10 years ago we saw them for the very first time. It wasn’t time for us to meet them but we didn’t have a choice. I was suffering from preeclampsia and our babies had to be delivered 6 weeks early. All kinds of questions were swirling in my head. Will they be healthy? Will they be able to breathe on their own? How much are they going to weigh? When will I get to hold them? How long will they be in the NICU? How are we going to handle 2 babies in the hospital and 2 little girls at home?
At 8:25 a.m. on March 29, 2005 our girls were born. Baby A looked really big. She was 5 lbs. 12 oz. My heart sank as I saw Baby B for the first time. She was so tiny weighing in at only 3 lbs. 15 oz.
They were quickly whisked off to the NICU. Both were put on CPAP machines to help them with their breathing and they also had feeding tubes. They wheeled my bed into the NICU so that I could see them. As I touched their little hands for the very first time, I felt guilty. I felt like I had failed them. It shouldn’t be this way. I only saw the girls for a few minutes and then I was wheeled back to my room.
My room was filled with grandparents anxiously awaiting the names of their new granddaughters. Brett wanted to give me the honor of announcing their names. But I was so emotional that I didn’t feel like I could even talk. So Brett made the big announcement. Baby A’s name was Mikayla Grace and Baby B’s name was Hope Evangeline.
I spent the whole day in my room not able to see my babies. In the evening they sat me up in a wheelchair and I was able to go back into the NICU to see the girls. I still wasn’t allowed to hold them, but I got to see them.
The next day my blood pressure went sky high and I was having blurred vision. I spent the whole day in bed and wasn’t able to see our girls. It was an absolutely horrible day. I started feeling better in the evening. They brought me a wheelchair and took me to see the girls. The nurse asked if I would like to hold them. They are 34 hours old and I haven’t held them yet, so YES I would love to hold them! I held Mikayla first and I cried. Then I got to hold our tiny little Hope. Hope wrapped her little hand around my finger. And I cried some more. It was a beautiful ending to a really tough day.
I was released from the hospital when the girls were 3 days old. They pushed my wheelchair out the front door, I climbed in the van, and we drove off and left our babies at the hospital. We didn’t even get out of the parking lot and I totally lost it because I felt so empty leaving without our babies. I couldn’t even imagine the ache that a mom feels when she has lost her baby.
The girls were born during RSV season. Taylor and Brynna weren’t allowed in the NICU. They could only take a peek at their little sisters through the window. Since we live an hour away from the hospital and our older girls weren’t allowed in the NICU, I made a difficult choice. I would only go see Mikayla and Hope every other day. Taylor was 8 years old and Brynna was 4 years old. They didn’t deserve for their Mommy to disappear for weeks.
The girls were 5 days old when they had their first bottle. Hope had to stay in her isolette while the nurse fed her. But I got to hold Mikayla while she had her first bottle.
Hope was having trouble taking her bottle. Daddy gave her a pep talk. He said “Now Hopey, you’ve got to start eating, or they won’t let you go home.” Two nurses were standing behind Brett and they were both giggling because they got to witness the cutest father/daughter moment ever.
The NICU called me on the days that I didn’t go see the girls and they would give me a report of how they were doing. Those calls helped me get through the days when I couldn’t be with them. But then the call came that changed our world.
Hope had a heart murmur. So they ordered an echocardiogram and they found two problems. She had a very large hole in her heart and a restriction in her aorta that was called a coarctation of the aorta. I was stunned and full of fear as I hung up the phone. I called Brett at work to tell him about Hope. I was crying uncontrollably. He told me that everything was going to be ok and he was right. If you don’t know the rest of the story you can read it here.
The girls were 11 days old when I got to hold both of them at the same time.
On April 15th we got to take Mikayla home. Taylor and Brynna met her for the first time in the hospital lobby.
After Mikayla came home, Hope decided to listen to what Daddy had told her to do in his little pep talk. She started taking her bottle and was eating like crazy. Hope got to come home 4 days after Mikayla. It was an exciting day when we had both of our girls home.
This is the picture we used for the girls birth announcement.
Here are a couple of my favorite pictures of the girls
And now those helpless babies are 10 years old and I can’t keep up with them. Happy Birthday to our Two Upside Down Turtles!