Marching for our Preemies: The Sanchez Family

Another Tuesday means another preemie feature in honor of the upcoming March of Dimes: March for Babies walks that will be happening all around the country in May. This week, the Sanchez Family, or Party of 6 as their blog is titled.

The Sanchez triplets are micro-preemies and have quite a different NICU story than what we experienced with our girls with many surgeries between the three of them and much more time spent in the hospital at birth. Today? Adorable babies who continue to show what fighters they are!

Remember, click below to donate to such a great cause after reading their story! Every dollar makes a difference!

Preemie

Being pregnant with triplets, I knew that my pregnancy wouldn’t last 40 weeks. I was told I would be very lucky to make it to 36 weeks.  Our goal was 32 weeks.  I remember clearly when one doctor said, if we make it past 32 weeks, everyone will be jumping for joy and doing cartwheels.  Even knowing this, I never really stopped to think about what this could mean and the complications that come with premature births. 

I knew my babies would be preemies, but in my naive and pregnant mind, I thought my babies would arrive early and stay in the NICU for a few weeks until they reached 5 pounds. Not once did I stop and think what if they can’t breathe on their own? We didn’t make our goal, not even close. Our triplets were born at 25 weeks on May 17, 2011 due to preterm labor and PROM (Premature Rupture of Membrane).  I started having contractions a week before (at 24 weeks) they were born and was hospitalized for 5 days.  That’s when reality started to set in.  There was a chance that these babies would not make it. We were given statistics.  We were asked three different times if we wanted to resuscitate the babies, even the morning they were born.  They all weighed between 1 lb 2.3 oz and 1 lb 4.8 oz.  You can read our complete birth story here.
I remember feeling as if I had failed my babies, or my body had failed them.  We didn’t take too many pictures at first and the pictures we do have we are not sure who is who.
We think this is Sofia:
We think this is Carlos:

On day 3, my husband made a video of our babies.  You can see it here.
Here I am holding Sofia for the very first time.

Daddy holding Marcos.
 

Our triplets are now 10 months actual age, or almost 7 months adjusted.   Marcos and Sofia spent 98 long days in the NICU, while Carlos spent 102 days.  As hard as it was, I now know that they experienced what most premature babies go through, especially the awful roller coaster ride of ups and downs. 

I was a zombie the first month or so.  I remember feeling helpless and scared and my faith in God was what pulled me through this difficult time.   All three were on ventilators, then SiPAP, CPAP, high flow canula and finally regular canula.  All three failed extubation a few times and required the PDA surgery. My 2 boys were on the oscillating vent for about a week.  You can read about that here. Carlos and Marcos both had pneumonia during their NICU stay.   Sofia had one or two blood infections.  She had 2 negative spinal taps done and was on antibiotics a couple of times.  All three had multiple blood transfusions; so many that I lost count.  All needed ART lines and PICC lines and had plenty of Apnea’s and Bradycardia’s.  I saw my babies turn “dusky” way too many times.  A couple of times, doctors were called and rushed in to help stabilize them. All three had ROP (Retina of Prematurity) and required surgery.  The boys had inguinal hernias that were repaired right before they were released.  Sofia and Carlos had umbilical hernias which seem to have repaired themselves. Carlos was my sickest one, and was on the ventilator for eight long weeks.  It took over a month for him to receive mommy’s milk because he had blood pressure issues and received dopamine for awhile. At a few weeks old, doctors discovered that his right diaphragm was paralyzed, making it even harder for him to come off the ventilator. The doctors and nurses had already prepared us that most likely he would be coming home on oxygen.  About 2 weeks before he came home, he extubated himself and things turned around quickly.  Today, he is my healthiest baby and doctors say he learned how to compensate for it by using other muscles to breathe.  We are unsure if this has resolved itself but are so thankful no surgery was needed.  All three have been diagnosed with chronic lung disease.

It took exactly 3 months for Carlos to have nothing on his face.
Marcos and Sofia finally co-bedding:
Our NICU was about 40 miles away.  Everyday my days started with the long commute.  I tried to be there for rounds at 9:30am and stayed until 4 or so when it was time to pick up my oldest daughter.  On weekends, daddy and big sister joined me.
Their birth and NICU stay was traumatic to say the least.  It changed our lives and who we are as a family today.  There are days I wish I could forget everything but know that this will stay with me forever. As hard as it was, I know we have been blessed with three miracles who continue to beat odds.  On really tough mommy days I try so hard to remember just how lucky we are to have three thriving babies home. 
Our most recent picture:
Being a mom to three micro preemies has included numerous doctor appointments.  In the beginning, there were weekly weight checks, hearing tests, eye checks in addition to baby well checks, Synagis appointments and a few sick visits.  The first three months of them being home, I visited a doctor’s office on a regular basis, once, often twice a week.  Today, I am trying to keep them healthy. I am dealing with chronic coughing and wheezing due to their immature lungs.  I am administering plenty of asthma medications including prednisolone, pulmacort, and albuterol.  I still worry about how they are breathing, their respiratory rate and retractions.  I am waiting for their last Synagis shot and hoping the end of RSV season brings us better health and new lung tissue.  
As our babies get closer to turning one year old, all three will need eye checks and hearing tests, again. We know that they are developmentally delayed even for their adjusted age and will continue receiving physical therapy, early intervention visits, and developmental assessments. Being a preemie mommy often feels lonely.  It’s hard for others to understand that their prematurity has lasting effects.  I am glad I have found other moms like Heather who understand and can relate. 
Thanks, Heather, for letting us share our story!

About TwinkieTotMom

Heather has written 1535 post in this blog.

Heather is the founder of Life as we know it with Two Twinkies & a Tator Tot: the blog. From home DIY to weekly fashion of an everyday mom, wife, and former teacher turned marketer to stories about surviving life with three kids, you can find it here. Heather is keeping it real and telling it like it is. You can also find her on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Bloglovin, Instagram, and Pinterest.

One Response to Marching for our Preemies: The Sanchez Family

  1. Kristin says:

    Little fighters for sure! What a blessing that they’re thriving!
    Kristin recently posted..Steak House PizzaMy Profile

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