Dear NICU Mom...
You just entered into a situation you never thought that you would be facing. You are feeling so overwhelmed with how to feel at this point. This is not a place any mother wants to be. This is supposed to be the most joyful time in your life, but instead it is the most overwhelming and traumatizing. We dream of having our baby, holding him/her on our chest right after, having friends and family come to visit you, and go home 2-3 days later as you love on your baby and settle in at home. Unfortunately this is not reality for all of us.
When you are a NICU mom your life is turned upside down because nothing you had planned is happening. Instead you are facing the endless days at the NICU as you watch your baby fight for it’s life through a plastic box.
The idea of leaving the hospital without your baby is one that I wish no parent would have to experience. Unfortunately this is not the case and we NICU mommas have to buckle up and be strong as we endure this trial.
I know the feeling you have when your baby is quickly taken away from you and the room is flooded with doctors and all you want are answers and to hold your baby.
I know that walking down that hallway to check-in to see your baby feels like the longest hallway and that it is never going to end.
I know the feeling of being in excruciating pain to walk to see your baby and not caring at all. You will do anything and go through anything at this point to see your little angel.
I know that your hands are so dry from washing your hands, what seems like a million times a day. –It is so worth it all though to keep these babies from catching anything of course.
I know the feeling of walking into the NICU and there being many doctors and nurses surrounding your baby as your heart immediately falls to floor in wonder of what could be happening.
I know that watching your baby be stuck in every vein possible is the absolute hardest thing to see. (The one in the head definitely got me!)
I know the feeling of your head spinning with all the information and terms the doctors and nurses are giving you, the calls from social workers, the respiratory therapists giving you goals, etc. It feels like your head weighs a thousand pounds by the end of the day.
I know how alone you feel in that room as you stare at your baby through glass just wishing for things to be more normal and to be at home with your baby.
I know the feeling of only being able to hold your child for 30 minutes to an hour only for the nurse to come in and tell you “it’s time for them to be put back”. These were the most dreaded words for me.
I know that anytime you walk into the hospital you are constantly seeing families take their babies home and you want so bad to be happy for them but it is just sooo hard when you know that time is not anywhere near for you.
No one can really explain how or prepare you for leaving your baby in the NICU. You are placing your child in the hands of strangers and putting your trust in them. This was one of the most difficult things for me as I wanted to be the one caring for my baby. I soon learned that these nurses are walking angels and are trained to take care of my baby as she is fighting for her life and this is what is best for her right now. They deal with the many struggles that a preemie baby may have on a daily basis and are prepared for anything that may arise and I certainly was not. These nurses were my saving grace through our NICU stay and I am forever grateful for them and all they did for my family.
I have been right where you are in wonder and confusion on how you will ever make it through this. I wish I could say something to make this situation better for you but instead I can offer you some encouragement in hopes that it will help you through it because I promise “this too shall pass”! This is very scary time filled with the unknown but I promise you can do this! As a NICU mom it is important to focus on the silver linings instead of stressing over the unknown that are out of our control.
I know that the days are long and the nights even longer, but after you have been there for a few days and develop relationships with the nurses and doctors you are able to rest easy knowing your child is in great hands, not only by the doctors but by our good Lord above!!
I know that you will find the little things that your baby does to be the biggest victories and they will bring you so much joy. These little victories are what got me through many days. There will also be days where we will have set backs, but keeping in mind the progress our baby has made is what fuels you to keep going.
I know that you will be amazed at how tough your preemie baby is and how they continue to fight day in and day out. The little smiles that begin to happen will put your heart at rest! I also know that you are stronger than you ever thought you could be. The pain you are experiencing physically from birth is nothing compared to the emotional or mental pain you are having, yet you still push through it all to be there for your baby.
I know that being a NICU mom is one of the toughest jobs out there, but our God will give us the strength to get through it all. I know that God never gives us more than we can handle. Even when we think we could not handle anything else, we can, through God who gives us strength.
I know that the day you take your baby home, you will be so excited while terrified all at the same time. You will be so happy to feel like you are the parent finally and not the hospital.
I promise you the day you get home you will feel so thankful for your NICU stay, no matter how hard it was because this situation has made you who you are today. Once you make it through the storm you will wonder how in the world you managed to survive. The truth is the storm never really leaves you, it only continues to make you stronger.
Challenges are what make life interesting; Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. -Joshua J. Marine
As I sat in the NICU there were also babies that did not get to physically go home with their families, but did go home to be with the Lord. I sincerely pray for each of these families all of the time and hope that each of these mothers have also found peace.