The routine we have developed is as follows:
9 a.m.: Pump milk for the boys.
9:30 a.m.: Morning visit to the NICU. Quiz the nurses on Search and Destroy’s progress and spend some family time with our boys.
12 p.m.: Pump milk for the boys.
12:30 p.m.: Attempt to run errands and eat lunch.
3 p.m.: Pump milk for the boys.
3:30 p.m.: Afternoon visit to the NICU. Call the NICU, letting them know we’re in the lobby and would like to be let in to see our boys. Kangaroo Kare! (Depending on how the boys are doing.)
6 p.m.: Pump milk for the boys.
6:30 p.m.: Pause to see if I will have a stress breakdown about how unfair life is for my babies.
7 p.m.: Attempt to clear items of household to-do list. (Usually a futile attempt.)
9 p.m.: Pump milk for the boys.
9:30 p.m.: Dinner-ish (Cereal counts.)
10 p.m.: Crash on whichever soft furniture item happens to be closest. Think about trying to muster energy for a blog post.
11 p.m.: Get ready for bed.
12 a.m.: Pump milk for the boys.
12:30 a.m.: Nap.
3 a.m.: Pump milk for the boys. Try in vain to remain upright and awake for said process.
3:30 a.m.: Nap.
6 a.m.: Become very confused about why an alarm is going off. Fall out of bed and pump milk for the boys.
6:15 a.m.: Discover Scout has been eating apples from our tree again by way of the doggie vomit on the nursery rug.
6:20 a.m.: Clean and curse.
6:30 a.m.: Nap.
9 a.m.: Rinse and repeat.
The boys routine changes slightly depending on their daily interaction with the neonatologist. The vast majority of their day is spent sleeping, although recently they’ve taken to opening their eyes quite a bit more. Today during Kanga time, Search would try to lift his head and look up at me with his eyes wide open. I know all they can allegedly see are out-of-focus hazy shapes, but I prefer to comfort myself with the thought that my boys are already little geniuses.
They also eat (via their feeding tube) every three hours, and an hour after mealtime is the standard coffee break. (Yes, the boys get dosed with caffeine. After all those months that moms spend avoiding it, it’s the first thing a preemie gets.)
Search and Destroy are doing very well. All the doctors and nurses warned us, as par for the course in a preemie’s development, parents should expect to see two steps forward and one step back. During these first weeks, the lesson is breathing.
Due to their young age and tiny size, apnea and bradycardia are very common. Medically, this means an interruption in breathing and a slow heart rate, respectively. In reality, this means they forget to breathe on their own. Each of the twins is currently dealing with the aforementioned problems. Destroy currently has no air assistance, while Search has gone forward and back needing a little extra aid. Apparently, their lungs work fabulously but the extra help is a bit like a personal trainer helping them to strengthen the muscle tissue.
We are very focused on this lesson right now – breathing is very important. The NICU staff assures us that they fully expect Search and Destroy to pass Lung Functionality 101 by simply growing. Growing is to be expected when they start tolerating more and more milk. We expect eating to be heavily involved during the next phase – they need to convince their tiny tummies to process food. Multi-tasking won’t take place until NICU graduate levels.
It’s been one week. We’re hoping the next 7-11 weeks go smoothly. Then we can finally all be together as a family. And I can make the boys read this post when their teenagers and confident that they know everything – reminding them that at one point they didn’t even know they should keep breathing.