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Two Babies, Two Hospitals

Updated: Feb 11, 2020

This is what you've been preparing for for 9+ months! By now you have a birth plan and a possible NICU plan. And if you're like us and have a heart baby, you have a Children's hospital plan.

I had a scheduled C-Section at Good Samaritan Hospital (with a level 3 NICU), and our son was transported to Cincinnati Children's Hospital (a level 4 NICU & CICU). Because our heart baby was twin B, and they were both breech, we weren't going to risk adding any stress on him during birth, so we opted for a c-section from the start. If I was having a singleton with a heart condition, I would have considered giving birth at Children's (they're starting to do that now), but things were more complicated with twins so I went with the best birthing hospital in the city.

The thought of one of my babies going to a different hospital was devastating. Will I get to hold him? How much time can I spend with him? Will he know me? These questions ran through my mind all the time during the last half of my pregnancy. It was hard, but "Mom Strength" is a real phenomenon, and when the time came to pull it together, I did. I was lucky enough to be able to hold both of my babies before Jack was sent off to Children's Hospital. My husband went with him, which was sad but necessary. That whole new family picture never happened.

The birth day was rough. The c-section went beautifully but the aftermath was ugly. I ended up having some reactions to the medications; I couldn't stop shaking and vomiting. Once the medicines were flushed out of my system I was a lot better. This was a major life moment and there were so many emotions, feelings, and physical trauma. I so badly wanted to go visit with my baby but I needed to recover. I can't stress enough how important it is to keep up with the Motrin/Tylenol regimen they'll put you on.

The next few days I was able to get a pass to leave the hospital and go visit with my son at the neighboring Children's hospital. Here is what our family schedule looked like for the first week:

Team Savannah (Baby A & Mom) - Good Sam Hospital

6:00am: Feed, snuggle, watch Today Show

12:00pm: Baby goes to nursery, Mom goes to Children's Hospital

3:00pm: Feed, dinner, and more snuggles

9:00pm: Baby goes to nursery (nurses bring her back every 3 hours to feed)

Breastfeed every 3 hours

Team Jack (Baby B) - Cincinnati Children's Hospital

7:00pm previous night - 7:00am: Grandpa Jack is "on duty"

7:00am: Daddy "on duty"

9:00am: Rounds

12:00pm: Visit with Mama

3:00-5:00pm: Granny "on duty"

5:00-7:00pm: Daddy "on duty"

Formula feed every 3 hours

Savannah and I stayed in the hospital for 5 days (she had a bit of jaundice), and Jack stayed at Children's for 18 days. We had to divide-and-conquer, and it was a little heartbreaking to not spend as much time at Children's as I wanted; but I needed to recover and take care of our heart-healthy baby too! We made it through the initial stay, and Jack came home sooner than we thought. I still had a solid month of maternity with both children, but I wish I would have requested more time off. The days are long but the months are short.

This schedule worked for us, but it may not work for another family. Find your family's rhythm, and utilize all the help you can get. Having someone sit with your baby even for a few hours will relieve some of the stress and mom guilt. Just keep in mind this is a very short time in a very long life you'll have with your babies. You can get through this, and you will be stronger than you ever thought possible.

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