Wednesday, 16 May 2012
The first days in nicu
Every day looks better than the last. When we first saw our little ones in nicu, we couldn't help but be moved by how small they looked. Oliver was 2.6kg or 5 lbs 12 oz. Camilla was so much smaller at 1.8kg or 4lbs 4 oz. At first we were told they were doing well, just off oxygen and would need to be in the hospital for 1-2 weeks. They weren't yet sucking from a bottle, that was the next big milestone. Their condition was a bit of a surprise to us since we had been told they were fine. We didn't even know how much they weighed until arriving at their bedside. It was frustrating and more than a little unnerving to fly half way around the world to get to our newborn twins while not knowing the smallest details of their arrival into the world. That night we changed all of our travel plans, assuming we'd be India for longer than originally planned. Then, Surprise! In India just when you think you have a firm understanding of what's going on, it all changes. At 10:00am the next morning they were both drinking from a bottle. We held them and fed them much of the afternoon. Camilla needed a little time under the lights to combat her jaundice. We could see the end of this long road appearing closer. The doctors and nurses in nicu were encouraged and teasing out of us our parental fortitude. Should they really trust us with these two little angels? Were we prepared for the grueling 2 hour cycles of one hour plus for the foreseeable future? Had we arranged a nanny to help us out here in anand? Were we prepared to sterilize in our little hotel room and did we know how to make formula? With each feeding sandiya (the head nurse in nicu) trusted us a little more. Toward the end of the day we are told we can take them home in 2-3 days. Sunday passed much like saturday, but now they say we can bring home our babies tomorrow! Scrambling yet again, we moved all our travel plans. Sandiya is one of the few in nicu who speaks english. While english is the national language of india, gujarati is spoken here. Sandiya is small with a vey big presence. She reminds us of my good friend wilma, commanding everyone around her and controlling everything. We love her caring for our babes. Monday morning arrives and we have a meeting with the neonatologist Dr. Anita. We really like her. Where dr. Patel is, similar to most other fertility specialists, a marketer exploiting a business opportunity, dr. Anita is a doctor in the truest sense, caring truly for her patients. We learn she is passing through the bay area in June with her husband and daughter who are also doctors. They are spending two days in the East Bay with a family whose daughter was born at 26 weeks and spent 3 months in her nicu. We are happy to invite her to dinner when she is in town, assuming we'll be there by then:). Our hotel situation seems a little insecure for the next two days, so we decide to leave the babies in nicu for one more day. While most of our focus has been on Oliver and Camilla, we still need to deal with legal and paperwork issues. Dr. Hitesh, who is dr. Patel's husband is the documentation man. While in his office organizing the Indian birth certificates, we bump into a film crew from south Korea. They are doing a piece on surrogacy for korean tv and want to follow us around, ask some questions, meet our surrogate and our babies. We are going to be famous in Korea! Tomorrow is a big day, we are bringing our babies home! To celebrate, we invite Sandiya and her family out to dinner. We are in a vegetarian zone, but Sandiya has been raving about a certain chicken at this local restaurant. We convince her to let us take her out to dinner with her husband and young son. At 8:30, she knocks on our door and we are off. Over dinner, without the constant beeping of nicu alarms and needy babies, Sandiya tells us her story. She was orphaned and raised in a catholic hostel with her five brothers and sisters. She had an American sponsor who paid for her education. He asked her what she wanted to study and she chose nursing. After an arranged marriage, she moved here to anand and applied for the job in nicu at Dr. Anita's hospital. She is a very impressive young woman and hearing her story reminded us of how much difference one can make in the life of another. Her sponsor saved her and she is fully aware of that fact. We will not soon forget Sandiya who cared for our babies before we could.