When Victoria lost the waters while I was 19 weeks pregnant, it was not only a shock for me, but it also felt like my world turned into pieces. At that time, I could have given up to the pregnancy, but I chose to have faith and not lose my hopes.

When I was put on bed rest, I could despair missing Maria and my normal life, but I chose to be grateful that Aurora and Victoria have a chance to survive.

When I had to suffer various painful procedures, I could complain and refuse them, but I chose to believe that every great thing requires a sacrifice.

When Aurora and Victoria were born at 28 weeks, I could feel guilty, but I chose to be in peace with myself knowing that I did everything stayed in my forces to keep them in.

When I had to leave them in NICU for eight months, I could feel empty, but I chose to fill my mind with pictures of us reunited.

When Aurora was on respiratory failure, I could crash, but I chose to pray and wait for the best.

When I had to express regularly and suffer for not being able to have the girls at my chest, I could feel exhausted, but I chose to be thankful that I had milk.

When among all the above mentioned, I also had to attend a course and exams, I could see it as another stress factor, but I chose to see it as something that kept me sane.

When I had to see my girls pricked over and over again, I could feel angry, but I chose to keep calm and make sure they know they are not alone.

When Aurora and Victoria came home, I could feel overwhelmed, but I chose to celebrate their achievement and be happy.

The fact that they came home with oxygen and feeding tubes could make me feel inadequate, but I chose to feel powerful.

When girls get to be re-hospitalised, I felt guilty, but I thought I could do things better in future.

When I had to advocate for them, I could feel inferior or shy, but I chose to dare and leave any weaknesses aside.

When Victoria faced feeding aversion, I could have a breakdown, but I chose to be resilient and help her overcome that issue.

When girls were delayed from so many aspects, I could be bothered and compare them with other children, but I chose to see their abilities before anything else.

When they had RSV, I thought everything was lost but they showed us contrary, a lesson that I learnt from.

It still gets hard sometimes, but I look back and think the hardest is gone. May God make it be like that! Thus, seeing things from a positive perspective makes all the difference!


A different kind of Christmas

Christmas is such a special celebration reminding about Jesus`s birth, but also about the reason for His behind it. In our culture, Christmas is about giving glory to Jesus, bringing families and friends together, about traditions and kindness. The last place someone would like to spend such a particular period is in the hospital. However, it happens.

When we found out Victoria`s and Aurora`s due date, which supposed to be 10th of December, we dreamt for a magical Christmas. However, their premature birth forced our family to be in a hospital. They were three months old, still on a lot of respiratory support, cycling between CPAP and Vapotherm, and entirely fed by NG tube. For these, we did not expect them to come home very soon, but rather hoped they would be stable, without any colds or viruses.

It was a pleasant surprise to see the staff getting ready for the celebration and about Santa Clauses` visit, with beautiful presents. Just like the other parents from that hospital, we received a book about the journey of prematurity, a Nivea cream and some soft tissues. The girls received a knitted blanket, Santa Claus toy and a sweet. For Christmas Eve, my husband was in the hospital, and I was home with Maria. We could not get together because of the winter policy. Next day, both my husband and I took the first bus in the morning and went to the hospital. When we arrived, we found Aurora sleeping peacefully and Victoria awake, like she was waiting for us. They were delighted to continue their period of sleep on our chests. Following days turned into same days before Christmas. Same routine, same sleepless nights, same desire for the girls to come home, but more painful knowing they had to spend their first Christmas in an isolation room, without even seeing outside, without a Christmas tree, but most of all, being so sick.

December 2017
December 2017

Throughout those days, we realised that we are not the only ones, that NICU was filled with other parents and their children, some of them sick, some of them too small. We realised that nobody is rich or poor, while in the hospital and that we shared the same feelings. And then we thought that it was girls` first Christmas in hospital, but we prayed and hoped for many to come at home, which was very feasible. However, some families were aware that it was the last Christmas with their loved ones. How could somebody endure that thought?

Now, after two years, Victoria and Aurora are beautiful, clever, though and playful girls, who enjoy and get involved in everything means preparation for Christmas, from decorating the Christmas tree, to cooking or singing carols with their sister. Now, we look back and see our dreams reality, our miracles filling our lives with joy. It felt like they will never get here, but they did, we all did.

Aurora, Maria and Victoria (from left to right)
December 2019

From a NICU parent to all NICU parents being in the hospital now, I would kindly ask you to hold on to your faith, to your hope, to your strength. God never gives more than you can carry. This Christmas might be sad, but it is only one of so many to come yet. It is horrible to see your children unwell, but you would never be happier than when they will get better. After everything goes, you will think that there is nothing in the world your children cannot overcome. Look after yourselves. They need you healthy and strong. Your voices are their encouragement song. Your arms are their whole world. Your smiles are their best treatment. You are all they need for Christmas!