We were visiting my relatives in central Illinois when I had my most recent "twins moment." My cousin said she was on her way to work, even though she was supposed to be off that night. She is a nurse in an area hospital. She said she was taking a shift for a friend whose newborn granddaughter was in the NICU.
I said, "Why is she in the NICU?"
She said, "Because there is something wrong with the baby."
Then the light went on in my head. It's not normal for babies to end up in the NICU.
As any parent of twins or higher order multiples will tell you, most multiple births end up with one or more of the children in the NICU. We didn't have that experience. When our girls were born, they were each more than 6 lbs. One of the nurses told me that they were the only twins born in that hospital that year that didn't spend time in the NICU. The girls came home in 48 hours, just like a healthy singleton.
This is not the normal experience for parents of multiples. Most multiples end up in the NICU for some reason that is not necessarily life-threatening. When you talk to parents of multiples, you'll hear stories about how the babies were born early and spent time in the NICU gaining weight. Other times there is a more serious problem. In most cases, the babies spent time in the NICU and went home.
Sometimes I forget that all my conversations run through our twins filter. It's the only parenting reality we have, so it's not like I can turn off the filter. It's just one more example of how having twins changes the way you view the world.