Today’s featured parent post comes from Argos Kelly, dad to twin girls who couldn’t have been more different in how their journeys played out. Want to add your voice to our growing repository of hope, resilience and miracles? Fill out the form here to submit your story for publishing.
I wanted a chance to tell the story of what me and my wife went through and more importantly what my daughters overcame. I hope that it will help others in dealing with the similar situation that comes with having preemies.
My girls are twins and from the very beginning as most of you know the doctors had told us of all and anything that could go wrong. We both knew it was going to be life changing but we did not foresee the hardships ahead. As the pregnancy progressed my wife was confined to bed rest.
My work situation is in the oil field in the north slope of Alaska where I am flown into location and work 2 weeks then get 2 weeks off. My wife called me and said you need to come home we might be having the kids. I’m sure you all are familiar with the fear that come with knowing how earlier your babies are coming.
My daughters were born via emergency caesarian and were immediately passed through what basically resembles a drive through window into the NICU. The next few weeks we had some time with kangaroo care which is extremely difficult with all the IV, nasogastric feeding tube, and sensors they are attached to. Soon the develop jaundice so the visits were hands through the incubator under the lights. My daughter Laya improved quickly. We were able to hold her and feed her, do the basic care for her during her stay in the NICU which for her was 32 days.
Our daughter Maddilyn on the other hand, went through many hardships. The constant change of breathing apparatuses, thankfully improving to just a nasal cannula, a gastric feeding tube, and nissen fundoplication surgery. 107 days later we were able to take her home. The joy was sort lived as Maddilyn contracted RSV and pneumonia. She was induced into medical coma and it was another two months in the hospital for us. She improved and we were able to take her home again and was on a nasal cannula for little over a year.
I can say that’s the foundation of our story but that’s not all of it – that’s what happened but without all the emotion. Anyone who has gone through something similar knows there’s much much more. And so I hope I can help with some encouraging words for other parents.
It’s difficult to put the fear, sadness, anger, frustration, and confusion into words. All of it all the time, the sleepless nights, the intense sudden welling up of emotion. I can say one thing is to try not to feel guilty in those moments where other responsibilities must be met, or times when you need a moment to gather yourself. Many people around you will try and help but will say or do something that you do not want to hear or accept.
The times you hear, “Everything happens for a reason” or “I’m glad you’re able to be strong, and I just want you to be happy.” And we all know we do not want to hear about someone else’s kid being sick. But I have to say when you’re in the NICU, DO reach out to other parents who are going through it to. It’s amazing how you will feel when you’re helping someone going through the same thing.
The longer we were in there with the girls the better I got at just hiding the emotions – and that came with the guilt of feeling like I should be grieving. I found strength in my wife and in a random quote I saw on the wall of the hospital: “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. –E.M. Forester.” I saw my daughters fighting, I saw strength I had never seen before. I saw them react to my touch and I saw how fragile life can be. My story has a happy ending, for that I am forever grateful.
I couldn’t imagine an emotion that comes with the loss of a child and the emotion that will last a lifetime, but I also believe there is no footprint too small to leave an imprint on this world. The impression on your heart is a memory that lives on in you. I hope this story can help others with the same struggles as there is nothing worse than seeing the helpless suffer. Parents, I hope you can draw strength from it and use it to better yourself or to help others in the same situation.