During our Surrogacy journey, we were matched with a Surrogate from the Sacramento area. I was very excited, because I am from Northern California, and I felt this might be a good omen. Although I'm not from the Sacramento area, growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area for the first 20+ years of my life, I travelled through Sacramento several times, but not enough to know the area well. One thing that anyone knows, is that one of the most famous hospitals in the Sacramento area, is the Sutter Heath System. Our surrogate confirmed this, as this is where here children were born. We were "sure" that our children would wind up being born at a Sutter Hospital..... this was only one of the first things we would be very wrong about during this journey. It seems that the insurance company we were supposed to be dealing with didn't allow births at Sutter Facilities... where did that leave us then? Once we knew we would have multiples (Twins, then Triplets, back to Twins... back to Triplets)... we knew it was important to have the babies delivered at a hospital with a good Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) - with Sutter out, that left the UC Davis Medical Center.
At first I was confused... the city of Davis, where the main campus of UC Davis is located, is south of the Sacramento area. Quickly I learned that the UC Davis Medical Center was located in downtown Sacramento at the "UC Davis 'Downtown Campus'"... and with that... our plans were set.
Heidi and I had a tour of the medical center in late July - little did we know it then, but that would wind up being less than 4 weeks before the birth of our children. We had a quick tour of the Birthing Suites (3rd Floor, Davis Tower)... and was directed that if the children had to go into the NIC/U, they would be upstairs on the 5th Floor. The tour was pretty quick, and the whole area seemed very confusing at the time.
Fast forward to August 20, 2011 - Sid and I stopped by the UCDMC building, and I gave him a quick tour of where to go when the big day came. We still had no idea we would be back there before the end of the next week... On August 25, 2011 when the call came that Heidi was being admitted to Labor & Delivery, those previous visits really paid off!
During Heidi's admission process, the NICU team came down to give us an introduction to what to expect during the delivery process. What really freaked me out was that they began setting up the Infant Warming Bed in the birthing suite that Heidi occupied ... wow! This was really going to happen! The Nurses offered Sid and I a quick tour of the NICU - at around 10pm - we were so clueless, of course they were a 24hr operation. All of the rooms in their NICU are animal themed; we toured through the Lion room, the Zebra Room, and through the halls past several unused rooms (the patient count was low... but about to grow by 3 at least).
Well, as you know, the birth process occurred on Friday August 26, 2011. Right after the children were delivered via C-Section, they were brought to an outer room of the Operating Room, and this was where Sid and I were able to catch the first glimpse of our Angels. After the kids were stabalized, assessed, and lightly cleaned, we were all on the move to the NICU.
The Children were taken directly into the Zebra Room. This was a new strange area for us to get used to, and we were still dressed in our "Daddy Suits" (see picture in previous post). Once we arrived, someone told us - diplomatically - that we could get out of those paper suits, thankfully. We could then get our first close up glimpse of the kids.
All in all, the children were in the Zebra Room for about a week, and then "hopped" over to the Bunny Room. The Bunny Room was THE place to be, everyone assured us, because most kids were released from there to go home, as ours eventually were.
We can't describe the love, training, compassion, information, and support we received from the staff in the NICU. From the Doctors (UCDMC is a teaching hospital, so there were LOTS of Doc's), to the Nurses, Nurse Managers, support staff, and Volunteers - everyone was so nice and accomodating to us. Over all, we spent about 19 days on the NICU ward with our children, and these people came to be our family while we were in the "bubble" of hospital life.
Some notable people that we want to thank - and please, if we left anyone out, our apologies:
Becky, Angie, Roberta, Linda, Christopher, Sue, Monique, Susan, Elizabeth, Christy, Melodie, Valerie, Jane, Janie, Jennifer, Cathy, Joan, Andrea, Desiree, Cathy, Nancy, Amber, Sharon, Christa, Donna, Robin, Antje, Kim, and Arlene ... and many, many others!!
These people cared for our Children and in the process "gently" pushed us into being more active with their care (taking temps, changing diapers, changing clothes, bathing, etc); after all, as great as they were, they weren't going to be following us home to take care of them for us! These wonderful women and men gave us the confidence to know that we could take care of our children. Thankfully, the children were healthy and just needed to grow stronger, but in the meantime, we gained some valuable "on the job" training to help prepare us for the trip home.
Thank you isn't enough for all of these people that helped our new family to start. These people work long hours, and are so dedicated to the patients they serve, and their families, we will always be in-debted to them. Thanks D-5 Special Nursery Staff !! We love you !!