Home, at last

After 9.5 weeks in the hospital. Nicu. Several Infections. A few blood transfusions. And lots of ups and downs…I’m thrilled to share, actually yell from every roof top, parading down the street, like a proud mamma, a male peacock. Waving my colorful, Mia and Zoë feathers. My girls are home!

It’s been 3 weeks since Mia and Zoë arrived home. They came home on a Sunday after Chanan and I decided to spend Shabbat at the hospital, so we could be there for all their feeding (feels like feeding hour at the zoo…), and help them finally finish bottles without lowering their oxygen saturation levels. That was all that was keeping them at the hospital.
They had arrived at all the other necessary mile stones. They had passed the 35 week mark, they were both over 2 kg, they were able to maintain their body temperature. All that was left was mastering the art of ‘multi tasking’-Swallowing while remembering to breathe…they look at you with their big beautiful, deep eyes, and trust you to nourish them and help them grow.
Like any other day, I was there all day Friday. Chanan arrived right before Shabbat, after farming out our other kids by grandparents and dear friends. As soon as he walked in, I had a nervous break down. I started crying…” They’re never coming home”, “I’m done.”.., ” I’m not coming to the hospital anymore, if they’d like to see me, they’ll just have to find me at home..!”
Chanan was all there for me as usual, and gave me a much needed hug, and sent me to sleep. I slept almost through the night, with one session of pumping in between. Chanan spent the entire night by their hospital bassinets, patiently bottle feeding them, and teaching them how to succeed. In the morning I took over, and by Motzei Shabbat we had achieved the necessary 24 hours of feedings without drops in saturation. All this time, we thought Zoë would come home before Mia, but now they had both done it. Zoë apparently, was just waiting for Mia to catch up, so they could come home together! A feat nearly unheard of in the hospital. I was sure I’d have one baby at home, and another in the hospital. I was up for that challenge- I was rocking it- so I just tuned in to my “whatever-it-takes, I-can-do-it” attitude…This new scenario was such a sweet surprise! We had all worked so hard together the entire Shabbat. Now we had to wait till Sunday to hopefully be discharged. Chanan decided to stay and spend yet another night by their bedside, to ensure successful feedings. We were terrified that if left to the caring nurses, their bottle feeding would be rushed, and they would have dips in saturation, and we’d have to start the 24 hour count all over again…
I came back home, to our other 5 children. Who very much, needed their Imma.
On Sunday morning, I left early, before the doctors rounds and headed to the hospital with car seats, a double stroller, blankets, baby hats and a lot of faith, determination and hope. When I arrived, Chanan awaited me with a smile from ear to ear ” they’re coming home!”, ” we did it!”. Tears welled up in my eyes and my heart skipped a beat. I couldn’t believe it. I felt the high of a woman, having just given birth, bringing her babies home.
Mia and Zoe’s homecoming was beautiful. We surprised our children with their return home. I must say, we were (and still are) a bit strict. No touching the babies, without washing hands and alcohol shpritz… Mia and Zoë spent such a long time in a sterile environment, that we feared that their transition to our germ infested, runny nosed, full house, home, would be too much for them. Everyday, as they grow, we chill out a bit. And try and treat them more like ‘ regular’ babies, and less like preemies.
I kept their return home a secret at first. It was my much needed missed time with them. Filling in the gaps in utero, and the amazing endorphin rich post birth bond.
They’re still being bottle fed every 3 hours day or night. I’ve been pumping around the clock to keep up. Their first night home was so difficult, Chanan and I looked at each other
” why did we want them home?”, ” can we send them back for another week, so we can catch up on sleep..?”
Slowly we are getting used to our sleep deprived state. Mia and Zoë are gaining weight beautifully. We are getting to know them and are trying to find our new routine. The first night, when we cut the hospital bracelets off their legs, we were terrified of not being able to tell them apart…Now, we seem to be able to distinguish between them (except for some 3 am feedings…). Even our kids are mostly able to tell them apart. They all want to take their baby sisters to ‘ show and tell’ in school. For now, they’ll have to make do with pictures…
Having 7 children is overwhelming. In my mind, it’s actually not 7, rather broken down to 5+2…its easier to grasp that way..
In the afternoons we’ve been enjoying amazing help with the kids, and at times, we also have morning help, so we can sleep a bit…thank you, Debra ;)
The next major hurdle to overcome is the transition from bottle feeding to exclusively breast feeding. Not an easy task with preemies, let alone twins…

- – - -

6 days later…
I am pleased to report for those of you at home keeping score, that I have been exclusively breastfeeding since last Friday.
I decided to dive in, since I couldn’t take even one more session of pumping!
We’ve been carful, monitoring their diapers and weight, and are pleased to report that they’re doing great.
Sarah my soul sista, is here. Snuggling my babies. I must say that I feel on top of the world. We’re making it!
Thank you all for the support and out pouring of love.
I’m hoping to update, when I have a moment to breathe…

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10 thoughts on “Home, at last

  1. Mazal tov! So excited to see this post! We were at the same point in our pregnancies all along. May you have loads and loads of nachas from all you children!

  2. Hi Geula, I just read you r blog. I’m so happy for you that you son’t have to run back and forth to the hospital. I’m sure having 5 and 2 with their own special needs is a job and a half. I’ve been thinking of you and how well you’re managing to handle your situation. You two are amazing, Good luck with all your kids . It’s good that you’re young and have the stamina to do this. Lots of Love, henny

  3. somehow or other i got the zchut to see this link on my facebook- oh my goodness, you two chanan and geuliya, a huge huge huge mazal tov and kol hakavod from me, lori rapp (formerly of la cuisine)!!! i’ve been out of the loop so didn’t know this whole story, now i read all about it. i just want to wish you both all the mazal in the world, lots of health and happiness and nachat “ad 120 shana”!! geuliya, you really took this “dula” business to heart, didn’t you!!! chanan, you played as a single guy at my oldest son’s bar mitzvah- and look at you now! baruch Hashem you guys, all the best, from Lori Rapp

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