asked, “How are the babies?” is “Ok…ish”.  They’re well right now, but they might not be in the future.  Good and bad.  Who knows?

Ultimately though, even with all the stressful bad stuff, and the infinite what-ifs (especially for Madeleine), I can’t help but feel that I must be the luckiest mom that ever existed.  I don’t know what it’s going to be like to take them home, I don’t know if I’ll ever not be exhausted again for the rest of my life, I don’t know if I’ll end up with one (or two?) mildly/moderately/severely disabled child/children, if everything might end up being one big forever-long struggle.  But what I do know for sure is that no one else in the world gets to be Madeleine and Reid’s mom.  And being their mom is pretty much the best thing ever.

madeleine pink

reid tie

twins

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3 thoughts on “Thirty-Nine Weeks

  1. I know. It’s crazy, but also kind of sad. Think of all the difficulties we could have skipped over if they had been born when they were supposed to. Oh well. Three extra month of snuggles and love, I suppose!

  2. Dear Alana, Sorry for the delay in responding – getting over the flu. Madeleine and Reid are beautiful! I have been looking at all your posts through Mike’s Facebook account. My PC sucks! Even with a full grown baby, there will always be problems. Kyle’s heart valve didn’t close when he was born – had to take him to a pediatric oncologist. Now he is as strong as an ox (probably as tall as you). Did I pray my ass off – which isn’t something I normally do.Now we are at the braces stage. Already had four orthodontist appointments andhad to ratchet themetal arch in the back of his throat for sixteen days It will be work, but as a mother you will always find the strength. Love you so much. When you are ready,we would love to come and see you. When they start to giggle, it will absolutely be the best moments of your life! Once again, your twins are beautiful! Chris

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