To mark NICU Awareness Day, Kirsty shared her story with First Touch. Her twins were born at 24 weeks and spent 133 days on the Neonatal Unit. They are now cheeky 18 month olds.
September is NICU awareness month (ending in NICU awareness day today) and I hadn’t planned on posting anything about our experience. However, I’ve had a lot of conversations over the past couple of weeks about the twins’ health and development – both how well they are doing in so many aspects, and the challenges they are still facing and the reality of having a ‘NICU baby’ (or two!) – which have reiterated to me how important it is to spread awareness about the NICU and it’s impact.
I spent 4 and a half months sat in these chairs for at least 12 hours a day, surrounded by machines, wires and the constant sound of beeping and alarms. This photo was taken on day 98. We were 10 days away from the boys’ due date but still nowhere near ready to go home. I hadn’t slept in my own bed for 98 days, in fact I’d barely slept for more than a couple of hours at a time for 98 days. I’d barely seen daylight, let alone my friends. The real world didn’t really exist to me at this time. My whole world was the NICU.
The NICU is a special place. It is filled with love, joy, courage and strength, and has a strange serenity to it. But it is also filled with fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, guilt, grief and so much more. You feel like you are in an exclusive club that you didn’t ask to be a part of. Yet you also feel incredibly isolated.
People now comment that we’re all doing so well. And we are, in many ways. They see two happy, cheeky boys but they don’t see the continuous hospital appointments, the constant worry about their development and future, the anxiety when they’re unwell. I’m still processing a lot from our time in NICU and as winter approaches I can feel my anxiety creeping in, hoping that we make it through the winter without a hospital admission. One thing is for sure though, without the amazing staff and expertise of the NICU my beautiful boys wouldn’t be here today so the NICU will always hold a special place in our hearts ❤️