|Nora and Leo. Courtesy of Nick Heineke|
You don’t realize what you’re going through at the moment until you have a little time to reflect on it. Nick Heineke agrees, “It’s like that in life. When you are in it, you’re going through it so fast that you forget the details that make it so special.” And that is why he wrote a book, 17 Days.
Heineke says, “When we found out we were pregnant all of our friends joked that ‘Aw, you better not be having twins.’ All we wanted was a healthy baby… As they did the ultrasound, the math person in me saw two sacs. I thought there was a symmetry thing going on.”
And then the nurse said, “You need to know that there are two of them.”
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At around 32 weeks the doctor believed that Rebecca could go full term, but things don’t often go according to plan. Beineke was in class one day (He teaches math at Highlands High School) when Rebecca called to say that her water just broke and that she was going to the hospital. That was, oddly enough, the day that he discovered that his car “could go over 100 mph.” He was excited, anxious, and a bit scared.
“I got to the hospital and she was cool as a cucumber,” he said. But swirling around her was the chaos of the medical team trying to perform an ultrasound, insert IVs, and everything. An ultrasound was being performed in the dark while other nurses needed light to insert IVs. Nick used his phone’s flashlight to light the way for the nurses. He said that, “Baby Nora’s sac broke but Baby Leo was fine. “
|The twins. Courtesy of Nick Heineke.|
So the doctors managed to interrupt events so the babies could stay inside to grow stronger. But that meant that Rebecca would remain in the hospital until delivery. “I stayed there every single night but she was a real trooper. It’s hard to go to sleep when you know that at any moment you will become the father of twins, right? That was constantly in my mind,” he says.
So what eventually became the book started as a journaling exercise. Nick would journal his thoughts about the day’s events on his phone during the quiet time. “I didn’t know a book would come out of this. I just wanted to remember what was going on.”
The title comes from the time spent in the hospital, from the day Rebecca entered the hospital until the day the babies came home - 17 days. The babies were born healthy. “They never required oxygen or anything. The worst was that Nora needed a feeding tube,” the proud father says.
Heineke observed that, “There are people who have gone though births so much more difficult and I completely understand that. There are people who have it so much worse. But this was a way for me to kind of indicate how I dealt with all that.” It was a way to record the events, conversations, emotions, concerns of that time.
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Heineke has learned a few things from this experience. “Everyday I walk away with something, like patience. I am still learning how to be patient. Being patient in the hospital was super hard because I was so anxious to meet the kids, but I knew it wasn’t time. There as always people there for us. I wrote this book as a kind of testament to our family for being there for us. So here are the stories from behind the scenes,” he says.
The birth of the twins brought a lot of people together. “There were maybe 20 people in the waiting room. I sent a video of Nora being born and crying to my mom. As soon as she shared it there were cheers. I sent a picture of Leo only because I thought I was recording but wasn’t!” He laughs.
|The happy twins. Courtesy of Nick Heineke.|
The birth was understandably chaotic because everything was doubled, but Heineke found calm when he held baby Nora for the first time shortly after her arrival. And he hopes that readers find the same calm.
Nora and Leo Heineke will one day realize what special parents they have when they can see how events unfolded that brought them into the world. This gift to the Heineke babies is also a gift to all babies and their parents.
You can order the book directly from Nick Heineke at nickheineke@instagram and you will soon be able to purchase it at Fort Thomas Central.
All proceeds go to 1 Heart 2 Souls, a local nonprofit that supports families of premature births or who receive a poor prenatal prognosis. You can learn more about this wonderful organization at http://www.1heart2souls.org.
If you are a local author and would like to learn about how to get your book published, call Living Media, Inc. (located in Fort Thomas) for a free quote. It's easier than you think and it's all done in-house. 859-291-1412.
|The Heineke family.|