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StorkNet.com > Pregnancy Channel > Parenting Channel > Multiples Mania Cubby > Twins' & More Articles
 FAQ Section 4 ~ Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU)
With our member survey, 42% of the babies had to spend some time in intensive care, whether it was just a few hours or a few months. Many of our parents toured the NICU before delivery "just in case," particularly if they were bedresting in the hospital.
I had gone into labour at 28 weeks and was on bedrest from there on. The staff organized a tour so that when I did deliver, it would not be a shock. I found it was the best thing to ever happen. Knowing that you are going to be delivering preterm is extremely scary. After you go for the tour, you feel much more secure that everything will be okay. ~Cassandra, mother of twins

When I was hospitalized for contractions, I toured the Birth Center in a wheelchair and got to look in the window of the NICU. ~Marina, mother of twins

We planned to tour the NICU but every time we tried to go, the NICU said they were too busy to have us come (I was on bedrest in the hospital). ~Lutey, mother of twins

We toured once with our multiples birthing class and then again after I was admitted with preterm labor and the doctors wanted us to be sure what to expect of 27 weekers. Thankfully, I held off until a safe time! ~Sheryl, mother of triplets

We never toured the NICU. I refused to believe it could happen to us. I regretted it after my babies were born. I guess I was in denial because most triplets do spend some time in intensive care. ~Teresa, mother of identical triplet boys

Parenting a baby in intensive care is difficult at best. Trying to parent multiples in a NICU is even harder.
It was very hard for me. I had a VERY hard delivery with some complications and traveling down the hall to the NICU was extremely hard. My husband made me go down the first time. I was intimidated and scared to bond with Aaron because I didn't know if he was going to be okay. It was hard having Alyssa in the room with me and Aaron in NICU. ~Jennifer, mother of boy/girl twins

I was there 24 hours a day for the first two weeks, then for feeding times after that. I held the babies as much as I allowed to. I only got to experience Kangaroo Care once during that time, but would've done it more if I'd been allowed to. ~Leslie, mother of twins

While I was in the hospital, I spent most of the time in NICU. Once I got out of the hospital, I would go to the hospital in the late morning and stay until evening. ~Jenni, mother of twins

My life revolved around their feeding and care schedule. I would stay at the hospital most of the day, hanging out in the lounge or cafeteria until it was time to go feed them again. ~Lutey, mother of boy/girl twins

It was not easy. My kids were not even next to each other, so when the alarms would go off, I always ran across the room to see if it was my other one. Keep a level head, and be realistic; growth steps are very small. ~Gisella, mother of twins

They had their feeds an hour apart so I could change and feed them both. They were in humidi cribs so I handled them usually once a day. I was expressing my milk in between feeds so it was very busy. ~Cassandra, mother of twins

Breastfeeding was a nightmare. Pumping for Jake in the NICU and breastfeeding Rachel at home was too exhausting for me. I cried before and after every visit to see Jake. I couldn't see him but an hour a day because I couldn't leave Rachel with anyone. ~TracyE, mother of boy/girl twins

I stayed at Ronald McDonald House with one baby and visited the other in NICU as often as possible. I pumped when the baby nursed to take milk to his brother. ~Dionne, mother of twin boys

I spent every moment I could with them and breastfed as often as possible. This was the only thing that differentiated me from the nurses who took care of my babies. ~Kym, mother of twins

After I was discharged, I had the option of rooming in at the hospital. This is a room set aside for parents with children in NICU. There is no charge and free meals and a breast pump set up for use. I used this during the day, but I went home during the evening. My husband came when he got off work. ~Jennifer, mother of twins

My boys were in different units so I walked back and forth between them. I was always wanting to be with the one I was not with and feeling overwhelming sadness when I left them. ~Melanie, mother of twin boys

I would just take care of whoever was awake. If they were both awake, I would hold them both. They were so light, I could do that easily, and usually my husband was with me. He would hold one and I would hold the other. Then we would switch. ~Brandi, mother of twins

We spent at least three hours per day each in NICU. We tried to go at different times so that the babies would have at least one of us there as much as possible. ~Megan, mother of twins

I had an infected c-section incision and the babies were three hours away. I called three times a day when I couldn't be there. ~Jamie, mother of twins

They were all together in the NICU which was great. Their isolettes were all in a row and after they could maintain their own temperature, they were all in the same crib together. The NICU is extremely scheduled so the girls all ate 30 minutes and an hour apart. I would go and feed all three in a row, or if my husband was with me, we would take turns on who fed who. ~Sheryl, mother of triplet girls

When the babies are released at different times, it can be a challenge to figure out how to be in two places at once . . .

It was very hard. I had to pack up the baby at home to go to the hospital with me for three feedings a day. My husband went for the rest of the feedings and gave pumped milk. ~Tanya, mother of twins

I was staying with friends because the hospital with the NICU was 200 miles from my home. I suspected my daughter would be released before my son so I prepared a temporary nursery for Allison in the guest room where I was staying. My mother came to stay with my friends also, to help care for Allison when I went to the hospital to feed and care for Erik. ~Lutey, mother of boy/girl twins

It was very hard, but we just had to do it. You can't very well divide yourself even between the two so you just have to accept that you are doing your best in a difficult situation and carry on! It certainly won't do you or your babies any good to get yourself all upset, so we just took it one hour at a time! ~Liz, mother of twins

It was awful. I was so exhausted but happy to have Rachel with me. I did feel like the nurses knew more than I, and Jacob was getting the care he needed. But, I still cried. Not knowing when he would be home was the worst! I even felt a little guilty that Rachel was home and he wasn't. ~TracyE, mother of boy/girl twins

Leaving one baby behind has been the most difficult part of having twins so far. It was emotionally devastating to leave one at the hospital. The four days that one was home and one in the hospital were also physically exhausting. I wanted so badly to be in two places at once. ~Heather, mother of twins

It was very hard bringing my son home and leaving my daughter in the NICU. We hung a picture of my daughter in my son's bassinet so he wouldn't be lonely. ~Kym, mother of boy/girl twins

I spent a week going back and forth between home and the hospital after Caleb and I went home and Jared was still in the hospital. It was hard emotionally. I felt like I was always leaving them. It was also hard to have other people taking care of Jared even though the nurses were wonderful. I felt like they were getting the chance to get to know him better than I was. I used the phone a lot to keep in touch with them, but it was so superficial, it frustrated me. I do think somewhere I knew I was truly blessed as Jared was doing well, and he came home after a short time. The day the boys were both home at the same time was an overwhelming day. That was when I felt the joy I had anticipated. ~Melanie, mother of twin boys

We visited as much as we could, and held/fed the babies when we visited. It got tricky after our daughter came home as our son was still in the NICU and not doing so well. It did give us a chance to get used to taking care of a baby at home though, which helped later when our son came home. We'd been "broken in" gradually. But it was very difficult to take care of one baby at home, visit the other in the hospital, pump, mix formula, clean/sterilize bottles, do laundry . . . things were extremely hectic. Plus when we did visit our son, it was so hard to watch him struggling to breathe and know that he wasn't doing as well as his sister. ~Marina, mother of twins

It was hard having them in different places. Brendan came home first. He was released on a Monday, and we took him straight to another hospital, three hours away, for a hernia operation. He was 26 days old. Two days later, Hannah came home. I remember I broke down and cried over Meaghan's crib because I could not bring her home, and she had to be left alone. For some reason, it did not bother me to leave them when they had a sibling in the same unit, even though they were not in the same beds. I knew she was getting the same excellent care from the nurses, but it was so hard to leave her. We were lucky; she came home three days later. There was one day in the middle where I couldn't even get to the hospital to visit her (hospital was 40 minutes away). We tried to keep the babies on their NICU schedule and that really helped. At that point, they were feeding every 3 1/2 to four hours. The feedings took 1/2 hour a child so we would feed them and then one of us would go to the hospital. If one went in the morning, the other went at night. ~Elizabeth, mother of triplets

I think it was actually nice in some ways that Hannah came home at two weeks. It gave us a chance to be parents and not be too overwhelmed trying to care for all three at once. Of course, my heart broke leaving the other two there, but I was comforted that at least they had each other in the crib and weren't totally alone. ~Sheryl, mother of triplet girls

One at home was no trouble, but once I got two, and especially three at home, it became nearly impossible to visit the one(s) still in the hospital. It was hard emotionally, but I just dealt with it. Worse was the guilt for not often visiting the last baby who stayed hospitalized for a month longer than the others. ~Julie, mother of quadruplets

Please visit our NICU cubby for more information.

Read Premature Birth: Coping Tips for Parents by Elizabeth A. Pector, MD which has valuable NICU parenting advice, written especially for parents of preemie multiples

Our Multiples' FAQ:
          Section I - Suspecting and Diagnosing Multiples
          Section II - Preparing for Multiples
          Section III - Pregnancy & Childbirth
          Section IV - NICU
          Section V - Going Home/Postpartum
          Section VI - As They Grow
          Section VII - Resources
          Section VIII - Miscellaneous/Special Tips & Inspiration

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