Anticipating my Babies’ Premature Birth
Learning you are carrying a twin pregnancy can bring on such a wave of emotions, including the worry that you’ll deliver early. I learned that the average twin pregnancy lasts about 35 weeks, with 38 weeks considered full term. Still, my doctor told me early on she had every reason to believe I could carry to 38 weeks.
Around 27 weeks, I started getting contractions and was already a little dilated. I was placed on bed rest with a home monitoring system to track my contractions twice a day. My doctor told me I might make it to 34 weeks and to expect that my babies would most likely be preemies. My partner and I toured the NICU before I got put on bed rest, so we were prepared in case I delivered early. With the incubators, tiny premature babies, and lots of beeping, the NICU can be overwhelming.
Around 30 weeks, I spent a night in the hospital where I was given steroids to help the babies’ lungs develop and a variety of medications to stop my contractions -- thankfully labor was held off until 34 weeks and beautiful babies were born. My girls weighed around five pounds each. The weeks leading up to their birth were emotional, and I was thrilled that now they were healthy and here with me.
One of the hardest things about an early delivery for me was not being able to hold my daughters right away. I delivered the girls just before 7:00 p.m. but didn’t get to see them in the NICU until almost midnight—except for one quick glance as they were wheeled past me in their incubators). I didn’t get to hold Brooklyn until the second day, and we had to wait until the third day to hold Bailey.
Both girls had breathing masks, feeding tubes, and IVs at first, but they were strong babies and did so well. Each day they made improvements by learning to eat, maintaining their body temperature, and putting on weight. As a new mom, I was so proud and excited when they achieved each milestone; it meant they were closer to coming home. When seeing your little one in the NICU, remember: It is the best place for your child, because they are receiving the medical care they need. Take advantage of the time to learn how to care for your premature baby and ask the nurses all of your questions – the time will fly by! After 11 days, we were able to welcome our girls home!