You might have seen Tracy, also known as @AlmosttripletsNYC, on Instagram a few months ago. While she already had a thriving account prior to her son Dylan's birth, her post from the NICU went viral with nearly 6K likes and many shares. In her postpartum state, she held a sign that read, "I am Dylan James & I plan to crush the NICU."
Anyone who'd ever given birth before could feel what Tracy must've been going through. Unable to take her baby home, she had to wait by his side, even as her own body needed time to heal. And, as many people didn't even realize, she also had three toddlers and an older son waiting for her at home. Born at 29 weeks, Dylan was tiny and had to fight to survive.
Nonetheless, his mom was right. He was a fighter and so was she. Here's their remarkable story.
Mabel + Moxie: Can you start by telling us a little about your delivery and how Dylan ended up in the NICU?
Tracy: My son Dylan came 2 1/2 months early at 29 weeks weighing 3 lbs 6 ozs and 16” long. I was told I was lucky because he was big for a preemie. Regardless, no one ever prepares you for the possibility that your baby can land in the NICU after you give birth.
I met Dylan 4 days after delivering him. My placenta had completely broken through my uterine wall due to a condition called placenta accreta and I started hemorrhaging. My doctors decided to take Dylan out as quickly as possible and focus on saving me. I had lost a 3rd of my blood and needed a hysterectomy. I had a 5 hour surgery after Dylan was whisked away to the NICU.
M+M: What was it like the first time you met Dylan?
Tracy: It’s hard to explain the first time you see your child this small. The first half hour I cried because I feared so much for his life. After I gained my composure, I realized I needed to be strong for him. I started talking to Dylan telling him that everything was going to be ok. Next came the fierce determination to help him get whatever he needed to thrive. I was his mother and would do everything in my power to give him the best care.
M+M: What was the day-to-day like in the NICU?
Tracy: Even though I was still healing, I was at Dylan’s side every single day. I provided him breast milk, pictures of his 4 siblings, a stuffed animal with his parents scent. Everything. Anything...
I often held all 3 pounds of him on my bare chest. It was magical. They say that the skin-to-skin contact is so important for the baby. I think it was just as important for me. To feel the warmth of his little body on mine was more restorative than anything that the doctors could give me. I cherished every single second.
Our story is like many NICU families who simply pray everyday that their child will be ok. Dylan is 5 months today and 3 months delayed. He came home after 3 long months in the NICU. We do not know what his long-term issues will be, but we remain positive that he will be just fine!
M+M: Can you tell us more about what it was like to be postpartum, taking care of 4 other kids at home, and also needing to go to the NICU to care for Dylan?
It was a lot finding my way back to some sort of routine at home and traveling back and forth to the hospital. It’s hard but getting to hold all my kids is getting me through.
M+M: What was it like having a large social media community cheering you along on IG?
The Insta community was a saving grace. So many people reached out with tips and ideas on how to manage the NICU. It was remarkable.
M+M: Do you have any tips for what friends and family can do to support moms with new babies in the NICU?
You really never truly understand the NICU until you have a baby in there. Please know your friend is going through the most intense emotional experience of their life. Give them as much love and support possible.
To follow Tracy's story, check out her Instagram page, @Almosttripletsnyc.