Preparing for Twins

Moms Tell All: What You Need to Know About Having A Baby In The NICU

what you need to know about the nicu

We are overwhelmed with the responses we received from moms who have had experiences with their baby in the NICU. And now, without further ado, we are pleased to share other mom’s stories and advice about their babies’ NICU stay.  Thank you to all of the mothers that opened up to us and contributed to this post to share with new moms a glimpse into their NICU experience.  

What MOMS Have To Share After They Had A Baby In The NICU:

“Don’t go through it alone. Find a good “mom friend” to share the everyday NICU stress with (preferably someone who’s had a similar experience does help). Dad’s are AWESOME but you need another female in your life now. At the very least find a support group.”

“There will be “bad” days. It feels like one step forward & two back, but your children are getting the best possible care that you cannot give them and the doctors and nurses are trying so hard to get your babies out of there and home. It’s their goal.”

“It’s HARD emotionally and physically. You just went through labor and nothing is “normal” now especially since you can’t just sit and hold your baby.”

“Ask lots of questions. If you feel something isn’t right just ask to talk to a doctor. It’s your baby and sometimes mistakes happen because they’re just as human as us.”

“Form friendships with the nurses. Most of them are glad to know your story and about your family. They have one of the most stressful nursing jobs around.”

“I wish I had known how common it was to be almost ready for discharge, only to have a setback and start the countdown clock all over. I was not prepared for the heartbreak. I also wish I had known to have a plan in place if one baby came home and the other had to stay longer. I was not prepared for that.”

“We were very fortunate that our B/G twins only spent a week in the NICU, born at 34 weeks.  Don’t be afraid to ask the nurses questions and let them help.  They are the best resources and very helpful. We were so thankful for the nurses.”

“The expenses that came after, tons of hospital bills.”

“My B/G twins were born at 35 weeks and spent 3 longs weeks in the NICU.  My advice is to become close with the nurses as they are filled with specialized knowledge, experience and are taking care of your babies.  At the same time, don’t be afraid to make decisions for your babies.”

“If you have a baby in the NICU, bring their clothes, bathing products and lotions, use your own feeding pillows if breastfeeding, or use bottles that you plan to use at home.  This helps to make you feel like you have some control.  Also bring lots of snacks…hospital food and eating out gets expensive.”

“Try to remember on the hard days that they will soon be all yours at home.”

“My twins were born at 33 weeks 5 days.  My daughter spent 3 weeks in the NICU and my son spent 4 weeks.  I was not prepared at all for any NICU stay and it really hit me hard.  My children did not feel like mine and I felt so incredibly weird just “visiting”.  I couldn’t do what I wanted with my own children and I felt so very uncomfortable.  In the end, I look back at the NICU stay as such a bittersweet time.”

“Waiting for them to come home will feel like forever and will hurt in a a way that no one else can understand, but once they are home, the NICU somehow becomes a fond memory.  Plus our twins can sleep through anything NOW!”

“Nothing is for sure, it always seems like one more day, and in the beginning the whole thing is overwhelming and the machines may make you paranoid and jumpy.  But you get used to them.  Having them on a schedule and access to the hospital pump is a definitely a plus.  Only one of our girls stayed in the NICU, so the hour distance between the two babies was tough.”

“I quickly realized my son was in the very best hands. We had around the clock – 24 hour- intensive care.”

“NICU nurses & doctors have specialized care for their babies which is comforting. Nurses are warm and caring and seemed just as concerned with our well being (mine and my husband’s as parents of a NICU baby) as with our son’s.  They offered support, comfort, advice and resources.  The hospital offered to board me and that felt good.”

“Machines beep and make noise and that’s ok.  At first it’s alarming and scary and you wonder if everything is ok. It’s usually just normal, regular sounds in the NICU.”

“I felt complete solidarity with the other moms and dads in the NICU.  Without any words, just a warm glance and smile, despite the level of care needed or diagnosis, they understood.  We shared a bond, a shared experience.”

“The NICU is secure (literally with the security doors) and has a sense of privacy.  Even when you are so close to other babies and families, it felt very private.”

“It was super important to leave for lunch/dinner, take a walk outside, just sit outside for fresh air, talk to family members and my husband for our emotional well-being.”

“Remember to rest, sleep & eat.”

“It’s ok to be scared, sad, worried and optimistic.”

“Ask all the questions you want, ask for clarification, take notes and/or have someone with you who will help listen with you because your mind will be racing sometimes.”

“Maybe research your medical plan ahead of time to get an estimated cost of a NICU stay, options for charity from the hospital if needed.”

“Well let’s see. My iPad saved me day in and day out. I watched ALOT of Netflix to stay awake because holding her skin to skin all day made me really sleepy! I’m not sure what I wished I would have known. I think it’s important for NICU parents to know that they have all the say they want.  Even though it’s a really scary place at times and you may feel like they’re in charge and you are to watch from the sidelines. It’s not at all like that, and they want the parents to be VERY involved. My husband says he wished he would’ve known that they would feed the baby right off the bat to the point of exhaustion and if she didn’t eat, it was feeding tube time.”

“One thing I wish I would have done or had known was to stay closer to the hospital. It was so hard to go home at night and I wished I would have rented a place closer to them. The major thing that helped me survive were the nurses. They were just phenomenal.  Each and every one of them kept me positive during such a tough time. They came to my girls’ first birthday and are just remarkable people.”

“My girls spent one week in the NICU due to reflux issues. To be honest, their issue wasn’t scary for me so I wasn’t concerned during that time. What did help was the fact that I could see them anytime I wanted and that the sweet nurses at the hospital made sure to put them in the same bed together so that they could be next to one another. The cute factor definitely helped! It was a pleasant experience and very short lived.”

Welcoming a new baby into the world is very exciting, but can be an overwhelming and scary time, especially if you end up having a baby stay in the NICU.  Try to remember you are not on an island by yourself.  Think of these moms and the stories they shared. Find comfort in knowing that there are other people who have been in your shoes before.  There is always a village somewhere!

Chime in mamas….do you have experience with a baby in the NICU?  

Comment below, we’d love to hear your story.

all-our-love, jenn-and-Meghan-from-two-came-true