Asher & Talya’s NICU Journey
Twins, Asher and Talya came into this world 15 weeks early; they were only 25 week’s gestation; only 1 week into their third trimester. While we were scared, shocked, overwhelmed, we did have some warning signs that they would be delivered early – we just never thought that it would be this early! At 14 week gestation, I experienced Preterm Premature Rupture of the Membranes (PPROM) with Asher (twin B).
It was at this time I became a high risk patient and was followed more closely. I was put on modified bed-rest in the hopes I would make it to 24 weeks (viability) at which time steroid injections could be administered to assist in the development the lungs. Unfortunately, only a week later after receiving the steroids, I went into labour.
After arriving at the hospital, I was put on total bed-rest with the hopes of stalling labour. This was not to be; Asher and Talya were born August 13, 2005, by emergency c-section and welcomed into their new home – the NICU- where they stayed for the next 130 days. Talya weighed in at 1 lb 13 oz and Asher 1 lb 10 oz. While both were extremely low birthweight and each had their issues and complications it was Asher who struggled the most…the first 24 hours were crucial as to whether he would survive. My older son was able to see them even before me and referred to them as a couple of “hot peppers” as they were so small and shrivelled!
When I was well enough to venture over to the NICU and see Asher and Talya for the first time (on their 2nd day in the NICU), I was shocked and breathless. Nothing can prepare you for that first time you see your child (ren) hooked up to machines with so many wires & tubes and beeps & buzzers going off. To see them so small, so fragile and yet… so perfect! After what seemed like an eternity (but was only 8 days) I finally got to hold each of them. It was bittersweet; to feel each of them so close but not be able to look into their eyes for they were still fused shut, to have to sit there while one was resuscitated as the ordeal of coming out of the isolette was just too much. I will never forget.
As predicted, the next months felt like a rollercoaster ride with many one-step forward and two-steps back. There were ventilators and oscillators, Pulmonary Interstitial Emphysema (PIE), heart murmurs, and PDA ligations. Talya suffered a paralyzed vocal cord, both had chronic lung disease, Asher fought through sepsis and stage 1 NEC, central lines, hernia surgery and the list goes on.
It was definitely all of the “little things” that the NICU staff did during their stay that meant the most. Celebrating them and their milestones – like when they made the kilo club or when I arrived on Halloween to find them dressed up in doll costumes AND in the same isolette; this was the first time they had been reunited since the day they were born 3 months earlier.
Finally, on December 20th, 2005, (27 days after their original due date) Asher and Talya came home with Mom, Dad and Big Brother Ethan. This would never have been possible without the dedication, persistence and compassion of the hospital staff. We often recall what the neonatologist told us on discharge day…he said he had good news and bad news and which would we like to hear first. We asked for the good news where he replied that Asher was “strong, independent and a fighter” It was now time for the bad news; Asher is “strong, independent and a fighter”…and he wished us good luck!
There were lots of appointments to attend to after they were discharged and several years of follow-up clinics but to have them home with us finally was nothing short of miraculous. We are very fortunate for any lasting effects of their prematurity are quite minimal; Talya only has one working vocal cord, but she can still belt out a tune…or scream at her brothers. Asher struggles with his eyesight minimally – he wears glasses and patches (sometimes) due to strabismus.
Fast forward to today, October 2012. Asher and Talya are the most amazing 7 year olds. Talya loves to colour and horseback ride; Asher loves Lego and skateboarding. We are so blessed to have them in our lives – they truly are our little miracles.