Yeah, I know. A day late and a dollar short. Well, that's just the story of my life right now. I didn't get to publish a post yesterday, but I still want to help get the word out about the March of Dimes and all of the great work they do for premature babies. The story of our babies seemed incredibly dramatic at the time, but I now realize that we were unbelievably lucky. I learned a lot watching other families go through the NICU experience.
Any quadruplet pregnancy is high risk. At my first appointment with my high risk OB/Gyn I was told that we would try to keep them in as long as possible, but that my babies would be born premature. We were blessed with a very uneventful pregnancy and were able to make it to my goal of 34 weeks. My babies were delivered on Monday, September 8, 2008 at 34 weeks 2 days gestation.
All four babies looked great at delivery. They scored well on their Apgars, but since they were preemies, they were examined, swaddled, held by Dad, kissed by Mom and whisked away to the NICU. We were incredibly fortunate. Paige was our baby D and she was the only one who required special care. She was put on C-Pap overnight. None of the other babies needed any oxygen or anything. The next morning, my Mom and I went down to visit the babies. Everyone got a good report except Paige. She had a rough night. They asked us not to touch her and let her try to rest and relax. I sat with her and whispered to her for a little bit, then went and visited the others. After I went back to my room to rest, I got a phone call. Paige had taken a turn for the worse and they had to intubate her. This was the worst moment of their NICU stay. I rushed down to be with her, but I really couldn't touch her now. She had a tube coming out of her throat connecting her to this horrible, loud machine. Through the grace of God, Paige fought hard. She was able to be extubated on Friday. This was also the day I left the hospital and I was so glad that I was able to see her beautiful face without tubes and things stuck to it before leaving.
The next day Paige showed a slight jaundice, so they had to put her under lights for 1 day. When they do this, the baby wears these silly looking glasses to protect their eyes. When I came in the next day to visit, they gave me her "sunglasses." This was my breaking point. The NICU nurses are wonderful and do a tremendous job of keeping mementos for the parents, but as I sat there holding those tiny sunglasses, I just sobbed. By this point, thankfully, all of my babies were doing quite well and simply had to master eating before they could come home. But I realized that not all of the babies in the nursery would be going home to their parents. Ever. Years from now, we'll go through the kids' baby boxes and laugh about Paige's funny first sunglasses, but somewhere, there is a Mother sleeping with those because they are all that she has from her baby. I was so tremendously humbled to be blessed to bring home 4 healthy babies when there are parents praying over the isolette of their one baby they will never get to bring home.
We were fortunate to be near a wonderful NICU, but that is not enough. We need to prevent these children from being born premature in the first place! March of Dimes does wonderful work to prevent prematurity and treat it when it happens. These tiny little miracles need us to fight for them.