This is a post that is awkward to write but also very exciting because it means we're preparing everyone for bringing the boys home in the coming weeks (we hope!).
Basically, the boys' immune systems are nowhere near where they should be, even for their corrected age. Their lungs are incredibly delicate, and even the slightest cold for you or me will land them back in the hospital. And then there is the huge issue of reflux, which will cause them endless problems if they aren't positioned correctly. So I realize this all may sound a bit harsh and militant, but when we have the boys at home we need to ask you to please do the following if you plan on coming to visit them:
- Don't come if you're sick. This should be obvious I would hope. No coughs or sniffles of any sort and certainly no gastro bugs. Please remain symptom free for 5 days. And if you've offered to help out with Rio or anything else, we'd rather (and appreciate) you just cancel.
- Don't come if anyone in your house is sick. Your husband/wife/kids, etc, should all be symptom free for 5 days before you come visit. And if you have been in contact with anyone else notably sick, please avoid us too. The last thing we want to hear in passing conversation is that you spent yesterday with your niece who has bronchitis.
- Wash your hands when you arrive and as necessary throughout your stay. And I should hope I don't need to tell you that hand washing after using the bathroom is not optional ;)
- We are trying to set an example for Rio to not kiss them anywhere near the mouth or touch them on the face. Please set the same example.
- If you're holding them, please be very aware of their body position and prepare to be reminded of how they need to be held. They will never (and I truly mean never) be laid flat except for diaper changes. They will sleep, eat, play and do any other manner of baby things on an angle, and after being fed they need to be kept completely upright. If they aren't kept elevated they will throw up. Not only is it a mess but it is incredibly painful for them (and painful for me to watch) when they are refluxing.
- In addition to reflux, a big scary threat is that they have an apnea (stop breathing) if their head is slumped onto their chest. Although they have come very far in their ability to breathe, if they're not in the ideal position we don't trust them quite yet. No one wants to see blue babies so please be sure their airway is always open.
- Compliment the big sister on what an amazing job she is doing helping to take care of her brothers. She has been a superstar so far, and we'd like that to continue when the boys get home and she realizes just how much of mom and dad's attention they are going to steal 24/7, not just at the hospital.
- Please call first and please keep your visit short. Not only are these babies fragile to germs, they are also not used to a lot of stimulus yet. Numerous visitors in a day will be too exhausting for them. (And not to mention their sleep deprived parents who are going from 1 kid at home to 3 kids at home!)
- Please be prepared to meet nervous, anxious, uptight parents when you see us. These are not the parents that prided ourselves on how laid back we were when we had a healthy, full term baby almost four years ago. Obviously we're incredibly paranoid this time around, rightfully so.
- Feel free to ask questions. A lot of this might seem complicated to outsiders but this is our new life so those of you around us need to be comfortable being with us and all the gear and rules required.
We thank you in advance for respecting our wishes. We understand how excited all of you must be to meet them but you must also know how sterile and non stressful we need to keep our home for the sake of the boys. We don't expect you to remember every bit of this but we were hoping this would help to get the word out so people understand how delicate these little creatures are. I am guessing the 5 months in hospital has made it pretty apparent they're not your average babies, but you can never be too sure!
Resting up (as always) to come home
Helping out already