Now home with newborn twin girls and her toddler, Heidi Morrison remembers a time when she was thrilled to see baby poop.
That's because one of the twins, Josie, developed a deadly infection after she was born, causing scar tissue to develop in her bowel, completely blocking it. After spending three more weeks in the hospital than her twin sister did, the two are finally home and ready to celebrate their first holiday on Easter Sunday.
"Every day we'd go in say 'Has she pooped?' Now, we’re wading in it," Morrison laughed. "We're so happy to just have her home."
Morrison said she thought she was having a baby girl until she was 19 weeks pregnant, when she learned she was having two of them. Josie and her identical twin sister Claire, now eight weeks old, were born at 32 weeks.
Although they were small, they seemed to be doing well until about five days after they were born, when Josie stopped being able to eat and poop, Morrison said.
The infant had developed necrotizing enterocolitis, an infection that is common among babies born prematurely, said Dr. Tamar Mirensky, chief of pediatric surgical services at Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. Its cause is unknown, but Mirensky said it's thought to have to do with poor blood supply to the intestine.
As a result, Josie developed an intestinal obstruction called a stricture, which kept food from passing through, she said. Mirensky had to operate, removing the blockage and sewing the healthy intestine back together, she said.
Two days later, Josie pooped, and a few weeks later was able to go home, where her sister was waiting. Now, they've been home with their big brother Dylan, 2 and a half, for three weeks.
"Easter is the first time all of us will come together," Morrison said. "One set of grandparents will be seeing them for the first time."
The sisters will wear dresses and matching headbands for the occasion, Morrison said. And they've already developed their own unique personalities.
"Josie definitely is the fiercer one so that's interesting to us," she said. "She knows what she wants definitely in regards to food. She wakes up and wants a bottle pretty much right away. She won't wait around for it. Claire is a little bit more on the mellower side."