Shocking news – the muppets are still in the hospital. If you’ve ever stopped and wondered, “Hmm, I wonder how long it takes for preemie parents to reach extreme levels of frustration,” allow me to enlighten you. The answer is seven and a half weeks.
This week was a particularly difficult one for me. The boys are still doing very well. They’re growing and getting ready to come home via the slow and steady method. But they’re still swinging up and down with their oxygen saturation. This was the first potential week that we may have seen the boys homeward bound. Guess what isn’t happening?
To be fair, I never really thought they’d be home this week – I thought they’d be home next week. Ever since we learned double trouble was upon us, I’d expected to bring them home in late July. But I did expect that perhaps they’d be completely sans nasal cannula and holding a steady saturation level (of 97-100 percent).
I know 36 weeks is the average gestation for twins and next Tuesday is G.G and Uncle Paul’s birthday. I thought the twins arrival would be a great birthday gift. Obviously, that didn’t happen. So I thought the next best thing would be to bring them home. Such mental decrees led me to really picture this as their due date. Ultimately, we have always been told to expect them home by their due date (which is actually Aug. 23) but they will let us know when they are ready to blow that NICU popsicle stand.
The combination of unmet expectations, closing in on the two month mark and just how darned cute the muppets are getting led to a very frustrating moment for me. It was hard to take a step back and remind myself that even though their NICU residency seems like it’s been forever, and even though they’re four and a half big boys now, they’re still only 35 weeks – still tiny. I should still be pregnant for another month! (Good grief, I honestly cannot imagine still being pregnant.)
This past weekend was an absolute circus in the NICU. As I mentioned, the unit was at capacity. It seemed like there was a new admittee every five minutes. Young preemies to full term babies were rolling into the unit ensconced in their Giraffe isolettes. Nurses running to and fro, yelling out alphabet soup: TPN, PCH, CBC, ABR, CPAP, CC, ROP, ML, EKG, NG, IV, PDA and – what the heck, we’re talking children here, – ABC, 123. Babies crying. Dinging – oh, the dinging – alarms screaming from every nook and cranny. Nurses tending to babies in multiple pods. The charge nurses wandering around asking who wanted to work doubles.
Destroy and I were cuddling in a corner, observing the chaos. The one stat I kept noticing were how many of the babies had high steady sat levels. Today I asked Dr. Dong when the swings would stop. He just looked at me with a slightly pitying, slightly amused expression. “I don’t know…when they’re ready.” So much for my hopes that he’d suddenly peer at the boys and reply, “July 23. 1:32 p.m.” However, he did wryly note that yes, it will someday stop. He mentioned, “We’ve seen a lot of kids like this. It seems like the swinging will never stop and then suddenly it just does.”
Search and Destroy truly are our little miracles. And we’ve been really blessed that, despite all they’ve been put through, they’re healthy. (They’re still tiny, but they’re healthy.) They are coming home – it’s just a matter of when at this point. I’ve discovered the cure to my frustration is seeing one of the boys smile or coo. And a slightly calmer NICU helps as well. Homecoming is just a matter of weeks now. Then the boys can cause all other types of frustration for their parents.
Despite the occasionally frustrating situation we’ve found ourselves in, Jon and I are tremendously enjoying getting to know our boys. Their personalities are really starting to shine through. And double trouble is oh so very accurate.