NICU and premature birth trigger warnings!
Magnetic Me is proud to share NICU stories to spread awareness and help parents. We partnered with Audrey to share her birth story. Audrey Laine Seymour is the social media manager for Nemours Children’s Health System and a mom of twin preemies. Hear her NICU experience and how she first encountered Magnetic Me first-hand. Stories like Audrey's inspired us to donate a year's worth of outfits for the NICU and CICU at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
Audrey's Twins' First Outfit Milestone
I will never forget the feeling I had when our NICU nurse told us we could bring in clothes for our babies. It was the first big step toward coming home. A sign of progress.
Two Thursdays before then, I called my OB thinking I was experiencing something I had been warned about: pregnancy constipation. For 29 weeks, nothing had been out of the ordinary, except for the fact that I was carrying twins. I explained the pain I was having in my lower back and abdomen, so the nurse recommended that I go to the hospital for monitoring and observation. Three hours later, I was being taken by ambulance to another hospital with a NICU better equipped for 29-weekers. I had been in labor. All. Day.
My sons were delivered via emergency C-section about an hour after I arrived. I got to catch a glimpse of the first one, Baby A, before he was whisked away to the NICU. We didn’t get to see Baby B, and we learned later that he wasn’t breathing so was taken immediately to a ventilator.
Several hours later, I got to see them. They were three pounds, red, and could barely open their eyes. The tubes seemed bigger than their bodies. I felt like I was looking at someone else’s babies. I didn’t feel a connection. I just felt ashamed. I felt like my body had let them down.
Over the next two weeks, the three of us grew. The babies, as most do, lost weight but then started gaining it, as well as strength. I grew too. I gave myself grace. I relied on my husband to ask the right questions as I healed and recovered. Our hearts grew. Our boys settled into our hearts. They were so tiny. I could fit each one into my bra for kangaroo care. They wore only a diaper and were swaddled in hospital blankets. Slowly, tubes started being removed. Baby B, or Harrison, had to be on a ventilator twice but was now breathing on his own.
When our nurse asked if I had clothes for them, I was stunned. “You mean they can wear real clothes?!” I hadn’t even thought about it. Because I had a boring pregnancy, and a husband who is 6’8”, we hadn’t planned to have small kids. Plans? What are those? Ha!
That’s when I learned how hard it is to find preemie clothes that accommodate wires. For the duration of their 65-day NICU stay, they would have a pulse oximeter around their feet. All the cute zip-up outfits wouldn’t allow the wire to come out of the footie. It’s not safe to run the wire all the way up their bodies and out of the neck, so zippers were a no-go for us. The snap-up outfits would work, but the snaps are big lumps that could bruise a fragile baby lying on them. Plus, have you tried fumbling with snaps on a wiggly baby? It’s not a walk in the park.
My mother-in-law bought Magnetic Me gown and hat sets for the boys and I fell in love with the fabric! The magnetic closure was a godsend. The magnets are flat and the material is luxuriously soft. They were the perfect gift!
That’s why I am so excited about the Magnetic Me x Nemours partnership! Unless you’ve had a baby in the NICU (or other ICU), you’ve probably never thought about the medical necessity for outfits with magnets. The struggle is real! I’m so proud that every baby in the NICU and CICU at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in 2021 will receive an outfit. I know firsthand how tough it is to be a NICU parent, and for Nemours x Magnetic Me to be part of that “first outfit” milestone, it means a lot to me. I saved my little miracles’ first outfits. They’re tiny reminders of their enormous strength.
Now Aaron and Harrison are 2.5-year-old healthy toddlers. They love trucks and dinosaurs, and you’d never know they were preemies. We are all still growing. They remind me to have fun, celebrate the small things, and give myself grace. You can keep up with us on Instagram. And please follow Nemours on Instagram too. You'll get helpful information for parents as well as updates about our fun projects like Nemours x Magnetic Me!
If you'd like to donate to help Nemours pioneer new treatments and find life-saving cures for babies and children, please visit the website here (and you can choose "Magnetic Me" as the reason why you're giving).
We love to share NICU stories! If you'd like to share yours, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're a preemie mom or dad, check out our dedicated preemie shop.
Author: Audrey Laine Seymour, MBA