"Bonding with preemies just takes a lot longer than you wish it would...By the time they were a year old I knew we were all in love with each other the way we should be, but it happened very slowly."
-Mother of twins born two months early
Over sixty percent of multiples are born prematurely or weigh less than five and one-half pounds. These low birth-weight babies may need special care and frequently must be hospitalized for a period of weeks or even months. But despite the extra problems at the beginning, most "preemies" nowadays survive and grow up to be healthy.
As a parent of preemie multiples, you will naturally have many fears, concerns and questions about the babies and about their care in the hospital. Mothers have the combined challenges of postpartum physical recovery while also making the emotional adjustment to the birth of twins, or more, who may be in fragile health. Fathers may feel helpless and left out of a traumatic delivery and a high-tech intensive care nursery environment.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that if both twins are sick, there are two sets of hospital personnel for you to deal with. The confusion and stress can be overwhelming. In the face of all this, you will need a lot of emotional support from family and friends. Allow your self to accept any help and comfort that is offered, both before and after the babies come home.
Visiting Your Babies
There may be a number of practical problems, as well. Even if insurance pays the medical costs, the extra needs can pose a financial burden. Along with the double expense for equipment, clothing and childcare, there is the expense of frequent trips to the hospital. If one baby is severely ill or disabled, he or she may be sent to a high-risk center for specialized care while the other twin remains in the birth hospital. In that event, you must get from one to the other for daily visits. Or if one baby is home, you must leave that tiny newborn to go visit the sick one.