Our Journey with Conjoined Twins
Abby & Erin
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
I can't tell you how many times I have started a blog entry, and not finished it in the past few weeks. Life is so different than it was just a few short weeks ago. Now that the girls are here I feel like my entire life has shifted, and it really has. It is insane how much your children can change you and the way you view the world. They have made me stronger and weaker at the exact same time. They make me want to be better and do better for them. They make me push harder, and fight stronger. But at the same time I hurt more, and worry more, and sometimes feel like my heart is going to come straight out of my chest.
Being a NICU parent is something I thought I could prepare for, but really nothing can prepare you for this journey. Conjoined fact aside, right now I am the mom of two preemies. Two preemies who have had most of the preemie issues. Yes they are doing fantastic, but that doesn't mean that the days are hard. They still are very immature since they still aren't even supposed to be here for another 6 weeks. They breathe like preemies, and are learning their sucking reflexes, their little bellies have a hard time handling feedings, their eyes have to be checked, their brains have to be checked, they have blood drawn quite often, and so many other little things that happen daily its hard to remember them all. And this isn't even related to their separation at all. This is just getting them to "term".
Watching your child grow seems fast apparently. So many times I hear parents say "enjoy them while they're little, they grow so fast", well in this case I feel like I am watching the grass grow. Yes, every day they get a little bigger, and a little stronger, but man, every day feels like an eternity! It is an eternity of sitting next to their bed while listening to other babies cry, families rejoice because they are taking their baby home, and other families cry because their baby isn't doing well. You walk past so many different emotions in the halls because everyone is in a different yet very scary place. No matter how "well" your child is doing it is so scary.
Honestly one of the hardest things for me personally in this whole experience is having to be there by myself. My husband is AMAZING! He is a wonderful daddy and he loves all his girls (all three of us) so much that you can just see it when he talks about us. But he has to be 519 miles away from us in NC working because if he wasn't we wouldn't have a home to go back to. It is hard enough trying to pay the bills on one salary, and harder now since he was out of work for over a month to be with me while we awaited the girls arrival. I can't imagine the struggles he faces daily being away from us. But I know the struggles I face daily being without him. It's very hard to be strong when the person you lean on most is so far away. I am the one who sits with the Drs and listens, who sits next to our babies day in and day out just wishing that he was here with us. Leaving at night is the worst. Not only do I have to leave my babies behind at the hospital, but I have to go back to a room by myself. I have to wake up several times during the night to pump and it is just such a quiet lonely time. 3am is not a fun time when your husband is away and your babies are in another part of the city being taken care of by other people than yourself. And right now we don't know when he is going to be able to come back and visit because we really just can't afford for him to miss any work, which is such a frustrating thing since he has already been back home for over 2 weeks. It's just hard, and being strong through it all is hard.
But I know that I can do this. I know that I have a strength in me that won't fail because it comes from the one who is strength itself. It is so true that God's strength is made perfect in our weakness, because right now I am weak. Everyone keeps telling me how strong I am, but what you are seeing isn't me, its Christ in me. He is the one who gets me through every day. He is the one who guides my husband in making the hard decisions for our family. He is the one who is making our girls fight and grow and be little miracles. It is all Him and none of ourselves. One day we will look back and say "wow look where God has brought us". I can't wait for that day to come. Being in the storm is so hard, but looking back and seeing what you have made it through is so rewarding, and I am just holding out for that day because I know it will come!!!
We so appreciate all the prayers. I know I have said this before but they really work and I whole heartedly believe that we would not be where we are today without all of your prayers. They move mountains and in this case very very tiny little people :) We are also so grateful for the gifts and cards that have been sent to us (I have tried to stay on top of thanking each one individually but if I haven't thanked you please don't take offense I meant to). Those cards and gifts have provided many bright spots and smiles. It brings joy and a bit of normalcy for having a new baby. Especially since we didn't have a baby shower. So thank you all so much. It means the world to us!!
And just a quick update on how the girls are. They are doing very well for their age. Yes they have some preemie issues (please pray they grow out of them quickly). But overall they seem to be growing and hitting the milestones they are supposed to be hitting. They have recently moved out of an isolet which is so much fun for me because I get to dress them now, and I can sit next to their crib and read to them and not feel like I am staring into a little box. I guess a crib and clothes just makes it all seem a little more "normal" for me. Erin is working on her sucking reflexes so that maybe someday soon we can try breast feeding. Thankfully the way that they are conjoined I would be able to breast feed (with a little bit of problem solving of course). So we are just praying that she gets it sooner rather than later so that we can have that special bond that I feel like I am missing out on. Abby on the other hand has a little ways to go before she gets to the point Erin is at. She is just a few steps behind and we are praying that she is able to catch up. I feel bad that she has more than one tube in her mouth. It just looks so uncomfortable. But overall they are doing very well :)
My name is Heather Delaney. I married the love of my life Riley on 10/02/15 and we now have two beautiful girls Abby & Erin, who are conjoined twins, that were born 07/24/16. We are trusting that God is going to work all this out for his good!