Today marked the longest I have ever been away from my babies. Two full sleeps.. checking in on them 5 times a day.. knowing they were ok.. it didn’t make it much easier. There were tears happy and sad. I woke up eager to get there. I also didn’t want to leave my girls. We have had so much fun these past few days.. the beach, the rides, movies, camp family day, even something as simple as food and mini van shopping all together made things feel “normal” again. Im trying to make up for all the time we missed and loving every second of it.
I presented Mia with her usual options.. entertainment from her auntie or nana. I said we were going to visit her boys and she could come with us if she wanted as well. Luckily, they allow kids age 4 and up in the NICU. Her eyes lit up and she quickly responded, “I want to see my babies and touch their cute little hands..” , and I immediately melted! She has been asking so many questions about them lately and already loves them so much. We look at their pictures everyday and she gushes over how “adorable” her they are. Her little lisp still comes out from time to time when she says Maurice’s name and it is so sweet.
After a morning session of dress up princess with Juliet, we packed up and went. First off to nana and papas to drop off my little Juli. She saw her nana and leaped into her arms no questions asked. She adores her. Then on our way. Mia asked so many questions in the car.. my favorite being, ” mommy how did the babies get out of your belly.” She laughed and sang. I can’t remember the last time it was just the three of us in the car together. It was a really nice feeling. Car rides were always a good excuse to pick up my phone and scan my usually social media accounts.. watching the lives of other people. I’m trying hard now to cherish times like this and be fully present. We played “I spy” and Mia showed me her new trick.. being able to more her ears! I am pretty impressed! Life happens more in these little moments.
When we got out of the car, Mia was skipping to the room. I taught her how to do a good hand wash and she counted at the scrub station to 20 with me. She wanted to wear her car dress and surprise her brothers. Of course I had a matching outfit for her and the boys, but she insisted on being a kitty cat… it’s funny how things like that don’t matter anymore. Kitty Kat won easily. She also brought her little blue dolphin toy to show them that she named Dolphie. The nurse buzzed us in.
Peter and Maurice’s room is the first door to the right. As soon as the door opened, I could see my baby. Peter was right in front of me in a big boy open crib. My baby was there, swaddled and looking like a “real newborn.” His nurse told us his heart rate was fast again last night and that he kept getting hot. She trailed the open crib and he was able to maintain his body temperature. This is a huge milestone for my little guy who now weighs 4 pounds!! Mia ran over with a big smile on her face .. telling him she was here and how much she loved him. It was a moment that will be etched in my heart forever.
Next my Maurice. He is almost the weight Peter was when he was born. He is starting to look stronger and is maintaining his airway on high flow without Cpap. The nurse said he also gained 30 grams last night and now weight 2 lbs 7 oz! I can’t wait to get them in my arms again.
It’s been about a month and James has still not held Maurice. With CPAP and his very small size , it was a challenge. Things are constantly beeping and there are wires everywhere .. he told me he was afraid he would hurt him. I completely understood and wanted him to wait until he felt ready. I think having Mia with us helped, because today was his day!
I changed into my kangaroo shirt and sat up in my mommy kangaroo chair. The nurse handed me Peter. Next she prepared Maurice and placed him gently on James’s chest. Mia glowed as she introduced herself, once again, to her baby brothers.. however this time it was not through a plastic box. She held their hands and touched their head. She said over and over how cute and sweet they are and sang them songs. She drew pictures to leave in their room so they would know she was there with them.
It was really Mia meeting her boys for the first time. The first time she saw them they were under bright blue lights wearing masks. She peaked through a glass window but could not see their faces. Today they opened their eyes and looked right at her. It was so beautiful.
NICU life means you appreciate even the smallest of victories. Being able to see their face.. to pick your baby up from an open crib or even putting on regular clothes .. all takes on a whole new meaning. I’m dreaming of having all my babies together at the same time. Peter’s nurse is hopeful that we may be able to trial a nasal canula again next week for both boys. They both have been making tremendous progress. Tomorrow morning we have blood work to check their anemia. I’m praying for some good news but even without the blood test it’s easy to see clinically they are doing very well!
It’s impossible to find a word to describe what it is like to have your oldest child meet your babies. Even if you just delivered “healthy” term babies.. there is something so magical that happens. Your oldest suddenly appears older and your heart grows even bigger. You are giving your children a best friend. My big girl telling her baby brothers how she is going to take care of them and love them forever. The bond they have from that moment on is almost tangible. I wish I could have had my Juliet with us. Mia left her pictures with her brothers and we all said our goodbyes.
She fell asleep as soon as we got into the car and I cried. Again, I’m not sure if they are happy or sad tears. The moment I leave my boys, my heart has a little piece missing. After having (almost) all of us together .. it hurt a little more. Everyday we are one step closer.
We took Mia to nana’s house and finished our night with a cooking class. It was a real date night .. just James and I .. which involved laughter, wine, great people and incredible food! The chef told stories of how important it is to appreciate life and what you have been given. He spoke to how you should not let little things bother you and always look for the positive. It was almost like he knew our story and was speaking directly to us.
I’m so thankful for these past few days. We had family time and were even able to make time for our girls individually. We also made time for a date and I even snuck in a manicure and laundry. I don’t think we will ever have the time… but rather have to learn to make it! I’m thankful for the growth and progress we have made and for this beautiful life I have been given to live. Goodnight my sweet babies.. I’ll continue to dream of the day when we can all be together.