Brooke and Nick joke that the most memorable moment from their time in the NICU was when the doctors started to move pass their twin boys more quickly during bedside rounds. It was the surest sign they had felt about their boys being strong and healthy enough to go home. David and Brandon were born at 27 weeks after Brooke presented to Morristown Medical Center with severe preeclampsia. Both boys were critically ill after birth and had long and arduous NICU stays.
David predominantly struggled with respiratory issues. His journey to breathing independently was gradual and not without setbacks. Brooke and Nick celebrated each respiratory milestone, but Brooke also remembers the “rollercoaster ride of the NICU – one step forward, 4 steps back” of David’s slow recovery. Brooke often felt scared to hold David because of his respiratory instability and credits the nursing staff for prioritizing and facilitating that bonding time.
Brandon experienced an intraventricular hemorrhage within days of birth, and as a result of the bleeding in the brain, developed hydrocephalus and ultimately cerebral palsy. Brooke and Nick worried that he may not survive, but Brandon fought his way back to good health. Brooke says, “The entire NICU staff was AMAZING – capable, caring, compassionate and always kept us informed. They are our heroes, they saved our family and gave Brandon a 2nd chance on life.”
Before leaving the NICU, Brooke and Nick were counseled on the physical and developmental delays their boys may face in the future. They learned that although it would be difficult to fully appreciate the challenges until they were 3 years old, early intervention therapies were immediately available and critical to improve long-term outcomes for their boys. Brooke and Nick heeded this advice. David and Brandon were immediately referred to the NICU Follow Up Program at Goryeb Children’s Hospital following discharge for physical, speech, and occupational therapies. Brooke believes that early intervention is what allowed her boys to become who they are today, and hopes that other NICU parents will take advantage of the developmental services offered.
David and Brandon are now 10 years old; both enjoy school and have great senses of humor and vivid imaginations. Brandon loves Pokemon, while David loves Minecraft; both boys idolize their older brother. David enjoys team sports and plays soccer and basketball. Brandon is an avid swimmer and rock climber. They continue to face certain developmental challenges, but each day continue to progress with the support of their therapists, schools, camps and loving parents.
Brooke and Nick are extremely grateful. “We cherish our healthy, happy, respectful, and loving children,” says Brooke. “Our boys are so loving, we get tons of kisses and hugs!”