Hello NICU mom.
I see the pain in your eyes. It gets better. The bags under your eyes will fade and the shakes of your hands will calm.
NICU mom, you really should get some sleep. That little soul behind that glass needs your strength. That little miracle with the tubes, wires, and IVs needs your energy.
NICU mom, I know the pain you feel not being able to hold that baby. You sit and you watch. Days pass and weeks pass and you don’t get to be the mother you anticipated. You don’t get to soothe that baby and you don’t get to kiss that sweet face.
NICU mom, when you go home, try to forget about the beeps and sounds of the monitors. The horrifying and haunting sounds of "episodes"... Pretty soon you won't remember.
Pretty soon you will be able to hold that sweet baby without becoming tangled in the wires and accidentally pulling heart leads off.
NICU mom, I see you each morning hurrying into the unit, pulling up your sleeves to wash your hands as fast as you can..anxiously awaiting to receive your name tag just so you can walk to that quiet room and stare at that little human you call yours...and you will sit there all alone...just the sounds of the machines to calm you as you wait for the doctor to make his rounds. Waiting for the news of the day..to see if feeds increase, to see if medication increases, to see what X-rays and ultrasounds show..what blood work has come back to diagnose...
I see you NICU mom, holding that baby, the one that fits in the palm of your had..rocking in your chair back and forth..not talking...no expression. Exhaustion can take over a lot of emotions. Did I tell you it gets better?
See, the way the ICU works is you take one step forward and two steps backward. It’s a long process. But, you know that. I know you don’t feel like a mommy right now, but that will change. Give those babies time to grow. They will grow.
Weeks pass and you still come faithfully...Still sit lonely all day long in that same room. Waiting for the open crib transition..waiting for the car seat test...all of the signs that bring you closer to bringing that small baby home. But, the key word is "waiting"...as if you haven't done enough of that.
Signing consents for tests, watching your baby get poked and prodded, hearing complications that come with each procedure...I promise it'll be worth it.
That sick feeling you get each morning when you find a new bandage on that baby because lab had to come draw blood, I know NICU mom, I do.
The days are long and your energy shortens. You start to lose hope and you feel like you are losing the fight. DON’T give up, NICU mom.
You will get that news one day. It will happen. And when it does, all of these moments will be worth the pain you both endured. I promise you, momma, it will.
See, I know all of this because I was a NICU mom too. And as I have said and as it will, it gets better...in time.
Almost 6 years have passed and I still think about all that my precious ones have been through. I thank god for the hard times so I can cherish every good time spent with those little bundles of joy.
The NICU journey will leave you hopeless and scarred. It will leave you broken and torn. But, it will leave you humbled and strong.
YOU are a fighter. YOU are a NICU mom.
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