Thursday, May 7, 2015

NICU Survival

  It's hard for me to believe that 4 months has already gone by. It's seems like just yesterday I was waking B up because my water broke. It feels like I was pregnant forever, but now it seems like every second is flying by.
  I don't talk about his delivery much because it still is a hard pill for me to swallow. Tater was born at 41 weeks 2 days. I had one failed induction under my belt, it felt like he was going to be inside forever. Once he was here I was so ready to have my baby home. Then of course the unexpected hit, and we heard the horrid words every new parent dreads. "We are taking him to the NICU." My heart sank into my butt. I tried so hard to stay strong. I told myself he would be there for a day MAX. Well three days had passed, I was discharged but my little man was still there. What was I to do? my heart shattered into a million pieces. I broke down in the elevator. There wasn't anywhere to sleep in the NICU. there was a couch the size of my leg, and a rocking chair. The first night B and I "slept" there... More like shut my eyes and cried until the nurse came in to test his sugars. With every test that night we got more and more bad news. The next morning I have what they call the day 4 meltdown. I lost all the strength I had, and just sobbed. I felt like I had failed my son, I was the reason he was there because for some reason my body couldn't do what I needed it to do, so I gave him my infection. Day 5 rolled around and still things weren't getting better. They put a line for blood in his belly button stump, and a feeding tube in. I couldn't hold my baby. 8 days later we brought our man home...
That is just the short version of what had happened. I really want this blog post to focus on being a guide to NICU survival. There are so many things I learned being in there, and I feel it made our stay easier.
Here is my guide to surviving your stay in the NICU.

1) Prepare for the worst, pray for the best. I set myself up for failure by being convinced it would only be a day or two. I'm not saying be convinced they will be there for 5 years, but prepare yourself for bad news.
2)Don't be an asshole to your doctors and nurses. The NICU nurses were some of the nicest, tolerant, funny human beings I've ever met. The amount of love those people had is something I will never understand. Treat them with kindness and patience and they will do the same for you. I handle stress with humor, so don't be afraid to crack a few jokes with your nurses. They will appreciate it greatly.
3) When they tell you to go home and rest, DO IT. I know it's hard leaving your baby at the hospital but you need to sleep, or you're going to make yourself sick. Having a good nights rest lets you come back in the morning refreshed and ready to handle almost what ever is thrown your way. If you aren't at the top of your game, you aren't going to be able to do what's best for your baby. They are in great care at the NICU, head home for a few hours of comfortable sleep. You've both earned it.
4) EAT. I wasn't feeling hungry the first few days he was in there. The sadness took away my desire to do anything but look at him and cry. Then B told me we were going to get some food other than hospital food. He took me out for BBQ, and it was easily the greatest meal I had ever consumed. It's okay to go out and get food... You don't have to cook, and you need the energy.
5) If you don't want visitors, it's okay to tell everyone to leave. Seriously... If they get mad that you just need to be alone, they should be ashamed. Having a new baby is exciting, but having a NICU baby is incredibly stressful Mamaw can wait to visit until you are emotionally ready. Also, don't be afraid to ask people to visit! If you are feeling incredibly alone, or just need some company call in the troops!
6) Accept some help. If great Aunt Hilda wants to make you a casserole, take it. Being a NICU Mom is tough, let people help you. Reach out if no one is offering help! I'm so thankful that both sides of the family were so willing to do anything we needed.
7)Talk to your spouse. Chances are they are just as scared as you are. Go through this shitty experience together, and lean on each other. Vent about how much this SUCKS. Cry together, hold each other, love one another.
8)Bring something to do. There is a lot of down time in the NICU. Bring your Kindle, or even a puzzle. You need to be able to keep your brain busy, so you don't get super sad, or bored. Don't feel guilty about it either. Sitting there while doing nothing makes waiting for an update impossible.
9)You don't have to stay strong. Holding all that emotion in will only make your explosion worse. (Trust me you will explode) Your NICU meltdown might be one of the biggest of your life. It will feel as though the Earth has totally shattered, and nothing can EVER pull you out of this funk. Trust me once that little bean is home, everything is worth it.
If you or someone you know is struggling with having a NICU baby, please come my way. I have plenty of support and guidance to offer. I also respond to emails quickly. No mama or dad should ever feel alone

1 comment:

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