Molly and Caroline were born on November 18th, at 38 weeks at Carolinas Medical Center (CMC). The girls were "full term" twins so it was very unexpected that the girls had to go to the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery (NICN). Theresa and Bill were then extremely surprised to learn that Caroline and Molly both had very severe apnea issues and that their apnea issues were so severe that apnea monitors were likely to be a part of their life in the short-term. As new parents, the idea of having to take two newborns home on monitors was quite overwhelming.
Molly and Caroline were in the NICN for approximately 3 and a half weeks then graduated to the Neonatal Progressive Care Nursery (NPCN) where they stayed for two months. Theresa described both nursery experiences as unforgettable "seeing first-hand how dedicated the doctors and nurses were to our children was unbelievable to us; we often felt like our babies were their only patients." Both Theresa and Bill were highly impressed with both the professionalism and kind 'bed side' manner that the doctors and nurses exhibited. Of course no one ever wants their child's life to begin in the intensive care unit, Theresa said "if it does happen there is no place better than the NICN and NPCN at LCH, I don't know how I will ever be able to thank all the special people who worked so hard to help our family"
Since Theresa and Bill spent so many hours in the nursery, one of the nurses that cared most for Molly and Caroline that they would like to recognize is Sherry E., their night nurse. She brought so much experience and gentle care to the girls. Additionally, her knowledge and years of practice proved to be very helpful to Bill and Theresa. They were filled with questions and concerns after each nighttime visit, and she did everything she could to help them. Additionally, they had the pleasure of working with Diane and Sheryl during the days and Norene, the nurse practitioner. All of these women were so dedicated to the girls and their health. Since they were unable to be at the nursery 24 hours a day, these nurses helped these new parents get to know their girls, and how to handle their special needs. Dr. Chiu, Dr. Hickey, and Dr. Neal, and Dr. Herman all worked very, very hard to get to the bottom of why Molly and Caroline had the needs they had, and explained each step of the process in a clear and reassuring manner. Lastly, Nancy, the infant apnea coordinator, was a huge help in educating Bill and Theresa about the advantages and importance of the apnea monitors. She was very dedicated to the girls, and checked on them regularly. She has also been a fantastic resource for Theresa and Bill throughout the process.
After meeting with the home care company and Nancy to discuss infant apnea monitors and what this will entail when the girls were released from the hospital, Theresa was most surprised by how uncomplicated the home monitoring system is. Prior to their experience, all these parents-to-be had ever heard about apnea monitors was how loud they were, and how there were always false alarms. Theresa soon came to realize that this was not the case at all. The monitors are very easy to operate, and contrary to what she had heard, false alarms were never a problem for her family. Theresa and Bill were so grateful that we had the monitors, "because they made it possible for us to finally bring out twins home, and monitor them in a safe and effective way."
Theresa described the first few weeks having the girls home was as wonderful as it was exhausting. Finally, they had their family of 8 together! Her family finally felt complete, and there was a great feeling of relief that Molly and Caroline were well enough to come home. However, bringing home two babies was an adjustment, but the biggest adjustment was managing all of the medical needs that Molly and Caroline had. However, it just took a little time for the family to get in a routine, and soon everything fell into place. The girls' older siblings adjusted very well to having two new sisters, and learned to be very careful around the girls and their 'wires.' Theresa has a few words of advice for parents that receive similar news when their child is born-"If those new parents are like Bill and me, they might have doubts initially, but the monitors are wonderful pieces of technology that provide such peace of mind for the family. After being monitored so closely in the Nursery, it's a wonderful, safe way of making the step into 'the real world.'"
Theresa and Bill are eternally grateful for the incredible care and attention they received during their stay at LCH. Without the home monitoring system, Molly and Caroline would probably have been in the nursery longer, delaying the wonderful homecoming they received from their brothers and sisters. Molly and Caroline are almost a year old. While the girls are continuing to receive treatment for a few health conditions, this family of eight is doing great!