Bringing Home one Preemie Twin Before the Other

By Jessica Whiteman

“Bittersweet” is the main word that comes to mind on the day we took Jack home before Owen. While we were thrilled to get Jack home and away from the NICU, it felt wrong. Wrong having to take him away from his brother who had been with him since the womb. Wrong to be happy for Jack. Wrong to introduce Jack to big brother Noah without the pair of them. Wrong to give Jack attention at home while his brother was still fighting to get out of the NICU. Wrong to celebrate. Heartbreakingly wrong. 

Holding them both for the first time

We didn’t know how much longer Owen would be in the NICU. The last thing we were waiting on was him taking his bottles by mouth for 48 hours. With every call to the NICU, I hung up teary eyed and disappointed. I wasn’t able to visit him much because now I had two kids at home that needed me. It was guilt all around. 

During this time, well meaning people would say that it was a good thing because I could adjust to one twin being home and prepare for the other to come home. While I can appreciate the rationale behind it, it felt horrible not having my whole family under one roof, and it felt like all joy needed to be paused until Owen came home too. This scenario felt like an eternity when in reality it was one week that Owen stayed in the NICU after Jack was discharged. 

The day we brought home Jack while Owen stayed in the NICU.

The whole experience is sort of surreal thinking back on how everything played out… you’re having twins… they are looking good so far… there’s an issue we see with the twins… we need to monitor you frequently… be prepared for the twins to come early… you need to deliver tonight… they need to go to the NICU… they’re only “feeder growers”… they’ll be home soon… they just need to get a bit stronger… they need to grow more… they need to eat… Jack can go home… Owen still isn’t taking his bottles… Noah wants to meet Owen… Owen was too tired for this last feed… Does Jack miss his brother?… 

Owen is being discharged. 

Jack & Owen

After 2 months in the NICU, Owen came home to join the rest of our family. The real fun (and the real sleep deprivation) began, and I welcomed it. 

I wish I could say it’s been a piece of cake since they’ve come home, but it hasn’t.  But you know what? I don’t really care because the important thing is we are all together now, and for that, I’m so grateful. 

Family photo with everyone home.

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About The Author: Nick Hall

Nick founded Graham's Foundation in memory of his son, whom he lost to prematurity. Graham's Foundation supports parents through the journey of prematurity and is committed to making sure that no parent goes through that journey alone.