Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Angela’s Story: Part 4

Parent Highlight

This is the fourth of six posts dedicated to sharing one couple’s struggle to have children and then the survival of their preemie twins plus their third preemie baby.  They are currently expecting again and are taking new steps toward achieving a full-term delivery.  This is Angela’s Story.

When I was finally wheeled into the room where my babies were, I was shocked to see how tiny they were. There were tubes and wires coming off of them from everywhere. I didn’t dare touch them for fear that I would disturb something important.

The process of learning how to care for my preemies began. They were both on oxygen for awhile. Feeding consisted of holding a syringe with tiny amounts of expressed breast milk that would flow through a nasogastric tube directly into their stomachs. Each feeding consisted of a diaper change, temperature check and a once over by the nurse.

I spent as much time as I could at the hospital. The babies continued to progress. They were taken off oxygen. They were finally able to hold their body temperatures and were moved into regular cribs. Eventually, we were able to remove the nasogastric tubes and use bottles to feed them. I started learning how to breastfeed.

We did have some setbacks. Rachel had to be put back on oxygen because she couldn’t keep her oxygen saturation up. The doctor discovered a heart murmur in Sam and diagnosed him as having patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). A valve in his heart that was supposed to close at birth didn’t close. The words “open heart surgery” were used on several occasions in case the valve didn’t close on its own.

One Sunday morning, about three weeks after our babies were born, we had arrived at the hospital to go through the usual routine when the nurse said that we were going to be taking Rachel home that day. We were terrified. She was still on oxygen. She was too tiny. What if something went wrong? What about Sam? After a long day of preparations and instruction, we were in our car with our baby girl strapped into the back seat and our baby boy still lying in his crib in the NICU. It nearly broke my heart to leave him there. It was an hour drive to our home, and I had to check several times to make sure Rachel was still there and breathing.

(Please feel free to comment and share your similar experiences for Angela’s benefit, and for the rest of us.  Thank you.)

>>> Continue to Angela’s Story: Part 5 or begin at Part 1.

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.

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