At 34 weeks pregnant with twins, Sara went to the doctor for what she thought would be a routine prenatal check. Instead, she learned that one of her babies had a condition called intrauterine growth restriction. This meant he wasn’t developing at nearly a healthy enough rate.
The following day, Sara gave birth via emergency cesarean section. The docs stitched her up and wheeled her to recovery as her babies, both of whom were having trouble breathing, went straight to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
“I was desperate to see the twins after surgery but became physically ill every time I tried to sit up,” Sara remembers. “I just couldn’t get to them. So my husband got the idea of sending me Polos from the NICU.”
Watch the Polos!
Sara already used Marco Polo as a fun way to stay in touch with family and close friends out of town. She’d also recorded Polos during the prenatal visits that her husband couldn’t attend.
“I had no idea Marco Polo would create a lifeline to my babies,” she says.
For much of that second day, Sara’s husband sat and talked to their sons in the NICU, sending Sara Polos as she lay in her hospital bed desperately waiting to meet them. Watching through him.
Meanwhile, an affirming yet overwhelming surge of love came in from the outside. People wanted updates. So Sara and her husband created a private Marco Polo group that helped them get the word out to everyone in real time with minimal stress or effort on their part. Sara even shared a Polo of the first time she got to meet her children.
Our Marco Polo group became a one-stop shop where people who cared about us could see the boys, watch this process unfold, and send love. We didn’t have to repeat ourselves. We could just say, ‘Watch the Polos!’
A bridge between home and the NICU
The boys stayed in the NICU together for 13 days before the bigger twin – Sara calls him Little B – was discharged. Little A remained for another week.
That was the hardest time. Every afternoon, Sara drove to the hospital to feed, change, and soak in sweet Little A for a few hours. Then in the evenings, her husband sat with the baby after delivering pumped milk to the NICU staff.
“I’d cry on the drive to the hospital because I felt like I should be home taking care of Little B,” Sara says. “I’d cry on the way home because I had to leave Little A back at the hospital. On top of this, I was pumping eight times a day for 20 minutes at a time. I had zero bandwidth, and there was no right place to be.”
Marco Polo didn’t make their routine less grueling, but it did create a bridge between home and the NICU.
“At a time when every choice felt wrong, it was comforting to watch Polos of my husband reading stories or playing music to Little A,” she says. “It reminded me that even though the baby wasn’t with me, he wasn’t being neglected.”
Watching them grow
Little A got bigger and stronger over that week. When both the boys were finally home together, the best kind of chaos began to reign – the kind involving chatty, active, healthy twins. Poop jokes and home-grown family music videos have replaced the stark hospital missives.
The original Marco Polo group, which helped Sara and her husband get through those heartbreaking first weeks, is now 50 members strong. Everyone sees the boys go from tiny preemies to big guys who sit up, crawl, and hold their own.
“Because of Marco Polo, people from all corners of our lives actually feel like they know our babies,” Sara says. “And through the process of watching us become parents, they’ve gotten to know each other, too.”