NICU LIFE: Miracles + Tragedies Part 1
September is NICU Awareness Month, and it’s almost been five years since I’ve been in one. I’ll be honest, it’s taken almost half the month to actually sit down and write this because these memories, no matter how long it’s been, are still so fresh.
Miracles and tragedies walk hand-in-hand through the hallways of a NICU, and in my case, I experienced both with my twins simultaneously. As one was fighting for their life, the other was letting go.
The moments leading up to their birth were pretty laid out; they were not going to make it. We couldn’t stop the labor and Abigail’s foot was already in the birth canal. From the look on the ultrasound tech’s face to the phone call from the neonatologist who was on his way—tragedy was inevitable. I remember him saying, “ I have to prepare you, because they are just too small and the chances of survival are not in their favor. I can’t play God and by law, I am not required to save them. I will assess them and do my best to save them.” All while I was bawling my eyes out and scared beyond belief, reality was setting in.
I was 23 weeks, 3 days gestation. They were not due to come into this world for another 16 weeks. This was my first pregnancy, and I was blessed with twins no less. I had absolutely no idea a world like this existed, and that my life was about to change forever.
Olivia & Abigail were born via emergency csection on November 13th 2012. Abigail came first at just under a pound with the softest cry, and Olivia came right after weighing one pound, one ounce.
So much of that night is a blur because it all happened so fast. The one thing I remember was the doctor telling me Abigail was not going to make it, and that they were rushing Olivia to the NICU. While I was being stapled up, my family would be able to hold my daughter while she took her last breath.
My sweet angel, Abigail Rae went to be with Jesus an hour after she was born. By the time I came out of recovery, she had passed. They laid her on my chest, and I held her until the pain of saying goodbye became unbearable. A joyous moment for so many became a tragedy for me.
I remember that night they kept me on the same floor as the rest of the mothers who delivered and as the newborn babies would cry, so would I--as I laid there without my own babies.