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Having a NICU Baby Is Its Own Trauma


Elizabeth Wieland is a stay-at-home mom and part-time preschool teacher in Phoenix, Arizona. Seven years ago she and her husband Jon endured one of life’s most unexpected and painful journeys: a pregnancy loss of one of their twins and a nearly four-month stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for their surviving son Jacob. Even though Jacob’s birth was a bright spot, memories of their time in the NICU still haunt them. This is their story, as told to Rachel Wells.

When my husband and I found out we were pregnant with twins, we were thrilled. We had been through two healthy pregnancies already—we knew the drill. But one day, while standing at the kitchen table working on a project with one of my boys, I felt something strange, almost like a pop or a tiny gush, in my abdomen. Something was wrong.

My husband and I went to the hospital, but they sent us home telling us not to worry—everything looked fine for my 16-week pregnancy. We had no idea until the 20-week ultrasound that the pop I’d felt was my water breaking for one of the twins. I was immediately put on bed rest and given a list of homework: check my temperature a few times a day, check for infection, drink a ton of fluids. With two kids already at home, it was a big task, but we were managing. But after four weeks of being on bedrest, the unthinkable happened: I started bleeding.

After rushing to the hospital again only to be sent home with another non-diagnosis, we ultimately learned that Twin A had “demised.” I was shattered, the clinical terminology further splintering my heart.

Baby A hadn’t demised—my son had died.

Still in shock, we were sent home, but that evening the bleeding returned, so we rushed back to the hospital yet again, terrified about the safety of the second fetus in my womb. I was admitted for closer monitoring, unsure how many of the remaining 24 weeks of my pregnancy I’d spend in a hospital bed. Every night when the nurses came to check on me, they would say, “OK, stay pregnant.” Yeah, I’m trying here, I thought.

Still in the hospital, still on bed rest, and now 23 weeks pregnant, I was feeling sick all the time. There were no signs of contractions, so my nurses believed my pain was just indigestion. But one night, after hobbling to the bathroom, I realized something much more serious was happening. After frantically buzzing my nurse, I learned my body was beginning to deliver the fetus of the demised twin. My son, the baby we’d already named Joel, was being born.

Throughout the night, the next day, and the following evening, I experienced contractions until baby Joel was delivered stillborn. I chose not to hold his body. It’s one of the biggest regrets of my life, but at the time it felt like the only way to hold onto my quickly eroding sanity. I needed every ounce of strength I could muster for Twin B, our son Jacob, who was still growing inside me.

For a few precious days, everything was calm. Then Jacob’s water broke and at 23 weeks—just past the point of viability—my husband and I decided with our doctor it was time to have a C-section. I thought we were past the worst part, but as soon as Jacob was born, he was taken to the NICU—it would be his home for the next 115 days and an entirely new type of trauma for me.

The NICU never leaves you. As soon as you walk through the automatic doors, the smell of disinfectant and loss works its way into your skin, imprinting itself in your memory.



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Marsai Martin Says “White Vinegar” Is Her Go-To Acne Treatment


With so many acne treatments available, sometimes its difficult to decide which one is best for you, especially because there isn’t one cure-all treatment for everyone. While some people like traditional creams and masks, others, like actress and producer Marsai Martin, prefer to use natural remedies.

This week, Marsai posted on Instagram Stories writing in a text post writing, “My pimple is gone already!🤣” A follower then replied to ask if she used “peroxide” to treat her pimple. Marsai, a pimple remedy hero, responded by letting people know she uses “white vinegar.” Genius.

This treatment, which costs under $3 and you probably have in your kitchen pantry already, is actually a well-known method for treating pimples and has been used for decades. Dr. Roberta Del Campo, a Miami-based dermatologist tells Teen Vogue, “Vinegar is a well-known home remedy for acne. It acts as an antiseptic, killing the bacteria on the skin that can lead to breakouts, as well as tightening pores and drying out the pimple, leading to a faster resolution.” Dr. Del Campo does say to use caution when putting vinegar on your face explaining, “One thing to keep in mind, however, is that it should be applied only to the active breakouts and not to the entire face, as this can lead to dryness and irritation.”

Of course, vinegar may not work for everyone especially people with cystic acne. So it’s best to talk to a dermatologist and figure out what your specific needs are.

Related: Lili Reinhart Wants You to Know That It’s “OK to Break Out”



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