Dear NICU Mom,
I was there once. Well actually twice. Standing over your baby’s isolette. Not really knowing what went wrong and how you got there. Wondering what all those bells and alarms mean. Wondering what was going to happen to your baby. The baby that you spent these months protecting and dreaming of.
I was there being bombarded with medical jargon that flew over your head. Where the only thing you needed (wanted) to hear was that your baby will be ok.
I was there putting all my faith into doctors who took the time to plan, explain, and assure me that everything would be ok.
I was there throwing all of my trust into the nurses who would spend more time with my baby in those first days than I would. They would comfort, rock, feed, and bathe my baby when I wasn’t there to do so myself. They treated my baby as if he were their own. They cared.
I was there being sick myself. Putting my own health on the back burner because the only thing that mattered was that my baby learned to eat, gain weight, and get better.
I was there beating myself up. Wondering what it was that I did wrong to cause this. That made my baby sick. Because somehow it had to be my fault.
I was there cheering on a baby who finally drank an ounce of formula. Who didn’t have a Brady episode while drinking his bottle. Who kept his blood sugar reglated for an hour. Who took his foot being pricked every 4 hours like a champ. Who was fighting and proving that he could do this.
I was there day after day longing to hear the words: “Your baby is ready to come home.” Those words that, at times, you don’t think you will ever hear.
I was there trying to split my time and attention, and love to another child who was confused as to why his baby brother wasn’t coming home. Who he wasn’t allowed to see.
I was there when my heart expanded and I learned that it is possible to love more than one child equally but different.
I was there when I saw two little boys fight. And fight hard. To get bigger. Stronger. Better.
I was there to see that miracles do happen. Even when they are in the midst of chaos and uncertainty.
I was there when I learned that all of the feelings and emotions that I was dealing with were ok. That had the right to be angry and sad and happy and angry some more.
I was there once. Twice.
I was there again when friends were welcomed into the unofficial NICU mom club. Where I told them that everything would be ok. That they were in good hands. That it was ok to be angry and sad and happy all at the same time. That it would get better.
I was there to tell them that these days spent in the NICU, whether a week, a month, or a year, would be over soon. Even though they couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Because that light isn’t what is important at the moment.
I was there to listen, understand, and support. To help get them through the minutes, hours, and days that were all too familiar to me.
I was there before and will be there again. Because I am a NICU Mom.
Because those memories of the NICU won’t ever leave us. The days we spent standing by our baby’s isolette will only appear as a hiccup on our road. Those memories shape us and make us the moms that we are today.
Because we are NICU Moms.