Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The NICU leaves it's mark

I don't know if it's because I had a micro preemie myself and I'm more aware, but I seem to be seeing and hearing about so many preemies born lately. Just this morning a fellow micro preemie mama was asking for prayers for a 24 weeker just born. Whenever I get news like this, my mind immediately races back to those first awful days in the NICU.

Maybe you are like me.

You think about the time when you first saw your child, hooked up to so many tubes, so tiny and fragile... not even seeming like a real baby, but fetal and red.

Maybe you got wheeled to the NICU a day or so after your c-section. You had to wait to see your child. Passing by families who are celebrating in the well-baby nursery. Before that, you only had a small picture on a cell phone to even see what your baby looked like.

You think about the first time you got to touch your baby. Maybe you asked a nurse if your baby could even be touched because you didn't want to add to the pain. They explain the way to gently handle a preemie whose skin is so translusent and thin. Skin so fragile it could tear with the slightest pressure.

Maybe you are like me.

I was commenting on Brandi's blog post about having Baby Landon. Although Landon is not a micro, I told her about how us NICU parents share a special bond. Unless you have gone through it, it's hard to explain. But we know. We know how it feels to leave the hospital after your c-section without your baby. We know how that waiting game feels. How you wait with dread to hear what the doctor will say. We know that roller coaster, the highs and the lows. We see the ones in the NICU who don't make it.

But we also know the joy. The joy of hearing about people praying all over the world. The joy you share with the community that surrounds you. The friends that bring meals, send a package, or write from afar. The joy of people rallying behind and spreading prayer requests. And the rejoicing together when good news is given.

We know and it leaves it's mark.


As I was writing this, I took a break to check Facebook. A virtual micro mama friend, who was on hospital bed rest, pregnant with her second child and trying desperately to make it one more day with her pregnancy, posted that she had her girl - Ava Belle, 2 lbs. 6 oz with outstanding Apgar scores. And we celebrate for each day she was able to stay in the womb and send prayers for their NICU journey ahead.
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10 comments:

Ross said...

Hi, love the website and your story.

Our son, 8 wks old born at 28 wks.
His blog is here:
http://freddiemcgill.blogspot.com/

Happy for you to share on your fab website under 'Good Reads' section..

All the best, Ross (London)

Alyssa said...

This made me cry. It's so true. I don't know if more preemies are actually being born these days or if we're just more aware now.

Those first days are awful and I feel so bad for people who are just starting the journey. It's heartbreaking.

I remember after the girls were born I was always confused when people would ask me, 'how do you do it?' The answer was obvious to me because it wasn't a choice. I had to do it. They were my babies. But now when I'm on the other side again, I understand what they were asking. How do you do THAT? How do you go to sleep when you don't know if your baby will be alive when you wake up? How do you take the scary news from the doctors each day? How do you look at your baby hooked up to 20 machines and struggling to breathe...struggling to survive? How do you leave your baby at the end of each day? I honestly don't know how anyone can do that. But we have done it. The strength comes from somewhere.

Best wishes and warm thoughts to all the new preemie mamas out there...

Michelle said...

As I read this, I found myself nodding in agreement the whole time. The memories are so real and pop up at the oddest times, and in a moment, you are back to that time as if it was just yesterday.

Michaela Estes said...

I couldn't agree more. I feel sometimes like I have PTSD, it hits me so randomly.

Alyssa- I remember people asking me the same questions. I made sure I spent every day with him (I was blessed I was able to take the time from work) and then I would have to leave him. Sometimes celebrating what a good day he had on the 45 minute drive home, sometimes crying because of another IV, another set back, another day I felt helpless to help him.

I haven't heard about any preemies since we had him in February, all my friends and family have had healthy term babies, but if anyone I know does have a preemie, I would love to be a support to them in any way I can.

Daria said...

Although my daughter was not a preemie and our NICU stay was a mere 41 days this post really speaks to me. This journey has been a roller coaster of emotions from the second she was born. I remember too well seeing her only by a photo until 7 hours later. I remember That first night alone in the hospital room (unfortunately the same one I was in with Anna 3 years earlier) stuck in bed bc of the c-section listening to babies cry all around me while an uncertain and scary future awaited. I am hopeful that experience was the worst it will be with Gia. At least I can *dream* it will be.

I am so glad there is such a wonderful, supportive, network in the micro preemie world

Sarah Pope said...

I too rembember those feelings. I think they have left such a mark that I will vividly remember our NICU journey for the rest of my life.
It does seem like there are more micros being born...maybe its because the virtual realm makes the world so much smaller...which Im thankful for. As sad as it is to see someone start this difficult journey, at least they have the support of those of us who have been through it. Just as we have the support of those who traveled the halls of the NICU before us! Thank goodness for the micropreemie community...

Kasey said...

Jessi - Your words are so utterly right on. Suddenly it feels like everyone is having a preemie. For some weird reason I felt partly to blame! It's amazing how those triggers bring the NICU memories immediately flooding back. I will say, I have actually reached a point where sometimes I look at Andie (10 yrs old) and can't believe from whence she came. Love your writing! Thanks! A recent pic on my blog will show just how far she's come!!

Kasey said...

Jessi - Your words are so utterly right on. Suddenly it feels like everyone is having a preemie. For some weird reason I felt partly to blame! It's amazing how those triggers bring the NICU memories immediately flooding back. I will say, I have actually reached a point where sometimes I look at Andie (10 yrs old) and can't believe from whence she came. Love your writing! Thanks! A recent pic on my blog will show just how far she's come!!

Kathleen said...

I don't know if its just me, but I find myself longing for our NICU days. Although it was terrifying, it was also home for me. My son was in the NICU for 8months and I came to love the NICU staff and doctors. My son, Owen, is going to be 2 on sunday. In his short 24months he has been in the hospital a total of 18months. Those 10months that were not in the NICU were, to me, worse. I grew comfortable in the NICU. I grew to trust the doctors and nurses and myself. Now, I find myself questioning everyone and feeling very alone. We have many decisions to make about Owens health, life, and future and I wish that I had the nurses taht knew his everyday, truly knew him, to help me think through these terrible decisions I will have to make in the next few months.

Jessi said...

Hi Kathleen! I've heard of many parents who miss the comfort of the NICU. And with your 8 months - well, that is just such a long, long time! I, too, understand the second guessing and wishing the Dr'
s and nurses were close by. What a huge responsibility we were given when we left the hopsital with our fragile babies (often with dozens of medicine, O2, feeding tubes, etc. to take care of!). Anyway, thanks for stopping by!