I asked the lovely Tor Cook @mrstorcook to share her NICU experience with us a few weeks ago and I was delighted when she kindly agreed to contribute towards the Time to Talk NICU blog. Tor, and her husband James, welcomed their twin boys Sonny & Rafferty in October 2020, having previously had 4 miscarriages. Tor talks openly about their fertility journey over on her instagram account, and whilst its not something that I have experienced myself, I admire her for being so honest about their journey.
I want to start off by saying that everyone that works in NICU are heroes to us. Their job is to save brand new lives, to care for bodies so tiny, us normal people can’t even comprehend it.
When the twins were transferred to the special care unit, I wasn’t well myself so James (their dad) went with them. He watched the nurses take control, do their testing and hook our babies up to wires and monitors. James said it was awful to see but that he also knew that they were getting the best care that they needed.
James would come back to our room and report back to me about how they were doing and then take my expressed milk and colostrum back to NICU so he or the nurses could feed them.
He always felt like his questions were answered in a way that he could understand. The nurses were all so caring and understanding, and they made sure to keep him updated when he had to come back to our room to check on me or grab a small inch of sleep.
When I was allowed down to the baby unit later on in the evening, I was prepared for the worst. It’s not nice to see your tiny babies in incubators, with needles twice the size of their hands poking out of them. The nurses made sure to come over and introduce themselves, updating us on the boys progress and making sure that we could hold / touch / feed them as and when was safe.
“When I was allowed down to the baby unit later on in the evening, I was prepared for the worst.”Tor Cook @mrstorcook
All of the families on the ward were separated by screens so you never felt like you were sharing a space with anyone. Whenever a doctor came around, we were given ear defenders to wear so that we never heard what was happening with other families, which in turn, allowed us to remain with the boys during that time.
As we were having twins, we knew that they were going to be premature. We also knew that there was a high chance that the babies would need a little extra help. In the end, Sonny only had to stay for one night and Rafferty two nights. Those nights were long and all we wanted was for them to be ok. You just want to be able to hold them in your arms and let them know that you are there with them.
However, they improved so quickly and they were back with us in no time. We know that other families have to be in special care for a lot longer. We are so thankful for the care that the boys received, the follow ups that we have had since and for the nurses and doctors that make your baby’s life a priority.
The birth of the twins was also in the middle of this awful global pandemic, but there wasn’t a hint of that when you walked into the baby ward, as the level of cleanliness you have there is high on a normal day to protect those newborn bundles. Staff were still showing up for work and doing their jobs like any normal day.
We are so thankful for the care that the boys received, the follow ups that we have had since and for the nurses and doctors that make your baby’s life a priority.Tor Cook @mrstorcook
James and I are constantly in awe of the day jobs that these people do to save babies lives and keep families together. I know that I will tell the boys about these amazing roles when they get older and the amazing people that made sure they were back with their mummy and daddy as soon as they could be.
Rafferty has since had to have a hip / spine scan as a follow up from his time in special care and all was good with the results. Sonny also had the scan because the doctor said why not, they are twins, may as well make sure – and all was well with him too.
They are thriving as their own little characters and hitting milestones at their own paces. Rafferty found his voice very early on and likes to chat away to us early in the morning which we love, whereas Sonny found his hands way before Rafferty did and was exploring them by shoving them so far in his mouth he made himself gag – gross but all a learning curve ha!
We are super excited to watch them grow, discovering everything along the way as individual little people, but also as the twins/brothers that they came into the world as.