By Summer Mobley

There are a few days which really stand out in my memory from our time in the NICU. One of those days was December 11, 2015. The triplets were seven days old. It was the day that we got to hold the triplets for the very first time. Every day up to that point, we were more of an occasional participant. We could take their temperature, change their diapers, swap colostrum or breastmilk inside their mouths, or do hand-hugs (gently cupping the baby’s head and feet, while they slept in the isolette).

They triplets were all on CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), which is a machine that sends air and oxygen to the baby’s lungs through small tubes in his nose or windpipe. It looked like they were wearing a mask & cap over their heads. They also had UVC (umbilical vessel catheter) lines, whichisa thin tube that goes into the arteries
in their umbilical cord after the cord is cut after birth. It allows for fluids, medicine & nutrients to be given, blood to be drawn & blood pressure to be taken.

On day seven, each of them had their UVC lines removed & IVs put in. Which meant we could hold them! Getting to hold them for the very first time was exactly all the crazy emotions you are thinking in your head right now. It was a combination of “YAY! Finally!” to “Holy Sh**! They are so small. DON’T.DROP.THE.BABY!” Add that to the combination of making sure you held them the right way, so their CPAP wouldn’t be blocked & not knowing what to do if your baby began to spell (Apnea – breathing stops or Bradycardia -  heart rhythm slows).

Praise God for our amazing nurses who taught us (seriously, PARENTAL COACH or CHEERLEADER should be in their job descriptions) what to do & what to expect.

Y’all, getting to hold our kids for the first time…It seriously rocked.

R-Elly for the first time; L-Xander

R-Elly for the first time; L-Xander

It made all the crazy of the last seven days, the endless pumping and driving back & forth from home to the hospital, worth it. The crazy disappeared, for just a little bit. Instead it was replaced with the awe that my teeny tiny little humans where alive & fighting & that they fit INSIDE MY BRA. Now they are huge & barely fit in my lap. But that day (those days), it was so incredible to see and hold a baby so small.

When we were in the NICU, I wish there could have been a “pause on life” button so that...

...bills didn’t have to be paid.

...household responsibilities didn’t have to be done.

...other kids at home didn’t have to be cared for, fed or taken to school

...professional careers could be picked back up in a few months when things weren’t so crazy.

...grad classes didn’t have to be finished.

Ray w/Izzy

Ray w/Izzy

...holidays split between home and hospital didn’t have to happen.

The day I went into labor for the second time, Ray was at GMU sitting in class. He was getting ready to stand up to give a presentation for his FINAL in one of his graduate degree classes. He quickly delivered his presentation and promptly left for the hospital.

The week following the triplets birth, Ray finished out the Fall semester of school. He also went to work. He had a limited amount of leave time and although this company

was very understanding, we knew we’d need him home for a little bit after everyone was out of the NICU. So, he’d wake up, get B to school, go to work, come home, do school work and go to the NICU. And repeat.

Braelynn was 5 years old when the triplets were born. She was in kindergarten. We had school drop offs and pickups, events and reading.

All Elly at 5 days old

All Elly at 5 days old

We split Christmas of 2015

- 1/2 the day at home with Braelynn and our parents, the other 1/2 at the NICU with the triplets.

We missed out on a lot of important birthdays and special occasions. And all for good reason. And all without guilt. Yet I still wish I could’ve paused it all.

Ray hand-hugging X & X w/CPAP

Ray hand-hugging X & X w/CPAP

But, we know, pause buttons on life don’t exist (otherwise we might all be stuck at whatever random age our parents liked us most at). Despite what is going on in the NICU, life outside it, goes forward, no matter what.