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Parents

When You Are A NICU Mom

I don’t think our lives ever go back to the way they were before the NICU.

When you are a NICU mom...

The ring of the telephone makes your heart jump in your throat.

You never stop worrying.

You cry when you get bad news, you cry when you get good news, and you cry when you get no news at all.

When you are a NICU mom...

You have to wait hours, days, weeks to hold or even touch your baby.

You don’t get to dress your baby in all those adorable onesies.

Instead, you take vitals, do cares, and stick your hands through holes in a glass box to touch your precious baby.

You carefully move wires, arrange chairs, and sit still for hours with your tiny baby tucked into your sports bra when you are finally allowed skin-to-skin contact.

When you are a NICU mom...

You are afraid to touch your own teeny, tiny baby.

You are afraid to let go of your own teeny, tiny baby.

You are afraid to get too attached to that sweet face who already has your whole heart.

You are afraid your baby isn’t getting attached enough to you, since you can’t be there every minute of every day and someone else takes care of them too.

When you are a NICU mom...

Your heart is always in two places at the same time.

When you are at the hospital, it’s impossible to leave.

When you are at home, it’s impossible to leave your other children/husband/family members.

Guilt, happiness, sadness, and fear are on constant rotation.

You lose friends because you can’t relate anymore.

You find true friends that stick by you when you are at your worst.

When you are a NICU mom...

The hallway you must walk to get to your baby seems like it goes on forever.

You need to be buzzed in to see your baby, and you must use a code when you call in to find out how they are doing.

Your hands are so dry and cracked from washing them, no amount of lotion helps.

The smell of hand sanitizer makes you sick.

You know more medical terms and acronyms than you ever wanted to.

You hear those beeps from all the machines even when you’re at home.

The oscillating ventilator is one of the scariest things you’ve ever seen.

Nighttime and times when you are alone are the worst.

When you are a NICU mom...

You leave the hospital so many times without your baby, when you finally get your discharge orders, you don’t really believe it.

You feel unprepared to take care of your tiny baby at home, even though you’ve been doing it in the hospital for many days, weeks, months.

You wonder if you can smuggle one of those monitors out or bring one of the nurses home with you.

You are scared of anything and everything that might land you back in the hospital because you don’t think you can do it again.

When you are a NICU mom...

You don’t feel strong, but you are.

You don’t feel capable of making decisions, but you do the best you can.

You don’t think you can make it through, but you will.

You feel alone, but you are not.

I’m still a NICU mom.

It was four years ago that I was in the middle of our NICU experience with our twin boys. Born at 25 weeks, 5 days, they stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the hospital for 91 and 93 days. Sometimes, it feels like it happened to another person, but sometimes it feels as though it was just yesterday. I don’t think we ever get over the traumatic pregnancy/birth experience that brought us to that NICU, but with time, it does get easier.

I also don’t think our lives ever go back to the way they were before the NICU. People may not understand and may want you to just “get over it,” but it’s not that easy. It forever changes the way you feel about everything. You have so many emotions about everything, and it’s frustrating when other people don’t understand. When you are faced with life and death situations every day, how can you not be changed.

To every other NICU mom or dad out there, I want you to know that I get it. If you ever feel alone or scared or tired, I’m here. When you hit that wall and don’t think you can take anymore, reach out to me, or to someone else that has gone through it. While not everyone can possible understand, there really are a lot of us out here. We will support you, cry with you, and cheer for you. We are all part of a club that we never knew existed or never wanted to join, but will forever be bound by the experience. Please contact me at Shann Eva’s Blog, and I will listen, cry, and commiserate with you.

No matter how much time goes by, I will always be a NICU mom.