My Soap Box on Infant Prematurity (Part 1 of 3)

Yesterday was World Prematurity Day. Don’t you just love that there are so many “official” holidays these days to honor and remember different experiences in our society? I do. World Prematurity Day is one of my favorite days to look back on social media memories, because there has been a post for every year since our twin girls were born. This year’s post included this caption: “Happy World Prematurity Day! I’m not much of a planner, but from the day they existed in this world these two have shown me that things rarely go as planned even if you expect them to. Being pregnant with twins was and still is the biggest surprise of my life (I had assumed/planned on just one babe at a time). Going into labor at 33 weeks a day after the doctor said everything looked great was not in the birth plan. Nevertheless, we survived both unplanned events and our lives are definitely better from them. There is never a dull moment in our house. I haven’t been bored in at least 6 years. And for that I am forever grateful.” Ain’t that the truth. Here’s the sweet picture that I included of the babes:

The pictures of them sleeping are when they are in the NICU. The picture below that of them being goofy was taken by the hubs earlier this fall on a Daddy Adventure Day. So what does World Prematurity Day have to do with Mental Health (keeping with the Manic Monday theme)? Well, let me tell you.

As mentioned in my Facebook post, Blondie and Brownie were born the day after a routine doctor’s appointment AND an ultrasound. Both the doctor and the ultrasound tech said that everything looked great and that we should have no problem making it at least until the minimum goal of 34 weeks. Little did any of us know that the next day, at 33 weeks and 3 days gestation, our two little babes would decide that they were ready to come to the outside world. I’ll spare you my birth story for now, but there’s a lot of important lung development and such that is happening around 33+ weeks gestation. 33 weeks and 3 days meant a guaranteed NICU stay. It meant an ambulance ride for me to a higher level of care hospital. It meant lots of medicine given to me as quickly as possible to slow down labor. Our girls were determined to make it out on that day, so when my water broke right before midnight, I knew they were going to be in charge of the situation. 33 weeks and 3 days meant no beautiful chest to chest bonding time post birth. It meant my babies being whisked away without me even seeing them to be intubated and monitored in a NICU isolette. It meant hearing my husband yelling across the room “come on baby” while no one would answer my questions of “what’s wrong with my baby?” It meant giving birth to two beautiful girls, not getting to see them, and then being rolled to my own recovery room. That is where I was told to rest and that the babies would be just fine. So there I was…. a brand new mom whose birth plan went completely out the window, who gave birth but besides for a brief glance at Baby B had not gotten to see her babies, who had very little explained to her about how the babies were doing, supposed to rest because I was exhausted and I had just given birth (twice) after all. I laid down and tried to follow directions, all while the nurse was coming in every hour or so to check my vitals. My body was so exhausted that I did sleep for a couple of hours. It couldn’t have been too long, however because at 6:30 AM I was waking up the hubs and demanding he take me to my babies….

And this my friends, is where it all begins. What is “it”? My journey with postpartum depression (PPD) is “it”. Now that I laid some of the foundation, join me for part 2 tomorrow where I give insight into what it’s like to be in the NICU.