Prematurity Awareness: What It’s Like to Have Preemies

 “You are going into pre-term labour and we need to have you admitted.”

I was 28 weeks pregnant with my twins. I was not prepared for anything that would happen next. 

As a mama of multiples, you start your pregnancy with full knowledge that you are at a higher risk of having preemies. In fact, it is almost a given that your babies will be born too soon. That leaves for a very uneasy pregnancy!  

Last year, I wrote a more in-depth post about Premature Awareness Month. You can read it here. This year, I thought I would touch on what it’s like to have preemie twins: 

  • Preemies are so small and need constant warmth to survive. Most term babies wear a cap for a day, while preemies make it a real fashion statement!
  • An incubator is a preemie’s second home after mama’s belly, luckily there are great windows to see out.
  • Feeding time is regulated in the NICU, so is bathing, burping and sleeping. And you have to share it with a bunch of other babies and parents and medical staff.
  • In order to visit a preemie in the NICU, you need to wash down and cover up! No one with a sniffle will get in, and hand sanitizer is everywhere!
  • Nurses in the NICU are your lifeline to your preemies when you are sent home. And they are busy, so answers are short and sweet.
  • As much as you want to hold them close and bring them home together, most likely, preemie twins will be released separately.
  • Feeding tubes are used for preemies before they can master the sucking reflex. The tube goes in through their noses.
  • IVs are administered in their forehead. Yes, that’s right. Poor little ones don’t have a vein big enough anywhere else. So if they do have hair, it is shaved away in patches (their first haircut will be much later than full term babies!)
  • Preemie babies are not ready for living outside the womb. So along with sucking, breathing is hard for them too. They can struggle with figuring out how to breathe, which can cause them to go into distress, especially during feeding time.
  • Heart monitors are hooked up to preemies until they can clearly stay stable. And because preemies are so tiny, their heart monitors can sometimes get misplaced, which causes a big hoopla in the NICU (and freaked out parents!)
  • In just a few short days, breastfeeding can begin with preemies!
  • Parents of preemies are pros at the ‘kangaroo’ method J
  • Having preemie twins means accepting you cannot take care of them on your own right away. That is hard.

That being said, I would like to say thank you to some people who are on my mind on a regular basis:

Thank you to the nursing staff that helped my twins every day for over a month.

Thank you for the volunteers that came to help the NICU staff and give the babies some handmade knitted preemie size caps and blankets.

Thank you to the doctors that watched over their health and made sure they were ready to go home.

Thank you to the CLSC for checking in on us once we were home.

Thank you to our nanny that helped with the twins during the first stages of life with preemies at home.

Thank you to my family who was there for us when we needed them the most, you all helped so much.

I am participating in a Preemie Awareness Blog Hop. For more unique stories, please stop by and visit these other mama bloggers that have shared their story as well:

1) Frugal Momeh: Prematurity Awareness – Keira’s Story
2) Tales of Mommyhood: Prematurity Awareness – Julien
3) Journeys of the Zoo: Prematurity Awareness – Born at 30 Weeks, The Zoo’s NICU story
4) Tales of the Mommyhood, Guest Post: Prematurity Awareness – Parenting with Heart
5) Number Crunching Momma: Prematurity Awareness – Being a Parent of a Preemie

6) Life On Manitoulin: Prematurity Awareness Month – What It’s Really Like To Have a Preemie
7) Simply Suppa: (Some) Things You Need to Know About Preemies

For more information on prematurity awareness, visit The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign.

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Rene November 12, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I love the acknowledgements you give to those who really helped in the early days – you are right, you can’t take care of them yourself and thankfully there are great people there to assist. Great point of view – thanks for sharing!

mamawee November 12, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Our experience was different as he was not a twin….however my niece and nephew were born at 32 weeks and had a 3 week nicu stay

Anonymous November 13, 2012 at 4:17 am

Thanks for sharing! Never had a preemie my-self – but looked after their parents for years…..miss my job reading your lines!

Journeys of The Zoo November 13, 2012 at 5:02 am

I found it so hard to leave Artemis for two weeks in the hospital. I only visited quickly a few times to drop off breast milk. Iwas caring for Max full-time and couldn’t take him into the NICU yet I was breastfeeding so I couldn’t leave him at home (1 hour drive away). Thankfully, the two weeks went by quickly and Artemis didn’t know the difference :).

Thanks for sharing your story and for linking up.

Besos, Sarah
Zookeeper at Journeys of The Zoo

Kat Biggie November 13, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Well that was a trip down memory lane!!! Thanks for sharing your story. I also had twins – at 30 weeks, but one of our girls died after 2 days. I joined this blog hop a little late, but I hope you’ll come check out my link up too!


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