Two Me Books Founder Parent2Parent: Ali

How many kids to do you have? I have identical twins.

How many kids do you have with a NICU jo­­urney?  My identical twins were born at 28 weeks, weighing less than 4.5 lbs combined!

How long was the stay within in the NICU­­?  They were in the NICU for 55 and 65 days.

Where did you draw strength from while i­­n the NICU?  

I wasn’t surprised by the early birth of my twins.  My pregnancy was high risk, and I knew twins rarely go to full term.  But I was unprepared. I hadn’t even taken a tour of the NICU!  I tried to deal with the experience, by not thinking too much about the future.  I tried to take it day by day and live in the moment.  One day at a time was all I could handle.

Was it a song,­ ­A Scriptu­re,­ ­A quote? Can you share it with us­?­  This quote has always brought me comfort, “It will all be okay in the end.  If it’s not okay, then it is not the end.”

Who ­ ­within your personal network prov­ided su­pport while you were in the NICU­? ­Parents, Partner, Friends, NICU staf­f? ­ In what way did you feel like you were s­upported by them? 

I didn’t know anyone who had been through a NICU experience.  My partner and I had to navigate things together.  Luckily, I was able to take leave from work so I could be at the hospital every day with them.  I often was there all day, and I felt like I got to know the medical staff well which helped my comfort level when I was away.

Who ­ ­within your internet network prov­ided su­pport while you were in the NICU­ ? was there a­ ­Facebook, twitter, goo­gle plus community­ or communities? ­Onl­ine forum In what way did you feel li­ke­ you were supported by them?  

Unfortunately, I was not involved in the prematurity community when my babies were in the NICU.  I missed out on the incredible support that is available there.

What are some of your favorite tools, resources or gadgets that made your NICU  journey easier? Do you have any you would recommend to current parents who are in the NICU now?

We started a blog to help us record the accomplishments of each twin and to process our feelings.  It was password protected, but we shared it with friends and family.  This helped us keep people informed, but saved us the time and energy of telling the same story over again.  This also proved very helpful as we tried to keep the medical details of each twin separate.  It’s nice now to be able to go back and remember those days.

While it wasn’t around at the time my kids were in the NICU, I would highly recommend the NICU Now podcast by Hand to Hold for current NICU parents.

Can you share with us a good NICU day fo­­r your ­child (a triumph)? ­ ­What was­ the day where you need extras support a­nd stre­ngth?

There really are so many little triumphs along the way.  One of the blessings of a NICU experience is being able to celebrate the tiniest of milestones.  One great day, in particular, was feeding my twins a bottle for the first time.  It was Christmas Day and they were wearing little red stocking caps while they ate.  But the NICU has the reputation of being a roller coaster for good reason.  As there are also many setbacks along the way.  One of the harder days was taking one twin home, while the other wasn’t quite ready to be discharged yet.  We were so thrilled to be taking a baby home, but it was sad to think about leaving one behind.

If you could share one tidbit with other­­ NICU parents what would it be?!

Try to enjoy the time with your baby as much as you can. The NICU environment is far from ideal with all the noise and medical equipment. But you can still bond with your baby by holding them and reading to them, just like you would at home.  

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I think it is important for parents to be an advocate for their baby in the NICU.  You may not be a medical expert, but you have a voice in the course of care for your child.  Don’t second guess your intuition when it comes to what’s best for your little one.

 What inspired you to create the me two books series?   What do you hope that parents and preemies gain from these books?  Are there any new books that we can expect?

My twins would look at baby pictures from the NICU and ask many questions.  I explained what a NICU was and why they were there.  I thought it would be nice to supplement these conversations with a developmentally appropriate book. I couldn’t find a book about preemies that I loved, so I decided to write I Was a Preemie Just Like You.  It is a children’s book created to celebrate what young preemies went through, and remind them that they are not alone.  I hope this book can help preemies and parents of preemies talk about prematurity, and provide hope for the future after time spent in the NICU.  

I am excited to announce that I have another book coming out in the fall about twins.  Check for updates and ordering information.

Why is it important preemies to have books that highlight them?  

At MeTwo Books we believe in creating books for unique children, and being a preemie certainly qualifies!  I spent a lot of time at my babies bedside reading to them.  It was a great way for me to bond and it helped me feel like a normal parent, even though I was in the most surreal of circumstances.  I would have loved to read a book about preemies to my preemies in the NICU.  The story of every preemie is a miracle that should be celebrated!