Navigating the NICU: 4 Lessons from a Mother of Twins

Navigating the NICU: 4 Lessons from a Mother of Twins ~
I asked my friend Brittany Mackey to write today’s guest post about her experience as a mom of premature twins – to offer advice on navigating the NICU:

“There are two! You’re having twins.”


“Everything is looking good. We’ll see you in four weeks.”


“We are going to admit you, but hopefully just over night. We want to keep our eye on a few things.”


Navigating the NICU

Everything went from great to terrible seemingly overnight. Imagine my shock and disbelief when I found out I had preeclampsia and was going to be put on hospital bed rest for the duration of the pregnancy. Unfortunately, the “duration” only lasted four more days and my twin girls were born at 29 weeks, 2 days weighing 2 pounds, 9 ounces and 3 pounds. As you can imagine, they were immediately whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where they would spend the first 72 days of their lives. I would spend the first few weeks trying to learn a new language–the language of the NICU–and then try to figure out how to be a mommy to my little girls feeling more hopeless and helpless than I had ever felt in my life. I learned many lessons during those days, which I hope I can share with others who need to hear them.

Twins in NICU
First, ask more questions. The nurses already speak this language and forget that I do not. Make them slow down and explain everything to you. Being informed will also allow you to be the best advocate possible for your baby. While my nurses were wonderful, my babies were not their only patients. I had to remind them at times how important those two babies were.

Do not apologize for anything. Those were my babies in those incubators and I did not need to apologize for asking questions or for asking to hold them, feed them, bathe them or change their diaper. Being involved in every aspect of their care made me feel less helpless and more like a mommy.

Take care of yourself. This is hard because the only place you want to be is with your babies, but if you are exhausted or sick, you cannot be in there. Have lunch with a friend; talk to other moms who have been through the NICU; do something that takes your mind off of the beeps of the machines even just for an hour or two.

Last but not least—do not blame yourself! I spent too much time feeling guilty that my babies were born early. My babies did not blame me. They simply wanted me present and available for them. They wanted me to hold them, feed them and talk to them and me doing that was plenty for them.

My sweet girls will be 5 years old this month. Nothing about them indicates they were premature as they are already 4 feet tall. They are also big sisters to a full term 2 year old. They are happy; they love people and they love life! What more could I ask for?

post NICU (1)

Brittany’s twins are some of A.J.’s best buddies. You’ve also seen them in my video review of Messy Girl Dresses when they were just two years old!

About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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  1. My son was in the NICU for 5 days, it was the most stressful and confusing time. I did have good nurses. Having a good one that remembers to slow down is important!

  2. What a great resource for moms with babes in the NICU. I never experienced this with my girls, I cannot even imagine how hard and confusing the whole process must be.

  3. Thank you for these tips, I have been blessed to have my daughters without any problems. I do know some that have those. I will have to share this with friends.

  4. Such great insight. As a pastor, this prepares me to help the mom should this situation arise. And what adorable twins this girls are!

  5. Thanks for all the tips. I am sure things are happeing that can be confusing and you are also scared.

  6. Great tips! As a labor and delivery nurse, I always encourage my patients to ask questions!!! THIS IS YOUR CHILD!! Self care is a must!!

  7. I cannot even imagine how stressful it was for you and your family! Thanks for sharing your wisdom, it’s going to find its way to someone who really needs it.

  8. I have never had an experience with the NICU but I have heard that from my friends it is an experience.

  9. I have never experience with the NICU. This is really great information to know.

  10. “Don’t apologize” – such good advice, especially during times of crisis. Many of us default to not wanting to seem rude, but it is important to realize it’s isn’t wrong to ask questions. It’s isn’t seconding guessing guessing , it’s simply a matter of needing more information. Blessings to the twins and their mommy for coming through it!

  11. I love this post. I’ve never had this experience but I love that you tell mamas not to apologize & to be an advocate for their babies. I myself am not outspoken, and I know I would struggle with this, but we should never feel guilty for having expectations or wanting to understand what is happening. Even with a regular birth things can happen so fast in the hospital and leave you wondering what on earth they are doing to your baby.

  12. As a parent that had a child in NICU years ago, you are reminded that you’ve got tot take care of yourself, so you can take care of your child. This post is spot on. Thanks for sharing!