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  • Renee Burns

January, 2020- Mom Moves back into the hospital with the twins

Updated: Jan 29, 2021



Last Friday's update was short and sweet due to our "sleep over celebration" with our girls. It is hard to put words to the feelings that we experienced walking into a room and being able to close a door behind us last Friday. To not have to share space with other babies, nurses, docs, families, etc. was overwhelming and calming all at the same time. What we noticed first was the quiet, and second was then the natural light. As most of you know, we are firm believers in the healing power of nature, and just being in a space with windows to allow natural light in for our girls to experience has been one of the greatest gifts we have received thus far on our journey. It continues to be the little things that bring us the most gratitude these days. Hearing the beeping of just 2 monitors, and sunlight coming into a room are things we never thought we'd be so appreciative about.


We no longer have nurses 24-7 at the girls bedsides. They are hooked up to monitors that nurses track from outside the room. We are on a 3 hour "cares" schedule. What that means is every 3 hours the nurse comes in and we do diaper changes, take temps, administer meds, and start their feeds. Both girls continue to be on oxygen, which is to help support their ability to "SUCK, SWALLOW, BREATH". Yes, you read that correctly.


The name of the game on the 11th floor is "SUCK, SWALLOW, BREATH." We have learned that it is common for preemies to have underdeveloped "sucking skills" and struggle to latch onto a bottle or nipple, so the girls are still working with an occupational therapist 3-4 times a week to work on that. Step 2 is the brains response to sucking, which is to swallow. This is also a hard task for preemies who have underdeveloped lunges and digestive systems- try it- when you swallow, you breath after. This is not second nature for our little warrior princesses. So, they are hooked up to some extra oxygen during feeding times to give them a little 'bump' to prompt breathing after the "suck/swallow". They still have their feeding tubes, and whatever they are not able to take orally still gets administered via tube.


So- in order to practice the "SUCK, SWALLOW, BREATH" every three hours means mom has moved back into the hospital...yay (insert sarcasm here)..but only for 72 hours for each girl. Eloise had her 72 hours with mom this past week. What it looks like in the hospital is a bit different than being at home breastfeeding. For starters, breastfeeding at home will not involve unplugging a total of 5 wires from my baby, getting her undressed, weighing her, replugging in wires, making sure she has good oxygen, THEN attempting to breastfeed- then unplugging wires, weighing her, replugging, dressing her, and then hooking her up to have the remainder of her meal via tube... and then pumping the rest for later. So- the "cares every 3 hours", is more like 2, due to the feeding process taking about an hour- and any attempt at sleep in between is often interrupted by dings by monitors that have us jumping up and checking to make sure the girls are still breathing.


Let's just say doing that process for three days straight has left us a little edgy. AND...we're gearing up for Vivian's turn for a 72 hour feed on Monday!


It's awesome to watch them grow and think they're "so big" as they creep towards 5 pounds! Eloise will be there first, and will likely be discharged from the hospital first, but we have yet to know when that will be. We are hopeful that Vivian will not be far behind her.


As we tiptoe towards a discharge date, we also find ourselves tiptoeing around feelings of frustration and general shortness. The daily unknowns create a stress that is palpable at times, and we wonder what thing could "break the camels back". We continue to work on finding balance between taking care of ourselves, each other, and the girls....and know that when our discharge date does come it will come with a whole new world of emotions.


Right now part of the edginess is the fact that we are missing our tribe. We dream about the day we can show off our warrior princesses to ya'll, so get ready! We were fortunate to spend some time with part of our Duluth tribe last weekend- so an extra thank you to those of you that came to our house to help move couches, blow snow, organize closets, attempt to start cars (haha), and help distract us for a few hours.


Overall, we continue to be grateful for everyone that has continued to check in with us via calls, emails, texts, letters, notes, gifts, etc....and for those that understand our mental space when we do not respond right away- or at all, thank you. We have kept every card, gift, and note on display in our apartment, and are excited to some day share them with the girls. Our girls will grow up knowing how blessed they are to be part of such an amazing tribe of supporters near and far.


Until next week- here's to SUCKING, SWALLOWING and hopefully BREATHING :-)

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