Friday, July 23, 2010

A Twins Moment

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.


LindsayDianne said...

Having twins must be so much different. My half sister just had identical boys who were each 7 and 8 pounds respectively. We're not close, but I wish we were so that I could get to know my nephews better.
Thanks for sharing this perspective!

eatmisery said...

Having twins has been a blessing to me. While my older two are only a year apart, it totally isn't the same as having two the same age.

My twins were in the NICU for 14 and 16 days. They had feeding issues. We were so grateful that it wasn't anything more than that. They were born at 36 weeks on the nose. Because they were multiples, they actually behaved like preemies. My oldest daughter was a 36-weeker, as well, but she behaved like a full-term baby and came home with me no problem. My son, however, was full-term and behaved like a preemie, also spending a week in the NICU for feeding issues.

It just goes to show you that you never know what will happen and no matter how prepared you are, you're never prepared to go home without your baby/ies.

All of my children are gifts I am grateful for having. They make me see the world so differently.