Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Dreaded Pregnancy Journal

I have this week by week pregnancy journal that my mom got me when I found out I was having Jack. I thought it was simple and beautiful. You know the kind where there is a week by week calendar that you can write in how you're feeling, what your cravings are, and when your Dr. appointments are? Sprinkled in are gorgeous pictures of pregnant bellies. A nice little organizer to write out your feelings. 



That book still sits amid a pile of books and papers, collecting dust. And I don't quite know what to do with it. You see, I wrote in it up until 23 weeks.

Do I keep it? Or is it just a reminder of what could have been?

Even two years out, I still feel sad when I look at that journal. I feel like we were all robbed. There are a whole lot of hopes and dreams that come flooding back to me when I flip through those pages. I can look back and read week by week how I was feeling.

Then suddenly, it stops. The rest of the journal is empty.

And then I have this book, that was never even touched. It's the companion journal... what you are supposed to write in once baby comes. Inside are some beautiful prompts - "Visitors in the hospital? First night at home? First visitors at home?". And this one also sits, collecting dust. Never written in. How can you possibly write about the NICU experience in that journal? First this or first that? Doesn't really apply anymore.




Jack never got a real "baby book".  His morphed from a super sweet scrapbook that my sister in law made for us. She gave it to us, the first pages filled with pictures we had taken the first week of Jack's life, adorned with pretty baby blue papers and stickers. I ended up scrapbooking all of Jack's NICU stay into that album, no words really. I didn't have words. It is filled mostly with pictures, but at the end, I added all the meaningful cards and notes that were sent our way. No, it's not the most traditional baby book, but it sure is beautiful.








I am curious to hear what others have done to document their NICU journey. How about the first year of your child's life? Did you go the traditional baby book route or did you do something entirely different?
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11 comments:

Chelsea said...

It's interesting that you post this. I was actually just looking back on Travis' NICU Diary. It is this neat little journal that has a place for: Gestational age, weight, length, type of bed, what did I do today?, Breathing help, Feedings...etc. I didn't write in it until he was 2 months old though and I wish I had. This time, I am counting on my blog to help me document this journey with Ava.

marcieament said...

I love the scrapbook that you did. What a beautiful tribute to an amazing little boy. In regards to the pregnancy journal, I know you feel robbed and that you missed out on so much, but i bet Jack will appreciate reading through it someday.

katieoz said...

i have that baby journal. And I have to say, yours is way more amazing and beautiful :)

Sarah Pope said...

Ours is still a work in progress. I am making a scrapbook (similar to yours) of all of Samuel NICU experiences, cards, sentimental mementos and so on. A friend of mine made me one that included pictures, FB status updates of mine during our NICU stay, and also blog posts that I had written during that time. I have YET ANOTHER scrapbook that is solely my blog posts (given to me by another friend.) I can't imagine having the pregnancy journal hanging around my house. I probably would have burned it if I had made one. I agree with you..it's painful to realize how many memories were taken. Everytime I start to think of that, I try to remember how blessed we are - things weren't perfect, but we still have our babies. :)

Julie said...

I love the album you made. What a great way to cherish the love and support that surrounded you. You were robbed of filling out your pregnancy journal but you have pages and pages of support and evidence of God's continual care. Beauty for ashes...

Jacqueline said...

I created a scrapbook for Tirzah's time in the NICU and then a scrapbook for the rest of her first year (6 months) after she came home. I also did a baby book. I remember writing down in the baby book shortly after she was born. I wanted to record everything. I also have an entire tote dedicated to her "preemie" time. Favorite outfits, cards and blankets given to us during her NICU time, newspaper articles, etc. I kept her once bottle, her first pacifier, her micro preemie diaper, etc. She loves looking at it. We are all in awe when we look back through each thing.

Michelle said...

I had a pregnancy scrapbook with my first child (a full-term baby). It's filled with sonogram pics, baby shower pics, and 10 months of baby belly pics. I started one with my twins, but, like yours, it suddenly stops at 24 weeks. My last belly picture in there doesn't even look that big (especially for a twin pregnancy). It's hard to look at. I also found a ton of scrapbooking stickers and cried over them when I found them. It was stickers that said, "due date" and "It's Time!" etc. I know where you are coming from. I did make NICU scrapbooks for the twins, but sadly, I have not kept that up. I guess they get the blog instead of scrapbooks!

Unknown said...

I wrote in an online journal during my pregnancy and I finally went back and re-read my last entry before our 29 weeker was born. It said, "A part of me wants the rest of the pregnancy to go by fast but another part of me wants it to go by as slow as possible so I can cherish this time". I had my son a few days after that. It was really traumatic to read. I did create a NICU book with a picture from each day of his stay with a few words about progress and setbacks. I dedicated it to my husband, and when our son is old enough, we will dedicate it to him.

daria said...

Other than the blog, I havent really documented much in Gia's "baby book." There are no spaces for "first surgery" or even the wonderful milestone of g-tube removal. Frankly, it is depressing to look at the prompts which include- "first step", first sounds, first words and realize that they may always be blank. I LOVE that you have your own scrapbook of that time. Jack is making his own book and thats wonderful.

Kylie said...

I've done nothing. I did buy a book when Joseph was one "starting life in the NICU" with a view to filling it in, but i just can't.

I've documented the time with photographs and that will have to do.They're all on the computer I haven't done an album or anything.

I just can't really go back now and look at that time. It's over, and we have a new reality

Melissa said...

I journaled every single day. I kept it by his bedside and wrote in all of the "important" things my 28 weeker 1 lb 8.4 oz-er did in the NICU. The NICU social worker put together a scrapbooking group for the NICU moms and we met every other week to scrapbook the milestones and talk about what was going on with our miracles. Was the best therapy. I continued his scrapbook until he was 1 and although I have all of the things I would need to continue it, time escapes me. :( In addition, I also have the NICU bag. The one that keeps the first blood pressure cuff, his first syringe they used to feed him, his first bottle, the first little crocheted hat, and the first outfit he ever wore. He's 3 now, and I still get choked up about the pregnancy that I never got to finish, the baby who struggled in the NICU, and the baby shower that happened out of its chronological place. It is a normal part of the process as a mom of a preemie. And it's ok. :)