"You Get Excited About the Little Things"—a Mom on Spending 3 Months in the NICU

After the premature birth of their twins, Jen Hawkins and her husband, Blake, spent exactly three months in the neonatal intensive care unit waiting to bring their babies home. Before her experience, the Southern California–based model and the woman behind the inspiring lifestyle blog Palms to Pines confessed that she, like most of us, had never been to the hospital, let alone the NICU. However, since giving birth to her daughters, Romy and Piper, she's become so much more aware of how common premature births are. (According to the CDC, one out of every 10 babies born in 2016 the United States was born too early.)

Despite being in a position that no parent wants to be in, Hawkins and her husband looked for the silver lining during their months at the hospital. "The perspective that we got from being in the NICU just made us so grateful for every little thing," explained Hawkins. From holding her girls for the first time to changing their diapers, Hawkins's voice is filled with what can only be described as a mother's unconditional love as she looks back on the memories her family made during their time spent in the NICU.

Ahead, the mother of two opens up about her family's experience in the neonatal intensive care unit, including the surprising and overwhelming joy of changing her daughters' diapers for the first time and the overwhelming feeling of joy she experienced when she finally brought them home.