|Bryson & Brylee Johnson, born at 29 weeks|
Our NICU story starts out like many others – scary! Like many couples, we had to deal with infertility, and after two years we sought fertility treatment. We were so blessed that out first IUI worked with great success. We had not one, not two, but THREE little babies!
Scared to get attached to all those babies, we went on with life, only telling a few family members. Then after each doctor appointment, we stared to wonder what life would be like with three small babies. At the 11-week checkup things didn't look promising for Baby C, and at 13 weeks we lost our triplet. So now we were told Baby A and B looked healthy and we could breathe and start planning life with twins!
Still scared but excited, we took it full-force and went baby crazy. Up to this point, even with all those babies I never had morning sickness and was as healthy as I could be. Both our regular
and High Risk OB said things were perfect and I could expect to carry my twins
to term. Both doctors were cautious in saying that and told us all the risk we
faced with multiples, but we all remained positive.
At 18 weeks we found out it was a boy and a girl who we named Bryson Michael and Brylee Abbigayle. Things turned upside down at 28 weeks when we were told that Brylee wasn’t growing since our last check up, which meant her placenta wasn't providing her with enough blood. We were devastated as we were told that Brylee had a 30 percent chance of living, while Bryson had a much larger chance due to his growth being on track where Brylee was more of a 24-week-old baby.
So off to the hospital for steroid shots, and after some convincing of my doctor I got to hold my babies in one more week. At exactly 29 weeks, we delivered two tiny miracles.
|Bryson Michael Johnson|
Bryson weighed 2 lbs. 12 oz. and was 15 inches long, and Brylee weighted 1 lb. 8 oz. and was 12 inches long. As they were born via c-section, I heard two little cries and I was OK for a moment. Then my husband and a team of nurses headed to the NICU where my kids would stay for the next 72 days.
|Brylee Abbigayle Johnson|
The first time I saw my precious babies, I didn’t know what to do or say. I had never seen such tiny miracles. I was told they were healthy for their age, but not to expect too much because there was so much we wouldn't know until later. We took it hour by hour just like we were told.
We had a very typical NICU stay – everything went by the book. They had a lot of respiratory issues at the beginning: ventilators, c-pap, then graduated to the nasal canula. That was a proud day.
Then onto eating and eating slowly. Feeding your baby while holding a syringe and letting a tube feed them became second nature. We got into the routine of checking temps, changing diapers and getting to hold a baby while they ate, then back in the giraffe bed you go – and do it all again at the next care time.
We became so accustomed to it all that our nurses let us take over when we got there.
times were always Tuesday and Saturday nights, and that became such a fun time
for me because I felt like such a Mommy in that moment.
Like I said, we had our typical ups and downs: stay on oxygen, get off oxygen, back on it, turn up the volume of food, turn it down, get a great report then get a bad one. But out of all those moments, I just thanked God that because of this NICU, I still have all these moments good and bad.
At 38 weeks Bryson had hernia surgery and Brylee had lasik surgery for her ROP. Those two scary things happened two days apart, and I felt like I was starting over. Bryson did great and went right back to no oxygen and getting a bottle, while Brylee had to start all over. After a week it was all sorted out and we took our babies home. Although Brylee wasn’t eating well, they said we could handle it. We had been taught well by our nurses – we had it. So with a list of medicine, syringes, diapers and lots of love, we went home at 39 weeks gestation. We were surprised as well as our nurses.
|Bryson & Brylee, age 6 months|
Looking back now almost one year later, I can’t believe we coped with it as well as we did. All those tears and scary days are behind us and now we have two babies who we can keep at home with us all because of the care, love and prayers they received at Huntsville Hospital NICU. And because if those amazing people our NICU stay wasn’t so scary. It was odd how you can get used to life in the NICU. As hard as it was sometimes, you caught yourself laughing and having a good time like nothing bad was happening. That was all because of the amazing doctors, nurses and staff at HH NICU. I know I could not have made it and been as strong as I was if it wasn't for them, especially our primary nurses: Kathy Morrison, Amanda Ergle and Tracy Watson, who not only cared for and spoiled our babies, but us, too.
|Brylee & Bryson, age 9 months|
I will never be able to thank them and every nurse who took care of us for what they have done for my family.
Lacey and Michael Johnson
|Brylee & Bryson Johnson, age 11 months|