After an extremely difficult pregnancy and bed rest for 105 days due to pre-term labor, I was finally admitted to the hospital. I was no longer responding to the medication I was on for the preterm labor and my own health was failing; I had preeclampsia and pneumonia. After 9 days the perinatologist did an emergency c-section and my twin girls were born at 31 weeks exactly.
Alexandra Grace, (Allie) was born weighting 3 pounds, 4 ounces. She was 15 1/2 inches in length and she was breathing on her own at first. Later that day she was put on c-pap but all was well. She had all the lines for feeding and monitoring but was doing as well as could be expected. Then suddenly at 2 weeks of age one of the lines that were feeding her burst and the calcium in the solution corroded the skin on the top of her foot. Two days later were we told she needed plastic surgery to remove the dead skin and put new skin from a donor site, which they would take from her thigh. The surgery was successful and Allie was now healing. She was in the NICU for a total of 27 days due mainly to her prematurity. She needed to gain weight, learn to feed, hold her body temperature and heal from the foot surgery.
Nicolette Francesca (Nikki) weighted in at 3 pounds 4 ounces and was also 15 1/2 inches in length. She was also breathing on her own and doing as well as could be expected. Two days before Allie went to surgery, Nikki contracted RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), which can be deadly for premature infants. Nikki stopped breathing and was transported out of the NICU and sent to another hospital, which had a higher level of care. I remember my husband and I following the ambulance to New York City at 2 in the morning and leaving Allie behind in Connecticut. All I could do was pray. She was put on a ventilator and had what seemed like a million monitors and leads in her. With RSV the child gets worse before they get better, according to the specialists. After 3 weeks on the vent, 4 blood transfusions and countless specialists and monitors, Nikki was finally taken off the vent and put on c-pap. She was on c-pap for about a week and then weaned down to the nasal cannula. Once she was no longer contagious and only on oxygen she could be transported back to Connecticut closer to where we live. By that time Allie was home and Nikki was finally coming closer to home. Nikki spent another 10 days or so recovering and after 62 days of total hospitalization came home.
Alexandra Grace, 3 years old
Allie and Nikki were under strict quarantine for the first year of life and both received the Synagis shots for the first 2 years to prevent the return of RSV. Nikki does suffer some slight respiratory damage due to the RSV but it's controlled. Allie has some nerve damage due to the damage by the calcium but she walks and runs as if it never happened!
They both received services from Birth to Three but have graduated with flying colors. Now you would never know that they were born 9 weeks early and what they went through.
Nicolette Francesca, 3 years old
What a long, long trip it was but now almost 3 1/2 years later it's all a distant memory. Allie and Nikki are both active and normal toddlers. They go to a mainstream preschool, have play dates with a variety of children, run, jump, fight and do all the things three-year-olds do.
I never thought my husband and I could make it through all this but with the love and support of family and friends we did. The doctors and nurses in the NICUs do an outstanding job and are very supportive; we couldn't have made it through this journey without their knowledge and expertise.