For Sundar Choudhary Nosa and her husband Erik Nosa, their second pregnancy seemed like an easy journey. Having a two-year-old daughter Suri, she thought she knew everything about pregnancy and childbirth.
The happy family of three was expecting to meet with their twins in September 2020, but life had different plans.
After a premature rupture of membranes (bursting of the amniotic sac), Sundar’s babies were born at only 27 weeks and placed in Westmead’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Sundar describes this time as the most difficult months of her life.
“You hear these stories, but you never think this is going to happen to you. Even when doctors warn you about the possibility, you still hope for the best,” Sundar said.
“It doesn’t matter how many conversations you have, you can never be prepared for it.”
Five months later, Sundar returned to show her appreciation to staff on “Thank you NICU day” for saving her babies’ lives and reflect on their journey. She was joined by Stephanie Rooke, also mother of premature twins and committee member of the North West Sydney Multiple Birth Association.
Twins Andre and Aria each weighed just a little more than one kilo when they entered NICU.
For baby Andre, the first weeks of his life were a rocky road. At birth his condition deteriorated and he became septic. The parents were told his first 24-48 hours were critical. Sundar said the NICU team was incredibly helpful throughout these difficult times.
“Nothing was too hard or too much for the staff in NICU. Doctors had regular meetings with us, going through every bit of information and explaining every possible complication,” Sundar said.
“The nurses were the ones who helped us, the parents, to get through. During those difficult times, they became like our family.”
The twins were initially kept in separate rooms and reunited after a few weeks, when they were strong enough for a twin “kangaroo cuddle” with their parents. A skin-to-skin cuddle of a parent with their child, the “kangaroo cuddle” is proven to be beneficial for a baby’s early development and recovery.
Erik said cuddling his babies for the first time was the best feeling in the world.
“It was a bit scary because they were still very small. We read books for them and played opera songs. I think they liked it.”
The twins were discharged after spending nine weeks in NICU. Now five months, they’re enjoying a normal life with their family in Baulkham Hills.
Sundar said parents with premature babies should not blame themselves.
“We all blame ourselves, but I want you to know that it is not your fault.”
“I know it seems like a hard, long road with so many bumps along the way, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
“One day soon you will get to take your beautiful baby or babies home and get to share all those moments you dreamt about.
“Stay strong and believe in miracles, because they really do happen with our resilient strong babies. Before you know it, it will be a distant memory.”
Friday 27 November is Thank U NICU Day which is celebrated nationwide to thank and acknowledge all NICU and Special Care Nursery staff.