I felt it again this week: that little pang I get sometimes when I remember our challenging birth experiences. I was trying to explain to a first-time mom patient what “normally” happens after you have a baby and realized I don’t really know since 3 out of my 4 were not “normal” and went straight to the NICU. And Stephen…well, that was a long time ago…and his was a traumatic birth experience despite the fact that he was a healthy baby.
I feel it sometimes when I visit my friends after they’ve had babies and their baby is in the room with them…pang
When other moms talk about holding their baby and bonding after birth…pang
When Eric and I were in the process of trying for our third baby, we joked, “We have to have another one! After all, third time’s the charm, right? We have to get an easy one now, right?”
And then I scanned myself at work and saw:
Wait, let me look at that again. That’s so funny, for a minute I thought I saw…
Yeah, that REALLY looks like TWO babies in there…
Um, yeah. Guess we don’t get an easy one…or one at all, for that matter! I was TERRIFIED–being an ultrasound tech, I knew what identical twins really meant: HIGH RISK, HIGH RISK, HIGH RISK, twin-twin transfusion syndrome, intrauterine growth restriction, bed rest, premature labor, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, intensive fetal monitoring, C-section, premature babies, guaranteed NICU, babies on oxygen…
But thank God, none of those terrible things happened (except a little NICU time and a few weeks on oxygen, annoying but not terrible). My twin experience turned out better than anyone I know…patients, friends, or my own mother (except for a 6 foot tall German ultrasound tech who said she had two 8 lb boys at 40 weeks and said being pregnant with twins “vos no-tink.”)
At the twins’ four month well-check appointment, the doctor said they are “thriving” and have “impressive strength” and that my milk supply is “phenomenal.” I was thrilled, THRILLED to hear all these adjectives after my nine months of pregnancy terror, waiting for all the complications that come with multiples.
Today we went to the NICU reunion picnic at the hospital, and I got a new pang, a pang of joy and gratefulness that even though 3 out of our 4 children experienced the NICU, they GRADUATED and are now healthy, thriving children. And really, our brushes with the NICU were minor, nothing compared to the weeks and weeks others have spent on the NICU-roller-coaster. So thank you, Jesus, that our little NICU babies now look like all the other kids playing on the street, happy and healthy.