I am a planner. As the oldest child of three, I have always liked to plan things out and be organized as much as possible. When my husband and I began talking about having children, planning kicked into overdrive! I bought books, I made doctors’ appointments, I started taking prenatal vitamins and going to the gym. I started tracking the best times to conceive and even planning when our child may be born based on when we might conceive. Yes...I was that kind of planner!
As I quickly learned, this was a part of life that could not be planned. Once we finally were pregnant, we had a wonderful surprise…..we were having twin boys! At the very beginning of our journey, we were told that twin pregnancies were high risk and were told what our plans would be just in case the boys arrived early. We knew what to expect, but were confident in having a healthy pregnancy and hopeful these plans would not have to materialize. My pregnancy went amazingly! Aside from the normal fatigue, weight gain and increased appetite, I had a normal pregnancy. I felt fantastic and didn’t even feel like I was carrying twins.
The number of doctors’ appointments required for a twin pregnancy was astonishing! At some points, I was going to appointments two and three times per week. The positive side of this was getting to see my babies and hear their heartbeats. Toward the end of the pregnancy, I was going to the hospital twice per week to monitor contractions and the heartbeats for the babies. All of these appointment went well and never showed any early signs of labor.
At 33 weeks, I began having contractions in the middle of the night. As it was still early, we figured we should go to the hospital, just in case, even though we were already there earlier that day. When we arrived at the hospital, they determined I was in labor and was progressing very quickly. As the hospital did not have a NICU, they quickly decided to fly me to University of Maryland Medical Center. Upon arrival at UMMC, our boys were delivered by emergency C-Section at 7 am. My labor lasted only 5 hours! “E” was born at 4 pounds 9 ounces and “A” was born at 4 pounds 6 ounces. Both were happy, healthy and breathing on their own! Both boys were perfectly healthy, but were on the small side and had immature breathing. The NICU staff at the hospital was absolutely amazing! They walked us through step by step how to care for our boys while in the NICU and answered any questions we ever had. They provided us with many resources including books and pamphlets on the March of Dimes. As we did not live locally, we spent many days traveling back and forth to the hospital, but always knowing our boys were in great care!
One of the best resources was the information about what preemies often face while in the NICU and some of the language used. When you are first in the NICU, the beeps, bells and whistles are overwhelming and stressful. Hearing “Brady’s” and “Low Pulse Ox” or holding your baby in your arms and they start to beep and turn purple are all very scary things! The resources from March of Dimes and the fantastic staff at the NICU helped us enjoy our time with our babies and stress less while visiting them. After a total for 4 weeks in the NICU, the boys are now home and thriving!
My husband and I have been so appreciative for the resources provided to us during this time with our boys that we wanted to be able to give back in some way. My father has been doing Bikers for Babies for years and suggested we connect with the March of Dimes. Until our experience with our boys, March of Dimes was something I knew about, but was not necessarily personal to me. Now, it hits home and we have a firsthand understanding of the benefits of such a wonderful organization. We are a prime example of the mission of the organization—to help provide support to families and their babies. We look forward to participating in the events such as Bikers for Babies and March for Babies to help raise awareness and provide support to other families. It is nice to know there are other families out there that have similar stories and experiences and that you are not alone in your journey. If there is a way to help other families have a similar positive experience, we are dedicated to help make that happen—and March of Dimes is the way!
-Heather Z, Waldorf MD