When I married my best friend, Noah, we were young, healthy and excited to start a family. We expected our family-building journey to be simple. But we struggled with infertility.
Three years later, our miracle babies found us. We were ecstatic to have twin boys on the way. We named the twins Micah and Zachary early in the pregnancy. All of my appointments went smoothly. I was healthy and did everything right. My pregnancy was perfect, until it wasn’t.At 25 weeks gestation, I went into preterm labor. I was hospitalised and placed on strict bed rest. Micah and Zachary were born just shy of 28 weeks gestation. They each weighed just over one kilo. I did not get to see or hold them after they were born; they were immediately taken to the NICU to fight for their lives.
I struggled with profound guilt and anxiety. I hated myself for not being able to protect my babies and keep them safe. The alarms, medical jargon and machines were overwhelming. My babies were so tiny, tangled up in wires and cords. I was afraid to touch them because I thought I would hurt them. I didn't know how to be their Mummy. I fell apart when I left them at night. I was a mess.
Thanks to the boys' nurses and my family, I became a NICU Mummy. I did everything possible to give Micah and Zachary the best chance at a healthy outcome. I expressed breast milk every two hours around the clock. I kangarooed them every day. I stayed involved in their care. Micah and Zachary struggled, but overall, they were gaining weight and making progress.
When the boys were 6 weeks old, Micah developed necrotizing enterocolitis, an intestinal disease that is relatively common in premature infants. Necrotizing enterocolitis sent Micah into a downward spiral that resulted in end stage renal disease, intestinal resection and a host of other life-threatening complications. Nearly six months later, we accepted that Micah would need a kidney transplant. We finally brought Micah home, but he still needed to be back at the hospital six days a week for hemodialysis. Having Micah at home was a dream come true.
I was in the middle of planning Micah and Zachary's first Christmas and birthday when Micah took a sharp turn for the worse. As the day unfolded, the situation grew very dim. By mid-evening, the news of Micah's life coming to an end was spreading to our family and friends. It felt like a nightmare.
I hoped that Micah's kidneys would suddenly wake up. I hoped that somehow Micah would turn everything aroundand we'd all go home together.
Then, I realised there would be no miracle. My baby was leaving this Earth and I could not do anything to stop it. His time here was over. I didn't get to keep him. I would have to say goodbye to my precious Micah and all of the dreams I had for him.